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(ognp) Sri Lankan authorities have introduced on line visa system for tourists arriving in to the country from today instead of the hitherto implemented on arrival visa. Accordingly all visitors to Sri Lanka including transit passengers will have to apply for travel authorization online prior to their visit to the country, the Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka announces.
This new new system will scrap the previously implemented 'on arrival visa' at the ports of entry while a fee of USD 10 and 20 will be levied from travelers from the SAARC countries and other passport holders respectively..
Travelers from Singapore, Maldives and few other countries will be exempted from visa fee as reciprocities The Electronic Travel Authorization has been introduced to grant prior approval for visa online for foreign nationals from 78 countries.
(cp) Sri Lanka Police Department is planning to link all police stations through an online network to provide a better and efficient service to the people.
The move facilitates the decision of the Police Department to complete investigations regarding minor complaints within 48 hours, police sources say. In addition, payment of fines through SMS and the use of modern technology to obtain fingerprinting have also been planned.
Streamlining police work with the use of modern technology is conducted in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka.
(bbc) The head of a UK charity that sent a consignment of wheelchairs to Sri Lanka has condemned the decision to impose customs duties of over $8,000 (£5,180).
Peter Thompson, of the Yorkshire-based PhysioNet charity, said the shipment for Tamil war victims also took more than three months to clear customs.
The shipment was sent by PhysioNet in conjunction with a Sri Lankan Tamil charity based in the UK and the Roman Catholic church; together they met all of the costs of getting the consignment to Sri Lanka. "But problems arose in Colombo when it took three months to clear the docks," Mr Thompson told the BBC.
Mr Thompson said his charity hoped to send another shipment to Sri Lanka next year, "but only if there are some assurances that this unhappy experience will not be repeated".
(dn) A group of Adivasi community members have successfully completed a handloom industry training course at the Handloom Training Centre opened by the Department of Textile Industry at the Adivasi Heritage Centre in Dambana. They have been provided facilities to indulge in the handloom industry as a means of self-employment.
A stock of handloom threads will be distributed among the trainees at a ceremony at the Adivasi Heritage Centre in Dambana on January 3 at 10 am under the patronage of the leader of the Adivasi Community Uruwarige Wanniyela Aththo, said a press release by the Department of Textile Industry yesterday.
(dn) Work on four elephant conservation sites planned in selected areas to control the human-elephant conflict would be completed within the next year, Wildlife Conservation Department director general H D Ratnayake told the Daily News yesterday.
He said that the centre in Veheragala has been completed, while the construction of the three other centres in Horowpathana, Maduru Oya and Galgamuwa will be completed within the next year using the budgetary allocation of Rs 100 million.
He said that each of these conservation centres has an area of about 1,500 to 2,000 hectares. All land utilized to set up these centres belong to the Department. Ratnayake said that aggressive wild elephants which often cause damage to village property, affecting the ordinary lives of the people would be relocated in these conservation centres. He said that ample food and water would be available to the wild elephants in these centres with electrified fences erected around the sanctuaries to prevent these animals encroaching into villages.
(dn) AB Mauri Lanka, a fully owned subsidiary of Associated British Foods, UK, recently took up the responsibility of training novice bakers working in the armed forces.
AB Mauri is the leading yeast and bakery ingredients company in Sri Lanka and is renowned for the technical expertise imparted to bakers around the country backed up by its fully equipped state of the art Bakery School.
These self-trained bakers equipped with only the basic know-how of baking, benefited immensely from this five day course conducted free of charge at the AB Mauri bakery school premises in Mount Lavinia.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he considers India first and others later.“As soon as I came to power, I went to India and got their support; after that, I did not have to bother about the UN, UK, US, and so on. In fact, we got help from the US by way of vital information about LTTE ships which made it possible to destroy them at sea,” he said in an interview with Deccan Chronicle in Colombo.
“As for China coming here with major infrastructure projects, I must tell you that every project that we gave the Chinese we first offered to India, including the big port project in Hambantota, but there was no response. Even the Colombo port expansion was advertised but only the Chinese came,” President Rajapaksa said.
We are keen on a sustainable political settlement. But it must have wide acceptance, especially in the context of the post-conflict situation.” President Rajapaksa also said regional autonomy was a slogan used by the terrorists and their apologists. “The need is for strong unity in diversity, for which regional autonomy is not the only way. A better approach would be equality of opportunity, and the spread of democratic freedom and rights, together with speedy economic development of the north, in tandem with other regions of the country,” he said.
(dn) The population census which has been postponed due to a delay in the preparation of documentation work, would be held on March 20.
Accordingly, the period from February 27 to March 19, would be allocated for the gathering of information.
(ognp) The President has disclosed this to the chief incumbents of the Malwathu and Asgiriya chapters when he paid a courtesy call yesterday.
The President has said that the new route will be more useful since it goes via Kurunegala and less expensive to construct. He has said that the compensations needed for people displaced by the construction are less and the construction cost will also be low since the road goes through less mountainous areas.
He also pointed out that eight investors have come forward for the construction of the expressway.
(ognp) SriLankan Cargo has recently expanded their range of facilities with another value added service - Door delivery service of unaccompanied baggage from the Colombo City Cargo Office to any destination in the UK effective from 1st December 2011.
