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(mod) The Yal Devi train which is now plying between Colombo and Thandikulam via Vavuniya on the peace path to the North is prepared to reach Omanthai from next month.
The extension of the rail track beyond Vavuniya and the rebuilding of stations are now in progress incurring a huge expenditure.
Accordingly, to reach Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, 159 kilometres of the rail track had to be rebuilt from Vavuniya. It includes 16 railway stations, 12 sub stations and 85 bridges.
The leading Indian Railway Construction Company, IRCON has undertaken reconstruction of the line. The new signalling and tele-communication network system will also be established on the Northern railway line under this project.
(dn) Sri Lankan time will not be standardized today as decided earlier, Measurement Units Standards and Services Department acting Director Kumara Premasiri told the Daily News. The time will be standardized from April next year.
The decision has been delayed due to delay of the equipment.
The Government had announced earlier that the Standard Time will be brought into effect through the synchronization of all clocks in the country. It was earlier planned to officially gazette Sri Lanka's local time and synchronize all clocks in the country according to the standard time. Currently Sri Lanka time is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of GMT/UTC (UTC+5:30).
(idn) An "influential section" of the European Parliament has been accused of collaborating with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rump as well as its overseas supporters, and providing them a platform to spread "false propaganda" against the Sri Lankan government.
Sri Lanka Ambassador Ravinath Ariyasinghe told the 'Island' newspaper on December 19 that he had strongly protested in writing against the denial of his Government's 'right of reply' at an "exchange of views on the post-conflict period in Sri Lanka" at the European Parliament on December 6.
In a letter to the chair of the sub-committee, Heidi Hautala, who was not present at the discussion, Ambasador Ariyasinghe noted that despite his being present and demanding Sri Lanka's 'right of reply', he had been denied that right by the presiding officer at the time.
The denial, he added, "leaves the unmistakable impression that the Human Rights Sub-Committee is not interested in having a reasoned and balanced discussion on Sri Lanka, but is merely content to allow itself (the European Parliament) to be used as a platform for LTTE apologists to discredit the Government of Sri Lanka".
(ognp) Sri Lanka Railways has introduced four telephone hot-lines for the convenience of train commuters to seek assistance and to be used during difficulties, said the Sri Lanka Railways Planning Director Vijaya Samarasinghe. These 24-hour hot-lines can be used by commuters in case of emergencies taking place in trains or at railway stations.
The hot-line to be used by the public in an emergency is 011-3135202, for details on train services 011-2434315, for public views and proposals regarding railway services 0714393102 and 011-2347988 for emergency security problems inside trains.
(newsnow) The Sri Lankan government is looking at the possibility of establishing a management faculty affiliated to Sri Jayawardenapura University in the Maldives.
Accordingly, The Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayake had talks with Maldives High Commissioner Mr. Hussain Shihab at the Ministry of Higher Education today.
The Maldives High Commissioner stated that the higher education of Sri Lanka is at a higher position. He emphasized that Sri Lankan universities and higher education institutes hugely contributed to develop the status of the education in Maldives.
(ognp) The Cabinet decided to change the names of all public enterprises that begin as ‘Ceylon’ with the word ‘Sri Lanka’.
Cabinet authorized the Ministry Finance and Planning to take this matter with the Legal Draftsman and to prepare necessary legislation in a single Bill to change the names all such Statutory Boards and public corporations.
Accordingly institutions such as Ceylon Electricity Board will be known as Sri Lanka Electricity Board.
(dn) Forty villages were selected islandwide to be developed as Green Villages and the allocations have already been distributed among 20 villages for environment-friendly projects, Environment Ministry Sustainable Development Division Director Chandana Ranavinarachchi told the Daily News.
He said that rest of the villages would be distributed allocations for this program before January 20. Under this program, tree planting on sides of the roads, training of farmers for organic fertilizer usage, conservation and renovation work on tanks, afforestation and herbal plant cultivation in schools and temples etc. are carried out at village level, he said.
About 100 farmers were selected in each village by an appointed Eco Committee comprising 10 officials to carry out this project, necessary seed varieties and equipment for organic farming were distributed among them, the Director said. In addition, the Divisional Secretariats of selected villages are given Rs 30,000 to conduct suitable environment conservation activities for the village.
(ognp) Sri Lanka’s foreign policy continues to remain as non-aligned foreign policy and there is no change in this principle.
As regards the three member Panel of the United Nations appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Sri Lanka expressed its opposition to this panel when it was appointed since it was mandated to investigate about activities in Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war and since such an investigation violates the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and there is no change in this stand of the government.
It was due to the infringement of the sovereignty of Sri Lanka the panel was denied visas at that time when they wanted to visit the country and conduct investigations.
(ognp) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) is to set up guardianships for children who have lost their parents due to the war. The NCPA requests the public to be guardians of these orphaned children.
Children who have lost both their parents or either one parent in Mullaittivu totalling around 404 are placed in relatives care. However, the NCPA has to take the responsibility for the care of these children, added the NCPA Chairman.
Those who wish to help the children or to become a guardian can obtain information from the authority on the 24 hour hot line 1929. A child under aged 10 who has lost his or her parents will receive Rs 1,500 a month from the guardian and those are over 10 years will get Rs 2,000.
The guardianship of the tsunami affected children has been granted to the NCPA by the Tsunami Special Regulation Act and a similar program will be carried out in this instance too.
(dn) The Kalutara District Agricultural Committee has decided to improve the Kitul plantation in the Kalutara region. A survey conducted by them has revealed that there are over 35,000 Kitul trees in the Kalutara region. Eight thousand trees out of them are well grown for extracting Kitul toddy.
The district committee has decided, therefore to register the toddy tappers engaged in the industry and issue them necessary authorizing documents etc.
The people of these provincial areas say their extraction is purchased by the middle men who later add sugar to it and make treacle and juggary.
(dm) Sri Lanka was lobbying the USESCO to declare the pilgrim route from Seruvila in the Eastern Province to Sripada via Mahiyangane as a world heritage site, officials said today.
The UNESCO has already declared the central highlands of Knuckles, Horton Plains and Sripada as natural world heritage sites given their unique and universal biodiversity and species endemic to Sri Lanka. However, the religious and cultural aspect of Sripada was not considered in this respect.
UNESCO Country Director Preethi Perera told Daily Mirror today that the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMS), a UNESCO-affiliated body, did not consider the religious importance of Sripada because Knuckles and Horton Plains did not have any such significance.
(dn) The public can make complaints to the Police Department through E-mail and SMS. This is in addition to the 119 hotline number. The Police Department will promptly attend to these complaints said IGP Mahinda Balasuriya.
The IGP said the Police Department is allout to build a Drug Free Nation by 2011 in keeping with the ‘Maththata Thitha Concept’ of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“A special team led by an ASP had been setup to follow the court proceedings, said Inspector General of Police.”
(ognp) The southern expressway will be commissioned in June next year, while the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway is scheduled to be completed in 2012.
The Director of the Road Development Authority Mr. Ranjith Premasiri said that construction work on the Colombo outer circular road is also progressing at present. The Outer Circular Road would connect the three expressways, namely, the Southern Expressway, the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway and the Colombo-Kandy Elevated Expressway, enabling the commuters to by-pass the commercial hub of Colombo.
All these expressways will be administered by the Road Development Authority. Meanwhile, expeditious steps have been taken to renovate the Kandy – Jaffna A-9 Road which was damaged by the recent floods. Mr. Premasiri said that repair work of the Vavuniya to Jaffna sector of this road has been given to a Chinese Company. The Kurunegalla – Dambulla Road is being developed with assistance from the World Bank.
(dn) Yoga is often considered a non-competitive sport. It is a sport of self achievement. Yoga involves pushing the body beyond its limits to achieve postures and balance and poise through practice. Not by defeating an opponent but by attaining self satisfaction in your achievements.
Samantha Whybrow, a young and popular yoga teacher in Colombo has started a Sunday morning Yoga challenge at Galle face. She has challenged herself and any interested persons to complete 108 Suriya Namaskars at the Galle Face Green on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am to 9 am (on non rainy mornings of course). Samantha started this sport two Sunday?s back when she and Jagath Peththawadu of the Rotary Club of Colombo Fort decided to have a Yoga Challenge for Charity.
At the Galle Face Green they started the easiest version of the Suriya namaskar or the sun salutation which is a routine of different postures involving the ‘cobra’, ‘the downward facing dog’, ‘the plank’ and others that open out your lungs and straighten your backbone and remove any depressed feelings as you salute the sun.
(ognp) Steps taken by the Ministry of Fisheries to break the monopoly of intermediate fish Mudalalis have immensely helped in bringing down fish prices. Price of Fish sold by the Fisheries Corporation has come by an average of 22.7% from the prices that existed during December last year. This has contributed for the reduction of the prices of fish sold by the private fish vendors too by an average of 19.3%.
This was revealed by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Mr. Rajitha Senaratne addressing a Media Conference at the Department of Information on Monday.
Dr. Senaratne said that since he undertook the Ministry in June, 20 Fisheries Corporation Stalls were established throughout the island to sell fresh fish in addition to fish stalls being established in Sathosa Outlets to sell frozen fish.
Referring to future programmes the Minister said that fish harvest by next year will be increased to 500,000 metric tons, two fish canning factories will be established in Sri Lanka, and exports to European countries will be expanded considerably.
(cp) The closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras that have been set up in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo are to commence operations on Wednesday (29).
Following an initiative by the Defence Ministry, 108 CCTV cameras in 28 locations in the city has now been installed.
The cameras are to be monitored by a special unit from the Mounted Police Division building in Fort.
(cp) A country's future depends on the children and if they are happy, disciplined and skilled the country would have a bright future, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today.
Addressing the participants as the Chief Guest at the Eighth National Scouts Jamboree held at the Eraminiyaya Grounds in Angunukolapelessa in Hambanthota district, the President said that the children should be trained from the beginning to dedicate themselves for the country.
About 15,000 scouts from all over the island are participating in the Jamboree. Scouts from the North and East who were isolated due to the war are taking part in the Jamboree for the first time in 30 years. The Scouts Jamboree will end Thursday (30).
(n360) Sri Lanka is planning to introduce a “credit card” for state sector employees in its bid to encourage them to do “e-transactions”.
This is to be in line with the Government’s e-governance program which is currently underway.
Accordingly starting from January, the Bank of Ceylon will issue a “BOC credit card” for state employees.
