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11.01.31

Third int’l airport in Sigiriya?

(dm) An idea had been mooted to construct a third international airport in Sri Lanka shortly after the completion of work at the second such airport in Mattala, Hambantota, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said yesterday.

He said that there was the need to construct a third international airport because of the government’s plan to develop Sri Lanka as a trade and tourism hub. “We will consider Sigiriya or Hingurakgoda as the possible location for the third airport,” he said.

The government is planning to complete the work on the Mattala airport next year. Besides, he said that the Ministry had accelerated the development work on six domestic airports in the country.

 

... Sri Lankan election authorities will launch a program this week to educate the candidates for the local government polls on the election rules and regulations ...

 

11.01.30

Candidates of Sri Lanka local polls to be educated on election laws

(cp) Sri Lankan election authorities will launch a program this week to educate the candidates for the local government polls on the election rules and regulations.

Colombo District returning officer S.Saputhanthri has told Sri Lanka's state-run radio SLBC that an awareness programme will be launched with the support of the police to enlighten the candidates on election laws to conduct a free and fair poll at the upcoming lections.

Under the elections laws pasting posters and displaying banners at public places are banned and the police will strictly enforce law and order in this regard, the authorities say.

World's largest greeting card

(so) President Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiled the world's largest greeting card, put up in front of Temple Trees recently. The card measuring 92.10ft X 36.6 ft has entered the Guinness Book of World Records, as the world's largest greeting card beating the previous record held by Ireland where a charity group of Dublin University, card measuring 60X20 ft.

Dr. Githanjana Mendis (Sports Medicine Unit Head and Head of the Open International University for Integrated Medicine) and the artist, Saman Prasad Hettiarachchi, who drew the card to mark the President assuming leadership for the second term.

Sri Lanka prepares for Independence Day celebrations

(cp) Sri Lanka has organized a massive educational and development exhibition for the fifth time to coincide with the country's 63rd Independence Day celebrations to be held in Moneragala this year.

The national Independence Day celebrations are to be held on February 4th under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the annual 'Deyata Kirula' exhibition that showcases the development of the country will be held at Buttala in Moneragala District from February 4-11.

The exhibition held in a 160 acre land will have 400 stalls. Of them, 300 stalls belong to the government ministries and other institutes and they display the development under the Mahinda Chinthana policy manifesto.

Flying Fish’ take wings to Holland

(st) Making movies with what one saw with one’s own eyes and the first hand experiences one underwent is the key to the success of young and talented filmmaker Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s filmmaking. Having created a number of short films, his debut feature ‘Igillena Maluwo’ (Flying Fish) revolves around three parallel stories dealing with the attempts of three ordinary villagers to lead a normal life in a war ravaged backdrop.

This film is competing in the Director’s Debut Feature Film Section for the ‘Tiger Award’ at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR), in the Netherlands which started this week.

Representing Sri Lanka, Sanjeewa is competing with 13 other countries including Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Greece, Colombia, Thailand, Japan, Brazil, , Germany, Austria, Iran, Russia and India in the festival held from January 26 to February 6.

Sri Lanka to turn age-old leprosy hospital into a museum

(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Health has decided to establish a health museum in the age-old leprosy hospital in Hendala in the Gampaha district, about 10 kilometers north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

The hospital built in Dutch period is 304 years old now and it was in use until the health system of the country recently brought the disease under control.

The hospital opened in 1708 has Dutch style church, other buildings, equipment including a very old washing machine that can still be used and medical accessories. The Ministry has decided to conserve these historical artifacts.

Domestic flight services are to be expanded in Sri Lanka

(cp) Sri Lanka Civil Aviation Authority sources they have received a number of applications to start domestic flight services.

The sources said that applications to start domestic flights are being considered from Macksons Holdings, Upali Aviation, Asian Aviation, and several other companies.

Meanwhile applications are also being considered from a number of companies to start expand the domestic helicopter services.

SriLankan Airlines has expanded its sea plane service further. Presently, the service is available to Randenigala, Victoria, Polgolla, Nilaweli, Beruwala and Koggala destinations.

 

11.01.29

15th century temple unearthed in Jaffna

(eb) Archaeologists of Jaffna University, led by Prof Pushparatnam, have discovered the ruins of a 15th century Hindu temple buried in the sand in the middle of a thick jungle in Pooneryn in North Sri Lanka, which could unravel a part of Sri Lankan history in which the Pooneryn area of the Wanni was on the high road linking Jaffna with South Lanka.

“The temple, 130 ft by 30 ft, is located in Kaudaari Munai, on a narrow stretch of land almost fully surrounded by the sea. Most locals do not venture into this area because the place is snake- infested. However, they knew that there was a temple buried in the sand and informed us,” Pushparatnam told Express on Wednesday.

“However, we are checking out if this was the temple which finds mention in the 15th Century Sinhalese Buddhist historical-poetic work Kokila Sandesaya (The Message of the Cuckoo) on the conquest of Jaffna by the southern Sinhalese prince Sapumal Kumaraya,” he said.

Sapumal Kumaraya or Shenbaga Perumal, a man of Kerala origin, was the adopted son of the Sinhalese king of Kotte in the South. He had conducted an expedition to Jaffna to seize it from the Tamil King Kanakasuriya Singaiya Rayan of the Arya Chakravarti dynasty around 1450.

No international TV production for West Indies/Sri Lanka ODI Series

(jo) SPORTSMAX, exclusive Caribbean broadcasters of all West Indies away tours, was advised yesterday that there will be no international television broadcast of the rescheduled West Indies ODI tour of Sri Lanka for January 31, February 4 and February 6, the company said in a press release.

As a result, SportsMax will not have coverage, as advertised, of the three ODIs. Cricket fans the world over will not be able to watch the ODI series, as there is no international broadcast being made available by the Sri Lanka Cricket Board.

According to a release on cricinfo.com, Ajith Jayasekera, the SLC acting CEO, said, "The three-match series, which is due to begin on January 31, is not a planned tour according to the agreement signed with the Ten Sports, the television broadcasting company. We have obtained legal advice and they say it should be considered a separate tour. It is not in the tour programme according to the contract," Jayasekara added.

 

11.01.28

Govt. take steps to stop noise pollution in buses

(island) Steps have been taken to draft regulations against noise pollution caused by radios and cassette players in private buses, an official of The Western Province Passenger Transport Authority says.

"A committee was formed comprising officials of the Ministry of Environment, Registrar of Motor Vehicles and Police to discuss environmental pollution caused by radios and cassette players in private buses," Chairman of The Western Province Passenger Transport Authority, Piyasena Dissanayake told The Island.

He said that the approval of the Ministry of Environment would be obtained to gazette the regulations.

Salt production to resume at Elephant Pass saltern in Northern Sri Lanka

(cp) Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Entrepreneurs Development says that the salt production in the Elephant Pass saltern is to be resumed soon.

Necessary measures have already been taken to start the work in the saltern after renovation.

The Elephant Pass saltern, situated in the Jaffna peninsula was one of the foremost salt manufacturers of Sri Lanka in the past. It produced 70 to 80 thousand metric tons of salt annually. However, it was abandoned for many years due to terrorist activities in the North.

Nearly 60% of the current annual salt requirement of the country is produced locally and the remaining 40% is imported at a cost of nearly Rs.380 million, the government says.

Sri Lanka Navy to launch ferry for whale watching

(cp) Sri Lanka Navy announced that it would start a ferry service in the southern coastal areas for the benefit of tourists interested in whale watching.

Navy media spokesman Captain Athula Senarath told media that a luxury vessel with facilities for 350 passengers would be deployed for this purpose.

The whale watching is a new activity introduced in Sri Lanka's tourism industry. Between December and April months the seas south of Dondra Head and Mirissa are known for Blue and Sperm whales sightings close to shore.

ICC approves venues

(ognp) SL venues - Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele get ICC approval

The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday (27) approved Sri Lanka's three venues slated to host the Cricket World Cup 2011.

ICC venue inspection team which included the Tournament Director, members of the Central Organising Committee (COC) and the ICC yesterday reported on the readiness of five outstanding venues scheduled to host matches in the World Cup.

Following the inspection tour, the three Sri Lanka venues - Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele - as well as Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai have been approved, the ICC said.

Ayurveda best gift to the world

(dn) Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayaka said we have the responsibility to convert Ayurvedic medicine system to the main medical system of the country.

"The best gift we can give the world is the method of Ayurvedic medicine to treat patients who are fed up with Western medicine," the Minister said. He was addressing nurses at a ceremony to hand over appointment letters to 40 Ayurvedic pupil nurses at the National Institute of Traditional Medicine yesterday.

Selected Ayurvedic pupil nurses were given an opportunity to train at the Government Nursing school at Kadana following which they will be attached to the Ayurvedic Hospitals.

Nearly 250,000 archaeological sites

(dn) Countries worldwide have faced many challenges when conserving their national heritages. However, they were able to achieve their goals. Therefore, Sri Lanka too would be able to emulate such countries, National Heritage Minister Jagath Balasuriya said.

Participating in the inaugural ceremony of the Dematamal Temple in Adampane, Nochchiyagama Minister Balasuriya said that the Archaeological Department had identified around 250,000 archaeological sites throughout the country.

However, to renovate these sites systematically, the Department lacks the facilities, as the Department has only 0.2 of the estimated cost to finish this task.

 

11.01.27

Govt nod for Iraq jobs

(dn) The Government has decided to lift restrictions on Sri Lankan job seekers to Iraq from February 1, said Foreign Employment Bureau Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka.

This decision was endorsed by Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera considering the improving security situation in Iraq.

Accordingly during the first stage, licensed Foreign Employment Agencies will be allowed to send workers to selected security zones in Iraq for employment in institutions affiliated to the Iraq Government. There are a large number of vacancies in the construction field in Iraq with high remuneration.

Norochcholai Coal Power Plant opening on Feb.10

(ognp) Construction work on Phase one of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant is almost completed and it will be declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on February 10th.

Under Phase One, the project will generate 300 MW, which will amount to 17% of the national power requirement and it will be connected to the Main Grid at Veyangoda.

