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President expresses sympathy to Japanese Emperor

Mar 12 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a message to Emperor of Japan, Akihito expressed sympathy on the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan today (11). ‘We pray for solace for those affected by the disaster and for the rapid recovery of the Japanese people and nation’, he said. The text of the message follows: Along with the rest of the globe, the people of Sri Lanka and I have been watching with sorrow and anguish the destruction brought more..

Sri Lanka information desk for Japan tsunami

Mar 12 (DM) The Ministry of External Affairs has set up an information desk at the Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry to provide information to Sri Lankan nationals who wish to ascertain the wellbeing of their next of kin in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan . Those who are unable to obtain information about their next of kin in Japan following this calamity may contact the Consular Affairs Division on the following telephone numbers: more..

Kerala tightens vigil on T.N. border to curb LTTE activities

Mar 12 (Hindu) The Intelligence Bureau is keeping a vigil on the movement of suspected persons in the border areas of Tamil Nadu after it received inputs that members of the LTTE had reportedly tried to set up camps in the forest areas near Idukki district. Highly placed sources said there were chances of setting up such camps in the forest areas and adjoining villages as it would give them cover, adding Sri Lankan Tamils could be easily identified in Tamil Nadu by their dialect. more..

Sri Lanka records quake

Mar 12 (NN) The earthquake in Japan was recorded in Sri Lanka at the seismic stations in Pallakale, Mahakanadarawa in Anuradhapura and Hakmana, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau said. Chairman of the bureau N.P Wijeyananda said that the quake was recorded at the local seismic stations 14 minutes after it occurred. He said that the developments following the quake are being closely monitored in Sri Lanka but there is no threat to the island from the tsunami waves. more..

Happy Paupers

Mar 12 (SL) It was former President, the late Ranasinghe Premadasa who coined the term ‘haves and have-nots’ referring to the inequitable distribution of wealth which he saw as being patently unfair and made it his life-long mission to bridge the gap and make life better for the ‘have-nots.’ Though highly motivated and determined to achieve his avowed goal, Premadasa was propelled into even quicker action following the JVP-led youth insurrection of ’87-89 which more..

Corruption stultifies mini-hydros

Mar 12 (SL) Corruption in the US$ 300 million mini hydro sector which had hitherto been “localized and containable,” has, however, within the past 1½ years, gone out of proportion with one provincial politico now even allegedly asking for a 10% cut in revenue, thereby stultifying such development work, an investor told The Sunday Leader. Projects with the capacity to generate 175 mega Watts (mW) of power are more..

Watch out for that (Visa) fraud

Mar 12 (SL) The Canadian High Commission last week warned the public against possible visa fraud through misleading advertisements by agents promising visas to Canada. People were being cheated out of large sums of money, the High Commission warned, by “unscrupulous operators” who gave the public false hopes. These visa agents, or visa consultancy agents, are everywhere. Their little boards stick out among the sea of others along the Galle Road, more..

Local Government Elections in Galle

Mar 12 (DM) The major incidents of election violence so far being reported in the Galle district have created mixed feelings about the Local Government elections among the people. In Peraliya, Rathgama last Friday two were killed and another three were injured, inclding a local government election candidate. The Daily Mirror took to the streets in Galle hoping to make clear the blurred lines between politics and the needs of the people with one question, to vote or not to vote? more..

Catholic and Buddhists politicians seek help ahead of next elections in Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (SN) Catholics and Buddhists candidates of the deanery of Katana (Archdiocese of Colombo), running for the forthcoming local elections in Sri Lanka, are calling for support of church leaders to better address their role as leaders. "It is a need felt by all politicians and we thank the priests for their presence," commented a number of candidates. The elections for local government will be the next March 18. more..

‘Arugam Bay fishing community vital for development of tourism’

Mar 12 (Island) Immediate measures should be taken to address the concerns of the fishing community of Arugam Bay who play a significant role in contributing towards the development of tourism in this world-renowned surfing destination, said M.H.A. Raheem, Chairman of the Arugam Bay Tourism Association (ABTA). Arugam Bay has always been a fishing village and the fisheries sector has grown to be regarded as one of the major income more..

