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(ibn) A group of relatives of the last Sri Lankan Tamil King Vikrama Singe paid homage at his grave at the Muthu Mantapam on Monday. The relatives who had come from across the state, to commemorate his 181st death anniversary held special prayers (guru puja) to mark the occasion.
According to Ashok Raja of Madurai, his ancestor Vikrama Singe was earlier known as Prince Kannasamy and was the last king of Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu belonging to the Madurai Nayak dynasty. He had fought against the British who defeated him in 1815.
The king and his family members were brought to Vellore Fort where they were imprisoned for more than 15 years. He died here in 1832 on January 30. The State government has erected the Muthu Mantapam, a memorial for the erstwhile king, as well as the queen Savithri Devi, their two sons and a daughter, on the Palar river bed here.
(ognp) A manual for tourism entrepreneurs titled “Tourism Road Signage Guidelines” and "Start Your Tourism Business" was launched under the patronage of Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development at Cinnamon Grand Hotel on Monday (30).
Ms. Tania Brunn, Chief of Party USAID/CORE, James Bednar, Mission Director of USAID in Sri Lanka, Nihal Somaweera, Additional Secretary to Ministry of Economic Development, R.W.R.Premasiri Secretary to the Ministry of Port and Highways, also participated at this occasion.
(dn) Sri Lanka is grateful to Italy for continued support it received from the European friend, specially during Sri Lanka’s tough times. Sri Lanka is also keen on tech transfer support from Italy for its fledgling $ 16 million mineral granite industry and is also looking to set up a committee to oversee granite exporters’ issues.
“Italy is a keen consumer of our granite. Tech transfer support from Italy will greatly benefit our mineral granite industry, which is very young. I am also looking at formulating a special committee to oversee the welfare of granite exporters” revealed, Minister of Industry and Commerce. Rishad Bathiudeen.
According to Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, total trade between the two countries registered US $ 662.41 million.in 2010 increasing by 9% over 2009. Sri Lanka’s total exports to Italy recorded a highest level of US $ 462.41 million in 2010. Apparel products and clothing have been the major export items to Italy in recent years. The total value of export of apparel products and clothing amounted to US $ 361.55 million. in 2010 (78% of the total exports) while other major exports were solid tyres (3.7%), Fish fillet (2.99%) and tea (1.96%). Sri Lanka’s granite also is a popular item among Italian granite processing industry. Sri Lanka has four major types of granite deposits (granite proper, gneissose granite, regmatite and graphic granite) in substantial amounts, suitable for processing into cut, polished stones and aggregate products.
(dn) About 16 agreements were signed to improve Kalpitiya area as a tourist destination, Director General of Wayamba Development Authority Wasantha Premathillake said. He said Sri Lanka was still in the foundation level and many more things have to be improved in the tourist industry.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is planning to set up a one-stop shop where all problems could be solved under one roof.
He stated that the environmental Authority of Wayamba PC has planned to promote the Badagamuwa forest among local and foreigners. Badagamuwa is an ideal place for nature lovers.
(st) Porsche car sales recorded a new high in Sri Lanka mainly due to the success of Cayenne and Panamera models, said Arthur Senanayake, chairman of Euro Cars (Pvt) Ltd the sole authorized importer and dealer for Porsche vehicles in Sri Lanka, A press release issued by the company quoted Mr. Senanayake as saying “ 2011 has been an exciting year for Eurocars (Pvt) Ltd, Porsche Centre Sri Lanka”.
Based on the year end closing figures taken from 1 January to 31 December 2011, Eurocars has set a new record with total sales of 52 vehicles.”The sales figures are attributed to the hybrid variants of both the Cayenne and Panamera model range with 37 units and 11 units respectively delivered to customers in Sri Lanka, he disclosed.
(so) Sri Lanka's mobile service provider Dialog Axiata PLC is offering a SatNav (Satellite Navigation) App (application) tool for mobile phones, which will help Dialog Subscribers direction, plot routes and find places of interest at a touch of a button.
Motorists can now receive directions via a network of radio navigation system satellites also known as GPS (Global Positioning System). GPS is a space-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) developed and maintained by the US Government and is freely available for users, but maps and software are needed to pinpoint locations and give directions.
Orbiting satellites calculate exact could positions by precisely timing signals sent and received by satellites that orbit around the planet. "SatNav is the latest mobile application that offers Dialog customers the future today," Group Chief Operating Officer at Dialog Axiata, Supun Weerasinghe, said.
"With the rapid expansion of highways and the rural road network in Sri Lanka, emerging technologies such as SatNav will offer hassle free motoring for Dialog subscribers. "The Dialog SatNav system has an added advantage of voice support navigation in Sinhala, Tamil and English which allows drivers to navigate their vehicle without looking at the screen of the navigation device. The system has a detailed map of the road network, which includes the small city streets. Places of worship, tourist destinations, financial institutions, automotive repair, emergency services, medical services and restaurants are also pre-loaded on to the device, available on demand.
