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Caritas says pirates still have fisherman

Mar 25 (UCAN) Two Sri Lankan fishermen remain in the hands of Somali pirates and steps are being taken to ascertain their whereabouts and secure their release, Caritas says. Caritas Sri Lanka is in contact with Somali officials to find out more about the two fishermen, according to one of its officials. Media reports in January said two fishermen from a group of 12 captured in November were shot dead. The other 10 fishermen were released earlier this month. more..

Organic farming combats kidney disease

Mar 25 (UCAN) A sharp rise in chronic kidney disease has prompted Caritas in Kandy and Anuradhapura dioceses to introduce farmers and young people to the benefits of organic farming. The rise in kidney disease in agricultural communities there has alarmed doctors, researchers and Caritas officials alike, all of whom are struggling to pinpoint the causes of the life-threatening illness. “It’s an emerging health problem,” said Nalin Sampath, youth coordinator of Caritas Kandy. more..

Book captures Sri Lanka's enduring cricket love affair

Mar 25 (BBC) There is widespread exhilaration at the prospect of hosting the unpredictable England in the quarter-finals on Saturday. This comes shortly after Sri Lankan novelist, Shehan Karunatilaka, captured the spirit of the country and its adulation for the sport in a prize-winning novel. Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Matthew was published last year and recounts the quest of an ageing, alcoholic cricket writer to find out what befell a brilliant but more..

Colombo focuses on tourism at the expense of fisher people

Mar 25 (AN) The government of Sri Lanka plans to promote tourism as a pillar of the country’s economic development and a way to counter the economic crisis caused by the very long interethnic conflict between Sinhalese and Tamils. The goal is to turn the island nation into a “Wonder of Asia”, to quote President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But not everyone is convinced. Although billions of rupees in revenue are promised, many warn against forgetting the needs of ordinary people who are at risk of more..

In-form Lanka ready to sink patchy England

Mar 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will bank on their home advantage against an English side grappling with inconsistency and injuries in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final in Colombo. Consistency has been a real problem for England who narrowly escaped an upset against the Netherlands, tied with India, went down to Ireland before losing to Bangladesh in the group stages of the showpiece event. Injuries have not helped England’s cause either. As if losing Kevin Pietersen (hernia), Stuart Broad more..

Together and apart in Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (Hindu) When U.S. troops arrived in Sri Lanka for relief work in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, alarm bells rang in sections of the Indian establishment, media and the strategic community over possible American ‘intrusion' into its backyard. But U.S. diplomatic cables of the time, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, show that the official thinking in the United States favoured utilising its military participation in relief efforts to strengthen more..

New NGO policy

Mar 25 (NN) The government is to introduce a policy to monitor the activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Sri Lanka, the President’s office said today. According to the President’s office President Mahinda Rajaapaksa has said that specific guideline are needed for NGOs to obtain funds through the correct methods and spend in a correct manner. “It is the right and responsibility of the government to monitor how NGOs obtain funds and how they are spent,” President Rajapaksa said. more..

Plot foiled to disrupt World Cup: Interpol

Mar 25 (Dawn) The arrest of a terrorist has foiled a plot to carry out an attack during the World Cup, according to Interpol Chief Ronald Noble. Addressing a press conference, along with Interior Minister Rehman Malik, here on Thursday, he said: “Last week, with the help of Pakistan, we identified and arrested the terrorist who had left Karachi. Thanks to the cooperation of Pakistan and other countries we were able to make sure that the World Cup remains safe.” more..

Finance Act amended

Mar 25 (DM) Cabinet gave their nod to a proposal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Finance Minister to amend the Finance Act No78 of 1988 with a view to providing a better framework to regulate finance in the country. The main purpose of the new Bill was to update the law on par with the technological advances and to combat unauthorized deposits to ensure the stability in the financial sector, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Yapa said. more..

Bad advice, wrong product: Germany's Federal Court decision good for CPC?

Mar 25 (Island) Germany's Federal Court of Justice, the highest court in Germany, issued a pounding decision against Deutsche Bank A G on March 22nd, for failing to advise a client on the true risk of a complex derivative product it had sold and ordered Deutsche Bank to pay damages plus interest. Damages of €541,074 ($761,250), plus interest, are hardly life-threatening for Germany's biggest bank. But it should be sobering. more..

