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Latest update 06.02.2013
(ognp) As Sri Lanka celebrates 60 years of diplomatic ties with Indonesia, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia, Maj. Gen. Nanda Mallawaarachchi underlined a sense of confidence in reaching a more productive relationship with Indonesia.
The Ambassador was joined by Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar and Deputy Foreign Minister Wardana to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence and the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between Indonesia and Sri Lanka on Monday. The two veterans of the Non-Aligned Movement came together at a time when both countries are enjoying economic growth rates of more than 6 percent each.
Last year, the Sri Lanka-Indonesia Business Council announced a goal of US$1 billion in bilateral trade between the countries by 2015. In 2012, that figure stood at around $450 million. Despite it being an increase of over 100 percent in a short time, both governments were confident they could reach the goal. "We will reach the target with confidence," Listyowati, the Foreign Ministry's director of Central and South Asian affairs, added.
(ftlk) The Government of Sri Lanka is studying a draft of UN Human Rights Commissioner Navinetham Pillay’s report on Sri Lanka to be submitted to the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, authoritative sources said yesterday.
The Government of Sri Lanka is studying a draft of UN Human Rights Commissioner Navinetham Pillay’s report on Sri Lanka to be submitted to the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, authoritative sources said yesterday.
Diplomatic sources said that the High Commissioner’s report would be made publicly available late next week. The report has analysed Sri Lanka’s progress in the aftermath of the 2012 US-backed resolution in Geneva and may point to deficiencies with regard to implementing reconciliation and accountability recommendations as urged by the resolution, the Daily FT learns
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapakse said that it is his wish to see the emergence of knowledgeable, talented and capable graduates with correct attitudes to shoulder the future responsibilities of the country.
The President said the long term plans for this objective have now been formulated, and Sri Lanka’s objective of becoming the Wonder Nation of Asia can be achieved only through these initiatives.
The President made these comments participating in the function held to vest with the students the new building complex of the Zoological Education Unit of the Eastern University on Tuesday (05). The amount spent for the project was Rs. 199 million. The President also declared open several infrastructure built in the University recently including the renovated Nalliah Auditorium.
(dn) The Population and Immigration Authority of the State of Israel (PIBA) and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), have reached an arrangement for speedy recruitment of 1500 Sri Lankan agricultural workers for a six month work period in Israel during the first half of 2013.
According to an arrangement reached recently, the recruitment of the 1500 Sri Lankan agricultural workers will be carried out in Sri Lanka by the SLBFE through the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agency Ltd. (SLFEA).
The recruitment will be carried out in coordination with Israeli , without the involvement of other private recruitment agencies in Sri Lanka. A key element in the arrangement, is the obligation of both sides to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the applicants and selected workers will not be asked to pay any payments for their recruitment above the permitted payments set in the arrangement.
(dn) Visiting Hungarian Speaker Laszlo Kover assured Prime Minister D M Jayaratne that the country will stand by Sri Lanka against international pressure.
The Hungarian Speaker told the Prime Minister that his country was prepared to help Sri Lanka when faced with international pressure. He said Hungary raised its voice in support of Sri Lanka within the European Union and was willing to help as an intermediary on behalf of the country in resolving such issues.
The visiting Speaker told Premier Jayaratne that the absence of conflict has brought greater security, peace, unity and opened up economic development in Sri Lanka.
(dn) The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, one of the world’s largest passenger ships, will arrive at the Colombo Port today. This is the first time such a large ship will arrive in Sri Lanka.
Around 6,600 persons, including 3,000 crew members and 3,600 passengers, are on board the ship. It will arrive from Cochin Port, India. The ship will leave for Singapore in the evening. It will be at the Colombo Harbour until 6 pm.
(abc) Sri Lanka's president on Monday ruled out giving Tamils greater political autonomy, appearing to back away from his long-stalled promise to empower the ethnic minority as part of the country's reconciliation process following a bloody quarter-century civil war.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa made his about-face despite growing international pressure to compromise with the defeated minority and to investigate allegations of war crimes.
The pressure comes nearly four years after the government, dominated by the ethnic Sinhalese majority, defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been demanding an independent Tamil nation after decades of perceived discrimination. According to a United Nations' estimate, 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed during the war, which ended in 2009, but other reports suggest it could be much higher.
(ognp) Sri Lankan nation will celebrate its 65th Independence Day celebrations 0n Feb 04 with main celebration in Tincomalee on a grand scale under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
A series of mega development projects have already been completed in the Eastern Province under Dayata Kirula event organized to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations under the theme prosperous tomorrow - Glorious mtherland.This is the second time that the country’s main Independence Day celebrations are being held in Trincomalee after a lapse of 60 years.
It was way back in 1953 that Trincomalee hosted the Independence Day celebrations.The slogan for the Independence Day celebrations at the Fredric Fort Avenue complex is “A prosperous tomorrow in a glorious motherland”.
(st) Last week’s alleged rape of a 47-year old woman in Wijerama and an attempted rape of a 25-year old German tourist in Chilaw, have once again raised the question, how safe are women in our country—both local and foreign.�According to statistics, five rapes are reported daily while the unreported cases could make the figure higher.
Among the women’s’ group workers and activists who spoke to the Sunday Times, Lak Vanitha Front president Shanthini Kongahage voicing concern said many women relied on three-wheeler drivers to ask for road directions. She said many of them also opted to take three wheelers for short distances especially if they were too exhausted to travel home after work in over crowded buses. “ It is unfortunate for a woman to be a victim of rape at around 7.30 p.m. near a place close to the Colombo city,” she said commenting on the incident in Wijerama.
The Asian Human Rights Commission said in a statement that in Sri Lanka while there is a public acknowledgement of the existence of widespread lawlessness involving particularly shocking offences against women, the public itself reacts to these events apathetically.
(st) The Government yesterday defended its decision to refuse entry visas to a group of international jurists headed by India’s former Chief Justice J. S. Verma saying it was in the best interest of the country.
The three-member delegation from the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) was due to visit the country on Thursday on a seven-day fact finding mission related to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
The visas were put on hold simply because the delegation had no official bearing on one hand and there was evidence to suggest that its activities would be of a harmful nature to the interests of the country, Immigration and Emigration Chief Chulananda Perera said. He said the decision was taken for the wellbeing of the country.
(ognp) "Mahasamayama" the grand opera produced and directed by Prof.Ariyarathne Athugala made its debut at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre to mark its first anniversary, on 30th January 2013 with the distinguished patronage of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Frist Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa.
Making the opening address of the debut of the Mahasamayama Grand Opera, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL) Chairman Bandula Padmakumara said this splendorous opera guides the audience not to look at the world through the eyes of a fish, but to look through the eyes of a bird.
‘Mahasamayama’ woven around ancient Sri Lankan and Indian mythology and folklore based on an ancient traditional legend - 'Gotaimbara and Mahasona' was a massive production designed to fit into the ultra modern Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. 'Mahasamayama is the first grand opera of this magnitude staged in anywhere in Sri Lanka and the facilities available at the Nelum Pokuna theatre immensely contributed for the majestic and splendid production. The origin of Mahasamayama script was as a result of the studies carried out by Professor Athugala on myths and legends as well as on the subject of perception in order to go deep into communicative interactions on the traditional art.
(ognp) Sri Lankan Media Minister said that the South Indian film produced and directed by Kamal Haasen has not been fully banned in Sri Lanka but suspended temporarily.
Government spokesman Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government has temporarily banned it and a final decision will be taken in due course. “It is my personal opinion let the public express their view after having watch the film” the minister said when asked for his opinion about banning the film.
