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Anura Dissanayaka Leader of the JVP

Lawlessness will take its creators and perpetuators

Feb 12 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, it is reported, just escaped serious hurt—and that, mind you, at his own group meeting at Parliament. The situation is still unclear and it is hoped the government will act immediately to get at the bottom of what really happened and if any unseen hands were behind it. Today’s (6/2/14) Divaina reports that Thavarapperuma, UNP man at Kalutara, spat out raw filth and leaned forward to attack his party leader for refusing to more..

Tea smallholders contribute 76 % to 2013 record crop production

Feb 12 (Island) Tea crop recorded end 2013 at 340.8 million kilos is the highest crop production in tea in this country so far. Foreign exchange earnings were in excess of 1.5 billion dollars. This latter figure was also a record in earnings. General Manager, Ministry of Plantation Industry’s, Tea Small Holdings Development Authority, Kamal G.B. Obeysekera said these results showed that tea smallholders contributed 76 % to this production figure. 1,222 hectares were replanted and more..

Fertiliser shortage crippling plantation industry warns PA

Feb 12 (FT) Planter’s Association of Ceylon (PA) warned of an acute shortage of fertiliser which will have a detrimental effect on the plantation industry. The PA whose mandate is to promote, foster and protect the plantation industry of Sri Lanka has sounded the alarm and appealed to all stakeholders to come together to resolve the fertiliser crisis. Fertiliser subsidies are provided by the Govt for paddy and plantation crops more..

Editorial: A common candidate, again?

Feb 12 (Island) Speculation is rife in political circles that the govt is mulling over a snap presidential election. The Opposition is talking about a common candidate. Will the anti-govt forces be able to cobble together an alliance again to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa? The UNP will have to field its own candidate at the next presidential election for several reasons. Firstly, it blundered last time by getting its voters to back an outsider—Gen. Sarath Fonseka. more..

Run the gauntlet in Geneva

Feb 12 (Island) The presence of Deputy Indian High Commissioner, P. Kumaran at a recent political function attended by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and TNA leader, R. Sampanthan, MP, on the afternoon of January 28 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI), Colombo raised many an eyebrow. When the writer sought a clarification from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, its spokesperson stressed that Kumaran was there as an invited guest. more..

Mel Gunasekera, colleague and friend

Feb 12 (LBO) When a caller asked me if something terrible had happened to my friend Mel, my response was "No, it can't be." If it had, she would have told me. But within minutes, I had the most devastating news in my 32 years as a reporter. My former AFP colleague Mel Gunasekera, 40, had been murdered at her home after confronting a burglar whom she had apparently recognised as a painter her family had employed. more..

BOI Aquaculture project by Senura

Feb 12 (DN) Senura Aquaculture Lanka will establish a fish farm in Chilaw. Company will invest US$100 mn in developing 1,000 acres of lagoon land (private owned land) in the Chilaw district. Company is a collaboration with an Israel company named AR Aquaculture. One of the sectors targeted by the BOI is Aquaculture to boost Sri Lanka's fisheries production and this was one company which was approved. "Senura Aquaculture" will be a state of the art fish farm more..

Sri Lanka to buy 2,000 Leyland buses to strengthen passenger bus fleet

Feb 12 (ST) Sri Lanka is set to buy 2,000 buses from Lanka Ashok Leyland, a joint venture between Ashok Leyland of India and the Sri Lankan govt, on supplier’s credit basis. Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that the govt will give the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) Rs. 5 billion spread over five years to settle the cost while the SLTB will have to bear the rest of the cost. Treasury has allocated Rs.1 billion to the SLTB this year in support of its capital investments to more..

Altair awards construction contract to Dubai giant Shapoorji Pallonji

Feb 12 (FT) The $ 3 billion construction giant Shapoorji Pallonji, whose contributions to the skylines of planet earth include India’s tallest residential towers – the Imperial of Mumbai – and several skyscrapers of Dubai, has been appointed the main contractor for Sri Lanka’s Altair residential twin tower in Colombo. The contract awarded to Shapoorji Pallonji International operating out of Dubai, covers construction of more..

