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Did a meteorite smash a roof in Sri Lanka?

Feb 21 (ES) Scientists at several universities in Sri Lanka have been examining unknown stones that fell on a house in Ragala, Walapane – in a mountainous part of Sri Lanka – early in the morning yesterday (February 19, 2014). At least one scientist, Professor Athula Senarathna of the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, said today that the stone was a meteorite, or rock from space. The owner of the house upon which the strange stone fell in Ragala is H.B. Ranjanee. more..

Please forgive my parents, Nalini-Murugan’s daughter appeals to Rahul

Feb 21 (Hindu) “I would like to thank Sonia Gandhi for reducing my mom’s sentence and Priyanka Gandhi for forgiving her. I feel terrible for her father’s loss,” said Harithra, the 22-year-old daughter of Nalini and Murugan who are serving a sentence for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. She wrote this in a gmail chat on Thursday from the university accommodation she shares. more..

Congress in pondy demands deportation of Sri Lankan Tamils

Feb 21 (OL) Irked over Tamil Nadu govt's decision to set free all seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, opposition Congress in Puducherry today demanded deportation of all Sri Lankan Tamils staying in India. Addressing reporters here, former Chief Minister and Leader of the opposition, V.Vaithilingam described the decision as politically motivated with an eye on Lok Sabha polls. "All Sri Lankan Tamils staying in India should be deported," he said. more..

Katchatheevu issue: SC grants time to Karunanidhi to respond

Feb 21 (Hindu) Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday granted four weeks time to DMK president M. Karunanidhi to file his response to the Centre’s reply that Katchatheevu could not be retrieved from Sri Lanka as pleaded by him in his writ petition. A three-judge Bench granted four weeks time on a request made by counsel V.G. Pragasam, appearing for the petitioner, Mr. Karunanidhi. Centre had made it clear that the question of retrieval of Katchatheevu did not more..

Video: Tamil chief minister C V Wigneswaran: 'We're not terrorists'

Feb 21 (BBC) The first ever chief minister for Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated Northern Province has told the BBC that the central govt should stop viewing the north as a "terrorist area", and must give the province meaningful political powers. C V Wigneswaran's TNA swept to power in September. Last month, the Northern Provincial Council passed a motion calling for an international probe into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines on track to join Oneworld

Feb 21 (TDN) It will be the first South Asian carrier to join a global alliance. Oneworld, Skyteam and Star – the world’s three giant alliances- have been struggling for years to integrate into their respective group a South Asian carrier- obviously due to the enormous potential that represents the Indian subcontinent. Looking first at Indian carriers, the dream has turned mostly into a nightmare for alliances’ partners. Star was the first to announce the integration of Air India back to 2009 more..

Ancient harbour found in Trincomalee

Feb 21 (CT) An ancient harbour, dating back to 800 AD, has been discovered in Trincomalee by the Department of Archaeology during one of its field expeditions. Head of the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology, Kelaniya, Dr. Anura Thantilage, said that, during a field search for ancient copper metallurgy, they had come across evidence to indicate the existence of an international port in Seruwila. "We found ruins of stone pillars and large ponds indicative of a port having more..

Thousands of undergrads take their case to ministry

Feb 21 (Island) Hundreds of undergraduates marched to the Higher Education Ministry from the Vihara Maha Devi Park yesterday demanding the restoration of the four-year duration of the Allied Health Sciences (AHS) degree, which was reduced to three years recently. Undergraduates of all universities of the country participated in the protest march. After the march they held a demonstration and meeting more..

Bharatha Lakshman killing: AG says enough evidence to indict Duminda

Feb 21 (CT) Attorney General (AG) informed the Chief Magistrate Court yesterday that there is adequate evidence to indict UPFA MP, Duminda Silva, in the High Court for the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. While closing the case for the prosecution, Senior State Counsel Thusitha Mudalige, appearing on behalf of the AG, revealed that based on the evidence that had surfaced so far, the case is to be filed against the 13 accused, including Duminda Silva, more..

Provincial butterflies of Sri Lanka declared

Feb 21 (DN) Butterfly fauna is one of the biologically and culturally important taxon groups. 245 species of butterflies with 26 endemics have been recorded from Sri Lanka. According to the 2012 National Red List, out of these, 99 species have been listed in a 'threatened' category. Their populations are fast disappearing due to habitat degradation, fragmentation, environment pollution etc. The Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy as a timely action towards the conservation of more..

