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Home Garden Club hopes to change Sri Lankan attitudes towards food production

(island) The Mahatma Gandhi Centre launched a Home Garden Club last week, in what they hope will be a small step towards Sri Lankan agriculture becoming self-sufficient.

The Club aims to provide support and advice to everyone interested in home gardening, regardless of their economic restraints, and to raise awareness of the need for sustainable agricultural practices at all levels.

This initiative, which encourages its members to grow their own vegetables and herbs, comes at a time when there is growing concern about Sri Lanka’s dependence on food imports, leaving it vulnerable to price shocks within the market. Meanwhile the world population has doubled in the period 1960 – 2000 (from an approximate three billion to an approximate six billion) and is set to rise further in the coming decades, creating worries of a worldwide food shortage.


... A statue of the Risen Lord donated by a Hindu has been ceremoniously installed in a beautifully renovated church. A large crowd thronged to St Anthony’s Church at Opatha, on the outskirts of Colombo, to see the statue, which is made of fiberglass, around 15 feet high and some 3½ tons in weight, on its 20ft high pedestal ...


Hindu donates statue, renovates church

(ucan) A statue of the Risen Lord donated by a Hindu has been ceremoniously installed in a beautifully renovated church. A large crowd thronged to St Anthony’s Church at Opatha, on the outskirts of Colombo, to see the statue, which is made of fiberglass, around 15 feet high and some 3½ tons in weight, on its 20ft high pedestal.

K. Raju, an ardent Hindu who attended the ceremony on Easter Sunday, renovated the church and donated the statue to the poor parish. He said “it was a flowering of a dream of his late wife” who had wanted to see the renovated church but died before it was finished. “But I did all what I could to make her dream come true.”

The village of Opatha is a predominantly a Buddhist area. Within this Parish there is another church in Crooswatta village which was once set on fire by Buddhist extremists.

“We must be content with what we have and whatever we receive. All that has come from God Almighty. I strongly believe in that providence. St. Anthony has been helping and guiding me and this, though very small, is a token of my honor and gratitude, to the Lord” he said.

May Day messages

Work for country's progress, President - Working class achieved much, Prime Minister - Major stakeholders in development, Labour Minister - Stay United in a critical period, JCTU Convenor Alavi Mowlana  

‘Korean leaders encouraged to refute Darusman report’

(dn) Korean leaders will be encouraged to refute the controversial Darusman report, said Korean Chief Mahayana Sanghanayake Saktasan Thera, when he called on Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna at the Prime Minister’s office Wednesday.

The Korean Mahanayake vehemently refuted the accusations in the report and assured that a positive dialogue will be created among Koreans on Sri Lanka. He added that top level Korean investors will arrive in Sri Lanka to embark on mega scale investment projects.

A Korean investment zone will also be established in the future in Sri Lanka, he said. He pointed out the timely need to translate Tripitaka into Korean language with the assistance of Sri Lankan buddhist monks. He will also coordinate the renovation of several buddhist temples in Sri Lanka to mark the 2600th Sambuddathva Jayanthi.

Bristol Street renamed Sir Razik Fareed Mawatha

(dn) Bristol Street in Fort will be officially renamed "Sir Razik Fareed Mawatha" by Prime Minister D M Jayaratne on May 2, 2011. The Prime Minister will address the commemorative meeting at the premises of the Moors' Islamic Cultural Home (MICH) after the ceremonial renaming of the street.

This meeting will be presided by Alhaj Omar Kamil, President MICH and the Special Commissioner, Colombo. Sir Razik Fareed a statesman, politician, diplomat and a great philanthropist was the Founder President of the Moors' Islamic Cultural Home, a premier Islamic organization since its inception in 1944. The headquarters of the MICH is located in this street.

Hotel school training

(dn) The Kavantissa Vocational Training Centre at Tissamaharama which is affiliated to the Tissamaharamaya Raja Maha Viharaya has launched a hotel school training programme with the sponsorship of Jet Wing Chain of Hotels.

The co-sponsors of the course are CARE International and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

It is a one year course for school leavers and unemployed youth. The course will be conducted free of charge. After training the National and Internation standard National Vocational (NV) qualification will be awarded to the trainees.

Smoke free rugby match

(dn) The Inter School Rugby League clash between Royal and Isipathana today is considered one of the most aggressive school rugby matches. The venue is Royal College Sports Complex grounds.

Royal College rugby matches organizing committee, a subcommittee of Royal College Union (RCU) has embarked on a just cause towards sheer sportsmanship, to coincide with the event. In a bid to keep smokers at bay during the match, the organizing committee has printed a message in the match-ticket, requesting spectators to refrain from smoking.

The organizing committee headed by Thilak Silva, with the blessings of Royal College Principal Upali Gunasekera has brought forth the idea, in a bid to set a standard at the school level towards discipline in sports. Other schools are expected to follow suit. Four matches will be played today before a gamut of spectators comprising students, parents and old boys of the respective schools



Sri Lankan Minister proposes an alternate UN

(cp) Sri Lanka Minister of Housing and Construction and the leader of government coalition party National Freedom Front, Wimal Weerawansa says that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa can suggest the need of an alternate United Nations Organization.

Addressing a press conference of his party in capital Colombo yesterday, the Minister said the UN had become a cat's paw of the Western super powers.

He also charged that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is working for the interests of the Western imperialists to secure a second term election to the office.

UN report: Lanka officials 'can be arrested'

(bbcs) Senior Sri Lanka officials may be arrested and tried abroad as a result of the UN expert panel report on Sri Lanka, a legal expert said.

Wijedasa Rajapakshe, an opposition MP, said it is possible for interested parties abroad to seek a warrant to arrest visiting dignitaries as a result of the UN report.

Amnesty International said that Sri Lankan leaders can be charged while they are travelling abroad after the release of the report. A number of senior Sri Lankan officials and ministers including Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa are citizens of the United States.

Sri Lanka gifts sapphire studded hair pin to Kate

(dn) Sri Lanka has gifted a Ceylon Sapphire studded diamond hair pin to Kate Middleton who marries Britain's Prince William today.

The state-owned Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Authority (SLGJA) said the gift was in appreciation of the British Royal family's association with Ceylon Sapphires over many generations.

"This is the first ever international campaign aimed at raising awareness about the rarity and value of the Ceylon Sapphire," SLGJA chief Macky Hashim said. The hair pin had already been delivered to the Middletons, Hashim said.

Kate Middleton already wears a blue Ceylon Sapphire engagement ring, coming from the late Princess Diana, the mother of the groom, Prince William.

Postal Dept shortlisted for World Mail Awards

(dn) Sri Lanka's Department of Posts has made a significant achievement by getting shortlisted for an award at the World Mail Awards 2011 ceremony to be held in Brussels, Belgium on May 17. It has been shortlisted for an award in the "Retail Project" category in respect of its entry for 'inhouse development.'

Post Master General M K B Dissanayake said this is the most outstanding achievement made by the Postal Service during its 200 year history by getting shortlisted for a coveted international prize.

This shortlisting is ample proof that the Sri Lanka Posts has utilized information technology to compete with and be par with Global Postal Services. The final judging of award winners will take place in Brussels on May 17 and Sri Lanka Posts has been invited by the organisers to attend the awards ceremony held at the Conrad Hotel in Brussels on that day.



UN Report can be looked at by LLRC - Govt. of Sri Lanka

(ognp) The Government of Sri Lanka says that the material referred to in the “Darusman Report” can be looked at by the LLRC should it wish to do so, depending on its own assessment of the contents. the External Affairs Ministry said in a media release. The “Darusman Report” refers to many issues which are alleged to have occurred in Sri Lanka and which are currently subject to a domestic process.

The public release of the Report at this stage is divisive, and disrupts our efforts to reinforce peace, security and stability in Sri Lanka. It feeds into the political agendas of interested parties.

The Government refers to the release by the UN Secretary-General of the “Darusman Report” on accountability in Sri Lanka. The Government reiterates its position that the “Darusman Report” is fundamentally flawed in many respects and that among other deficiencies, the Report is based on biased material, which is presented without any verification.

Alert on earthquakes within 5 minutes

(ognp) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has said that people should not have an unwanted apprehension about a tsunami, as the Ministry of Disaster Management has a streamline mechanism to inform the people if there is any such danger.

He has said that the Disaster Management Centre and the Met Department are in readiness round the clock to inform about such situations. More than 50 tsunami warning towers have been erected throughout the country.

The Minister addressing a media conference in Colombo yesterday said that people were much worried about baseless rumours spread of a tsunami recently.

Heads of Sri Lankan missions summoned for a special meeting today

(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of External Affairs has summoned Sri Lankan Ambassadors and High Commissioners in foreign missions to Colombo for a meeting, Ministry sources said.

A special meeting of Sri Lankan diplomats will be held at the Ministry of External Affairs today at 9:30 a.m.

The Sri Lankan diplomats are to be informed of the necessary actions needed to be taken internationally in their respective countries of representation. 



Lanka invests Rs. 17mn to protect ‘Ceylon Tea’ in 40 countries over next two years

(island) The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has committed Rs. 8.5 million this year to register ‘Ceylon Tea’ with the Geographical Indicator (GI) that ensures the ‘Ceylon Tea’ brand is protected in 20 countries. The Ministry will also commit another Rs. 8.5 million in 2012 for brand protection in another 20 countries.

"This initiative will make Ceylon Tea, and the tea industry itself, stronger in moving towards the US 2.5 billion export earnings target," Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce will readily support the Tea Board and the Ministry of Plantations to achieve its export revenue target of $2.5 billion in the near future. The Geographical Indicator (GI) Registration undertaken by Sri Lanka will make Ceylon Tea and our tea industry stronger in moving towards this target, the minister said.

Sri Lanka ready to deal with piracy when oil exploration commences

(island) Pirate activity is picking up and threatening oil exploratory activities off India’s coast and Sri Lanka, expected to commence drilling oil exploratory wells for the first time this June off the Mannar coast, is aware of the threat and risks from piracy, and is in the process of formulating appropriate safeguards.

"We are well aware of the piracy threat affecting oil exploratory activities off India’s coast. We are still in the preparatory stage and in the process of finalising appropriate measures to deal with such threats," Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat Director General Dr. Neil de Silva told The Island Financial Review.

Sri Lanka shares the Mannar Basin with India, located in the South-East Indian coast, in the opposite direction to where pirate sorties were taking place.

WB elevates Sri Lanka's borrowing status

(dn) Satisfied with Sri Lanka's economic performances, the World Bank has elevated Sri Lanka's status to funding provided to middle income earning countries.

