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Govt allocates Rs 400 million as compensation for land in North's HSZ's

May 5 (LB) The govt has allocated Rs. 400 million to pay as compensation to owners of the land in the High Security Zones (HSZs) in the North. The govt has decided to acquire 6,381 hectares of the land in Jaffna that is now being used as HSZs permanently and the owners of the land will be paid compensation, the Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon has said. The govt has posted notices in all three official languages at public places in more..

Venerable Elle Thera to file FR against NPC polls

May 5 (LB) Venerable Alle Gunawansa Thera, a prominent Sinhala hardline Buddhist monk has said that he will file a fundamental rights case if the election for the Northeren Provincial Council (NPC) is held by the govt. The thera, who is the Chairman of an organization called National Movement to Safeguard the Nation, says that holding the election in the Province is not fair since the Sinhala nationals who were chased away more..

Sri Lanka salvages plane shot down by rebels

May 5 (Xinhua) The wreckage of a domestic Sri Lankan flight which was believed to have been shot down by Tamil Tiger rebels 15 years ago, has been salvaged for investigations. Parts of Lionair Flight 602 was salvaged off Iranaitivu Island in the north of the country by navy divers, and investigations will now commence as to how the plane exactly went down. Following investigations launched by the police TID, more..

'US military base in Maldives infringes on SL maritime security'

May 5 (NS) JHU MP and Minister Champika Ranawaka said a US military base in the Maldives would give the US an opportunity to monitor the India Ocean, and counter the growing Chinese influence in the region.“The Indian Ocean region is now the most important region in the struggle for global supremacy and we have become part of that struggle,” Ranawaka said. He was responding to queries based on a draft Status of more..

British PM to attend Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka

May 5 (Xinhua) British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague will attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka in November, the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry announced on Sunday. The announcement came even as Canadian PM Stephen Harper said he may boycott the event over human rights concerns in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been accused of committing human rights abuses during the final stages more..

Lankan Embassy in Cairo celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year

May 5 (Island) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo organized Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations at the Abbasiya Central Sports Club recently with the support of the Sri Lankan community in Egypt. The celebrations started with the hoisting of the National Flag, playing the National Anthem and lighting the traditional oil lamp. While thanking well-wishers and members of the Sri Lankan community for their support towards the success of the event, Ambassador Sudantha Ganegama Arachchi more..

New electricity tariff is neither for pro-business nor pro-poor

May 5 (CT) The govt’s current approach in regard to the revision of electricity tariff, including the President’s May-day declaration for the relief for poor, is neither for pro-business nor pro-welfare. Lack of professionalism is rampant in the govt. On April 30th, the Central Bank which is the chief official economic advisor to the govt, defended the electricity tariff increases through the public media. Speaking to the media Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe more..

Sri Lanka: island in the storm

May 5 (Guardian) "So are you a Buddhist?" I ask the driver. "No, I am Hindu." "Oh, so you're a Tamil?" "I am a Tamil," the driver says, and then shouts: "BUT I AM NOT A TERRORIST!" Sri Lanka is the travel destination of 2013, at least according to the travel industry. After decades of war, peace is opening up the northern reaches of the wondrous isle off the tip of India. British Airways has just created a route to Colombo more..

Germany funds micro projects

May 5 (Island) The German Embassy launched its micro projects initiative for 2013, by handing over assistance worth almost Rs.7.5 million to partner organizations. The funds will support activities that empower vulnerable communities. In meetings with representatives of the implementing organizations, Ambassador Dr. Juergen Morhard said, "The micro projects initiative is a key component of Germany’s engagement with local communities. This makes us very mindful of supporting activities that more..

India, Sri Lanka: So near, yet far

May 5 (SAM) New Delhi’s decision to keep away from Canada’s call for shifting the venue of the CHOGM scheduled later this year in Sri Lanka has been strongly welcomed in the power corridors in Colombo, and the step is considered soothing balm over the “hurt feeling” that existed in the Sri Lankan capital over India’s decision to vote for the US sponsored resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva two months ago. Colombo felt that if India, which represents 60% of the Commonwealth more..