This SriLankan Door Delivery Cargo Service will be providing its customers a speedy delivery of their personal baggage, gifts and sample shipments right up to their doorstep in the UK. Delivery to any address in the United Kingdom will be within two working days, depending on the area.
According to SriLankan Airline’s Senior Manager Cargo (Worldwide Sales & Marketing), Ali Kamil, Airport to door delivery of SriLankan's clients’ cargo will be one of its key competitive advantages in the near future. Among the exclusive services that SriLankan Cargo is hoping to deliver are Customs clearance, clearing and documentation formalities at destination airports and delivery to customer’s door. Any charges on dutiable items will have to be borne by the consignee on delivery to the door.
(dn) Novice Buddhist monks will be trained in propagating the teachings of the Buddha in English and Tamil languages and 500 such Bhikkus would be sent to foreign countries to propagate the teachings of the Buddha during the next three years, said Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne.
Foreigners are greatly interested in studying and practising Buddhist teachings as it is a universal religion. Buddhist parents should be generous enough to offer their beloved sons to be ordained at temples since there is a shortage of Buddhist monks in remote temples in the country. "It is a great meritorious deed and that is why emperor Asoka in India ordained his own son and daughter and later sent to our motherland to establish the Buddhasasana," the Prime Minister said.
"Our motherland should be blessed with a disciplined future generation with positive attitudes and noble human values that are propagated in the teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, he said.
(ognp) Applications have been called for Diploma Courses for Translators by the National Languages Education and Training Institute.
The objective of the Training Programme is to introduce methods of translations to those who are engaged in translation activities. This course is a part-time one year course.
Those who have obtained credit passes for English and Sinhala or Tamil could apply for English/Sinhala, English/Tamil and Sinhala/Tamil Translation Courses. The applications should be forwarded to the Director General of National Languages Education and Training Institute at No.155/5A, Castle Street, Colombo 8.
(ognp) Sri Lankans will commemorate thousands of people who were killed by 2004 Boxing Day tragedy today.
A two minute silence will be observed nationwide today at 9.25 am to remember over 40,000 people killed by the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in 2004.
Prime Minister D M Jayaratne will participate in the main ceremony which is to be held at 9am at Kaththankudiya, in the Batticaloa district. According to Disaster Management Centre (DMC) officials, a number of programmes have been put in place to remember over 35,000 people who died in 2004 tsunami. He said the public are requested to observe 2 minutes silence from 9.25am to 9.27am today in remembrance of the victims
(dn) "There will be no peace among nations without peace among religions. There will be no peace among religions without dialogue among religions," is a universally acknowledged vision formulated by Dr Hans Kung, a professor of Ecumenical Theology and President of the Foundation for Global Ethics.
Inter-religious or interfaith dialogue which is as ancient as religions can be interpreted as cooperation, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and or spiritual or humanistic beliefs at the individual and institutional level. Last week on the eve of Christmas, the people of Galle could enjoy an enthusiastic endeavour with such a noble vision by Southern Province governor's secretariat when "Ranaviru Christmas Carol Spectacle" performed by the Army Band and Choir was staged at Galle Sacred Heart Convent Auditorium last Thursday.
The event supported by all the Catholic and Christian churches of southern province was held under the patronage of Rt Rev Bishop of Galle Most Ven. Dr Raymond Kingsly Wickramasinghe with the participation of a host of prominent religious dignitaries of other main faiths including Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.
(ognp) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation(CPC) has invited bids to build an aviation fuel terminal at a second international airport being constructed in Mattala, in the South of the island.
In a public notice issued, the Chairman of Standing Cabinet Appointed (Special) Procurement Committee (SCAPC) on behalf of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation stated that it invited sealed bids from eligible international bidders, who have carried out construction works for Turnkey Projects at International Airports to perform, design, procurement, construction, testing and commission works for the ‘Aviation Fuel Storage Facility and Hydrant System Project’ at Hambantota International Airport at Mattala that is yet to be constructed.
A CPC tender notice said the petroleum firm was looking for a turnkey contractor for the "design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning works" for the aviation fuel terminal. The terminal has to be built in 12 months. The bids close on February 02. The bidders should have experience in performing similar turnkey contracts at international airports and have revenues of 20 million US dollars in the past five years.
(so) he Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has again warned Sri Pada pilgrims to refrain from polluting the environment of the hallowed grounds by dumping polythene paper, plastic cans and similar objects in the vicinity.
It is reported that a record number of over 200,000 pilgrims from every religion have already visited Sri Pada since the commencement of the season on December 10, Unduwap Full Moon Poya Day.
(st) A cobra hit by the Intercity Colombo-Kandy train was rushed there by concerned people. It was treated and released to the Rantambe Wildlife Sanctuary. A python with burn injuries suffered in a bush fire in the Hantana Range was brought for treatment. The python was treated and released to the same area from where it was found. “We make it a point to release animals to their former natural habitats,” said Senior Veterinarian Dr Asoka Dangolla. The new state-of-the-art Veterinary Teaching Hospital built to international standards at the University of Peradeniya is ready to be opened but senior veterinarians manning the hospital are deeply concerned that the lack of staff will hamper its operations.
Senior Professor and Head/Veterinary Clinical Sciences of the new Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) of the University of Peradeniya Professor Indira Silva, was busy caring for the animals and getting ready to write to the Minister for Higher Education and University Grants Commission requesting them to allocate doctors for the Out Patient Department(OPD) and senior level lecturers to enable the newly built hospital to function, when the Sunday Times visited.