The Rs 95 crore espionage thriller was originally scheduled to release in Tamil and Telugu on Jan 25, but a day before the screenings, the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban on the film after some Muslim groups complained that some scenes in the film portrayed the community in a bad light.
Minister said there is no time frame or hurry to arrive at a decision. India has already banned it and we too. But the minister said that the government facilitated the Muslims to see it and yet to arrive at a final decision
(ognp) Chairman of National Selection Committee for Cricket Sanath Jayasuriya has pledged to revive Sri Lanka cricket to world’s number one position.
He said that senior players Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekaratne Dilshan are very much a major part of his plans for the next few years for the Sri Lanka national team.
Commenting on the young players, he said that the availability of talented youngsters such as Dilshan Munaweera, Angelo Perera and Sachith Pathirana are a real blessing for any selector and praised the youngsters who excelled during the current tour of Australia by the national team.
(news.au) FLASH floods have killed at least 25 people in Sri Lanka and left more than a quarter of a million marooned in their homes, disaster officials say.
Heavy rains, which have battered the island for much of the week, were still being reported in 14 of Sri Lanka's 25 administrative districts, with the central highlands - one of the world's key tea producing regions - the worst hit.
Most of the deaths were due to landslides engulfing homes. The disaster management centre said more than 265,000 people had been cut off in their homes by the floods and thousands more had either sought refuge with relatives and friends or else been given emergency shelter.
(ognp) Another Hospital affiliated to the National Cancer Institute at Maharagama will be constrcuted at a cost of Rs 2,100 million, at Maharagama. The construction will commence next month and will be completed in 2014.
The Sri Lanka branch of Ahamad Tea Firm in London, exporting Sri Lanka tea for nearly 75 years, will provide Rs 1,500 million to construct the new Cancer Hospital while the balance Rs 600 million will be provided by the Health Ministry.
The new seven storeyed hospital will have 373 beds, five operation theaters, a chemotherapy unit, pharmacies, paying wards, waste disposal system, paediatric surgical unit and other required facilities. The new hospital will be named Razavi Cancer Hospital.
(dn) The Uda Walawa rural hospital which was in a neglected state and facing imminent closure has received a new lease of life and bagged the first prize in the small-scale public service station category at the National Productivity awards ceremony thanks to the dedicated work of an enterprising doctor.
When Dr. Vasantha Kumarasiri was appointed the medical officer in charge of this hospital by the Sabaragamuwa PC in 2009 it was so neglected and disorganized that it almost looked like a cattle shed. Dr. Kumarasiri a son of the soil hailing from the Walawe basin was determined to transform this hospital set up by the River Valleys Development Board in 1960 to its pre-eminent position as before.
He laboured hard for the last three years to upgrade the hospital and provide it with modern facilities with the assistance of his staff, people in the area, State institutions and donors. The two wards rehabilitated with Provincial Council Funds now accommodate 22 in-house patients and the modern OPD serves more than 150 patients daily. Today it has a medical staff of three general physicians and a dentist and the facility attracts patients not only from Sabaragamuwa but also adjourning Uva and Southern Provinces for the efficiency of its service.
(ognp) The bunkering facilities at the Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa International Port in Southern Sri Lanka are now ready for commercial operations.
Chief engineer of the Port Mr. A.H. Geeganage said that the bunkering facilities at the port constructed at a cost of US$ 76.5 million are ready and the tank farm has commenced operations.
There are 14 tanks in the tank farm and eight of the tanks will be used to store marine fuel, three for storing aviation fuel and remaining three tanks for storing liquid petroleum. The aviation fuel stored in the Port is to be used for the Mattala International Airport, the second international airport of Sri Lanka currently being built in Hambantota.
(dn) The benefits of education should flow to the entire population and the government has allocated Rs 306 billion for the education sector for 2013, Education Deputy Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa said in Parliament yesterday.
He further said that adult literacy rate of Sri Lanka was 98 percent while the computer literacy rate was 38 percent.
‘We have given priority for information and communication technology as a powerful instrument for development of education ,’ he said. With the implementation of islandwide programmes to increase information technology and communication, the skills of students in rural schools too are expected to develop. We are providing facilities to watch ‘Nenasa’ TV programmes to enhance the performance in Mathematics, English and Sinhala of school children. Computers and learning software have been provided to students as an educational tool.
(ognp) A Cable Car service is to be introduced to travel to Sri Pada from next year. The Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs has said that a cable car service will be established to connect Erathna town in Kuruwita to the top of the Samanala mountain range.
Hundreds of thousands of Buddhist devotees and devotees belong to other faiths trek to the summit of the sacred mountain each year during the season which is normally starts from the Full Moon day falling in the month of December.
The cable car service is expected to promote tourism in the picturesque vicinity and also to ease being experiences by the devotees to climb several kilometers of the Sri Pada mountain.
(dn) Sri Lanka would move to a new era on Thursday when the country’s first Communication satellite would be orbited from China. In a few hours, it would be positioned over Sri Lanka. The Supreme Group Sri Lanka along with China Great Wall Industry Corporation has funded and developed this satellite which would be the third of its kind in the South Asian Region.
With this launch, Sri Lanka recovering after a 30 year conflict would be opening its doors to a new industry which some of the other Asian countries have not even embarked on.
The Sr Lankan flag would also be displayed in this satellite.
(ognp) The Ministry of External Affairs has appointed Harish Mehta as Sri Lanka’s first Honorary Consul in Durban with responsibilities covering the provinces KwaZulu - Natal and Eastern Cape. Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Pretoria Shehan Ratnavale presented the commission letter and exequatur on behalf of the Ministry to Mehta on November 08. Mehta, the Chairman of a large conglomerate specializing in media, entertainment, book-retailing, waste-management and financial services, is expected to assist the High Commission in Pretoria to establish links with the city and provinces under his purview.
Durban is situated 636km from the capital Pretoria, and is the 3rd largest city in South Africa and has the busiest container port. Some Sri Lankan companies are already engaged in business ventures in Durban.
(dn) For the first time in Sri Lanka, the State Engineering Corporation has taken measures to construct a C City (Construction City) One Stop Shop for all building material and services, Construction Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. Addressing the media yesterday, Weerawansa said Sri Lanka is engaged in a massive development process under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Construction of the C City will be started on November 25 to mark President Rajapaksa's birthday and the second year of his second term in office. The proposed C City will provide an array of building material and services under one roof. C City will be located in Peliyagoda close to the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway and Colombo-Negombo road.
(dn) If a business could not find an Australian citizen or a permanent resident who could perform the role in a skilled occupation and appears on the Consolidated Occupation list, then the business is able to sponsor individuals to fulfill the vacancy.
The 457 visa has three stages. It starts with the employer applying to be a sponsor and then the employer nominates the position to be filled under by the employee who then applies for the 457 visa.
To be eligible to apply for this visa depends on a number of factors, including your ability to perform your duties as well as health checks and character assessments. This temporary visa is available to skilled workers who are sponsored by an Australian employer, and if you are prepared to go ahead with the process, Australian Migration Consultants www.amconline.com.au) can help you get your application ready.
(dn) The Sri Lanka Medical Association, University of Colombo and the National Science Foundation have taken the leadership in promoting and protection of patients taking part in Medical Research in Sri Lanka by jointly hosting the 12th International Conference of the Forum for Ethical Review Committees in Asia and the Western Pacific at Waters Edge, Colombo from January 18 to 21, 2013.