External sector performance – Dec 2013

Feb 12 (Island) In December 2013, Sri Lanka’s external sector strengthened further with continued inflows to both the Current Account and the Financial Account of the Balance of Payments (BOP). These inflows resulted in a significant increase in the overall balance as at end December 2013. Earnings from exports recorded an increase, while a notable reduction in imports was witnessed during the month, considerably reducing the trade deficit. more..

We need to finish matches better - Mortaza

Feb 12 (CI) Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh' makeshift captain, has said that winning the crunch moments will be one of team's main targets for the two-match Twenty20 series in Chittagong. Bangladesh got close on all their last four occasions they had to chase a target. But their main problem has been leaking runs in the last five overs, a theme that continued against NZ back in Nov, their last T20I. The two matches against SL will be the hosts' last in the shortest format more..

Incidents of polls law violations: Police and NGO figures vastly differ

Feb 12 (Island) Police Elections Secretariat has recorded only nine election-related complaints so far but local election monitoring NGOs say there have been as many as 160 polls law violations. Beliatta, Grandpass, Galle, Middeniya, Gampaha, Kalutara South and Mirihana police stations had received nine complaints, head of the Police Elections Secretariat DIG Gamini Navaratne said. According to the police, more violent more..

Medical College promotion dispute: Dons threaten legal action

Feb 12 (Island) The Colombo University Faculty of Medicine Teachers Association in a media release has threatened trade union action over the behaviour of the University Council "in processing an application to promote a certain Senior Lecturer to the post of professor’. Following is the full text of the release signed by FMTA President Dr. Indika Karunathilake and its Secretary Dr. Asela Olupeliyawa: The manner in which the Council of the University of Colombo behaves more..

Health Ministry launches computerised doctor transfer system

Feb 12 (Island) The Health Ministry will be able to cut down on funds and resources expended on doctors annual transfers with its new computerised Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) launched. Spokesman for the Health Ministry Dharma Wanninayake said that the HRMIS would enable the Health Ministry to cut down on the time taken to effect transfers from several months to three weeks. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday launched the HRMIS formulated in more..

Witness and Victims Protection Bill almost ready

Feb 12 (DM) The Legal Draftsman’s Department has almost finalised the Witness and Victims Protection Bill and would refer it to the Justice Ministry for the next step of enacting it, officials said yesterday. Certain sections of the international community pressured the government to enact this bill as soon as possible because of its importance with regard to investigations into some of the incidents that happened during the war. more..

Battery-run vehicles a big hit

Feb 12 (CT) The battery-powered vehicles introduced to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and the Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens in Hambantota are becoming vastly popular with the visitors to the park, National Botanical Gardens authorities say. Three, eight-seater vehicles were introduced to each Garden in January and the charges for a one hour ride for each visitor is Rs 500. The vehicles that cost the govt Rs 1.5 million each is run for about five to eight hours a day. more..

A dress rehearsal to the World T20

Feb 12 (CI) Bangladesh are tenth in the Twenty20 rankings. Sri Lanka are No 1. Hosts have little to lose in the two-match series but they will be desperate to cause an upset, if only to show the side is unaffected by Tamim Iqbal resigning the vice-captaincy and the other changes in leadership. With Mahela back in the T20 line-up after missing the games in UAE, SL are likely to test the combination they will field at the World Twenty20 next month: a blend of youth and experience. more..

UK feels resolution will pass

Feb 12 (CG) British Govt is confident the resolution on Sri Lanka to be submitted at the UNHRC next month will be adopted. The resolution is to be submitted by the United States and Britain is a co-sponsor. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG t) represented by UK MP Lee Scott and MP Siobhain McDonagh met at the British Parliament premises and the meeting was addressed by senior representatives from more..

Medical insurance for senior citizens of North

Feb 12 (GDI) Amăna Takaful PLC, recently entered in to a partnership with the Northern Central Hospital to offer insurance services to patients seeking treatment in the hospital based in Jaffna. The MoU to this effect was signed by Mr Fazal Ghaffoor, CEO, Amana Takaful PLC and Mr. S P Samy, Founder Chairman, Northern Central Hospital in the presence of senior officials of both organisations. In 2013 Amăna Takaful a composite insurer and the pioneer of the Takaful way of insurance in Sri Lanka more..