This follows the recent meetings the Sri Lanka delegation headed by International Monetary Cooperation Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama had with the World Bank Managing Director in Washington recently. The other members of the delegation comprised Central Bank Deputy Governor Dharma Dheerasinghe, Assistant Governor Ananda Silva and Additional External Resources Director Sarath Kumarasiri.

Sri Lanka will be now be eligible for international Bank for reconstruction and development funding in addition to the international development assistance (IDA) funding in the World Bank deciding to provide double the funds, Dr Amunugama told the Daily News yesterday. The assistance will be for education, health and development of national and provincial roads countrywide.

First systematic AIDS survey in Sri Lanka

(dn) For the first time in Sri Lanka a complete survey and study on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is to be conducted on the instructions of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. The main objective of the study is to gather data on STDs, especially HIV/AIDS to uplift facilities and services available for patients, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

According to the spokesman this study will be the first ever complete scientific study on the subject.

There is no accurate data available on STDs in Sri Lanka including HIV/AIDS - only a hypothesis. Therefore it is difficult for the Health Ministry to develop a data base to uplift medical facilities and services available for AIDS patients and others. The data and information available at the moment have no accuracy or reliability. There are around 40,000 commercial sex workers and 40,000 injected drug users in Sri Lanka at the moment according to this hypothesis. A few years ago it was believed that there were around 5,000 HIV victims, later this figure changed to 3,000 without a valid reason or survey. Various organizations release different statistics to suit their own agendas. Therefore nobody knows the accurate number of HIV positive persons in Sri Lanka at the moment. The number of AIDS patients discovered in Sri Lanka so far is 1,250, he said. 

Hundred Buddhist monks to translate Tripitaka into Korean

(dn) "One hundred Sri Lankan Buddhist monks will be provided with opportunity to learn the Korean language in South Korea with the aim of translating Tripitaka into the Korean language," said South Korea Chief Sanghanayaka Sakkayan Thera.

The Chief Sanghanayaka arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday (24) to enhance Sri Lanka-South Korea Buddhist relations in view of the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi. His delegation was received by Rural Affairs Senior Minister Athaudha Seneviratne.

Ven Sakkayan Thera added that all necessary steps will be taken to uplift Buddhism in the two countries. South Korea has planned to set up hospitals in Sri Lanka and to provide them with South Korean technology, he said. The Chief Sanghanayaka added that scholarships will be provided to Sri Lankan students.



'Feel Sri Lanka' reaches 30th milestone

(dn) Sri Lanka Tourism's weekly traditional dance show on every Friday will stage its 31st recital at the Hotel School Auditorium on April 29 at 5.30 pm. This programme is specially meant for the tourists, foreign conference delegates and business visitors.

So far thousands of visitors have witnessed this one hour dance show who became ambassadors to spread the descriptions of Sri Lanka's traditional dance forms to their friends and relatives.

This programme was initiated by the Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman in line with the policy of the Economic Development Ministry to promote Sri Lanka's traditional rituals and dance forms among the tourists and is conducted by SLCB.

Jaffna mourns, Sri Lanka

(dn) The news of the death of Sathya Sai Baba was received with shock and grief in Jaffna. Sai Baba devotees congregated in places of worship with flowers, incense and camphor and conducted prayers for the repose of the soul of Sai Baba.

Three days of mourning has been arranged in the 58 places of worship in the peninsula. Sai Baba devotees have been asked to sing bajans and chant Gayathri and Sai Baba Gayathri Mantras non stop for three days.

Coordinating Committee Northern zone, Sri Lanka Chairman Dr Ganeshamoorthy is in Puddapathi. The Sri Lanka Central Committee Northern zone is awaiting for instructions from Puddapathi regarding the future course of action to be followed in Jaffna. 



Elephant sanctuaries to keep marauding wild elephants at bay

(dn) The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) will establish a network of elephant sanctuaries for stubborn wild elephants, tuskers and orphaned baby elephants to keep them under safe custody.

According to Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister S M Chandrasena, under this programme these sanctuaries will be started in Horowpothana, Maduroya and Weheragala areas. One such sanctuary would come up on 3,000 acres with a reinforced protective fence installed around the proposed landscape.

The special feature of the project will be, every such sanctuary will have 1,000 acres of land for cultivating food varieties for elephants. The farmers within close proximity to the sanctuaries will be facilitated to grow elephants' food which would be purchased by the Department. Minister Chandrasena hopes that the new project would assist in bringing down the increasing human-elephant conflict by benefitting both humans and the elephant population.

As Sri Lankan citizens we must resolve the Tamil National question amicably

(tc) So many things have been written on the Report of the Expert Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. Should I litter the already crowded discourse space with another piece?

War is a crime, a crime against humanity. This general rule is universally applied to every war that was waged by states, political groups etc. In this sense, war crime is a misnomer as there has been no war without criminal acts executed by the contenders. When I was writing this note, the Associated Press has reported that the U.S. drones fired five missiles at a house in a Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border today, killing at least 22 people. Does the UN and human right vocabulary include this in the category of war crime?

We have now reached a critical moment. Irrespective of the pressure coming from Western powers, as Sri Lankan citizens we should be determined to resolve the Tamil national question amicably. Such an effort needs concrete measures that cannot be reduced to diplomatic ball rolling. As far as the report is concerned, Sri Lanka can handle that issue aligning with India and getting the support of China and Russia and other developing countries.

Govt to re-open 97 rural hospitals

(dn) The government is set to re-open 97 rural state hospitals that had been closed down for years due to lack of manpower and other resources.

These include 80 hospitals in the Northern and Eastern Provinces which were non-functional during a large part of the last 30 years, due to terrorist activities. In addition 17 other dilapidated rural state hospitals in Kandy and Hambantota districts are to be renovated and equipped to serve the public, according to a directive issued by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena.

According to a ministry spokesman around 270 new doctors are set to join the state health sector next month and a majority of them will be posted to the above hospitals. According to him, these hospitals would also be fully-equipped and geared to meet any eventuality. Also all upgraded hospitals would be fully-functional before the end of the year.



Sri Lanka arranges special flights to India for Sai Baba devotees

(cp) Sri Lankan Ministry of Civil Aviation has made arrangements to provide extra flights to India for Sri Lankans who want to pay last respects to the late Sathya Sri Sai Baba in Puttaparthi.

Flights will be arranged for groups comprising a minimum of 150 persons.

Interested devotees have been requested to contact the Minister on his mobile number 0777 413 148 or the CEO of the Sri Lankan Airlines Manoj Gunawardena at 077 318 71 46.

Easter message: Catholic Bishops’ Conference

(so) Once again, we celebrate the greatest of all Christian events, the Feast of Easter. We have completed 40 days of spiritual preparation and the Church researches the Climax of the liturgical year in the celebration of the Easter Triduum. Therein we commemorate with great devotion the Passion, Death and the Glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is the Passover of the Lord from Death the New Life of the Resurrection.

New Intel, MOE agreement to extend into Sinhala

(st) The local office of globally dominant chipmaker Intel has signed two funding agreements with Sri Lanka's Ministry of Education (MOE). The first extends the existing Intel-funded website with a Sinhala language version. Started in 2007, is currently available in English only.

The second agreement signed between Intel and the MOE continues Intel's funding of the Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair (SLSEF) for 2011. This December event is the local leg of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), also sponsored by Intel, which selects secondary school students to represent Sri Lanka in competition at the US-based ISEF.

According to a company statement, during the agreement signing, Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardana had said of; "The insight gained through these programmes will enable these teachers and their students to improve their level of knowledge. These programs have been tried and tested across the world and will go a long way in enhancing our students’ level of knowledge in the fields of mathematics and science and technology. I have no doubt that these students here stand to benefit from this website as it provides various tools that will eventually make them better learners in due course.”

International Buddhist Information Center to be opened in Sri Lankan capital

(cp) An International Buddhist Information Center will be opened in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, on May 15 to mark the 2600th centenary of the Buddha's enlightenment.

The Center is housed in 16-story building on a land at Havelock Road, Colombo provided with the assistance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President laid the foundation for the Sri Sambuddathwa Jayanthi International Buddhist Centre in February 2010. It was constructed by the Buddhist Cultural Center in Nedimala, Dehiwala at a cost of Rs. 3.3 billion.

The Center will house the world's largest collection of Buddhist publications and literature. The complex with a 600-seat auditorium will function as a center to spread the Buddhist philosophy in the region and conduct dharma research activities.

Medical tourism on the increase

(st) Inbound medical tourism offers great potential to Sri Lanka with the number of foreigners seeking medical treatment here in Sri Lanka increasing, Comfort Health Care Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. Managing Director Mahes Moonasinghe told the Business Times recently.

The level of treatment and the condition of the leading local private hospitals are on par with hospitals anywhere in the region. Today there are a lot of people from Bangladesh, Maldives and even Australia who wish to come here for medical treatment, he said. Along with the western medical treatment the Ayurvedic treatment is also gaining popularity overseas. There are now specific travel agents who cater to these types of travelers now, according to Mr Moonasinghe.

Adding further, he said that by June this year the company hopes to begin selling Sri Lanka as a destination for medical treatment. For this purpose all arrangements will be finalized for this company, which is a new venture. “By then we will have a fully fledged operation of sourcing medical travelers who wish to come here for treatment. Only in cases of very special needs will we be sending patients to India. Presently we are capable of handling most medical cases herein Sri Lanka. Except for a few very special cases we source the required treatment locally,” he said.



Initially launched in Colombo - Hotels, restaurants to be graded under ‘Crowns for Food Hygiene’ project

(si) The Ind-Expo Certification Company, in collaboration with the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), has launched a project to encourage the upgrading of food storage, food preparation and food supplying in business organizations such as hotels, restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets supplying food to the public.

This project, aimed at improving the cleanliness, hygiene and the taste of the food the public buy, is named the "Crowns for Food Hygiene" project. The company is planning to expand this project, initially launched within the CMC limits, to cover the whole country, with the active participation of the health authorities.

Any food supply organization such as hotels, restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, eating houses, tea boutiques and mobile food supply services that has obtained a valid food license to run a food outlet as per the requirement of the Food Act of Sri Lanka from respective local government authority can participate in this "Crowns for Food Hygiene" Scheme.

When an organization joins the "Crowns for Food Hygiene" program, the Ind-Expo Certification Company launches a methodical investigation of the food storage, preparation and supply adhering to internationally accepted standards. Then, that organization will be certified Excellent (5 Crowns), Very Good (4 Crowns), Good (3 Crowns), Fair (2 Crowns) and Poor (1 Crown). After the grading, the Company will issue a certificate and a sticker with Crown symbols, valid for one year only. The sticker can be displayed to the customers and the details of the organization will be posted on the website

Christian teachings can help move towards lasting unity

(ognp) Easter Message by President, Sri Lanka

The festival of Easter celebrated on Sunday is of special significance to Christians as it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion and death at Calvary, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a message to mark Easter.