Over 400 delegates from 104 leading Hospitals and Medical Universities in the Asia Pacific region will meet to discuss how patient protection could be done in a manner that promotes development and advancement of medical sciences while taking into account social and cultural values of people of different backgrounds living in different parts of the world. It is a great honour for Sri Lanka to host this conference given the long tradition of medicine in Sri Lanka, SLMA President Prof. Vajira H W Dissanayake said.
The conference is being held in Sri Lanka at a very important time for Sri Lanka when the country is looking at rapid economic development through investment in Research and Development.
(island) Czech Republic will open its embassy in Sri Lanka in mid-2013, The Island has learnt. Miloslav Stashek, Czech Republic’s New Delhi-based Ambassador to Sri Lanka, told The Island today: "We are planning to open our Embassy in Colombo by the middle of next year."
When this happens, the Czech Republic will be the 40th country to have a diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka. India-based ambassadors and high commissioners of 78 other countries are concurrently accredited to the island-nation. And Sri Lanka maintains its diplomatic missions in 44 countries.
Stashek is accompanying a delegation of parliamentarians from his country, which begins a week-long visit to Sri Lanka from Monday.
(so) The Railway Department will create history by launching a service which would enable wedding receptions, birthday parties, conferences and other functions to be held inside fully-fledged, air-conditioned trains under a program to be launched next January.
As an initial step, two air-conditioned trains will be imported from China during the second week of next month. The trains will be used only to conduct functions and not as passenger transport trains.
The air-conditioned trains will consist three to four carriages and fully-equipped changing rooms, dance floors, sleeping facilities and a buffet with experienced cooks and other staffers to provide hot meals. The travellers will be provided with live music by popular bands during the journey.
(so) There student – Migara Jayasinghe, Lambhotharan Yoganathan and Hayati Rassool of Lyceum International School, Wattala have been selected by the Sri Lanka Scrabble League (SLSL) to represent Sri Lanka at the 7th World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) to be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom from 7th to 9th December 2012.
World Youth Scrabble Championship is an under 18 tournament and Sri Lanka has been allocated 8 places. The players were selected after a gruelling selection process carried out by Sri Lanka Scrabble League where the performances of the players during the last two years were taken into consideration.
They are also the youngest players in this under 18 team. This is the first time that three students from Lyceum International School – Wattala have been selected to represent Sri Lanka at this prestigious tournament.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 5th President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, assumed his second term of office on November 19, 2010, celebrate his birth day Sunday. Series of religious ceremonies island wide have been organized by the people of the country to mark this great day with the all-night pirith ceremony at the Temple Trees.
Percy Mahendra "Mahinda" Rajapaksa born November 18, 1945 is the 6th President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.
A lawyer by profession, Rajapaksa was first elected to the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 1970, and served as Prime Minister from April 6, 2004 until his victory in the 2005 Presidential election. He was sworn in for a six-year term as president on November 19, 2005. He was re-elected for a second term in office on January 27, 2010.
(sl) The world will not end next month as claimed by some in widely circulated emails, a renowned scientist of the Arthur C. Clarke Center said.
Professor Chandana Jayaratne said that emails being circulated saying that the earth will face total darkness from December 21st to 23rd are also false. He says such an event may take place in 4500 years but not now and yet there is no way to accurately predict such an event.
There have been reports of some people in Sri Lanka selling their property and travelling overseas in anticipation of the end of the world. Meanwhile NASA debunked various end-of-the-world scenarios, refuting claims of magnetic shifts, interstellar alignments and wayward planets.
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(dn) Thirteen year old rider Jacques Gunawardena won the third place in fourth round of 2012 FIM Asian Motocross Championship Series at the Speedworld MX Circuit held at Manila, Phillipines.
The Sri Lankan lad was a threat to number one and two champion leaders during the event and with this achievement, Jacques became the first Sri Lankan to get a podium finish in an Asian Motorcross Championship.
Jacques thanks Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, for the tremendous support he has given, his main sponsor MAS Active, Power World and Edge Energy, Red Doors, his Tier Team and all the race organizations, Sri Lanka Army, Federation of Motorcycles, Upali Dassanayake and all his fans for their love and support.
(cp) Parliamentarians from ten Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries will meet today in the southern resort town of Wadduwa to discuss ways to tackle climate change by promoting renewable energy.
The meeting will bring legislators from South Africa, India, the UK, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco together for a three-day meeting from November 16 to 18.
The conference, funded by the European Union is part of a US$ 4 million (Euro 3.1 million) global project aimed at helping parliamentarians from developing countries to fight climate change and stamp out poverty through parliamentary action.
(ognp) The Spokesman for the Sri Lanka Army Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that one hundred young Tamil women will join the Sri Lanka Army at Killinochchi tomorrow.
He said that new recruits would serve the North once they complete their training period. Brig. Wanigasooriya said the highest ranking Tamil woman in the army is going to be a major, while there are at least one Tamil male major General and a senior Brigadier with a doctorate.
He said that interviews for these recruitments were completed during the last two weeks and the official recruitment of those soldiers would be done according to Hindu customs where the parents of those girls would come and hand them over to the Army at a special function to be held tomorrow.
(ognp) China has elected its new leadership at the end of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held for one week in Beijing. Xi Jinping has been appointed as the General Secretary of the Party.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a congratulatory message to Mr. Xi Jinping has said that his election to the highest office of the Communist Party of China is a manifestation of the confidence that the members of the Communist Party have placed in him and he is certain that his vast experience in the realm of politics and the affairs of the state, which is expanding from his associations at provincial level to those at the national level will provide the necessary guidance to steer China forward.
The President has also expressed his belief that China-Sri Lanka relations that are in an excellent status at present will reach unprecedented spheres under XI Jinping’s able leadership, and China will continue to be a true friend of Sri Lanka during his tenure of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China as has been in the past ...
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(abc) A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers deported from Australia has reportedly been arrested in Colombo.
The 32 men were flown back to Colombo after seeking asylum on Christmas Island. Sri Lankan media is reporting that a number of the latest group of returnees were arrested when they arrived at Colombo's airport.
It is believed most were released on bail soon after.
(dn) Rare showers of red rain fell for over 15 minutes in Sewanagala, Monaragala and Manampitiya,Polonnaruwa yesterday morning hours of yesterday and day before yesterday. According to Meteorology Department sources red rain fell heavily in these areas and the reason has not been found yet.
Red rain in Sewanagala and Manampitiya left red frost on the ground. This is the first time red rain was witnessed in Sri Lanka.
Increase in the acidity of the air and sand storms are the usual reasons for red rain. However, there are no sand storms in Sri Lanka. Since the micro organisms had no DNA, they guessed it had to be a strange phenomenon. The MRI is carrying out research to find the exact reason for red rain in Sri Lanka.
(app) The Government of Pakistan through High Commission of Pakistan has funded the construction of two clean drinking water projects for the resettled vulnerable communities in Mullaitivu district in the Northern part of Sri Lanka.
These projects were implemented in the Neerayipitty East and Kumarapuram villages in the Martainpattu DS division after under taking vulnerability assessment for the provision of drinking water, said the press release received here on Thursday from Colombo.
(ognp) On a proposal made by President, in his capacity as Minister of Finance and Planning, to provide a grant assistance of US $ 1.5 million to Government of Uganda for the establishment of Sri Lanka-Uganda friendship Vocational and Technical Training Centre in Uganda was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting held on Wednesday.
The grant assistant will be utilized to upgrade and strengthen the Masulita Vocational and Technical Trading Centre in Uganda.
The construction work is to be entrusted to a Sri Lankan contractor presently engaged in construction work in Uganda. Sri Lankan Skilled labour will also be used for the construction work.