“The First Lady is our first patron, together with other distinguished citizens of Kandy. The minister was supportive and we wish his staff would help us. It is a pity that we cannot make use of these much needed facilities at the new hospital when it is already built spending a colossal sum of money,” said Prof. Silva.
She laments that the hospital cannot be commissioned, “only because we are short staffed.” Consultants and hospital administrative staff of the Medical and Dental Teaching Hospitals in the country are provided by the Ministry of Health, unlike for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital where the Ministry of Higher Education has to provide the staff.
(dn) World's largest New Year greeting card, created by prison inmates, was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday. This greeting card created by a team of 15 inmates of the Welikda Prison, is considered to be the largest greeting card prepared by prison inmates in the world.
The greeting card has portraits of historical evolution of Sri Lankan history beginning with the Rawana legend. It includes cultural components, ethnic harmony and inter peaceful environment.
The card is 200 feet long and five feet wide. Prisoners took 14 days to create this. They had obtained the support of Tamara Damayanthi, arts consultant of Ananda College, Maradana. Arrangements have been taken to include the card into the Guinness Book of Records.
(cp) Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health has suspended with immediate effect the use of a drug prescribed for renal patients due to suspicions of its inferior quality.
Use of the drug, cyclosporine, manufactured by the Indian company Alrita Pharma, has been suspended until its standard is consolidated, state-run television ITN reported.
Presently, the Ministry has directed to suspend the use of the 100 and 50 milligram capsules .The health authorities have observed lower drug concentrations in the bloods of patients who were prescribed the drug.
(dn) The Education Ministry will change the secondary level school curriculum to meet present day trends and requirements in the education sector, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.
The new curriculum will be implemented from 2013 upto grade six level. It will be extended to other grades upto GCE Ordinary Level later.
The Education Ministry is drafting the text books for the new curriculum with the assistance of educationists, intellectuals and several other resource personnel, the minister added. Meanwhile, a new mechanism will be introduced to the GCE Advanced Level in schools. In terms of the new mechanism, students in grade eight have to choose a stream, which they desire to follow at the Advanced Level. Subjects related to that selected stream will be taught from grade eight. Students will learn the relevant subjects for two years before they sit the GCE Ordinary Level examination.
(dn) Archbishop of Colombo Rev Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on Thursday said that Sri Lanka is capable of solving its own problems and attempts by some to run to the international community to solve problems is not acceptable.
“We can solve our own problems because we have religious, spiritual and the moral rectitude necessary in our own cultures to solve our problems by ourselves. We also have the necessary courage to do that because we are a people of courage,” he said. He was of the view that the country has a golden opportunity to usher in a period of co-existence, harmony and peace among the different national and religious groups in this country.
The Cardinal was speaking at the State Christmas Festival held at Temple Trees on Thursday under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “These days we have had the release of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which is our own organization where our people were members, participated, where many people gave evidence from our own country. We can say the voice of our own people, those who have suffered the difficulties of the war have been recorded in this document,” he said. The Archbishop said that the LLRC report is our own effort, the result of our own effort.
(ognp) The Private Bus Operators Association and the Inter Province Bus Owners Association have come forward for re- transport of plastic crates used for transport of fruits and vegetables. A discussion in this regard was held with the Minister of Private Transport C. B .Ratnayake was held yesterday at the Ministry of Private Transport.
About 50 percent of the private buses operated in the country belong to these two Associations. The associations have agreed to transport the empty crates for a minimum price. Each bus could transport about 100 empty crates in one trip.
The Associations have also agreed to operate a courier service for the transport of goods and parcels. A spokesman for the Associations has said that they will be able to hand over the goods and parcels to the stipulated destinations with responsibility.
(ognp)Ministry of Economic Development and Tourisms Development Authority has initiated a programe to develop tourism sectors in provincial level.
Under this programme, cheques worth of 198 million rupees were handed over to North Western, Western, Uva and Southern Provincial Councils to develop the provincial tourism industry. by Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa.
(cp) The researchers of Maritime Archaeology Unit of Sri Lanka in Galle say that they have recovered ruins of an ancient ship.
The wreckage of the ship was found in the sea two kilometers off the Chilaw Coast at a depth of nine meters, the researchers said. The area is commonly known as Elephant Foot Rock.
Maritime archaeologists believe the ship belonged either to Portuguese or Dutch colonial period.
(ognp) SriLankan Airlines recommenced flights to Zurich, the latest destinatio in the continuous expansion of its global route network, yesterday.
Zurich was served by Sri Lanka's National Carrier for a quarter of a centure from 1980. It was suspended in 2005 due to ‘a global slump in air travel.’
(ognp) The government has embarked upon a massive development program for the development of City of Colombo and its surroundings. Under the master plan for Colombo City development prepared by the Urban Development Authority, development of Independence Square, refurbishment of old Dutch hospital building at Colombo Fort, conservation of Fort areas including Beira Lake and its surroundings, development of Pettah Bus Terminal reserving commercial areas for pavement hawkers have been completed.
Under this massive development programme, the Manning market is to be shifted to Peliyagoda and the Bus Terminal is to be expanded covering the Manning market while putting up a Commercial Complex for payment hawkers. The Central Super Maket ( former fish market) in Pettah is also to be refurbished.