The message added: "The Christian teaching of love and understanding can contribute much to strengthen the reconciliation now taking place in our country and help us move towards lasting unity.

I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Easter". Time to reflect on one's inner thoughts.

Easter Messages

Sri Lanka to propose Tamil cultural sites to UNESCO to name as World Heritage sites

(cp) Sri Lanka Minister of National Heritage Jagath Balasuriya said the government is to take measures to get the recognition for the historical places that express the Tamil cultural identity as World Heritage sites.

The Minister says that archaeologists have identified ancient jetties, ports, and temples etc. in Sri Lanka with significant Tamil cultural identity.

The Ministry is in the process of proposing them to the UNESCO to be named as World Heritage sites. Star shaped Jaffna Dutch Fort that is being renovated now and Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil are two such places. The Minister also said that the Archeological Department has planned to conserve and develop 25 historical places in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Veddha community's life style will be protected - Minister

(dn) Culture and Arts Minister T B Ekanayaka assured Veddha leader Uruwarige Wannileththo that action will be taken to protect the life style of the Veddha community and solve their land, fisheries, housing, environmental and transportation problems, during a discussion held at the Ministry recently.

The Veddha leader requested the minister to take steps in protecting their language, customs and culture. The minister assured to refer their problems to relevant ministers. The minister promised to provide a Cultural Information Center, a vehicle park and adequate sanitation facilities to develop the tourism industry in their regions. Including the Dambana region around 20 villages including Vakare, Batticaloa, Henanigala, Dimbulagala, Rathugala and Pollebedda were listed. According to the Veddha leader's request, the monthly fund given by the Cultural Affairs Ministry for Veddha community's maintenance will be provided at the beginning of every month.

Sambuddhathva Jayanthi: Buddha’s Hair Relics exposition

(dn) An exposition of the Buddha’s hair relics will be held at the Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple from May 7 to 15 to commemorate the 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthi, a spokesman for the temple said.

This will be followed by an exposition of the Buddha’s Hair Relics at the Kalutara Bodhi for three days, the spokesman said. Presidential Coordinating Secretary of Religious Affairs Ven Getamanne Gunnananda Thera said that the Buddha’s Hair Relics presented to Sri Lanka by Bangladesh is the greatest sacred gift to mark the 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthi.

The Buddha’s hair relics are deposited at the Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple.



Back to Sri Lanka Latest News

(island) The Government yesterday expressed hope that its key development projects undertaken throughout the country will help double the per ca pita income well ahead of schedule. Sri Lanka expects its current per capita income of US$ 2000 to double by the year 2015.

The Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa said that a notable growth in Sri Lanka’s per capita income would be achieved in the near future. He was optimistic that it would surpass 6,000 US Dollars within the Western Province whose the contribution to GDP is nearly 50 percent.

Minister Rajapaksa pointed out that their intention was to increase the per capita income twofold to US $ 4000. However he could predict that he could proudly say that the per capita income in the Western Province would surpass 6000 US Dollars.

Sri Lanka to recruit more Tamils to Police service

(ognp) More Tamil youths are to be recruited to Sri Lanka Police service. Interviews are being held these days in many Districts in the North and the East. Police department yesterday held interviews in the Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi Districts.

The Tamil youth seem to display a keen enthusiasm in joining the Police Service. The prime intention of this effort is to deploy officers who can perform their duties in Tamil language in the districts in North and the east.

The Government has already recruited over 300 Tamil speaking officers to the Police service.They will be recruited as Inspectors, Sub Inspectors of Police and constables.

Parts of ancient vessels discovered in Sri Lanka

(people) Sri Lanka's National Archaeological Department has discovered the parts of 20 ancient vessels in the south of the country, an archaeologist said Thursday.

Sanath Karunarathne, an archaeologist with the National Archaeological Department said the ancient vessel parts were discovered as they were conducting a marine archaeological survey in the southern coastal belt. Karunaratne said they have also been able to locate wreckage of a very ancient ship close to the historical Godavaya Port in the Hambantota District.

He said they found historical items including stone bench with an ancient inscription among the wreckage and it is believed that those ancient items are older than 2,000 years.

Sri Lanka to eliminate malaria by 2014

(dn) No malaria deaths were reported in 2010 or 2009 while only one death was reported in 2008 and 2007, Anti Malaria Campaign Director Dr S L Deniyage said.

Sri Lanka will eliminate malaria by late 2014. The main threat to Sri Lanka is from persons travelling abroad. The Health Ministry request the public to take drugs issued free before travelling abroad. Persons travelling abroad and fall sick should get blood tested free of charge.

Security Forces, chena cultivators and gem miners in the dry zone are the most affected groups. Malaria mosquitoes breed in still or slowly moving clear water. The Health authorities were helpless when implementing malaria control programmes in the past because of the war situation prevailed in the country for three decades. But now these programmes are in full swing without any problems. The five year programme is launched with the cooperation of WHO at a cost of US $ 36 million from Global Fund.



Bangladesh donates Sacred Hair Relics : Deposited at Gangaramaya

(dn) The Sacred Hair Relics of The Buddha donated by a temple in Chittagong in Bangladesh during President Mahinda Rajapaksa's official visit to Bangladesh was deposited at the Hunupitiya Gangaramaya yesterday by the temple's Chief Incumbent Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thera together with President's son Yoshitha Rajapaksa.

Arrangements are in place for the exposition of these sacred relics islandwide to coincide with the 2600th Sambuthdathva Jayanthiya. The Sacred Hair Relics would be displayed for public veneration during the Vesak Full Moon day at Kalutara Bodhi premises.

The Bangladesh Government donated Sacred Hair Relics of The Buddha in 2007 too and they have been deposited at the Hunupitiya Gangaramaya.

The sacred Hair Relics of The Buddha has been embedded in two dagobas in Sri Lanka. They are Madampe Senanayake Viharaya and Thiriyaya Viharaya. 

2,600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi: Mobile archaeological exhibition planned

Sambuddhatva Jayanthi in Sri Lanka(dn) The National Heritage Ministry has drawn up a plan to hold a mobile archaeological exhibition for a month from May 17, under the direction of the Sambuddatva Jayanthi Presidential Steering Committee, National Heritage Minister Dr Jagath Balasuriya said.

This exhibition will be launched at the National Museum and would tour the country. This exhibition will be organized under the theme of "Let us create a faithful society based on Panchasieelaya", Ministry Secretary Kanthi Wijesinghe said.

The exhibition will display important event such as the introduction of Buddhism and its perpetuation in Sri Lanka. Along with this exhibition the Ministry has planned to bring relics from Thakshila in Pakistan and hopes to hold a mobile relics exhibition providing an opportunity for people worship these relics. According to the programme the mobile vehicle with the relics will travel to Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Hambantota, Mahiyanganaya and Muthiyanganaya.

Telephones surpasses population

(ognp) The telephone usage has risen to 100.8 lines per 100 persons in 2010 showing that fixed and mobile connections had overtaken the population.

The telephone density was 86.6 in 2009. According to data published by Sri Lanka's Central Bank, Mobile phone users grew 20.9 percent to 17.2 million while fixed access wireline which has slumped in 2009 has recovered and increased by 2.9 percent to 897,000. Industry analysts say owners of more than one mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) are growing. Wireless fixed access phones have increased by 4.3 percent to 2,674,000.

Internet connections including mobile broadband has registered an increase by 79.2 percent to 430,000 in 2010.

Communication is a field that has shown a vast development during the last six years. Telephone was a luxury in the past and there was a time that Parliamentarians used to offer a telephone line for public use in a cubicle or outside their houses and considered it as a valuable service they provide for their constituents, even though they were not footing the bill from their own pocket.

Sixth stage of the Mahawansa to be compiled

(dn) It has been decided to write the sixth stage of the Mahawansa under the guidance of Cultural Affairs Minister T. B. Ekanayake. A separate office has been opened at the Cultural Affairs Department in Battaramulla, Sethsiripaya recently for this.

It is planned to continue the country's written history from 1978 to 2010 at the sixth stage of the Mahawansa. The Cultural Affairs Department has commenced to collect information from all Ministries, Departments, Corporations and Semi Government Institutions in the country.

All important incidents which occurred during this period will be recorded. They will cover political, religious, cultural, social, educational, agricultural, technical and technological domains.



Mattala Airport on schedule

(ognp) The International Airport being constructed at Mattala will become operational by the end of next year.

Laying of the foundation stone for the main passenger terminal will take place on the 25th of this month with the participation of the Hambantota district Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa. Minister of Civil Aviation Mr. Priyankara Jayarathne said that the new terminal will be constructed with modern facilities. Meanwhile 80 percent of the construction work on the main runaway has been completed.

The Airport will be constructed under several stages and the expenditure for the first stage work will amount to 200 million US dollars. The Chinese government has provided assistance for this work, which will be completed by the end of next year. The first flight is expected to be landed at this airport by end of next year and its runaway can accommodate the largest air craft in the world such as A 380 air craft.

Re opening of Vietnamese embassy in Sri Lanka

(dn) Vietnamese Ambassador (designate) Ton Sinh Thanh, arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday to prepare for the reopening of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Sri Lanka.

After an interval of nearly 30 years, Thanh will present credential letters to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a ceremony scheduled to be held by the end of this month.

On arrival, Ambassador Thanh said, that he himself and all Vietnamese people admire the efforts of the Sri Lankan people in the struggle for national peace and reconstruction. He has a strong confidence in the bright prospects of the traditional friendship and comprehensive co-operation between Sri Lanka and Vietnam, the Ambassador said.

Public exposition of the Buddha's hair relic in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Commemoration(cp) Sri Lanka is preparing for a public exposition of the Buddha's hair relic to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha's Enlightenment that falls in May 2011.

Responding to a request made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his official visit to Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has agreed to release the Buddha's hair relic deposited at Chittagong to be taken to Sri Lanka for a public exposition to mark the 2600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi commemoration.

Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Secretariat of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment began the implementation of a special programme in January 2009 and it is to culminate in the Vesak festival that falls on May 17 this year. The Secretariat said the commemoration programme of the 2500th Buddha Jayanthi provides an exemplary precedence for this effort.

2800 new teachers appointed in Sri Lanka

(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Education plans to grant appointments to 2,800 new school teachers from the beginning of the next school term.

All schools in the country except Muslim schools are to be opened for the second term on April 25. Muslim schools were opened on April 18.

Most of the newly appointed teachers are to be placed in national schools island wide. They are qualified to teach Sinhala, science, mathematics, English, physical education, and primary curriculum.



