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Electricity tariff: Concessions likely

Apr 30 (DM) Against the backdrop of widespread public outrage against the recent electricity tariff hike, the Power and Energy Ministry said yesterday there might be a possibility of bringing down the tariff for the low income groups,” officials said. The opposition parties held protest rallies throughout the country against the price hike while some govt ministers D.E.W. Gunasekara, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Wimal Weerawansa spoke against the increase and MEP leader more..

IMF forecasts stable growth in Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (FT) The IMF yesterday predicted “broadly stable” growth for Sri Lanka in the next two years with improvement in GDP pinned at a 6% range. Releasing the Asia Pacific Region’s Economic Outlook, the IMF projects Lankan economy to grow by 6.3% this year and 6.7% in 2014. The growth forecast for this year is 0.5 lower than that was predicted in IMF’s October 2012 World Economic Outlook. more..

Editorial: A case for best legal brains

Apr 30 (DM) A picture on Yesterday’s Daily Mirror front page where a police officer was saluting the controversial UPFA MP Duminda Silva at his residence and the picture’s table head ‘Can you Believe it’ raised grave questions with regard to public confidence in the independence of the police force and the judiciary. For more than 19 months since October 2011 since the Presidential Trade Union advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed during an election day brawl with more..

Ranil the unlucky Opposition Leader

Apr 30 (DM) T. S. Eliot wrote his celebrated poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ in 1917, thirty two years before Ranil Wickremesinghe was born. Therefore, it’s hardly correct to assume that Eliot based his Prufrock poem on Ranil. But, when you read through this long but delightful satirical poem, you can’t help noticing an uncanny resemblance. I don’t wish here to keep contributing to that miserable sport of lampooning Ranil (as Mr. Bean, etc). But the very fact that I suddenly thought more..

Thinking about a trip abroad? Sri Lanka should be at the top of the list

Apr 30 (AT) Where can you see the world’s largest land creature — the elephant — and the largest sea creature — the blue whale — on the same day? Sri Lanka. Rich in history and natural beauty as well as home to a magnificent coastline and warm and welcoming people, it’s the top tourist destination of the year. Colombo, a vibrant city with flavorful food markets, was a good starting point for our tour. An interesting place to more..

Dedicated staff at Neuro-trauma unit bring new hope to shattered bodies

Apr 30 (ST) It is like a scene from a science fiction movie. In walks a youth with only part of his skull, the skin covering a huge dent while on a bed elsewhere in the same building a middle-aged man smiles in hope as he gains slight sensation in his foot where earlier there was none. While for the Sunday Times this seems extraordinary, for the dedicated doctors and nurses of the Neuro-trauma Unit of the National Hospital in Colombo it is more..

No Lankans among crew kidnapped by pirates

Apr 30 (AD) There were no Sri Lankan nationals among the crew kidnapped by pirates from an Antiguan ship off Nigeria as reported by foreign media yesterday, the local agent for the shipping company said. Certain foreign media reports had stated that three Sri Lankans were among the five crew members kidnapped by pirates from the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged MV City of Xiamen container ship, which was attacked late on more..

GTF vows to discourage C’wealth leaders visiting Colombo

Apr 30 (Island) The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) vowed to intensify its campaign aimed at discouraging the Queen and main member states from attending the CHOGM 2013 though its project to thwart the meeting failed. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran said that it would go all out against the Sri Lankan govt to make it impossible for world leaders to shake hands with President Rajapaksa. more..

Northern PC polls: UNP to go it alone

Apr 30 (Island) The UNP would contest the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council election on its own, Deputy General Secretary of the party, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana said. He ruled out the possibility of seeking an alliance with other political parties. The MP was responding to a query by The Island after having toured Mannar, Madhu and Pandivirichchan over the weekend, along with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..

A nation battling for survival

Apr 30 (SL) Trade unions in the country have started to beat war drums against the govt over the increasing cost of living and the decline in the people’s purchasing power. Economists warn that the fuel price hike in February coupled with the latest electricity tariff increase would once again push the inflation rate into a double digit soon. With International Workers’ Day just around the corner, when the country’s more..

