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Migrant work force playing vital role

Feb 4 (AN) Today we are celebrating the 66th anniversary of independence of our country with vigor and glory, and I am proud to convey my warmest greetings to the Sri Lankan expatriate community who are residing, staying and working in the western region of Saudi Arabia. Independence is enjoying freedom of life, speech and faith and being economically free. All countries gain their independence for this purpose. Thus, we celebrate independence every year, in order to more..

Trilingual society key feature of action plan

Feb 4 (AN) The anniversary of the 66th Independence Day of Sri Lanka is an opportune moment for us to reflect with a sense of satisfaction on the many accomplishments the country has achieved within a brief span of time. As a country, we are proud of the significant progress that has been made since the defeat of terrorism four years ago, and our people are enjoying peace in a united Sri Lanka. During the past several years, an extraordinary development drive more..

Ageing Sapugaskanda suffers partial breakdown

Feb 4 (Island) The production in a section of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery came to a standstill following a breakdown of a boiler and, as a result, production of diesel has stopped. The guarantee period of the boiler was long past 15 years. Sapugaskanda Refinery was commissioned in 1969 with Italian technology and it has been given a guarantee period of 20 years. It has had four breakdowns in 2012 and three in 2013. more..

'Teachers and principals coerced by politicos' -CTSU

Feb 4 (CT) More and more teachers and principals of govt schools are being coerced and manipulated by politicians to accommodate their needs, teachers' unions alleged. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers' Service Union (CTSU), Mahinda Jayasinghe, said the principal of a central school in the Giriulla Education Zone was under tremendous pressure as the local branch of the UPFA was attempting to transfer him to another school, as the principal had refused to more..

20 TN Fishermen Arrested by Lankan Navy

Feb 4 (PTI) Twenty local fishermen were Monday arrested by Sri Lankan Navy when they were fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet in the Palk Strait, fishermen representatives said. The navy personnel also allegedly cut the fishing nets of about 50 boats and threw them into the sea. They also pelted stones and bottles at many boats and damaged them besides threatening fishermen not to fish in the area, S Emerite and T Sasuraja, fishermen organisation representatives said. more..

UK, US discuss resolution

Feb 4 (CG) Britain and the US have had talks today on the proposed resolution on Sri Lanka to be submitted at the UNHRC in Geneva next month. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal, met the British Minister of State at the UK Foreign Office Hugo Swire in London to discuss about Sri Lanka. Swire tweeted saying he had a productive discussion with Biswal on the human rights more..

1,000 prisoners to be freed

Feb 4 (CT) Around 1,000 prisoners will be granted amnesty and will be released from prisons countrywide, to mark Sri Lanka's 66th Independence Day. The prisoners will be pardoned by President Rajapaksa under the Presidential pardon granted to prisoners, to celebrate the country achieving independence 66 years ago. Deputy Controller, (Operations), Prisons Department, G.B. Kulatunge, told Ceylon Today, the prisoners to be released will include those who had been imprisoned for more..

India built 10,250 houses in Sri Lanka in 2013

Feb 4 (PTI) The Indian govt has built 10,250 houses last year for internally displaced people in Sri Lanka's northern and eastern provinces. "Another 27,750 houses will be constructed under the same scheme. The funds are being released directly to the beneficiaries," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. He further said that as part of the rehabilitation scheme, 5,000 houses in Northern part of Sri Lanka are being repaired with the assistance provided by India. more..

Gotabhya says Biswal ignorant

Feb 4 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal wouldn’t have declared that Sri Lanka’s human rights record had deteriorated five years after the conclusion of the conflict if she had been properly briefed by the US embassy in Colombo. "Biswal had been totally ignorant of the situation here as she was misinformed," he said. more..

'Sri Lanka has support against US'

Feb 4 (CG) The Govt says it has gathered the support of several countries to defeat the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka to be presented at the UNHRC in Geneva next month. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that he had visited several countries as a special envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to drum up support against the resolution. The Minister said that he had briefed the countries on the efforts taken by the Govt to establish peace and reconciliation. more..