(cp) Sri Lanka Coast Conservation Department says that the government has allocated Rs. 500 million to implement measures to strengthen the coastal safety and to prevent the sea erosion.
The Department has planned to establish ten coastal parks in Western, Southern and Eastern coasts of the country. Two of them have already been established in Mattakkuliya Crow Island in Northern Colombo and near Matara town in the Southern Province.
The department has also taken steps to pump sand by a special ship and build beaches and breakwaters in areas where sea erosion threat is severe, says the Department. The Department says that the beaches of Bambalapitiya and Kollupitiya in Colombo city Ratmalana, Wattala, Uswetakeiyawa, Prithipura, Wedikanna in suburbs and the Poruthota beach in Negombo are severely affected by sea erosion.
(ognp) Major General Shavendra Silva - Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations has been selected to the Special Advisory Group on Peace Keeping Operations established by the UN Secretary General to advise on rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues.
This is the first time that a Sri Lankan has been appointed to such a prestigious post relating to peace keeping operations, throughout Sri Lanka’s 50-year long partnership with the Department of Peacekeeping.
Major General Silva will represent the Asia-Pacific States in this Body. He joins a group of high ranking diplomats who are members of this key body addressing some of the critical issues related to UN peacekeeping.
(cp) Sri Lanka cabinet has given its approval to host the United Nations World Youth Conference in 2014.
Acting on a proposal put forward by the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dullas Alahapperuma, the cabinet has given its approval to obtain official UN endorsement and to use other diplomatic missions abroad to implement the global process for this conference, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Thursday. He said Sri Lanka is seeking the support of China and the Group of 77 to adopt UN General Assembly resolution to host the Conference in 2014.
However, the Ministry needs an official mandate from the UN to involve UN secretariat and its agencies and to have an official UN endorsement and seeks the official support from the Group of 77 and China to adopt the resolution in the UN General Assembly.
(ognp) Sri Lanka Cabinet of Ministers Wednesday approved a proposal by the President as the Minister of Ports and Highways, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Italian Republic concerning recognition of certificates issued to seafarers between the Governments of Sri Lanka and Italy.
Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella told media in Colombo today that under this MoU, the Italian Maritime Administration will facilitate the Sri Lankan seafarers to be employed on Italian Flag Vessels without holding an equivalent certificate of competency issued by the Maritime Administration of Italy.
As at present Sri Lankan seafarer holding a Certificate of Competency issued by the Government of Sri Lanka, but employed in a vessel registered in a foreign country should hold an equivalent Certificate of Competency issued by the Maritime Administration of that country.
(ognp) Sri Lanka Customs will go high-tec effective from February 01 with the implementation of electronic submission of Cusdec and Manifest, said th Sri Lanka Posrts Authority Chairman Dr.Priyath B.Wickrama.
With the ongoing development programmes in the Colombo as well as Hambantota ports during the past years, there had been a significant growth in the shipping industry. Therefore streamlining of the present system will certainly boost the port Efficiency, the SLPA Chairman said.
The present system requires much storage space as it produces large number of paper work and document handling thereby it leads to unnecessary security problems for archival records.
(dn) The Import Section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in association with the Ministry of Health and Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) will hold a seminar on the new food regulations and the Sri Lanka Standards on January 27, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 5.p.m. at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Auditorium.
The government recently approved a series of new food regulations under the Food Act of Sri Lanka to protect consumers from adulterated food and food that is injurious to health. Dr T B Ananda Jayalal, Director Ministry of Health, Mrs W N N Satharasinghe, Sri Lanka Standards Institution and Dr Sanath Mahawithanage, Manager Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs - Fonterra Brands Lanka will address the gathering.
(dn) An intensive training in marine fisheries will be imparted to fishermen soon by the Wayamba Provincial Fisheries Ministry in collaboration with the Wayamba University.
“Our aim is to impart all round education in fishing technology,” said Provincial Minister of Fisheries, Road Development, Electricity, Housing and Construction Sanath Nishantha Perera. The minister was addressing the gathering after handing over a large number of fibreglass teppan fishing boats to fishermen in Kurungnanpitiya fishing hamlet in Kalpitiya recently.
The teppan boats were provided with a fifty percent subsidy as relief assistance at concessional interest rates. The minister said the teppan fishermen who go out fishing in the lagoon, will never demand a salary hike. He said he hoped to bring ashore fish in abundance to uplift the living standard of fishermen.
(ognp) Sri Lanka has told the United Nations that it should maintain the principle of sovereign equality enshrined in the UN Charter which is intrinsic to the international rule of law. Equally important, is the maintenance of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Member States, especially in situations that do not pose a threat to international peace and security.
This was the Statement by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Palitha T.B. Kohona delivered at the Security Council Open Debate on “The promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security” 19 January 2012
He further said that unilateral and selective applications of international law principles must be avoided. Considering that the principles that are accepted as being part of the international rule of law, took centuries to evolve, any temptation to expect them to dawn everywhere, with equal effect, at short notice must also be resisted.”