Scanners to be installed in prisons

Mar 25 (Island) In a bid to put an end to transgressions taking place in jails, the Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation has taken steps to install scanners in prisons, a ministry official says. Commissioner of Prison Supplies Venura Gunawardena said that initially ‘parcel scanners’ and ‘walk though scanners’ would be installed at the Welikada, Magazine and Colombo Remand Prisons. more..

'People will never allow return of Premadasa era'

Mar 25 (Island) Senior Minister of Human Resources Dew Gunasekera on Thursday said that people would never allow the return of a Premadasa era. Neo-liberalism policies of the then UNP government had caused the decline of the country’s tax revenue, the General Secretary of the Communist Party said. The National List MP said that the government revenue was 25 percent of the GDP in 1977, but reduced to 13 percent by 2004. more..

27 o’seas investors for Hambantota

Mar 25 (DM) With the development of the Hambantota Harbour, 27 foreign investors have expressed their willingness to invest US$ 975 million in industries such as cement, tea, and gas, Deputy Ports Development Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardene told parliament yesterday. Speaking during the debate on several finance bills, Mr. Abeygunawardene said oil bunkering would begin at the new port in June. more..

'Schools source of child’s future'

Mar 25 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who emphasized the need to build an intelligent and disciplined child generation in the country’s march to become a wonder in Asia, said the program to build a child generation which could win the country and the world should be initiated from the school. The President made this observation when he opened the Dandina Samarasinghe Memorial Shilpa Medura at more..

ICRC to operate exclusively from Colombo

Mar 25 (ICRC) In November 2010, the Sri Lankan government asked the ICRC to close its offices in Jaffna and Vavuniya and to conduct its operations exclusively from Colombo. ICRC head of delegation Yves Giovannoni and two Sri Lankan staff members from the Jaffna and Vavuniya offices reflect on ICRC operations in Sri Lanka, past and future. Q: What has the ICRC been doing in Sri Lanka, particularly in Jaffna and Vavuniya? more..

UNP wants electronic voting

Mar 25 (DM) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga stressed yesterday in parliament the need to introduce an electronic voting system into Sri Lanka as has been done in India. “In India, electronic voting is carried out even in remote areas. When there is such a system in place, no one can make allegations of malpractices such as impersonation. We ask the government to take steps to introduce such a system at least for the next election,” he said. more..

AG withdraws rape charge,Duminda discharged

Mar 25 (DM) The UPFA Colombo District parliamentarian Duminda Silva who was accused of having raped an under-aged girl was discharged by the Colombo High Court yesterday. High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse discharged Mr. Silva consequent to the Attorney General withdrawing the case against him taking into consideration the submissions made by counsel M.C.M. Muneer appearing with Akalanka Kulasinghe for the complainant. more..

Rift in Tiger ‘government’

Mar 25 (NN) A rift has emerged in the Transnational Government of Tamil Ealam (TGTE) with its self proclaimed Prime Minister V. Rudrakumaran being forced to put out a press release calling for unity among its members. The TamilNet website, which was known to have been propagating the LTTE cause, today criticized what it calls is the “monopolizing powers” vested on a single person in the Transnational Government of Tamil Ealam. more..

Cricket World Cup: Tillakaratne Dilshan column

Mar 26 (BBC) On Saturday we play England in the World Cup quarter-finals and we go into the match confident that we will emerge victorious with a place in the last four secured. It is a great advantage to be playing in front of a home crowd and our form so far in the tournament makes us confident that we can beat England. A lot has been made of the fact that they have won six out of eight previous World Cup encounters against us but we are not worried by more..

Apetamin-P stopped

Mar 26 (NN) The Health Ministry has suspended, with immediate effect, the sale of the Apetamin-P syrup after an insect was found in one bottle. According to a release from the Health Ministry, the insect was found in the bottle of Apetamin-P syrup sold at a pharmacy in Mahawa. Following this discovery the Health Ministry has decided to suspend the sale of the syrup at pharmacies around the country. Apetamin contains a unique combination of Cyproheptadine, Lysine and Vitamins, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 25.03.2011

Sri Lanka has the right and responsibility to monitor NGOs: Rajapaksa

Mar 26 (Hindu) Justifying the move to tighten its monitoring mechanism on Non-Governmental Organisations, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Sri Lankan editors on Friday that the government had the right, and the responsibility to monitor how NGOs obtained funds and what they were used for. Responding to the recent debate in the country on NGOs and the role they played in facilitating the country’s development, he said that many millions of rupees come into the country. more..

