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Wimal blames police

June 1 (Island) Housing and Engineering Minister Wimal Weerawansa yesterday blamed the police for attacking the protest organized by the employees of the Katunayake Export Processing Zone against the proposed Private Sector Pension Scheme (PSPS). Addressing a press conference in Battaramulla, Weerawansa said that people have a right to protest in a democratic country, but the police had violated it by using live bullets to fire on them. more..

Plantation TUs, employers’ talks fail again

June 1 (DM) Talks between the plantation sector trade unions and the employers on a new collective agreement to determine the wages of estate labourers failed yet again last night. A spokesman from the Employment Federation of Ceylon (EFC) said that the unions, the CWC and UNP led Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union, had turned down a fresh offer made by them. This was the third offer made by the EFC. A prominent member of the CWC also confirmed the situation more..

India offers ten scholarships to Lankans

June 1 (Island) The Government of India is offering ten scholarships for Sri Lankans under the "Ayush Scholarship Scheme" for UG/PG/Ph.D courses in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy during the forthcoming academic session of 2011 – 2012. The Indian High Commission spokesperson said:" Meritorious Sri Lankan nationals will be selected for these scholarships by the High Commission of India, in consultation with the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), more..

Development Diaries - May 30th 2011

Engineers add up to electricity bill

June 1 (DM) While the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has managed to earn profits after a lapse of 12 years due to new policies that have imposed fiscal discipline, gross negligence by the engineers has resulted in consumers paying an extra 25 cents on each unit of electricity, CEB sources revealed. It is learnt that negligence on the part of the engineers had caused the CEB to incur a loss of Rs. 1.4 billion during the period August 2010 to March 2011. more..

‘Lanka only Asian country supplying power 24 x 7’

June 1 (DN) ‘Sri Lanka is the only country in the Asian region supplying electricity round the clock to its people notwithstanding various problems encountered in the supply of electricity, said Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka at a workshop on energy conservation held at Sampath Bank Headquarters recently. He said our neighbour India implemented six to seven hour power cuts daily and when one considers it, we are far ahead in the supply of electricity. more..

World Oceans Day on Today : An ocean of opportunities to save the high seas

June 8 (SO) There are those who say that our Planet Earth should have been named Planet Ocean instead. They do have a valid point. Water covers more than 75 percent of the Earth. If an alien were to look at Earth from a distance, the oceans will figure prominently. That is why some prefer to call it the Blue Planet. Living in an island, we are no strangers to thex;border:1px solid #999999;">June 1 (Island) UPFA MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle says a section of unruly workers had caused Monday’s brawl at Sri Lanka’s largest Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Katunayake and forced the government to shut down the facility on the following day. It could have been easily avoided had the workers acted responsibly, she emphasized, asserting the need on the part of the administration to carefully study the situation. more..

Even with the benefit of distance, Sri Lanka's collapse remains baffling

June 1 (Guardian) How did that happen? No one seems to have a good answer. Andrew Strauss was as perplexed as everyone else. "We lost the match because we batted really badly," was Tilakaratne Dilshan's effort, a explanation stripped down to the point of absurdity, devoid of any working out. Sri Lanka will have to hope that the cure is as simple as Dilshan's diagnosis, though it is unlikely to be. The pain of that defeat could be so sharp that Sri Lanka are stung into life more..

UNP blames govt. for Katunayake violence

June 1 (Island) While one Katunayake Export Processing Zone worker remained critical and around 25 were being treated for injuries at the Negombo hospital, as a result of Monday’s clashes with the police, UNP accused the government of having created a violent situation by trying to force an unfair pension scheme on the private sector, without its consent. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, said that the disturbance, which also left 15 police officers injured, more..

First archery range of international standard in Sri Lanka

June 1 (DM) To most people, archery means Robin Hood and Little John shooting at the Sheriff’s men in Sherwood Forest, but the sport has moved a long way since then. The skill is much the same, but the equipment has changed a great deal. The old longbow has gone, to be replaced by bows getting their power from fibre-glass and sending their aluminium arrows at over 200 kmph. The sport in Sri Lanka has caught up with the demands of more..