Murali bowls for national unity

Feb 21 (DM) Cricketing legend Muttiah Muralitharan who is part of a movement to promote national unity said yesterday if the communities in the country desired a Sri Lankan identity and live as one nation devoid of mistrust they must bridge the language gap. Addressing the representatives of all communities and the media as a prelude to the Conference on National Unity scheduled for April 7 at the BMICH, Muralitharan said focusing on more..

Parliament got this one right

Feb 21 (DM) Govts propose, Oppositions oppose. That’s a four-word capture of parliamentary tradition. Considering prevalent numbers the outcome is predictable. One cannot fault the opposition for opposing when legislation tabled for vote is of a self-serving nature. And yet, the recent unanimous decision to make it compulsory to carry pictorial warnings on cigarette packets does indicate that there are key areas where bipartisanship can yield tangible results. more..

True democracy lies in people power

Feb 21 (DM) Elections are important as it opens an avenue for people’s participation. True that it does not give full democratic participation and the right to express what one wishes, however it is futile to think, in a bourgeoisie democracy where state power is in the hand of the rich, that we could get a fair chance of changing the set-up through such elections. Only in a situation of complete social breakdown with masses coming to the streets to decide their destiny, more..

Mithun Perera, posterboy of Sri Lankan golf, makes a mark

Feb 21 (IE) Mithun Perera hates golf. He is passionate about gathering stamps. He proudly boasts of having collected roughly 50,000 stamps from all over the world by visiting post offices of every city he travels to for tournaments. He has also stamped his class in the sport inspite of his dislike for it. “I hate golf,” the short and stocky Sri Lankan adds, rather unconvincingly. “I play just to earn my living. I love football. I used to play a lot. more..

Raids find food workers unaware of safety regulations

Feb 21 (ST) Workers at a garment factory in Dharga Town, Aluthgama reported for duty and set to work as usual one day last week. During the lunch break they were served rice, chicken curry and vegetables. Shortly after lunch most of them began exhibiting signs of illness. Some vomited, some had headaches and diarrhoea. They were rushed to nearby hospitals; some 157 workers sought medical treatment. more..

'Gotabaya is my hero'

Feb 21 (FT) "Gotabaya Rajapaksa is my hero. He made the biggest contribution towards winning the war and without him we would not have realised that dream,” said Udaya Gammanpila, UPFA candidate for the Western Province. Gammanpila, who came under heavy criticism for inviting the Defence Secretary as the Chief Guest at his inaugural election campaign, noted: “It is anybody’s dream to have his one and more..

Golden Key depositors get windfall Rs 2bil

Feb 21 (SL) Golden Key Depositors are set to have a windfall Rs 2 Billion in a court ordered asset return which will benefit the repayment plan put in place by the Central Bank. Led by Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, the Supreme Court heard from the legal team representing Golden Key that a shareholding of some 22% of Ceylinco Insurance PLC was held by a company called CIESOT Private Limited and that, in turn, 50% of those shares more..

Norway asks if army demob is possible

Feb 21 (Island) British High Commissioner John Rankin has queried whether the post-war Sri Lankan Army (SLA) deployment in the Jaffna peninsula is as high as 150,000 personnel. The envoy posed the question to Jaffna Security Forces Commander, Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera when they met in Palaly yesterday. Maj. Gen. Perera recently succeeded Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe. more..

Sri Lanka to build US$1.3bn monorail

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka is likely to opt for a 1.3 billion US dollar monorail mass transit system with Japanese finance to cut traffic congestion and boost mobility in Colombo, an official said. A monorail system will cost about 55 to 57 million US dollar for a kilometre to build, Rohan Seneviratne additional secretary of Sri Lanka's urban development ministry told the LBR-LBO Chief Executive Forum in Colombo. more..

No changes to cigarette packs until Court decision is given - CTC

Feb 21 (AD) The Ceylon Tobacco Company announced that it will continue to produce and supply cigarettes to the market as usual without any changes to its current packaging despite a Bill calling for pictorial health warnings on the packs being passed in parliament. The Bill on covering 80% of a cigarette packet with a pictorial warning of oral cancer was passed unanimously in parliament on February 19. more..

