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Tourism project threatens fishermen

May 19 (UCAN) Catholic fishing families on a western island say their livelihoods are under serious threat after developers seized their land and denied access to their work huts, beach seines and anchorage points. Some 140 families on Mohoththuwaran Island say their troubles started after government allocated beach areas in their locality and on 13 other small islands to developers as part of a proposed plan to boost tourism. “At the moment we cannot use the beach because more..

NGOs join job agencies in HIV program

May 19 (UCAN) The government, in association with the International Labor Organization (ILO) began a three-day HIV/AIDS prevention training program yesterday for NGOs, Caritas and employment organizations who work with overseas migrants. “The focus of HIV/AIDS prevention programs should be those at most risk, such as migrant workers, so we train those who work with migrants as protectors,” said Indira Hettiarachchi, national project coordinator of the ILO’s more..

‘Lion cub’ won’t fly again

May 19 (Island) The No 10 Fighter Squadron, consisting of Israeli-built Kfirs (the Hebrew term for Lion cub), considered the vanguard of the SLAF operations against the LTTE since 1996, is unlikely to fly again. The SLAF grounded Kfirs on March 1, 2011 after a mid-air collision during a rehearsal destroyed two aircraft killing one pilot, while the other ejected. SLAF Commander Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema ordered a high level inquiry into the accident. more..

Sri Lanka reports claim substance similar to Oil found along Galle Coastline

May 19 (AT) A similar substance to crude oil had been observed on Wednesday the 18 May along the Kaluwella coastline in Galle, Sri Lanka. The reports outline that the substance similar to oil was seen from the previous morning along the Kaluwella coast. It said by sources that the black substance similar to a layer of oil, is said to be spreading throughout the area. However, the reports further confirmed that the substance does not stick to vegetation and more..

Sri Lanka seen more expensive than rival tourist destinations

May 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka appears to be priced at the top tier in hotel room rates compared to its regional rivals, a new report on the industry by Capital Alliance said. On average, Sri Lanka is only more economical than its competitor markets for three-star rated beach resort hotels. For all other categories (3+, 4, 4+), Sri Lanka is more expensive than the non-Sri Lanka market segments, the report said. It compared room rates in Sri Lanka, which have gone up following more..

Jayantha Jayewardene

UGC not to pay Dons refraining from duties

May 19 (DM) The University Grants Commission has instructed the vice chancellors of universities through a circular not to pay the salary for the month of May to the university lecturers who have abstained from performing their duties. The UGC has said that since some lecturers of universities continue to refrain from functioning as heads of faculties and conducting lectures, not to pay the May salary. Chairman of the UGC Professor Gamini Samaranayaka said those more..

Sri Lanka upset over asylum cases

May 19 (NE) Norway’s ambassador to Sri Lanka has been called in for an apparent scolding by Sri Lankan authorities in Colombo, after Norwegian officials helped 12 persons leave the country and start new lives in Norway. Opposition politicians in Norway are upset as well. The latest diplomatic conflict between Norway and Sri Lanka arose after newspaper Aftenposten reported late last week that Norwegian authorities had secretly bought airline tickets and arranged asylum more..

Petition on Sri Lanka war crimes is fake carried into empty building by UN Staffer, Nambiar stonewalls

May 19 (ICP) On the second anniversary of the bloody end of the conflict in Sri Lanka, outside the UN in New York chants of “UN, UN, Never again” and “Ban Ki-moon, Act Now” echoed off the white metal building where Secretary General Ban's office now is. Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky if the UN's envoy to Sri Lanka Vijay Nambiar would be willing to answer some questions, about his role in the final stage of the conflict, more..

President opens Pinbara exhibition

May 19 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday opened the Pinbara Lanka exhibition at the museum where a host of artifacts including the casket bearing the ashes of King Dutugemunu are on display. He paid his respects to the casket bearing the ashes of King Dutugemunu who united the country under one flag and committed himself to promote Buddhism in the country. The exhibition organized by the National Heritage Ministry parallel to the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva more..

