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Kenya and Sri Lanka sign air traffic deal

Jan 19 (BDA) Kenya has opened the way for local airlines to launch direct flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka, after it signed a bilateral air services agreement that allows access to its skies. Currently, for one to get to Sri Lanka, one has to go through Dubai before getting a connecting flight either directly to Colombo or through India. “This agreement has laid the framework for direct access to the two economies that offer a combined market of over 60 million people,” more..

Monk: Many Sri Lankans not receiving flood aid

Jan 19 (AP) Aid has not reached many of those affected by floods in eastern Sri Lanka, a Buddhist monk said Tuesday, as thousands of people protested the government response outside his temple. The protest follows Monday's attack on a government office in a village near the eastern town of Batticaloa by angry residents who accused officials of holding back aid. "We see media reports that flood-affected people are being given enough aid but more..

Tamil complainant in a bribery case against police

Jan 19 (LG) Devarathnam Yogendra (28) is the complainant in a bribery case against IP Wijesuriya of the Hatton Police Station, who has been indicted on a charge of obtaining bribes. This charge has been filed on the basis of a complaint made by Yogendra on November 6, 2010 and it is alleged that the police officer was arrested a decoy from the Bribery Commission immediately after accepting a bribe. more..

Election posters all around the country

Jan 19 (LG) Several well off candidates have already begun election propaganda by using hoardings and posters which will have an adverse effect on the environment notes the CaFFE. After the date for the nominations was declared several candidates have began a massive propaganda campaign. These candidates feel that this is the best way to win in an election which will be held under Proportional Representation and preferential vote system. more..

Army joins Jaffna Cricket fans to greet Sri Lankan team

Jan 19 (Cimic) Thousands of cricket fans and enthusiasts in Jaffna conveyed their best wishes to the Sri Lankan team taking part in the ICC World Cup 2011 when Sri Lankan cricketers reached Jaffna town on Tuesday with the ICC World Cup won by Sri Lanka in 1996. The Cup was brought to the centre of the town in a procession preceded by the Western Band of St. Patrick College and placed for exhibition. more..

Mismanagement and politics cause crises in most spheres of activity

Jan 19 (LG) The fact that Sri Lanka is plagued today with shortages and price hikes in essential items of food compelling the authorities to look for overseas supplies to maintain a regime of reasonable prices shows, among other things, the abysmal failure of successive administrations in this country to manage national affairs efficiently. The authorities attribute the recent price hikes in coconut to a shortfall in coconut production. more..

Cold spell disaster for food/beverages

Jan 19 (LG) The current cold spell and a possible change in weather patterns across the year is disastrous for food and beverage companies in Sri Lanka while food production is also expected to fall which could lead to shortages or result in more imports. However at the risk of being called a ‘doomsday’ forecaster, there is also concern – coming from the President himself – of a shortage of food production across the globe which would impact on prices. more..

Sri Lanka to produce 10,000 skilled craftsmen

Jan 19 (N360) Sri Lanka has commenced a program to produce 10,000 skilled craftsmen within the next 3 years to meet the surging demand for skilled workers from the local construction industry. According to the CEO of the Chamber of Construction Industry Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya, this will be done via two separate programs backed by Germany and also the USAID. He said the German backed program has undertaken to train 5000 craftsmen from more..

Disbelief at defeat of LTTE needs to be unpacked

Jan 19 (DM) In the run up to the final military annihilation of the LTTE, there were two perceptible reactions from certain sections of the international community. There was freely expressed horror at the massacre of thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians that seemed to be inevitable. Mischief-makers started throwing out numbers and these took lives of their own and were eventually treated not as conjecture but fact, producing even greater horror. more..

Will Rajapaksas show gratitude to Gandhis?

Jan 19 (DM) When the Heads of the media asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa about Rahul Gandhi’s allegations against the Sri Lanka Govt. that it is ‘not doing enough’ pertaining to the Tamil people’s issue ,Mahinda gave a very cautious answer: Mahinda said, ‘he was open to any useful ideas’. Later on when Mahinda met the Foreign correspondents ,he declared that ‘I am for the 13th amendment plus.’ Following the end of the war, this was the first occasion more..