Banks DGM of product and development banking C. Samarasinghe revealed, “We will start the program on the 15th of January”. According to him the Government has asked 3 state banks to launch a credit card for government employees.
“We will give a credit limit worth 3 times of their balance salary” says Samarasinghe.
(ognp) “The Government worked with proper understanding and responsibilities, we as a nation have achieved great success during the last six years since the 2004 tsunami disaster and the responsibility rests upon us to create a nation rising from the ashes instead of being melancholic with a disaster mentality “, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said addressing the function held at the Jaffna Weerasingham Hall to commemorate the National Safety Day Sunday.
“If everybody works as one people and one country we could win all external challenges,” Prime Minister Jayaratne said.
The Prime Minister said the Government has provided tsunami victims the maximum relief through several accelerated projects and Sri Lankans are fortunate to live in a country that lesser prone to disasters when compared with other countries.
(dm) This is no fable story from the movies, but the truth about the latest International TV Commercial, line-produced by The Film Team in Sri Lanka.
Orimi Trade is the leader of the Russian tea market with the largest market share. The number of origin countries supplying tea to the company includes Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, China, Kenya and Vietnam. According to evaluation of independent research agencies around 30% of all tea sales in Russia falls on the brands “Princess Noori”, “Princess Gita”, “Princess Kandy” and “Princess Java”.
The advertising agency in St. Petersburg, entrusted the job of producing a TV Commercial of high standard keeping in line with the quality of the product to a leading production house, Pandora Films. They in turn started evaluating options from different supplier countries.
(dn) The Immigration and Emigration Department will introduce an online Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) in 2011 to grant visas and monitor visa regulations. The ETA is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to Sri Lanka and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk.
Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said the ETA would make it easy for any tourist wanting to visit Sri Lanka, as the system would authorize an online visa prior to arrival.
The scheme would be in addition to the on arrival tourist visa facility provided by Sri Lanka to visitors from 83 countries. Sri Lanka provides nationals from 83 countries Visa on arrival at the port of entry. The authorization is subject to the visitors not being included in the barred list of travellers. The on arrival visa facility offers eligible travellers a 30-day stay, which could be extended for either 60 or 90 days on the payment of a nominal fee.
(cp) Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne says that seven domestic airports will be set up in the country.
He has said that a domestic airport would be established in Puttalam and six other domestic airports are to be developed in other parts of the country. The number will be increased to 30 in the future.
The Minister has said that domestic air services to the Puttalam area would be developed when Puttalam is declared as a tourist zone.
Meanwhile, the air taxi service operated by the national carrier SriLankan Airlines is to commence domestic operations in January 2011 targeting the winter season tourists.
(ognp) Work on the development of the Elephant Pass saltern which ceased operation in the mid 1980s with the escalation of terrorist activities is to commence shortly. When it was in operation, the saltern produced 60,000 to 80,000 tones of salt annually, which amounted to 40 per cent of the country's requirement.
Following Cabinet approval the government would seek expressions of interest from prospective private investors to develop and operate this saltern which lies in the isthmus of Jaffna peninsula.
(cp) Sri Lanka has decided to declare upcoming 2011 as the National Year of Wildlife Development.
Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S.M. Chandrasena says the aim of the declaration as the National Year of Wildlife Development is to attract more local and foreign tourists to countrywide wildlife parks.
The government has taken a prompt action to upgrade infrastructure in the parks and 80 percent of internal roads in them has been renovated at present, the Minister said adding that the number of tourists visited the wildlife parks had been tripled in recent months.
(cp) Sri Lanka today commemorates the sixth anniversary of the deadly Boxing Day tsunami that swept the island in 2004.
Sri Lanka remembered the thousands of people who lost their lives to the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami that hit the island six years ago with a nation-wide two minute silence from 9:25 a.m. to 9:27 a.m. today.
More than 35,000 people perished in the tsunami and over 500,000 lost their homes to the killer waves resulted from the Indian Ocean earthquake in Indonesia on December 26, 2004.
The Sri Lankan government has declared December 26 as the National Safety Day to promote a culture of preparedness among the communities for disasters and to commemorate the people who lost their lives due to all natural disasters.
(so) In a move to introduce more vocational training-based subjects to the school curriculum, the Education Ministry is making arrangements to introduce a new subject stream to the Advanced Level and Ordinary Level examinations from next year, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena told the Sunday Observer.
Minister Gunawardena said the Education Ministry along with the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry is now conducting discussions to introduce a new subject stream called Technological Studies for the Advanced Level syllabus.
However, he said it is compulsory for students to have obtained at least a pass for mathematics at the GCE O/Ls to follow technological studies for the Advanced Level.
(so) The Ministry of Aviation has been entrusted with the task of managing the Palali domestic airport.
The new Minister of Aviation Priyankara Jayaratne said they will consider the Palali airport on a commercial basis and introduce infrastructure that will be beneficial for passengers. He said they will also talk with other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Tourism to convert this airport into a comprehensive commercial airport.
The Minister said they would rapidly develop the Ratmalana airport to make it an international airport where charter aircraft and mini aircraft could land. "We would consider re-introducing a Customs and duty free facility to cater to international traffic," he said.
The BIA would also get additional infrastructure including a new airport hotel, a domestic terminal and a railway station inside the airport.
(so) A young, innovative Consultant Neuro Surgeon, Dr. Prasanna Gunasena attached to Lanka Hospitals, Colombo, has done the nation proud by performing, for the first time in Sri Lanka, surgery for servical disc prolapse of the spine and replacement with functional discs.
The surgery was carried out successfully on a man in his forties last week with the participation of Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Dilshan Gunadasa. Hitherto, only a surgical procedure known as 'cage infusion' for disc prolapse was being performed in Sri Lanka as treatment for the condition and its disadvantage was that it leaves the specific part of the spine static, Dr. Gunasena told the Sunday Observer.
Functional disc replacement is carried out in England, many other European countries, Canada and also in India, but only at specific medical centres where the latest cutting-edge technology is available, he said.
Dr.Gunasena had also performed, for the first time in Sri Lanka, 'balloon kyphoplasty' surgery for spinal code fractures, which is common among osteoporosis patients.
(dn) A solar power park will be constructed at Barutankanda, Hambantota with the assistance of the governments of Japan and Korea next year.
Under its first phase Japan will grant Rs 1,024 million to build a solar power plant with a capacity of 737 kw. It is expected to be completed by August 2011, said a press release issued by the Power and Energy Ministry yesterday.
During the second phase another solar power plant will be established at the same park with Rs 513 million assistance from the Republic of Korea.
(cp) The Sri Lankan Government has taken steps to enforce vehicle safety measures and curtail vehicle import rackets.
The government has made wearing seat belts compulsory for drivers of newer vehicles and imposed a ban on using mobile phones while driving to ensure road safety.
The government has made it compulsory to import passenger buses and lorries with seat belts.
(dn) All zones in the Yala National Park will be opened for local and foreign tourists from January 1, said Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister S M Chandrasena.
The Minister who disclosed this at a press conference held after an inspection tour of the Yala National Park and the Uda Walawa Elephant transit home, said with the opening of the Magampura Port and the Mattala International Airport more tourists are expected to visit the Yala National park.
He said his Ministry hoped to develop the park into an international standard to cater to the expected high tourist traffic.
(dm) The government is considering the pros and cons of scrapping the Poya holiday for the mercantile sector from next year, Labour Relations Minister Gamini Lokuge said yesterday.
The public, bank and mercantile sectors enjoy the Poya holidays now.
We have not taken any such decision. There are requests. We are now holding discussions with the tripartite which comprises employers, employees and the government,” he said.
(dn) The purpose of celebrating Christmas is to enshrine the message of peace and love in one’s heart, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a Christmas message.
(dm) The Catholic Bishop’s Conference, in a Christmas message said yesterday it was necessary not only to identify the obvious dangers to peace but also the insidious dangers to its restoration in Sri Lanka.
“Let us, therefore, be agents of peace and share with all our brothers and sisters the gift of peace Christ has brought to us and be resolute in working towards the realization of lasting peace in our nation aware that peace is not simply the absence of war or violence,” the Bishops said.
May our celebration of Christmas be a time of sharing of God’s gift of love and peace, particularly with the less privileged and help alleviate the pains of those who suffer due to poverty and various ills of our society. The journey ahead is difficult and arduous.
(dm) Sri Lanka will build two Formula tracks to conduct motor races in the country, the state owned radio said.
A delegation headed by the President of the World Motor Car Racing Association, John Todd, who arrived in the country to look in to the possibility of constructing these tracks in Hambantota and Colombo, held talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse at Temple Trees yesterday.
(dn) The Wildlife Conservation Department introduced a Protected Area Habitat Health Management System which involves organized periodical patrolling system with new technologies such as Remote Sensing, Geo-Informatics (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to detect illegal activities in jungles.
The Department trained its first batch of specially trained wildlife patrolling group from December 11 to 14 with a real life practical component including three days patrol operation.
The trainees were equipped with knowledge in satellite based remote sensing, geo-informatics for law enforcement, global positioning system (GPS) and navigation and use of VHF radio systems in law enforcement.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government has allocated Rs. 400 million to the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LRDC) to dig 10 new reservoirs in and around Colombo to prevent floods in the future.
LRDC General Manager Shyama Gunawardhana has told the media that work in Pelawatte, Thalawathugoda, Madiwela and Waters Edge premises were underway.
The construction of the first flood water reservoir began last month in a state land of 17 acres at Rampalawatta, Pelawatta in Battaramulla.
The reservoirs once completed are expected to store the rain water and prevent flooding.
(dn) The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) has made a fresh initiative to propose a Railway Electrification Project to the Government.
It has come consented to act as a catalyst throughout the project planning and implementation stages.
IESL President Prof Ananda Jayawardena said the initial project will cover Panadura-Colombo-Veyangoda areas and the total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 5,222 million. The annual savings that will accrue to the country would be Rs 304 million, at the present costs of diesel and electricity.
Elaborating on the benefits he said at the present prices of diesel at Rs 73 per litre and the average price of electricity of Rs 15.50 per kwh, the energy cost saving per train-km is estimated to be Rs 190.
(dm) A nation-wide two minute silence will be maintained from 9.25 am to 9.27 am on Sunday (26) as a mark of respect for all those who died in the 2004 tsunami, the Disaster Management centre said.