Finding a resolution that does not polarise Sri Lanka even more

Feb 4 (Island) US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal who visited Sri Lanka made it clear that the United States would continue to pursue a resolution on Sri Lanka at the forthcoming session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The Sri Lankan government is totally opposed to the initiative spearheaded by the US to have a resolution that calls for an international probe into the human rights issues that arose in the last phase of the war. more..

'Global community supporting Sri Lanka’s progressive march'

Feb 4 (AN) On this day, as we celebrate the 66th anniversary of our independence, we restate our commitment to safeguard the freedom and rights of our people, and decide on our future free of dictates from the re-emerging forces of colonialism. With our freedom strengthened by the defeat of separatist terrorism, we proceed on our journey toward progress. This requires new social, political and more..

The Truth will make us free

Feb 4 (DM) Sri Lanka marks the 66th anniversary of its Independence today amid mixed feelings among the people as to how independent we are and whether the benefits and rights of independence have real meaning and value in the lives of our 21 million people. Looking at the issues in a positive or optimistic way, most people are thankful, grateful and feel secure because one of the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisations the LTTE was militarily defeated in May 2009. more..

Food contamination, human health & State

Feb 4 (DM) The protection of the food chain from possible contamination by toxic chemicals is a major challenge faced by many countries around the world. While the excessive use of toxic chemicals in agriculture continues to be a major public health issue, the spread of genetically-modified (GM) crops in countries like the USA has created considerable anxiety among consumers regarding the potential health risks posed by such agricultural produce. Increasing demand for food worldwide more..

Ceylonese World War II veterans will not ‘just fade away’

Feb 4 (ST) “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away,” is the famous adage. While this may be true, the services rendered by old soldiers are often forgotten and they get neglected by society-at-large. One set of such soldiers numbering over 500 are Sri Lankans (Ceylonese then) who served alongside British troops during World War (WW) II, and are now largely forgotten by many, but not by their brethren who have more..

'I’m against celebrities coming out of the blue'

Feb 4 (DM) UNP MP Rosy Senanayake who is also a strong voice for women in Sri Lanka told the Daily Mirror that the status of women in the country was in a grave situation. She also spoke about the current political atmosphere in the country, upcoming PC elections and expressed her views about the govt’s economic and development agenda. Q: What do you think of the present political situation in the country? more..

Fishing invasion continues

Feb 4 (SL) In spite of an agreement reached between the Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen last Monday, 38 Indian fishermen in six trawlers had illegally entered Sri Lankan territorial waters and were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy last Wednesday. The destructive Indian trawlers had reportedly entered Sri Lankan territorial waters just two days after both parties had come to an agreement, despite the Indian fishermen more..

State govt didn't clear Lanka consul's name

Feb 4 (TOI) The newly appointed honorary consul of Sri Lanka in Thiruvananthapuram, Joemon Joseph Edathala, 38, has several police cases pending against him and had to recently shut down a quarry at Mambra, near Malayattoor, following local protest. He is currently out on station bail for trespassing into the house of KJ Paul (63), a former school teacher and standing committee chairperson of more..

Whole country asks for a change – Tilvin

Feb 4 (LT) The whole country is clamouring for a change. Govt is unable to build national unity. It cannot build the economy. It has failed in all sectors. Time has come for the govt to go home said the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva addressing the 7th National Convention of the JVP held yesterday (2). He said, "The 7th National Convention of the JVP will bring decisive victories to our country. more..

Muslims demand share of Indian housing

Feb 4 (Island) More than 1,200 protesters took part in an agitation in Vavuniya yesterday. The majority of them were northern Muslim IDPs and they demanded houses being built in the North by India. They demanded that more Indian Housing assistance be extended to them as well as they had been robbed of their properties and driven away by the LTTE. The protests which began at Vavuniya Gamini Sinhala School, soon spilled over more..