(dn) The Haputale Post Office in Badulla was selected the best Grade 1 post office in the island.
Post Master G G Arvin received the award from Postal Services Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga at the World Postal Day ceremony held recently.
The Postal Services Ministry organised the annual competition for the post office network of the island giving an opportunity to show their efficiency and productivity.
(ognp) Sri Lanka and Uganda signed five agreements for vocational, technical, tourism, culture and political co-operations at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (13).
Agreements covering technical training, economic, commercial and technical cooperation, tourism cooperation, bilateral political consultation and culture between Sri Lanka and Uganda were signed by Senior Minister for International Monetary Co-operation and the Deputy Finance of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Culture and Arts T. B. Ekanayake and First Lady and Minister of Karamoja Affairs Janet Kataha Museveni respectively.
In his address, President Museveni also said that the five main characteristics needed to succeed in business are available in Uganda, and urged the Sri Lankan business people to come to Uganda and benefit from its resources.
(ognp) The SriLankan Airlines sponsored, 2nd International Air Transport Association (IATA) Global Human Capital Summit, ‘Talent for Tomorrow,’ will be held today (13) and tomorrow (14) at the Hilton Colombo.
The two-day symposium will draw the best in global aviation to share and discuss a myriad of topics and experiences from the field of Human Resource Management (HRM). Launched last year, the summit is on its way to becoming an annual event, making it the foremost gathering of key-decision makers from the discipline of HRM across the aviation sector worldwide. Over 150 participants will attend this year’s event.
Considering the global stature of the event, a number of advantages are on offer to the airline, but more importantly to the country. It is the first international aviation summit and first IATA summit to take place in Sri Lanka, and without a doubt, it will supplement Sri Lanka’s ambitions to become a global hub and the most preferred tourist destination in South Asia.
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(ognp) Russia has found Sri Lanka as an ideal location for shooting of one of its films. This is the first time a Russian film shooting will be carried out in Sri Lanka.
The Unique Film Company of Moscow has decided to make this film in Sri Lanka considering the peaceful environment and cinematic locations existing in the country.
The Unique Film Company will invest around one million us dollars for the film “Veronica” to be directed by the well known Russian Film Director Andre Selevhov. It will be filmed in the suburban areas of Colombo, Beruwala and Anuradhapura. A Film team of Sri Lanka headed by Ravinda Randeniya is coordinating the shooting of the film “Veronica”.
(ognp) The Department of Railways has commenced a new office train service between Kalutara and Negombo.
The train will leave the Kalutara South railway station at 6.55 am and reach the Colombo Fort at 8.00 a.m. and Negombo at 9.0 am. The return journey will be from Maradana at 4.10 pm reaching Kalutara South at 5.15 pm.
It will stop at Kalutara North, Wadduwa, Panadura, Maradana, Dematagoda, Ragama, Ja-ela, Seeduwa, Katunayake and Kurana Railway Stations. The train will stop at Panadura, Wadduwa and Kalutara North on its return journey. Two Second Class compartments and four third class compartments have been added to the new train service at the request of commuters.
(so) A Sri Lankan company has shipped 40 tractors to Swaziland, which are designed to cost less, but help farmers get optimal crop production.
Swaziland King Mswati III was presented with one of the tractors by the company, which has already opened a manufacturing and assembly factory in the African nation. The project by the EDNA Group is one of the fruits of the Swazi King's recent visit to Sri Lanka. Their local branch is situated at the Matsapha Industrial Site.
Chairman of the EDNA Group Lal Edirisinghe said a new tractor costs E23,000. When it comes with components, which includes a planter, plough, dresser and others, it costs about E39,000.
(lbo) Sri Lanka's health ministry has put off till March 2013, graphic labeling designed to educate consumers on the cancer and heart disease causing effects of cigarette smoke.
Sri Lanka's Ceylon Tobaccco Company, a unit of British American Tobacco, went to courts against the new rules which gave three months for the firm to comply.
Sri Lanka proposed graphic labeling containing a hospitalized patients and graphic images of several types of cancer in rules issued in August through a government gazette.
(sl) Following the decision to allocate new frequencies to radio stations, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) is now looking at doing the same with television stations.
Director General of the TRC Anusha Pelpita told The Sunday Leader that there are 23 television stations operating in Sri Lanka. He said that frequencies cannot be provided to new television channels as almost all the frequencies have been taken.
The TRC is looking at issuing new frequencies in order to ensure better reception for the public similar to the system adopted with radio stations. He also said that the TRC will look at introducing new broadcasting technology to the television stations to meet international standards.
(cp) Director of Sri Lanka's HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme Dr. Nimal Edirisinghe warns that the disease may become an epidemic although at present Sri Lanka is classified as a country with a low prevalence of HIV infection.
Dr. Edirisinghe has pointed out that 134 HIV positive cases have been reported up to the third quarter of this year. Five of them were infants who were infected through their mothers. Health authorities have so far diagnosed 56 children that were HIV positive.
According to the statistics until last year, the HIV/AIDS was mainly transmitted through heterosexual mode, accounting for 82.5% of total cases and in 11.3% of cases by homosexual and bisexual relations. A mother to child transmission has occurred in 5.3% of the cases.
(dn) Thirteen people were injured following clashes between inmates and guards at Welikada prison yesterday.
Clashes erupted as Special Task Force (STF) commandos carried out a search inside the prison for drugs and smuggled mobile phones, sources said. Colombo National Hospital director Anil Jasinghe said 13 people, including eight STF officers, were brought in with gunshot wounds following the prison clashes.
(st) Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) is to establish an Equipment Identity Register (EIR) to control access to mobile networks, deter mobile phone theft and fraud as well as sale of illegal handsets, a top official of the TRC said.
Director General of the TRC told the Business Times that the new system enables the regulatory authority to have advanced administrative and customer management capabilities allowing mobile service providers to use the EIR to perform checks and block any blacklisted mobile handset or equipment. He revealed that EIR also allows such operators to provide a range of extended services to improve user experience and increase revenue.
Around 5.4 per cent or 110,000 units out of 2.03 million were smart phones. By end 2011, Sri Lanka, a country of 20 million people had 18.3 million mobile subscribers which grew 6.1 percent from a year earlier. Amid competition, price conscious mobile users were buying more than one package, the data shows.
(ognp) Poverty in Sri Lanka, which records the highest human resources development among the SAARC countries, has been reduced significantly.
Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation and the Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that Sri Lanka has the highest index on human resources development and the poverty in the country has been reduced significantly. The Minister made these comments participating in the 2nd reading debate of the 2013 Budget in the Parliament today.
He said that the national poverty rate which was 26.1% in 1991 has been reduced to 8.9%. He said that this is a significant achievement.The Minister said that the SAARC report has also commended about educational development in Sri Lanka and said that the report has also claimed that there is a commendable social revolution and social development in Sri Lanka.
(dn) The most auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar -Diwali is celebrated with great pageantry and is widely known as the 'the festival of lights' as the dark night sky gets lit up with a dazzling display of assorted fireworks on this special night.
Diwali is a festival not just for lights, lamps and firecrackers, but for some mouth-watering Diwali sweet delights as well. This festive season, gift loved ones a Gift Hamper from the Taj Samudra and let your best wishes become a reason to celebrate.
An assortment of traditional Indian delights including Cashew nut roll, Sandesh, Almond kathli, Chocolate burfi, Mysoor pak, Besan burfi, Milk roll and Mothi choor laddu will be included in the Taj Samudra's Diwali hampers.