The construction work of these projects will be entrusted to the Engineering Services Divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force in order to minimize construction costs.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reiterated that the demand of the Tamil National Alliance for police powers to the North and East is not a practicable proposition.
He pointed out that such an arrangement was causing problems in India, for instance, where during a law and order crisis, the Indian Centre has to liaise with the State Chief Ministers and this gets in the way of the centre in solving law and order problems immediately in the states concerned.
(cp) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the first floating restaurant in the country Monday night.
The floating restaurant in the Beira Lake in Colombo named as the "Pontoon North 8" has been launched under the sponsorship of Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel.
The 70-feet long restaurant was built at a cost of 100 million rupees. It can accommodate 100 persons.
(ognp) “Black Velvet”, the popular Sri Lankan music band is to perform in the South Indian City of Mangalore on December 25 at Mangalore Ladies Club.
A news release from the Bank said that the Black Velvet Winter Christmas Dance organised by the Heath Streak Foundation and Magnum Intergrafiks and supported by Mangalore Ladies Club would showcase a blend of experience, youthfulness, talent, high energy, aggressive power and great vibe.
Black Velvet has won the Observer Golden Clef Award for the most promising band for two consecutive years in Sri Lanka and has performed at the tourism festival in South Korea, the Labriz Hotel and Berjaya Hotels in Seychelles, Universal Resorts in Maldives, Noble Park RSL and Gold Coast Concert in Australia, Dubai International Festival and at elite nightclubs in Switzerland, Germany, Austria. The evening would feature foot-tapping music, popular Sri Lankan bailas and Christmas carols. With the theme “Dancing for a Cause,” ‘Black Velvet’ will be performing for the first time in Mangalore
(cp) With whale watching tourism is gathering momentum in country's southern coastal areas Sri Lanka's Ocean University together with a private tourism agency also has launched a vessel for whale and dolphin watching in the Southern sea.
Sri Lanka Navy and several private firms also operate whale watching vessels in the southern, north western and eastern seas of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is internationally acclaimed as one of the best locations to watch blue whales and sperm whales. Of around 80 whale species that inhabit the world, 26 live in the sea surrounding Sri Lanka. Between December and April months the seas south of Dondra Head and Mirissa are known for Blue and Sperm whales sightings close to shore.
(st) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed that the implementation of Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) should be carried out only with government funds and not funds from a UN agency.
The directive, just two days ahead of the official release of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) final report, came at the weekly Cabinet meeting. Government spokesperson and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced at a news briefing on Thursday that the Cabinet had approved the implementation of the plan. He said that the Cabinet had approved the Action Plan itself in September, this year.
A Cabinet Memorandum obtained by the Sunday Times revealed that Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and the President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights, had sought cabinet approval to obtain US$ 150,000 (Rs 15 million) from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
(so) Tourism industry sources expect the 800,000th visitor to Sri Lanka this year to arrive in the country tomorrow.
Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Nalaka Godahewa said that the number of tourists to Sri Lanka this year exceeded the forecast of 780,000 by December 14. Tourism revenue rose 64.8 percent in 2010 to a record US$ 576 million.
This year the country expects US$ 800 million in tourism income and one billion US dollars next.
(dn) Seventy Sri Lankans deported from Britain for violating British emigration and immigration laws arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday.
According to BIA officials, the group of deportees were escorted to the BIA by a contingent of British Police in a special airline. They are residents of Jaffna, Trincomalee and Kandy districts. Among the deportees are seven women.
(dn) Foreign employment authorities in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has arranged migrant service clinics throughout the island to mark International Migrants Day, which falls tomorrow.
These clinics will offer multiple services to migrant workers' families and foreign job aspirants. The mobile clinics would be held in every district, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau Deputy General Manager (Training and Recruitment) Mangala Randeniya said. The clinics will offer information on new job and training opportunities, counselling services, assistance for dispute resolution, information on local foreign job agents etc.
The International Organiz ation for Migration will lend a hand to the Foreign Employment Ministry and the SLBFE to carry out migrant worker assistance programmes tomorrow.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government says that investigations will be carried out and action will be taken against anyone who is found to have committed transgressions during the final stages of the war.
Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said that anyone found guilty through investigations would be dealt with appropriately.
The LLRC report has stated that the civilians were not willfully targeted during the war and military operations were conducted professionally. However, the Minister observed that if there was evidence of transgressions by individuals, they need to be investigated.
(dn) Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said yesterday that the government has taken measures to send 10,000 youths to Korea for employment in 2012.
The minister said that only 5,000 Sri Lankan youths will be sent to Korea for employment at higher salaries, during 2011. He said that 9,998 youths have passed examinations and were qualified to leave to Korea. "They will be sent to Korea in 2012," he said. The minister said that the salaries of youths leaving for Korea will be increased by 6.1 percent.
(ognp) The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was tabled in Parliament by Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva a short while ago.
"In evaluating the Sri Lanka experience in the context of allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the Commission is satisfied that the military strategy that was adopted to secure the LTTE held areas was one that was carefully conceived, in which the protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority. The Commission also notes in this regard that the movement of the Security Forces in conducting their operations was deliberately slow during the final stages of the conflict, thereby evidencing a carefully worked out strategy of avoiding civilian casualties or minimizing them," the report stated in its Principal Observations and Recommendations.