Weakened bowling concerns Sri Lanka

May 19 (Reuters) Four changes to a winning Sri Lanka team, only one of them injury-enforced, created a brief flurry of concern among their supporters before the World Cup final against India in Mumbai on April 2. Most of the debate surrounded the omission of Ajantha Mendis, who had taken three wickets in the semi-final against New Zealand. Rangana Herath, another spinner, was also dropped. The reshuffled attack was soon forgotten when Sri Lanka raced to 274 for six. more..

Govt. pays US$ 2.4 mn to PR firm to promote its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games

May 19 (DM) The government has paid US$2.4 million to a British firm hired to promote its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Hambantota, Daily Mirror learns. The Hambantota 2018 Candidate City Organizing Committee last year appointed pmp-legacy which is an arm of the Sports Marketing Division of Chime Communications in Britain as the lead advisor and project manager for Sri Lanka’s bid. more..

Colombo, Jaffna host Indian Education Fair 2011

May 19 (Island) The second leg of the Indian Education Fair 2011 with the participation of more than 35 associated Indian institutions and universities concluded in Jaffna yesterday. Colombo, hosted the first leg of the exhibition from May 13 to 15th, which was also organized by Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services on behalf of EdCIL India Limited, an Indian government enterprise under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and supported by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's war: Two years on

May 19 (Economist) May 19th is the second anniversary of the Sri Lankan government’s announcement that its forces had killed Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It marked the government’s definitive victory in a bloody 26-year civil war—one, moreover, that analysts, including this newspaper, had for years argued could never be won. Yet in the end victory was so complete that peace already seems permanent. more..

Vesak 2011 electricity consumption still below May 2009 record

May 19 (Island) Despite high usage of electricity during the Vesak celebrations, to commemorate the Sambuddhathva Jayanthiya, the usual electricity supply will not go into records as it did in May 2009, when the Security Forces eliminated the most brutal terrorist outfit in the world. "When the war was won, almost all televisions, radios and other communication services were switched on continuously," more..

Container transport by rail soon

May 19 (Island) Container transport by train will be revived in the near future, says the Department of Railways. "A feasibility study is already underway to implement the initiative," Railway Department Planning Director Wijaya Samarasinghe said. The department is planning to commence container transportation from the port of Colombo to Trico freight consolidators, he said. Containers were transported by train during the war for the convenience of the forces. more..

Private Pension: Mass walk out

May 19 (DM) A mass walk out and protest campaign organized by Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) will take place on May 24 to coincide with the controversial Pension Bill for the private sector to be taken up in parliament. The JTUA said that a demonstration and a mass rally would be held in Colombo and the day would be a National Day for protests against the establishment of the pension scheme for the private sector proposed by the govt. more..

TNA welcomes agreement

May 19 (DM) The TNA welcomed both Sri Lanka and India agreeing that the end of armed conflict here created a historic opportunity. In a statement the TNA welcomed both Sri Lanka and India agreeing that the end of armed conflict here created a historic opportunity to address all outstanding issues in a spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation imbued with political vision to work towards genuine national reconciliation. more..

Monsoon at the end of May

May 19 (DM) The temperature in the country had gone above the 30-year average, the Department of Meteorology said yesterday. A spokesman from the Department said the temperature in Anuradhapura and Ratmalana were 0.2 c degrees more than the average temperature which the country experienced during the last 30 years. The highest temperature of 34.8 c degrees was reported from Anuradhapura last morning while more..

Few dansals asked not to distribute food

May 19 (DM) Contaminated food have been found at a few Vesak dansalas in the country while the organizers had been asked not to distribute the food, the Public Health Inspectors Association said. According to PHI Association nearly 602 dansalas in the country had been inspected on Tuesday, the Vesak Poya Day. An official from the Association said no warnings had been issued against any dansal organizers. more..