(ognp) LBO reports that Sri Lanka's Expo Aviation will recommence daily flights twice a day to Jaffna, a city in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka using a 12-seater Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft.
Expo Aviation used a larger 52-seater aircraft for scheduled flights between Colombo and Jaffna during the island's long-running civil war when the Jaffna peninsula was cut off by land.
Demand had dropped after a land route to Jaffna via the A-9 highway was opened following the end of the war. Daily demand for seats had dropped from 200 to 36 afterwards, the report said. The report further reveals that the firm may expand the present capacity if demand grows.
(ognp) Defence ministry says the 15th UN contingent, expected to leave for Haiti shortly on UN Peace Keeping Missions, had their passing out parade at Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) Training School at Puttalam.
The 15th contingent is comprised of 49 officers and 601 soldiers. Of them, 29 officers and 419 other ranks are from the VIR.
The contingent consists of support and service troops including Navy and Air Force officers
(cp) Sri Lanka has ordered a group of 161 foreign Islamic clerics to leave the country, for flouting visa regulations by preaching to pockets of Muslims around the country, an official said Sunday.
Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera said the clerics, who were mostly Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Maldivian and Arab, had travelled into the country on tourist visas.
"We have ordered them to leave the country by January 31. They have violated immigration laws. A tourist visa is to have a holiday or visit friends and family and not to preach Islam," Perera told AFP. Perera said he acted on several complaints by the Muslim community, that the clerics were not preaching the moderate Islam practiced on the Buddhist-dominated island.
(dn) The Palali Airport will be upgraded as an international airport for Indian traffic and regional passengers, said Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda.
Speaking to the Daily News after inaugurating the third edition of the Jaffna Trade Fair yesterday, the minister said that the Indian government is assisting this project and work is in progress. The minister said that an additional Rs one billion will be allocated by the government for infrastructure development in the Northern Province this year.
Devananda said that the on going exhibition organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry with Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (LECS), which concludes tomorrow, has helped Northern entrepreneurs to find Southern partners and also acquire new technology. “The Indian government will continue to assist the North and East reconstruction process and will also find an Indian partner to review the Elephant Pass saltern in the area which has not been operating for the past 20 years,” said Consul General of India in Jaffna, V Mahalingam.
(cp) Sri Lanka Saturday launched an ambitious ten-year plan to make the country a trilingual nation and declared the year 2012 as the 'Trilingual Year'.
At a function held in Temple Trees today, former President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam joined Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to launch the "Trilingual Initiative", an ambitious programme of the Sri Lankan President to encourage all Sri Lankans to learn all three languages - Sinhalese, Tamil, and English- as a means to achieve national reconciliation and harmony.
Noting that the illiteracy, unemployment and poverty contribute to spreading of hate and violence throughout the world and mostly give rise to terrorism, Dr. Kalam pointed out that both Sri Lanka and India have experienced that. "If a nation is to exist as a united nation the benefits of development should be distributed to all communities of that nation," the Indian leader emphasized.
(ognp) The Galle Literary Festival commenced in Galle on Wednesday morning and will continue until the 22nd of this month. The festival is being held for the 6th year and award winning writers, historians and poets from United States, Canada, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Palestine, Singapore and Sri Lanka are to take part.
Joanne Trollope, Richard Dawkins, Tom Stoppard, D.B.C Pierre, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, John Boyne, Aminatta Forna, Romesh Gunasekera and Nayantara Sahgal are on the programme Galle Literary Festival is intended to serve as a platform for Sri Lankan writers to emerge and get recognized alongside other international writers. The literary forum is aimed to instill confidence and encourage aspiring, young writers to write.
The 6th festival's spotlight will be on India and HSBC is the main sponsor of the event. SriLankan Airlines, Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel, Magic/One Trust, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and British Council are co- sponsors of this festival.
(dn) After years of waiting and choosing the best of the best, the Chefs Guild of Lanka (CGL) has designated a team to participate in the World Culinary Olympics to be held in Germany this October.
"This is going to be a remarkable year. We have been dreaming of this for the past five years to take part in the culinary Olympics and the dream has finally come into a reality," Chef Guild of Lanka Ranjith Morugama said at a press conference held recently. In this event only national associations which belong to the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) are allowed to participate with one national in the competition.
Together with Team Manager Chef Gerard Mendis and Team Captain Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe (Heritance Ahungalla) the rest of the team includes Chef Ushantha Kulathunga (Jetwing Lighthouse), Chef Manjula Wickrama (Cinnamon Grand), Chef Chamika Perera (Hilton Colombo), Chef Kasun Premachandra (Heritance Ahungalla) and Chef Sanjeewa Niroshan (Grand Hotel Nuwera Eliya).
(ognp) Arrangements have been made to increase the passenger handling capacity to 12 Million by 2015 from the current capacity of 6 million.
Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka Limited Prasanna Wickramasooriya said that air cargo handling services will also be increased in parallel to the increase of the passenger handling capacity. He said that the second international airport will be opened in Mattala at the end of this year, and the Mattala airport will handle 60 percent of air cargo services and 40 percent of passenger services.