The National Safety Day that is to be held to commemorate tsunami victims will be held at the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna this year under the patronage of the Prime Minister D. M Jayaratne.
Minister of Disaster Management, Mahinda Amaraweera asked all citizens in the country to observe silence from 9.25 a.m to 9.27 a.m as a mark of respect for those who died in the tsunami.
(dm) Eleven Sri Lankan crew members onboard the hijacked Saudi Arabian flagged oil tanker- MV Al Nisr Al Saudi, returned to the island early this morning.
Thirteen Sri Lankans were onboard the MV Al Nisr Al Saudi released by Somali Pirates on December 7th. “However the 2nd Officer and the cook remained onboard to continue sailing to Jeddah,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Bandula Jayasekera said quoting information from the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Oman D.M. Ranarajah.
The vessel, with a crew of 14 and a Greek captain, was heading to Jeddah from Japan when she was pirated in the Gulf of Aden on March 3, 2010.
(ognp) Prime Minsiter D.M.Jayarathne has said that it is the duty and responsibility of all Sri Lankans to respect other religions while honoring their own religion.
He said that the government does not give preference for or discriminate against any religion or community. The Prime Minister said that all religions teach the noble principle of moulding responsible citizens in the society, everyone should devoid of petty politics and other matters to join hands to develop the country in all spheres.
The Prime Minister made these comments at a special christmas function held at his official residence yesterday.
(ht) Till last year, the ship carried thousands of troops, civilians and supplies between the east and north coasts of a nation at war. On New Year's Eve it will carry flowing liquor and warm food on board, fireworks above, and around 400 guests gyrating to the tunes of DJs from UK and Turkey.
The ship, the Jetliner of the Sri Lankan Navy, will be the venue of a party in Colombo.
Now a private company has hired the vessel for over a million Sri Lankan rupees (around Rs 4 lakh) for the night-long party. "The party will start at 9pm and end at 7am. The cruise will end at 12:30am," organiser Keminda Attygalle said.
(gt) Qatar’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Saeed bin Abdullah al-Mansouri, hosted a reception in Colombo on Tuesday night on the occasion of Qatar’s National Day anniversary.
The function was also attended by a number of the Arab and foreign diplomatic corps and heads of the international organisations accredited to Sri Lanka, the Qatar embassy staff along with leading businessmen, the mediamen and high profile figures of the Sri Lankan society.
(dn) The Government and the Sri Lanka Tourist Board has decided to take action against illegal tour guides who operate in tourist zones especially in areas like Bentota, Beruwala, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Arugambay and Negombo. A official of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board told the 'Daily News' that legal action would be taken against tour guides who operate without Tourist Board approved licence.
The Tourist Board is also going to crackdown on illegal massage parlours and spas as well as Rest Houses which do not have licences, he said.
(tc) Saiva Mangaiyar Kazhagam in Wellawatte~ Tamil neighbourhood celebrated its 80th anniversary and Founder’s day on 11th of December 2010 at the school auditorium. It is one of the oldest Hindu Women’s School in the Island. The celebration included songs, dance and drama by the students
(dn) The Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters organized Christmas Carols in Jaffna for the first time in nearly three decades. The Christmas Carols which were organized and held at Our Lady of Refuge Church entertained the multi-ethnic and multi-religious audience for three hours.
At the inauguration of the Civil Military Coordination (CIMIC) Christmas Carols 2010, Jaffna Bishop Most Rev Dr Thomas Saundranayagam delivering his Christmas Message said that Christmas is a time to rejoice and generates happiness doing away with differences while promoting peace and harmony.
Popular artistes from the South and Jaffna, Jaffna church choirs and schools sang about 40 Sinhala, Tamil and English Christmas carols accompanied by the Sri Lanka Army band. The event commenced with prayers led by Rev Dr Michael Saundranayagam and the choir of St. Francis Xavier's Seminary Jaffna. Carols were sung in the presence of Jaffna Bishop Rev Dr Thomas Saundranayagam, Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic clergy, Jaffna Vicar General Very Rev Dr Justin B Gnanaprakasam, Security Forces Jaffna Commander Maj Gen Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Jaffna Mayoress Yogeswari Pathgunarasa, Brigadier General Staff SF-J Brig, B C J A F Rodrigo and other invitees.
(cp) Sri Lanka Health Ministry sources say the government has planned to register all pet animals to curb spread of diseases.
A pilot programme of registering the pets will commence from Sabaragamuwa Province, said the Provincial Health Services Director Kapila Kannangara.
The Ministry says the initiative aims to prevent the spread of numerous diseases via pets. Rabies is one of the major diseases spread by dogs. Recently, the health authorities warned of another deadly disease spread through urine of cats.
(dm) The Livestock Development Ministry had made inquiries about the prices of camels in Middle-Eastern countries through the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions, Deputy Minister H.R. Mithrapala said.
Mr. Mithrapala, during the budget debate earlier this month, said that the government decided to farm camels and ostriches in Sri Lanka.
Asked for the reason to farm these animals in Sri Lanka, he said that the government expected an increase of tourists from Arabic countries in the future and therefore, their favored food items such as camel milk should be made available for them in the island
“There should also be diversity in livestock industry,” he said.
(island) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage proposed to have an exclusive local television channel for sports when he met representatives of 16 sports bodies at a meeting to discuss Sri Lanka’s bid to host the 2016 Asian Games, yesterday in Colombo.
Minister Aluthgamage’s proposal had been enthusiastically received by the representatives of different sports bodies who had gathered at the sports ministry auditorium on the request of the minister.
A source said that the meeting had lasted for a long period and the minister had insisted that the respective sports bodies return to him with their ideas which will help boost Sri Lanka’s bid to host the next edition of the Games.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government is to take steps to introduce laws to impose a dress code at places of religious worship.
Cultural Affairs Minister T. B. Ekanayaka has told the media that the government is considering the introduction of legislation to impose a dress code for visitors to places of religious worship. The Minister has said that the lack of such laws has made people visit places of religious worship dressed inappropriately.
However, he added that the dress code would be made public when the new laws come into place.
(ognp) First step of establishing direct cooperation between the National Library of China and Sri Lanka.
The Ministry of Education in coordination with the National Library and Documentation Services Board launched a dedicated China Corner at the National Library and Documentation Services Board in Colombo on 16 December 2010. The National Library and Documentation Services Board the umbrella to 10,000 other libraries throughout the country.
The special unit is established under the theme ‘Window to China’ as the local component of the international programme that distributes reliable information on China worldwide. The programme also marks the first step of establishing direct cooperation between the National Library of China and Sri Lanka.
Parallel to the inauguration of ‘Window to China’ programme, an on-line catalogue that links the programme through www.natlib.lk was also declared open by The Chief Guest of the occasion Han Tao, the Political Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sri Lanka.
(dn) The construction of Anuradhapura Vijayagrahi Maha Seya (Great Stupa of the Victory) is underway with the involvement of 1,000 members of the Forces, the Police and the Civil Security Corps.
The Great Stupa of the victory is being erected on a concept of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in commemoration of the end of the war against LTTE terrorism and the dawning of permanent peace to the whole country.
The 'Chaitya' is being built within the very close proximity of Sacred Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweli Seya and Jetawanarama Dagoba in the premises of historic Maha Mevuna Uyana and will be opened for public worshiping in Poson season of 2013 or if possible earlier.
(ognp) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has strongly protested the denial of Sri Lanka’s ‘right of reply’ at an “exchange of views on Sri Lanka” held at the European Parliament last week.
In a letter of protest addressed to Human Rights Sub-Committee Chair, Heidi Hautala who was not present during the discussion, Aryasinha pointed out that in the over one hour long discussion on Sri Lanka on December 6, of the 32 MEPs on the Sub-Committee, only one chose to speak, and other than for a few comments by the European Commission, most of the time was given to a number of Non-Governmental Organizations”.
The Ambassador said despite his being present and demanding Sri Lanka’s ‘right of reply’, its denial by the Presiding officer at the time, “leaves the unmistakable impression that the Human Rights Sub-Committee is not interested in having a reasoned and balanced discussion on Sri Lanka, but is merely content to allow itself (the European Parliament) to be used as a platform for LTTE apologists to discredit the Government of Sri Lanka”.
(dm) The traditional religious observances were conducted at the Galpothawala Temple Pelmadulla over the weekend in connection with the annual pilgrim season of sacred Siripada which begins today.
The sacred relics and the statue of God Saman were taken out for the pooja last morning. The Chief Minister of the Sabaragamuwa Province Mahipala Herath also participated in the observances.
(dm) An exotic mix of spices, soaring flavours, colourful palates – this is Sri Lankan food. A hearty, tasty meal is a welcome treat in every Sri Lankan home. And our TV show producers have never missed this aspect of the Sri Lankan way of dealing with food. Targeting the ones who love to cook and love to eat ‘Rampe Karapincha’ is a new age cookery show where ‘Cooking is made intense, inviting and fun’.
This show would undoubtedly create an insatiable appetite for the viewer, who loves to watch, learn, cook and enjoy a delicious meal, thanks to the expert chefs unveiling the secrets of 5 star hotel kitchens. Two talented expert Chefs from reputed hotels in the country, are pitted against each other for a competition of kindling aromas and tongue tickling tastes.
As pots and pans tumble, as plates and smoke sizzle it's a feast for the eyes to witness the biggest food fight ever on Sri Lankan TV. Watch out for ‘Rampe Karapincha’ every Thursday at 6.30 pm on Sirasa TV.
(dn) A classification process would be initiated islandwide in canteens, restaurants and food processing places and other shops which sell food items. A mechanism will be implemented to recognize the short and long- term deficiencies in such places, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. The Minister was speaking at a function at the Polonnaruwa hospital auditorium recently.
Restaurant and eatery owners in Thamankaduwa, Polonnaruwa received certificates in recognition of their food and service standard by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena at Polonnaruwa hospital auditorium. The Public Health Inspectors( PHIs) had carried out investigations regarding the hygienic standard of these hotels in the area and accordingly the hotels were classified as A -very good, B- satisfactory and C- general. The verification certificate is to be displayed to the customers. The PHIs will be vigilant on the continuation of the standardized service.
”We have almost 200,000 eating places along the main roads in Sri Lanka supplying food for travelling public but it is not satisfactory when we consider the public complaints. This pathetic situation is threatening the public health service,” the Minister said. He further said it was PHIs duty to look into this matter and keep things in order.