Third player to enter Sri Lanka's LP gas market

(cp) Petronet LNG, India's biggest gas importer, announced to Indian media that the company had received a request from Sri Lanka to enter the local market.

The managing director and CEO of the company A.K. Balyan speaking to India's Economic Times has said the Company was looking at the opportunity. "Petronet is upbeat about expanding into new markets such as Sri Lanka," he has said.

Petronet LNG currently produces about 8 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year. It is in the process of doubling its business in the next five years. The Company has planned to open a new terminal in Kochi in South India in close proximity to Sri Lanka.

Lands in Sri Lankan capital for local and foreign investors

(cp) Sri Lanka Secretary of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who is also the Chairman of the Urban Development Authority has told the state-owned Sinhala daily The Dinamina that the government had decided to provide land in the Sri Lanka capital Colombo to local and foreign investors.

The Defense Secretary who is spearheading the removal of unauthorized structures in the Colombo city says that the government aims to make Colombo the nerve center of the economy of Sri Lanka.

Under the programme, the military complexes located in prime land of Colombo city are being shifted to the administrative capital Sri Jayewardenepura and the shanty dwellers are being resettled in flats with proper facilities. The government is also to begin filling the sea near Gall Face Green in May to build a new city adjacent to Colombo South harbor.

Sri Lanka Reconciliation Commission targets completion of report by May 15

(cp) Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is targeting the completion of its report to be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by May 15.

LLRC Media Spokesperson Lakshman Wickremasinghe has told the media that the Commission has commenced preparing the first draft. The draft, according to Wickremasinghe, is being prepared on the evidence received and analyzed by the LLRC.

From the evidence the Commission gathered so far, the LLRC has suggested immediate administrative measures to ease the lives of resettled Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and all people living in the former war-battered areas.



Dilshan appointed to lead Sri Lanka Cricket national team

(cp) Sri Lanka's opening batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan has been appointed as the National Captain in all 3 formats of the game for Sri Lanka's tour of England this May, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced today.

The Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee headed by Duleep Mendis has proposed Dilshan as the Captain of the Sri Lanka Cricket team to fill the vacancy left behind by the resignation of Kumar Sangakkara and the Sports Minister has approved the appointment.

Dilshan, 34, is currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He topped the batting at the World Cup 2011 with 500 runs and currently ranked at the third place in the ICC rankings.

Sri Lanka Christians join oil anointing ceremonies

(ucan) Participating in Sinhala and Tamil New Year tradition helps foster interfaith harmony.

Christians joined Buddhists and Hindus in traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year anointing ceremonies held across the country on Saturday.

The ceremony involves people returning to their family homes or temples, which are lavishly decorated to receive blessings and be anointed with herbal oil from senior family members or Buddhist monks. The one receiving the blessing is dressed in blue and has to face south as herbal oil made from Bo leaves is applied to the head and oil from Kohomba leaves for the feet.

One Christian woman married to a Buddhist went to a 92-year-old village elder to be anointed oil. “It is a good custom and fosters religious harmony among villagers,” said Kanthi Muthulatha from Anuradhapura. “It is very important for our children to join other faiths in such celebrations. We are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country,” said Muthulatha who works as a Sunday school teacher in Colombo archdiocese.

Floating dock in Hambantota

(dn) Colombo Engineering Enterprises will invest on a floating dock in Hambantota. Colombo Engineering Enterprises (CEE) Chairman Kiran Atapattu said the company will complete a floating dock in Hambantota by early next year.

The project will be funded in collaboration with CEE and a Chinese company with an investment of US$ 25 million.

He said the Chinese company has already conveyed their confirmation to build this floating dock. CEE has completed a feasibility study on the floating dock. The floating dock will be capable of handling 12,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT).

Applications called for Japanese MEXT Scholarships

(ognp) The Government of Japan will award scholarships to Sri Lankan Students under the Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarship scheme 2012, known as the MEXT Scholarship, in the categories of Postgraduate Research, Undergraduate and College of Technology.

The closing date for applications to the Ministry of Higher Education is on 6 May 2011. Selection of candidates will be done based on an examination to be conducted jointly by the Japanese Embassy and the Ministry of Higher Education.

Interested candidates should forward their applications to the Ministry of Higher Education, No. 18, Ward Place, Colombo 07, according to the specimen application format published on the Ministry website

Religious Leaders condemn Ban Ki Moon Committee Report

(ognp) The Maha Sanga and the religious leaders have condemned the report of the advisory committee appointed by the UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon. These religious dignitaries point out that the report clearly shows the conspiracies being hatched by the pro-tiger terrorists and their stooges for reversing the national freedom gained by vanquishing terrorism.

The Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University Professor Venerable Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thero said that no external force can exert pressure on the sovereignty of this country. Ven. Thero said that if these elements have any complaints to be made about grievances they could have presented their cases before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by the President.

The Reverend Father Sarath Hettiarachchi said that at a time all the people of this country are living in peace and harmony the pro-terrorism elements are attempting to destroy this freedom. The Reverend Father said that all the people of this country should act responsibly at this moment.

Sri Lanka to summon foreign diplomats to clarify position on UN Expert Panel report

(cp) Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry had decided to summon the foreign diplomats in the country to enlighten them on the government's stand on the Expert Panel's report on Sri Lanka's accountability during the war that was presented to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week.

The meeting is to be held on April 21 in Colombo. It is to be presided by the Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Sri Lanka media reported.

The report is not officially released yet and it is under the review of the UN Secretary-General now. However, it was leaked to the Sri Lankan media which published parts of it. The government issuing a preliminary statement said the report is fundamentally flawed in many respects.



Filling sea land for new city in Sri Lanka capital to begin next month

(cp) Sri Lanka is to begin filling the sea land in May to build the proposed Port City attached to Colombo.

The sea land to be filled is from the breakwater of the Colombo South Harbor to the Galle Face in front of the Presidential Secretariat.

Under a directive of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan government is to reclaim between over 400 acres of sea land to build the Port City at a cost of US$ 300 million.

The proposed offshore city, to be divided into three segments- business, residential and leisure, will be developed into a modern city with high rises, hotels, residential apartments, shopping malls, and other space to cater to the public needs.

Sri Lanka to build a new railway line to Horana

(cp) Planning Director of Sri Lanka Railways Wijaya Samarasinghe says that a new railway will be constructed to Horana from Kottawa in the Western Province.

The railway line is a by-path from the Kelaniweli railway and run 18 kilometers up to Horana in Kalutara district. The feasibility study conducted in this regard by Sri Lanka Railway and Moratuwa University is underway at the 3rd and last phase now, the Planning Director says.

Four railway stations are to be newly constructed and the Malapalla railway station from where the railway is to be started will also be developed, the official says.

Food Act to be amended from July

(so) The Food Act which ensures quality food production will be amended from July 1, this year. Accordingly, all food manufacturers should comply with the Health Ministry regulations when manufacturing, labelling, transporting and selling their products from this date.

The Health Ministry has also focused special attention on the sale of unhygienic and outdated canned food items and soft drinks which are freely available in supermarkets, groceries, hotels, cafeterias and other food outlets. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the Sunday Observer yesterday that the public should be cautious when purchasing outdated soft drinks and canned food items.

He said that products that carry the Sri Lanka Standard (SLS) label and the expiry date could be considered high quality items. He called upon elders to be vigilant over cheap and unhygienic soft drinks manufactured by certain people with the sole intention of earning a fast buck.

Aviation in school curriculum

(so) The Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayarathne has called upon the educational authorities to introduce aviation as a subject and later for a degree in the university curriculum.

According to Minister Jayaratne Sri Lanka lacks experts in the aviation industry and now it has become necessary to produce local experts to ease future demand.

He further said experts on aviation will have to play a big role in the years to come and therefore the educational authorities should focus attention to start educating children on aviation. Minister Jayarathne said he has already proposed a degree course in aviation to the Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake with the objective of starting it as early as possible and also to stop Sri Lankan youth from seeking higher education in aviation abroad.

Passport office to be re-located in Vavuniya

(so) The Immigration and Emigration office at Anuradhapura will be shifted to Vavuniya shortly. The Controller General Chulananda Perera said Cabinet approval was obtained by the Defence Ministry, under whose purview the Immigration office is operated.

He said the Anuradhapura branch will be re-located since a few people visit the branch.People from the North East areas have to travel to Colombo since the Anuradhapura office lack facilities."People find it easy to get to Colombo than go to Anuradhapura. But if there is an office close by, it will be convenient for them."

Immigration and Emigration Department at Punchi Borella, Colombo has branches in Kandy, Matara and Anuradhapura.



Stranded Myanmar fishermen brought to Trinco

(ad) The eleven stranded fishermen from Myanmar who were rescued by a group of Sri Lankan fishermen were brought to the Trincomalee Harbour today (April 16) morning, the Sri Lanka Navy stated.

The injured fishermen have been admitted to the Trincomalee Navy Hospital for treatment, Navy Spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya stated.

The Myanmar Embassy has been informed about the fishermen who are now being treated in the Navy hospital while further measures will be taken regarding the incident through the Embassy, the Spokesman added.

Atomic Energy Authority proposes MoU with India

(dn) The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority has proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian government as a precautionary action over possible nuclear accidents, Chairman Dr W Abeywickrema told the Daily News.

He said that the proposal has been extended to the Power and Energy Ministry and the External Affairs Ministry.

India contains 20 nuclear plants. According to geographical data, the distance between Sri Lanka and India is about 20 km. The Chairman said that three nuclear plants are being constructed in South India while eight more plants have been planned.

Zoo organizes video clip contest for visitors

(dn) The Dehiwala National Zoological Gardens has organized a best video clip competition for visitors from April 8 to 22 for the New Year school vacation, Director General Bashwara Senanka Gunaratne told the Daily News.

He said that visitors can use video recorders in hand phones for this competition. The competition will be held under two categories. Participants can either capture any movement of the animals or behaviour of the visitors in the zoo. The maximum length of a video clip should be two minutes, he said.

The Director General said that a ceremony to announce for the three, four-month-old pygmy hippopotamuses born at the zoo will be held on April 20. A tame, juvenile elephant will be brought to the zoo from the Pinnawala elephant orphanage on April 22. People will be allowed to view these animals from 3 pm onwards on this day, he explained.



Sri Lanka President ranked 6th in TIME 100 List poll

(cp) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been voted as the 6th most influential person of the world in the 2011 TIME 100 Poll.

Out of the 203 influential persons listed in the poll Sri Lankan President has been placed at the 6th place receiving a total of 95,456 votes so far with 74,357 saying he is influential.