He said that Mattala will be the eco-friendly airport in the world. Internal air terminal will set up in Katunayake airport in par with internal aviation service development. He said that tenders will be called in April for the development of the second phase of Katunayake International Airport. Rs. 350 million will be spent on this project.
(dn) Measures will be taken in the near future to increase the Sri Lankan work force in Korea to 30,000 or 40,000, said Korean Parliament Speaker Park Hee Tae. Park Hee Tae said there are 25,000 Sri Lankans working in Korea and there is a favourable attitude towards Sri Lankans' service from the Korean government and private sector.
He expressed these views during discussions with Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody at Fortress Hotel in Galle. Park Hee Tea was impressed with the tourism industry in Sri Lanka which is on a fast track to development.
He said that European tourists are interested in visiting Sri Lanka and is a very popular destination.
(dn) The Mass Media and Information Ministry has introduced a code of ethics for newscasting websites. A printed handout of the code ethics will be issued to registered websites along with their licence.
In terms of the code of ethics - among other conditions - a fair and reasonable opportunity to reply should be given to individuals or organizations in respect of factually incorrect statements tarnishing their reputation, dignity, honour, feelings, privacy and office.
The Code of Ethics for Newscasting Websites is available with the Mass Media and Information Ministry, 163, Kirulapone Avenue, Polhengoda, Colombo 5.
(island) One of the oldest leading five star hotels in Colombo is struggling to maintain a high level of occupancy and has rquested the authorities to relegate its status to four stars, well informed industry sources said.
At present, the hotel’s occupancy rate is less than 35 percent. The highest occupancy rate maintained by a Colombo five star hotel is around 65 percent.
The implementation of minimum room rates (US$ 125++ per night for five star hotels) is attributed to be the main reason for hotels not maintaining good occupancy levels, some industry sources said. The government introduced minimum room rates to prevent rampant under-cutting among the city hotels.
(dn) South Asia's first monorail track will be built in Hambantota linking the new Hambantota Airport and the Suriyawewa International cricket stadium. The project is expected to get off the ground next year.
Hambantota district Parliamentarain Namal Rajapaksa said that one of the main aims of this proposed rail track is that it would link key development projects that are already taking place in the City of Hambantota. "One would be the proposed IT park where over 1.500 would be directly employed and the proposed convention centre, Airport, a 3,000 room apartment complex and several key investment projects," he said.
He also disclosed plans to construct a night market for Hambantota, which would open at 9 p.m. and go on till around 4 a.m. Rajapaksa also said that the Colombo-Marata Highway would be completed by 2013. "This would be extended to Hambantota by 2016 and the railway line too would be extended to Hambantota," he said.
(ognp) The Sri Lankan government is fully committed to working towards fulfilling the mandate of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group to address issues relating to cooperation in the fisheries sector between the two countries, the External Affairs Ministry said in a press release on Sunday.
The External Affairs Ministry rejecting some negative news reports relating to the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries held in Colombo on 13-14 January 2012, said, "unfortunately, these are misinterpretations of the positions taken by either of the aprties, and do ot reflect the cordial, friendly and constructive manner in which the relevant issues were discussed".
The Government of Sri Lanka is fully committed to working towards fulfilling the mandate of the Joint Working Group to address issues relating to cooperation in the fisheries sector between the two countries, concludes the press release.
(dn) In view of the 64th National Independence Day all government organizations have been requested to hoist the National flag at their institutions and also decorate their buildings on February 3 and 4.
The circular regarding this has been sent to ministerial Secretaries, Provincial Council Chief Secretaries, Heads of departments, Heads of corporations and boards and District Secretaries.
(tds) A two-day event on mobile payments and banking will begin in Colombo on January 31 amid calls for efforts, aiming to focus on prospects and challenges of the emerging trend in South Asia.
The upcoming summit will spotlight mobile payments in the emerging economies of Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, according to a statement released on Saturday.
Magenta Global Pte Limited that provides information to government and business executives and professionals worldwide will organise the event. The event is supported by the Electronic Money Association, Prepaid International Forum, SIMalliance, Mobile Entertainment Forum and Global Platform.
(ognp) Sri Lankan Mass Media ministry on a directive by the apex cour,t the Supreme Court has decided to register websites that provide mainly the Sri Lankan news. Accordingly the ministry secretary W.B. Ganegala had called for applications to register the web sites that operate in the country.
