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Sri Lankan woman denies false insurance claims

Aug 24 (BS) A Sri Lankan national has appeared in court accused of pocketing more than $60,000 by making false insurance claims for medical surgery it is alleged she never received. Chandima Arachchige, 36, was charged with dishonestly obtaining $26,340 from BF&M on February 4, 2010 by claiming she had surgery in Sri Lanka between January 4 and January 10, 2010 when she was in Bermuda. She was also charged with dishonestly obtaining $23,505.20 from BF&M on more..

Humane dog population control ended?

Aug 24 (LB) The Environment Police captures and destroys dog populations in Colombo and outside, breaching the 2008 enforced ‘no kill policy’ of the government, a media conference was told last week. The same law enforcement unit had prevented members of the Animal Welfare Trust (AWT) from feeding dogs on Colombo’s streets. “If you feed stray dogs, we will put them in a van,” they had threatened, the media was told last Wednesday with Irangani de Silva, more..

Fire Brigade trains STF to handle expressway mishaps

Aug 24 (DN) The Health Ministry will provide special training on accident management to 35 officers attached to the Special Task Force (STF) to be deployed along the Southern Highway. The training was planned by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena on the direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a ministry spokesman said. The training commenced last Monday at the Colombo National Hospital accident ward. more..

Army thwarts ‘Pongu Thamil’ style raid on Jaffna detachment - Students among attackers

Aug 24 (Island) The Army on Monday night (22) thwarted a ‘Pongu-Thamil’ style attack on an army detachment at Navanthurai, Jaffna by civilians demanding the immediate handing over of a ‘grease yaka,’ taking refuge there. At the behest of the LTTE, the TNA launched a ‘Pongu Thamil’ protest campaign in the immediate aftermath of Feb. 2002 Oslo-arranged Ceasefire Agreement. more..

Pensioners to top 500,000

Aug 24 (DN) The number of pensioners in the public sector will top 500,000 by the end of this year, said Director General Pensions Department K.A. Thilakarathne. The pension bill can only be reduced by increasing the compulsory retirement age to 65 from the present 60 years. Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said increasing the retirement age will help the govt to save funds, but at the same time this will also increase the unemployment rate. more..

CEB raids to continue

Aug 24 (NN) The special investigation unit set up by the minister of power energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka to nab power pirates have raked in over 2 million rupees in fines from the Trincomalee district. 29 incidents of Altering of electricity meters, using hooks to illegally obtain electricity and various other means of power pirating had been detected by the said special investigation unit. The raids carried out in the Trincomalee district within 2 days had raked in over 2 million rupees in fines. more..

'Give priority to Ekneligoda disappearance complaint'

Aug 24 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday directed the Homagama Magistrate to give priority and inquire into the complaint regarding the alleged disappearance of ‘Lanka-e-News’ journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, as speedily as possible and to report to the Court of Appeal, at the completion of such inquiry, with all the attached documentation. The Court of Appeal made the aforesaid order when more..

Sri Lanka cement crisis continues amid price controls

Aug 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry is facing a shortage of about a million 50 kilogram sacks of cement a month, a media report said as price controls limit supplies and threaten the island's construction sector. Amid the shortages created by price controls, state enterprises have got into the act like in the 'closed economy' days of 1970s when price controls and shortages of even foods were common. more..

Local tea industry hit by Mid-East crisis

Aug 24 (DM) Sri Lanka’s tea industry has been affected by the crisis in the Middle-Eastern countries, Syria and Libya and the economic sanctions imposed against Iran, Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told Parliament. He was responding to a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake in this regard during question time. Mr. Karunanayake stressed the need for the Minister to take measures to bring down the overall costs in local tea production. more..

Muzammil to contest for Colombo Mayor?

Aug 24 (DM) UNP Member of the Western Provincial Council A.J.M. Muzammil resigned from the provincial council today sending a signal that he would be the party’s mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) at the coming local govt election. Mr. Muzamil said he resigned from the post as he was going to contest for the CMC anyhow. He said the party leadership had not informed him that he would be the mayoral candidate as yet but more..