Developing 1000 Schools: Need to Learn Lessons from the Past!

Mar 12 (Island) The govt recently announced that 1000 schools will be developed island-wide to provide high quality education to children in rural areas without their having to seek admission to the so-called popular schools located in urban centres, after passing the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination or other such entrance tests. Referring to this proposal in his recent budget speech, the President said that 1000 well-equipped secondary schools will be more..

Much about Dr. Kohona’s Case

Mar 12 (LG) I refer to your response to ‘Inner City Press’ in relation to Dr. Palitha Kohona’s involvement in the Sri Lankan war. This morning I received from Jaya BT E-Mail Services, a communication entitled ‘As Gillard Is Asked Of ICC & Australian Sri Lanka Citizen Kohona, UN Still In Denial’. I was particularly interested in your response which was – words to the effect “I am not personally aware of all of the details of that case. more..

Violence at elections will last so long as politics brings money

Mar 12 (DM) If we go by the slogans in posters, handbills and cutouts of the candidates contesting at the March 17 Local Government elections, we would be so optimistic that we are going to have the most talented and humanistic set of local administrators this time, whatever party would win. For instance, one poster with the picture of a candidate and that of Minister Mervyn Silva read “vote for boundless humanism.” more..

Editorial: Tigers in TN: Groping in the dark

Mar 12 (Island) The government of India has disputed Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne's recent statement in parliament that the LTTE is training in Tamil Nadu. The Indian External Affairs Ministry has categorically denied the existence of any such camps and urged the government of Sri Lanka to desist from reacting to speculative and uncorroborated reports. Speculative and uncorroborated reports? Prime Minister Jayaratne says he went by recent Indian media reports which claimed, more..

Editorial: Tsunami again: Waterloo re-enacted by high tech Bonapartes

Mar 12 (DM) The terrifying 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami which hit Northeastern Japan and several other countries in the Pacific area yesterday is yet another grim reminder that top priority needs to be given not so much to terrorism or tourism but to global warming and related factors that cause such self-made catastrophes. Yesterday’s shattering calamity was also a reminder – just 48 hours after Ash Wednesday – that everything in life is transient or more..

We are not sure what will happen on Election Day: Karu

Mar 12 (DM) Deputy Leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriaya spoke to the Daily Mirror on the upcoming local government elections, grooming the second tier of leadership and addressed rumours of the UNP wooing Sarath Fonseka. He also touched on the grassrots structure of the UNP and the peaceful politics the party hopes to adhere to despite provocation towards violence from various sources. Excerpts of the interview follow, more..

Maid steals employer's money to avenge abuses

Mar 12 (E24/7) A Sri Lankan babysitter admitted that she stole Dh3,500 to avenge her employer who spoke badly about her, the Dubai Criminal Court heard. According to the accusation sheet, SIS, 36, took the money in different sums from the house of her Emirati employer, AAM. "I took the money because they spoke very badly to me," she told the court. She requested the court for a quick judgment and deportation. AAM’s son testified that the babysitter took money from his bedroom. more..

Banking industry in 2010 fell short of expectations

Mar 12 (BL) The banking sector in the year 2010 fell short of industry expectations since it failed to allow the sector to build on the vibrant gains made through 2009, according to Pan Asia Bank Chairman A.G.Weerasinghe. “The year under review has fallen short of industry expectations, but more significantly, it has been a year in which, while profit margins were sustained, failed to allow the banking sector to build on the vibrant gains made through 2009, more..

'North cannot be considered less privileged today'

Mar 12 (MoD) With the rapid development taking place in the North under the "Uthuru Wasanthaya" (Northern Spring) programme, the North now cannot be called a less privileged or remote area, stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa and stressed he is committed to serve all the people in this country regardless of ethnic, religious or cultural differences. The President said so at the UPFA Mannar district rally held yesterday (08) at more..

Conservative Party gets entangled in post May 2009 Tamil diaspora politics in Ontario

Mar 12 (TC) The recent revelation that members of the federal and provincial Conservative Party have been getting into bed with former members of the World Tamil Movement (WTM), banned as a terrorist organization in Canada since 2008, was not news to many in the Tamil community. The Conservative government's actions are indeed hypocritical in light of their tough talk against terrorism. However, the Canadian public is missing a crucial part of the story: more..