A Sanctimonious Humbug

Jan 19 (SL) Minister for Culture and Aesthetic Affairs, T.B. Ekanayake recently provoked a storm of protest when he proposed at the cabinet that women be banned from wearing mini skirts. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and President Rajapaksa shot down the ridiculous suggestion. The irony is this. It is this same man who was spotlighted in The Sunday Leader in 2004 – he was then Deputy Minister of Highways — that was caught at an infamous brothel more..

Five meals from anarchy

Jan 19 (SL) Recently, I was at a lovely wedding for lovely people. It was a proper, posh wedding with plated dishes rather than a buffet. In an intricate dance, white gloved waiters shuffled soups and sorbets and lamb and prawns about. In between courses a friend casually told me that we were five meals from anarchy. I looked it up later and the number seemed to vary between three and nine, but the fundamental point was there. If the food supply breaks down, there will be blood. more..

Massive scale land and sea grabbing at Kalpitiya Islands

Jan 19 (SL) The fishing communities in the 14 islands of Kalpitiya including Mohoththuvarama, Uchchimune, Keerimundel, and Baththalangunduwa are tense with fear of future displacement from their traditional lands and loss of their customary rights. They have all the justifiable reasons to claim these, as tourism development is the government’s main target to achieve the ‘Wonder of Asia’ status. There are three islands already leased out for more..

Farmers to earn more: Army helps consumers to pay less

Jan 19 (SO) Soldiers selling vegetables ! To many it sounds strange but the need arose when traders began to sell vegetables at high prices. This compelled the soldiers to step into the business. Over 25,000 soldiers, who carried weapons to free the country from the scourge of LTTE terrorism have waged a ‘mini battle’ against the errant vegetable traders who increased vegetable prices at exorbitant rates. more..

Editorial: Needed: Relief not statistics

Jan 19 (Island) Politicians in this country see eye to eye with one another only on one thing––feathering their nests. They fight like a pack of mad hounds in public, especially during elections, but readily make common cause where their pay hikes, perks and privileges are concerned. They are entitled to duty fee vehicle permits, with which they purchase the latest editions of SUVs on massive soft loans amounting, in most cases, to as much as five to eight million rupees more..

Editorial: The dream of Sri Lanka’s common people

Jan 19 (DM) Recently our Nation remembered two political personalities of the State Council era- S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Philip Gunawardena. This month, both of them were remembered on their birthdays. In 1956 both Mr. Bandaranaike and Mr. Gunawardena were involved in the silent revolution of that year. Silent revolution in the sense the Ceylonese Electorate in 1956 chose the M.E.P led by Mr. Bandaranaike and supported by Mr. Gunawardena in preference to the more..

Ranil, CBK still mum

Jan 19 (NN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe have yet to formally respond to an invitation to make submissions before the LLRC. The Commission’s Media Advisor Lakshman Wickramasinghe told News that the invitations were dispatched approximately 10 days ago to both Wickramasinghe and Kumaratunga, however both are yet to respond if they would accept to testify before the LLRC. more..

Govt – TNA talks: some cautionary aspects

Jan 19 (Island) The fact that the Government and the TNA have commenced talks as regards the ethnic issue and related matters should be welcomed most heartily. The TNA is now like a captive who is being freed from captivity, the Damoclean sword of LTTE overlordship over it having been removed by the Govt. There is now the probability of a reasonable solution to the problem. There are some road blocks that need to be cleared for that purpose by the TNA, more..

President appoints competent authorities to LG Councils

Jan 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed the Divisional Secretaries and Assistant Local Government Commissioners as competent authorities for local government bodies to which elections will be be held in March. The terms of these Local Government Institutions were curtailed by the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Council on January 6. and the nominations will be accepted from January 20 to 27 at respective District Secretariats. more..