'Job agencies to be graded into star classes'

Aug 24 (DM) Foreign Employment Agencies (FEA) will be graded into star classes on their merit in service from next year enabling foreign job seekers to choose a job agency on its performance, Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said. Addressing a ceremony held at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) in connection with the opening of the Migration Resource Centre (MRC) that serves round the clock to more..

Sphere Handbook 2011 Sinhala & Tamil Edition released

Aug 25 (GDI) Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa participated as chief guest at launching ceremony of Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response – Sphere Handbook 2011 Edition today (24) at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute. The event was organized by Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (GTA) Limited. Sphere Handbook 2011 Edition has been translated to many languages worldwide and it's Sinhala and Tamil Versions were released today. more..

Postponed inaugural meeting of Embilipitiya UC postponed again

Aug 25 (LT) The inaugural meeting of Embilipitiya Urban Council, that was to be held yesterday (23) for the second time, had to be postponed again. It is reported that the reason for the postponement was that councilors refused to accept Ven. Vevalduwe Gnanaprabha Thero as the Chairman of the UC. UPFA won the majority of the Embilipitiya UC at the local govt election held on 23rd July and Ven. Vevalduwe Gnanaprabha Thero, who contested under the UPFA representing JHU, more..

Sri Lankan Tamils' debate loses to corruption in Rajya Sabha

Aug 25 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha saw a brief ruckus on Wednesday as members clashed on whether to take up a discussion on Sri Lankan Tamils or corruption, with the latter winning the duel. Both discussions were slated in the list of business. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members wanted to take up the debate on corruption, the Left, DMK and AIADMK members, as well as some others, wanted the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils to be taken up first. more..

Court revokes travel restriction

Aug 25 (DM) The CCD today informed Court it had sought the Attorney General’s advice on whether Colombo’s former Deputy Mayor Azath Sally should be arrested as a suspect in a case involving criminal breach of trust. The CCD asked Court that the preventing order on Mr. Sally be revoked as the AG’s advice on the case had still not been received. In the wake of the AG’s advice pending, Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne revoked the order preventing Mr. Sally from leaving the country. more..

Sri Lanka port conference mulls need to expand cargo capacity

Aug 25 (LBO) An international conference on ports opened in Sri Lanka Wednesday with the head of its port authority saying ports need to urgently need to expand capacity to cope with increasing trade flows. "Global trade is bouncing back (from recession) and there's a continuous need to enhance port capacity," Priyath Wickrama, chairman of the SLPA said. Global port cargo throughput reflected the manner in which the global economy had bounced back from the recession two years ago, more..

U.S. Embassy Colombo warns over Green Card scams

Aug 25 (PRIU) The U.S. Embassy in Colombo warns Sri Lankan citizens about internet scams related to the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery or commonly known as “Green Card Lottery”. The Consular Division of the U.S. Embassy informs that the U.S. Government does not notify green card lottery winners by email and instructs not to respond or pay any money on the instructions of these emails. The following is the full text of the press release: more..

UNP Central Colombo Organizer to the UPFA

Aug 25 (HN) UNP organizer for Central Colombo, Former Parliamentarian Mohammad Maharoof has decided to join the United Peoples Freedom Alliance. Previously, the names of Provincial Councillor A J M Mussammil, Former MP Mohammad Maharoof and Provincial Councillor Ram were suggested as the Mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council. Meanwhile, UNP Provincial Councillor A J M Mussammil stated to our news team that he has resigned from his Councillors position. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.7-pct

Aug 25 (LBO) Share prices closed lower for the fourth straight day Wednesday, with trading mainly on speculative stocks while there were a few off-market private deals. The main All Share Price Index closed at 6,812.71, down 0.71 percent while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.41 percent to close at 6,193.31, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover was 1.1 billion rupees. Asiri Hospital Holdings was the most actively traded stock, with over two million shares donw, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 24.08.2011

Tour match headaches for tourists

Aug 25 (CI) Australia's captain Michael Clarke is certain that Phil Hughes will open the batting in the three-day tour match against a Sri Lankan Board XI at P Sara Stadium from Thursday. Beyond that things get rather tricky. Because the match has been bestowed first-class status, the tourists may only pick 11 players, when they have more, particularly in the bowling department, in need of match practice. Apart from Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson who were in the ODI team, more..