UNICEF-supported programme tackles malnutrition on tea estates in Sri Lanka

June 1 (UNICEF) A new day beckons in central Sri Lanka’s tea estates. Mother-of-five and picker of tea, Marystella, is up at 5.30 am to prepare the family’s breakfast in their spartan, tiny house. She gathers firewood for cooking fuel and prepares the breakfast of fresh rotis using wheat flour, water and a dash of salt. The children look on before changing into their school uniforms and gathering to eat. more..

'Mobile phone usage exceeds fixed line use'

June 1 (DM) The TRC said yesterday the use of mobile phones has exceeded the use of fixed lines by an astounding gap of millions of subscribers and will continue to dominate the telecommunications industry. TRC Director General, Anusha Palpita said as of December 2010 well over 17 million people had subscribed for mobile phones while 3.6 million had subscribed for fixed line phones, which include SLT and CDMA phones. more..

'International legal system needs to be revamped'

June 1 (DM) Minister professor G.L Peiris said the International legal system has to be revamped in the context of global changes as the prevailing law deals with conflicts between two countries whereas presently conflicts arise within a country between the govt and a non-state actor. Speaking at the three day seminar, ‘Defeating Terrorism: the Sri Lankan Experience,’ yesterday, he said the role of the armed forces did not end after defeating terrorism. more..

'Karuna helped army'

June 1 (NN) The army today clarified the support given by Karuna cadres or the TMVP during the military operations against the LTTE in the East. Major General Chagi Gallage, speaking at the seminar on "Defeating Terrorism”, said that the Karuna faction was not used at operational level but in other ways. He said that Karuna cadres were placed in Batticaloa in areas where it was felt LTTE cadres may attempt to flee during more..

'Petitioner SF should await SC ruling'

June 1 (Island) Most of the matters stated in the petition by General Sarath Fonseka, in the Court of Appeal, against the decision of Court Martial II, are either being argued before the Court of Appeal in other petitions by the same petitioner, or else pending determination before the Supreme Court, in an application filed by Fonseka himself, said Deputy Solicitor General Bimba J. Tilakeratne, in the Court of Appeal yesterday. more..

INTERPOL keeps mum on KP

June 1 (Island) The international police agency, INTERPOL, refused to comment on the Red Notice alert for the arrest of Tharmalingam Shanmugam Kumaran, better known as Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), despite it being publicly known that he was now in the custody of the Sri Lankan govt. When contacted, the press office of INTERPOL said that it does not comment on specific cases or individuals and therefore cannot comment on the warrant for KP. more..

Police must be given language training: SC

June 1 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday said the police should be given language training on how to deal with the public since according to many fundamental rights cases filed against the police, it was repeatedly reported that the police had been abusing the public in filth. The bench made this observation when granting leave to proceed with a fundamental rights application filed by a couple, a husband and wife. more..

UN for local probe

June 1 (NN) The United Nations (UN) which had been pushing for an international investigation in Sri Lanka, has now backed a local probe over some of the incidents which took place during the war. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has made it clear that he believe that, in a first instance, it is the responsibility of sovereign states to conduct independent investigations of a credible nature. more..

Police chief resigns

June 1 (NN) Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya has decided to step down from his post this month. An urgent meeting was also held at police headquarters today. The resignation comes amidst the police being criticized over the way they handled the protest by workers of the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake on Monday. However police spokesman Priyashantha Jayakody said that the IGP had not "resigned" but "retired" from service as his term ends on 18 June this year. more..

‘Strong trade unions will make UNP victorious’

June 2 (DM) The UNP reformists group which formed a new trade union wing of the party pledged to make it victorious through the new movement. UNP Co Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa who was at the centre stage of this move pledged to create a stronger trade union movement than the one which was created by the late Mr. J.R. Jayewardene in the 1970s and eventually to take the party towards victory. He made this pledge by highlighting that such a strong trade union wing was essential for more..