The websites registered with the Mass Media and Information Ministry are www.jayasiriradio.com - Sri Nimal Padma Kumara, www.onlanka.com - M T Udaya Arunakantha, www.srilankasports.com - Hishan Welmilla, www.hothotlanka.com - Dhananjaya Sooriyaarachchi, www.lankabusinesstoday.com - Global Media Network Ltd, www.tamilaa.com - Pakkiyanathan Jayantha, www.srilankamirror.com - Kelum Shivantha, www.pawuraradio.com - Priyangika Godakanda, www.lankasitizen.com - J P V Vipulanga, www.micsrilanka.org - Muslim Information Centre, www.kalasem - M F A Besith, www.puvath.lk - S kaushalya Wickramasinghe, www.tharunayaweb.lk - Gigies (Pvt) Ltd, www.lankanews.lk - Athula I Athulathmudali, www.lankareporter.com - A Dammila Deeptha, www.rangalivefm.com - Nihal Fernando, www.lankika.net - Zarook Marikkar, www.siddioice.info - Sujith P Fernando, www.srilankapatriot.lk - Dr Telli C Rajaratna, www.nation.lk - Rivira Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, www.lankaelink.com - Amila Kamkanange, www.lakfmradio.com - LakView Broadcasting Company (Pvt) Ltd, www.vfmradio.lk - Lanka Television Networks, www.karaitivu.org - Mendis Appu Prasath, www.sihasara.com - Sihasara Infortainment, www.maruthamunaionline.com - Suhail Jamaldeen, www.news360.lk - L C Prasanna Rodrigo.
(island) An injured 38-foot Fin Whale washed ashore at Vella beach in Kalpitiya on Friday was freed from an entangled fishing net and guided back into the deep waters off Dutch Bay in a tough seven- hour naval operation.
Timely action by personnel attached to SLNS Vijaya in the North-western Naval Area saved this marine mammal, which had beached due to the entangled fishing net hindering its free movement.
The whale was first sighted by naval personnel deployed for coastal protection. It had been struggling in shallow waters with injuries to its fin and abdomen area. The Navy swung into action and pumped water helping it to breathe and guided the animal to refloat.
(dn) Sri Lanka's first International Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) seminar titled Outsourcing versus Restructuring, organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will be held on February 9 and 10 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, said BASL President Shibly Aziz.
The BASL President said outsourcing has for long become a commonly recognised way for organizations to save on resources and costs. While, with millions of ongoing business processes and re-engineering projects, there are considerable advantages. Many industries have in the meantime started to look at the overall outsourcing trend with a more critical eye. The potential for market growth and cost savings at the same time cannot be ignored and offers promising returns.
The current growth rate of the global LPO market is estimated at 34 percent per annum, expecting a market size of around US $ 3 billion by 2015.
(dn) Engineer Sena Peiris, Director of National Cleaner Production Centre, Sri Lanka was elected the President of Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP) at the 10th conference held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
APRSCP is the forum of all professionals, policymakers, industrialists, researchers, academics and practitioners of Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Asia Pacific region. APRSCP was established in 1997 as a result of concerted efforts by a group of professionals gathered for a meeting in Thailand.
Abeysekera, a Sri Lankan business magnate was a founder member and held the position of Vice President until 2008. APRSCP has grown to be the largest network on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the region over the last 15 years.
(dn) The Korean Embassy provided Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) with the popular Korean tele-drama series Jewel in the Palace to further strengthen cultural exchanges between Korea and Sri Lanka. The tele-drama consists of 54 episodes and is a production of Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) of Korea.
Jewel in the Palace has gained much popularity in Korea and many other countries.
The agreement signing ceremony took place at SLRC on January 5. Korean ambassdor Jongmoon Choi and SLRC Chairman Mohan Samaranayake signed the agreement. Once the tele-drama has been dubbed in Sinhala with Tamil subtitles, it will be telecast on Rupavahini this year.
(ognp) The Sri Lankan government has planned to construct three elevated highways connecting the three expressways which are under construction now.
Vehicular traffic in the Colombo Metropolitan Area has steadily increased during the recent years due to the accelerated economic and social developments in the country. As at present, Sri Lanka has a vehicle population of 40 million with majority of them being used in the Western Province. According to statistics, in the year 2010 vehicle importation was doubled due to reduced import tax on the vehicles by the government.
According to government plan it is extremely difficult to widen the existing roads due to massive roadside development that has already taken place. Therefore it has been proposed to construct elevated highways on the under mentioned road sections in order to ease traffic congestion in the Colombo Metropolitan Area and to provide access to Southern Expressway, Outer Circular Highway and Colombo -Katunayake Expressway: * From Kirulapone to Kadawata (approximate1y 19Km) which will connect Outer Circular Highway at Kadawata and 1 Colombo -Katunayake expressway at Paliyagoda; * From Colombo Fort to Kottawa (approximately 21Km) which will connect Southern Expressway and Outer Circular Highway at Kottawa; and, * From Colombo Fort to Peliyagoda interchange on Colombo- Katunayake Expressway (approximately 5 km)
(dn) Priority will be given this year to eradicate smoking and alcohol from the country to prevent Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Over 60 percent of deaths take place daily due to NCDs and related matters. There are 1,000 to 1,200 births and 900 to 1,000 deaths in the country per day, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.
Addressing the monthly press briefing at the Family Health Bureau yesterday Minister Sirisena said that over 40 percent of the cancer patients receiving treatment at Maharagama Cancer Hospital was afflicted with the deadly disease due to use of tobacco and alcohol.