The initial plans for establishing a Coal Power Plant to overcome the impending power shortages in Sri Lanka was conceived in early 1970s and it was planned to establish this plant in Trincomalee, taking into consideration the port facilities available in Trincomalee for shipment of coal. Even some Engineers and technical staff of the Electricity Board were sent on foreign scholarship to familiarize with the new technology. 

Election watchdog to monitor Sri Lanka LG elections

(cp) People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), an election watchdog in Sri Lanka says it is making arrangements to monitor the upcoming local government election.

According to the Executive Director of the PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi the monitoring will be carried out at three stages, pre-election period, on election day and after the elections.

The government dissolved 301 out of 343 local government bodies on January 6th and elections are to be held in mid-March.

The Election Commissioner will announce the date of polls immediately after accepting the nominations by returning officers of the 25 districts.

 

11.01.26

Website on late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike has been launched

(cp) The secretary of the Bandaranaike Museum Committee Sunethra Bandaranaike says that a website has been launched with the information regarding late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.

Mr. Bandaranaike, the founder of ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the fourth Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka was slain by Buddhist extremists on September 26, 1959.

The website documents information regarding the life and the services of Mr. Bandaranaike. It can be accessed at http://www.swrdbandaranaike.lk/.

Sri Lanka - West Indies ODIs shifted to Colombo

(cp) Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to shift the venues for next week's three-match One Day International series against the West Indies to Colombo as previous venues are to be handed over to International Cricket Council in preparation for the World Cup 2011, an official has said.

Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Nishantha Ranatunga has said that the matches will be played during the day at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo.

The West Indies team will arrive in the country on January 28. The series is to start on January 31.

More buses for SLTB from India

(dm) The Transport Board would import hundred new buses from India at Rs. 4 mn a unit.

The SLTB would purchase 400 more buses following the first consignment, SLTB Chairman, M.D Bandusena told the Daily Mirror.

“SLTB covers some 30% of public bus transport in the country. However we are expected to cover 40%. To meet this expectation we need to add another 2000 buses which is what we are hoping to do,” Bandusena said.

Minimum age limit for migrating as domestic workers raised to 21 years

(ognp) On a proposal made by the Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Mr. Dilan Perera, Cabinet of ministers has decided to increase the minimum age limit for migration as domestic workers, to 21 years from the age of 18 years.

Majority of labour receiving countries do not have a minimum age limit for females to be taken in for employment to their countries, especially for the domestic sector. But a tendency for abuses and vulnerability to different forms of exploitation appears to be commonly associated with young female domestic workers abroad.

Last year up to June 134,670 Sri Lankans have migrated for foreign employment, of which 59,377 were females. The subject of migration of young women for domestic sector jobs has raised many concerns in the society due to their vulnerability The National Labour Migration Policy for Sri Lanka declared in October 2009 had also emphasized the importance of stipulating the minimum age for female domestic migrant workers as 21 years.

Nine stupas in nine districts

(dn) Nine stupas will be constructed as war memorials in nine districts to commemorate the victory over 30 years of LTTE terrorism ended by the armed forces and the Police, Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya said.

The first stupa named Sandahiru Seya is being built near the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura with public funds, he told a ceremony held at the Rankoth Viharaya, Panadura Wednesday.

The fund raising campaign was inaugurated at the Rankoth Viharaya, Panadura with the sale of tickets valued from Rs 1,000.

 

11.01.25

Import tax on milk powder reduced by Rs 22/kg

(ognp) The Government has reduced the import levy on infant milk powder by Rs 22/ per kg. The General Treasury has reduced the import duty on one KG of milk powder from existing Rs 50/ to Rs 28/ .

Sri Lanka mainly depends on imports for its milk food needs as the local production meets only 35 percent of its need. Recently the government removed all import taxes on the importation of cows and related equipment needed for such an industry with the view to become self sufficient in milk food in the future.

This reduction on the import tax will help importers to maintain market stability and their will be no change in the market price.

Coal power next week

(nn) The Norocholai coal power plant will be connected to the National Grid via the Veyangoda substation by the end of this month, officials said today.

Speaking to reporters at the site of the power plant a short while ago officials of the project said that under the initial stage 300MW of power will be connected to the grid. They also said that coal ash used to generate power will be used as a substitute for cement in construction activities.

According to the Ceylon Electricity Board, this US$455 million first phase would be able to generate nearly 1.7 TWh of energy annually upon completion in 2013; a major milestone in meeting the growing energy demand.

MR condoles regarding Russian blast

(dm) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev on the attack on Moscow’s Domedodovo International Airport on Monday expressed condolences to the victims.

More than 35 people and over 130 others were injured following a major bomb blast at the Domedodovo International Airport.

 

11.01.24

Trishaws banned from taking school children

(dm) Transporting school students by trishaws would be banned in future, National Child Protection chairperson Mrs. Anoma Dissanayake said yesterday.

During a meeting organized to educate the school transport services in Kurunegala Mrs. Dissanayake said that transporting students over the capacity of SLTB buses as well as private transport services would also be banned. The chairperson added that moves to register school vans and transports in the Western Province would be expanded island wide and that even a uniforms would be provided for these persons.

Further after the registration a sticker would be issued to these vehicles and this should be visible in all vehicles used to transported school children. Moreover these vehicles should have a driver with at least five years experience, she said.

Sri Lanka to test all vehicles for emission before licensing

(cp) The Sri Lankan government has decided to remove the three-year concessionary period provided to the brand new vehicles to undergo emission test before annual licensing.

Accordingly, all brand new vehicles will have to pass an emission test and submit a report to obtain the license after the first year.

Sri Lanka Commissioner of Motor Traffic B.D.L. Dharmapriya said that a committee appointed to look into the outcome of the emission test had recommended the three-year grace period for brand new vehicles needed to be removed as it was found in a survey that most vehicles were not properly maintained during this period since no emission report was required for the licensing.

National Immunization Programme commences to-day

(ognp) The national immunization awareness programme is to be launched today ceremoniously under the patronage of the Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena and the Minister of Education, Bandula Gunawardhana at Ananda Samarakoon Grounds in Nugegoda.

“The programme will be conducted as a collaborative effort between the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry, WHO and the UNICEF,” said Dr. Palitha Maheepala, Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry.

The campaign aims to strengthen the government’s efforts to eliminate vaccine preventable diseases which are serious and life threatening to children and adolescents.

All vaccines used in the National Immunization Programme in Sri Lanka strictly adhere to the high quality and safety standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Opting for MSU's hospitality and tourism programmes

(dm) The rapid growth of international hospitality and tourism industry over the years has generated not only revenue for the countries involved, but also enormous employment opportunities. Hospitality and tourism management is a multi-disciplinary field of study with the purpose of preparing people with the expertise, commitment, and skills for management, marketing and operations positions in the expanding global industry.

Good quality higher education leads to good jobs, thus the programme offered at MSU promises an enhancement of skills with a greater marketability and employability. MSU's international link through the International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP) with the DCT School of Hospitality Hotel & Business Management, Lausanne, Switzerland and Leeds Metropolitan University's, Tourism, Hospitality & Event School, will provide a priceless international exposure with the best in the industry.

Students from Sri Lanka will now have the opportunity to savour MSU's quality education through its Colombo Campus. Visit MSU Colombo Campus at 371, R.A. De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 3 or call +94 2576 900 for further enquiries or visit www.msu.edu.lk.

Sri Lanka reduces import duty on petrol to maintain fuel prices

(cp) The Sri Lankan government announced today that it has reduced the import duty on petrol by Rs 10.00 per liter in order to maintain the current selling price.

Accordingly, the government had reduced the import tax for petrol from Rs. 15 per liter to Rs. 5 per liter.

The Trade and tariff division of the Finance and Planning Ministry has taken the decision to reduce the levy despite the escalation in global fuel prices in response to a request by the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) to increase the local selling price.

 

11.01.23

Electric trains before year's end

(so) Low cost electric trains will be introduced to Sri Lanka before the end of this year, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said.

The Minister said that almost all developed countries use electric trains to transport goods and passengers due to low maintenance costs. Even developing nations in neighbouring countries with hydro power have also decided to introduce electric trains.

The objective of launching electric trains in Sri Lanka for the first time is not only to cover the high cost incurred by the Railway Department, but also to introduce an environment friendly transport service to the nation.

Beggars to get jobs

(nn) The government has decided to offer self employment opportunities to beggars who are on the streets of Colombo and its suburbs after they are rehabilitated.

According to government officials some 1800 beggars roam the streets of Colombo and its suburbs with some of them even engaging in prostitution at night.

The Social Services Ministry and the Defence Ministry will roundup the beggars and rehabilitate them and later offer them self employment opportunities, among the beggars on the streets of Colombo are several children and women and the authorities will place the children in child care homes, the official added.

Earth cracks appear in eastern Sri Lanka coastal area

(cp) Several cracks in the earth have opened up yesterday and this morning in the coastal area of Trincomalee in Eastern Sri Lanka.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and the public have been advised to stay away from the cracked area while officials from the Disaster Management Center have started investigations into the cracks.

Experts from Geological Survey and Mines Bureau and the National Building Research Institute (NBRI) have also visited the area today to assist in the scientific investigations.

 

11.01.22

Sri Lanka slams attempts to tarnish country's image over literary festival

(cp) The Sri Lankan government today lashed out at media reports which had connected pull out by the award wining authors from the Galle Literary Festival (GLF) to a call by a media right group and some authors to boycott the event.

Pamuk had informed the organizers of the Galle Literary Festival that he will be unable to participate in the Festival in early January, more than two weeks before the call from some writers and media right groups.

The Galle Literary Festival will continue as scheduled from Wednesday 26th January through January 30th.

Jaffna international trade fair opens

(dn) Business was opened to its people with ‘Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011’ declared open yesterday.

Continuing with its second successful edition in 2011, the exhibition will be opened for public at the ground next to Duraiappah Stadium from 10 am to 7 pm on 21, 22 and 23 January while daily musical shows will add colour to life in Jaffna every evening.