(ognp) "This success gives much promise of your continued good leadership on issues of importance relating to democracy, world peace and international relations in the coming years," President Rajapaksa said. Follow the link above...
(dn) The water levels of the Kotmale, Bowathenna, Kalawewa and Ulhitiya/Rathkinda reservoirs in the catchment areas have exceeded 50 percent with Kotmale filled to 88 percent of its capacity.
Bowathenna, Kalawewa and Ulhitiya/Rathkinda reservoirs have filled to 63 percent, 67 percent and 57 percent. Water Control Committee chairman Gamini Adhikari revealed the water levels in the main Mahaweli reservoirs at a committee meeting at the Plant Genetic Resources Centre in Gannoruwa on November 6. Apart from the Mahaweli reservoir, water levels in Rajanganaya, Nachchaduwa and Parakkramasamudhraya tanks have risen to above 50 percent.
(dn) The Deyata Sevana National Tree Planting programme organised by the Environment Ministry for the third consecutive year, will held at the auspicious time of 9.07am on November 15 with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is organised to mark the President's birthday and assumption of office for his second term. The theme this year is 'A Greener Country A Brighter Future'.
The programme will be carried out with the support of the public, private sector and NGOs. The main ceremony of the tree planting programme is to be held at Diyatha Park near Diyawanna Oya with the participation of President Rajapaksa, Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Deputy Minister Abdul Cader.
The Forest Conservation Department will provide 400,000 saplings while the State Timber Corporation is to contribute another 128,000 saplings. The programme will help in the conservation of water retention areas, prevention of soil erosion, and cleaner air. It will also help conservation of biodiversity and food security in the country while mitigating global warming and climate change impacts.
(ognp) A clear majority at Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) acknowledged country's positive achievements in the post-conflict development including the setting up of the Task Force to monitor and implement the LLRC recommendations, launching of the National Human Rights Action Plan, and efforts to resettle IDPs and progress made in normalizing the situation in the country since the end of the conflict in May 2009, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said.
Minister Samarasinghe addressing the concluding session of UPR Working Group in Geneva on Monday (5 November 2012), appreciated the interest shown by the 98 countries that made interventions during the Review.
Major recommendations following the review were for Sri Lanka to fully implement the recommendations of the LLRC and the National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (NHRAP). Several countries have recommended Sri Lanka to ratify remaining human rights instruments in a progressive manner and Sri Lanka has agreed.
(ognp) Sri Lanka recruited recruited 5,000 new permanent employees including pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics, midwives and health assistants with the objective of uplifting the health sector.
Addressing the ceremony, the President said the state has allocated 100 billion rupees by 2012 to uplift the health sector whereas the allocations were only 30 million rupees when he assumed power in 2005. He further said a supplementary allocation was also approved three months ago to purchase essential drugs.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa also added that the government will unstintingly reserve allocations to preserve the public's health. Out of the employees appointed, 4,000 were casual and temporary employees that were confirmed permanent. Another 1,000 were recruited newly as paramedics.
(dn) Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena stressed the dangers posed by the obsession with flour based food products - be it wheat or rice flour - which he noted was the chief cause for various health problems among Sri Lankans.
“People have only changed the source of flour but not the quantum,” Abeywardena told the Daily News. “The country’s wheat flour consumption has been reduced tremendously for the past two to three years due to awareness programmes conducted by the government. But rice flour consumption has increased. This is a very dangerous health risk since the final outcome of both rice and wheat is glucose,” the minister said.
According to statistics, the per capita wheat flour consumption reduced to 21kgs from 42kgs in 2005. Rice flour consumption increased to 16kgs from 9.8kgs in 2005. Abeywardena said with the increase in the consumption of flour based food products, the number of diabetic patients in the country increased. “It also led to other health issues such as obesity. Therefore, it is necessary to make people aware of proper dietary habits and encourage fruit and vegetable consumption,” he said. “The World Food and Agriculture Organisation recommended 450grams of fruits a day, but Sri Lankans eat only 50grams of fruit. They also recommended 400grams of vegetables per a day. Sri Lankans eat only 150grams of vegetables per day,” the minister said.
(ognp) Sri Lanka captain Nishatha Fernando became the Men’s Carrom world Champion as he beat India’s Barathee Dasan in the singles final at the World Carrom Championship concluded at the Galadari hotel yesterday.
80 players from 16 countries participated in the Championship.
It was the only medal for Sri Lanka on the final day as the first four positions in the Women’s singles event were won by Indians.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning observed the budget report for 2013 at Janadhipathi Mandiraya today (5). Secretary to the Ministry of Finance & Planning, Dr. P .B .Jayasundara was present at the occasion. The 2013 Budget will be presented in Parliament on November 08.
(so) The new wellness resort for disabled Army war heroes 'Abimansala-2' at Wilpitawatta, Kamburupitiya would house 50 more dependent war heroes, after its ceremonial opening on November 10.
Under the concept of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as envisaged in the Mahinda Chinthana under Rekawarana Niwasa two maiden sanatorium-type lifetime care centres the Attidiya 'Mihindu Seth Medura' and 'Abimansala' on the banks of the Nuwara Wewa at Anuradhapura were opened. In both these centres, more than 100 dependent war heroes are cared for, nurtured, and comfortably accommodated for lifelong well-being, rehabilitation, rest and recreation.
The Abimansala-2 complex on 10 acres of land is equipped with seven villas, five cottages, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy facilities, medical ward, swimming-pool, gymnasium, medical laboratory, dining hall, kitchen, indigenous medicine unit and residential quarters for staff.
(st) Colombo’s night motor races this year will see local and foreign riders racing through extended routes but the event is also driving away guests from five-star hotels.
That includes those who have planned weddings, home comings and other events, some of which have had to be cancelled. The reason for this, according to Anura Lokuhetti, past president of the Hoteliers Association, is the “absence of an events calendar.” He said both tourists and those organising events at five-star hotels would know how to plan their itineraries if such a calendar existed.
City Hotels Association President M. Shanthikumar said night races would draw tourists who enjoyed adventure sports, but as they were being held near five-star hotels they should be announced at least a year before. “At the end of the inaugural night race last year, there were many complaints from those who had their weddings and other functions at night. The guests were unable to move out or come in for long hours,” he said.
(so) A 15-member delegation from the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce on its recent visit to the UK had an interactive dialogue with sections of the Sri Lankan community here to build trade and commercial links and explore technology transfer.
At a reception held at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London the delegates from Hambantota whose commercial interests range from textiles and the dairy industry to machinery and tyre manufacture, discussed with the UK-based Sri Lankans interested in investment and setting up projects in Sri Lanka possibilities of joining hands to further economic development.
High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis spoke of the huge potential of the Hambantota district particularly as a result of the new port, airport and other infrastructure developments that would help substantially to expand bilateral links.Azmi Thassim , the leader of the Hambantota delegation, Jayampathi Perera, British Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Ash Varma, Director Gateway Asia also addressed the gathering.
(st) Will “green energy” be produced after destroying valuable forest cover at Amarawewa adjacent to the Yala National Park, is the rallying cry of environmentalists who have taken up arms against a major project to grow gliricidia in the midst of elephant, bear and leopard country in the South.
With growing concerns over the serious repercussions of clearing forest cover, moves are underway by environmentalists to seek justice in court shortly, the Sunday Times understands.