WC 2011: Bangladesh beat England by 2 wickets

Mar 12 (CI) Shafiul Islam raised Bangladesh's World Cup campaign from the dead, as he turned yet another astonishing contest on its head with a breathtaking assault in the batting Powerplay to leave England stunned by their fifth cliffhanger in consecutive contests, and facing their own make-or-break encounter with West Indies in Chennai next week. In another unbearably tense finale, Bangladesh's ninth-wicket pair of Shafiul and Mahmudullah transformed a futile more..

Cairn to start drilling for oil in Sri Lanka in July

Mar 12 (ET) Cairn India, a unit of British exploration firm Cairn Energy plc, said Friday it plans to drill for oil and natural gas deposits off Sri Lanka's northwestern coast in July. In 2008, Cain invested $100 million, spread over three years, to conduct detailed seismic studies and drilling three wells off the coast of Mannar. "Frontier exploration drilling in Sri Lanka is planned to commence in July," a company statement said. more..

Uprooted Tamils from Puthukkudiyiruppu still strive for resettlement

Mar 12 (TN) Large number of Tamil families from Mullaiththeevu district of Vanni, forcibly displaced and still held behind barbed wire camps in Menik Farm and other places, are yet to be allowed into their native villages in Puthukkudiyiruppu. The occupying Sri Lankan military has only allowed civilians to enter 6 of 19 Village Officer (GS) divisions in Puthukkudiyiruppu. So far, Only 68,846 persons from 23,050 families have been resettled in 65 out of 92 Village Officer more..

Public sector employees with govt - Dullas

Mar 12 (DN) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that 75 percent of Government servants had used their postal vote nullifying Opposition arguments that public servants were not keen to vote at this Local Government elections. Addressing the UPFA press briefing at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo yesterday, the Minister said that the Opposition has said at several occasions that public sector employees are not interested in casting their votes. more..

Bankrupt but boom!

Mar 12 (FT) The Colombo bourse is such that even technically bankrupt companies can boost shareholder value as share price of Hotel Developers (Ceylon) Plc (HDEV) yesterday rose almost close to its all-time high. The company’s stock price peaked to an intra-day high of Rs. 155, just short by Rs. 10 from its all-time high. However it closed the day at Rs. 138.90, still up by Rs. 3.10 whilst on Thursday it gained by Rs. 5.80 from Wednesday’s close of Rs. 130. more..

Cabraal calls for more Gulf investments

Mar 12 (DN) Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal has called for an increase in investments from the Gulf countries in various developments sectors of the country. The Governor told the Kuwait news agency, Kuna, that many companies from the Gulf are making use of investment opportunities in Sri Lanka particularly in the building and construction activities, banking and tourism. “New areas for investment will be coal power plants, wind mill power. more..

Excess poultry floods market

Mar 12 (LB) Residents in Kandy said and our survey in Wattala and Ja-Ela showed that chicken retailed at Rs.300 to Rs.310 per kilo. The controlled price of chicken is Rs.350 a kilo, being another story of oversupply. Poultry farmers (broiler) in Gampaha district, who did not wish to be identified, said they feared the oversupply would lead to prices falling below cost of production. Poultry farmers say that their current profit is around 20 percent. more..

PM should apologize to Parliament and the people – JVP

Mar 12 (LT) The Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne should apologize to the people and Parliament for the statement he made deceiving the Parliament and bringing discredit to the country states the JVP. A communiqué issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP states the government should explain to the people regarding the false statement made by the Prime Minister in Parliament that there were three tiger camps in Tamil Nadu. more..

Protect Buddhism from Buddhists themselves?

Mar 12 (LB) If Sri Lanka feels the need to protect and preserve Buddhism, it translates to mean that there are challenges that need to be overcome and issues that need to be addressed without bias. Action plans will not work unless we are able to determine if Buddhism in its conceptual form, in its practice and even as a belief system is seeing a decline. And if so we need to first return to basics and determine why. more..