Yalpanam Chamber of Commerce and Industries President K. Poornachandran, appreciated the efforts of the organizers including LECS, FCCISL and CCIY. Assuring the fullest support of the Chamber of Commerce in Yalpanam for any business activity, he said the commitment to move along with the future plans of the President and the Government.

Fish prices down soon

(dn) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday that the country's fisheries sector is experiencing the dividends of peace. Consumers will be able to see a reduction of prices soon, he said.

He said the fisheries production and consumption have shown a remarkable increase. Minister Senarathne said thanks to the input from the North and East following the eradication of terrorism, the country's fisheries sector has witnessed an increase from seven percent to 17 percent.

The price of fish sold at Fisheries Corporation outlets have also reduced. Even private sector outlets have reduced their prices, he said.

 

11.01.21

Stars pull out of S. Lanka book fair under pressure

(afp) Nobel-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and fellow writer Kiran Desai have pulled out of Sri Lanka's main literary festival, Pamuk's publisher said on Friday, following pressure from press freedom groups.

Reporters Without Borders and a Sri Lankan rights group had targeted foreign writers in a campaign that called on them to boycott the Galle Literary Festival because of restrictions on free speech in Sri Lanka.

The campaign said that attending the event later this month would "give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government's suppression of free speech." Pamuk and his partner Kiran Desai, a Booker Prize-winning author, are attending the Jaipur Literary Festival in northern India and had planned to travel on to Sri Lanka for the Galle event that starts on January 26. "They won't be attending the Galle festival," Hemali Sodhi from Pamuk's publisher in India, Penguin, told AFP by telephone. "They won't be commenting on this any further."

Sri Lanka to acquire aquatic research vessel

(cp) Sri Lankan government is to purchase a multi-functional research vessel to carry out aquatic research at sea.

The ship is to be purchased from Taiwan at a cost of Rs 313.84 million as per the recommendation of the Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee.

NARA also operates a round-the-clock Ocean Observation Centre (OOC) monitoring ocean conditions around Sri Lanka in near real time basis. The government says deployment of a Research Vessel for NARA would enhance its research and survey activities in the related fields.

Sierra into hotels

(dn) Sierra Cables Plc will be investing Rs 250 million in two hotel projects in the leisure sector under a joint venture agreement with Free Lanka Capital Holding, a Stock Exchange filing said yesterday.

Sixth Baggage Handling System at BIA

(ognp) The sixth baggage conveyor belt system and the new building at the Bandaranaike International Airport was declared open today by the Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayarathne.

The main objecive of having a sixth baggage belt system was to cater to the tourists arriving in Sri Lanka in an efficient and effective manner, especially with the increase in tourist.

It is also proposed to build a domestic airport in Ratmalana to enable a passenger to take a connecting domestic flight to several domestic airports which are being developed.

Two strains of chillies developed

(dn) Maha Illuppallama Agriculture Research Institute has developed two strains of chillies named 'M I Green' and 'Galkiriyagama Waranaya,' said Institute's Research officer Kamal Kannangara.

He said M-I Green variety produces over 12 centimetre long corns and over 15 tons of raw chillies could be obtained in one hectare plantation.

The 'Galkiriyagama Waranaya' strain is a further development of the variety of chillies grown by traditional farmers in Dambulla, Galkiriyagama. A harvest of three tons can be obtained from this variety, he said. He said these two strains were developed after 12 years of research.

 

11.01.20

Sri Lanka to hand over newly built international cricket grounds to ICC

(cp) Sri Lanka was to hand over three international cricket stadiums to ICC officials today for the World Cup.

These three stadiums are situated in Kettarama in Colombo, Pallekele in Kandy and Sooriyawewa in Hambanthota. These well-equipped cricket grounds have space for 35,000 spectators each.

Sri Lanka spent Rs. three billion for the cricket grounds and the expenses are to be covered by the income from the World Cup cricket matches. Sri Lanka will host 12 matches including one semi-final. The first match is to be played in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Sooriyawewa on February 20.

UNHCR operational office opened at BIA

(dn) A new operational office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was declared open at the Arrival Terminal of the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake on Tuesday. Airport travelling expenses are granted to people returning from India to stay permanently in Sri Lanka, by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Those who return from India will be paid a re-establishment allowance jointly by the High Commission and the Bank of Ceylon. An allowance of Rs 10,000 for an adult and Rs 7,500 for a child will be made at the airport itself on their return. Thirty-one adults and 20 children who had taken shelter in India arrived in Sri Lanka last Monday.

The UN High Commission for Refugees opened accounts to the tune of Rs 460,000 for 14 families who had returned to the country from India. In addition each person returning from Indian refugee camps to Sri Lanka will be provided Rs 2,000.

Beach cleaning in Bentota

(dn) In keeping with the theme 'Refreshingly Sri Lanka - Visit 2011' as declared by the Sri Lanka Government, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has initiated an event calendar comprising 12 month activity program reserving January for the beaches around Sri Lanka. The Golden Sandy beach is reckoned as one of the major tourist attractions ofSL and conservation of the beach is considered a prime requirement.

Being the most popular tourist destination in Southern coast, Bentota/Beruwela Hotelier's Association, took the initiative in organizing the first program of beach cleaning in Bentota, together with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and area community on January 8. Chief Incumbent of Bentota, Udukotuwa Bodhi Sameepa Raja Maha Viharaya, Rev Bentera Jinananda Thera, conducted the religious activities and program commenced with hoisting of the National Flag to the tune of the National Anthem.

Hotel employees' beach operators, beach vendors, community, as well as the private sector, Government and Non Government Organizations in the area took part in the event.

 

11.01.19

Sri Lanka's local government elections to be held on March 12

(cp) The district retaining officers of the Election Department of Sri Lanka will commence accepting nominations for the local government election from tomorrow.

The nominations are accepted for the elections of 301 local government bodies. The acceptance of nominations will close by 12:00 p.m. of January 27th.

The election date is to be announced on January 27, immediately after the close of nominations by the Election Commissioner. However, the Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna said today at a meeting of the electoral organizers of the Kandy district that the local government election would be held on March 12.

Independence Day celebrations in Anuradhapura

(dn) Independence Day celebrations in Anuradhapura parallel to the main Independence Day celebrations in Kataragama under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaka, will be held at the Anuradhapura public playgrounds on February 4, 2011.

Hoist National Flag for Independence

Sri Lanka National Flag

(dn) The Government has decided to hoist the National Flag and illuminate all buildings occupied by State Institutions on February 3 and 4 to mark Sri Lanka's 63rd Independence Day celebrations.

 

11.01.18

Duruthu signifies Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka

(island) This year’s Duruthu Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day falls on Wednesday, 19th January, 2011. On this day, thousands flock to temples all over the island to pay their homage to Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. They engage in giving alms to Bhikkhus or needy people (Dana), dedicate this particular Holy Day on behalf of the Triple Gem (Seela) and concentrate on Meditation (Bhavana).

They follow the Noble Principle of Buddhism in refraining from evil-doing; indulging in doing good and cleansing the minds. In short, this is what Buddhism is all about: ‘Sabbapapassa Akaranam – Kusalassa Upasampada – Sachitta Pariyodapanan – Etam Buddana Sasanam’ Dhammapada – Verse 183 (Treasury of Truth) .

Buddhism and the Sinhala culture are inseparable. With the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka during the reign of the king Devanampiyatissa, he made a world of difference and their lifestyles were made according to the Buddhist principles, Metta, Muditha, Karuna and the loving kindness to the humanity become the corner-stones of life.

Even the yearly Sinhala calendar was inter-woven with significant events of Buddha’s life. It began with Duruthu (January), Navam (February), Medin (March), Bak (April), Vesak (May), Poson (June), Esala (July), Nikini (August), Binara (September), Vap (October), Il (November) and Unduvap (December).

The Buddhists in Sri Lanka believe that on this Duruthu Purapaslosvaka Poya Day the Blessed One, Buddha, visited Sri Lanka for the first time. According to the chronicle, it states "Buddha arrived in Sri Lanka to free this beautiful, resplendent island from Yakkas."

Former US Secretary calls on Sri Lankan President

(cp) The Former United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage paid courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today.

Armitage who was the second-in-command at the State Department from 2001 to 2005 now heads Armitage International, L.C., a firm that provides multinational clients with critical support in the areas of international business development, strategic planning, and problem-solving.

President welcomes hand of friendship of Italian Priest

(ognp) Rev. Father Guiseppe Iasso of Mercogliano, Italy who has contributed immensely to the building of communal and religious harmony, and assisting the poor in Sri Lanka was felicitated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees.

Rev. Fr. Iasso whose association with Sri Lanka began in 1982 has carried out special community related work in Sri Lanka after the 1983 riots and tsunami of 2004. After the events of 1983, he built the model village ‘Samagigama’ in Nawalapitiya that housed 60 families with 15 each from the different religious communities.

He also built a vocational training centre for youth at Nawalapitiya which is certified by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission and City Guilds – London and therefore has international recognition.

Govt to import luxury trains

(dn) The Railway Department will import two luxury trains from China to promote tourism in the country, Sri Lanka Railway Planning Director Vijaya Samarasinghe said. The Department is looking into the possibility of providing facilities to hold various functions such as weddings, birthday parties and meetings within these trains.

This would be a novel experience to Sri Lankans too, he said. The Department will import two new luxury trains and equip them to meet these needs. The Department will make necessary arrangements to import these luxury trains in the middle of this year.

Anybody who wished to use this service, he or she can book the entire train and at least 300 people can travel at the same time. Subsequently Rs 1,500 will be charged for every kilometre.

 

11.01.17

Indian Consulate in Jaffna begins issuing visas

(hindu) The Indian Consulate here began issuing visas, despite severe logistical constraints and skeletal manpower.

“We have begun giving visas from today [Monday],” Indian Consul-General in Jaffna V. Mahalingam told The Hindu, when asked about the progress of works in the Consulate since it was set up in November-end. “We can issue between 50 and 100 visas each day,” he said.

The process of application remains the same: the applicant has to approach the facilitating service, VFS, for a visa. This would be sent to the Indian High Commission in Colombo, which will verify passports and the genuineness of the applicant. The passport, stamped with the visa, can be picked up from the Consulate in Jaffna.

