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President graces the 23rd KDU Convocation

Oct 30 (MoD) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the 23rd Convocation of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) as the chief guest yesterday evening (29) at the BHICH in Colombo. Chairman of the Board of Management of the KDU and Secretary to the Ministry Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa was also present at the occasion. Officers of the 27th KDU Intake, more..

Heavy Fuel sell out

Oct 30 (SL) The CEB cost estimation for 2013 was Rs 256 billion, while Rs 33 billion of this figure was obtained through the increase in the price of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) from Rs 65 to Rs 90 per litre as of April this year. The Ceylon Petroleum Company (CPC) claimed that the increase in the pricing would enable them to recover the losses incurred in supplying fuel to the CEB. However, during the first half of this year, more..

EO-3 toll rates kept high purposely

Oct 30 (Island) The high toll rates for the 25.8 kilometre Colombo – Katunayake Expressway (EO-3) contrasted to those of the Southern Expressway, which was nearly four times as long, due to the huge construction cost and heavy demand for the EO-3. The country’s second expressway, EO-3, was built at a cost of USD 350 million, and will cut travel time from the Kelani Bridge to the BIA to less than 20 minutes, more..

Health Unions threaten to strike on 1 Nov

Oct 30 (CT) The Joint Council of Health Unions threatened a 24-hour token strike on 1 November, to protest against the failure of the Ministry of Health to address salary anomalies among other issues. Addressing a media briefing today, they maintained the measure they are resorting to, is due to the failure of repeated discussions and negotiations held over the years with the relevant authorities of the Health Ministry, in particular more..

Rs. 15 million spent for CHOGM website

Oct 30 (SM) Around Rs. 15 million has been spent for the CHOGM website, UNP MP Harsha de Silva says. He said that such a staggering amount is spent while websites are established in the country for even Rs. 12,000. To this, Deputy minister Neomal Perera said that the amount has been paid by the Finance Ministry. However, the name of the web developers have not been mentioned in the CHOGM website. more..

Power tariff revision likely only after May

Oct 30 (Island) The Power and Energy Ministry said that there could be a downward revision of electricity tariffs after May 2014. The Ministry would not go for a tariff revision until the Norochcholai Second Phase was commissioned in December and its third phase completed by next May, a high ranking official said. The first coal-fired power plant which came into operation in 2011 contributed 300MW to the national grid. more..

Commonwealth report notes army role

Oct 30 (CG) Commonwealth Election Monitors have noted in their final report on the NPC Elections held last month, that the military’s alleged involvement was a key feature of the election campaign period. The monitors have, in a seven point recommendation, noted that the involvement and influence of the military in an election campaign is serious and disturbing and must be investigated and strictly avoided in the future. more..

Security alert across Tamil Nadu

Oct 30 (Hindu) A security alert has been sounded across Tamil Nadu following an attack on two Post Offices in Chennai early on Tuesday. Armed security personnel were deployed to guard vital installations, particularly Sri Lankan establishments and Central Govt offices, police sources said. In Chennai, security was strengthened at the office of the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Southern India, Mahabodhi more..

'No room for bilateral issues at the CHOGM'

Oct 30 (Island) There wouldn’t be room for bilateral issues at the CHOGM next month, an authoritative official said. "The CHOGM is primarily to discuss issues pertaining to the Commonwealth, therefore bilateral issues cannot be accommodated in the formal agenda," the official said. The official was responding to a statement attributed to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Premier Cameron was quoted as having told Nobel laureate more..

Replacing mobile phones with landlines

Oct 30 (CT) A news item in Monday's issue of this paper may have had many wondering, what next. In a report headlined, 'Land phone facilities for prisons mooted' it was revealed that plans were afoot to install landlines in prisons across the country in a bid to keep cellular phones out of prison cells. The first landline for prisoners, the report revealed, is to be installed in the Welikada Prisons, and discussions have already been held with Sri Lanka Telecom, and the projected period for more..

The legacy of Lakshman Wickremesinghe

Oct 30 (CT) Lakshman Wickremesinghe, Bishop of Kurunagala from 1962 to 1983, died 30 years ago, on October 23rd. He was undoubtedly the most impressive Anglican Bishop Sri Lanka has produced, and with every year that passes his stature seems to grow. Much has been written about him recently, most notably in Rajan Hoole’s detailed assessment of what happened in July 1983. Hoole shows how those events contributed to his premature death for, though he had a heart condition and more..