South Korea to light up Lanka’s streets

Jan 19 (Island) The South Korean government will provide a grant of nearly USD two million to the Lanka Electricity Company Ltd (LECO) to convert conventional street lamp bulbs into energy efficient ones in the coastal belt. LECO provides 10 per cent of the country’s electricity consumers especially with a focus in the coastal belt. Korean Government will support as a pilot project after inspecting the energy efficiency program to more..

Duruthu signifies Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (Island) This year’s Duruthu Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day falls on Wednesday, 19th January, 2011. On this day, thousands flock to temples all over the island to pay their homage to Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. They engage in giving alms to Bhikkhus or needy people (Dana), dedicate this particular Holy Day on behalf of the Triple Gem (Seela) and concentrate on Meditation (Bhavana). They follow the Noble Principle of Buddhism in refraining from evil-doing; more..

National museum of natural history

Jan 19 (NS) It would surely have been a moment of triumph and joy when the news came. Three of Sri Lanka’s best known attractions worldwide, namely, the Knuckles Range, Horton Plains and Sri Pada had finally been recognised as Natural World Heritage Sites with a certificate in this respect being issued by UNESCO last week and received by the Environment Minister. Following UNESCO’s recognition of the three new World Natural Heritage Sites, more..

'Lanka's diplomatic moves pays dividends'

Jan 19 (SO) The Sunday Observer interviewed former Foreign Secretary and the current Head of Sri Lanka's UN mission in New York Dr. Palitha Kohona who was in Colombo recently on a range of issues from the UN Experts Panel to LTTE's human trafficking activities. Excerpts from the interview: Q: Has the UN panel sought permission to visit Sri Lanka. The UN has been very silent on this issue. Any modalities worked out or conditions set for an impending visit? more..

Nine-year-old falls into Kandalama tank

Jan 19 (NF) One person was killed and a nine-year-old girl is reported to be missing following an accident that occurred in close proximity to the Kandalama Tank this morning. Dambulla police said the accident was a result of a collision between a bus belonging to the Dambulla depot and a motorbike. At the time of the accident, a child who was traveling on the motorbike had fallen into the outer sluice gate of the Kandalama tank, and has been missing since. more..

Here’s a paddler, not the fiddler of Rome!

Jan 19 (LT) While more than a million people have been adversely affected due to floods and landslides President Mahinda Rajapkase spends his time leisurely at the beach at Kankasanthurai reports ‘Lanka Puwath.’ This photograph published by ‘Lanka Puwath’ shows President Rajapakse riding a motor scooter that had been captured from the LTTE. Under the caption “Not from ‘Ranmuthu Duwaw’ Lanka Puwath states “President Mahinda Rajapakse after the more..

Galle-Matara 36-million-dollar new rail track nearing completion

Jan 19 (NF) The first phase of the new Colombo – Matara rail track is nearing completion and the stretch from Galle to Matara is being constructed at a cost of US$ 36 million. When the Newsfirst team arrived at the location, the construction work was being carried out expeditiously. The line is constructed under the advice of Indian engineers. The work on the 42.75 kilometre stretch began on August 1, last year and more..

Unions object to change in working week

Jan 19 (DM) Private sector trade unions yesterday said that they would take action together with the public sector against the plan to introduce a five day working week, instead of the current five and a half day week. The Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) and the Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) yesterday said they opposed the implementation of the five day working week. more..

Thamilini remanded

Jan 19 (DM) The Colombo Chief Magistrates Court yesterday ordered that the LTTE women’s unit head Subramiam Sivasamy alias Thamailini be further remanded while the TID said they had sought the Attorney General’s opinion on her case. The TID told Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singaaappuli the suspect had enrolled women to the LTTE and she was in IDP camps in the North among civilians subsequent to the humanitarian operations. more..

Bus bosses at loggerheads

Jan 19 (LB) In the recent past these two bus owners association never joined together to fight for the same demands -- and they were accustomed to winning their demands by agitating on their own. However, this time around they decided to amalgamate. The practice hitherto was that the two associations never agreed on anything. The segments who benefited through this tug-of-war between Wijerathna and Fernando were transport officials while more..