Vaas to retire from ODIs after World Cup

Mar 26 (SE) The legendary Sri Lankan fast bowler Chaminda Vaas, who was neglected by Sri Lankan selectors in Sri Lanka World Cup squad, is planning to retire from one day internationals. Chaminda Vaas was talking exclusively to The Sports Encounter scribe here at Colombo and said, “I was very disappointed to be left out from the World Cup squad as selectors told me to play in the domestic matches and I did exactly the same. But the life goes on and I am happy that more..

Customs officers to investigate gold

Mar 26 (DM) Two senior customs officers have been appointed by the Director General of Customs Sudharma Karunaratne to investigate the disappearance of gold worth around Rs.60 million from a vault in the Cargo Terminal at the Bandaranaike International Airport. A senior customs officer said that the investigations have been handed over to the CID. Gold slabs worth more than Rs.50 million, imported by a jeweler at Sea Street in Colombo, have gone missing from more..

Finding serendipity in Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (DM) Sri Lanka’s happiest farm animals live at a small hotel in tea-velveted central hill country where they eat pineapple and their main responsibility is to produce compost. Their hard work is used to help grow coffee, fruit and organic vegetables in the 30-acre grounds of Jetwing Warwick Gardens, where guests are received like visitors at a country estate. However this 19th-century former Scottish tea planter’s house is one where you can pick and produce your own beverage. more..

New Zealand beat South Africa to make World Cup semis

Mar 26 (CI) Oh South Africa, what have you done? Earlier this month Graeme Smith tweeted an article titled 'Time to ban the 'C' word'. Hold on to that thought Smith, for clearly that time hasn't come yet. South Africa were cruising at 108 for 2 in the 25th over when Jacques Kallis fell and they crash landed spectacularly to be shot out for 172. The self-destructive streak was demonically masochistic in nature and it will perhaps require shrinks to understand this dramatic denouement. more..

Contrasting campaigners prepare to do or die

Mar 26 (CI) Fifteen years ago this month, England and Sri Lanka met at the same quarter-final stage of the 1996 World Cup, only for an epoch-changing contest to pan out in front of an astounded crowd in Faisalabad. With his remarkable 82 from 44 balls, Sanath Jayasuriya not only ignited Sri Lanka's charge towards their maiden global title, he signalled the end of England as a force in one-day cricket, as they failed to reach the last four more..

Vanquished People

Mar 26 (LG) I am in a dark room. Tall black-trunked palmyrah trees are chasing me; falling over me and I am running. Every night this is my recurring dream. I wake up frightened and then I cry about what happened to me in that cell. The girl who was examined by a psychiatrist in Oxford yesterday was opening up for the first time in two and a half years about her horrid experience of being dragged out and raped almost every night for 18 months by the government soldiers along with four other girls. more..

Dignity of Victims

Mar 26 (LG) I followed the UN News report about the Dignity of Victims and found the article entitled - ‘Pillay: Fight impunity by protecting the right to the truth about gross human rights violations’. What is Truth? What is the difference between facts and Truth? When are we entitled to facts? When are we entitled to Truth? To me, Truth is the knowledge that gives me inner Peace. My knowledge from within me is my Truth. That inner knowledge is free of any external influences. more..

Muralitharan fit for quarter-final

Mar 26 (CI) Sri Lanka received a huge boost ahead of their World Cup quarter-final match against England on Saturday when their key spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was declared fit to play. Muralitharan bruised his knee and suffered a hamstring injury while batting during Sri Lanka's final Group A fixture against New Zealand at Mumbai six days ago. Sri Lanka were left worrying over Muralitharan's fitness ahead of the England match, but more..

Another bombshell by Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Mar 26 (LG) This is how Alan Dershowitz-Professor of Law at Harvard Law School sees Human Rights Watch” Quote” Who will guard the guardians?" asked Roman satirist Juvenal. Now we must ask, who is watching Human Rights Watch, one of the world's best-financed and most influential human rights organizations? It turns out that they cook the books about facts, cheat on interviews, and put out pre-determined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence. more..