(ognp) The Government has not imposed any restriction whatsoever on the ongoing development projects being carried out in the northern or eastern provinces. There are larger volumes of development projects with local and international funding carried out in the two provinces to uplift the livelihood of the people of the area.
Government vehemently denies the report published in a section of the media headlined Basil stops donor- funded new buildings in north east. The news item concerned was far from the truth and it contained several inaccuracies.
It is very unfortunate that this particular news item has been published by a leading English weekly paper as its lead story at a time when the pro-LTTE lobbyist overseas were trying to portray a negative image on the post-conflict developments in the country.
(cp) Sri Lanka Wildlife Department has renovated the tourist bungalows in the Wilpattu National Wildlife Park and opened them for tourists yesterday.
Sri Lanka Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S.M. Chandrasena opened four bungalows renovated at the cost of Rs. 80 million.
The four tourist bungalows are situated in Thalawila, Manawila, Panikkawila and Kokmote in the Wilpattu Park and the visitors can reserve them by contacting the head office of the Wildlife Department.
(dm) The Lotus Buddhist Society in Korea funds statue erected on Serigala near Aluvihare.
The Mahanayake of the Rangiri Dambulu Chapter of the Siamese Sect, Ven. Inamaluwe Sumangala Thera said that the rulers of today should support the Buddha Sasana in the country just as the kings in the ancient times did. Addressing a gathering at the unveiling of the world’s largest gold plated statue of the Buddha on Serigala rock near the Aluvihara temple at Matale, the Ven. Thera said the historic Aluvihara had been the seat of Buddhism for centuries and the centre for propagating Theravada Buddhism all over the world. He expressed his gratitude to the Lotus Buddhist Society in Korea for funding the erection of the gold plated statue near Aluvihare.
The Ven. Thera pointed out that the bi-lateral relations between the two countries would be further strengthened through such cultural activities.
The statue was unveiled by Ven. Inamaluwe Sumangala Thera.
(ognp) UN informed of its readiness
Sri Lankan government has informed the UN that it would make necessary arrangements for the UN panel on Sri Lanka to make representations to the Sri Lankan Commission.
Sri Lankan External Affairs ministry said that in the even of the UN SG’s panel wishing to make representations to the LLRC Commission, it will make needy arrangements to enable the panel to do so.
“This position has already been conveyed through diplomatic channels, to the United Nations in New York” the statement said.
(dn) The commemorative coin to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka will be sold to the public from December 21 through the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, 30, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 1 Head Office cash counters from 9 am to 2 pm.
This is a limited issue of 5,000 coins.A Coin will be sold at Rs 7,000.
(ucan) Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has challenged Sri Lankan young people to build a “new culture of communion” through learning languages.
Young people should learn both Sinhala and Tamil as well as other languages to help build a new culture of communion, Cardinal Ranjith told a Dec. 12 certificate award ceremony for students at the De Mazenod English Institute at Katuwapitiya in Negombo.
“Extreme nationalistic feeling and making Sinhala the only medium of instruction divided the people who share this island nation,” Cardinal Ranjith told the students who had just completed a three month residential immersion course.
(dn) Of the 1.4 million student population in the country, 1-2 percent are disabled students. They are directed towards a special education system in view of their disabilities, Sri Lanka Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled Secretary Cyril Siriwardena said.
Addressing a recently held workshop he said according to 2009 statistics 52,000 students with disabilities are referred for special education.
The Disability Organizations Joint Front Secretary R A Sirisena said, one problem that visually impaired children and hearing impaired children face is they do not receive text books on time. Text books are provided in braille by the Government only for students from year one to Ordinary Level whilst no books on their subjects or additional reading material required by Advanced Level and University students are being provided.
(dn) The Defence Ministry in association with the Media Ministry has drawn up plans to round up illegal Cable TV networks operating in the country, Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said when he met officers of the ITN at his Ministry yesterday.
He said they have received information regarding the operation of several such networks which are telecasting programs inimical to Sri Lankan identity and moral and cultural values. There is no provision for sub-standard Cable TV networks to operate in the country without permits.
(ognp) Sri Lanka Tourism is set to achieve the target of 700,000 tourists next year with the launch of the “Visit Sri Lanka 2011” by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Under the programme the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority will promote twelve themes during each month in 2011, symbolizing the twelve letters in "Wonder of Asia".This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Economic Development addressing a Media Conference yesterday.
The twelve themes will be on beaches, sports & adventure, MICE (Meetings, conferences and exhibitions), people & culture, religious tourism, weddings & honeymoons, body & mind wellness, heritage, nature & wildlife, community & education, culinary and shopping & entertainment.
The aim of the campaign is also to get the involvement and support of all Sri Lankans to develop these programmes. People’s participation in the campaign would create a safe, beautiful and pleasant environment to the visiting tourists.
(dn) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has undertaken a massive project to develop the Galle Face area and its immediate surroundings with a total investment of around US $ 100 million. The Ports Authority plans to reclaim 400 acres from Galle Face from the sea with the aim of expanding the land extent of Galle Face area.
The Galle Face expansion project will commence in another three months. The Ports Authority hopes to conclude the Galle Face expansion project within two years.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority Director Prasanna Kalutarage said they hope to sell a perch in the above area for Rs 10 million. The land will be used to build commercial buildings, luxury hotels and other high rise buildings.
(dm) Surveillance cameras which were setup covering the Colombo City will be operational from December 21st, police spokesman SP Prishantha Jayakody told Daily Mirror online.
The cameras will be utilized to observe traffic blocks and emergency situations in Colombo while assisting the police and other law enforcement agencies to identify offenders who commit crimes.
Earlier it was reported that a delegation which includes some senior police officers had gone to Singapore to study the use of the security cameras.
(dn) Measures have been taken to achieve a 31 percent increase in tourist arrivals next year, a Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority official said.
According to the projected target, over 750,000 tourists were expected to visit Sri Lanka in 2011. Over 620,000 tourists were expected to visit the country this year.
It has enabled tourists to visit all parts of the country. Besides, many new tourist attractions and locations situated especially in the North and East are a large number attracting tourists. Nilaveli and Trincomalee are among such eye catching tourist attractions.
(dn) Our sister publication Dinamina turns 101 today. With a proud record of a full century of dedicated service to the nation, Dinamina is today entering the market with a new dynamism and a new focus on assisting Sri Lanka to be the Wonder of Asia.
(dn) CIC Agri Businesses has developed a red Basmati rice for the export market. The demand for this rice has shown a marked growth as it is also healthy. The company exports rice in large quantities compared to other products of the company.
Rice is being exported to US, Canada, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
CIC Agri Businesses Managing Director and CEO Keerthi B Kotagama said Sri Lanka is enriched with both natural and human resources to be one of the best food suppliers in the global arena.
(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Transport plans to renovate the country's railway stations with modern facilities.
Among the new amenities the Ministry hopes to add to the railway stations are shopping complexes and car parks.
Most of Sri Lanka's railway stations including Colombo Fort, Maradana, and Kandy have been built in colonial times and lack modern facilities.
(ognp) Sri Lanka has taken steps to set up a disaster warning network with island wide warning towers. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has taken steps to setup Disaster Warning Network island-wide.
The DMC which operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, implemented the Disaster Management Communication and Capacity Development Project at a cost of Euro 6.5 million. Under this project 50 Early Warning Towers.Radio Communication Network covering ten Districts and a ten seater capacity call centre have been established.
With the completion of the final phase of this project there will be an Island wide emergency response network with 100 numbers of Early Warning Towers and 26 fully equipped Fire Stations in Sri Lanka.
(ognp) The annual Sri Pada pilgrim season this year will commence with the dawn of Unduvap Full Moon Poya on Dec. 20. after deposition of the statue of God Sumana Saman in the Sacred Chamber atop the Mount Sri Pada.
The relics, the statue of God Sumana Saman and other symbols will be taken from the Pelmadulla Galpoththawela Raja Maha Viharaya at the auspicious time in a motor-cade in the morning of December 19th.
The devotees would get the opportunity of paying their devotion to the sacred foot print of Lord Buddha after the special ceremony.
(dm) The cabinet has approved a proposal to provide financial benefits to singers, lyricists and musicians when their creations are telecast and broadcast over Television and Radio channels, the government said.
Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that Rs. 3.00 each will be paid to the singer, the song writer and the musician each time a song created by them, is broadcast over the SLBC. A payment of 10.00 rupees each will be paid for the three artistes when the song is telecast over the TV.
He said the gazette notification with necessary instructions and guidelines to be followed by the private TV and Radio channels will be issued shortly.
(dm) Defense authorities have decided to introduce numerous laws and regulations regarding the public and national security next year such as the restriction of the importation of dynamite and the regularization of private security agencies, Parliament was informed recently.
Also, the report says the Ministry will pay attention to the amendment of the Guns Ordinance.
The Ministry will further regulate the immigration and emigration activities at the Bandaranaike International Airport, and raise the standards of passports. A new system for the issuance of electronic National Identity Cards will be introduced next year. Accordingly, basic information will be computerized covering all the Divisional Secretariats in the country.
(ognp) The Sri Lanka is to issue a Frosted Proof crown size multi-colour silver commemorative coin in the denomination of Rupees 5000.
It is the first multi-colour coin issued by the CBSL. This coin will be ceremonially issued to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Central Bank Governor Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabral, to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The CBSL commenced operations on 28.08.1950 and completed 60 years on 28.08.2010.
This is a limited issue of Rs.5,000 coins and a coin will be sold at a price of Rs. 7,000 through the counters at the Head Office of the CBSL, 30, Janadhipathi Mawatha Colombo 1, Money Museum at No.58, Sri Jayewardenepura Mawatha, Rajagiriya, CBSL Provincial Offices at Anuradhapura, Matara, Matale, Jaffna and Trincomalee and on line through the CBSL web site; www.cbsl.gov.lk after January, 2011.
(dn) SriLankan Airlines will re-launch its services to Kochi from March 1, 2011, increasing its growing portfolio of Indian destinations to seven.
The resumption of flights links Colombo and Kerala's commercial capital Kochi on all seven days of the week. SriLankan Airlines, Indian Subcontinent Regional Manager Lal Perera said, "With the resumption of our daily service to Kochi, we will aggressively promote leisure traffic to Colombo in addition to passengers travelling via Colombo to Far East, Middle East and Europe.