Ranawaka issues warnings about Sampur coal plant

Feb 21 (Island) The proposed Sampur coal-fired power plant in Trincomalee would cost at least USD 600 million though it was being claimed in some quarters that the project would cost only USD 512 million, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said that an additional component of USD 300 million would be added to the USD 600 million as a new transmission link had to be built between Sampur and Colombo to carry its power. more..

Move separate resolution against Sri Lanka in UN body: DMK

Feb 21 (PTI) DMK today urged the Centre to move a separate resolution against Sri Lanka in a UN body, seeking an independent and credible probe for war crimes in that nation, saying it was only 'logical' that New Delhi adopt such a stand. DMK MPs led by its Parliamentary Party Leader T R Baalu submitted a memorandum to PM Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in this regard, asking him to "support and facilitate a UN-led more..

Supreme Court overrules Appeal Court order in Shirani B case

Feb 21 (DM) A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court today quashed the Court of Appeal order, which held that the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) decision to impeach the then Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayaka was null and void. The bench comprising Justice Saleem Marsoof, Chandra Ekanayake, Sathya Hettige, Eva Wanasundara and Rohini Marasinghe held that the Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to more..

For Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, freedom of Rajiv’s killers is a political tool

Feb 21 (BM) Rarely has the DMK patriarch, M Karunanidhi, appreciated a gesture of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa, the TN chief minister. On Wednesday, however, minutes after Jayalalithaa announced on the floor of TN Assembly that her govt had decided to free seven people serving life imprisonment in connection with the murder of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, Karunanidhi welcomed the decision. Cutting across ideological lines, political parties in TN, more..

Second largest hospital being overrun by political squatters

Feb 21 (Island) About 600 vehicles belonging to the doctors and about 12,000 visitors as well as patients’ transporting vehicles to the hospital could not be accommodated inside the remaining 25-acre Kandy Teaching hospital facility due to large scale encroachments by politically backed persons. Health Ministry said that the Kandy Teaching hospital owned 54 acres, but about half of that had been illegally acquired by politicians’ supporters, who had put up unauthorised structures there. more..

'I was betrayed': Vickramabahu

Feb 21 (CT) Q: Are you a leader of a political Party? A: Yes. Q: Is it a recognized political Party? A: Yes. Q: Are you a principled politician? A: Yes. Q: Is your Party also principled? A: Yes. Q: What is your politics as a principled, disciplined, law abiding leader of a political party? A: Our aim is to study Marxism and work with people. Q: What strategy do you follow while working with people? A: We work among the working more..

Scaring smokers to butt out

Feb 21 (CT) Parliament on Wednesday unanimously approved three regulations pertaining to printing of pictorial warnings on cigarette packs, bringing an end, one hopes, to the battle of the butt, which on its last phase entered the realms of whodunit, with the Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, claiming the 'tobacco industry' had tried to bribe him into blocking the gazette notification making it mandatory for tobacco companies to print pictorial warnings covering 80% of the principal display area more..

The JVP’s bid for power & the govt response

Feb 21 (CT) The JVP did not respond to Premadasa’s call, but instead launched on a course of terror, disruption and paralysing the economy. It sought to neutralise the security forces with an editorial proclamation in its bulletin Ranabima of 21st April 1989, threatening the families security forces personnel active in counter-insurgency operations. Named in particular were the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) and the Special Task Force (STF). more..

Colombo gets mult-imillion rupee facelift

Feb 21 (MoD) The newly renovated Town Hall Square including the Viharamahadevi Park, and the rehabilitated road network in the Colombo city were vested with the public today (19) at a function held at the historic Colombo Town Hall. The upgraded facilities to these public utilities were declared open in the presence of Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady at 2-month low amid downward pressure; seen falling more

Feb 21 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady at its lowest in more than two months on Friday amid downward pressure from importer dollar demand, dealers said, a day after it breached a key barrier that the central bank had been defending since early December. The rupee also came under pressure due to foreign outflow from equities and government securities. The spot rupee ended at 130.95/131.00 per dollar, its lowest since Dec. 13, Reuters data showed. more..