Sri Lanka hotels profits may be squeezed by rising labour costs

Oct 30 (LBO) Shortfalls of labour amid fast growth in Sri Lanka's tourism sector may squeeze profits and undermine industry attempts to boost product quality, an official said. "We will seriously need to see how we can halt the current shortage of staff," Jayantissa Kehelpannala, president of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka said. "As more hotels open, competition among hotel operators, workers seeking more..

Murder of British tourist: Six suspects indicted in Colombo HC

Oct 30 (Island) UPFA Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Vidanapathirana and five other suspects were yesterday indicted in the Colombo High Court, over the murder of British tourist Khuram Shaikh and the gang rape of his girlfriend Victoria Alexandria, at The Nature Holiday resort in Tangalle on Christmas Eve 2011. They were indicted on 17 charges before Colombo High Court Judge Kumudini Wickremasinghe. The other accused are Lahiru Kelum alias Ravindra, Saman Deshapriya, more..

Ranil deceives the Maha Sangha

Oct 30 (CT) Anunayake of the Ramanne Nikaya, Ven. Girambe Ananda Thera has written to the UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, inviting his attention to the eight-point proposal handed over to him by the Maha Sangha, which are aimed at propelling the UNP on a victorious journey. He had also emphasized the need of honouring the trust placed in Wickremesinghe, by quoting the words of Lord Buddha in this regard, and had requested Wickremesinghe to prepare the necessary more..

FMM workshop raided

Oct 30 (SM) Immigration officers as well as defence personnel have raided a workshop held by the Free Media Movement (FMM) organisation at the Janaki Hotel, Colombo, today. Two foreigners who were at the event have been arrested, reports say. Officers from the Emigration and Immigration Department have said that it is illegal for these two foreigners to attend such a workshop, as they are in Sri Lanka on tourist visa. more..

UNP MC wants casinos, prostitution legalised

Oct 30 (Island) UNP Colombo Municipal Councillor, Attorney-at-Law, Nadil Malagoda says that the government should bring in casinos but ensure that it is not done at the expense of the rights of people living in the city. "This country has an open economy and for the economic advancement not only casinos but also prostitution should be legalised," the councillor said. He was addressing a meeting of UNP youth activists in Kollupitiya yesterday. He said that the UNP could more..

Video: ‘Rajapaksa name’ carries weight at elections: UNP

Oct 30 (DM) The UNP said today that a candidate having the surname ‘Rajapaksa’ when contesting a Provincial Council election was considered a qualification for the post of chief minister. “When Shashindra Rajapaksa got the highest preferential votes in the previous Uva Provincial Council election, he was appointed the Chief Minister there, but when Anuradha Jayaratne won the highest preferential votes in the CPC election, he was not given the same priority. more..

Watchdog slams Sri Lanka navy chief heading ship firm

Oct 30 (AFP) An anti-corruption watchdog criticised the appointment of Sri Lanka's navy chief as head of the country's shipping company, calling it a further sign of the military's growing influence. Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage took over as chairman of the state-run Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) on Tuesday which he will run along with the navy, the navy said in a statement. "With his vast knowledge and professional more..

‘Battle royale’ forces closure of Kalmunai Zahira College

Oct 30 (Island) A fight between a Deputy Director of the Kalmunai Zonal Education Office and the Deputy Principal of Zahira College led to the national school being closed early yesterday as students and parents began a protest alleging that the latter had been assaulted unfairly. It is alleged that Deputy Director of Education A.L.M. Mukthar, attached to the Zonal Education office, Kalmunai had the habit of frequenting the national school. According to school sources, around 11.00 a.m., Mukthar visited more..

Troops given training to mitigate human-elephant conflict

Oct 30 (CT) The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) conducted an awareness workshop for Army personnel stationed in the Wanni region, on how to mitigate the human-elephant conflict in the area. The troops attached to 54 Division, under the Security Force Headquarters-Wanni (SFHQ-W) attended the workshop, where they were lectured on how to deal with the human-elephant conflict. It also educated them on how to prevent the damages caused to human habitats, more..