On learning of the threats and wide-ranging impact of the gliricidia project, the Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) which visited the area adjacent to Block 1 of the Yala National Park had found that while a large swathe had been bulldozed, moves ar underway to expand the denudation to the Thambarawa-Banduwewa areas. “The clearing of many hundred hectares was being done by United Dendro Energy (Pvt) Ltd., owned by Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC),” said EFL’s Head of Operations and Environmental Scientist, Vimukthi Weeratunga, pointing out that according to the information gathered, Dendro Energy is hoping to generate electricity (green energy) from gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium) which is a fuel-wood.
(dn) Seventeen medium scale tanks in the Anuradhapura district filled up due to heavy rains started spilling on November 1. Two spill gates of Angamuwa Wewa were opened by six inches to release the excess water said Irrigation Engineer Lalith de Alwis.
He said Rajangane, Nachchaduwa, Maha Vilachchiya and Wahalkade reservoirs have been filled upto 50 percent capacity while Nuwarawewa, Tissawewa, Basawakkulama and Mahakandarawa are filled to nearly 30 to 50 percent of their capacity.
He said no reservoirs are facing the danger of breaching their bunds dispute heavy rains. Meanwhile Anuradhapura District Secretary Mahinda Seneviratne said the District Disaster Management Committee is prepared to face any impending disaster situation in the district.
(ognp) Steps have been taken to guarantee job security and better salary through skills development for migrant workers.
Under this programme, the Ministry of Skills Development will provide skilled training for prospective migrant workers so that they could find better employment with higher salaries. The number of Sri Lankans left for foreign employment last year amounted to 266,445 persons and the country received 750 million U.S.Dollars as remittances from overseas employed Sri Lankans.
A Memorandum of Understanding in this connection has been signed between the Ministries of Skills Development and the Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare to train migrant workers to comply with the needs of the foreign labor market.
(dn) Nenasa TV, the satellite based television channel developed to bridge the education gap between urban and rural Sri Lanka has expanded its reach to connect 1,400 schools, with the aim of making education accessible to all.
The Nenasa programme was developed under the Mahinda Chinthanaya education plan to address the disparity of access to knowledge between urban and rural Sri Lanka through ICT (Information Communication Technology). Dialog Television, a satellite-based broadcaster, is a subsidiary of Dialog Axiata.
The education syllabus is available in Sinhala and Tamil. The developed curriculum is transmitted to the rural school network via Dialog Television.
(ognp) Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting held on 31st October has approved a proposal by Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, to entrust 450 acres of land at Uchchimunai Island at Kalpitiya to M/s Saphire Bay Resort (Pvt) Ltd to convert the area as an international tourist hub.
This land to be given on a 99 year lease term basis will incorporate Hotels, Resorts, Water Villas, Spas, Golf Courses etc. and other leisure and recreation facilities to meet the present day needs of tourists. The investor will pay the determined value of the land Rs 1070 million at once.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority identified Kalpitiya Dutch Bay Island and its surrounding islands in Dutch bay and Portugal Bay as an ideal Special Development Zone for Nature Based Tourism. Its strategic location and abundance natural resources access to Wilpattu national Park, Cultural Triangle, Airport with minimum time, create a best destination to turn the area into exotic Brand New Resort.
(ognp) The affect of "Nilam¨ cyclone caused heavy rain and high winds in many part of the country since 29th October 2012.
Department of Meteorology issued a bulleting on 01st November saying that under the influence of the cyclonic storm "Nilam¨ , South-western parts of the island ( Western, Central, Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces) are receiving heavy rainfalls and it is likely to continue for next 09 hours . Strong winds are also likely at times in these areas¨.
Irrigation Department warned that the water level of Kelani, Gin, Nilwala and Kalu rivers are gradually increasing and be alert in the downstream communities.
(lbo) Dialog Television, a direct-to-home pay television service run by the Sri Lanka's unit of Malaysia's Axiata group said subscribers rose 50,000 over the past year to top 250,000 by end September 2012.
Revenues had grown 29 percent to 2.2 billion rupees for the nine months ending September 2012, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization grew 32 percent to 498 million rupees, the firm said in a statement.
Dialog Television had lost 13 million rupees during the September quarter, which the firm said was due to the costs of launching a high definition services. But during the nine months to September it had made after tax profits of 96 million rupees against a loss of 23 million rupees a year earlier.
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(ognp) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) is pleased to announce that it has successfully developed the new FM broadcast frequency plan prepared under the National Telecommunications Policy which was drawn upon the instructions of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and executed under the direction of Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, in an effort to minimise the technical problems hindering the listeners from obtaining a clear sound reception.
The TRCSL is vested with full powers to determine and allocate the use of FM frequencies among radio broadcasters within Sri Lanka. At present there are about 45 FM broadcasting channels which operate within the 87.5 – 108 MHz frequency range.
The TRCSL prepared a new transparent plan to re- allocate the frequencies among the FM channels taking into account the frequencies used by them at present. This was done on the basis of a national policy to reform the existing system, with the objective of minimising the practical problems currently confronting both the radio broadcasters and the listeners.
(dn) A special electronic international visa debit card which can also be used as a person identification card, will be issued to Sri Lankan's who migrate abroad for employment, courtesy the Bank of Ceylon.
The BOC will issue the co-branded card on a request made by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE).
The international visa logo will enable migrant workers to access their accounts for financial transactions through ATM machines located worldwide. According to the SLBFE, novel features have been added to the card to effectively use it as a proof of identity as well by migrant workers whilst working abroad.
(ognp) H.E. Shehan Ratnavale High Commissioner in Pretoria visited Maputo between 9-11 October and presented credentials to H.E. Armando Guebuza concurrently accrediting him as the new High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to The Republic of Mozambique.
At the meeting between H.E. President Guebuza and the High Commissioner mention was made of the many commonalities that exist between the countries and consequent opportunities for co-operation in developmental processes.
Mozambique and Sri Lanka are tropical Indian Ocean States with a shared history of Portuguese colonialism as well as influences from Arabic and Indian migrations. Whilst the Mozambique land area of 801 000 square kilometres is much larger than Sri Lanka it has a comparable population of 23.9Mn. Both countries are reviving their economies after prolonged periods of conflict and are attaining similar growth rates of 7-8%.
(dn) The Disaster Mangement Centre yesterday said they made arrangements to evacuate residents living in close proximity to the coast in some identified areas in the North and East as a precautionary measure ahead of a marginal cyclone expected to enter Sri Lanka from near Mullaitivu, early morning today.
DMC Assistant Director Sarath Lal Kumara said that steps were been taken to evacuate those living within 500 metres in the coastal belt extending from Kuchchuweli to Jaffna as a precautionary measure. He said that DMC has also taken steps to activate its early warning towers in Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Trincomalee to make the public aware regarding any emergency situation.
Meanwhile, the Metereology Department said, the deep depression has intensified into a marginal cyclone( not severe ) and was located about 100 km East of Mullaitivu at 1730 hours yesterday. It was likely to move North-westward and enter the Sri Lankan coast near Mulaittvu in the early morning hours today (around 0200hrs,) causing heavy showers and strong winds over most parts of the country and surrounding sea areas.
(dn) The Kuruwita Pradeshiya Sabha has finalized arrangements to develop the Bopath Ella Falls area in a systematic way so as to attract more local and foreign visitors.
Financial assistance for the scheme will be granted by the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council. A sum of five million rupees will be allocated for this purpose.
The Kuruwita Pradeshiya Sabha will spend another five million rupees on the Bopath-Ella Expansion Development Project to be launched soon.
(at) Sri Lanka Navy to begin on 31st of this month, the salvaging operation of the underwater wreckage of Lionair flight, that was found near the Iranativu island, north of Mannar.