Labor MP calls for Sri Lanka CHOGM boycott

Apr 30 (ABC) A federal Labor backbencher has broken ranks and called for Australia to boycott the CHOGM in Sri Lanka later this year. Canada's govt has already threatened to boycott the November meeting in protest against alleged human rights violations. A newly released Amnesty International report has accused the Sri Lankan govt of intensifying a crackdown on critics through violence and intimidation. more..

'6,000 Lankans still living under bridges'

Apr 30 (CT) UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake charged that the govt is not doing anything to ease the suffering of migrant workers who have assembled under bridges in various cities because of the Saudi Arabian crackdown on illegal migrant workers under a Saudization programme. He said over 6,000 Sri Lanka migrant workers have assembled under bridges along with migrant workers from other countries including more..

President discusses Dambulla sacred area development plan

Apr 30 (GDI) A discussion was held at Temple Trees presided by President Rajapaksa, Monday on theo implementation of Dambulla Sacred Area Development Plan. At this discussion the President has instructed the relevant officials to expedite development activities in the Dambulla Sacred area while preserving the archaeological values. The President also emphasised the importance of compensating the residents more..

TNA faces split as North gets into poll mode

Apr 30 (ENS) As Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern Province gets into the election mode, with the Northern Provincial Council elections due in just five months’ time, the TNA is facing a split over the issue of registering it as a single legal entity. Four of the five constituents of the TNA have given the ITAK a two-week deadline to decide whether it wants the TNA to be registered with the Election Commission as a single legal entity or not. more..

Editiorial: CHOGM can reform Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (CT) Australian Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr, has insinuated that apart from Canada, all other Commonwealth countries are likely to attend the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka in November this year. Canada and its Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, appear to be the lone voice of opposition to CHOGM being held in Colombo. Ottawa's objections are largely driven by its domestic constituent pressure, but they also have a grain of truth as far as Sri Lanka's grim human rights record more..

Social history analysis through ancestry

Apr 30 (CT) Writing a family history is a formidable undertaking. When Rajiva asked me to say a few words on the occasion of the launching of his book, I am amazed now at the light-hearted way in which I accepted his invitation. I was recalling, I think, the playful spirit in which I started writing a book about my own family in 1980, and I had quite forgotten the hard labour that occupied the five and a half years which passed before Relative Merits appeared in print in 1986. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Axing of CMC excess staff issue unresolved

Apr 30 (Island) The controversy surrounding the reduction in the number of employees at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), as proposed by the Salaries and Cadre Commission (SCC) and the counter proposals of the Weerakkody committee, appointed by the Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil, still stand unresolved with a final decision dragging on for several months. The Island reliably understands that officials of the Management Services Department (MSD) of the Finance more..

'Sri Lankan Tamil refugees being trafficked'

Apr 30 (PTI) Govt today said Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are being trafficked on the pretext of sending them to Australia and more than 1,100 such persons have been intercepted by security forces. "As per inputs provided by the state govt of Tamil Nadu, there are reports that Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are being trafficked on the pretext of sending them to Australia," Minister of State for Home RPN Singh told Lok Sabha. He said since 2010 and till date, 1,163 Sri Lankan Tamil more..

Opposition slams govt. on Rs. 315 bn re-fleeting programme

Apr 30 (Island) The Opposition slammed the govt over its spending a whopping Rs. 315 billion on the proposed re-fleeting of the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, claiming that the State had got all its priorities wrong. "The govt has planned to re-fleet the national carrier at a time when the airline itself has made a massive Rs. 29 billion loss last year and also at a time when govt expenditure was Rs. 1,553 billion while more..

Funds to pay Ministers' & MP's bills from people's pockets

Apr 30 (LT) Internal audit sections of ministries report that all electricity bills of ministers, deputy ministers and govt MPs are being paid from public money. The audit report of the Ministry of Mass Media and Information reveals present Chairman of CEB W.D. Ganegalla paid Rs.61,000 electricity bill for January this year and Rs.51,000 bill for electricity consumed in December last year for the official residence of the Minister of Mass Media and Information. more..