The resumption of seven daily Colombo-Kochi flights will also add greater impetus to "Visit Sri Lanka 2011", when Sri Lanka opens her doors to an anticipated 750,000 foreign visitors.
(island) Now that the war is over, Sri Lanka can comfortably join the Ottawa Convention aka Mine Ban Treaty. Government sources say Canada and the UN had repeatedly urged successive Sri Lankan governments to prohibit the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines in line with the Ottawa Treaty, though the armed forces opposed the move. The Ottawa Treaty came into operation in 1997.
The UNDP has been involved in mine clearing operations in Sri Lanka since 2002, working with the government to build national capacity to plan, coordinate and execute mine clearing activities. Since 1998, UNICEF has been involved in mine risk education in partnership with the Ministry of Education and other partners as well as in providing assistance to victims.
Sources said that Sri Lanka had an opportunity to clear the country of not only anti-personnel mines, but various other types of powerful explosives devices buried in northern Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is among 40 countries, which declined to join the Ottawa Convention. The US, China and Israel are among the non-signatories to the Convention.
(dn) Sri Lanka Tourism has approved 30 local and foreign applications to start new tourism ventures last month under the one-stop-shop concept.
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa said under this program investors who have business ideas, money and a plan do not have to go from pillar to post to get approvals. All applications are processed weekly by a special team and cleared within two to three weeks if there are no environmental issues. “Investors must take the ownership and develop the business after that,” he said.
Out of these 30 ventures most of the projects are large scale investments and done by local investors, he said.
The Tourist Board has also undertaken to develop the Kalpitiya project which was dragging for about five years.
(cp) Sri Lanka government has decided to license all vehicles transporting students to schools.
The licenses are to be issued from January 01. The initiative is to be commenced from the Western Province and the police will begin to check for licenses soon.
The police will fingerprint the school van drivers and other staff as well.
All Island School Van Association and the Civil Defense Transport Association assist the National Child Protection Authority to implement this programme.
(dn) Sri Lanka's national cricket selectors yesterday named veteran Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas in the preliminary 30 man squad in preparation for the 2011 ICC World Cup which will be co hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Dashing opening batsman Jayasuriya is hoping to stage a comeback and strengthen the teams batting following his 1996 heroics where he went on to win the Player of the Series award.
The Sri Lanka preliminary 30-man squad Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Tharanga Paranavitana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Farveez Maharoof, Jeevan Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Suraj Randiv, Rangana Herath, Malinga Bandara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Dammika Prasad, Chaminda Vaas, Chanaka Welegedara, Nuwan Pradeep, Thilan Thushara.
Jayasuriya has accumulated 13,428 runs with 28 hundreds and 68 half centuries at a strike rate of 91.22. In addition he has a haul of 322 wickets with a best effort of six for 29.
Meanwhile thirty six year old dynamic left arm seamer Chaminda Vaas is also hoping to revive his one day international career after retiring from Test cricket in July 2009.
(ognp) Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa port gets listed for international shipping routes. Two International cargo shipping lines route their shipping network through this new harbor from December 18. Both these ships will transport fertilizer.
The first ship from China will call over on December 18 transporting 7,500 tons fertilizer, and will be stationed at the Rajapaksa port for three days. The second ship, from South East Asia will call over on December 23 and would be in the Port for four days.
Meanwhile, an international shipping line which has ships with floating libraries has also sought permission to anchor their ships at the Rajapaksa Port for one week. “This is a regular service which patronizes the Colombo Port and this year they are keen to use the Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port. School children would get an opportunity to visit this ship” said the Chief Engineer of the Port Agil Hewa-geeganage
(dn) A unified and concentrated effort to give prominence to Sri Pada is under way. This is part of Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa’s vision and concept. Sri Pada is part of our valuable cultural heritage. Preserving Sri Pada is a project of Tharunyata Hetak. “Sri Pada may be the most important cultural centre in Sri Lanka and we must preserve it for future generations. Giving it environmental protection is crucial,” said Environment Director Uditha Thenuwara at a press briefing held yesterday with the idea being to showcase Sri Pada as an attractive, clean and orderly destination.
It is also important to incorporate the youth. The youth must be incorporated into this effort of protecting Sri Pada.
“January 20, 2011 is an occasion that will mark the beginning of a series of religious and environmental programs aimed at restoring Sri Pada to its former glory.
(ognp) The provision of Coconut to consumers at low prices for the festive season will continue. A programme has been unveiled to provide coconuts at the rate of 30 rupees per nut for the festive season under the mediation of the Coconut Development Ministry.
Under this programme, Coconut will be sold to the people in Colombo and the suburbs via the Self- Employed Federation. At the Coconut Cultivation Board about 100 thousand coconuts were issued for distribution.
Accordingly, mobile vehicles have been deployed to carry out sales in the Nugegoda, Borella, Maradana, Pettah, Grandpass and Slave Island areas. The consumers displayed a keen interest in purchasing coconuts at reduced rates. Even long queues were witnessed near the mobile vehicles.
(m&c) At least 40 former Tamil rebels have gained entry to universities after completing their schooling while undergoing rehabilitation, a local newspaper said Monday.
Rehabilitation Commissioner General Brigiader Sudantha Ranasinghe said the rebels had forcibly recruited the students and they had to interrupt their education.
'Two of them will be selected to the medical faculty of the universities,' Ranasinghe said.
(ognp) The Sri Lanka Transport Board draws attention of the Public to the special telephone number that has been introduced for the public to forward any complaints related to problems experienced in the bus service. Complaints in this regard can be forwarded to 011-7 555 555.
Any complaints realted to the shortcoming of bus services, the malfunctioning of buses and reckless acts of bus drivers and conductors could be forwarded on the above-mentioned number.
(sg) Prayers were held in three Mosques in Galle for saving the life of Rizana Nafeek. Those who attended the prayers also signed a petition addressed to the King of Saudi Arabia for her pardon.
A Campaign under the caption of 'Save Rizana', organized by Janasansadaya and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) based in Hong Kong, took place in Galle on December 10th, 2010, which is International Human Rights Day.
More than one thousand five hundred people from Galle participated in this campaign.
In addition, a special event was also arranged at three Mosques in Galle Town during the Friday Noon Congregation in which the Mosques authorities displayed their solidarity by sparing a few minutes to pray for the survival of Rizana.
In Colombo, participants of a workshop organized by the Janasansadaya to commemorate International Human Rights Day also signed the petition addressed the King of Saudi Arabia.
(ognp) The model school bag designed by the Ministry of Education in association with the Ministry of Health is now available in the market. All school children are recommended to use this bag form the new school term in next year (2011).
The most common health problems school children face are problems in the spinal code, nerves and muscles located in the neck, shoulders and back. When school children become adults, they suffer from incurable pains in the back and neck.
The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry consulted around 200 experts before producing the scientific school bag and also consulted children, parents, school principals and teachers. Community health doctors attached to the Family Health Bureau carried out the project. The bag is rectangle in shape and edges are curved. It has two completely separated compartments. A bag suitable to the height of the child should be selected from different sizes available.
(dn) Measures are being taken to create a new island in the sea off Hambantota using soil extracted from the Magampura Port area in the future.
The island is to be used to set up hotels to facilitate increasing tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka.
A bridge will be set up connecting the land and the sea. Magampura Port Chief Engineer Agil Hewageegana said ten million cubic metres of soil has been extracted from the first phase of the Magampura Port project and it is expected to dig up the same quantity of soil from the second phase of the project.
(st) A specially-chartered flight loaded with some 180 passengers, mostly government politicians and youth, left Colombo on Friday night to attend an international Marxist-oriented student/youth festival in the South African capital of Pretoria—but the JVP has slammed its jumbo delegation as a farce.
On board the chartered Sri Lankan airline flight were some 20 MPs, an equal number of provincial councillors and more than 40 local council members, the Sunday Times learns. The others were student or youth representatives and activists from all sides of the political divide, except the left-leaning JVP, which was not invited by the government.
The anti-imperialist youth festival which is held once in four years is organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) comprising mainly Marxists student and youth groups throughout the world.
(so) The Mahaweli Authority would provide 10,000 employment opportunities to graduates within two years.
Director General, Mahaweli Authority, D.M.C. Dissanayake said that this would be carried out through self-employment projects which would be facilitated by the Authority.
He said the Authority would involve some of the graduates in ornamental fish production. "We would provide these graduates with land, financial assistance and technical guidance and also create a local and international market for them," he said.He said that this industry has great marketing potential and graduates would earn a high income through this project.
(so) Foreign Employment Promotion Minister Dilan Perera yesterday assured that the Government was prepared to pay blood money to the parents of the victimised Saudi child at any moment to release the convicted Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nasik.
The Saudi Arabian King last week withheld the death sentence passed by the Daw Admi High Courts in Saudi Arabia against Rizana Nasik following a request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to Saudi law, the housemaid could now be pardoned only by the parents of the victimised child.
Nineteen-year old Rizana Nasik of Mutur was sentenced to death by a Saudi Court in February 2005 for strangling a four-month-old baby to death while being bottle-fed. Minister Perera said according to the Sharia law, Rizana could be released if the dead child's parents gives a pardon for the victim.
(st) Sri Lanka's national anthem will remain only in Sinhala, the Cabinet decided on Wednesday. The move will mean that the current Tamil version will no longer be played at any official or state functions. At present, the Sinhala version of Sri Lanka Matha is used in all parts of the country with the exception of the North and the East which have a large Tamil population.
The decision to do away with the Tamil version, the Sunday Times learned, came after a lengthy discussion at last Wednesday night's Cabinet meeting.
President Rajapaksa told ministers that in no other country was the national anthem used in more than one language. He said there could not be two national anthems and that it was a shortcoming that must be rectified. He said, "We must all think of Sri Lanka as one country."
He said that even in neighbouring India, where around 300 languages were used, the national anthem was only in Hindi.
(dn) The Kuwait University hosted the Fourth International Conference on Social Sciences from November 29 to 30 under the patronage of Kuwait Education and Higher Education Minister and Kuwait University President Prof Moudhi Abdul Aziz Al Humoud. As part of the conference, over 25 countries participated in a two-day country promotional exhibition featuring their culture, tourist attractions, fashion, people, food and hospitality etc, which attracted thousands of visitors.
The countries participated included Asian, African, European and Western nations. Each country had promotional booths at the Kuwait University Auditorium represented by their respective Embassies based in Kuwait.