Its a trick claims Hirunika

May 5 (CG) Hirunika Premachandra raised suspicion on MP Duminda Silva being re-admitted to hospital just a day before he was scheduled to appear in Court. Premachandra claimed that the MP was attempting to avoid Court as he will be questioned on the murder of her father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Silva was taken to hospital today just a week after he was discharged after recovering from injuries suffered during more..

Rambukwella, chairs UN Committee on Conferences

May 5 (ST) The Committee on Conferences that advises the General Assembly (GA) on matters pertaining to the organisation of United Nations (UN) Conferences, elected Chamithri Rambukwella, daughter of Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, as Chair, for its 2013-2014 term, at its organisational session on April 29. She was endorsed by the Asia Pacific Group of States. This is the first time that Sri Lanka is a member of the Committee on Conferences, and Ms Rambukwella, more..

No news yet on Queen’s attendance of Commonwealth Summit

May 5 (Island) British PM David Cameron and Foreign Minister William Hague will attend the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka in November, Minister G.L. Pieris said but he had no news on whether Queen Elizabeth will be here. "I was told this morning that the prime minister and the foreign minister will be here," Pieris said. Asked whether the queen who is the Head of the Commonwealth will also be present, he said: "I don’t know. I didn’t ask. That was not a proper question to ask." more..

Exiled, from journalism

May 5 (CT) With the war against LTTE intensifying in 2008, among journalists, the group to feel the most amount of pressure was the defence correspondents. The column writing slowed and ceased, and soon, media activists and dissenting opinion peddlers too came under severe pressure. The year 2008-2009 was dubbed annus hornbills for Sri Lankan journalists, for a reason. By Feb 2009, over a dozen journalists have fled the island. more..

'Islandwide strike to go ahead'

May 5 (CT) The islandwide strike scheduled for 21 May demanding the govt revoke the electricity price hike will go ahead. President, National Trade Union Centre, K.D. Lal Kantha said the latest relief measures announced by the President was an eyewash, and claimed over 600 trade unions affiliated to the main political parties of the UNP, JVP and socialist left parties in the public, private, banks and estate sectors will participate in the strike. “We will finalize our strategy at a meeting, more..

Abductor arrested in Kelaniya

May 5 (CG) A man who had abducted a person for ransom at gunpoint has been arrested from Kelaniya, the police media unit said today. The police said that the man had abducted a person in Peliyagoda and had received Rs. 800,000 as part of the ransom. The victim is a resident of Colombo 14 and he had been abducted last month, the police media unit said. Following investigations carried out by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) the suspect was arrested yesterday. more..

TMVP push for devolution

May 5 (SL) The TMVP has decided to push for devolution of powers to the provinces. TMVP spokesman Azad Maulana said that the decision was taken at the TMVP May Day meeting held last week in the east. He said that the party would urge the govt to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and through that to devolve maximum powers to the provinces. “Our position on that is very firm and it was more..

NGO guys steal from NGO

May 5 (NS) Seven members of a non governmental organization were remanded by the Fort Magistrate, Thilina Gamage till May 15 in connection with a fraud close to Rs.30 million. The suspects had withdrawn the money from the Bank of Ceylon’s card centre headquarters using credit and deposit cards of account holders through the bank’s internet payment facility. The suspects are Hewa Poramage Samantha, Udaya Kumara Abayasinghe, Peter Sathyarajah, Sellarajah Ravikumar, more..

Crackdown ordered on Cocaine plants

May 5 (SL) Southern Province Agriculture Minister Bindu Weerasinghe has ordered a crackdown on cocaine plants growing in residential gardens in the province. Minister said that investigations had been launched into the growing of cocaine plants in three districts in the South. He said that it had already been found that 370 cocaine plants were being grown in residential gardens in Matara, Galle and Hambantota, without the knowledge of the resident. Most plants had been distributed to residents more..

Customers will have to take power costs on the chin, says business

May 5 (ST) Businesses plan to pass on the electricity price increase to consumers, arguing they have few alternatives, and also warn they will be forced to lay off staff or freeze hiring. Hoteliers, industrialists and other non domestic business oriented sectors say they have no other option other than to pass on the cost to the consumers by increasing the price of goods. The hotel sector in particular is up in arms about more..