Finally weather improves for northern cultivators

Feb 21 (Island) Northern areas, especially Mannar and Killinochchi, have been experiencing rains, according to Northern Provincial Secretary for Agriculture U.L.L. Halaldeen. He said that despite the adverse weather conditions, Northern farmers would have a good potato yield of around 1,260 MT which would be sold to Sathosa at guaranteed price of Rs. 70 per kilo. It had been made possible due to an arrangement between Economic Development and Agriculture Ministries. more..

Video: Govt. trying to ban Facebook - UNP

Feb 21 (DM) UNP MP Harin Fernando charged that the Govt fearing an anti-govt uprising by the people was planning to ban Facebook using as an excuse a few controversial incidents that happened among the youth recently. “Govt is planning to ban the Facebook social media network saying it is detrimental to the country because it is disadvantageous to the Govt. Even the Arab Spring began through the Facebook. more..

Sri Lanka’s fight to save the Peace

Feb 21 (NYT) Regarding “Holding Sri Lanka to account” (Editorial, Feb. 4): Your call for accountability for what happened during Sri Lanka’s tragic 30-year conflict with terrorism represents a narrow focus on a complex reality. For peace to take hold, one must tread carefully to establish the conditions for successful reconciliation in more areas than justice alone. Much has been done in the war-affected regions to remove mines, resettle displaced persons, repair damage to more..

Sri Lanka stocks fall 0.3%

Feb 21 (LBO) Stocks fall 0.32% for the seventh consecutive day with losses in the tobacco and diversified stocks. All Share Price Index closed 18.88 points lower at 5,937.28, down 0.32%. The S&P SL20 closed 20.26 points lower at 3,237.27, down 0.62%. Turnover was 1.07 billion rupees, up from 851.92 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 102 firms closing in the red against 65 gainers. JKH closed 2.10 rupees lower at 212.30 rupees with 420.00 million rupees of an off market more..

TNA not invited to South Africa

Feb 21 (CG) TNA says it has not received an invitation from South Africa for talks on the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Sri Lanka. TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that there were reports quoting the South African Govt as saying that the TNA had been invited to study the South African model. However Sampanthan says TNA has not received an official invitation from South Africa to look at TRC. more..

Never ending promises by PGIM irks GMOA

Feb 21 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday warned that unless the Post-Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) took action to commence training courses on Sports Medicine, it would be compelled to call for a presidential probe into the activities of the PGIM. GMOA General Committee member Dr. Navin de Soyza accused the PGIM of never having trained doctors in sports medicine though it had been promising to do so during the past nine years or so. more..

'No Mathata Thitha even in Temple Trees'

Feb 21 (SM) 'Mathata Thitha' principal (End to Alcoholism) is not implemented even in Temple Trees, UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake says. He made these comments in parliament. He accused President Rajapaksa for summoning innocent artistes to Temple Trees and serving them alcohol. Those who attended the event told him that they were served white and red wine. He further stated that he possess photographs to prove that the artistes were served with alcohol. more..

IPKF role in Lanka questioned at disappearance commission

Feb 21 (PTI) The conduct of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka 25 years ago was the subject of a complaint received by a govt commission probing disappearances of persons during the country's civil war. A senior panel official said that the solitary complaint against the IPKF was received early this week, when the panel held a hearing in the north. "However the complaint relates to a period outside the more..

Australian Naval Ship HMAS Melbourne arrives on goodwill visit

Feb 21 (SLN) Australian Naval Ship HMAS Melbourne arrived at the port of Colombo today on a goodwill visit. It was ceremonially welcomed by SL Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. Ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander BJ Schligel a courtesy call on Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe at the Western Naval Command Headquarters. They held cordial discussions and exchanged mementos as a gesture of goodwill. more..

Batticaloa strives to minimise human-elephant conflict

Feb 21 (Island) Assistance of the Rajarata University has been sought to mimimise the human-elephant conflict in the Batticalo District where eight persons were killed by wild jumbos in 2013. Assistant District Secretary S. Ranganathan, contacted for comment, said that human-elephant conflict was on the rise mostly due to villagers engaging in Chena cultivations in forest lands as well as dairy farmers encroaching on forests to graze their cattle. He said elephant attacks had claimed a life each from more..