Read the full report here
(ognp) Several local and international chauffeurs and riders are expected to take part in the Colombo night Motor race being held for the first time today.
Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana told this edition that several roads in the Colombo Fort area will be closed from 8.00 tonight till 6.00 am on Saturday morning. This will be held on Friday and Saturday and the exact time for the closure of the roads on Saturday will be notified later” SP Ajith Rohana said.
It is understood that a night full of high octane activity followed by entertainment awaits for the race enthusiast on both the nights.
(ognp) Sri Lanka is to established Human Right Council to deal with related issues, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Government of Sri Lanka as per the voluntary pledge given in the course of its participation at the Universal Periodic Review meeting at the UNHRC in 2008 has decided to implement the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) already approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Government considers it important to implement the Human Right Action Plan to enable our successful engagement with several international human rights organizations, especially the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
(ognp) Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rembukwella said that the discussions held by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the officials of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade, farmers’ organizations and wholesale traders of fruits and vegetables including the traders of the Manning Market yesterday were very successful.
The Minister said that it has been decided to defer the implementation of the Plastic Crate rule by one month and exempt certain vegetables such as snake gourd and fruits from this rule, but the policy of implementing this rule remains as it is.
Responding to questions raised at the Cabinet Press Briefing held at the Department of Government Information, the Minister said that feasibility studies for implementing this rule was carried out during the time when Bandula Gunawardene was the Minister in Charge of Trade and it has been found that this method is being implemented in many countries including the agricultural countries in the region such as Thailand, India, Vietnam and Malaysia.
(dn) Roads in Colombo Fort, used as the track for the Colombo Night Race and several junctions to enter Colombo city, will be closed on December 16 and 17, from 6 pm to 6 am, on each day, the Police Public Relations Unit has announced.
Police Media Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that no roads will be closed during the day time on December 16 and 17. The temporary traffic plan will be used to minimize traffic congestion during the race hours.
Buses and lorries will not be allowed to enter Fort from 6pm to 6 am on the following day at Kollupitiya junction, Pittala junction, Ibbanwala junction, Gamini roundabout, Ceynor junction, Khan clock tower roundabout. All vehicles will not be permitted to enter towards Colombo Fort from 6 pm to 6 am on the following day at, Galle Face roundabout, Regal roundabout, Khan clock tower, Olcott Mawatha, Ceynor junction.
Over 400 academics to participate in international conference
(dn) Over 400 academics from India, China, Japan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan, Malaysia and America, apart from Sri Lanka, are expected to attend the the third international conference on 'Medicinal plants and medical products' which will be held in Colombo from December 19 to 21. Over 200 scientific research papers will be presented at the conference to be held at the Colombo University's Institute of Indigenous Medical Science.
The international conference is being held in Sri Lanka for the first time on the invitation of Colombo University Vice Chancellor Prof Shanika Himburugama. The two previous conferences were held in India. The indigenous medical fraternity and the western medical fraternity in Sri Lanka are working jointly to organise the event. The conference is jointly organised by the Institute of Indigenous Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo and the Thirupathi Shri Venkateshvaran University of India.
Senior lecturer at the Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Dr Nimal Kanakaratne said that the conference is expected to bring a number of benefits to the indigenous medicine industry in Sri Lanka. The conference will have the dual benefit of taking Sri Lanka's medical and scientific knowledge to the world while bringing new technologies and research methods to the country.
(cp) Sri Lanka's coast conservation officials are demolishing hotels and restaurants that had encroached into protected areas on a famous beachfront.
Bulldozers started demolishing the buildings Tuesday amid protests by owners and tourists at Unawatuna.
The authorities had demarcated 42 buildings as illegal constructions according to a 1981 conservation law. Officials say the business owners ignored several notices to move out by themselves.
(dn) The India-Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF) invites project proposals, which will assist to enhance bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.
They should include areas of Education, including short-term teaching/technical training assignments for faculty members, Art and Culture, Archaeological Studies, Agricultural Research, Science and Technology, Information Technology, Health, Development Studies and Gender Studies.
Proposals could be submitted for research projects and other educational activities at recognised institutions of learning in India and in Sri Lanka, visits and exchanges involving students, scholars, academics, artists, professionals and performing artistes, participation in conference/seminar, symposia, art exhibitions, film festivals, cultural events and training workshops etc, publication of research works on India-Sri Lanka relations in the specified fields and translation and publication of literary works in Indian languages to Sri Lankan languages and vice-versa. Individuals, Institutions and Groups are invited to submit proposals which would be considered during the next meeting of the Board of Directors of ISLF in February, 2012.
(xinhua) Sri Lanka is aiming to turn back the brain drain tide and attract foreign workers back to the country by encouraging technologically advanced industries, an official said here Tuesday.
Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told media that the government was conscious of the need to improve employment opportunities in the country and widen the scope of technologically advanced industries so that professionals would return to the country.
"We have already decided to only allow investments exceeding 300 million U.S. dollars to encourage industries using advanced technology into the country. We hope this will create job opportunities and attract educated foreign workers back into the country," he said.
Sri Lanka is focusing on attracting its migrant scientists to return and help develop the country after the end of a brutal three-decade conflict in 2009. Sri Lanka has a large Tamil diaspora community and the government introduced attractive tax incentives for them in its 2012 budget.