The Sri Lankan booth organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy Seva Vanitha Unit attracted a large number of visitors. The booth showcased a range of products including tourism literature, handicraft items, ornaments, gems and jewellery, culinary and food, fashion and batik items, tea, gift items etc made of local raw-material.
The visitors had the opportunity of tasting a cup of Ceylon tea and Sri Lanka’s traditional sweetmeats such as kevum, kokis, dodol, asmee. The booth was also decorated with masks, bridal outfits, sarees, cottage items, bronze-ware, silver-ware and some of the best known brands of Sri Lankan garments and products.
(ognp) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has temporarily suspended granting licences for new filling stations.
The Minister of Petroleum Industries Susil Premajantha said that this temporary suspension is to do an island wide market research. Once the research is concluded, issue of licence for news stations will commence, he further added.
According to the corporation all fuel Filling Stations Island wide which are under CPC are to be modernized on the instructions of the Minister of Petroleum Industries.
(dn) The Beeralu lace industry in Hambantota district is in doldrums. The Beeralu lace industry that flourished in Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts, since the Portuguese era, is now facing a severe crisis.
That was a cottage industry that brought a regular income for housewives. Magalle in Galle was a popular place where Beeralu lace industry flourished since the Portuguese era. This industry has a history that dates back to 395 years, historians say.
The market for the Beeralu lace shattered as a result of slackening tourist arrivals and the tsunami disaster. Now there is a scarcity of high quality thread and the prices of thread have sky-rocketed during the recent past.
(ognp) The Ministry of National Heritage has taken steps to implement a programme to identify all religious centres in the North and East and develop them as world heritage sites.
A Committee comprising intellectuals was appointed for archeological investigations in the North and East. The programme will be based on their views and decisions. One of the aims of the programme is to draw the attention of the world community towards religious and cultural values.
(dm) A Sri Lankan housemaid tortured by her employers in Qatar is to receive Rs. 648,000 as compensation. Qatari Police have instructed the employers of the housemaid to pay the amount as they were found guilty of having tortured her.
Qatari police had also ordered the housemaid’s employer to pay for her air fare in addition to the fine, which was equivalent to two years pay.
(dn) Swiss Ambassador Thomas Litscher said he would work towards establishing a direct airline connection between Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Litscher who called on Prime Minister D M Jayaratne at Visumpaya Tuesday, said over 10,000 Swiss tourists arrived in Sri Lanka last year.
The Ambassador wished that there will be increased tourist arrivals from Switzerland as the country is enjoying peace after 30 years of conflict. Litscher regretted the absence of a direct airline connection between the two countries which would help increase tourist traffic from his country.
The Ambassador referred to the presence of leading Swiss business houses such as Baurs, Nestles and Holseim which have strengthened economic and business relations between the two countries over many years.
(kt) The southern coastal city in Sri Lanka and its surrounding areas offer the ideal getaway for those looking to soothe frazzled nerves.
The Jiva Spa at the Vivanta by Taj in Bentota, Sri Lanka, is indeed a spa lover’s haven. A smorgasbord of healing therapies — from scrubs and wraps to massages and aromatherapy — offer bliss in pristine environs. Swaying palms dot the lush, landscaped greens, which in turn overlook a gleaming seascape.
Bentota, as we discovered on our recent trip to this southern coastal Sri Lankan city, is the perfect destination for city-frazzled nerves. Miles and miles of a powdery blue coastline, punctuated by golden beaches. You may loll around here all day sunbathing and listening to the oceanic symphony with nary a soul to bother you.
(dn) A bus that have been discarded as non-roadworthy has been transformed into a music classroom in Baddegama St Anthony’s College.
It had been donated to the school by Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma when he was the Transport Minister in line with his concept of using broken and not roadworthy buses as libraries. The classroom has been named Pansilu Arama.
He pointed out that unlike most schools that are complaining about not having enough resources, the Principal had done good idealistic work. This is a good example for all.
(tc) There is often a general outcry in the South that non-Tamils cannot buy land in the Northern Province. It is commonly believed in the South that Thesawalamai lays down restrictions in transferring the ownership of immovable properties to non-Tamils. They articulate that Sinhalese and Muslims cannot buy land in the Northern Province and urge now and then that the Law of Thesawalamai should be amended or repealed.
Question arises whether the Law of Thesawalamai and/or any other law impose such restrictions as some of the Southerners assume. It is absolutely an incorrect view that the Law of Thesawalamai or any other law subject to Law of Thesawalamai prevents a Sinhalese or a Muslim from buying land in the Northern Province. It is a blatant misconception of the Law of Thesawalamai due to lack appreciation and understanding of the law.
The Law of Thesawalamai is a personal law applicable to ‘Tamils with Ceylon domicile and a Jaffna inhabitancy’. One who asserts the doctrine of ‘inhabitancy’ has to prove it. Thus, it is not applicable to all the Tamils who happened to be the Tamils of the Northern Province. It is also a regional or municipal law, in that, it applies to all lands situated in the Northern Province irrespective of whether the land is owned by a Tamil, a Sinhalese, a Muslim, a Burgher or a Chinese or by any person of any other race. During the period of the Portuguese no attention was paid to the laws of the natives. The Portuguese did not codify the customs and usages of Thesawalamai.
(dm) Sri Lanka is the worst hit country by brain drain as 27.5 percent of academics leave the country annually, UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam informed Parliament today.
(dm) The External Affairs Ministry will make oral representations before the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) next April claiming control over the seabed beyond the traditional limit of 200 nautical miles, parliament was informed.
In this case, the country’s continental margin is to be delimited. The Performance Report of the Ministry which was submitted to parliament says that in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea requirement, Sri Lanka presented its submissions to the CLCS on May 8 last year.
According to the UN, Russia claims the Arctic, while the other Arctic states -- Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark -- oppose such claims. According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, countries can claim control of the seabed beyond the traditional 200-mile limit if they can prove that the ocean floor is connected to their continental shelf.
(cp) Sri Lanka Cabinet has cleared the way to establish air services between Sri Lanka and Ukraine.
According to the government, the Aeronautical Authorities of Sri Lanka and Ukraine have held discussions in October 2010 with the view to finalize an Air Services Agreement to facilitate operations between the two countries.
Under the agreement each party is to operate 7 frequencies per week for the International Air Transport Association (lATA) Winter Season 2010/2011.
(cp) Sri Lanka Navy today celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with the participation of the country's Commander-In-Chief President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka Navy originally was established as Royal Ceylon Navy in 1950 and engaged in traditional duties until Sri Lanka Became a republic. In 1972, with the introduction of new constitution Royal Ceylon Navy was renamed as the Sri Lanka Navy.
The Navy rendered a decisive task in eliminating terrorism during the humanitarian operations last year.
(dn) Remains of harbours used by ancient Chinese and Roman ships have been discovered in excavations carried out in the North and the East by the Archaeological Department National Heritage Minister Jagath Balasuriya said.
Archaeological, Archives, Museum, Galle Heritage and Janakala Centre departments come under the National Heritage Ministry.
He said kovils like Thiruketheeshwaran in Mannar and Koneshwaran in Trincomalee were identified as multi religious institutes. Steps were being taken to name them as World Heritage sites. The Minster said funds had to be canvassed from foreign countries as well as donors for conservation work.
(bbc) The UN in Sri Lanka says that the number of internally displaced people living in camps outside the former war zone has dropped drastically.
The announcement comes 18 months after the war ended and a year after camp-dwellers in the north were given some freedom of movement.
There are now about 20,000 refugees who are still not resettled and living in the Menik Farm camp.
That compares with more than 300,000 people when the fighting ended.
(dn) The light blue lotus flower known as Nymphaea Noushali should be the country's proper national flower rather than the blue lotus presently displayed, said Prof Deepthi Yakandawala of Department of Botany Peradeniya University.
She said the lotus flower displayed since the proclamation of the National Flower in 1986 is a hybrid lotus rather than the proper 'Nymphaea Noushali' which is of a light blue hue. She said the 'Nymphaea Noushali' is an endemic flower while the one which had been shown as the National Flower is not, she said.
(ognp) GCE Advanced Level Examination results were released online by the Examination Department this forenoon. The 2010 A/L results can now be viewed at www.doenets.lk.
A source at the Examination Department said that Principals of Schools in Colombo could collect their result from the Dept while the results of provincial schools will be posted tomorrow.
(dn) Use of chemical fertilizers is one contributory factor towards the high incidence of kidney ailments. The 'Temple to village' social hospitality program should strive to encourage people to consume a wholesome and healthy meal with food items devoid of chemical fertilizer use, said Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
The Minister was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the 'temple to village' program under Mahinda Chinthana in the Welipitiya Divisional Secretariat in Weligama at a ceremony at the Hingurapaththala Kanishta Vidyalaya recently.
(dn) The Moratuwa University (UOM) which is renowned for producing some of the finest Engineering and Technological graduates in Sri Lanka introduced their own Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) external degree to cater to the dearth in the ICT field in Sri Lanka. The program was launched around four years ago by the Information Technology Faculty and is conducted through the Centre for Open and Distance Learning (CODL).
The next intake is using slightly different model as the CODL will not be registering students for the online direct entry mode and students wishing to enroll for this degree will have to make use of the collaborative partners. ESOFT is using a revised course fee where the entire degree will be available at a cost of approx Rs 325,000 including University fees.
ESOFT will be accepting applications until December 15 and classes are scheduled for commencement in February 2011. Detailed class schedules will be made available at a later date.
(dn) Pineapples grown in coconut lands as an inter-crop could yield twenty times the investment, North Western Province (NWP) Agriculture Ministry sources said.
If pineapples are cultivated on large-scale, cold storage facilities can be established and value added pineapple products can be introduced to the market. If this is done it would help increase the profits from coconut lands, ensuring more jobs for villagers. This is why pineapple cultivation is to be undertaken on a substantial scale on coconut lands in the Kurunegala district, the sources said.
(lbo) Sri Lanka Telecom has reduced call charges and phone rentals and offered reductions for customers who chose packages with broadband and IPTV bundled together with voice services, a statement said.
SLT, the dominant state-run telco, said it was offering two sets of call plans for new and existing 'Megaline' customers, one targeted at business customers and the other for residential customers.
"For residential customers, since more than 50 percent of calls are made during the leisure hour period, this call plan provides them with the call rates of one rupee per minute for SLT to SLT calls and two rupees per minute for calls to other networks during this period."