The Lionair 602 which took off with 48 passengers, six crew members and two Ukranian pilots, from the Palali airport to Ratmalana, on September 29, 1998, went missing from the radar screen after 10 minutes. Until April this year, when the TID officers apprehended a LTTE suspect who confessed to shooting down the airplane with a shoulder held missile, the disappearance of the plane remained a mystery.
Sivasubramaniam Thillaraj of the LTTE, confessed that an LTTE leader had ordered the shooting down, even though they were aware that it was carrying Tamil civilian passengers to Colombo. The suspect in custody had identified the person who ordered the aircraft shooting down as one Gadafi, a close associate of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Gadafi was killed during the final phase of fighting on the Vanni east front in early 2009. Earlier, in the beginning of October, according to reports, security sources said that based on information provided by an LTTE cadre, a Navy diving team located the wreckage on the sea bed off Iranativu Island.
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(dn) Work on the Korea - Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital in Kotawila, Matara has been completed at Rs 740 million and will open next month, a Health Ministry spokesman said. He said the Korean government spent Rs 500 million to construct the hospital while the Sri Lankan government spent Rs 240 million.
"This fully completed hospital will operate from next month. Several units of the Matara Hospital removed to provide space for the Matara City Development Plan launched by the government, will be established in the new hospital on the guidance of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena," the spokesman said.
The minister inspected the Korea - Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital and also witnessed the progress of the Matara City Development programme on Thursday on the invitation of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. The government decided to establish a three storied building under the City Development Plan of Matara for the doctors' quarters. The government spent Rs 365 million for the housing complex which will have 53 houses.
(dn) The Norwegian embassy in Colombo yesterday advised against private agents charging fees for assistance with visa applications to Norway.
Many agents, who charge exuberant fees for their services, give incorrect and misleading information about the procedures, fees and documentation required to obtain permits as skilled job seekers in Norway. They also seem to give incorrect information about the actual job possibilities in Norway, Deputy Chief of Mission Jon Otto Brodholt said.
The Norwegian Labour Ministry decided that no more work permits will be granted for the time being. This is due to the high number of applications and a need for more information about the qualifications and the documentation presented by skilled job-seekers from certain countries, Sri Lanka included, he said. For any other visas to Norway, VFS Sri Lanka located in the World Trade Centre is the only center authorised by the Norwegian embassy to receive application forms.
(cp) Petroleum Industries Minister of Sri Lanka, Susil Premajayantha assured today that there will be no shortage of fuel in the country due to the closure of the refinery as the government has taken measures to import oil from other sources.
Minister Premajayantha said letters of credit had been issued to import 215,000 metric tons of crude for the month of November and two ships with crude will be arriving in Colombo port next month.
Following the receipt of the shipment, the Sapugaskanda refinery which halted operations since yesterday due to unavailability of Iranian crude oil will restart operations, probably from mid-November.
(island) New food hygiene regulations will be implemented by the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council from Thursday (01).
Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said yesterday that under those regulations all food handlers in hotels, restaurants and eating houses would have to be registered with the Public Health Department.
Many hotels cooked food, stored it under refrigeration and re-heated it before serving. Some of those places cooked only three times a week and served precooked meals to unsuspecting customers. Dr. Kariyawasam said the Council would advocate open kitchens in eating houses and hotels in the future.
(ognp) China’s number 3 Car Manufacturer Geely, the Fortune 500 Chinese automotive multinational is to establish an assembly and manufacturing plant in Hambantota. Geely now owns 100% of Sweden’s Volvo and part produces the famed London’s black taxi cabs.
Geely is to partner with Micro Cars Company of Sri Lanka in this venture and an in depth discussion in this connection has been held with the Minister of Industry and Commerce. The $ 23.3 billion U.S.Dollar Geely entered the Fortune Global 500 list at 475 last July and is considered as one of China’s fastest growing car makers.
Martin Xiang, Director of Geely has told the Minister that Sri Lanka has become a key market but more importantly, a manufacturing hub in the South Asia for car makers, especially due to its strategic placement. He has said that they want to use Sri Lanka as their production hub and to export to South Asia and the Far East from Sri Lanka.
(dn) Sri Lanka's first Green University Town constructed by the National School of Business Management (NSBM) will be opened in 2014. China Development Bank will finance the construction by investing Rs 5.4 billion for the first time in Sri Lanka.
Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said the construction of this ground breaking venture would begin in December, making Sri Lanka one of the main educational hubs in the world.
"This university will not only cater to local students,but foreign students, bringing in additional foreign exchange and increase foreign exchange savings to Rs. five billion by year 2025" "The NSBM, while producing 5,000 graduates annually, will also provide the economy with Rs. 1.2 billion tax revenue."
(dn) All visa applications submitted in Colombo will be processed by the UK Border Agency at the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai from November 1, 2012, the UK Border Agency said yesterday.
The majority of Sri Lankan visa applications have been processed in Chennai since June 2008 and the UK Border Agency will ensure a smooth transition of the remaining visa operation. The visa section in the British High Commission will close on October 31.
Applicants will continue to submit their visa applications at the visa application centre in Colombo and collect their documents from the same location, or request return by courier. The published processing times for short term visas is for the UK Border Agency to process 90 percent of applications within 15 working days, and this will not change.
For all applications submitted from November 1, applicants will be required to pay a Sri Lankan government levy of Rs 1,000 for the movement of their passport out of Sri Lanka. For the convenience of UK visa applicants, this fee will be payable at the visa application centre before the visa application is submitted. VFS will charge an administrative fee of Rs 200. There will be no change to the cost of the visa itself
(ognp) The Korean language proficiency test results have been released and are available on the website of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment www.slbfe.lk and www.eps.go.kr
The results can be checked by entering their index number. Details of the selected candidates will also be available on the Korean human resources website.
The Chairman of the Bureau of Foreign Employment Amal Senalankadhikara said that out of the 31,271 candidates who sat for the examination, 4391 had been selected and 3901 had been selected for Industrial sector and 490 for fisheries sector. He said that the passed mark of the test was 156 and 75 applicants have passed the exam by obtaining full marks of 200.
(ognp) The National tax week will be launched from the 1st to the 8th of next month as presented by the President in the 2012 budget.
The Inland Revenue Department has set a revenue target of Rs. 512 billion this year and up to end September has collected taxes worth Rs. 369 billion, eight percent higher than a year earlier. Accounting for around 50 percent of total government revenue, the department collected Rs. 328 billion in 2010 and Rs. 442 billion.
A special unit with facilities to pay taxes in a single location in the concept of One Stop Shop will be declared open at the headquarters of the department on the 1st of next month. Mrs. Samarasekera said that the government has introduced many modifications to the tax laws and simplified the tax structure.
(ognp) The First Lady Shiranthi Rajapakse, the wife of the Sri Lanka President has said that women should take leadership in protecting energy for the benefit of the future generation. She has made this appeal addressing the First Ladies Conference of the World Energy Forum held in Dubai yesterday.
The First Ladies Summit was held yesterday under the patronage of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. It highlighted energy and water issues as they relate to women, empowerment and advancement of women, and women's role in sustainable development. The Summit was held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Dubai.
The Chairman of the World Energy Forum Harold Hi Wun Shuk addressing the summit has said that by organizing a summit of the First Ladies of world leaders it was possible to focus world attention more and more on the importance of safeguarding energy resources. Representatives of the World Energy Forum, the World Health Organization and the United Nations have also attended the First Ladies Summit.