The US-based magazine says although official voting for inclusion on the TIME 100 list was closed on April 14th users can continue to vote for their favorites until April 21st.

"He challenged the U.S., the European Union and the U.N. to prosecute him for war crimes, confident that Russia, China and India would not support it � the latter two have billions of investment at stake in Sri Lanka," the brief introduction said.

Ramayana Sites Helping Sri Lanka Tourism Attract Indian Tourists

(ed) Sri Lanka tourism is seeing strong growth in Indian tourists thanks to Ramayana sites. Sri Lanka tourism identified over 50 Ramayana sites that has helped in increase of Indian tourists.

Ramayana is a Indian epic, the story of Hindu God Rama life who rescues his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana who used to live in Sri Lanka. Rama is among the most worshiped gods in India. There are several temples of Lord Rama in India. By identifying around 50 sites related to Ramayana, Sri Lanka has managed emerged as a Pilgrimage destination for Indian tourists.

These 50 Ramayana sites include a 600 step climb that goes up to a cave in Ella which is supposed to be the place where Ravana hide Sita after kidnapping her. Other places include a spot in Divurumpola where Sita went through agni pariksha. The Shiva lingam at Manawari Kovil in Chillaw is believed to be installed by Lord Rama himself.



Sri Lanka Sinhala & Tamil New YearAvurudu: Festival of Nature

(slg) Sinhala and Hindu New Year is a festival devoted to the observance of rituals connected with the worship of the Son God. The ancient Egyptians and Zoroastrians believed that the sun was the origin of all living beings and worshiped the sun. Even our ancestors believed in the creation of all living things by the four elements of Apo, Thejo, Vayo and Patavi.

Our ancient system of Ayurveda was based on this belief. The ancient system of education too believed in these four elements. Apo represented water or the liquid state. Theo was the state of heat, energy of fire. Vayo represented the air to the gaseous state while Patavi was the solid or earth state. We worship, observe and perform the rituals connected to these ‘states’ knowingly or unknowingly throughout generations for the past thousands of king Saka. Today we are is Saka era 1933. The Saka ancestors ruled in India with the fall of Maurya dynasty of King Dharmasoka.

The influence of this dynasty was left in Sri Lanka when our astrologers adopted the Saka dynasty for their astrological readings. Saka era was used by our kings to date their inscriptions on the grants made to temples. In astrology the sun is supposed to travel along the ecliptic. The ecliptic of the sun from Mesha to Meena is supposed to be in April between 12 to 14. The date on which this occurs is observed as the Hindu and Sinhala New Year. This year it is on April 14.

Sri Lanka's second international airport to be operational by the end of 2012

(cp) The government plans to complete the construction of Sri Lanka's second international airport in Mattala of Hambanthota district by the end of the next year. The first aircraft is expected to land at the new international airport by the end of 2012, the state-run radio SLBC said.

The foundation stone for the passenger terminal at the new airport Hambanthota district will be laid on April 25th with the participation of parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, the Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayaratne has said. According to the Minister the new terminal will be constructed with state-of-the-art facilities. Currently, about 80 percent of the construction work related to the runaway has been completed.

The Minister has said that the government plans to enhance the air services between Sri Lanka and other countries, and also to increase the frequencies of air services between India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka cabinet recently approved a new air services agreement with the United Kingdom to increase present frequency of flights from 14 to 21 every week. 

Exiled Tamil priest wants peace, truth and justice in Sri Lanka

(cl) A Sri Lankan priest who is living in self-imposed exile and campaigning for peace and justice in his homeland visited Brisbane recently to plead on behalf of his people. PAUL DOBBYN reports

EMINENT Tamil theologian and academic Father S.J. Emmanuel can count five bishops among those he has educated in his distinguished career - but he is much prouder of five special priests who attended his lectures in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

For the past 14 years he's been in exile and he is Vicarius Co-operator in St Nikolaus' parish, Darfeld, in Munster diocese, Germany.

"We can't go on like this ... we must find a way to reconciliation and peace through accountability, truth, justice in Sri Lanka." 



Sri Lanka sets Standard time keeping

(ognp) The official Sri Lankan timekeeping website aimed at synchronizing watches and helping locals to obey astrological instructions could now be accessed through the web

According to the Measurement Units Department the Standard time of Sri Lanka is 5 hours 30 minutes in advance of Coordinated Universal Time.

Greenwich Mean Time, which is based on astronomical observations, is an average (mean) because the actual time taken for the Earth's rotation varies slightly from day to day. Measurements taken by atomic clocks vary far less. The difference between Greenwich Mean Time and Coordinated Universal Time is measured in fractions of a second. The difference is important, however, in some scientific matters.

National New Year of peace and tranquillity: Avurudu cheer grips nation

(dn) The entire nation took on a festive atmosphere as the vast majority prepared for the dawn of the New Year tomorrow - the second national New Year celebrated in an environment of peace and tranquillity following an end to three decades terrorism.

Frantic last minute buying was witnessed yesterday in the capital city and major towns as large crowds thronged the streets in a buoyant spirit with fears of bombs and explosions no more haunting their minds.

Meanwhile, a Sinhala and Tamil New Year Festival organized under the guidance of Northern Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe will be held at the Velvettiturai Public playground on April 14 and 15. ITN will give live coverage to the event while ANCL (Lake House) will be the print media sponsors.

New Year messages

Renewal in spirit, new expectations - Let us achieve all development goals - Country enjoying fruits of freedom

Sri Lanka wants direct trading with Iraq

(ftlk) Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen believes that direct trading with Iraq will increase Lankan exports and prevent transit adulteration.

With this in mind he reiterated his keenness on the proposed Iraq-Sri Lanka trading centre in Baghdad. Bathiudeen expressed his interest when he met Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Sri Lanka and Maldives Kahtan Taha Khalaf on Tuesday at the Ministry offices located at Colombo 3, according to a statement released by his Ministry.

Both Iraq and Sri Lanka now believe that establishing direct Sri Lanka tea export channel to Iraq and also launching a Sri Lanka trading centre in Baghdad to sell Sri Lanka products will help solve these nagging issues while promoting trade cooperation as well.



Colombo to see Interior Design Mall

(dn) A team of qualified architects and professional interior designers will commence the operation of as Interior Design Mall at Alexandra Place (C W W Kannangara Mawatha) Town Hall, Colombo towards the end of next month.

This project is driven by innovative concepts in interior designs especially targeting hotels, apartments and private homes.

All product related to interior design including classic furniture and personalized services will be available at this mall which will have a floor area of 6000 sq ft.

Herbal tree trunks at trade exhibition

(gt) Crudely mugs carved out of herbal tree trunks which is said to cure several ailments when water is left in it overnight and drunk in the morning, are displayed at an indigenous person’s stall of a trade exhibition held by the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority near the Viharadevi Park in Colombo.

With the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year on April 13 and 14, trade exhibitions and sales are organised island-wide. This is a great opportunity for cosmopolitan dwellers to buy or see various items not normally found in the city.



Hope for Indians in Sri Lanka prison

(hindu) For 43 Indian convicts in the Welikada prison here, there is one small bit of good news – they can complete the remaining term of their sentences in India.

Following up on the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners between the Indian and Sri Lankan governments about nine months ago, the Indian High Commission here has sent out consent forms to the prisoners.

“Once they fill up the forms and return it to us, we will formally begin the process of getting them back to India where they will serve out their sentences,” an official here said.

Birth certificates via mobile

(dm) The Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology announced plans of initiating a program to enable a faster service of issuing of birth, death and marriage certificates through providing necessary details via mobile phones.

Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitya said that under the proposed project, once the details for a birth, death or marriage certificate was provided to the Government Information Centre via mobile, the relevant divisional secretariats would take measures to mail the certificates straight to homes.

“Under this program there would be no need to visit the Divisional Secretariats concerning birth,death or marriage certificates because providing the relevant details as well as the payment will be enabled to be done via mobile phone and the relevant service providers,” Minister added.

Pensions for Private Sector Employees

(ognp) Minister of Labour Mr. Gamini Lokuge has said that pension payment for the private sector employees will be paid backdated with effect from last January. It is another pledge given by President Mahinda Rajapakse that pension rights will be provided to private sector employees.

The Minister said that drafting of legal framework in this regard has been carried out and the relevant act was submitted in parliament on the 8th of this month. Voting on the Bill will take place on the 29th of this month.

Upon approval of the Bill by the Parliament, the payment will be made backdated to be effective from first of January. He further added that although the Bill was submitted to the Parliament by the Ministry of Finance, implementation of the Bill will be carried out by the Ministry of Labour. The pension rights will be received by the private sector employees as an additional concession.

Sri Lanka to acquire new sea vessel to conduct sea explorations and surveys

(cp) Sri Lanka National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) is to acquire a multi-functional research vessel to conduct sea explorations and surveys.

The ship is to be purchased from Taiwan at a cost of Rs 313.84 million as per the recommendation of a Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee. The Cabinet approved the purchase of the vessel in January this year.

The vessel is equipped with a multi-beam echo sounder. It surveys the sea bottom and the data collected is used in mapping in international navigation. The vessel is also equipped with a laboratory for oceanology and aqua biology research.



Preserving traditions and generating fellow feeling

Sri Lanka Avurudu(st) Recalling happy childhood memories of avurudu in the village, Prof. C.M. Madduma Bandara, looks at the importance of local traditions in a fast changing world.

In the days of the Kandyan Kingdom, where the traces of Sinhala culture were better preserved, there were four major national festivals, namely, Aluth Sahal Mangalyaya (festival of new rice) held in January, Sinhala and Hindu New Year that came in the middle of April, Esala Perahera in August and finally the Karthi Mangalyaya - a festival of light shared by both Tamils and Sinhalese that was held in November. Of these festivals, Sinhala that Hindu New Year was the most prominent.

The astrological timing of all Sinhala festivities was largely based on the chandra masa (lunar month), whereas in Hindu tradition, it was based on surya masa (solar month). The Sinhala and Hindu New Year is perhaps the sole exception where it was based on surya masa to mark the migration of the sun from meena rasi (Pisces) to mesa rasi (Taurus).

Sri Lankan government permits foreign company to operate boat service on Diyawanna Oya

(cp) Sri Lanka's Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has said that a foreign company will be given the rights to operate a boat service on the Diyawanna Oya.

A similar service is to also to commence on the Beira Lake.

Abeywardena has said that the boat service would be granted permission to commence once the dredging work currently being carried out in the area is completed. Abeywardena has said that foreign companies would invest an estimated US$ 523 million in the country's tourism industry. According to him, the foreign investments in the industry include US$ 390 million invested by the Shangri La Group of Hong Kong.