Sri Lanka reschedules West Indies ODI series for Jan 31

(ognp) Sri Lanka has rescheduled its earlier postponed one-day series against the West Indies starting at the new Hambantota stadium on January 31.

Secretary to Sri Lanka Cricket Mr. Nishantha Ranathunga told this edition this morning that the three match series will be played on January 31st and February 04th and 6th at Hambantota and Colombo respectively.

Itinerary: Jan 31: 1st ODI, Suriyawewa Stadium, Hambantota Feb 04: 2nd ODI, R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo Feb 06: 3rd ODI, R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

Ayurveda for younger generation

(dn) The Ayurveda knowledge should be given to the younger generation. They are not aware of the medicinal value of the herbs growing in their own gardens, Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake said at a press briefing at his residence in Kurunegala.

The Minister said that in ancient times the people joined the king in establishing herbal gardens, but today there were people who could not even identify a common medicinal plant when they see one.

"There are a number of ayurvedic herbs which can be easily grown in our gardens. These herbs are rich in nutrient content and medicinal value. Our native treatment is second to non in the world. Therefore more educated youth should be encouraged to learn ayurveda. They should be given a scientific knowledge in this subject to bring ayurveda to international level", he added.

Second Highway connectivity between Colombo-Jaffna

(ognp) Sangupity Bridge shorten the distance - President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday, declared open the 288-metre-long two-way Sangupiddy Bridge in Jaffna which links the shortest land based route between the South and the Jaffna peninsula.

This is a fulfillment of a pledge given to the people of Jaffna under the Wadakkin Wasantham ( Uthuru Wasanthaya) program launched by the government soon after the defeat of terrorism in May 2009. This bridge built at a cost of Rs 1,037 million on a soft loan from Britain will reduce the travel time through A- 32 Highway, between Colombo and Jaffna by 110 km (three hours). The only land based route to reach Jaffna was the A-9 road.

With the opening of this new bridge the people who had to make a six-hour journey to reach Jaffna from Mannar could now make it in three hours as the A-32 road connects through Mannar in the north west.

 

11.01.16

Lanka to acquire two ships for ferry service

(so) Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation would acquire two passenger ships to be deployed for the Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service which would commence from February.

Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Rohitha Abeygunawardena told Sunday observer that they are currently negotiating with some European operators in this regard. "We hope to obtain the two vessels on a long-term wet lease," he said.

He said that due to economic recession in Europe they would be able to secure a good deal when obtaining these two ships. He said that India has already pledged to provide three ships for the service and they are likely to operate four times a week while Sri Lanka would operate three services per week.

 

11.01.15

Many Thousands Taste the Largest Pongal Rice at Gateway to Jaffna

(cimic) once was a base for heavy fighting between terrorists and valiant soldiers who shed their blood and laid their lives to secure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland, this Saturday (15.01.2011) turned a traditional Hindu village where the same Army troops served Pongal rice to Jaffna people and thousands of others visiting Jaffna.

On concept of Commander Security Forces – Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, soldiers of the 55 Division commanded by Brigadier Sudath Perera assisted by the troops of Task Force 7 cooked the largest Pongal rice at EPS gateway to Jaffna marking the Thai Pongal Hindu cultural annual festival 2011 and served them with tea to a crowd over 9000 passing the location out of and towards Jaffna since 7.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon on the 15th January. This is the first instance that such massive Pongal rice was prepared in the Sri Lankan history.

The modern hamlet created at the edge of the EPS lagoon by 55 Division soldier consisted of some traditional houses inhabited by Tamil families of Hindu faith with vegetation and animal-rearing so that any one who walks around could feel the real sense of this important Hindu festival. Sounds of crackers and Pongal music reverberated the air throughout while all passers by happily enjoyed the taste of Pongal rice with Sakkara (jaggery) cooked by soldiers. Occasional showers experienced at EPS were not at all a barrier to the event. A cultural performance also had been arranged for entertainment at the venue adorned with National Flags, floral decorations and Kolam (designs drawn on the floor). 

Sri Lanka floods may unearth buried mines and contaminate cleared areas, UN agency warns

(cp) Floods and receding waters in Sri Lanka's North and East may unearth buried mines and explosives remained from the war and carry them into the cleared areas, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned.

In a situation report issued by the OCHA Friday, the agency said unearthed mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) may contaminate areas thought to be safe.

Local authorities and Regional Mine Action Office have requested the residents and people working in affected areas to be vigilant and report any mine or ERW threat or concern to the relevant authorities.

 

11.01.14

Sri Lanka makes plastic crates compulsory for transport of vegetables

(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has issued a gazette notification directing the transporters of vegetables to use plastic crates or any other proper method for transportation of vegetables.

The Ministry has given a grace period of one month to adjust to the new method.

The Ministry Secretary Sunil Sirisena says that the offending transporters will be penalized after this period. Consumer Affairs Authority has been assigned for the task, he says.

However, the traders say that the use of plastic crates cost space and the transport costs will go up since the amount of vegetables that can be transported in rigid crates in the trucks is much less than the amount filled in gunny bags.

Northern Province 100 schools to be refurbished, Japan helps

(ognp) The Government has taken steps to refurbish 100 schools damaged by the terrorists during the recent war period. A sum of Rs 141 Million is being funded by the Nippon Foundation in Japan and Seva Lanka foundation, for this project.

Shuichi Ono of the Nippon Foundation and S.Illangakoon, Secretary of the Ministry of Education in the Northern Province, signed the agreement at the Presidential Secretariat.

The Government has already planned to bring the education level of the Northern Province to a higher position by developing the standards of students and improving educational facilities.

Tourist arrivals up 46 percent last year

(dn) A total of 654,476 tourists had visited Sri Lanka last year, according to the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority (SLTDA) sources. Tourist arrivals too had registered a 46.1 percent increase, the target set for the year of 600,000 tourists by over 50,000 arrivals.

Tourists arrivals amounted to 84,627 during month of December, being 48.8 percent compared to the same period last year. Only 447,890 tourists arrived in the country in 2009. With the relaxation of warnings by many European countries following the defeat of terrorism, there has been an upsurge in tourist arrivals, particularly from Western nations.

SLTDA resources noted that there was a significant increase in tourist arrivals from France which amounted to 31,285 in 2010. Arrivals from European countries registered an upsurge of 51 percent compared to year 2009 with 256,861 tourist arrivals. The majority of them amounting to 105,496 from the United Kingdom, followed by 45,727 from Germany. There were 35,517 tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe and 13,278 from Russia. Arrivals from Eastern Europe registered a 35 percent increase compared to arrivals in 2009. There was a 49 percent increase in arrivals from Africa with a majority of them being from South Africa.

Sri Lanka President says ready to share power with Tamils

(cp) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa says with regard to a political solution to the ethnic problem, he is ready to devolve powers and a solution will be reached in consensus with all political parties based on their proposals.

Addressing a meeting with foreign correspondents today at the Temple Trees, the President stressed that power sharing with the Centre is very much on the table but added that there is no room to devolve police powers.

He said he has had discussions with the main Tamil party and he has asked them to form a unity and come up with a political solution for negotiations.

 

11.01.13

Caritas volunteers assist flood victims

(ucan) Caritas Sri Lanka is mobilizing volunteers after flooding rains in central and eastern regions of the nation left at least 18 people dead and 127,000 displaced.

Caritas officials and priests organized parish volunteers to take care of the sick and elderly and distribute relief supplies to affected people. Caritas officials distributing aid “Unbearable. Words are inadequate to describe the agony and misery of the people,” said Father Sritharan Sylvester, Caritas head in Batticaloa diocese.

Father Mashal M. Rajanayagam, vicar-general of Badulla diocese in the tea rubber plantation sector, said that aid has still not reached many areas.

100th birth anniversary of Sri Lankan national anthem composer commemorated

(cp) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in a ceremony commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of the composer of the Sri Lankan national anthem, artiste Ananda Samarakoon at Temple Trees today (13 Jan).

A large number of artistes and school children participated in the event. The President is seen here interacting with school children.

Pre-paid connections to electricity for consumers of Sri Lanka

(cp) Sri Lanka Electricity Board (SLEB) will introduce a prepaid electricity connection system from this year, says the Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka.

The pre-paid electricity connections will be similar to pre-paid telephone connections and the power will be automatically cut off once the paid limit is exceeded.

The Minister says that the user can know how much electricity has been used under the metering system that comes with the pre-paid system. The aim of the pre-paid system is to help the consumers to save energy through controlled usage.

Sri Lanka experiences record low temperatures

(cp) Sri Lanka is experiencing record low temperatures currently, the Meteorology Department says.

According to the Meteorology Department the temperature in Colombo has dropped to 18.8 Celsius (65 Fahrenheit). Reportedly, it is the lowest recorded in 61 years.

Meanwhile, the temperature in Nuwara Eliya has dropped to 7.9 Celsius and in Batticaloa, mercury dipped to 16.9 Celsius, the Meteorology Department reported.

Meteorologists say the La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific is causing the disruption in the weather across the globe causing floods in Australia and Sri Lanka.

President Chief Guest at Jaffna National Thaipongal Festival

(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the Chief Guest at the National Thaipongal Festival to be held in Jaffna on 17th January.

On Sunday the 16th , the President would commission the 288 meter long two-way Sangupitty Bridge as a Thaipongal gift to the people of Jaffna. This bridge constructed at a cost of Rs. 800 Million on A-32 highway will connect Karaitivu with Pooneryn and will reduce the travel time from Colombo to Jaffna by about 3 hours.

The government constructed the bridge on a loan obtained from the United Kingdom, with a view to provide better transport facilities to the people of Jaffna, and with a view to normalise the life in the Jaffna peninsula. The bridge was constructed by Sri Lankan engineers ahead of schedule.

 

11.01.12

Electronic ticket machines for SLTB

(dn) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) will import 1,000 electronic ticket machines from India to replace the old ticket boxes. This will prevent bus conductors from engaging in irregularities and malpractices, particularly, the failure to issue tickets.

Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Kumara Dissanayake said that tickets issued by the new electronic ticket machines would indicate the number of the bus, the distance of travel, destination, departure time and the correct fare.

He said that bus conductors have already been trained in the use of the new machines while some of them are already using the new electronic ticket machines. Therefore, a conductor would have no problems in attending to his duties, as the new machine could issue tickets quickly while preventing any chances of fraud.

More wind power

(dn) The Government is further reviving its National Renewable Energy Policy to increase the target to 15 to 17 percent of energy generation by Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) by 2015.

To date 30 Megawatts of wind power plants are in successful operation in the country. Another 60 Megawatts of wind power plants are in various stages of construction.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is conducting further studies with a Danish consultancy firm on possibilities of absorbing more wind power into the National Grid, Perera said. However the total potential of the wind power industry in Sri Lanka is estimated to be 20,740 megawatts. The favourable windy areas in the country are Mannar, Kalpitiya and Ambewela.

 

11.01.11

Sri Lanka: taxes and visa fees may trouble tourism

(etbb) The Sri Lankan government has imposed a new ‘nation building tax’ and will implement a new online visa, despite heavy protest from hoteliers and tourist operators.

The introduced tax will be 2 percent of the turnover for any hotel with 4 stars or more.

Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and hoteliers of Sri Lanka will share the burden of the tax until 31 January 2011, after which Sri Lankan tour operators will encumber the costs.

Opting to alter the current on-arrival visa system, the Sri Lankan government will require travellers to apply for a visa over the internet.

“The new rule is very dangerous for the tourism industry and will have serious repercussions on our plans to woo more tourists in 2011,” City Hotels Association Chairman M. Shanthikumar said. When it was first announced that the government was introducing online visas, the travel industry of Sri Lanka protested and were given an indication that it would not be implemented, according to Aitken Spence Travels ltd.

Deccan Aviation Lanka buys aircraft

(dn) Deccan Aviation Lanka will induct a new eight seater aircraft which is scheduled to commence commercial operations in April this year. Deccan Aviation Lanka CEO and Director Denham Schokman told Daily News Business that the new aircraft is manufactured by Gippsaero Australia and is a leader in its class of aircraft with the ability to land at all airports in the country including unpaved runways and beach strips.

The aircraft has a published value of USD 650,000. Last year 35 percent of the Deccan flights were utilized by locals. This is an improvement from the 25 percent in year 2009. Helicopter flights are typically expensive all over the world and attract a clientele who are willing to pay a premium.

“The new aircraft has the lowest operating cost of its class and this will enable us to offer attractive airfares to the market,” Denham Schokman said.

Nawaloka in major expansion drive

(dm) Sri Lanka's Nawaloka Hospitals is planning to expand its hospital business to reach people in the region, including the recently liberated northern and eastern provinces of the country, a top company official told Daily Mirror Business.

"We are planning to set up about ten 20 to 50 bed hospitals in the regions and currently we are in the hunt for suitable lands" Nawaloka Hospitals Deputy Chairman/CEO Jayantha Dharmadasa said.

He said the thinking behind this venture is to take the Nawaloka brand name to the regions and provide hospital facilities to the people in those areas, without making them come to Colombo to get the required treatments.

Another hospital operator in the country, Hemas group also recently said that they are also looking at opportunities to expand their operations to the suburbs of Colombo.

According to data available, at present about 25% of the total hospitals in Sri Lanka are privately-owned, numbering 174, with a bed capacity of 8,650, i.e.15% of the total bed capacity of Sri Lanka. However, most of the private hospitals are confined to Colombo City limits or suburbs.

Govt. appeals for public assistance to help flood victims

(ognp) The Government has appealed to the general public to assist over 800,000 flood victims as they are in need of drinking water, mats, bed sheets, other clothing and milk food for children.

“The unexpected climatic change has made the people displaced in thousands. Sri Lankan people are well known for their generous help and hospitality in times of crises situation so we appeal the people in other areas to assist these affected people who are at displaced centres now. This is the time we need the assistance of the people to help victims" said Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena.

Heavy rains experienced in the last few day has made havoc mainly in Sri Lanka’s eastern North central and central regions affecting more than 820,000 belonging to 219,317 families. The Disaster Management Centre last night announced that 832,447 people have been affected by floods caused by torrential rains with strong winds in several districts in the country.

 

11.01.10

New bus service between Chavakachcheri and Jaffna

(mod) Facilitating a Public Transport service to the people in Thnankilappu, Maravanpulo, Kovilakkandy and Kachchanthoppu a new bus service between Chavakachcheri and Jaffna commenced with the beginning of the new year 2011.

School children, sick and elderly persons and hundred of other dwellers of mentioned areas had no a Public Transport Service for many years and the new bus service help them to move between Chavakachcheri and Jaffna more conveniently. Earlier their transport problem was a major issue at discussions of a few Civil Development Committees comprising Army officers and community leaders in respective areas.

Jaffna Private Bus Association will facilitate transport between Chavakachcheri and Jaffna via Thnankilappu, Maravanpulo, Kovilakkandy and Kachchanthoppu. According to the sources the new bus service is scheduled twice a day. It will start from Chavakachcheri, at 7.15 am and 11.30 am and from Jaffna at 9.00 am and 2.30 pm.

Sri Ponnambalam Arunachalam a great patriot

(dn) Sri Lanka is a pluralistic society where all communities can realize their aspirations within a strong, caring and united State. Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam was one of the many sons of Sri Lanka who worked for the realisation of such a dream, International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister Dr.Sarath Amunugama said.

Minster Amunugama was addressing the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam commemoration held in Colombo yesterday.

“He was a leader respected and trusted by all communities and an inspiration to all who cherish high ideals. He was a outstanding member of the civil service and held several positions of responsibility such as the Registrar General and judicial posts in various parts of the island”, the Minister said.

Institute of Hairdressers and Beauticians launched

(dn) The Institute of Hairdressers and Beauticians (IHB) was launched with the aim of providing enhanced opportunities for local hairdressers, beauticians and barbers to obtain an internationally recognised qualification in their preferred language.

Formed by the Sri Lanka Association of Hairdressers and Beauticians (SLAHAB), the institute is accredited to the World Federation of Hairdressers (OMC).

The primary function of the Institute will be to conduct hairdressing and beauty therapy examinations in English, Sinhala and Tamil, which are recognized both nationally and internationally. The institute will set standards on par with international IVQ, Pivot Point, OMC and EU standards.

 

11.01.09

Sri Lankans should learn Sinhala and Tamil

(so) Learning Sinhalese and Tamil languages will be of benefit to Sri Lankans said Nuwara Eliya district Parliamentarian and Citizen's Front Secretary J. Sri Ranga.

Speaking at an awards ceremony for Sinhala students who had completed the Tamil language course at Colombo University, he said that in Sri Lanka there are only two languages, unlike in India and some other countries.

"Sinhala and Tamil have been declared official languages in the constitution. English is our second language", he said.

SAWEN parley in Colombo

(so) The South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) will hold an international workshop on January 17, 18 in Colombo to establish strategies to safeguard the South Asian countries from illegal activities threatening its biodiversity.

The Government institutes for environment conservation and law enforcement agencies of eight South Asian countries have jointly established the SAWEN to strengthen the environment protection of the region.

Grand Tamil alliance for local elections

(nl) Tamil political parties have taken steps to form a grand alliance to contest the upcoming local government elections.

The Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Eelam People Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF/Nabha faction) and PLOTE had had met earlier this month to discuss the possibilities on forming a broad alliance that would also include Tamil parties that are with the government.

The Democratic People’s Front (DPF), meanwhile, said it had its reservations with regard to joining the government or parties affiliated to the government. Party secretary Dr Nalliah Kumaraguruparan said the party was holding talks with several parties in forming an alliance to contest the upcoming local government polls.

 

11.01.08

Sri Lanka Railway to provide Wi-Fi to first class passengers

(cp) Sri Lanka Railway is to provide Wi-Fi services to the first class passengers, Planning Director of Sri Lanka Railway Wijaya Samarasinghe said.

The Wi-Fi facility will be provided to reserves First Class Observation Saloon as well.

It has introduced a number of new services including online seat booking.

ISAGO Certification for Sri Lankan Airlines’ Ground Handling Operations

(ognp) SriLankan Airlines’ ground handling operations at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) received the prestigious IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certification for two more years. ISAGO is the globally accepted industry best practices programme for airport ground handling operations.

SriLankan Airlines became the sixth airline in the world and the first in South Asia to be awarded ISAGO certification two years ago, which is presented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry’s global governing body.

The certification runs up to 14th December 2012, after which it would be recertified subject to another audit.

Clean beaches, theme for January

(dn) The first program of a series of twelve monthly programs which focuses on 12 different products aiming at attracting more tourists to the country will be launched today.

This beach conservation program will facilitate the ‘Visit Sri Lanka Program 2011’ in keeping with the efforts to increase tourist arrivals.

The country needs to maintain cleanliness in the beaches as they are a prime driver of tourist attraction, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka President Anura Lokuhetti told Daily News Business.

GPRS technology to monitor driving of Sri Lankan private buses

(cp) Sri Lanka National Transport Commission is to monitor the driving of private buses using GPRS (General Packet Radio Services) technology, says the Chairman of the Commission Shashi Welgama.

Accordingly, the Commission will have special equipment fixed in the buses so that their driving can be monitored remotely, he said.

Sri Lankan passengers often complain of reckless driving as well as wasting time by the private buses.

Orphaned elephants to Mullaitivu sanctuary

(dn) The Agrarian Services and Wildlife Ministry has proposed to release several orphaned elephants in Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Camp to the new wildlife sanctuary in Mullaitivu considering the available space in this forest, a Ministry official said.

The Mullaitivu forest which was a LTTE stronghold was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary recently. The area of this jungle extends for about 100,000 acres. This forest is now accessible to the public with the end of the war.

 

11.01.07

Sri Lanka Health Ministry testing quality of drinking water at hotels

(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Health has commenced a programme to test the quality of water available for drinking and cooking at the food outlets of the country.

The Ministry tested water in around 100 places in Colombo Municipal area yesterday and the samples were taken for further evaluation.