A Call for Civic Discipline

Mar 26 (LG) Reginald Weber, Bishop of Calcutta, in his hymn "From Greenland’s Icy Mountains" thus vilified the inhabitants of our beautiful country simply because they didn’t belong to his religion. I don’t intend to be uncharitable towards them like that. Nevertheless I can’t help recalling these lines while sparing a thought for the very real contemporary problem of a general lack of civic discipline among Sri Lankans, which contrasts with the natural splendour of our island home. more..

Treasury bonds to CPC for CEB debts

Mar 26 (ST) The Treasury is covering heavy dues owed by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) while providing a government subsidy to the CEB without burdening consumers, Finance Ministry sources said. This has paved the way for the CEB to declare a profit of Rs.5 billion during the 2010 financial year. They said the Treasury recently issued treasury bonds to the value Rs. 52 billion to the CPC covering the dues prior to more..

Mobilephobia and health

Mar 26 (DM) Recently, a student at Sabaragamuwa University died. All reports mentioned that he had gone to the upper floor of a residence hall to make a call on his mobile. He had been electrocuted by an adjacent high-voltage transmission line. When asked for a comment on the contribution made by the mobile phone to the student’s death, my response, based on the facts presented, pointed to the surprising proximity of a residential building to high-voltage transmission lines as probable cause. more..

It’s so grim and bare

Mar 26 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vannakkam, assalamu allaikum and congratulations on your hat-trick of resounding victories at national elections while millions of Sri Lankans now hope and pray for a similar triumph in the World Cup cricket tournament. The overwhelming victory of the UPFA at last Thursday’s elections to 234 local councils was attributed by most independent analysts to your personal charisma. The UPFA and its allies won 213 of the 234 local councils while more..

Colombo digs grave for Tamil harmony

Mar 26 (AT) The Sri Lankan government's triumphalism following its victory over the LTTE has reached a new high. The new military headquarters of the army's 51st Division that was inaugurated at Kopay near Jaffna this month "has been built on the site of a Tamil Tiger graveyard earlier flattened by the army", the BBC has reported. The destruction of the LTTE graves in 2010 by the Sri Lankan army left Tamils "deeply hurt", a Tamil teacher based in Jaffna, more..

Who cares the policies, people voted only to be in the winning side

Mar 26 (DM) Of the results of the Local Government elections held on March 17 those of two areas cannot be ignored given the significance of the political message they have given to the country. One area is Tissamaharamaya where the JVP lost in the only Local body it was running for the past two consecutive terms, while the other area being the Northern and Eastern Provinces where Tamils predominantly live. Interestingly and ridiculously, as we have several times more..

Sri Lanka vehicle emission tester expands, plans IPO

Mar 26 (LBO) Laugfs Eco Sri, a unit of Sri Lanka's listed Laugfs gas which tests vehicle emissions for the government, says it is expanding in to the north and the east of the country and is also mulling an initial public offer. Laugfs group chief W K H Wegapitiya said the firm has still not decided how much of the firm would be offered to the public. "But we hope to go for the public within few months," he said. The company will expand vehicle testing services to the more..

With guns silent, Jaffna drums up music festival

Mar 26 (FT) The much anticipated Jaffna Music Festival 2011 started its three day saga yesterday celebrating the almost forgotten beats and rhythms of the peninsula and the neighbouring cities. A sister event of the biennial Galle Music Fest, the 2011 festival champions the multi ethnic and multi cultural identities of Sri Lanka through sound, dance, music and folk art. The event would help re-establish the nearly dying art forms of the ‘nearly destroyed’ parts of more..

Editorial: Towards collective suicide?

Mar 26 (Island) Japan is still struggling to bring the ill-fated Fukushima nuclear plant under control. Some progress is reported to have been made in the restoration work, though the threat is far from over. Shocking as that disaster is, it has the trappings of a blessing in disguise in that it has jolted the world into having a re-think on nuclear energy. The first country to abandon its plans for atomic power was Venezuela. The much-maligned Hugo Chavez lost no time in more..