PAFFREL mobile program to help voters obtain NICs free of charge

May 5 (Island) With the Northern Province Provincial Council election on the cards, Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi said a mobile program will be launched to assist voters in the region to obtain their National Identity Cards (NICs) free of charge. NICs are compulsory for voting purposes and a necessity if the elections are to be held in a free and fair manner, he said. He said that on Friday, the Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya and Additional Commissioner more..

Govt. not honored its promise to create Additional GA’s office in Kalmunai

May 5 (Island) General Secretary of the SLMC, MP Hassen Ali said that the Tamil-speaking people of the Ampara district had expectations that the UPFA govt would implement its longstanding promise to open an Additional Govt Agent’s office in Kalmunai. He said this was a promise President Rajapaksa gave the Tamil-speaking people of the Ampara District when the SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem extended his support to the UPFA to establish control of the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

Test cricket is ultimate format for Lankan skipper Mathews

May 5 (PTI) Twenty20 cricket is money-spinning and popular but for Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, nothing comes close to the thrill of playing Test cricket. "Test is the ultimate format. I really enjoy playing Test cricket. It's not always as easy as you think, but Test is the ultimate form. And we (Sri Lankans) always enjoy playing Test cricket," Mathews, who leads the Test and ODI side of the country, said. more..

Two temples broken into, statues and cash stolen

May 5 (AD) Two metal statues of great historical significance have been stolen from the Anuradhapura Sama Viharaya. A statue of the Dedimunda deity and a Saraswati Devi Statue have been stolen, said the Chief Incumbent of the Vihara, Mahawilachchiye Wimala Thera. The Thera said that he had returned to the temple last night, after attending a religious ceremony in Galle, when he notices that both statues were missing. A complaint has been filed with the Anuradhapura Police more..

Mahanayakes asked to help stop Kandy night races

May 5 (AD) The Foundation for the Protection of Kandyan Heritage has requested the Mahanayakes Theras of Malwathu and Asgiri chapters to take necessary steps to halt the ‘Night Races’ scheduled to be held in the historic city of Kandy. A group including the Chairman of the foundation, former MP Nimal Premawansa, today handed over a written request to the Mahanayakes. The motor races are set to take place on May 17 and 18 in the streets of Kandy and its organizers have reportedly more..

Multi-vitamin capsules meddle with public health

May 5 (NS) The Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Control Authority (CDDCA), has warned Biona, a prominent multi-vitamin capsule brand, for marketing unregistered drugs in the pretext of food substitutes. The CDDCA alleged that such multi-vitamin capsules were marketed with claims that it contained the nutritional values of a wholesome meal. Director CDDCA, Dr. Hemantha Beneragama said the warning was issued more..

SriLankan Airlines says online bookings faster, safer with new gateway

May 5 (LBO) State-run SriLankan Airilines said it had signed up Wirecard, a German payment gateway operator which will make online bookings faster and safer, as part of moves to join oneoworld, a global alliance of carriers. "As part of our planned membership of the oneworld alliance, we were looking for a reliable partner for our online payment processing, which also possesses the international experience that our broad global flight network requires," SriLankan Airlines head more..

Experts refute Fonterra’s claims

May 5 (NS) Further to the article carried in The Nation last week, claims made by Fonterra’s Anlene high calcium milk powder have drawn criticism from the President of Osteoporosis Sri Lanka, which is the Sri Lankan arm of the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Prof. Sarath Lekamwasam of the Department of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, said that in his personal view, milk or excess Calcium (Ca) ‘has nothing to do with either osteoporosis or fractures’. He further claimed that no study more..

12,500 youth to get ‘unused’ plantation lands

May 5 (ST) Keeping plantation companies in the dark, the govt this week finalised plans to acquire 25,000 acres of unused estate land and distribute it among youths for ‘productive agricultural purposes’ under the 2013 budget proposal. A decision to distribute two acre blocks of land each in plantations among 12,500 unemployed youth was been taken at a top level meeting on Monday held at the Finance Ministry with the participation more..

Thank god, Sid at least said it

May 6 (SL) Govt interference in sport is an open secret, and although incumbent officials may not publicly admit to it, confidentially, the more honest ones at least will confessto a sense of helplessnessto resist ministerial manoeuvrings. They are of course welcome to voice opposition to political designs, but are only too aware such bravado carriesrisks of eviction from office or worse. So they comply without complaining – no matter the detrimental effectsthat such servile more..