'City, casino, underworld and brothel' is the govt’s new concept - UNP

Oct 30 (AD) The govt’s newest concept of governance is the city, casino, underworld and brothel, UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilaka stated. Certain people in the govt who talk about ethics are now preparing to gamble at casinos, he said while addressing a press briefing today. He stated that the govt was willing to do anything to make money and that after the casino trade, prostitution and the underworld will be more..

Frogs to destroy dengue carrying mossies

ct 30 (Island) Research conducted by the Peradeniya University has revealed that polypedates cruciger (a species of frog found in Sri Lanka) could be used to control Dengue. Dr. Madhawa Meegahakumbura of the Peradeniya University, who conducted the research, has discovered that mosquitoes which spread dengu are more tempted to lay eggs in pools of water and those eggs become the prey of polypedates cruciger. Dr. Meegaskumbura stated those facts had more..

CHOGM float begins journey

ct 30 (CT) A float carrying the flags of the Commonwealth member nations started its journey from the Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil premises last week. The journey of the float was organized by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation (SLRC) and the Independent Television Network (ITN), with the support of the Ministry of Mass Media and Information. The journey of the float kicked off from Nallur, Jaffna in order to create awareness about the CHOGM to be held in Colombo. more..

Women battle on after Lanka war

Oct 30 (IPS) The battle might have been over four long years ago, but for the women in Sri Lanka’s former conflict zones in the northern and eastern provinces, the war continues. This struggle is not only about making ends meet, but also about saving their honour. 26-year-long civil war between the LTTE and the govt forces left many women the sole breadwinners for their families with their menfolk either killed, maimed or gone missing. more..

Advices to SL from the Commonwealth

Oct 30 (SM) Recommendations and ethics accepted by the Commonwealth in removing senior office bearers in the judiciary, have been handed over to the Govt of Sri Lanka, says the Commonwealth organization. Commonwealth spokesperson Richard Uku told BBC that the Sri Lankan Govt have assured that they are going to consider the Commonwealth recommendations. According to the report produced by Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC upon request of the Commonwealth, The impeachment motion more..

Cultural Minister keeps mum on casino issue

Oct 30 (Island) Minister of Culture and Arts T.B. Ekanayake declined to comment on a casino resort to be set up by Australian billionaire James Packer in Colombo. He said that he couldn’t discuss the issue with the media. Responding to media reports that President Rajapaksa intended to obtain UPFA MPs’ opinion, Minister said that he would reveal his stand to the President. The govt is under heavy fire over the proposed tax breaks for casinos operated by Lake Leisure Holdings, more..

Deyata Kirula mobile services completed successfully in Puttalam & Kegalle districts

Oct 30 (MED) Rural corporate community initiative mobile services Programme, which was commenced with the aim of providing solutions for common and personal issues was successfully completed in Puttalam & Kegalle Districts parallel to Deyata Kirula National Development Programme. Successful solutions were provided for 65662 community issues in 548 Grama Niladhari Divisions in Puttalam District and 573 Grama more..

TNA urges Army to stop demolition of houses immediately

Oct 30 (CT) A group of TNA MPs and NPC members have visited Valikamam North and urged the Army to immediately halt the demolition of the private residences in the area. The delegation comprising TNA MP, E. Saravanapavan, and NPC members M.K. Sivajilingam and Dharmalingam Siddharthan visited the former High Security Zone on Monday, where Army personnel were allegedly in the process of demolishing houses in the area earmarked by the Army for expansion. more..

Two suspects arrested for stealing Rs.1.5 mil worth of electrical appliances

Oct 30 (AD) Two suspects accused of stealing around Rs. 1.5 million worth of electrical goods from several stores were arrested by the Kochchikade police today. The suspects are alleged to have cut the locks to the stores which they then robbed during the night time while an anonymous tip led police to apprehend and question one of the suspects following which they arrested the second suspect in Negombo. Police also managed to seize several stolen items including more..

'Far-reaching changes to Grade-5 exam'

Oct 30 (DM) The Education Ministry hopes to introduce far-reaching changes to the Grade-5 scholarship exam as a result of requests from parents, educationists and educational psychologists to abandon it because it was hugely stressful to students, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. He said he was awaiting the recommendations of the Cabinet Subcommittee and the Education Policy Reform Committee more..