'Reducing electricity tariffs by 20% will not solve the problem'

Apr 30 (AD) The President has advised the Power and Energy Ministry to reduce the electricity tariff hike by 20%, the UNP claims, adding that increasing the tariff by 100% and then reducing it by 20% will make not solve the problem. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake stated that the President will announce tomorrow at the May Day rally that he has directed the Ministry to reduce the tariff increase for bills under 150 units by 20%. He said that the President, without attending the more..

Lankan domestic workers not affected by new Saudi law

Apr 30 (Island) In the wake of fears that south Asian workers, employed in Saudi Arabia, are likely to be hit hard as the Kingdom goes ahead with its plans to expand employment avenues for its own nationals, the SLBFE however said that Lankan workers there would not be adversely affected. SLBFE Deputy General Manager Mangala Randeniya said that the new labour law, ‘Nitaqat Law’ would affect expatriate professionals more..

Teachers in children’s hospitals,wards

Apr 30 (Island) The Education Ministry will from today, for the first time in the country’s history, assign teachers to children’s wards/hospitals to ensure the continuation of the children’s education while receiving treatment. The programme will be launched at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Borella with the participation of Ministers Bandula Gunawardena and Maithripala Sirisena. Four teachers would be attached to the country’s premier children hospital as the first step. more..

Fonseka to hold first May Day rally

Apr 30 (CG) The Democratic Party led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka wil hold its first May Day rally tomorrow, the party said in a statement. The rally is to be held at the Budhadasa grounds in Pellaweatte, Battaramulla tomorrow. This is the first May Day of the party which was officially registered as a political party recently. The Department of Elections had registered the new political party of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka at the beginning of this month. more..

Fmr. Inland Revenue Asst. Commissioner sentenced in VAT scam

Apr 30 (AD) A former Assistant Commissioner of Inland Revenue was sentenced to 14 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to involvement in the Rs.3.9 billion VAT scam. He was sentenced to 14 months in prisons and fined a sum of Rs 500,000 and will serve an additional two years in jail if failed to pay the fine. Another defendant in the VAT fraud case was also sentenced to two years in prison and fined Rs 60 million. more..

School master swindles students to the tune of Rs 1 M

Apr 30 (CT) The Anuradhapura Police arrested a school master attached to a government school, who sources said also conducts tuition classes, for allegedly swindling nearly Rs 1 million from his students, promising to secure jobs for them in the State sector. The suspect was produced before the Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge for Anuradhapura, Ruwandika Marapana, who ordered that he be remanded. The Magistrate also ordered the management of private and State banks, more..

SL Mission to the UN hosts a reception

Apr 30 (GDI) The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations hosted a well-attended reception today on the upcoming Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in Sri Lanka. Guests were treated to a range of Sri Lankan food, music and a video on Sri Lanka. The CBF, which is held alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Govt meeting, draws on a range of investors and business people from over 54 members of the commonwealth and other countries. Over 200 guests attended the reception more..

Sri Lanka's BB- sovereign rating confirmed

Apr 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 'BB-' sovereign rating has been confirmed with a stable outlook by Fitch on tighter monetary policy and corrective measures to stem balance of payments troubles but warned of rising foreign debt. "Persistence with tighter monetary and fiscal policies should help improve Sri Lanka's external liquidity position," Fitch Ratings said. Fitch said Sri Lanka's rating balances the country's resilient growth performance, more..

Arrested for attack on Malaysian politician

Apr 30 (PTI) An Indian and two Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a Malaysian politician in Bidor town in Perak state ahead of the May 5 polls in the country. According to the police, the 32-year old politician's car was blocked by two cars while he was driving to Bidor town yesterday. When he stepped out to question why he was being stopped, he was punched by the assailants. "He got into his car and drove to the Tapah police station to lodge a report," more..

'Govt not keen to hold Northern PC polls'

Apr 30 (CT) UNP Western Provincial Councillor, Mujibur Rahuman, alleged the govt is not keen on conducting Provincial Council elections in the North because the Northerners would vote against the govt, and ensure the govt is defeated. He claimed that despite the govt's claims of development and establishing democracy in the North, there was no such thing happening as the military continued to control the area. Displaced people have not been resettled and are still living in refugee camps, more..