May Day rhetoric reflects multiple divisions

May 6 (ST) May Day last year was memorable for an unusual convergence that saw the leader of the main Tamil political formation, the TNA, and the leader of the main Opposition UNP hoisting the national flag together in Jaffna, cheered by a massive crowd. Rajavarothayam Sampanthan’s gesture was generally seen in the South as a sign of readiness to move away from communal politics and join the national mainstream. But that symbolism of unity was short lived. more..

'World will see first-hand progress in SL'

May 6 (SO) International terrorism expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratna sheds light on the do or die attempts of key LTTE fronts and their affiliates to shift the CHOGM venue from Sri Lanka and the reasons behind the move. "The defeated terrorists and their supporters are aware that if the CHOGM is successfully held in Sri Lanka, the world will witness at first hand the amazing progress Sri Lanka has achieved in the last three years," he said more..

Azath Salley, BBS and Northern elections

May 6 (DBS) Senior Journalist J Tissanayagam was charged with creating ethnic dissension, by a regime which included such apostles of reconciliation as Champika Ranawaka. Azath Salley has been arrested for fermenting religious disharmony by a regime which is providing succour to such proponents of brotherly love as Rev. Galagoda-Atte Gnanasara Thero. If creating religious disharmony is really an issue for the govt, it is not Mr. Salley who should be in custody but the likes of more..

Come September!

May 6 (DBS) It takes two to tango, and come September, Sri Lanka will see which way they will go. To be precise, which way one will lead the other – or, who between the two will lead the other, where and how! In September, the promised elections to the Northern Provincial Council are due. So is one more round of UNHRC session in Geneva. If elections are conducted, and are free and fair, then Geneva will lose its charm to many. The global reservations to the Commonwealth Summit more..

He fell out with the President

May 6 (CT) “There was this photograph that Azath liked very much. In that the President is embracing Azath as if they were brothers,” recalls Riyaz Salley, the brother of the detained Muslim politician, Azath Salley. The photograph was taken during the presidential election, when Azath met President Rajapaksa after he switched sides from his ‘erstwhile UNP’ to support the President. “Azath was in the good books (of the President) until more..

Sri Lanka: Some reflections on resurrecting democracy

May 6 (CT) There was general consensus among many political scientists that democracy in Sri Lanka by and large functioned smoothly in the 1950s or even 1960s. This impression was shared by both local and foreign scholars such as AJ Wilson, IDS Weerawardena, Howard Wriggins, Calvin A Woodward or James Jupp. This impression was correct when referring to institutional structures, competitive party system, press freedom and the periodic elections that allowed the changes more..

'National’ Provincial Council' for the North: Is it realistic?

May 6 (CT) Dr. Rajasingham Narendran’s presentation in Colombo Telegraph proposing a “National Provincial Council” for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), if implemented, could pave towards a different institutional development for devolution. At present it is not in the Constitution of Sri Lanka and hence may be considered dubious, but a circumspect mean to dilute the Provincial Council governance. One may identify it also as an unconstitutional path. more..

Beyond Boston: With Vimukthi Jayasundara

When Govt. revenue is not enough to meet debt servicing costs

May 6 (ST) The public debt has reached a magnitude when government revenue is inadequate to meet debt servicing costs. In 2012, debt servicing costs were 3 per cent more than govt revenue. As much as 103 per cent of government revenue was needed to repay maturing debt and meet interest costs. Consequently govt has to borrow to meet its other expenditure. Bringing down the public debt, is essential as the high debt serving cost affects long-term economic development adversely. more..

Village damsel’s cries echo in the paddy field

May 6 (SO) The agony and suffering of poverty is hard to explain. What poverty really means, its trauma and humiliation, were something that Nisansala knew only too well. Nisansala was a dusky village damsel of Dehiattakandiya. Being a feeble-minded and timid lass, she somehow managed to accomplish her tough household chores. Nisansala never in her wildest dreams thought she would be a victim of a gruesome crime in the very outskirts of her paddy-field in more..