(dn) ISO has published an updated edition of the ISO 19011 auditing standard which will save money, time and resources by providing a uniform approach to multiple management system audits.
In today’s business environment, many organizations incorporate a number of management systems, such as quality, environmental, IT services and information security. As a result, these organizations want to harmonize and where possible, combine the auditing of these systems.
Compared to the first edition of the standard published in 2002 which applied only to ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment), the scope of ISO 19011:2011, Guidelines for auditing management systems. has been expanded to reflect current thinking and the complexities of auditing multiple management system standards (MSS). This latest version is now available at the SLSI (Sri Lanka Standards Institution) which is the only member body of ISO in Sri Lanka.
(dm) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said in Parliament today that there is archaeological evidence to prove that ‘Tamil Buddhists’ lived in certain areas of the northern province. TNA MP S.Sritharan said that Buddhist archaeological sites had been discovered in the North after archaeological excavations.
“Some elements try to prove that these were the settlements of Sinhala Buddhists in history. Actually, they were the settlements of Tamil Buddhists,” Mr. Sritharan said.
The TNA MP emphasised the need to preserve Hindu religious sites in the North instead of trying to impose the hegemony of one cultural group on another.
(ognp) The Colombo City Tour has introduced special packages for kids and family this Christmas. Santa will be on board the open deck double decker with treats and surprises including an unforgettable experience of white Christmas at ‘Magical Snow’, Excel World.
‘Santa on the double decker tours are scheduled for 17th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd of December. The tours will start off from Galle Face Hotel at 3:30 p.m. with a joy ride around the city of Colombo with Santa Claus on board.
The kids will be given a treat b y Elephant House, the exclusive sponsor and there will be a unique ‘Treasure Hunt’ at Independence Square after which the tour will head to Excel World, Colombo, for an extraordinary white Christmas experience. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the snow and music at the ‘Magical Snow’ followed by many other fun rides and activities.
(cp) Sri Lanka police spokesman Superintendent of Police Ajith Rohana said that a new laser camera system has been installed on the Southern expressway and it is functioning since Sunday.
The camera system can capture the vehicle number and the driver's image of speeding vehicles. Earlier cameras used by Sri Lanka police could only record the speed.
Around 100 accidents have taken place in the expressway since its opening on November 27 and the major reason for the accidents has been identified as exceeding the speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour.
(lbo) Sri Lanka's main historical, and wildlife attractions had begun to draw more visitors, weaning the island away from being mainly a beach tourist destination, deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abeywardene said.
"Large numbers of tourists are visiting the Pinnawela elephant orphanage, Sigiriya (a rock fortress) and the Temple of the Tooth," he said. "This is showing that Sri Lanka is no longer just a beach destination."
Sri Lanka has seen a steep increase in tourist arrivals following the end of a 30-year war in 2009. Up to November arrivals were up 33.1 percent to 758,458 exceeding an original 750,000 target for the full year. Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion chief Rumi Marzook said a record 100,000 visitors are expected in December. Sri Lanka received 654,476 tourists in 2010.
(cp) Sri Lankan army chief Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya today said though China�s influence in the Indian Ocean is growing, it is not posing any threat to the Indian sub-continent. "There is no threat to any country in the Indian sub-continent from the growing influence of China in the waters of Indian Ocean.
It is a wrong belief", Jayasuriya told reporters after reviewing the Passing Out Parade (POP) at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) here. Regarding India, he said military cooperation between India and Sri Lanka is increasing and armies of the two countries are cooperating with each other in several areas including the field of training.
In this regard, he pointed out that 120 Sri Lankan officers have so far received training in the IMA. He said he also plans to meet Chief of Army Staff Gen V K Singh during his current visit.
(dn) The public can obtain any type of health information regarding any disease and health issue by contacting specialist Sri Lankan doctors attached to the Health Net by dialling the hot line (+94)0710107107, Health Education Bureau (HEB) sources said.
According to sources, the public can also obtain the same services by logging onto http://www.suwasariya.gov.lk Information can also be obtained through chatting (without revealing your identity), emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org through SKYPE or through SMS (0710107107) using your mobile. The services are available in all three languages.
Automated advice service is also available under these services. Confidentiality of all information exchanged through the Health Net will be strictly guaranteed.
(cp) The Arthur C. Clarke Center in Sri Lanka has informed that the country would witness a total lunar eclipse Friday (10) night.
Advisor at the Center, Dr. Chandana Jayaratne has said the eclipse could be witnessed between 6:16 p.m. and 9:48 p.m.
He has noted that the earth's shadow would completely cover the moon creating a total eclipse from 7:36 p.m. till 8:27 p.m. The eclipse is expected to end by 11 p.m. tomorrow night.
The next complete lunar eclipse is expected to take place in 2014.
(ognp) 104 Ex LTTE female cadres visited Parliament today before being reintegrated into society after one year rehabilitation program. They visited Parliament when the committee stage debate of the Ministry of Prison and rehabilitation.
Secretary Ministry of Prison Rehabilitation Mr. Dissanayake said 46 cadres who completed one year vocational training will be released on Sunday in Jaffna. "They will be given training in 20 different fields and once reintegrated into the society they can obtain self employment loans up to Rs 250,000 he further said.