The Ministry further stated in the communiqu� that the quality of the bottled water is also being tested to check if the bottlers maintain the prescribed standards.

Sri Lankan government enters into agreement with Chinese company for second phase of Hambantota Port

(cp) The Sri Lankan government has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to award the contract for the second phase of the Hambantota Port.

China Communications Construction Co. Ltd., a transportation infrastructure company, has reportedly announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to complete the second-phase of the Hambantota Port development project.

The contract is estimated to be worth over US$ 810 million and is expected to be completed in three years.

Sri Lanka names 15 member team for ICC World Cup

Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup 2011(ognp) Sri Lankan authorities today officially announced the names of the 15 team for the ICC world Cup. Sri Lank’s former Captain Sanath Jayasuriya, a law maker and the fast bowler Chaminda Vaas who were in the 30 member initial team have been excluded from the final 15 member Sri Lankan squad for the ICC World Cup 201. The Sports Ministry has approved the final 15 member squad today.

The team is Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Mahela Jayawardene (vice captain), Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Tissara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath

The World Cup, which is being co-hosted by Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, is due to take place from Feb 19 to April 2. Sri Lanka is to host 12 of the 49 matches. Colombo Kettarama, Suriyawewa in Hambantota and Pallekele in Kandy are the venues for the matches.

Vocational training for fisherfolk children

(dn) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry will start vocational training programs for children of fisherfolk families from January, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratna said. He was addressing the fisherfolk in Kalutara at a Fisheries Conference held by them.

Senaratna said the vocational training courses will be given to those children in fisherfolk community who have not received higher education. The National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) will conduct the training courses, he said.

The Ministry has arranged to provide training to 285 children, he said. They will be able to find jobs of their particular technical fields once they have completed their training under NAITA. The program aims to develop and promote better living standards for the fisherfolk children, he said.

Army launches a new operation of providing cheap vegetables

Sri Lanka Vegetables(ognp) The army has come forward to provide vegetables at cheap prices. Based on a concept of President Mahinda Rajapakse, the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse has made arrangements to launch this programme with effect from today.

Under the first stage of this programme 25 thousand kilos of vegetables directly purchased from the farmers in Anuradhapura and Kandy districts will be marketed at 15 sales outlets.

The army will directly purchase vegetables from farms situated in close vicinity to army camps throughout the island, which would enable the army to provide vegetables at cheap prices to consumers without the interference of middlemen and the black market mafia. Only the transport charges will be added to the purchasing price.

Hospitality industry: Govt moots refurbishment

(dn) Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that 2,000 new hotel rooms will be added to the local hospitality industry this year in addition to the 1,000 new hotel rooms being constructed across the country.

"A thriving hotel industry is a key component for any country's tourism sector. Therefore we have initiated a program to refurbish existing hotel properties and building new rooms to accommodate the growing tourist demand," the Deputy Minister said. He said the Ministry has received new applications from local and foreign investors to build another 3,000 new hotel rooms in the future.

Over 1,500 existing hotel rooms are being refurbished and upgraded. Special attention has been paid for small and medium-scale investors in the tourism industry. They will be provided with all facilities to encourage and sustain the industry.

 

11.01.06

Villages to glitter at night

(dn) A program to provide electricity for every village is implemented in the North Central Province.

The government has allocated Rs 8,000 million for the project, Electricity Board NCP Deputy General Manager Gratian Muthukudaarachchi said. He said the scheme would be completed before the end of 2013.

Work worth Rs 1,000 million has been completed. The process of collecting data with regard to the locations where the supply is required on priority basis is nearing completion, he said.

Undergrads will get three weeks leadership training under Army

(dm) The nearly 20,000 students who qualify annually for university education will be given a three week leadership training to improve their skills and discipline under the supervision of the armed forces, said Higher Education Minister S.B.Dissanayaka yesterday.

“What we are attempting to do is to send a civilised and disciplined graduate out into society – one who will not be a burden but an asset to the country,” he said. The leadership training will focus on etiquette and manners, and groom the fresher to be a complete gentleman or lady.

Explaining the Strategic Management Plan to be introduced in the higher education sector Mr. Dissanayaka added that six Sri Lankan universities would be raised to international standards so that they would be graded among the best 1000 universities in the world within the next five years.

Applications for scholarships before 31st

(dn) The Parent Memorial Scholarship Foundation calls applications from the students who are economically disadvantaged but currently succeeded in entering to the Universities with the results of 2010 A-L Examination. Students who are qualified to enter the faculties of Medicine, Engineering, Management and Law can apply for these Sholarships. Selected applicants will be awarded Rs. 1,500 per month during the first year of the University Studies.

Self-prepared applications with bio-data should be sent on or before January 31 together with GCE A-L 2010 Examination results certified by the Principal. A letter from Grama Sevaka certifying the situation of the family, including the number of family members, monthly income of them and the source of income, a testimonial from the chief of the religious institute of the Village and a letter written by applicant's own handwriting including the genuine economical hardships should be submitted.

 

11.01.05

Lanka donates corneas to Myanmar

(dn) Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervin Silva donated two human eye corneas to the Myanmar Government during his visit from December 29 to January 1.

Myanmar's Health Ministry Director General Dr U Win Myint receiving the eye corneas on behalf of the Myanmar Government commended Sri Lanka.

International Eye Bank of Sri Lanka is one of the world's largest eye banks, supplying human eyes to restore vision to people in as many as 57 countries, including Japan, Thailand, Egypt and China. Over 40,000 people have benefitted from the Sri Lanka eye bank, since 1964.

Government Mulls to avoid LG elections in World Cup venue areas

(ognp) The extended term of the Local Government Institutions is expected to come to an end Thursday. A senior government official said that the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils will issue a special gazette notification in term of the powers vested in him to bring the terms of 330 Municipal Councils, Town Council and Paradeshiya Sabhas to an end enabling to call for fresh elections by the Commissioner of Elections.

Meanwhile the official said that the government has decided to avoid conducting elections for the local government councils located in the areas where the cricket World Cup is to be held in the country. Sri Lanka is co-hosting the 2011 cricket World Cup and Colombo, Hambantota and Kandy are the venues.

Secretary to the Sri Lanka Cricket Mr. Nishantha Ranathunga told this edition that Kettarama in Colombo, Suriyawewa in Hambantota and Pallekele in Kandy are the venues for the scheduled matches to be played in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the elections to Local Government institutions located in Colombo, Kandy and Hambantota areas where the activities of world cup match are taking place may be held after the end of their extended period due in April 2011.

Sri Lanka to dissolve local government bodies tomorrow

(cp) The Sri Lankan government has taken a sudden decision to dissolve all the Local Government Institutions on Thursday (06) a senior official has said Wednesday.

The official has said that the Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister A.L.M. Athaulla will issue a special gazette notification in term of the powers vested in him to end the terms of 330 Municipal Councils, Town Councils, and Pradeshiya Sabhas enabling the Commissioner of Elections to call for fresh elections.

However, the Jaffna Municipal Council and Vavuniya Town Council which were elected in August 2009 will not be dissolved and will continue to function.

Rs 250 m industrial park at Atchuvely

(dn) An industrial estate will be set up at Atchuvely at a cost of Rs 250 million by the Indian Government. The Indian Government will release Rs 230 million as a donation. The balance Rs 45 million will be met by the Sri Lanka Government.

This estate will be sited on a 65 acre land. Four industrial ventures - MAS Holdings, Oris Apparels Lanka, Timex and Shore to Shore (Pvt) Ltd will invest on 25 acres land.

The balance 40 acres will be leased to small scale industries. The industrial ventures will be functional next year, said Traditional Industries and Small Scale Enterprises Development Ministry Secretary P Sivagana Moorthy. He said the Industrial Estate will generate employment to around 3,000 people.

Sri Lanka to implement a social security system for self-employed

(cp) Sri Lanka's state radio Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation announced that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had instructed the Social Security Board officials to prepare a systematic plan to include all people who are engaged in self employment projects in to a pension scheme.

Over 3 million people have been identified as self-employed and they are a major pillar of the small and medium scale enterprises sector.

However, the majority of the self-employed persons do not have proper social security to survive disability or old age. Chairman of the Social Security Board Nimal Amarasinghe told the SLBC that a targeted programme in this connection would be launched within this year.

 

11.01.04

“Life Skills” is a new subject for G.C.E.(O/L) from this year

(ognp) A new subject titled ‘life skills’ for the G.C.E.(Ordinary Level) and “Technology” for the G.C.E.(Advanced Level) will be added to the school Syllabus from this year.

This measure would allow students intending to pursue studies in the Arts stream in the Advanced Level to select agriculture, technology or entrepreneurship as a subject of “Life Skills”.

The Minister has further said that a pass in the subject of mathematics in the O/L will hereafter be not mandatory. He has said that plans are also underway to set up 1000 secondary schools throughout the island in the next five years, and identification of schools for this purpose is being carried out.

Matara district roads under construction

(dn) The reconstruction work on 79 roads in the Matara electorate started in December 2010. The estimated expenditure for the project is Rs 86.6 million.

This project won initiated on a proposal by Matara District MP Sanath Jayasuriya under the Gama Neguma program. A sum of Rs 39.6 million was provided for the reconstructing of 66 roads in 66 Grama Seva Divisions of Matara Electorate.

Under the Maga Neguma program, a sum of Rs 47 million was provided for the construction of 13 roads in Matara Municipal limits where thousands of low income families would benefit once the project was completed.

 

11.01.03

Three Sri Lankans seriously injured in factory explosion in Saudi Arabia

(cp) Three Sri Lankans have been seriously injured due to an explosion that took place in a factory at Dammam in Saudi Arabia, the state-run radio SLBC reported.

According to the Minister of Foreign Employment and Welfare Dilan Perera, the three Sri Lankans were injured when a gas tank in the factory exploded. They are currently receiving treatment in an Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in Dammam.

The site of the accident is 500 kilometers away from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh and the Minister has said that Sri Lankan authorities have held discussions with the factory owners to take necessary measures to provide treatments and other required facilities for the injured. 