Royalty payment scheme for Artistes

(ognp) Rroyalty payment scheme for lyricists, singers and song composers was launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on April 08.

The scheme is organized by Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. A large number of artistes were awarded with the royalty payment.

Minister of Information and Media Keheliya Rambukwella, Secretary W.B.Ganegala, SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe, President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and a large number of artistes participated.

Auspicious times for Sinhala and Hindu New Year


Sri Lanka Sinhala & Tamil New Year Auspicious Times

Kokavil transmission tower to connect North and South again

(ognp) Kilinochchi, the infamous hub of terrorist brutality and LTTE clandestine operations several years ago is now fast transforming to be a hive of industry and commerce under the government's 'Uthuru Wasanthaya' (Northern Spring) development project.

One more success story lies with the complete restoration of the new Kokavil transmission tower which is to be opened shortly. Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army Friday (8) morning visited the site of the new tower and received an update from the technical staff on its planned operations and transmission capabilities after its opening.

At the beginning of the meeting, Lieutenant General Jayasuriya received a brief update of the security situation vis-…-vis development work in the area with the participation of the Army. Later on, the Commander addressed a representative gathering of the troops serving the SFHQ - MLT and extended national New Year greetings to all.

Jaffna-Sinhala cooperation on Indian poaching

(lbn) The fishermen’s unions in Kalpitiya are meeting tomorrow to decide on the course of action to be taken to combat poaching by Indian fishermen, said Head of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NFSM), Herman Kumara. He added that fishermen from Kalpitiya are considering forming an alliance with fishermen from the North.

“Northern fishermen have more experience in dealing with this issue and last month they gave an open invitation to the Southern fishermen to join their struggle to save our aquatic resources,” he said.

The discussion will focus on what action will be taken on the Indians poaching in Sri Lankan waters and how all Sri Lankan fishermen can unite to overcome this threat. Sri Lankan fishermen claim that despite continuous complaints to the Navy and the Ministry of Fisheries, no action has been taken and that the Indian fishermen are now bolder poaching in Sri Lankan waters.



In a foreign country No passports for Sri Lankans who apply for refugee status

(island) The Sri Lankan government has decided to stop issuing passports, through its missions, to Sri Lankan nationals who have applied for refugee status in a foreign country. This directive has been enforced with immediate effect following a circular sent to all Sri Lankan missions overseas by the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, officials here said.

It had become the practice amongst some Sri Lankans who arrive in a foreign country, particularly in Europe and the US, even through legal means to destroy their passports before claiming refugee status. "Political unrest in Sri Lanka" is the most common reason given for their wanting to stay back, these officials pointed out.

Earlier, Sri Lankan Tamils in particular capitalized on the war situation to apply for refugee status in large numbers in western countries and the majority of them were successful in winning their cases which allowed permanent residency in those countries. The normal practice in the UK is to allow the successful applicants to remain in the country indefinitely. They become qualified to apply for a British passport after one year. Most of these Sri Lankans who are allowed ‘indefinite stay’ seek new passports from the Sri Lankan High Commission in London to visit their near and dear ones back at home and return to the UK, an official said.

Sri Lankan government mulls constructing a museum in every province

(cp) The Sri Lankan government has said that it was looking at constructing a museum in every province.

National Heritage Minister Dr. Jagath Balasuriya has informed parliament that the Ministry was looking at constructing a museum in each province when funds are available.

According to the Minister, the National Heritage Ministry is looking at commencing the construction of the museum as a long term project.

Ratnapura gems in China

(dn) A new market for Ratnapura gems will be found in China with the opening of three new gem shops in Canton, Kumin and Gwanso by Chinese authorities soon, said Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath.

This follows discussions he had with Chinese authorities during a recent tour of China, the Chief Minister said at a discussion held with officials of the Sabaragamuwa Chamber of Industries and Commerce recently.

April declared dengue risk month

(dn) The Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit has declared April as the high risk month for the dengue epidemic. During the past the highest number of dengue patients and dengue deaths were reported in April. Health authorities will take legal action against dengue mosquito breeders, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has issued instructions to health authorities to re-inspect the 61,780 possible dengue mosquito breeding places.

These places wereidentified during the recent National Dengue Control Week and take legal action against persons who did not follow orders and clean up their premises.

Girl Guides take to empower war affected women

(dn) The Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association (SLGGA) launched a project titled War Affected Women Empowered, at the Girl Guide Headquarters, recently. The project implemented with the objective of empowering women affected by the war will aim at skills development.

The project will unite and touch the lives of three segments of women affected by the war. It includes, wives of disabled soldiers, young girls and women forced into combat and other women distressed as a result of the war, said Girl Guides Association Communication Director Dilmini Peiris.

"Since the wives of disabled soldiers are organized as a group, phase one of the project will focus on empowering them. Through a needs analysis for livelihood development of this group, we have identified their areas of interest as being home gardening, dress making and hand craft. "Vocational training in these areas will be worked out in three training centres in Homagama, Anuradhapura and Matara and Girl Guides groups in these areas will provide resource persons. The training programs will commence in May" Peiris said.

PM’s office launches: Positive attitudes programme on May 2

(dn) A special positive attitudes improvement programme based on cleanliness will be organized by the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with the Education Ministry from May 2 to 13 in schools islandwide.

This will be held as the first step of “the programme to Improve Positive Attitudes of Sri Lankans Towards Creating a Noble Society with Economic Development” which is initiated on a concept of Prime Minister D M Jayaratne. The Education Ministry issued a circular in this regard last month.

The Prime Minister addressing a meeting held at the Visumpaya yesterday to discuss about this program said that alternatives should be found to negative attitudes held by people while preserving positive attitudes in society.



Peradeniya Prof predicted Japanese quake

(dn) The earthquake which occurred in the North Eastern part of Japan on Thursday night was correctly predicted by Prof Athula Senaratne of the Peradeniya University Geology Department.

Dr. Senaratne made the prediction following a series of experiments carried out by a team of geologists led by him at the university. He predicted that an earthquake over five points on the Richter scale will occur in Japan between April 5 and 8. His prediction appeared in Dinamina on April 4.

Hotline for Colombo consumers to lodge complaints during the festive season

(cp) As prices of essential commodities are under threat of escalation ahead of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka, especially, due to the fuel price hike, authorities have announced a hotline for consumers in the Colombo City to lodge complaints of injustices from errant traders.

Consumers can lodge complaints on the hotline at 0112 67 61 61with regard to the sale of expired food items, levying high charges and the sale of contaminated items, the Colombo Municipal Council says.

The hotline is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.



Hajj pilgrimage: Delegation to go to Riyadh

(dm) The five members of the Hajj Delegation headed by the Urban Affairs Senior Minister A.H.M.Fowzie are to leave for Riyadh to meet the Saudi Arabian Hajj Affairs Minister at the end of this month.

Minister Fowzie presently in London on an official visit told the Daily Mirror yesterday over the phone that Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana, Environment Deputy Minister A.R.M.Abdul Cader, Technology and Research Deputy Minister Faizer Musthafa and Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Director Y.L.M.Navavi comprise the five member delegation.

“We have received the official invitation from the Saudi Hajj authorities. The documents are sent regularly addressed to the previous year’s Hajj Committee in Sri Lanka,” Minister Fowzie said.

Sri Lanka to seek clarification on Sonia Gandhi's statement calling for constitutional amendments

(cp) Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs will take appropriate measures to obtain a clarification on a statement made by the Indian Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi calling for amendments to Sri Lanka's Constitution.

"We are pressing the Government of Sri Lanka to make changes (in the Constitution) to ensure equal rights and status to Tamils," she has said.

In response to a question over her statement at a media briefing today, the Minister of Environment and cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said the Congress leader has made this statement at an Election Rally, and the Ministry of External Affairs will take appropriate measures to obtain a clarification on this matter.

Bahrain job ban lifted

(dn) The ban on migrant workers leaving for employment in Bahrain has been lifted with effect from April 1.

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment said the decision was taken following the situation in Bahrain returning to normal.

The Bureau said a temporary ban on job seekers leaving for Bahrain was imposed due to the political upheaval in that country last month. Now that life has returned to normal in that country, there was no necessity to impose the ban any more. The Bureau has lifted the ban in consultation with Sri Lanka Consul General in Bahrain P B Hikgoda, the Bureau said.



Sri Lanka offers strategic training for SAARC countries

(ognp) The 9th Conference of the Police Chiefs of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) which was held in Colombo for 2 days on the 4th and 5th April at Taj Samudra Hotel was concluded successfully yesterday.

The conference reviewed progress implementation of decisions / recommendations of the eighth SAARC Conference held in Islamabad on 24th June, 2008.

Sri Lanka as the host nation offered a training program on Strategic Management of Counter terrorism, covering anti-terrorism, strategic planning and handling strategic intelligence / counter intelligence at the Sri Lanka Police College in Negombo.

April 15 declared as a special public & Bank holiday

(ognp) April 15 the day after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year has been declared as a special public and bank holiday.

The ministry of Public Administration in a circular issued today said that the government has decided to declare April 15, 2011 as a Special public and Bank holiday on the eve of 2011 Sinhala and Tamil news year.

Sri Lanka, fastest ageing country in SA

(dn) It is important to consider elders' needs and protect their rights as Sri Lanka is one of the fastest ageing countries in South Asia, said National Secretariat for Elders Director J Krishnamoorthi.

She was addressing a workshop on Elders and Development held at the Intercontinental Hotel Colombo recently. With the increasing elderly population the country will face many new socio-economic challenges in health, education and nutrition she said.

Around 1,891,000 people out of the total Sri Lankan population of 20,450,000 are over 60 years, which is 9.24 percent. The male population over 60 years is 893,000, which is 47.17 percent of the total elderly population, and 4.36 percent of the country's population. The female population over 60 years is 999,000, which is 52.83 percent of the total elderly population and 4.88 percent of the total population, Krishnamoorthi said. The country's elderly population will reach around 16.7 percent in 2021, she added. 

Special Avurudu train service

(dn) The Sri Lanka Railways has arranged to operate special trains during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year season to cater to the heavy influx of commuters expected.

The No 29 Kandy bound Intercity Train which will leave from Colombo Fort at 15.35 pm and Colombo bound No 30 intercity train which will leave from Kandy at 06.30 am will be added with extra three compartments, Sri Lanka Railway sources said.

The intercity trains that have been added with extra compartments will be operational from April 8 to 12.

Ayurveda in Dhamma school curriculum

(dn) Ayurvedic treatment system will now be included in the Sunday Dhamma School curriculum on a decision made by the North Central Province Health and Indigenous Minister Peshala Jayaratne.