Building construction training for NWP youth

Feb 12 (DN) Around 2,000 youngsters from both Kurunegala and Puttalam districts will be trained in building construction to be employed locally and internationally in the near future. This will come into effect on the suggestion of North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara. North Western Provincial Council will provide the trainees with tool kits and vocational training free of charge. This project is to be supported by the Skills Development Ministry and the Holcim Lanka. more..

Bahu cancels date with police

Feb 12 (CT) Nawa Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) Leader, Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, who was requested to appear before the Gampaha Police yesterday, to record a statement regarding the alleged false details of candidates stated in the nomination lists submitted for the Gampaha District, had not kept the date with the police. Sources claimed he had said he would not be going to the police station as the Party more..

SB’s son has no authority

Feb 12 (CT) Narada Dissanayake, the son of the Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, is acting as the Secretary to the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee (QAAC) on a voluntary basis, and does not receive a salary for his services. Ministry Secretary, Dr. Sunil Navaratne said, though Narada Dissanayake was appointed as secretary to the committee, which would oversee private educational institutes, he (Narada) has no authority in the committee, whatsoever. more..

Envoy sees Saudi-Lanka ties soaring

Feb 12 (AN) The bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka would reach new heights in the coming years, observed the island’s senior minister H.M. Fowzie, who wrapped up a brief visit to the capital on Tuesday. Fowzie, who came as a special envoy of President Rajapaksa, met Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on Tuesday. He also had discussions on matters of bilateral interests with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Abdul Abdullah more..

'Diaspora money has deleterious effect on society'

Feb 12 (Island) Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has lamented that money sent by Tamil Diaspora has had a devastating impact on the lifestyles of Tamils here. The retired Supreme Court judge is of the view that foreign funds have caused irreparable damage to society, especially the student community. CM Wigneswaran was addressing a gathering at the 60th Anniversary of Varani Central College last week. more..

Jaffna Fishermen issues warning Desist from adopting prohibitive methods

Feb 12 (CT) Jaffna Fishermen’s Federation which comprises 80 fisheries associations has issued a warning to Indian and local fishermen to desist from adopting methods of fishing that are prohibited in the Northern waters from 15 Feb. The decision was arrived at, consequent to a discussion held at the Federation’s office in Jaffna on Saturday. According to the President of the Federation, A. Emiliyampillai, the decision had been taken in order to preserve the marine diversity in the Northern waters more..

'Saboteurs want me in the electric chair'

Feb 12 (DN) "Those who cannot tolerate the country's growth after the eradication of terrorism are trying to take me to the electric chair," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He said these elements that are not aware of the basics of politics are in a desperate attempt to enthuse the people by launching smear campaigns. "The govt which has been focussed on development of the country, does not have time to launch smear campaigns as these insidious elements do," the President added. more..

Govt to sell Norochcholai to China

Feb 12 (CT) Govt is to sell the entire Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP) to Chinese Engineering Mechanical Company (CEMC), and discussions between Treasury Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, and high ranking officials of Ministry of Power and Energy, have commenced in this regard, electricity unions alleged. CEB Engineers Union and Independent Engineers Association of CEB vowed they will strongly oppose any move to sell more..

Regulate charges at private hospitals

Feb 12 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena again assured Parliament last Friday that legislation to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP) based on Prof. Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concept would be presented next month – after a delay of about nine years. Minister was responding to a question raised by the UNP MP Rosy Senanayake as to whether the new legislation would suffer the same fate as the earlier draft which the Minister alleged had disappeared from more..

Transforming state institutions for a better quality of life

Feb 12 (DM) Sri Lanka has perhaps the highest density of state officials when compared with the size of its population. We also have perhaps the largest number of people holding political office for a country of its size and with the most number of cabinet of ministers in all the world. It is not necessarily a bad thing to have a sizeable state bureaucracy, so long as the functionaries in state institutions provide their services and perform their functions efficiently and effectively. more..