East coast becomes a hot destination for heli flights

(island) Against a backdrop of increasing economic activity in all parts of the country, domestic airlines such as Deccan Aviation reports a significant increase in domestic flights to the North and East.

The company revealed that the average sector flying time is on the rise with more flights being taken to the East coast; Trincomalee, Pasikuda and Arugam Bay top the list of hot destinations. With over 180 established helipads in the country, helicopter charters are becoming an essential travel option to both business and leisure travellers.

"In this day and age, business travellers look for something extra, cruising at 160 km per hour with a range of 480km, helicopters allow guests to make multiple visits and return back the same day avoiding the stress associated with travelling by road and the extra cost of accommodation" said Denham Schokman CEO of Deccan Aviation Lanka.

Deccan has been the sole internal air option for both Leisure and corporate clients over the past 6 years operating to all parts of the country.

Sri Lanka to conduct population census this year

(ognp) Sri Lanka will conduct a nationwide population and housing census this year, the first since 1981.

Last year president directed the Census department to conduct this census in 2011. A special gazette notification issue by the President in May 2010 reads “a census of Population and Housing of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka be taken in year 2011”

The 2001 census was conducted only in 18 districts leaving out the districts in the north and east.

Census will be carried out in three stages. Geographic demarcation of administrative units have already begun. The second quarter of the year will cover the buildings,. Enumeration of people will begin in the last quarter.

The 2001 census conducted in 18 of the 22 districts put the island's population at 20 million.

Spice industry benefits from tourism

(dn) The country’s spice industry could benefit from the expected influx of tourists as its products could be made use to promote health tourism. Spices and Allied Product Producers’ Association Chairman Christopher Fernando told Daily News Business.

The spice and derivatives market is booming because their products find applications in pharmaceutical, ayurvadic medicine, beverages and hygiene products. Countries in the Asian region are the major producers of a variety of spices and Sri Lanka could position as a leading ayurvedic medicinal supplier both locally and internationally, Fernando said.

The global demand of spices has increased due to an increase in demand and consumption of ethnic food, a sharp growth in the processed food consumption and an increase in the demand for natural fragrances for various health therapies.

Navy resurrects Lunawa Lagoon

(ognp) The Sri Lanka Navy in its’ continuing efforts to add splendour to city by keeping clean the canal network of Colombo while preventing catastrophic flooding in the area has come forward to resurrect waterways of Lunawa Lagoon.

It was ceremonially opened for water sports facilities yesterday (02)). Navy has decided to provide training and instructions to aspiring enthusiasts in water sports such as motor boating, jet skiing, rowing, kayaking and canoeing.

The Lagoon had been causing environmental pollution with inundation of surroundings in rainy seasons due to stagnant flood water in network of canals and drains connecting to the lagoon. At present Navy and SLLRDC jointly engage in maintaining the lagoon and canals.

National anthem: to avoid problems play only the music - Anunayaka

(dm) The Anunayaka of the Malwatta Chapter the venerable Niyangoda Vijithasiri thera has said that if the language in which the national anthem is sung is likely to cause a problem on any occasion, it would be advisable to play only the music on that occasion.

The thera made these observations when Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne called on him. Speaking further, the thera pointed out other matters related to the national anthem.

“When the national anthem is played some monks remain seated while others monks stand. The matter should be discussed with the Mahanayaka theras and a common consensus arrived at,” he said. “When we go abroad we stand when the national anthems of those countries are sung. We do so especially in countries like India. I do not think there is anything wrong in doing the same in Sri Lanka as well,” the thera said. 

Sri Lankan universities go for online courses in all three languages

(ognp) Sri Lankan universities are to commence online courses in all three languages enabling the expatriates Sri Lankans to study in the language of their mother tongue.

Chairman University Grant Commission (UGC) Prof Gamini Samaranayaka told news.lk that all universities in the country have been instructed through a Road Map as to how they should restructure their external courses programs in future. Once this restructuring is done the universities will be able to recommence their external degree program and initiate online courses for first degree.

Under the new road map universities will be allowed to have external students in double the number of internal students and they can decide on the modalities of the courses inclusive of new programs and extension of courses.

 

11.01.02

New visa rules cause panic in hotel-tourism sector

(st) Visitors from 78 countries slapped visa fee, online payment method to be introduced

Sri Lanka hoteliers yesterday expressed serious concern over government moves to charge for visas from foreigners visiting the country, except those from Singapore and the Maldives.“One of the reasons why we attract a large number of visitors to Sri Lanka is because of the easy access to the country. That is why we urge the government to defer this move until 2012,” Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Anura Lokuhetti told the Sunday Times last night.

He said it was encouraging to note that the Government was taking a keen interest in promoting the tourism sector, but this was not the time for such a move. A top hotelier, who is involved in promoting Sri Lanka tourism abroad, described the move as “frightening” for the hospitality industry.

The reactions came after the government on Friday decided to charge a visa fee on visitors from 78 countries, including tourists from Britain, France, Germany, India and the US and cancel the on-arrival visas facility.

The only exception will be visitors from Singapore and the Maldives. This is because the two countries extend the same courtesy to Sri Lankans travelling to those countries

Anuradapura Immigration office to be shifted to Vavuniya

(ognp) The Immigration and Emigration Department has decided to shift its Anuradhapura office opened under decentralization program of it activities to Vavuniya. Opening up of an office in the north to serve the northern people was felt and the cabinet has approved this move of the department.

Meanwhile the Immigration department will launch a new system to electronically scan and store documents, said Controller General of the Department Chulananda Perera.

Under the proposed new system, passport and visa applications and the supporting documents furnished along with the application for passports would be returned to the applicants.

The new system will ensure the safety of vital documents, preventing the loopholes inherent in the old system, he said.

Census on wild elephants

(st) An islandwide census on wild elephants will be carried out by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), which estimates between 5,000 -6,000 wild elephants in Sri Lanka.

It will be carried out in August this year.

The first census on wild elephants in the country except the North and the East, was conducted in 1993. It recorded 1,967 wild elephants. According to the census in 2004 there were only 1,296 wild elephants in the North Western region.

The DWLC carried out a census in the Mahaweli area covering Trincomalee, Pollonnaruwa and parts of Ampara and Batticaloa areas in 2008. According to the census, there were 2,149 wild elephants in the region.

 

11.01.01

Sri Lanka Red Cross appreciates foreign help

(dn) Sri Lanka Red Cross Chairman Jagath Abeysinghe expressed that certain European countries extended their humanitarian help to Sri Lanka with conditions at the time of tsunami disaster but countries like Vietnam geared up with their aid packages with no such petty intention.

He made this statement at a special meeting in the Red Cross headquarters at Vietnam in Hanoi recently.

The Sri Lankan delegation of Red Cross paid a visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnam Red Cross and spent a period of one week there.

Rajapaksa greets Lankans on new year through SMS

(pti) For the second time in a row, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent his new year greetings through SMS to all mobile phone users around the country.

The message reads "Wishing you all a prosperous new year-Mahinda Rajapaksa". It has been sent in three languages -- Sinhala, Tamil and English.

The Sinhala and Tamil messages have been typed using English letters phonetically. 

To meet rapid tourist growth: Five Airports to be developed

(dn) The Government has decided to develop the Ratmalana, Koggala, Ampara, China-Bay and Palali airports considering the rapid growth of tourist traffic after the restoration of peace.

Facilities at domestic airports will be improved a Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited Spokesman said. "It is necessary to develop domestic air travel since many areas in the country have been declared tourist zones and Sri Lanka is experiencing a massive tourist influx in the aftermath of the war," he said.

Therefore, commencement of civil airport operations at the Ampara airport after reconstructing the aerodrome to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards has also been planned.

Sri Lanka to rehabilitate beggars

(pd) Measures are in progress to curb the beggar population in Sri Lanka by rehabilitating them to be worthy citizens, a Sri Lankan government minister said on Friday.

Filix Perera, Minister of Social Services and Welfare said a survey would be carried out soon to identify the number of beggars in the country and they will be directed to an specially designed rehabilitation center.

"Most members of the beggar population are disabled and after the rehabilitation processes the ministry plans to offer them suitable employment opportunities," said Perera.

Fernando in contest for FIFA Vice President

(dn) Senior Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation Manilal Fernando has been nominated to contest for a post in the Executive Committee of the world governing body, FIFA when the next congress is held.

This honour came Fernando's way when the AFC Executive Committee unanimously approved a proposal by AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam to nominate Fernando along with three contenders from China, Japan and Thailand for a seat in the ExCo of FIFA.

Incidentally Fernando, an Attorney at Law was the first ever Sri Lankan to serve on the Legal Committee of FIFA. He is at present FIFA's Development Officer for South and Central Asia and also serves in the Players Status Committee.

Gajaman Nona’s house to be a museum

(isand) The Department of Archaeology yesterday acquired a house in Matara, used by Gajaman Nona, the legendary poetess. It was declared a place of archaeological importance.

The department expects to renovate the house and stablish a museum and an information centre dedicated to the poetess.

The house with Dutch architectural features was located behind the temple of Ven. Karathota Dhammarama at Weragampita , Alahakoon said adding that the acquisition of the house had been done under the instruction of Director General of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake.

Gajaman Nona was born in Kollupitiya as the second daughter of Don Francisco Senaratna Kumara Perumal and Fransina Jasenthu Graivo. She was baptized Dona Isabella Koraneliya Perumal.

Tourist visas through Internet

(dn) The Government has decided to introduce a simple methodology to provide tourist visas through the Internet parallel to Tourism Year 2011.

Foreigners will no longer need to visit the Embassy to obtain visas following this method.

This service will be operative 24 hours. This was revealed during a meeting with President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday.

PRESIDENT’S NEW YEAR MESSAGE

(ognp) WE LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE WITH POSITIVE ASPIRATIONS

We look towards the future at the dawn of this New Year with renewed determination, firm commitment and many positive expectations, he said adding, ‘Our aim is to recover with speed all that was lost to Sri Lankan society in more than three decades', stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his New Year message.