About 15,000 Dhamma school students will grow rare medicinal plants this year under the guidance of around 160 Kurunegala district physicians who will provide services free of charge.

In addition, the Health and Indigenous Ministry will conduct 150 free mobile ayurvedic medical clinics in remote administrative districts during the next two months to mark the 2,600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi.

Nuwara Eliya horse races from April 9

(dn) Sri Lanka Turf Club (SLTC) is conducting its annual horse racing competition on April 9 and 23 at Nuwara Eliya Race Course and the grand race for The Governor’s Cup on April 16.

SLTC president Gamini Jayaratne revealed this at a press conference held at AA Auditorium , Colombo. He said that some of India’s most high-flying riders will enter the stakes making the event more competitive for Sri Lankan riders.

Several foreign professional jockeys with 50 thoroughbred horses will challenge their Sri Lankan counterparts to grab the trophies. The racing event has been an attraction for both local and foreign tourists apart from the splendid scenic beauty with flora and fauna. Besides the full card of runners glamour models cat walk with designs by Michel Wijesooriya, live bands and DJ will provide entetainment for the whole family.



Sri Lanka launches 2011 Census of Population and Housing

(cp) Sri Lanka today launched the 2011 Census of Population and Housing with Grama Niladaris (Village Officers) affixing a Census label on each dwelling in the country. Accordingly, Colombo Fort - Pettah Grama Niladari Chaminda Caldera listed Sri Lanka President's Official residence in Colombo, Fort as No 001.

The 14th comprehensive census enumeration of population and housing launched today after achieving peace in 2009 will be covering the whole island for the first time in 30 years.

Sri Lanka expects its population to grow by about 222,000 every year to an optimum of about 24 million by 2041. Sri Lanka's current population is 20.6 million.

Minister requests: Name boards in all three languages

(dn) National languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has requested all State and private sector institutions to display their nameboards in all three languages for the convenience of the public.

The Minister has noted that several incorrect name boards have been placed in certain areas in Colombo while others are exclusively in English. This has caused great inconvenience to the public especially those from the North and East visiting Colombo to seek redress to their grievances with the conclusion of the war and return of peace.

The Minister said that as such name boards should be displayed at least in Sinhala and Tamil where inclusion of English is not possible. The Department of Official Languages will help institutions to write name boards in all three languages with proper spelling. This service can be obtained by faxing the relevant details to no 011-2888928 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 011-2888928 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or sending by email to

Sri Lanka to implement new laws on food packaging from July

(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Health is to introduce new laws regarding the packaging of food items. The government will implement the 2006 food act that was amended in 2010.

Accordingly, from July 01, the food producers are advised to use standard safe packaging.

New laws will ban manufacture, transport, or sale of any food packaging material or article found to be harmful to consumers and reuse of packaging material used for other purposes. Food items should be packed in safer ways so that the contamination can be prevented.

Technologically advanced lounge in BIA

(ognp) SriLankan Airlines has transformed its plush ‘Serendib’ Business Class Lounge at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) into one of the most technologically advanced airport lounges by investing in state of the art systems in entertainment, business and information. The Serendib Lounge is for the use of all of SriLankan Airlines’ Business Class passengers - in transit, arrival or departure.

BIA, apparently the finest airport in South Asia, is currently undergoing yet another phase of expansion to add even more facilities apart from its modern aero bridges, new arrivals and departures terminals, new pier, elegant airport hotel, and well-stocked duty free centre. Sri Lankan Airlines last year won two Platinum Awards from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), one for its operations at BIA and another for introduction of major innovation to tickets.

The enhancement of the Serendib Lounge’s facilities is one of the many stepstaken by the National Carrier in support of the country’s aviation and tourism industries, which in turn reflects on the country’s economic growth.

Sri Lanka to ban public smoking completely

Sri Lanka - No Smoking(cp) Sri Lanka government has planned to bring laws to ban public smoking completely. Accordingly, smoking will be prohibited in public places and working places.

The Chairman of National Tobacco and Alcohol Authority Prof. Carlo Fonseka said that the laws will also make imagery warnings compulsory in packaging of the tobacco products.

The government expects to prevent the harm to the passive smokers through this measure, Prof. Fonseka said. Sri Lanka is a party to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health.



A Museum for St. Anthony’s Shrine at Kochchikade

(island) This Rs30 Million (US$270,000/) project will need a miracle to complete and with the grace of our miraculous saint and the help of the faithful devotees we will succeed - Fr. Clement. "One of Sri Lanka’s great wonders is its spiritual intensity due to a multi-denominational society in which all four major religions intermingle. This intensity manifests at holy shrines, an example being St. Anthony’s Church at Kochchikade, Colombo, where not only Catholics but people of other faiths converge to venerate the Saint and request his assistance’ wrote Richard Boyle in a recent article.

On Tuesdays, thousands make the weekly pilgrimage to this shrine to pray to St. Anthony to ask favours, make vows or give thanks. Many miracles have been performed in this shrine from, those cured of terminal illness, protected from enemies, financial gains for entrepreneurs from business, employment for youth, university entrances and scholarships to students, career promotions for professionals, babies born to infertile women and finding lost things. The Shrine was completed and blessed on 1st June 1834.

The present Administrator of the Shrine Rev. Fr. Clement Rozairo with the Blessings of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has planned to build a Museum of St. Anthony adjoining the Shrine at Kochchikade. "This Rs. 30 Million (US$270,000/) project will need a miracle to complete and with the grace of our miraculous saint and the help of the faithful devotees we will succeed." says a confident Fr. Clement. The first contribution to the Museum Fund was made by Shiranthi Rajapaksa, First Lady of Sri Lanka, who is a devotee of St. Anthony.

Sri Lanka streamlines issuing of National Identity Cards

(cp) The Department of Registration of Persons that was taken under the Ministry of Defense has taken measures to speed up the process of issuing the National Identity Cards (NICs).

The Department has introduced a linear method for issuing identity cards and a new identity card can now be issued within two weeks. A special one-day service of issuing identity cards is also in operation.

Earlier this year the Defense Ministry said it plans to issue new digitalized NICs which cannot be changed or altered. The identity cards are directly sent to the owners instead of sending them to the village officers.

Special Avurudu bus services

(ognp) The Chairman of the Western Province Transport Authority Piyasena Dissanayake said that additional bus services will be deployed from Colombo and other highly populated towns for the people to travel to their hometowns during the New Year season.

These bus services will be operated from 7th to 13th of this month. The return service of these buses will commence from outstations to Colombo from the 16th of this month.

A special permit will be issued to the buses that will be operated under this plan. The fare will be fixed and a special team will be deployed to check about the charging of these fares. He said legal action will be taken against the bus owners for any higher charges. He said that even the passengers could make complaints about higher charges.

Ten Botanical Gardens planned by 2016

(dn) According to the Mahinda Chintana Ten Year Plan (2006-2016) it is planned to establish 10 National Botanical Gardens in the country by 2016. Under this program it is hoped to establish an ex-situ conservation area network to represent the 15 floral regions recognized in the country, Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden's Director General Dr Siril Wijesundara said. Under this project the authorities expect to cultivate indigenous plants of high value and conserve them in the botanical gardens, he said.

The authorities will also establish Botanical Gardens in Hambantota and Awissawella. Other areas too have been decided on by the authorities, he said.

The targets of the National Botanical Department are varied for this task. As fundamental activities the Botanical Department has panned a number of activities under this project. Planning and implementation of ex-situ conservation strategies for the conservation of Sri Lankan plant diversity is one of the main targets of the project.

Christina combines culinary skills with fashion

(dn) There is a dearth in women who are involved in commercial ventures and it is important that the country benefits from their economic contribution. As women are born managers they need to harness their potential for the betterment of the family.

The ability of women to perform multiple tasks and qualities such as endurance, commitment and courage enable them to reach the top in their chosen fields. Making good use of her talents both in the field of culinary art and her eye for fashion, Christina Samarasinghe has emerged as a successful entrepreneur achieving remarkable heights in her ventures of fashionable clothes and catering.

She stands tall among industrialists excelling in both ventures which has become a force to reckon with at present. In her clothing venture, Shenny’s fashionable clothes under the tag line ‘quality is first last and forever’, she specializes in T-shirts and has grown due to popular demand. She is a shining example for time management. Her untiring efforts have paid rich dividends and she is poised to go a long way in her chosen fields.



Unemployment down to 4.5%

(island) Unemployment fell to 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the lowest quarterly rate since reaching 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, data from the Department of Census and Statistics showed.

"Overall unemployment reported for females was 7.3 percent and 2.9 percent for males. Youth unemployment for the age group 15 to 24 was 18.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The highest unemployment rate was reported from this age group with 15.1 percent for males and 23.4 percent for females. Unemployment was severe among females than for males across all age groups," the government statistics office said.

The labour force participation rate was 49.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The employed population amounts to 7,909,178. Around 33.8 percent of the workforce was engaged in the agriculture sector at 2,672,472, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2009. There has been a drop in the industry sector workforce to 24.1 percent at 1,909,857 from 25.3 percent in 2009 at 1,920,825. The services sector employed 42.1 percent of the workforce at 3,326,849, declining each quarter since reaching 3,378,672 or 44.4 percent in the second quarter of 2010.

Sri Lanka to construct new Colombo Port City at a cost of US$ 300 million

(cp) Under a presidential directive, the Sri Lankan government is to reclaim between 300-400 acres of sea land between the Colombo South Port Development project and the Galle Face Green in order to build a Port City at a cost of US$ 300 million.

The proposed offshore city, to be divided into three segments- business, residential and leisure, will be developed into a modern city with high rises, hotels, residential apartments, shopping malls, and other space to cater to the public needs.

The Ports and Highways Ministry says that of the 330 acres 200 acres of the City are to be either sold outright or given out on a long term lease to investors.

Sri Lanka - World Cup runners up returns

(ognp) International Cricket Council- World Cup 2011 runners up the Sri Lankan cricket team returned to the Island Sunday morning at the Colombo International Airport amidst multi religious observances.

Sri Lankan Cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara and the team arrived at BIA this from Mumbai after the World Cup final where Sri Lanka was beaten by India for six wickets.

The runners-up were greeted at the Airport by large number of well wishers including government ministers, Parliamentarians and officials.

Dr Lester James Peries film festival

(so) A film festival of seven evergreen movies by Dr. Lester James Peries has been organised to mark his 92nd birthday which falls on April 5. The festival will take place from April 5 to 12, from 10 am to 10 pm at the BMICH Bakmaha Shopping Festival, according to Director General, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike National Memorial Foundation Bandula Ekanayake.

The festival has been organised to honour the internationally acclaimed veteran film director's contribution to Sri Lankan cinema over a period of 55 years.