Sri Lanka's inflation eases to 6.4% in April

Apr 30 (LBO) Inflation in Colombo rose 6.5% in April 2013, from a year earlier, easing down from 7.5% in March. The Colombo Consumer Price Index fell 0.5% or 0.8 points during the month to 170 points during the month helped by a 1.4% fall in the food component of the index. Non-foods rose 0.4%. Central bank has expected the inflation to ease off from March, as the base effect of currency depreciation in early 2012 wore off. more..

Over 1,000 foreign investors to attend CBF

Apr 30 (GDI) Over 1,000 top foreign investors and business personnel from Commonwealth and non Commonwealth countries were expected to participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) which will be held in November as a part of the Commonwealth Heads of States Meeting. The govt has formed a special forum under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister Neomal Perera to bring together over 1,000 business and Govt leaders to the largest business event, more..

FUTA to focus issues in the education system on May Day

Apr 30 (ST) The Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) marks May Day as an occasion to generate awareness of the threats to free education faced by the people of Sri Lanka today. "We are aware of the fact that the gradual shift of the financial burden of education on parents and families due to the government’s systematic withdrawal from the state education system has serious financial consequences of working people. We believe it is extremely important that more..

Fly to Mattala and enjoy adventurous Yala or the serenity in Kataragama

Apr 30 (GDI) Fly to the newly commissioned Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) with SriLankan Holidays to be a part of an adventurous Yala safari or to experience the serenity of Kataragama. SriLankan Holidays, the leisure arm of SriLankan Airlines, while unravelling for the first time, the pleasures of flying to a domestic destination amidst world class comforts, is introducing an all-inclusive package which more..

Mixed performance in transport sector in 2012: CB says

Apr 30 (ST) The 2012 Central Bank report recorded unusual trends in the transport sector with the registration of new motor vehicles decreasing sharply in 2012 compared to 2011. The number of new vehicles registered in 2012 reduced by 24% with the number of cars registered decreasing by 46% compared to 2011. The number of buses and three wheelers registered fell by 27% and 29%, respectively. These declines are largely attributed to the rise in excise duties on imported more..

Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims come together to stop religious intolerance

Apr 30 (AN) In a spontaneous and peaceful manner, thousands of young Sri Lankan Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims poured into the streets of Colombo to protest against recent acts of violence and persecution perpetrated by radical Buddhist groups. Their aim is to stop ethnic-religious intolerance and emphasise the joy of diversity. "We're still recovering from a long civil war," Marisa De Silva said. "Yet we see signs of hatred grow in our society," said the Catholic woman and one of the organisers more..

Internet hacker Marusira remanded

Apr 30 (DM) A local internet hacker, who is alleged to have operated the website and provided software and codes to his clients to access and hack other websites, was produced in Court and remanded till Thursday. The suspect Gayan Ushantha Silva of Dharmasoka Mawatha, Kandy was arrested by the CID and produced before Colombo Chief Magistrate. The arrest was made on April 29 after a complaint more..

16 May Day rallies in Colombo

Apr 30 (GDI) The UPFA prepares to mark the May Day this year with the working masses on a grand scale. More than one million people will participate in the UPFA May Day Rally representing the SLFP and other alliance parties. The procession will start from the Nelum Pokuna Mawatha at 12.00 noon and will proceed through Horton Place, D.S. Senanayake junction and arrive at Campbell Park via Baseline Road Borella. The rally will start at 3.00 pm under the patronage of President Rajapaksa. more..

'Alliance unity will not get breakup in Tamils rights struggle'

Apr 30 (OU) The news items circulated that there are opportunities for breakups within the TNA, was explicitly rejected by TNA Leader R.Sambanthan. Differences of opinions exist in Democratic Party similarly in Alliance too, however efforts to acquire the Tamils rights, finding a permanent and a justified settlement, the current journey will not at all retreat. Sambanthan said, all the associates of the TNA are with confident, functioning with unity and with clear perspective. Sambanthan attended more..