With great determination and patience, we have built mutual understanding and trust among the people about the nation's development. Strengthening this should be among our wishes for the New Year,

We look towards the future at the dawn of this New Year with renewed determination, firm commitment and many positive expectations, he said adding, ‘Our aim is to recover with speed all that was lost to Sri Lankan society in more than three decades', stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his New Year message.

 

Recent Sri Lanka News High Lights from December 2010

 

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Northern bound Yal Devi to reach Omanthai

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.

Sri Lankan time to be standardized in April

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).

Railway hot-lines for public use

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.

Govt. to substitute the name Ceylon with the word “Sri Lanka”

The Cabinet decided to change the names of all public enterprises that begin as ‘Ceylon’ with the word ‘Sri Lanka’.

Kalutara Kitul industry focused

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.

Sunday morning Yoga Challenge

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.

CCTV cameras in Sri Lankan capital to be in operation from Wednesday

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).

Online ETA from 2011 for visas

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.

Sri Lanka to set up more domestic airports

Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne 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.

Sri Lanka commemorates sixth anniversary of Boxing Day tsunami

Sri Lanka today commemorates the sixth anniversary of the deadly Boxing Day tsunami that swept the island in 2004.

Solar park to add 1237 kw to grid

A solar power park will be constructed at Barutankanda, Hambantota with the assistance of the governments of Japan and Korea next year.

Poya no more a mercantile holiday?

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.

Work towards lasting peace: Catholic Bishops

“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.

Formula racing tracks in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will build two Formula tracks to conduct motor races in the country, the state owned radio said.

Prime Minister calls upon everyone to respect the religions of others

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.

Unlicensed tourist guides beware!

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.

Christmas carols in Jaffna after nearly 30 years

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.

Sports minister proposes exclusive TV channel for sports

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.

Sri Lankan government to introduce laws to impose dress code at religious places

The Sri Lankan government is to take steps to introduce laws to impose a dress code at places of religious worship.

Great Stupa built to mark Peace

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.

Sripada season begins

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.

Eateries, restaurants to be classified

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.

Galle Face to expand into sea

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.

Processed food sector: Country could become food hub

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.

Sri Lanka to obtain Wikileaks contents

“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.

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 Lanka News High Lights from November 2010

 

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Sri Lankan government reduces prices of food items ahead of festive season

Moratuwa University wins a Merit Award at the APICTA

Colombo Bandaranaike Airport launches mega festive promotion

H’tota and N’Eliya hospitals upgraded

Sri Lanka sprint queen to return to competition

Sri Lanka deport foreigners for gaining employment while on tourist visas

Customs to reopen offices in Jaffna and KKS

Kids' play area at BIA

Krishna opens Jaffna Consulate

Thousands to welcome Cardinal Malcolm today

Tamil Parties' Forum meet President on Reconciliation

First private university to be established in Sri Lanka next year

FIU signs anti-money laundering MoU with Bangladesh

Pornographic websites: Move to net violators

Free healthcare for all - President

New kidney stone removing machine installed

Mahaweli gets tourist zones

Sri Lanka Budget 2011

Minister assures lower power tariffs

Blessings of Hindu people always with President -Minister

Sri Lanka to inaugurate leader with 'biggest rice cake'

Turning a new chapter in the country’s development, First ship enters the Magampura Port today

Sri Lankan accountants to get UK qualification in Colombo

Laugfs to build hotel in Bangadeniya

Best Sri Lankan website recognized

Polythene ban inside botanical gardens

Sri Lanka extends U.S.$ 40,000 for educational development in Palestine

Sri Lankan gold medalist boxer fails the doping test again

First cricket match by children of Wanniyela Aththo!

Giant mushroom found in Puttalam

Take stern action against animal torture

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress decides to join the government

Computerized ID cards in the offing

Renuka Holdings posts healthy profits

Gambling legalized in Sri Lanka

A new German-Tech branch in Jaffna

Sri lanka models in Spain

Russian director keen to make film in Lanka

Sri Lankan spices seek global branding

Domestic terminal at BIA

Sri Lanka to introduce software to block websites with adult content

National Languages Minister assures: Trilingual society by 2020

Oldest tree and monastery preserved in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka climbs World Prosperity Index

 

Sri Lanka News High Lights from October 2010

 

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New approach to ethics and rituals for societal stability

Sri Lankan Muslims urged to pray for Nafeek

Norochcholai plant online from Nov 17: Coal powers national grid

Self-sufficiency in rice by year end

Tax High - Sri Lanka govt seeks more revenue from liquor, cigarettes

Ferry service soon from Tuticorin to Colombo

Digital technology to all local TV channels by 2015

Lanka's first batch for Israel jobs take wing

Sri Lanka to set up special hospital to treat elderly

Boat Watch : Sri Lanka gets 20 bids for vessel monitoring system

Army Thal Sevana Holiday resort complex opened

Authentic Japanese short stories in Sinhala

Fast food out from schools : Health Ministry to intervene

Ruins of ancient mansion unearthed

“e-Pension Project” to simplify pension payments

Palmyra seed planting program under way

Judge us on performance, not prejudice – LLRC to AI, HRW and ICG

New look Colombo soon

Ferry service to be launched between India and Sri Lanka

‘Responsibility Certificate’

Tsunami rehearsals on October 13

Sri Lanka First Lady in Malaysia for First Ladies summit

Development plan for Polonnaruwa

President wants idle factories brought under BOI

Red clay based glazed ceramic cookware enter market

CCTV cameras installed in Colombo

Indian workers won’t be here for mega housing projects

IT for A-L

Army Commander opens ‘Thalsevana’ in Jaffna

Power for rural sector begins in three months

Govt recruits 6,724 teachers

Govt promotes productivity culture

 

Sri Lanka Local News Highlights September 2010

 

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Over 130 Sri Lankan officials and athletes for Commonwealth games

Unregistered herbal ‘medicine’: Ban on way

Simplified form for M and N grade passport holders of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's IT university branch in Jaffna

Sri Lanka- A showcase at Quasimodo Fair 2011

Ayurveda treatment can do wonders

1000 schools to be developed as prestigious schools

Attempt to set up Guinness record

Tree planting in Jaffna

New and old at Thihariya mosque

President meets Sri Lankan community in Houston

Top US Businessmen meet President in NY

Simple Tamil

e-village project in 500 new schools

Give preference to first timers, Haj Committee tells tour operators

Tamil language disserves due recognition

Nuclear energy for Sri Lanka

Over 1.1 m trees to be planted

Sri Lanka to build 1-GW nuclear power plant by 2030

Sri Lanka's wildlife parks attract more tourists

Making Kandy an eco-friendly city

Sea plane domestic air service soon

Sun shines on Botanical Gardens

Electric trains in Lanka soon

Sri Lanka to revamp aviation laws

Smile as an expression in Buddhism and business

Jaffna University Indigenous medicine unit gets face lift

First parachute competition in South Asia

Rare fern species found in Sinharaja

Another 100 identified Porn Websites to be banned

Sri Lanka sending fact finding mission to Iraq

Iced tea demand hots up

Sri Lanka scientists re-introduce extinct microbes to soil

World Buddhist Federation Conference for the first time in Sri Lanka

Tourism entrepreneurs cry foul over shoddy treatment by authorities

Qazi courts to be established in Sri Lanka

Muslims celebrate Eid Ramazan Festival

Poverty down

Government to expand Mannar salterns in the northwest

International Buddhist Film Festival next year

Most Colombo churches now hold Tamil Masses

High-tech guards for Sigiriya damsels

Marriage, death certificates within minutes

Seven more aircraft for Srilankan

Jaffna students in Kandy

43 aggressive foreign flora and fauna species identified in Sri Lanka

Fresh water fish for village tanks

Tamil Filmmaking workshop in the North and East

Sri Lanka Railways to introduce two luxury trains

Pension scheme for fishermen

Direct air links between Kunming and Colombo soon

Increase in fish production

Norochcholai power plant to be commissioned on January 1

Solar Supplement Sri Lanka LOLC cuts grid use with solar power

Perception in Buddhism and marketing

FACETS 2010, International Gem and Jewellery show in Sri Lanka

Rajaratnam allegedly funded LTTE: US Judge lets suit proceed

Dinamina Colombo-Matale Express bus service & more

 

Sri Lanka Local News Highlights August 2010

 

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President opens hotel school in Ratnapura

Multi religious centres to strengthen communal harmony

Tourist Complaints Hotline 011-2676161: TIK clocks non-stop

3000-year-old burial ground discovered in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka blocks over 100 porn websites

‘Pure Ceylon Tea’: Rs 5 billion promotion

New TV channel for education soon

2,000-Year-Old wrecked ship located near Hambanthota harbour

Excavation on Fa-Hien cave continues

Government to facilitate Haj pilgrims

Domestic airports to be renovated

Hambantota Harbour: Historic water filling ceremony

Over 400,000 devotees expected for Madhu feast

Sri Lanka is the only country that defeated terrorism on its own

4000-year-old human skeleton found in Sri Lanka

French couple praise Lankan generosity

Obtain wind power for power generation

Jaffna kindness warms hearts of crash victims

Getambe: True heaven is a place in Kandy

Esala Maha Perahera : Kandy expects unprecedented crowds

Sri Lanka’s first Expressway

Fill up your passports with personal details- Controller of Immigration

Sri Lanka to hold World Buddhist Conference

New Southern Sri Lanka port to anchor first vessel in November

Commercial flights from KIA to Palaly by year end & more....

 

Sri Lanka Local News Highlights July 2010

 

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Malwatta Prelate tours Jaffna

SLTB motorcycle squad to nab errant drivers

Sri Lanka initiates programs to create awareness on energy saving and sustainable energy

Ayurvedic medicine: Chronic renal diseases can be completely cured

Hambantota Harbour water filling on Aug 15

Over 400 herds of Elephants can be seen at Minneriya National Park

Sri Lanka tops world in breast feeding

Skoool website launched

Colombo readies for Fun & Frolic

Peace filled every heart with new hopes - Nayake Thera

New British visa application centre

Kandyan beat!

Name 'too long' for air ticket

Spices, a unique attraction to the emerald isle

Sri Lanka not to please international community

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