According to Minister Sirisena the Health budget in 2012 is the largest concept. It is Rs 108 billion. The government allocated 100 billion and the balance eight billion came through foreign grants. There are around 70,000 employees attached to the health sector and over Rs. 28,000 million has to be allocated for their salaries. Another Rs 17 billion has been earmarked for drug purchasing. Over Rs.8,000 million has been allocated to construct and purchase buildings. Rs. 300 million has been set apart for dengue control. Minister Sirisena pointed out that the `Thriposha’ production of Sri Lanka will exceed the country’s requirement by mid 2012 and arrangements will be made to export the surplus Thriposha.
(ognp) Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SF-J) in collaboration with the office of the Governor Northern Province launched an Aloe vera farming project on Sunday to establish a stable economy for reintegrated ex-LTTE combatants and several destitute families in Vadamarachchi.
Although the government provided sufficient vocational training during their period at Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centres in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Welikanda, some reintegrated ex-LTTE combatants reportedly faced difficulties in finding jobs.
At the initial stage of the project, 54 families of rehabilitated ex-LTTE combatants, their relatives and other war-affected persons including women-headed families were selected to grow Aloe vera at domestic level. An introductory seminar on the cultivation which is new to Jaffna was conducted by Dr. Mahinee Samarakoon, an expert in the field for the Aloe vera farmers of Mamunai, Thalaiady and Champianpattu on Sunday. A Co-operative Society was also formed for the Aloe vera farmers during the inauguration ceremony at Thalaiady Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School.
(ognp) The Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka , along with the support of The Sri lanka Tourism and hoteliers has selected Buddika Samarasekara the chef of Colombo Hilton and Isuru Sampath as the apprentice chef of Colombo Hilton out of 11 finalist in Sri Lanka for the finals of Bocuse d’Or Asia, 2012. The first stage of the selections were held on 9th Monday at The Sri Lanka Institute of tourism and Hotel Management Premises, Colombo 03 followed by a gala dinner at the Hilton Colombo to select the two finalists on the same night.
In Sri Lanka, Mr. Otto Weibel, the president of Bocuse d’Or Asia and Mr. Christophe Megel the president of Bocuse d’Or Singapore were busy in selecting the best Sri Lankan contestant for the Asian Finals, with the support of Mr. Rohan Fernandopulle, President of Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka, Mr. Anura Dewapura Promotion Manager-Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka and Mr. Alan Palmer, the Official Coach-Bocuse d’Or Sri Lanka.
Ever since the beginning of the contest in 1987 and its arrival to Asia in 1989, this is the first time that Sri Lanka has had the opportunity to showcase its culinary skills in the Asian Finals.
(island) A giant Emirates A380 aircraft was yesterday forced to make an unscheduled stop at the Bandaranaike International Airport for refuelling.
Emirates sources claimed that it was a scheduled flight, though there was panic in travel and aviation circles that it was an emergency landing. Asked whether the Dubai bound flight from Australia was opting for Colombo as a fuelling destination, he said that there was nothing specified at present by the Emirates management in Dubai, but he did not rule out the possibility of the option being pursed at a future date.
"This represents the first landing of an Airbus A380 aircraft in Sri Lanka. Emirates thanks and commends the Airport & Aviation authorities and ground handling staff at the Bandaranaike International Airport for their efficiency, which enabled the flight to be refuelled and take off in 53 minutes."
(dn) The 10th edition of Dharman’s Media Guide of Sri Lanka was issued last week. A publication of the Sri Lanka Environmental Journalists Forum, it is one of the most popular and leading media guides in Sri Lanka edited by senior journalist Dharman Wickremaratne. First published in 2000, it is the country’s only media guide updated annually.
This 280-page media guide is the best source for the public to get accurate information on national and international media organizations and media persons. The guide includes names, designations, postal and e-mail addresses, web links, land and mobile phone numbers and fax numbers of organizations and individuals.
The latest edition gives 8437 links to different organizations including 612 media institutions and media personnel. For further information on Dharman’s Media Guide of Sri Lanka, please call 011-5234384. Copies can be purchased from the bookshops – Godage, Maradana and Sarasavi, Nugegoda.
(cp) Issues in the resettlement of Muslims displaced by the three decade long war have prompted a coalition partner of the governing United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) to initiate legal action against a UN organization.
The ACMC led by Industries and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen is to take legal action against the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for its failure to provide relief to the Muslims who have been displaced due to the war.
The UNHCR is reportedly providing Rs. 25,000 to each resettled family. The facility however has not been extended to the displaced Muslims. Bathiyutheen, who himself a displaced Muslim and lived in a refugee camp, has noted that there is a large number of Muslims who were displaced due to the war.
(so) Sri Lanka is set to build the tallest tower in the South Asian region, which will be 26-metres taller than the Eiffel Tower and 17.4 metres taller than the 332.6-metre high Tokyo Tower. The 350-metre high tower building, the promoters claim, will be visible to India and Bangladesh, said the Khaleej Times.