Zoo authorities now more cautious in getting animals from abroad

May 19 (Island) The Board of Management of the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela, unlike on previous occasions, will be extra cautious in getting down animals under the Animal Exchange Programme. Zoo Director General Bashara Gunaratne said that he had already taken steps to stop some animals being brought to the Zoo under the Animal Exchange Programme. He believed that getting animals particularly the `big ones’ would definitely more..

‘Serving Hands’ launched to help Vanni community

May 19 (Island) A section of the Tamil Diaspora is ready to work with NERDO, an NGO set up by T.S. Pathmanathan, in late 2009 for the benefit of the war-affected Tamil speaking people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Under the auspices of NERDO, a small group of Tamil Diaspora based in Canada recently launched ‘Serving Hands’, a charity organization dedicated to the wellbeing of the war victims. more..

Two U.S. men carrying a weapon arrested at Sri Lankan airport

May 19 (NN) Two Americans were arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) last night while attempting to smuggle out parts of firearms. Investigations have revealed that the two Americans had arrived in Sri Lanka as tourists onboard a passenger ship. Security officials at the BIA had checked the two Americans when they were about to leave for the US via Qatar. On being checked the security officials found parts of firearms hidden in the baggage of the two Americans. more..

'Colombo must initiate settlement to ease pressure'

May 19 (Hindu) India has advised Sri Lanka to take rapid steps domestically to ease international pressure emanating from a report on the conflict with the LTTE in which the government has nearly been accused of committing war crimes. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris met the entire top firmament of India's security and diplomatic set-up on Tuesday, following a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and more..

Sri Lanka SEC extends margin trading phase-out until end-2011

May 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday extended to the end of the year a deadline to phase out margin trading from an earlier end-June cutoff, citing the lower risk in place after brokerages cut debtor positions by 50 percent. Now, the regulators has ordered that half of all remaining margin debt must be recovered by Sept. 30, and all of it by Dec. 31. Sri Lanka's 2.6 trillion rupee ($23.7 billion) bourse is mainly driven by more..

Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children' in secret filming

May 20 (AFP) Under a cloak of secrecy, the first film adaptation of controversial author Salman Rushdie's celebrated novel "Midnight's Children" has finished shooting in Sri Lanka. Canadian director Deepa Mehta chose the South Asian island as a location instead of India or Pakistan, where the book is set, to avoid problems with religious fundamentalists. "He's got the Muslims," Mehta told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, which was granted access to more..

Jet Li to visit Sri Lanka

May 20 (NN) Hollywood actor Jet Li will be among foreign Stars arriving in Sri Lanka to participate in the International Buddhist Film Festival, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board said. The International Buddhist Film Festival which is being held from 18th - 22nd May at the BMICH is set to showcase the best in Buddhist films, photography and arts. Many international Buddhist celebrities have been invited to participate in the festival during more..

Leadership training not legal: NYF

May 20 (DM) The UNP led National Youth Front today charged that the proposed leadership training programme in military camps for the university students would be illegal as there is no provision for it in the Universities Act. National Youth Front head of the committee on Education Dhamika Wickramaarachchi told a news conference today that this is also an act aimed at scrapping the democratic environment in the university system. “There is a healthy debate in more..

Thieves steal Sri Lankan cricket team's petrol

May 20 (UG) The touring Sri Lankan cricket team were left stumped when thieves stole £700 worth of petrol from their team coach following their three day match against Middlesex at Uxbridge this week. The team had been based at the Heathrow Crowne Plaza Hotel, in Stockley Road, West Drayton. Anura Tennakoon, Sri Lanka's team manager, confirmed to the Gazette that the theft was discovered on Tuesday, when the team were checking out of the hotel. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 19.05.2011

Trio removed for fuel fraud

May 20 (DM) Three advisors to the Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Limited (CPSTL) were removed today by Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha for an alleged fraud of more than Rs.12 million worth of diesel. The three employees of the senior management of Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Limited (CPSTL) had stolen diesel from a CPSTL terminal in Muthurajawala which has the capacity to hold a diesel supply of 81,000 tons. more..