Sri Lanka forced selling drives down stocks

Mar 12 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed 0.96 percent lower with active retail trading and forced selling due to credit issues, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 7,313.02, down 0.96 percent (70.90 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 6,822.16, down 0.83 percent (57.08 points), according to stock exchange provisional figures. Turnover was 951 million rupees. There were 58 gainers and 138 losers. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism

Lankans looking forward to playing at the Wankhede

Mar 12 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan team is looking forward to playing at the Wankhede Stadium as it would be the venue for the final. An assessment of conditions there would help the team, according to some of the senior members. The team, which heads the points tally in Group A, travels to Mumbai for its last league fixture against New Zealand. The result of the match will decide whether Sri Lanka plays its quarterfinals at home or away. more..

Sri Lanka seeks lower software prices

Mar 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka will seek to negotiate with international software vendors to try to bring down prices by up to half in its drive to promote information and communication technology business, a report said. The government also intends to promote use of free software to improve ICT literacy and use among people and businesses, its new information and communication technology plan for 2011-1016 said. The plan promotes the use of standard software with proper ownership more..

Right to roam: tourism returns to northern Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (Guardian) How soon after a war is it right to start visiting a country? Should you wait for the hatreds to disappear? That could take a very long time. Or is it better to get in there quickly, experiencing the raw emotional intensity of people drunk on peace, and the satisfaction of knowing that your cash helps, even a tiny bit, to secure that peace? These questions are bouncing around my head as the car bounces over potholes on more..

Visit to Sri Lanka by the Governor of Victoria

Mar 12 (AT) Professor David de Kretser AC, Governor of Victoria is to make an official visit to Sri Lanka on March 14 and 15. The main focus of the Governor’s visit is to represent the people of Victoria at the opening of the Sri Lanka – Victoria Emergency Trauma Centre at Teaching Hospital Karapitiya. The purpose designed Centre, a donation from the Victorian Government, will give the Hospital the ability to deliver world standard emergency trauma care. more..

Sri Lanka is to revoke British Governor’s infamous Gazette Notification

Mar 12 (AT) The government has taken a momentous decision for revoking the Gazette Notification issued by Sri Robert Brownrigg, to condemn all those who rebelled against the British Rule in Sri Lanka in 1818 for the liberation of the country from the British Imperialist Rule. Several governments after the independence of Sri Lanka in the past, although they wanted to revoke this ignominious Gazette Notification, could not take action in this regard. more..

Assassination attempt on TNA MP Sritharan

Mar 12 (DBS) The abortive attempt to assassinate TNA MP Sivagnanam Sritharan has sent shock waves throughout the “Tamil speaking world”. Although the incident did not receive adequate coverage in the mainstream media, the attempted murder of the Jaffna district MP has rocked the Tamil people as many feared the bad days of old were returning. There was a time when many Tamil MP’s and political leaders were being killed at regular intervals. more..

58 held in Lanka for illegally leaving for Australia

Mar 12 (PTI) At least 58 Sri Lankans were arrested while they were allegedly about to board a trawler to migrate to Australia illegally, police said on Saturday. The group was arrested in two locations in Colombo and Negambo, police officials said, adding that there are 12 women and 6 children among them. All are residents of northern and eastern provinces of the country, where three-decades-old Sri Lankan war was fought. The trawler was taken into the custody in Chilaw, more..

Body of Lankan housemaid arrives in a month

Mar 12 (DM) Following many gruesome stories of people being accused of inserting nails into the bodies of their servants in the Middle East, yet another pathetic tale was reported yesterday of a Lankan maid’s body being sent to the island nearly a month after her death. S. Gurunathan, brother of the young servant girl known as S. Sriyani, told Daily Mirror that they managed to get the body released from Jordon nearly one month after her death. more..

Over 4,500 Lankans request repatriation from Kuwait

Mar 12 (DM) More than 4,500 Sri Lankans residing without valid legal documents in Kuwait have approached the Sri Lankan Embassy seeking a safe repatriation during the recent amnesty period, SLFEB said. The Kuwaiti Government had announced an amnesty period from March to July for all the illegal immigrants and as a result these people had come to the Sri Lankan Embassy hoping to return to Sri Lanka legally. more..