Defence forces, police to take on mossies

June 2 (Island) An island wide mosquito eradication week will be carried out by the Health Ministry during the last week of June, due to a large number of dengue cases being reported from eleven districts. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said on Tuesday (31) that all government and private institutions as well as houses would be inspected from June 20 – 26 with the assistance of the tri forces, police and the Civil Defense Force. more..

Dengue eradication campaign chalks up some successes

June 2 (IRIN) Last year’s drive to raise awareness of dengue fever in Sri Lanka and reduce the number of places where the mosquito that causes the disease breeds has had some positive impacts but urban areas are still at risk, health experts say. “In an urban area there are many more places, and number of containers where this particular mosquito can breed compared to less populated rural areas of the country,” more..

Sri Lanka arrests police over firing at protesters

June 2 (AFP) Two senior Sri Lankan police officers have been arrested over live rounds fired at protests against a pension bill at which 150 people were injured in violent clashes. Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said the two inspectors were held over their conduct at Monday's protest in Katunayake, that is a major free trade zone. "The two senior officers have not been charged yet, but they were arrested in connection with the shooting at demonstrators," more..

Police influence employees at Katunayake to go back home

June 2 (LT) It is reported that the Police is announcing in mobile vehicles for the employees at Katunayake go back to their villages. Besides last night Police and Army groups who visited certain boarding places have ordered them to go back to their homes saying that the FTZ will be closed indefinitely. It is assumed that the serious condition of the wounded youth at the shooting who is at the Intensive Care Unit has urged for such an influence by the Police to more..

Report is based on politics: Israeli Ambassador

June 2 (DM) Israeli Ambassador to Sri Lanka based in New Delhi, Mark Sofer today said that the advisory report of the UN Secretary General’s three member Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka is not based on human rights but is merely a political manifestation. Speaking at press conference, Sofer compared the advisory report on Sri Lanka to the Goldstone report issued by the UN in 2009 on the Gaza conflict which claimed that Israelis had committed war crimes. more..

Sri Lanka youth delegation visit Pakistan parliament house

June 2 (APP) Youth exchange programmes and frequent people-to-people contacts are key to further cementing bilateral relations between members of the SAARC, that have been a source of constant strength for each other. These views were expressed by Deputy Chairman Senate Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali while addressing the 17-member Sri Lankan Youth delegation visiting Pakistan here on Wednesday at Parliament House. more..

Sri Lanka are the new 'lambs' abroad

June 2 (Yahoo) There was a time when the tagline "tigers at home, lambs abroad" was applied to India. Not anymore. The Indians have won at least one Test in every country, shared contests in Australia and South Africa, won a series in England, Pakistan and West Indies and won a series in New Zealand in 2009 after 41 years so they don't qualify for that tag anymore. In fact if there is a side that would qualify for it right now it could well be Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 01.06.2011

Forget day five

June 2 (CI) Right at this moment I can't believe what's just happened, but I'll probably go into my sorrows soon. We played a good four days of cricket in Cardiff, but then threw the entire Test match away in one session. Sadly, that's what can happen in Test cricket if you don't focus and concentrate throughout. We were not up for it, and the English boys showed why they are one of the best Test teams going around these days. They always come back and keep fighting, and more..

Lanka army continues victory song

June 2 (HT) The Tamil Tiger leadership had not only used civilians as human shields but also sent hundreds of suicide cadres in civilian guise to attack unsuspecting Sri Lankan army personnel (SLA), an army officer–turned-diplomat said on Wednesday. “…approximately 400 civilians allowed in the guise of innocent s conducted a suicidal attack at the artillery gun position…” Major General Shavendra Silva, who led an SLA division during the end of war and is now posted in the United Nation, more..