FUTA Demands Solution

Aug 25 (NN) The Federation of University Teachers Association expects a solution for their settlements at the next budget. According to the spokesperson, Dr. Mahim Mendis, FUTA came to a temporary settlement with the govt, to the salary crisis under the ‘Interim Settlement’ structure. He added that therefore, they expected the govt to implement the solutions at the next budget. The interim solution has no clout by itself Dr. Mendis said. While he said the govt needs to come to a permanent solution. more..

'Govt. messed up scholarship exam as well'

Aug 25 (AD) Even though the deterioration of the education sector, due to the govt’s short-sighted and inefficient measures, is continuously pointed out the govt has managed to mess up the scholarship and A/L exams this year as well, UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. He stressed that information on corruption, malpractices and irregularities within the education sector have been exposed by media, however no actions have been taken in more..

INFOTEL 2011 - Sri Lanka ICT Expo in December

Aug 25 (GDI) Sri Lanka's flagship ICT Expo, Infotel 2011 organized by the Federation of Information Technology Industry of Sri Lanka (FITIS) will be held from 2nd to 5th December 2011 at the BMICH. Infotel has been a bi-annual event for the last 18 yars and for the first time the event is hosted on an annual basis upon significant success in 2010. Infotel will promote Sri Lanka as a regional ICT Expo destination. This year's Infotel ICT Expo will be unique as more..

Green Gram harvest in Mid-Season

Aug 25 (GDI) The Government of Sri Lanka has decided to introduce the cultivation of mid-season supplementary food crops after the Yala paddy harvest. The Agriculture Ministry is to initiate the mid-season supplementary food crop cultivation for paddy this year between the two main harvesting Yala and Maha seasons. Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture W. A. Karunatilake said that most of the paddy lands remain uncultivated during the period between the two seasons. more..

Close to 14,000 forces personnel in UN Peacekeeping Forces

Aug 25 (SL) The govt today said that close to 14,000 army, navy, air force and police personnel from Sri Lanka have served in the UN Peacekeeping forces since 2000. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has told parliament that the Sri Lankan forces personnel have been the best armed forces personnel to have served in the UN Peacekeeping force. Gunawardena has made these comments in response to a question posed by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Love Explosion: Education Officer and A/L female student nabbed

Aug 25 (LP) An Assistant Director of Education in Hatton who was earlier a Principal in a school in Wattegama had been suspended after being caught at a Rest House in Katugastota with a female student who sat the G.C.E A/L examination last year, Police said. The Assistant Director aged 58 had started the affair with the student when the latter was studying for the GCE O/L exam two years ago. He had over the past two years taken this girl to several places, more..

Compensation to motorists

Aug 25 (DM) The Petroleum Ministry will decide on how best to compensate motorists whose vehicles were damaged by using substandard petrol after the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) submits its committee report to Minister Susil Premajayantha in the next few days. “The report will include comprehensive data on tender procedures and whether they have been followed; deviations if any on standard specification of 90 octane petrol and the complaints received from petroleum consumers,” a senior CPC source said. more..

Sri Lanka's new port gets $610 mln investment

Aug 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's ports authority on Wednesday said it has approved $610 million investment in large warehousing projects for sugar, fertiliser, and bottle manufacturing at its new port in Hambantota, due to start commercial operations this year. The $1.4 billion port on the southern coast of the island nation is among the single largest investment opportunities opened to outside investors since the end of a 25-year civil war in 2009. more..

The curse of unprincipled oppositions

Aug 25 (LG) British parliamentary system and traditions hold that the opposition is the “government-in-waiting” and that its main task is to oppose whatever government moves that run counter to the national interest. British political parties have followed this tradition, but the opposition parties in that country have been patriotic enough to sink their differences and support or join the ruling party at times of national crises. However, countries such as ours that transplanted more..

Catch them if you can

Aug 25 (LG) I write in response to the Daily News editorial ‘LTTE financing and SL’s Janus-faced critics’. The editor states in relation to a US State Department Report ‘Besides other things, the document titled ‘Country Report on Terrorism 2010’ states that an LTTE network engaged in fund-raising for the group ‘continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, where there were reports that some of these contributions more..