19 Indian fishermen released by court

Oct 30 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan court on Wednesday released 19 Indian fishermen on completion of their judicial remand period. The fishermen, said to be from Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, were arrested in September 2013 for alleged illegal fishing activity near the Delft islands off Jaffna. According to sources at the Consulate General of India in Jaffna, the fishermen have been handed over to the Indian Consulate General’s office and will be sent home later this week. more..

Vigneshwaran admitted to Jaffna hospital

Oct 30 (CG) Doctors at the Jaffna teaching hospital said that they will continue to monitor the health of Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran after he was admitted this afternoon. Wigneswaran had gone to the hospital to have some tests done and was later admitted to the cardiac unit of the hospital. The Jaffna hospital said that the Chief Minister was in good health but they will continue to monitor him for 24 hours.

'SL facing disaster on mountain of debts'

Oct 30 (DM) UNP MP and economist Harsha de Silva in a hard hitting interview warned that Sri Lanka was heading for a disaster because the govt was borrowing and borrowing at high interest rates, not for development, but to repay earlier debts. Exposing the whole façade and false figures given by govt officials, he said the honeymoon with China was over because China has achieved its objective in Sri Lanka and anymore loans more..

Credible Sri Lankan war crimes investigation on the horizon

Oct 31 (HP) At the UN General Assembly's 68th session in late September, a major stipulation was laid out by UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in reference to the shocking slaughtering of tens of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamil civilians in the spring of 2009. Given strong evidence that Tamil civilians were killed primarily by government forces -- many in schools, hospitals and govt-declared safe zones -- the High Commissioner called upon Sri Lanka to more..

Strategic acts of goodwill that can sustain budding relations

Oct 31 (SL) Sustaining the working relations between the newly constituted NPC and the Sri Lankan govt would be the most important challenge for anyone concerned with the country’s longer term welfare. The extension of devolution of power to the North, even if limited, is part of a process that can lead to improved inter-ethnic cooperation and democratic practices that are in the national interest. Some of the worst abuses of human rights and violations of the Rule of Law that more..

'Grit and hard work pays'

Oct 31 (SO) The Madan tree in front of the Anuradhapura police quarters stood out among the others in the area due to its huge girth and that no one could climb on to it. One ‘Tom boy’ knowing that she couldn’t climb it in the usual way tried it by hanging on a drooping branch. “Of course, I did it. Not even the boys in the area dared to do so. But I made it. I was the Tom boy of the house, family and the area,” Thilangani recalled her mischievous childhood more..

What does reconciliation mean?

Oct 31 (Island) Judging from the opinions expressed by commentators, analysts both nationally and internationally, it is evident that Reconciliation has different meanings to different people. To some, Reconciliation is a process of healing while to others it means Truth or Justice, and to yet others it means Nation Building and/or Acknowledgement /Accountability of what happened. While any one or mix of the mentioned interpretations of what Reconciliation means more..

Mulling over culling of elephants in SL

Oct 31 (Island) According to the article entitled, "Indian Elephant Expert Critical of Conservation Methods" by Malaka Rodrigo that was published in the Sunday Times (20 Oct), based on a recent public lecture – "A Way Forward with Elephants" – delivered at a forum organized by the Federation of Environmental Organizations of Sri Lanka (FEOSL), the Indian elephant expert and co-chair of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group, Mr. Ajay Desai had recommended, more..

Budget 2014: It’s not just about numbers

Oct 31 (DM) The Appropriation Bill was tabled in Parliament earlier this month and debates on Budget 2014 will dominate Parliament from now till the year’s end. But the value of these debates to the country will depend on the integrity of consultation and information reflected in the Budget documents and related reporting. This is what is captured in the Budget Transparency Index. Much has been made in Sri Lankan media of various stakeholders more..

Obliterating party lines and Mahinda-litics

Oct 31 (CT) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri says political parties in Sri Lanka are obliterating. Instead, he says, there are new centres of power. The SLFP, for instance, is no longer functional. The UPFA, formed just 9 years ago, has replaced the grand old party. Mahinda Rajapaksa, leader of the UPFA, has transcended the party and the ruling coalition has been dwarfed by just one man. What Nirmal Ranjith presents is an interesting point of view to the present political equation. more..