Voice of Tigers’ expansion during CFA: Who is telling the truth?

Jan 19 (Island) Who really wanted the LTTE to expand its clandestine Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio station immediately after the signing of the Oslo-arranged CFA on Feb. 22, 2002? Who paid over $ 90,000 to acquire the equipment bought in from Singapore? The then Defence Secretary Austin Fernando dismissed recent Hindustan Times report based on a classified US diplomatic cable that Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government had requested and received more..

People pray to ward off impending food crisis

Jan 19 (UCAN) Catholics in Sri Lanka are praying the country will be saved from a chronic food crisis following the worst flooding in years. Floods in Sri Lanka have affected nearly one million people in the northern, central and eastern provinces and destroyed over 400,000 acres of rice paddies and 250,000 acres of other crops. In the worst hit areas the annual “Thai Pongal” (boiling rice) thanksgiving festival was cancelled. more..

Shyam Selvadurai on YaTV

Former IGP Frank de Silva on the massacre of 600 policemen

Jan 19 (Island) Former IGP Frank de Silva, in a letter to The Island, denies a claim made by an e-mail doing the rounds that he was responsible for the surrender of 600 policemen to the LTTE, which massacred them in cold blood in 1990. He says he became IGP long after the incident. Full text of his letter: My attention has been drawn to a spate of e-mails which allege that I, as the IGP, was responsible for the incident in which 600 more..

'China always helps Lanka'

Jan 19 (DN) The Chinese Government and the people of China always helped Sri Lanka's development drive and the assistance provided by China for the development programs implemented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Government is significant, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Minister Sirisena said that the friendship between China and Sri Lanka becomes stronger day by day. The present Chinese Ambassador does her best to strengthen the friendship between the more..

UN official to highlight Sri Lanka’s humanitarian needs during upcoming visit

Jan 19 (UN) One of the UN’s top humanitarian officials will visit Sri Lanka later this week to highlight the country’s humanitarian needs and to advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable. The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Assistant Secretary-General Catherine Bragg, will be in Sri Lanka from 19 to 21 January, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release on Tuesday. more..

TNA’s alliance in a dilemma

Jan 19 (DM) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is beset with different views on the accommodation of some other Tamil parties on board to contest the local government election, informed sources said yesterday. Four Tamil parties namely the EPRLF (Pathmanabha) Group, the Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA), the TULF and the PLOTE had sought the possibility of forging an electoral alliance with the TNA. more..

Rains easing, wind speeds no threat

Jan 19 (Island) The Meteorology Department yesterday said that the rainy weather conditions, being experienced in the North, East, North Central and Central Province, would ease. Speaking to The Island, meteorologist Meryl Mendis said that the speed of the winds was also reduced and posed no further threat. "The highest rainfall, 24.4mm was reported from Puttuvil followed by Batticaloa 10.5mm and Colombo Fort 14.4mm," more..

Libya to widen bilateral cooperation with Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (AT) Sri Lankan Parliamentary delegation led by Hambantotata electoral district MP Namal Rajapaksa is in Tripoli, Libiya to promote bilateral relations and cooperation between Libya and Sri Lanka. The delegation of young parliamentarians met with Libyan President Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in Tripoli on 17th and further extended an invitation on behalf of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka. more..

Retail price a must in advertisements

Jan 19 (DM) All consumer goods advertised in the media must specifically mention the retail price in its advertisements from February 1, 2011, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) said in a special gazette notification. The Government Notification said - “The Consumer Affairs Authority Acting under the Consumer Affairs Authority Act , do hereby direct that all manufactures, importers, distributors and traders in every advertisement in respect of more..

Sri Lanka to host Full Bright South Asia regional conference

Jan 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka would host the Fulbright South and Central Asia regional conference in Colombo later this month, an official announcement has said. The three-day program beginning January 26, will bring together staff from the Fulbright Commissions and US embassies in the South and Central Asia region to share best practices and information about Fulbright and other academic exchange programs in the region. more..