Estimated to cost more than $104 million, the "Lotus Tower" will provide facilities for 50 television services, 50 broadcasting services and 10 telecommunication providers. An artist's impression of Lotus Tower In addition to its primary function, the tower podium, which is proposed to be four storeys high, will accommodate a telecommunications museum, food courts, offices, conference hall and exhibition spaces.
The Lotus Tower will be the tallest building in South Asia and the 19th tallest building in the world. The Tokyo Sky Tree with a height of 634 metres, presently being constructed and scheduled to be completed in February, will be the tallest tower in the world followed by the Canton Tower of China with a height of 600 metres.The construction of the Lotus Tower is planned to be completed in 30 months and is funded by EXIM Bank of China.
(so) On Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day, the Buddha paid His first visit to Sri Lanka and it is considered a significant event in our history. Buddhist believe, that it was on Duruthu Full Moon Day, the Buddha despatched the Yakkhas (demons), who had assembled in the war-torn area at Mahanagavana in Mahiyangana, where the Great Mahiyangana Dagoba stands today.
The Blessed One, through the power of compassion, sent the Yakkahs to Giridveepa and preached the Dhamma to the people and deities gathered at the premises of Mahiyangana.
God Sumana Saman, who attained the first stage of the Bliss of Nibbana - Sotapanna, on meeting the Blessed One, very respectfully and kindly requested from the Buddha, a souvenir, an object for them to worship in His absence. Gautama Buddha gave God Sumana a lock of His hair before His departure to Uruvela, Jambudeepa (Island of Rose-Apple) or modern India.
(cp) Animal rights activists in Sri Lanka have expressed opposition to the suggestion to revert to mass culling as an alternative to control the nearly 3 million stray dog population in the island.
Sri Lankan Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena has said in a news program of private Swarnavahini television that Sri Lanka would lift a moratorium on killing stray dogs, because of rabies concerns.
The animal rights activist has pointed out that there are more stray dogs in India but the Indian authorities are successful in the sterilization program.
(dn) Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma warned National Youth Services Council officials who had refrained from paying due respect to the National Anthem when it was played, during the awarding ceremony of their appointment letters held yesterday at the Youth Affairs Ministry auditorium, ministry official said.
Appointment letters were presented to 90 new Youth Services Officers on the occasion. When the National Anthem was played at the end of the ceremony, newly appointed Youth Services Officers had not paid due respect to it, he said.
The officer also said that the minister who had observed this situation, had instructed the officials to repeat the National Anthem after emphasizing the value of it. 'Government employees should respect the nation and also their religion. So it is necessary to teach all government officials the value of respecting the nation and religion, the official said.
(ognp) Year 2011 has been a propitious year for the Department of National Zoological Gardens. It has earned Rs. 651 million as income during last year.
This amount of Rs. 651 million comprised income of Rs. 163 million earned from Dehiwala zoo, Rs. 487 million from Elephant Orphanage and Rs.16 million from other source of income. This is the highest ever income earned in the history by the Department of National Zoological garden.
The Director of the Department Bhashwara Senanka Gunarathne said that there were 1,689,712 & 463,982 of local visitors and 20396 and 2,438,541 of foreign visitors to the Dehiwala zoo & Elephant Orphanage respectively.
(dn) A propaganda campaign to encourage public to separate household garbage as biodegradable waste, glass, and polythene and plastic will be initiated this year from grassroot level, said Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.
He observed that this mechanism should be populated among public gradually.
He said that the Environment Ministry with the coordination of local government institutions will implement a new garbage collection system shortly, in which the days of the week will be marked to collect biodegradable waste, glass and polythene and plastic separately.
(ognp) Sri Lanka environment authorities have decided to bring new regulations to curb sound pollution for the first time in the nation, Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said.
The minister said that Regulations to ban motorists using loud horns beyond 105 decibels has already been gazetted under the National Environment Act No 47 of 1980.
“As envisaged in the Act the Gazette with new regulations will shortly be presented in Parliament for its approval” Minister Anura yapa said. According to Minister, the legislation will ban vehicles from having horns that produce sounds higher than 105 decibels, and those exceeding the limit will be punished. This Regulation is considered to be very important as it would cover all vehicles in the country numbering around four million.
(ognp) Sri Lankan Judiciary is to be reformed in line with the British system to avoid difficulties faced by litigants due to laws delays and pending legal cases.
The amendment envisages the appointment of a Judicial Master where he will mediate between the parties and assist them to arrive at a settlement of cases of which the value does not exceed Rs 10 million.
Under the new amendment the Section 27 of Chapter 101 will be repealed and replaced with inter alia reads as: contain an address at which services of any process under the provisions of the Chapter may be served on such registered attorney, instead of the party who he represents and Include an electronic mail address if any to which service of any process, notice and any other relevant information may be served on a registered attorney.
(ognp) Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Jayalath Weerakoddy on Wednesday invited Pakistani businessmen to take part in an international expo scheduled for March 2012 as it would be offering unique trade and investment opportunities to the foreign businessmen. He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, SVP Kashif Younis Meher, VP Seeda Nazar and Sri Lankan Consul General in Karachi D.W. Jeenadasay also spoke on the occasion.