It is expected to release all remaining 700 former LTTE cadres after providing them the mandatory 12 months training by mid 2012.
(cp) Sri Lanka's Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development plans to set up a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in the high seas.
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has made the proposal to set up the committees to evaluate the unsolicited proposal for the VMS received from the Visma Sirius IT of Denmark.
The government says Sri Lanka, as a member and a contracting party of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission is required to establish and operate a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) for the vessels operating in the high seas.
(dn) The National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) is making arrangements to insure wild elephants in the country in collaboration with the Agrarian Services and Wildlife Ministry.
Discussions regarding this insurance scheme are to be finalised next week. All measures are in place to initiate this programme from January 2012, said NITF chairman Senaka Abeygunasekara. According to statistics, the wild elephant census held in Sri Lanka recently has revealed that there are over 5,000 wild elephants in the country.
The NITF is to insure all these elephants under a third party. It will pay compensation to the person who becomes the victim in the conflict between elephants and humans, he added.
(dn) Ten percent out of the total world population is disabled and in Sri Lanka 7 to 8 percentage is disabled, Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake said.
He was addressing the Workshop of Disability Organizations Joint Front, Project of Arthritis in Colombo yesterday.
Due to 30 years of terrorism, many people in the country became disabled. The Disability Organizations Joint Front's contribution towards the disabled people is commendable. There are many people in society, who need the help of others due to their disability. The duty of the society is to help them, he said.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government, in a bid to utilize the knowledge and experience of expatriate scientists in the post-war socioeconomic development of the country, will hold a forum next week under the auspices of the Ministry of Technology and Research.
The Global Forum of Sri Lankan Scientists organized by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO is an International Conference held to bring many Sri Lankan scientists, both expatriate and local, to one location.
The three-day Forum will be held from 13th to 15th of this month on the theme "Empowering Sri Lanka through networking and knowledge sharing".
(dn) The country has enough stocks of rice for the next eight months, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said.
"The country will have rice sufficient for the next year after harvesting the Maha season and will be able to continue exporting rice, he said. He was addressing a press conference at the Information Department yesterday. The Agriculture Ministry has been allocated Rs 700 million from the budget to develop the agricultural sector and to stabilize food preservation in the country, the minister said.
About 90 percent of land in the Northern and Eastern areas has been cultivated, he said. The agriculture sector faced challenges in the recent past. Many cultivated acres have been affected due to unsystematic rain. However, after 122 years since the inception of the Agriculture Department, the agricultural sector has been able to achieve its targets
(cp) The local media right organization, Free Media Movement (FMM) has initiated legal action against the Sri Lankan government's blocking of several websites allegedly containing slanderous material against the government and the people.
The FMM filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court on Monday alleging that the blocking of the websites obstructs the public's right to information and freedom of expression, according to FMM convener, Sunil Jayasekera.
The Ministry recommended the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to temporarily block some websites which were giving false information and discrediting the image of the President, government and top officials in the country disregarding media ethics and violate their privacy. The blocked sites are www.lankaenews.com, srilankamirror.com, srilankaguardian.com, paparasinews.com, gossip9.com and www.lankawaynews.com.
(ognp) A special road development project has been initiated by the ministry of economic development to set up a road network covering the entire country. This project also includes improvement of pavements, bridges, drainage, and replacement of culverts.
Acting on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa initiated the Provincial Road Development Project in order to create a good road network islandwide. Under this programme a stretch of 3740 kms of road will be developed and carpeted in all district of the island during 2011.
The Ministry of Economic Development expects that this machineries would help to accelerate the development programmes especially in rural areas and also contribute to the development of economy and social activities. These machineries were provided to Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, Ministry of Agrarian services and Wildlife,State Engineering Corporation, Road Development Authority, Western Province Road Development Authority and several other government’s institutions.
(cp) A Sri Lankan court has issued a warrant today to apprehend the Scotia Prince ferry that was hauling passengers from Tuticorin port of India to Colombo port.
Acting on a petition filed by a South Indian company, the Colombo High Court ordered the Sri Lanka Port Authority to detain the passenger ferry currently docked at the Colombo Port.
The South Indian Company claims that the ship operators owe them an outstanding bill of more than US$ 400,000 as catering charges. According to the agent for the ship in Colombo the Ceylon Shipping Corporation, the ferry's operators Flamingo Liners have said that Scotia Prince would be halted due to technical problems.
(dn) International Buddhist Conference 2012 will be held in Sri Lanka under the theme “New millennium challenges for Buddhism”, Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake said. The conference will be held from February 17 to 19 at the Buddhasravaka Bhikshu University, Anuradhapura.
Over hundred Buddhist scholars from local and international Buddhist organizations will take part in the international conference, which is aimed at presenting over 100 research papers from different parts of the globe to discuss the progressive aspects of the Buddhist establishment in their respective countries. Besides, issues and challenges the Buddhist monks and lay Buddhists encounter at different levels will also be discussed.
In addition, the forum will draw its attention to several other goals such as to investigate a meaningful mechanism to reform Buddhist education in Sri Lanka to be on a par with modern society, to share the different strategies adopted by different Buddhist traditions to upgrade and propagate the Buddhist establishment, to draft a coordinated plan to transmit the message of the Buddha to the ultra-modern society which is equipped with the state-of-the-art technology and people with a more updated mindset, to discuss the ways and means to re-introduce the age-old rapport between the Buddhist clergy and laity for a better and effective mechanism.