A visit to Pasikudah: Memo from ‘Maalu Maalu’

Aug 25 (TC) Pasikudah and Kalkudah are exotic beaches, where you can walk 30 to 50 yards into the sea. Waves are almost non-existent, making the sea look more like a lagoon. Its wide sandy beaches have attracted generations of Sri Lankans and the end of the war has once again begun attracting tourists in large numbers. When our neighbours in Colombo suggested that we visit “Maalu Maalu”, a new “boutique” hotel in Pasikudah, we had no hesitation in joining them. more..

Grease devils?

Aug 25 (LG) With the end of the war against the LTTE in May 2009, the country has enjoyed more than two and a half years of peace without violent strikes by terrorist groups. There is popular acceptance that the strict anti terrorist measures and surveillance of the security forces backed by emergency laws have been responsible for this positive state of affairs. Responding to local and international pressures that a State of Emergency is no longer required to give teeth to the security forces, more..

1921 Conference on Fisheries and the Ceding of Kachchatheevu

Aug 25 (LG) The Daily News, the Sri Lankan Govt owned newspaper, has published an article entitled “Kachchativu – Issues at International Law” on August 20, 2011. The author is Dr. Ruwantissa Abeyratne, who has specialized in Aviation Law and is currently Acting Deputy Director, Air Transport Bureau at the International Civil Aviation Organisation. He is concurrently associated with the Concordia University, Montreal. There is one significant point in Dr. Abeyratne’s more..

Grease Devils: Busting the myth

Aug 25 (SL) The Grease Devils or grease yakas’ hold on the public imagination is reaching epic levels. Mass paranoia, fear and outrage have broken out in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts with the public taking the law into their own hands. Some blame law enforcement officials for not taking enough interest in the complaints, others blame a paranoid public and fear-mongering as the primary culprits and call them the real grease yakas. more..

Grease Devils: The Violence against women has seen a drastic rise in the N&E

Aug 25 (LG) This report is based on interviews given by affected women and women’s organisations working in the North and East. In the month of August 2011 many women in the north and the east have been attacked individually, and the female population terrorized more generally, by unidentified men, attackers now colloquially referred to as ‘Grease Yakas’. These incidents and the response of law enforcement and govt agencies indicate a larger problem in the law and more..

Kachchatheevu – Indian or Sri Lankan?

Aug 25 (LG) I respond to the article ‘Kachchatheevu- A perspective from Chennai’ by Dr. Suryanarayan, published in Sri Lanka Guardian. The issue seems very similar to Aboriginal Land Rights here in Australia. They are also relevant in the context of accusations of colonization, against the Sri Lankan Govt. Dr. Suryanarayan introduces us to the matters by saying ‘The Daily News, the Sri Lankan Govt owned newspaper, has published an article entitled more..

Elephant boom in North

Aug 25 (SO) The results of the first ever National Elephant Survey is currently undergoing a close scrutiny at the Statistics Department of the Peradeniya University. The Department of Wildlife Conservation expects to issue an interim report as the initial step and later a complete survey. Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), is a sub species of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The 53,000 Asian Elephants live in 13 countries in the world whereas more..

Editorial: Who will fight this Yaka?

Aug 25 (Island) The Grease Yaka seems to be going great guns. It is now on the radar screen of the international media and very likely to have the honour of being discussed in Geneva next month. The Grease Yaka has already been to the Sri Lankan Parliament, we learn. (Where is it that all devils end up, if not by the Diyawanna Oya?) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing Parliament on Tuesday demanded to know what action the govt had taken to tackle that more..

Editorial: Time for India to get her priorities right

Aug 25 (DM) It was no doubt very generous of India to take up the post conflict situation of Sri Lanka at the LokSabha. Over the years, her questionable concerns over Sri Lanka have been a topic over- wrought with continuous debates and discussions. Whether one likes it or not, India has been in the position of advisor to a number of countries in the South Asian region. Except for Pakistan, this position was received with much silence by other countries who had more..