The High Commissioner said the Sri Lankan government had designed special package for the foreign businessmen so the LCCI members should avail this opportunity. He said that no doubt, the country was in bad shape during 2005 and 2009 due to internal strife but after 2009, Sri Lanka made marvelous progress and registered 50 per cent economic growth and today its per capita income is $2600. Sri Lankan government was making all-out efforts to take the trade volume with Pakistan to one billion dollar, he added.
While, the Chamber’s President said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka were members of SAARC and have persistent cooperation in diplomatic relations, trade and defence. Pakistan was second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region with total bilateral trade increased by 24 percent from $ 273 million in 2009 to $ 337 million in 2010. In the same period, Pakistan’s export to Sri Lanka grew by 31 percent reaching to $ 284 million from $ 217 million. He said that in contrast to growth in our exports, there had been sliding trend in imports from Sri Lanka, which fell from $ 66 million to $ 53 million during 2008 and 2010.
(dn) 'China is active in Sri Lanka in commercial and economic development activities as it is becoming one of the most active and influential countries in the global context because of its vast economic strength.
It has economic ties with a large number of countries all over the world including Sri Lanka. That is the nature of its influence and it is important not to misunderstand China's role in Sri Lanka, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.
The Defence Secretary further said that achieving economic development is one of the key ambitions and Sri Lanka must utilize the opportunity afforded by peace to achieve both development and national reconciliation. That is the best way to ensure that the benefits of peace flow to all Sri Lankans. 'It is also the best possible answer to those who criticize us, and the best defence against those who seek to create new problems in our society, he added.
(dn) The Examinations Department will take a few days to issue the results of the Russian language Advanced Level 2011 examination paper, Examinations Department sources said.
The Russian language results of 28 students of Alawwa National College and 10 students of Gurukula Vidyalaya, Kelaniya have to be issued. The results have been withheld since the Examinations Department is inquiring into similarities of answer scripts.
Examinations Department sources said the Russian language result will be released after the Experts' Committee report. President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a four-member Experts' Committee to look into the issues related to the result issuing process.
(cp) Sri Lanka will sign an agreement with China today to construct a 350-meter high tower building in the heart of its capital Colombo, the government announced.
The Lotus Tower Building and the Leisure Garden will be the tallest tower in South Asia and the 19th tallest tower in the world.
The multi-faceted tower will provide facilities for 50 television services, 50 broadcasting services and ten telecommunication providers. The 11-storied structure will have a revolving restaurant on the fourth floor. A lotus flower segment that will have seven floors will be erected from the fifth floor. A reception hall with capacity of 1000 persons will be housed on the third floor.
The construction of the lotus tower is to be completed in 30 months at a cost of US$ 100 million and it will be funded by EXIM Bank of the People's Republic of China.
(dn) Steps are currently being taken by the government to uplift the palmyrah industry in the Northern Province with a Palmyrah Research Plan, to take the industry to a global platform. Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry sources yesterday said steps are currently underway to enable the industry to access global export markets, sources at Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry yesterday said.
Secretary of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry V Sivagnanasothi said they will be able to start functions of the Palmyrah Research Institute in Kaithadi before the end of March, 2011.
“It is envisioned to introduce preservation techniques for palmyrah based products such as palmyrah pulp and jaggery,” he said. It seeks to develop value added products and new products such as vinegar, charcoal, soft drinks, and cordials. ”We want to ensure maximum utilization of palmyrah resources to get access to the global export market with our products,” he said. “We expect a tremendous outcome from the palmyrah industry in terms of employment generation in the North,” he said.
(island) The Police Department will upgrade the existing Closed Circuit Television Camera system, within the Colombo city, where not only the number plate of the offending vehicle will be spotted but also the faces and other body features of the driver and passengers will be registered.
The CCTV system which had been confined to Colmbo, will be extended to the suburbs, Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana told The Island yesterday.
He explained that in contrast to the existing system, where only moving vehicles and road scenes could be seen, the new system in the Automated Number Plate Identifying System will enable it to record the number plate figures and other particulars of the vehicle while the Automated facial Identification system, will not only detect the colour of the attire of the passengers, but also the other special features such as birthmarks and pimples as well.
(dm) Sri Lankans will get the opportunity of viewing the first meteor shower in the New Year on Tuesday January 3 the Sri Lanka Astronomical Association said yesterday.
Senior Member of the Association Dr. Kawan Ratnatunga told the Daily Mirror that the shower would be visible shortly after midnight on Tuesday January 3 and early Wednesday morning. This would be visible in the ‘great bear’ he said. The meteor shower which is named Quadrantids would be at its peak time would be seen in the wee hours on January 4 according to reports published by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).
Quadrantids originate from an asteroid called 2003EHI and it is believed that these are pieces of a comet which had broken apart several centauries ago.
(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.
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