Sri Lanka students and military training

May 20 (BBC) Students’ unions have raised objections to a new government scheme under which all university entrants will have to undergo three weeks of training in military camps. They have petitioned the country’s Supreme Court to try and stop the programme which begins next week. The govt has defended the initiative which it says is about leadership skills. This Sunday morning, every student who has recently won a university place will have to report to a specified military or police camp. more..

Night-long vigil by U.K. Tamils at Trafalgar Square

May 20 (Hindu) Hundreds of British Tamils held a night-long “vigil” at Trafalgar Square, central London, to press their demand for an independent international investigation into allegations of human rights abuses against the Sri Lankan Govt. In a letter to British PM David Cameron, delivered to Downing Street, the British Tamil Forum which organised the vigil with other local groups urged him to intervene to facilitate such an investigation. more..

Frescoes at Dambulla cave temple on the verge of disintegration

May 20 (LT) The frescoes at the World Heritage Dambulla cave temple (Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya) are not being conserved and are getting destroyed says our correspondent at Dambulla. The wall frescoes and ceiling frescoes that are spread over an area of about 2000 sq. ft are facing destruction due this neglect. These frescoes have not been conserved for the last 10 years and certain frescoes have been attacked by insects. Several other frescoes have been discoloured and more..

New rules for food importers

May 20 (DM) Food importers, under new regulations to be implemented, must ensure that imports reach Sri Lanka prior to the expiration of a minimum of 60% of time before the expiry date, the ministry of health said today. A circular issued to this effect by the ministry under the Food Act of 1980 and the regulations will be effective from August 1st. Health Minister Maitripala Sirisena has instructed officials to adhere to the new regulations to the letter as it was revealed that more..

War Hero month begins today

May 20 (MoD) The month beginning from May 19 has been declared as the month of War Heroes, to commemorate valiant men and women who risked life and limb to save the motherland from ruthless terrorists. H.E Mahinda Rajapaksa, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces inaugurated the ceremonial adornment of the first war hero flag by him at the Temple Trees today. After the ceremonial adornment, the President officially handed over more..

TN police collect details of Sri Lankan national

May 20 (PTI) Tamil Nadu police today collected details of Jeevadas, a Sri Lankan national arrested from the airport here for trying to travel using a forged passport. Jeevadas, native of Jaffna, was arrested by Immigration personnel at Kochi international airport when he was about to board an Oman Air flight for Paris with a forged passport on Monday. Two members of the Q-branch of Tamil Nadu police had arrived here from Kanyakumari as part of the investigation and took details. more..

Are all Sri Lankans profiting from the peace dividend?

May 20 (G&M) The sprawling skyline of Colombo bristles with cranes these days. A $300-million port complex is under construction, on reclaimed land, and will include hotels and recreation facilities. Also underway are an architecturally innovative performing arts centre - a gift of the government of China - plus jutting glass banks, office towers, and luxury resorts. Colombo’s is one of the best-performing stock exchanges in the world, as local business people are more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeks Batti report

May 20 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked for a report from the police on the recent incidents in Batticaloa which resulted in the arrest of some members of the TMVP and the Batticaloa house of TMVP leader and Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan being searched. According to the TMVP the President had asked for a report after meeting a TMVP delegation in Colombo today led by Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan. more..

Sovereignty and responsibility

May 20 (DM) The UN was in 2007 preparing for significant returns during 2008, alongside displacements similar in scale to those in 2007 on the assumption that as the Government acts on its stated intention to disarm the LTTE, the conflict in Sri Lanka will continue and intensify, and even if it were to slow down or end during the year, there would remain very significant humanitarian needs to be met in the areas of conflict. The CHAP called for a preparedness level for up to 500,000 more..