'I paid the price for others’ foolishness'

Feb 12 (DM) Amidst the upcoming election uproar candidates who faced nomination committees of their respective parties grabbed attention during the past few weeks. Among the many candidates belonging to various professions three candidates who faced SLFP nomination committee, Ruwanthi Mangala, Judith White (Ginger) and Gayesha Perera grabbed the most attention. more..

CCM diploma holders blocked

Feb 12 (SL) Following last week’s expose on how corrupt the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) and some of its Boards of Studies are, it has now come to light that Diploma holders in Critical Care Medicine (CCM) have been unreasonably prevented from sitting for Medical Degree (MD) examination by the PGIM. Director PGIM, Prof. Jayantha Jayewardene, Chairperson Board of Study (Anaesthesiology) more..

Dengue battle costs billions: So why the soaring deaths?

Feb 12 (ST) At the age of 27, K.D. Niroshini from Ferguson’s Road, Colombo 15 has been left a widow with a 9-year old son and is expecting another child. Her husband, 29 year-old R.K. Ranjith, lovingly called Ranji, died of dengue haemorrhagic fever. The illness took his life last week when both he and Niroshini were distracted with worry over their only son Ravindu Dilshan who was suffering from dengue fever. more..

Professional training for rubber tapping trainees

Feb 12 (Island) The Rubber Development Department (RDD) has taken steps to train a batch of 330 professional rubber tapping trainee this year to increase the local rubber production. A senior official of RDD told The Island that the department had taken steps to train rubber tapping trainee due to the lack of knowledgeable advisors in the field. The department has drawn up plans to hold eleven training programmes. more..

SL foreign reserves at US$7.2bn in 2013

Feb 12 (LBO) SL's foreign reserves rose 4.6% to 7,200 million in December 2013 from a year earlier, despite payments to IMF and losses on gold holdings. In 2013 Sri Lanka recorded an estimated $991 million 'balance of payments surplus', according to Central Bank estimates, which is a broad measure of the difference between external payments (outflows) and receipts (inflows) of a country within a period. more..

Norochcholai reconnected to national grid

Feb 12 (Island) With the first 300 MW coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai reconnected to the national grid and the second plant ready for the much awaited one month test run, the Chinese builder says the mission has been accomplished. China had no issues with technical experts from India providing technical support at a plant built by the Chinese, though the decision had been taken by CEB, an official of the more..

SL arrests New Zealand-bound boat people

Feb 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's police arrested 75 would-be asylum seekers on Wednesday, including nine women and six children, who were trying to leave for New Zealand illegally by boat, police said. The group was arrested in the southern coastal town of Moragolla, the first large-scale arrest of nationals in months after Australia, long a favourite destination for Sri Lanka's refugees, tightened its borders. more..

PC polls to use up 2.7 M kilos of polythene

Feb 12 (CT) It is estimated that on average, 2.2-2.7 million kg of polythene would be used, and 151-189 million posters would be put up, by the 3,794 candidates who are contesting at the two PC elections. Commenting on the environmental aspect of the election, Director General of CEA, Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma said, "On average, a candidate uses up to 500-600 kg of polythene and 40,000-50,000 posters for more..

'Local milk production was 70% in 1980s'

Feb 12 (Island) In the 1980s Sri Lanka produced 70% of its milk requirement locally, but today it was the other way around, UNP said. UNP MP Kabir Hashim said that Rajapaksa govt continued to propagate many lies to cover up its incompetence, but the facts and figures had exposed it time and again. "When we were in power until the late 1980s, 70% of our milk requirements were produced locally, while only 30% more..

'No plan to ban Sri Lankan maids'

Feb 12 (TOO) Confusion surrounding Colombo's plans to introduce a ban on allowing female nations to travel abroad and seek domestic help jobs took a new twist when the country's envoy in Muscat denied such reports. "Sri Lankan govt has neither imposed a blanket ban on sending its nationals abroad for housemaid jobs nor has it set a date for it. It has only taken a decision to bring down the numbers of nationals flying more..