ICC is becoming a ‘toothless tiger’ – Arjuna

June 2 (LBO) Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga joined former England captain Tony Greig calling for the end to India's domination of the International Cricket Council (ICC), claiming that the ICC is currently under the thumb of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup, said ICC’s priorities should be to look after the well-being of the game rather than dancing to the tunes of BCCI. more..

Sri Lanka mulls pharmaceutical industry zone

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka is considering setting up a special zone for pharmaceutical industry investors, according to Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce. The zone is part of a government initiative to open up the island for business and lure foreign investors after the end of its 30-year ethnic war, he said. “Sri Lanka is ready for strategic international partnerships with willing cross border investors," he told a meeting of new heads of mission more..

Sri Lanka opposition cast doubt on new claims about 'pension'

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main opposition has cast doubts on claims that a lifetime pension exceeding the contributed balance, will be paid through a controversial proposed pension plan for private citizens. "There is no way that the Government can make lifetime monthly pension payments via the proposed Private Sector Pension Scheme," opposition parliamentarian and economist Harsha de Silva said in a statement. "This is an absolute falsehood." more..

Garment worker dead after police crack down

June 2 (BBC) Roshain Shanaka who received gun shot wounds during the protest against the proposed pension review had died in Ragama hospital. Earlier police chief, Mahinda Balasuriya, has handed over his retirement papers. Some police officers involved in the crack down were also arrested by the police. The police have faced widespread criticism for their handling of a protest on Monday by workers who are angry about govt plans for private sector pensions. more..

MR offers best medical care for FTZ worker

June 2 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today offered to send the seriously injured Katunayaka Free Trade Zone (KFTZ) employee abroad for medical treatment, Environment Minister Anura Priyadhashana Yapa said. Minister Yapa said he visited the 21 year old L.S. Roshan Chanaka of Seeduwa at the ICU of the Ragama Teaching Hospital and expressed the regrets of the government about the incident. Roshan has been seriously wounded when the police allegedly opened fire at more..

Lack of a Cinema Archive is a major hindrance to the local Cinema: Lester

June 2 (N360) Acclaimed film director, screen writer and film producer Lester James Peries says, lack of a “National Cinema Archive” is a major problem the local Cinema industry is facing today. Peries who has produced over two dozens of films said, due to unavailability of proper archival facilities in the country, the “master negative” of his award winning film “Nidanaya”, was destroyed. According to him, the present film archive maintained by more..

Military conference to share methods of war

June 2 (BBC) In a concerted public relations campaign, the government and military of Sri Lanka have opened a three-day international conference on how they won the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago. They have brushed aside intense international criticism which alleges that their victory inflicted far too many civilian deaths. Indeed, they say their war victory should be a model for other countries. more..

What is happening in Geneva on the UN panel report?

June 2 (LG) While the Govt and State-inspired private media sources fill the pages of the dailies with many stories of "many victories" for the government in Geneva there are other different reports emerging elsewhere which are not in accordance with the GOSL view. We certainly like to see President Rajapakse and our government winning when the dice appears to be so loaded against the country. Usually reliable sources say TGTE’s Murugiah Sugunthan and Karen Parker are more..

Ambassador Jayatilleka presents Credentials to the President of Portugal

June 2 (LG) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Portugal resident in Paris presented on 31st May 2011, his Credentials to Prof. Anibal Cavaco Silva, the President of the Portuguese Republic at the Presidential Palace in Lisbon. During his four day visit, the Ambassador paid courtesy visits within the Portuguese Foreign Ministry to Ambassador Jose Bouza Serrano, the Chief of Protocol and to Ambassador Vasco Valente, Secretary General. more..

Agriculture experts in South help Army to promote Jaffna home gardening

June 2 (Cimic) To yield better results from the “Jafna Home Gardening” project initiated by the Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna (SF-J) with auspices of Commander Security Forces - Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, 523 Brigade of Nunavil organized an agriculture awareness programme for the civilians of 52 Division area on 30th May. Senior Tamil medium lecturers of Kundasale Agriculture Training Institute Mr. Yohalingam and more..