Born on April 5, 1919, Dr. Peries' debut movie was Rekava (Line of destiny) which was the first Sinhala movie to be shot entirely in Sri Lanka. Some of his other successful directorial credits are Gamperaliya, Golu Hadawatha, Nidhanaya, Madol Duwa, Kaliyugaya, Yuganthaya and Ammawarune which was released in 2006.



Hoist National Flag

(dn) All Sri Lankans should hoist the National Flag today as a mark of unity as Sri Lanka aims to win the ICC World Cup when it meets India in the finals in Mumbai.

This is the third time Sri Lanka qualified for the ICC World Cup finals.

The team is determined and confident of beating India. It is the wish of all Sri Lankans that the team under the captaincy of Kumar Sangakkara will bring the coveted cup home as a tribute to legendary spin-wizard Muttiah Muralitharan who is to retire from ODIs after the ICC final in Mumbai.

Technology exchange programs with Kenya & Netherlands

(dn) The Environment Ministry will embark on a technology exchange program for efficient natural resource management with the Kenyan Government.

A discussion on this initiative was held between Kenyan Environment and Mineral Resources Ministry Secretary Ali Dawood Mohomad and Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa at the Ministry Monday. The discussion aimed at efficient use of natural resources of both countries.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands Government has extended its support to conduct model workshops in school level on solid waste management and proper waste disposal. Netherlands Ambassador to Sri Lanka Leoni Cuelenaere said this at a meeting with the Environment Minister at the Ministry recently.

Kalutara gets new tea planting nursery

(dn) The Government will set up a 2.5 acre new tea planting nursery in the Kalutara District and a scheme to distribute around 200,000 high quality tea plants annually among tea smallholders.

Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the new tea planting nursery would be administrated by the Tea Research Institute. The Tea Small Holding Development Authority would help tea smallholders grow high quality tea in an effective manner.

The nursery would be established in Hedigalla, Palinda Nuwara in Kalutara which would be beneficial for over 38,000 tea smallholders in the respective area. The Minister said there had been no tea planting nursery before this to cater to the demand of tea plants by tea smallholders in the district. Therefore, tea smallholders had faced greater hardships in finding and purchasing good quality tea plants.



IUSF wants UN intervention

(dm) The Inter University Students Federation (IUSF)has called for a UN intervention against the alleged suppression on university students right in Sri Lanka.

IUSF today handed over a letter addressed to the UN office Colombo calling for its intervention to stop the alleged harassments of students. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara told Daily Mirror that they handed over the letter seeking intervention and to create awareness on the alleged harassments which the students have to undergo from the hands of the authorities.

In its letter the IUSF said the university students have to undergo harassments from the higher education authorities and the government as a whole. It said such assessments have been prevailing for the last 3 decades and they were unleashed by the governments in the past.

First Ever University Lady Chancellor

(ognp) The 9th Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University Professor Miss. Wasanthi Arasaratnam assumed duties today. She is the 1st ever Lady Chancellor of the University.

In the election held among the academics of the University Miss Arasaratnam became first, and accordingly her name was nominated to the President for appointment to this prestigious position. There were 8 contestants in the election. Based on the recommendations made by the University, the President has appointed her as the Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University.

She was the Dean of the Medical Faculty of the Jaffna University. It is learnt that all sections of the people of Jaffna has acclaimed about her appointment as the Vice Chancellor.

Sri Lanka optimistic about team's chances in World Cup final

(ognp) The hope of twenty million Sri Lankans is “Good luck Our Boys”, the sentiment and prays in every corner of the island nation.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had yesterday requested all Sri Lankans to rally round the Sri Lankan cricket team to win the World Cup as a tribute to Muttiah Muralitharan.

Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss has also expressed confidence that the team can beat India in the final of the World Cup and lift the coveted trophy on April 2 at the Wankhede Stadium if it plays to its full potential.

Inter Religious Leaders Visit Jaffna

(cimicn) His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and most Ven. Dr. Ittapane Dhammalankara Anunayaka Thero with host of priests from Inter religion Committee visited the Civil Military Coordination (CIMIC) Office in Jaffna and had a timely discussion with Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe the Commander Security Forces (Jaffna) at 11.00 am on 30th March 2011.

Security Forces Commander - Jaffna (SF Comd) enlightened the Delegation of the current Economic and Development activities initiated by the Government for the people of the North.

He further elaborated the on going social activities and development projects which are carried out by the Army to uplift the living standard and propagate the peace and harmony among the communities




Few Sri Lanka News Highlights March 2011


Colombo National Hospital adjudged best in South Asia

The Colombo National Hospital, established 120 years ago, on a 35-acre block of land, has won the National Excellence Award as the best hospital in South Asia.

Cheap Tickets in Cinema Theatres

The National Film Corporation is to introduce new measures to attract maximum number of spectators to Cinema Theatres. Under this measure tickets to watch films are to be provided at a concessionary rate from the 25th of next month.

Spice industry in for good items

Sri Lanka's spice industry has been witnessing phenomenon growth rates both in the international and domestic markets. This is mainly due to the fact that the change in the lifestyle pattern of consumers all over the world.

Sri Lanka Water Industry Shows Solidarity with Japan

For Sri Lankan Water Industry personnel from the top management to professionals, employees and even private-sector contractors, this was very shocking and saddening news. Japan was the most generous donor which took the biggest burden by sponsoring Sri Lanka for sustainability in water industry. Can Sri Lankans ever forget Japan?

Sri Lanka not to license Kithul palm tapping

Kithul is an indigenous palm tree tapped to produce toddy and treacle. The Kithul industry has a considerable potential of contributing to enhance the rural economy.

Peradeniya scientists predict quakes

Scientists at the University of Peradeniya who have been studying the occurrences of earthquakes around the world could possibly hold the key to predicting the next big quake.

Sri Lanka observes Earth Hour

For the second consecutive year, Sri Lanka will observe Earth Hour today with ministries, government institutions, private sector firms and civil organizations taking part in the switching off of lights for an hour, Earth Hour Sri Lanka Chairman Abdul Qadir Uwais said yesterday.

Sri Lanka to introduce a simple tax system

The Sri Lankan government has appointed a commission with tax experts in Sri Lanka to prepare a simple tax system suitable for the country since the present system in effect is very complex, a government minister has said.

New elephant orphanage in Ulankulama

Wildlife Department Director General Chandrawansa Pathirage, said that a new interim elephant orphanage was being constructed at Ulankulama in the North Central Province.

Kilinochchi wine in market soon

Grapes cultivated in 50 acres of land at Kilinochchi are to be brewed into quality red and white wine, National Agricultural Development Organization Chief Executive officer Keerthi P Godagama said.

Music Festival in the City of Jaffna in Sri Lanka

Three day music festival, a celebration of traditional folk art formswill take place in the city of Jaffna from 25th to 27th of March. The programme will have a special line-up of authentic sri lankan folk music and dance forms from around Sri Lanka. The festival will also have colourful performances by four international folk groups from India, Nepal, Palestine and Norway.

Hot Air Balloon Tournament in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will open the annual Hot Air Balloon Tournament on March 19 in Sigiriya and Dambulla, says the organizer of Ceylon Airship and Balloon Club Captain Anil Jayasinghe.

Ayurveda Expo 2011 in July

Ayurveda Expo 2011, an exhibition geared to promote tourism, will be held in July this year, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau announced & more ...


Few Sri Lanka News Highlights February 2011


World Sailing Championship in Sri Lanka's Negombo Beach

The final day of the series of GP-14 world Sailing Championship took off at the Negombo beach last Friday as the fleet of yachts launched with the sea breeze at the Negombo beach .

With support from UN-Habitat: Lanka goes for new climate change policy

The Environment Ministry has taken steps to formulate a National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) with support from the UN-Habitat.

Small hydropower projects perform well: National grid gets 175mw

Small Mini hydropower industry in Sri Lanka announced yesterday the connection of 175 megawatts to Sri Lanka national grid. Hence, 4.5 percent of the country’s electricity requirements can be supplied from the hydropower industry while saving Rs 10 billion each year from country’s foreign exchange bill.

Sri Lankan engineers build a hydro power plant for Uganda

Sri Lanka Ministry of Power and Energy announced that the experienced Sri Lankan engineers had assisted Uganda to set up a hydro power plant in that country.

Degree in Aviation to be introduced to university curriculum

Discussions are being held with the Ministry of Higher Education to introduce a new degree on Aviation to the university curriculum, Minister Civil Aviation, Priyankara Jayarathne said at the ceremony to launch the ‘Guwansara’ website on Wednesday (23). Guwansara, the first Sinhalese website about aviation, was launched as a step to familiarize the students on the travel and aviation industry.

Caller lines to reach railways

Passengers on emergencies can contact the Railways Control Office on 0113135202, to get information about trains 0112434215, for new views and proposals 0714393102, and for emergency security arrangements and complaints 0113134757 and 0112421281 & more ...


Few Sri Lanka News Highlights January 2011


Third int’l airport in Sigiriya?

World's largest greeting card

15th century temple unearthed in Jaffna

Sri Lanka Navy to launch ferry for whale watching

Ayurveda best gift to the world

Nearly 250,000 archaeological sites

Gajaman Nona’s house to be a museum

Tourist visas through Internet ...& more ...




Few Sri Lanka News Highlights from December 2010


Kalutara Kitul industry focused

Work towards lasting peace: Catholic Bishops

Sri Pada season begins

Eateries, restaurants to be classified

Sri Lanka to obtain Wikileaks contents & more ...


Few Sri Lanka News High Lights from November 2010


Moratuwa University wins a Merit Award at the APICTA

Sri Lanka sprint queen to return to competition

Mahaweli gets tourist zones

Sri lanka models in Spain

Sri Lanka climbs World Prosperity Index ...& more ...


Few Sri Lanka News High Lights from October 2010


New approach to ethics and rituals for societal stability

Digital technology to all local TV channels by 2015

Lanka's first batch for Israel jobs take wing

CCTV cameras installed in Colombo

Govt promotes productivity culture ...& more ...




Few Sri Lanka Local News Highlights September 2010


Over 130 Sri Lankan officials and athletes for Commonwealth games

Nuclear energy for Sri Lanka

Sea plane domestic air service soon

Muslims celebrate Eid Ramazan Festival

Dinamina Colombo-Matale Express bus service ...& more ...


Few Sri Lanka Local News Highlights August 2010


Multi religious centres to strengthen communal harmony

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 harbor ...& more ...


Few Sri Lanka Local News Highlights July 2010


Malwatta Prelate tours Jaffna

SLTB motorcycle squad to nab errant drivers

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 ...& more ...







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