(dm) Sri Lanka boasts a huge variety of traditional arts and crafts spread across the country through the many nationalities and communities. Batik is a well-known craft in Sri Lanka and was made popular throughout the Western world through the fashion industry.
Batik design is based on dyeing some parts of the material, while leaving the rest of the material untouched, to achieve a pattern. Batik is a craft that can be greatly developed as a home-based industry throughout the island as most areas of Sri Lanka offer adequate sunlight and favourable conditions to dry the fabric. This was a main reason to educate the public at the Sri Lanka Design Festival on the basic techniques of batik, as a measure to develop craft-based creative industries.
Dharshi Keerthisena of Buddhi Batiks, Sri Lanka's most popular advocate of the batik craft, led a workshop in the Craft Village at the SLDF 2010. Dharshi explained and demonstrated the basic techniques of the craft along with minutiae such as the temperature of wax during application and so on.
SLDF 2010 was supported by the principal sponsor MAS Holdings together with Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) British Council, Sri Lankan Airlines, Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Mount Lavinia Hotel, Carbon Consulting Company, Dialog, Canon/Metropolitan and many more. For more information log on to; www.srilankadesignfestival.com.
(dn) K M Karunaratne from Kandy district will lead the Contingent of 224 athletes (76 women and 168 men) for the 16th Asian Masters Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from December 6 to 12.
Popularly known as 'Karu' will compete at the Games in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump in the 70 age group. The oldest member of the Sri Lanka contingent will be H G P Jayasekera from Kandy district who will complete in the under 80 age group for men in the 100 metres and long jump. P H D Waidyathilake will be the Chef-de-Mission and T G Chandradasa will be the Manager.
(dn) The spread of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS is on the rise in Sri Lanka, National Program for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS (NPPSTD) sources said.
An average of two HIV positive persons are diagnosed in Sri Lanka every week.
That is a clear evidence that Sri Lanka is more exposed to the spread of HIV, the sources said.
Recent surveys have shown that there are around 41,000 sex workers in Sri Lanka and they generally associate three persons a day. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases mainly takes place through unprotected sex with these sex workers.
(ognp) The Transport Minister assures that the salaries of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) employees could be increased from next year if they rendered an efficient service. The Minister made this statement while addressing a function organized to hand over 37 dilapidated buses which had been repaired to the Tangalla depot.
Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama pointed out that of the abandoned buses, 1000 can be repaired and added to the fleet. He further said that intention of the Ministry is to increase the strength of the SLTB to 7000. After increasing the number of buses which could operate to 6000, another 1000 will be newly imported.
He called on the workers to provide an efficient service and earn profits and thereafter he would take the initiative of increasing their salaries. He is aware that SLTB employees need a better salary.
(dn) Another 30 Rehabilitees successfully completed the motor mechanic training course facilitated by David Pieris Motor Company. The certificate awarding ceremony was held at Bandaragama David Pieris Auditorium on Friday.
The course is specially designed on mechanical based training to train rehabilitees as motor mechanics to start their life new once reintegrated.
David Pieris Motor Company will absorb the trainees as motor mechanics under their service dealers in Northern and Eastern provinces.
(nation) With Qatar being picked to host 2022 FIFA World Cup, a job bonanza for construction workers has been created in that country to put up the necessary infrastructure, including new air-conditioned football stadiums Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau chairman Kingsley Ranawake told The Nation that the bureau would work outside the normal procedure in such a situation to grab and fill whatever job opportunities available in Qatar.
He said the bureau might even increase its cadre strength to benefit from new opportunities.
Qatar has recruited the highest number of skilled workers during 2009 and the total number of Lankans who departed for employment in Qatar last year was 43,744. Out of which, 20,330 were skilled workers while some 11,142 were unskilled.
(so) The upgrading of the southern rail track from Colombo to Matara is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.
According to the report by the External Resources Department titled “Towards an emerging economy in Asia”, the project which is now in progress is estimated to cost US$ 212.4 million. The Government of India has opened a line of credit of US$ 167.4 million through the EXIM Bank of India for the project while the remaining US$ 45 million is financed by the Sri Lankan Government.
(so) Leader of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) and newly appointed Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara expressed optimism that the Tamil-speaking communities living in different parts of the country will be in a position to communicate with all government institutions in their mother tongue in the next few years.
His ministry was taking all steps for mobilising resources for fully implementing Tamil as official language together with Sinhala and ensuring bilingual functions of officials in all Government institutions in the areas of concentration of the Tamil-speaking people, he said. The Ministry would take steps to recruit translators, impart education on language skills, conduct supervision of staff and institute follow-up action, the Minister said.
But they had done certain things for the minority communities including citizenship rights of the plantation Tamils who were disenfranchised long ago by the UNP, bringing Tamil language into official status and doing away with the standardization on ethnic and communal basis.
(cp) Sri Lanka's domestic dairy production will be increased to 100 percent of self sufficiency within five years, the government says.
The current cabinet Minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development Arumugam Thondaman has said that the milk production in the country now estimated at 30 percent of the country's need will be increased to 100 percent by 2016.
Sri Lankan government spends 20 billion rupees annually to import milk powder products. The amount could be saved and utilized for other development activities if the country achieves self-sufficiency in dairy production.
(ognp) Minister for Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella says that if any tried to inject life to resuscitate the LTTE terrorists from their death bed, it is the most treacherous act one can perform against the Nation, further adding that such perpetrators will never be pardoned by the nation.
The Media Minister emphasized this referring to the protest campaigns launched by LTTE terrorist elements in London recently.
At the same time the Minister declared that Britain which was preaching to the world about five star democracy and the menace of terrorism had clearly displayed its inefficiency and cowardice to the world by failing to clear obstruction placed against a State Leader to express his views freely in its domain.
(lbo) An emerging requirement for fast passenger ferries to link Indian island territories with the mainland could be an opportunity for Sri Lanka's Colombo Dockyard, a visiting Indian official said.
Jitendra Kumar Dadoo, the Administrator of the Union Territories of Lakshadweep, India, said faster passenger craft were needed to transport people between the islands and the mainland much quicker than existing vessels.
"The Indian government and other entities in India were looking for many more vessels," Dadoo said during a recent visit to accept delivery of 'Lakshadweep Sea', the second passenger vessel build by the yard for the Lakshadweep islands.
(cp) While welcoming the appointment of a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to probe Sri Lanka's brutal conflict, the United States today clarified its position on implementing a credible and independent process to address the accountability issue.
"We believe that in cases where allegations of possible violations of human rights have been made, the primary responsibility for investigating them lies with the sovereign national government," it said.
"We have consistently expressed to the Government of Sri Lanka the importance of implementing a credible and independent process through which individuals responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law are held accountable for their actions," the statement continued.
Butenis, in a cable, dated 15 January 2010 and classified as 'secret', has informed her government that one of the reasons that there was an unsurprisingly lack of attention to accountability is that country's senior political and military leadership are directly responsible for the alleged war crimes.
(dn) The global food and beverages industry is a fast growing industry with 16 percent annual growth rate. Sri Lanka is also recording 14 percent annual growth rate in this industry with a global market share of 0.5 percent.
Addressing the launch of Profood/Propack 2011, National Portfolio Development for Sri Lanka and the Maldives-United Nations Operations Head Rohantha Athukorala said processed food industry in Sri Lanka needs to become an US $ one billion earning industry in the years to come and research and development on agri-based products and services should also be promoted to achieve this target.
In addition to that, processed food needs to be ethically manufactured by focusing on having value proportion in the industry. Processed Food Development Initiative Chairman Mario de Alwis said, “Sri Lanka could become a hub of transhipment of the processed food sector in the region if the suitable measures are adopted at the right time.”
(dn) The Petroleum Industries Ministry will be able to save US $ 200,000 (per one ship) by pumping oil from tankers using the newly built pipe line system at Muthurajawela, a Petroleum Industries Ministry spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha will shortly open the newly built pipe line system at Muthurajawela. The new pipe line system was built at a cost of US $ 64 million during a one year. The storage facilities at Muthurajawela oil storage complex has also been increased. The storage complex will be able to store oil required for 30 days. The new pipe line system has been built between a location at sea (six kilometres away from land) and the Muthurajawela oil storage complex.
Oil transported to the Kerawalapitiya power station by bowsers but with the building of this pipe line, oil can be transported to the Kerawalapitiya power station directly through pipes, he said.
(island) In the face of a huge black market segment, licensed cable TV operators could end up paying levies amounting to as much as Rs. 10 million a day, if the government goes ahead with plans of extending the Rs. 200,000 levy on imported programmes and Rs. 25,000 on imported films currently applicable to terrestrial TV to the cable TV sector as well.
The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank, in a preliminary observation on changes to telecommunications sector taxes proposed in the Budget 2011 (published in full in page 8), said licensed cable TV operators were concerned the decision to bring them into the levy system currently imposed on terrestrial TV could lead to further losses.
Terrestrial TV airs only a few hours of imported content for which Rs. 200,000 is levied for each Hindi language programme and Rs. 25,000 per imported film, except for those in Tamil. The IPS said cable TV operators aired imported content for 24 hours.
(ognp) Four Power Stations in the country will be opened for public viewing after 8 years to educate the public on power generation and mechanism of power stations.
Accordingly Victoria, Wimalasurendra, Samanalawewa and Kelanitissa power stations will be opened for public viewing from December 13 reports the Ministry of Power & Energy.
Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has also advised officials to keep the power stations open for the public during the school vacation to educate school children and the public. Therefore the officials of power stations have planned a special educational program. The public will be allowed to view functions of power stations and they will be educated on power saving and related topics under this program.
(bbcsinhala) The Sri Lankan government is turning a vast area of jungle that was the base for the separatist Tamil Tiger rebel movement into a wildlife sanctuary. It said the former war zone, spread over forty-thousand hectares in the north of Sri Lanka, will be used for wildlife conservation.
A government statement said it would be used to help Sri Lanka's elephant population which has dwindled over the last century from fifteen-thousand in 1900, to just four-thousand today. As deforestation destroys their natural habitats, the elephants venture out in search of food.
(island) Sri Lanka has denied visas to members of two INGOs hired by Norway to evaluate its failed peace bids in Sri Lanka (1997-2009). Sources told The Island Sri Lanka wouldn’t cooperate with the inquiry.
According to sources, two INGO personnel, including Gunar Sorbo, head of Norway-based Chr. Michelsen’s Institute had sought to visit Sri Lanka to meet several key people involved in the peace process, particularly the disastrous Feb. 2002 bid. Recently, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe met Sorbo in Oslo.