Ganeshan breaks ranks with CWC

Feb 4 (Island) PM Prabha Ganeshan has pulled out his party Democratic National Front from the Alliance with the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) over disagreement on the number of slots to be given to his party to contest the forthcoming PC polls from the districts of Colombo and Kaluthara under the CWC banner. When contacted the Leader of CWC Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam said that several parties more..

SC reserves verdict on Rajiv assassins' plea

Feb 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea by the three assassins of former PM Rajiv Gandhi seeking commutation of their death sentence to life imprisonment on the grounds of an inordinate delay of nearly 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions. The centre has opposed the plea. Responding to the plea by three assassins - Sriharan Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan more..

BASL challenges UDA to a debate

Feb 4 (CT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) charged that UDA is acting in an illegal and arbitrary manner by evicting the residents of Wanathamulla, and challenged its Board of Directors to come forward for a public debate on the legality of their actions and acquisition. The President of the BASL, Upul Jayasuriya, said that most of the residents possess valid deeds going as far back as 20 years or more, more..

President slams Geneva resolution

Feb 4 (CG) President Rajapaksa today slammed attempts to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva next month. The United States is to sponsor the resolution on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation but the President says the resolution will be a grave crime against peace. Addressing the Nation at the 66th Independence Day celebrations in Kegalle today, President noted that critics tend to more..

UNP reformists ask Ranil to emulate JVP leader Amarasinghe

Feb 4 (Island) UNP rebels want their National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to follow the example set by the JVP and hand over the leadership of the party to someone who could rejuvenate it and win elections. They said that the JVP’s transition had taken place smoothly on Sunday with Somawansa Amarasinghe acting as a gentleman and handing over the reins of the party to Anura Kumara Dissanayake gracefully. Former Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Samarasinghe said more..

Nepal's Chief of Army Staff meets Secretary Defence

Feb 4 (MoD) Nepal's Chief of Army Staff, General Gaurav Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana currently on a six-day visit to Sri Lanka, paid a courtesy call on Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (3) at the Ministry premises. Following a warm welcome, matters of mutual interests and bilateral relevance were discussed during the meeting between the Secretary Defence and Gen. Rana. Mementos were also exchanged between more..

Day 1: Sangakkara 160* leads Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (CI) A seamless 178-run union between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene formed the centrepiece of Sri Lanka's familiar dominance on the first day in Chittagong. Having been joined with Sri Lanka in minor strife on 49 for 2, Sri Lanka's senior pair bent a torpid Chittagong surface and a spin-heavy Bangladesh attack to their will, through a combination of cricketing nous and batting instinct. more..

Still finding our way, 66 years on

Feb 4 (CT) "We have now the priceless possession of freedom and the opportunity to make our country one of the happiest spots on earth." So said D.S. Senanayake, Independent Ceylon's first Prime Minister, one year after the country rid itself of the final shackles of colonial rule. He had cause for conviction. And why not! The original Eden, Ceylon, it appeared had it all and the future could only make things better. Only it hasn't. Today, 66 years on, as the country celebrates yet another more..

Mathata Thitha or end to alcoholism

Feb 4 (CT) Kautilya, the 4th century BC Indian economist and statesman, did not approve of people taking alcohol. In ‘Chanakya Neethi’ or Ethics of Chanakya, he branded ‘a wine-drinker, equating him to a meat-eater or a fool, as an animal in the form of a human’. That is because by consuming alcohol, they behave like animals without the ability to reason or judge. But he knew the practical difficulty of keeping people away from alcohol, which is an addiction. more..

260M bribe probe against Mangala

Feb 4 (DN) The CID yesterday commenced a comprehensive investigation into a complaint that MP Mangala Samaraweera had allegedly accepted a bribe of over Rs. 260 million to grant approval for a project, when the latter was a minister in the govt of Chandrika Kumaratunga. Ruwan Sugathadasa of Weligama who was a Coordinating Secretary of former MP Sripathy Sooriyarachchi has made this complaint more..