(ognp) The Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mr. Laxman Yapa Abeywardena has told the Parliament that the government has been able to build a powerful economy centering the villages in the country, that the current economic policy of the government is exemplary to The United National Party which destroyed the rural economy.
The Deputy Minister made these comments in the winding up debate of the Committee Stage Discussions of the votes on the Ministry of Economic Development.
(ognp) Sri Lanka's apex court recently granted permission to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information to continue with its process of registering news websites that disseminate news and information on Sri Lanka and its people.
Supreme Court gave this permission when a fundamental right petition filed by an owner of a web site was taken up for leave to proceed.
The three-member panel of judges told the Media Ministry to continue with the program of registering the websites and ordered the TRC to file a report in the Supreme Court on the 15th of this month with regard to websites that had filed the petition The Media Ministry earlier last month requested all news casting websites to maintain accepted ethical standards of mass media and conform to the laws in Sri Lanka.
(so) The final report on the controversial Sinharaja road development recommends the foot path to be used as a nature trail without changing its present status. "On the recommendations we would let the people use the foot path and this can be used by people as a nature trail as well in the future," Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said.
This foot path, extending nearly 3.5 kilometers is used by villagers and we have no restriction for them to use it yet the committee does not give permission to expand the road.
"This land connects Sinharaja with the Handapan ella and Beralagala forest areas. Thus the foot path should not be developed as it can obstruct the migratory animals between these forest patches," said Conservator of Forests (operational) K.P. Ariyadasa addressing the media. "We don't want to disturb that eco-system and let the villagers use it as it is while developing other sides of the access roads," he added.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government has approved setting up of 11 five star hotels in the capital Colombo and 24 in areas outside of Colombo to attract and accommodate tourists.
Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has said the government has received the approval to set up two five-star hotels in Gampaha, one in Negombo, four in Beruwala, two in Jaffna, seven each in Batticaloa and Trincomalee, and one in Nuwara Eliya.
He has told the media that the government was also looking at creating a tourist zone linking Katunayake, Gampaha and Negombo in the Western Province. According to Rajapaksa, leading international hotels are to be invited to invest and build hotels in Sri Lanka to provide a wide range of choices for the discerning tourist.
(so) Veera Keppetipola always acted according to his conscience. He returned to the British, their own weapons and joined the rebels who were at war with them for national independence, said Aggamaha Panditha Ven. Aluthgama Dhammananda Thera, Senior Karaka Sangha Sabhika of the Malwatta Chapter in his key address to the Veera Keppetipola Commemoration ceremony at Veera Keppetipola Memorial Hall, Kandy.
He said that it had been the disunity among the Sinhala nobility that caused the downfall of the country. Veera Keppetipola fought for the lost glory of the motherland. He faced the death valiantly. He paid homage to the Dammapada, and offered his shawl to the Sacred Tooth Relic before being beheaded by the British.
It was a great act of patriotism and gallantry on his part to face death.
(cp) Streets of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo will become race tracks for car and motor cycle racers for two days this month when the city holds the inaugural Colombo Night Races on December 16 and 17.
Foreign drivers and bike riders as well as locals will line up their cars and motor cycles under different categories on a track set along several Colombo streets. The selected streets will be totally re-paved for the event to provide the ground clearance to the race cars.
The main race on December 17 and the drivers and riders will have the qualifying races on December 16.
(dn) The Audit Department has taken measures to launch a number of environment friendly programmes for the Sri Pada season which is to begin on Unduwap Full Moon Day, December 10.
They are to launch these programmes on December 9 and 10. Plans are afoot to plant several plants which are suitable for the Ratnapura Sri Pada forest reserve and also to conduct several welfare projects.
They are to hold a perahera from Ratnapura Maha Saman Dewalaya to Sri Palabaddala Rajamaha Viharaya as well. In addition they hope to offer 10,000 Dahas Pethiya flowers to Sri Pada. The Audit Department requests the public to participate in this pinkama by providing Dahas Pethiya flowers to the department or its sub office on December 8 before 10 am.
(dn) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday stressed the need for compiling textbooks in a manner that would evoke the interest of students. "Today children are increasingly being distanced from pursuits such as arts and sports because they are being imprisoned by weighty subjects which they are unable to cope with. This has also subjected them to undue mental pressure and even diseases such as diabetes," he said.
The President said during daily visits of schoolchildren to Temple Trees, certain students inquire from him about the material in their school text books. The President showed officials the relevant portions of these texts. He said adopting simple methods in teaching subjects would greatly ease the tension and pressure on students' minds.
He also stressed the need of equipping students with subjects such as computer knowledge. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the Parliamentary Consultative Committee to discuss problems relating to schools textbooks and syllabuses met under his chairmanship over 25 times where the opinions and inputs of over 1,000 persons including religious leaders, professors and scholars were obtained.
(dn) The Old Dutch Hospital in Fort has been turned into a sophisticated shopping complex without harming its archaeological and architectural value by the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
It will be opened tomorrow by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The ancient Dutch Hospital which had been abandoned for a long period was transformed into a shopping complex under the Colombo Development Scheme initiated on the directives of the Defence Ministry.