The other institution involved in the evaluation process is UK School of Oriental and African Studies (SF).
(ognp) Sri Lankan government has embarked upon a process to obtain the contents of the controversial Wikileaks on Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry in a statement said that it was in the process of obtaining the contents of the documents allegedly pertaining to Sri Lanka put in the public domain by Wikileaks.
“In principle, this Ministry does not wish to comment publicly on privileged communications of a foreign government” the statement added.
However, it said that if the contents reveal any material relevant to Sri Lanka’s interests, it will be taken up through diplomatic channels.
(ognp) The Ministry of Defence has taken initiatives to commence Cashew Cultivation in the Mannar District. Cashew is a crop that will help eradicate poverty as it grows in difficult areas and is easy to grow, not needing much care and maintenance.
The Department of Civil Defence has been entrusted the task of expanding the cashew cultivation which has a good export potential. The first phase of this project will be launched today by planting 20,000 cashew seeds in 450 acres of land, reports the Ministry of Defence.
(ognp) The Minister of Plantation Mahinda Samarasinghe has said that transport of raw tea leaves in plastic containers is mandatory.
The Minister said the use of plastic containers has been made mandatory. Following the imposition of this regulation, factories should provide plastic containers. He assured that tea smallholders will not be burdened and a certain limitation on the distance will be made. It is only within this limit that raw tea leaves can be collected.
The Minister made these statements while speaking at the opening of the Regional Project Office for Tea Producers of the Kalutara District. The office has been opened to impart the required knowledge and technical advice to tea smallholders.
(dn) The Government has purchased 111,256 metric tons of paddy during the last Yala season at a price of Rs 30 per kilo of samba and Rs 28 per kilo of nadu, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene told Parliament yesterday. “We have spent Rs 5,650 million to purchase paddy during that season,” he further said.
”The State granaries have a stock of 257,000 metric tons of paddy purchased during this year’s Yala and Maha seasons, he further said. All the stocks in the State granaries belonged to the Government, he noted.
(ognp) The Ministry of Education has taken steps to complete the distribution of uniforms before the commencement of year-end vacation.
According to Education Ministry sources, the Government has spent 1590 million rupees on uniforms for four million school children approx. It was possible to save 89 million rupees due to purchases made from local manufacturers.
Giving his views on the occasion, the Minister said that a colossal sum had been spent this year too for knowledge-center development.
11.1 million meters will be distributed among t school children for next year. It includes monk students numbering 45 thousand and 250 thousand Muslim students who would receive farads.
Sri Lankan government has decided to slash prices of certain food items from December 01 to provide relief to consumers ahead of the festive season, the Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said today.
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the University of Moratuwa has won a Merit Award at the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance awards 2010, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently. This project has been developed by four final year students of the University.
Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) has launched a major promotion at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo.
Facilities at the Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya General hospitals will receive an uplift with the support of the Netherlands government. They will operate as developed hospitals in those regions said, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. The work is to commence next year.
Sri Lankan sprint queen and Olympic silver medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe announced today that she would re-enter competition.
Sri Lanka's Immigration and Emigration Department says that over 600 foreigners have been deported this year for gaining employment in the country after arriving on tourist visas.
Sri Lanka Customs will re-establish its Jaffna and Kankesanthurai offices in January next year, said its spokesperson and Additional Director General of Customs Ajantha Dias.
A kids' play area facility (PLAYPORT) was introduced to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) making another significant achievement in the development of the airport.
Indian External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna declared open a new Consulate at Kandarmadam in Jaffna a short while ago, official said. Later the visiting Minister handed over 100 tractors to northern farmers at Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna town, they said.
Sri Lanka’s New Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith will be given a grand welcome when he arrives at the Bandaranaike International Airport at 8.15 am today a week after Pope Benedict elevated him to the rank of a Prince of the Church.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a meeting with the members of the Tamil Parties' Forum (TPF) comprising representatives of a majority of Tamil political parties of the country to discuss aspects of post-conflict reconciliation at Temple Trees yesterday (26 Nov). The meeting was significant as those present comprised Tamil politicians who had strongly opposite views in dealing with the problems of the LTTE and a solution to the ethnic conflict.
Sri Lanka Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake says that a branch of Manipal University of India will be established in Sri Lanka next year as the first private university in the island.
The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (FIU Sri Lanka) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Anti - Money Laundering Department of Central Bank of Bangladesh (FIU Bangladesh) to share financial information to facilitate investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing.
If anybody feels that their photographs or videos are uploaded to pornographic websites without their consent or without their knowledge, they can inform the police and action will be taken against those who upload them, the Children and Women’s Bureau told Court yesterday.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that all citizens of the country should have access to free health service. He added that all citizens irrespective of the provinces where they live are entitled to receive the benefits of free health service.
A state-of-the-art lithotripter machine, capable of removing 95 per cent of kidney stones, has been installed at the Colombo National Hospital at a cost of Rs. 50 million. It is able to dissolve kidney stones by means of X-ray.
All Mahaweli reservoirs and suburb areas will be named as tourism zones and is to be developed as tourist destinations with all facilities, a Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry spokesman said.
Power and Energy Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka has assured that a unit of electricity could be sold to the public at Rs. 8.04 from next year with the commissioning of the Norochcholai coal power plant.
A Hindu Religious function was held at the New Sri Kadiravelayutha Swami Kovil, Bambalapitiya yesterday at 6.45 a.m. in accordance with Hindu Religious traditions, headed by Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda to bless President Mahinda Rajapaksa on assuming of second term of office and his birthday.
Some 12,000kg of white rice, 1,500 coconuts and 300kg of cashew nuts are some of the ingredients for a very special Sri Lankan recipe.
It's the world's biggest ever kiribath, or milk rice cake, a dish being cooked up by a top chef for the public.
Turning a new chapter in the country’s development, the first stage of the Magampura Port will be commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today with the arrival of a vessel “Jetliner” followed by a sailing ship and a cargo ship, amidst chanting of Pirith by 254 members of the Maha Sangha who will be on board the vessel the “Jetliner”,
Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka will be able to get the qualifications of its sister body in the UK following a deal signed this month, an official said.
Laugfs Holdings Limited will start construction work of the 100 rooms four-star hotel in Bangadeniya Chilaw in December. The hotel will be ideal for tourists since it is only one hour from the Bandaranaike International airport and can be used as a transit point for tourist travelling to the East coast of the country, Laugfs Holdings Limited Chairman W K H Wegapitiya told Daily News Business.
The grand awards ceremony of the Most Favourite Sri Lankan Website Competition 2010 (bestweb.lk 2010) took place on November 12 at the Galle Face Hotel.
Bringing polythene into botanical gardens will be prohibited from January 1 next year. It is revealed that three tractor loads of polythene is being removed from the Peradeniya Botanical gardens alone each day posing a huge environmental problem.
Sri Lanka has extended a sum of US$ 40,000/- to strengthen Primary Education Teachers of Palestine. At a simple ceremony held recently at the Representative Office of Sri Lanka to inaugurate the second stage of the project, Mr. Jihad Draidi, Director General for the Projects and Ms. Aisha Bekir, Director of Special Education from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Palestine participated at the ceremony.
Sri Lankan media reported today that the Commonwealth boxing gold medalist Manju Wanniarachchi had failed the 'B' sample urine test as well.
The first ever schools cricket match by the children of the Wanniyela Aththo was played last week when Hennanigala Vidyalaya played Kandakapupotha Vidyalaya and lost the match by the narrow margin 14 runs in their schools under 13 cricket tournament match played at the Dehiattakandiya Vidyalaya grounds, Dehiattakandiya.
An unusually large mushroom weighing around 75 kilograms was found in the Pothuwilluwa area in Puttalam. Residents say this is the first time they have seen such a mushroom of this size.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed officials to take stern action against those involved in animal torture. President Mahinda Rajapaksa The President gave these instructions when representatives of an anti animal torture organization met him recently.
Sri Lanka's major Muslim party, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) announced that it had decided to join the government.
The Department of Registration of Persons Jagath Wijeweera has taken measures to compile data regarding all identity card holders in Sri Lanka. According to a spokesperson of the department, they have so far gathered data of over one million locals who have official ID cards.
Renuka Holdings PLC has recorded an impressive turnover and profit after tax for the six months ended September 30, 2010 as per the interim financial statement released. The company's profit after tax grew to Rs 387.1 million compared to Rs 113.3 million in the corresponding period of last year. Group profit after tax rose 168 percent to Rs. 616.5 million of which Rs 473.6 million was attributable to shareholders of Renuka Holdings PLC.
The Sri Lankan parliament Wednesday passed a bill that would fully legalize gambling in designated areas of the country.
The Sri Lanka-German Technical Training Institute, the foremost institute in Sri Lanka for training of skilled technicians in the field of Automobile Engineering and allied trades is to open a branch in Jaffna. The German Parliament delegation which met President Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed to provide assistance for establishing the Jaffna branch of the Institute.
Sri Lankan models saw success in an international modelling competition when Anuj Ranasinghe emerged as the first runner-up in the International Best Male and Female Model contest 2010, in Benidorm Spain, organised by Sukier International. The winner was Mr. Curacao and the second runner-up was Mr. Venezuela.
Veteran Russian filmmaker Alexander Volkor recently said he was stunned by Sri Lanka’s location beauty and insisted he would soon make a film in Sri Lanka.
There is a need for Sri Lankan spices to be branded in the international market and efforts will be made to capture niche markets through this initiative.
The Airport Aviation Services (AASL) is to build a domestic air terminal at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo.
Sri Lanka's Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) has taken measures to introduce new software to prevent children from accessing websites with adult content.
Measures are taken to build a trilingual society by 2020, where all communities are capable of communicating in Sinhala, Tamil and English, said National Languages and Social Integration Minister S B Navinne.
As a unique result of the Biodiversity Conservation, the oldest tree and the oldest sanctuary with documented history in the world were located in Sri Lanka at the ancient capital of Anuradhapura and Mihintale, said MP AHM Azwer to delegates attending the ‘Parliamentarians and Biodiversity Forum’ held at the International Press Conference Hall at the Nagoya Congress Centre in Japan.
Sri Lanka has climbed 9 positions from 2009 and is ranked 59 among 110 nations, in the World Prosperity Index released today.