Nadeesha, Manamendra in the fray; Feroza out

Feb 4 (DM) UNP has included popular actress Nadeesha Hemamali in its list of candidates for the Matara District for the upcoming SPC Elections while Nawa Sihala Urumaya leader Sarath Manamendra was given the ticket from Colombo District. Nadeesha said that she signed the nomination papers and would contest from the Matara District. Mr. Manamendra also signed nomination papers today. In addition former Sirasa FM channel head M. Marikar was also more..

SC gives IGP, Defence Secy, AG time to submit procedures in other countries

Feb 4 (Island) The Supreme Court, yesterday directed the Secretary Defence, the IGP, the AG and petitioner Sanath Athukorale, to submit to the court, by Feb 19, 2014, the procedure followed in other countries, to prevent demonstrations and protest rallies from inconveniencing the public. The petitioner, Sanath Athukorala, has complained to the Court that on July 3, 2013 there was a demonstration on High Level Road, Nugegoda, and he was not able to take more..

Mangala to sue state-run newspapers over ‘smear campaign’

Feb 4 (AD) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera today charged that the Rajapakse regime has once again embarked on a “vicious campaign” to tarnish his integrity “through its journalistic pygmies in the state media” and said he would take legal action against the parties concerned. “In yet another desperate attempt to intimidate and silence me, the Rajapakse regime through its journalistic pygmies in the state media has again embarked on more..

Small parties, independent groups hand in nominations

Feb 4 (Island) Several small parties and independent groups were the first to hand over nominations yesterday to contest the forthcoming Western and Southern PC pools since the Elections Department commenced accepting nominations last Thursday. Deputy Commissioner of Elections (Administration) M. M. Mohammed said the deadline for sending in applications for postal voting closed on Feb 10. He said that those eligible could apply online via the department website, more..

DMK to raise issue of Tamils in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (PTI) DMK will demand in Parliament that India should move a resolution on its own in the UNHRC for an international inquiry into the human rights abuse against Tamil people in the war against LTTE in Sri Lanka. DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu made this known at an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar today. The party has been pressing the govt to take a tough stand against Sri Lanka at the international level over the rights abuse issue. more..

Sri Lankan security forces blamed in report for crimes against humanity

Feb 4 (SMH) Sri Lankan security forces were responsible for the 'vast majority' of alleged war crimes during the final months of its bloody civil war, and may have systematically destroyed mass burial sites of civilians in an apparent effort to destroy evidence, a new report has found. The study examines allegations of the deliberate and indiscriminate shelling of civilians corralled into no-fire zones by the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Sri Lanka, an island on a drift

Feb 4 (TOI) One of the very first things passengers getting off planes at Colombo's BIA see is a huge portrait of President Rajapaksa. The view remains pretty much the same as one travels across the island. You cannot miss the billboards and posters in every nook and corner with the president staring at you. You are also likely to see something more striking - gargantuan infrastructural projects, the thing which makes the nationalist govt even more striking - gargantuan infrastructural projects, more..

JVP insists it is still strong

Feb 4 (CG) The JVP insists no political party has replaced it in local politics and that it still remains a strong, alternative force in the political arena. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the JVP had never seen itself as a “third force” but an alternative force and that position still remains. He said this after the JVP today signed its nomination papers for the candidates contesting the Western and Southern PC elections. Following the last PC elections, the Democratic Party led by more..

New Pavilion for Jaffna School

Feb 4 (MoD) A new Sports Pavilion constructed by the Sri Lanka Navy worth of 1.1 million was gifted to the Delft Maha Vidyalayam in Jaffna during the Inter House Athletic Meet prize giving ceremony on 29th January at the school ground. Fulfilling a long felt need of the school the pavilion was construction by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard under a proposal of its Director General, Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijayagunarathna more..

Mel was killed for Rs 1,200

Feb 4 (CT) A high-ranking police officer, who is conducting the investigation into the murder of journalist, Mel Gunasekera, said the suspect had robbed Rs 1,200 in cash from the residence of the murdered journalist and consumed liquor bought using the stolen cash. At the time of taking him into custody, the suspect had in his possession Rs 790. It has come to light the suspect had served a suspended sentence after being found guilty in a house burglary at Talangama in 1991. more..