(dn) Sri Lanka can no longer be considered isolated from the effects of seismic activities, said chairman of the Sub Committee on Developing Building Guidelines for Earthquake Resistant Designs, of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) K.L.S.Sahabandu.
Addressing the Terms of Reference of Knowledge and Experience Seminar on Disaster Management at the Disaster Management Ministry yesterday, the chairman said recent geological studies have identified that the Indo - Australian Plate is splitting at a distance of 500- 700 km away from the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, creating a new plate margin. This may lead Sri Lanka to be more vulnerable to earthquakes in the future that what are experience today.
“The first documented earthquake in Sri Lanka occurred in 1615 AD which killed thousands of people. In the recent past we have experienced many earth tremors, but, no major damage to structures were reported. "But any future earthquake close to a city centre such as, Colombo will have disastrous consequences due to its present development and population. Therefore we have understood the necessity to study the seismic effects on Sri Lanka and take appropriate action to mitigate the same,” said the Chairman.
(island) UNP Badulla District MP Harin Fernando and UPFA Gampaha District MP Vasantha Senanayake left the country yesterday to attend talks with the members of the Tamil Diaspora in Europe.
The MPs represent a group of young parliamentarians and political party representatives who believe that they can bring about a change and help the country and the Diaspora to reconcile on various issues of contention.
Harin Fernando said that this group had sent a delegation to London last year where they met the key representatives of the Diaspora. Those discussions were very fruitful and could bring about a permanent peace to the country. A report of recommendations made following that visit was handed over to all party leaders and relevant government offices and released to media recently. "The outcome of this report is also in the agenda of these meetings," MP Fernando said.
(cp) Sri Lanka's world famous Sigiriya rock fortress was damaged Tuesday after it was struck by lightning during heavy thunder showers experienced in the area.
Local media reported that a wall near the Lion's Paw in the Sigiriya Rock has been damaged by the lightning strike this afternoon. Around 10 feet wide portion of the wall on the side of the Lion's Paw, which is the entrance to the historic rock, has fallen off due to the lightning.
Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the major tourist attractions of Sri Lanka.
(ognp) Heavy rains during the last few days have raised the threat of floods and landslides in many parts of the country. Many areas in the hill country are threatened with landslides and mountain slides.
The National Construction Research Organisation said that due to heavy rains in the hill country there is a threat of landslides but specific areas under threat cannot be identified due to rain being experienced throughout the hill country.
The Meteorological Department informed that thundershowers will occur in many parts of the country during the afternoons and evenings today (23). They said that the rains could spread to western and north-western areas as well and strong winds will accompany heavy rains. They request the people to be cautious about lightening effects.
(dn) French ambassador to Sri Lanka Christine Robichon will confer on Anomaa Rajakaruna the title of ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du M‚rite (Knight in the French National Order of Merit) (The National Order of Merit) tomorrow on behalf of the French government.
The French National Order of Merit was created by General de Gaulle in 1963. Its aim is to reward distinguished service demonstrated in either a public, civilian or military function, or in the exercise of a private activity, during a period of at least 10 years. The National Order of Merit seeks to reward services to France which includes services by foreigners to French interests and French values, inside and outside France.
Rajakaruna is a photographer, filmmaker and writer who has travelled extensively in South Asia documenting the lives of community groups and in particular the lives of women and children in these communities. She is well known for her ‘rights based’ approach in photography, film making and writing. Rajakaruna has her work exhibited in South Asia, Europe and USA and won several international awards for her films and photography. A long time member of International Association of Women in Radio & Television (IAWRT), she serves as the Secretary of South Asia Free Media Association, Sri Lanka Chapter. Rajakaruna joined Studio Bonsoir as the Chief Editor in 2004 and was responsible for restructuring the Bonsoir weekly TV programme for Channel Eye, SLRC produced by the embassy of France in partnership with Canal France International. Under her supervision, Bonsoir became the second mostly watched programme on the channel and several programmes reached out to audiences not only in Sri Lanka but in South East Asia as well.
(ognp) The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management refutes news reports claiming that the government is to impose a tax on wells. Explaining further the Minister says that it is the government’s responsibility to protect the underground water deposits of the country and ensure that these resources are available for the future generation.
The Ministry points out that at the moment, a large quantity of underground water is used mainly for business and industrial purposes and therefore, it has been decided to measure the amount of underground water used for such purposes. Accordingly, it has been suggested to register business premises which obtain underground water and impose a levy on such premises in order to cover up the cost incurred for measuring the water they may use.
The Water Resources Board confirms that these suggestions are still being discussed at the board level and no final decision has been reached. It also informs that no Cabinet paper has been prepared or presented in this regard. The Board also insists that this monitoring mechanism will be implemented only in respect of industrial and business premises which use underground water on a large scale, and reiterates that it has no any intention to impose a tax on wells (either surface or underground) belonging to individuals or society based organizations used for domestic or agricultural purposes.
(dn) The National Crafts Council provided training to handicraftsmen, including those in the North and Eastern Provinces, under foreign experts to enhance the industry to cater to the needs of the developing tourism industry.
The one week training programme was held at the National Crafts Council, Battaramulla last week. Two Indian experts in the field lectured selected 23 handicraftsmen from all the provinces under the main theme ‘How to reduce the production costs in their industry.’
National Crafts Council chairman Buddhi Keerthisena said the involvement of the North and East handicraftsmen in these programmes has been increased during the past three years with the dawn of peace. He said they make a considerable contribution to the handicraft industry.
(dn) Sri Lankan musician Alston Koch has been invited as the keynote speaker in Indonesia on 'Cultural music and its importance in Tourism' at the largest Expo in Asia.
'Karnival Wisata' followed by a 'live to air' concert wherein the organisers hope to raise funds for the under privileged.
Koch recently acclaimed as 'The good news chart success story of 2012' by Australia's leading 'WOMAN'S DAY' magazine, has also been dubbed as 'The Funkmaster' by the Australian Record Industry Association when his album peaked at No 2 for six weeks on the music charts in July.
(ognp) The Old Racecourse Grounds in Colombo, neglected for many decades, has undergone a remarkable transformation under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.
The Racecourse now sports two fully renovated pavilions and a modern shopping and restaurant complex, which were opened yesterday evening by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in the presence of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who initiated the program.
The Rs.125 million development will also include an international rugby stadium, gymnasium and jogging track. This follows the stunning conversion of the Dutch Hospital in the Fort into a modern restaurant complex.
(st) Civil aviation authorities are aiming to work with the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) in operating five main domestic airports in the country, an official said. The government aviation official told the Business Times this week that plans were underway to conduct a dual operation between the civil aviation authorities and the military.
It was pointed out that within the next 18 months authorities would have developed at least two airports namely China Bay and Batticaloa while the others Palaly, Koggala, Kalpitiya and Ampara would be taken up later. Ratmalana is already being used under a Civil Aviation-Air Force operational structure in the operation of civilian flights and is the main air base centre in Colombo.
These are all military airfields, actively used during the conflict but also for civilian transportation.Senior air force officials were unavailable for comment on the air force role in operation and maintenance. Officials observed that right now a budget of approximately Rs.750 million would be invested in the development of two airports. Scandinavian countries were said to be funding development on the airports.
(hindu) In the town that cradled Sri Lankan Tamil militancy and was the birthplace of its most ferocious exponent Velupillai Prabakaran, a legend of a different kind is now getting belated attention.
VVT, as this north Jaffna coastal town is known, is planning to erect a statue to a less famous son, V.S. Kumar Anandan, who did a record two-way swim from Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi on the Tamil Nadu coast.
Anandan’s son, Rajan, is the present head of Google India. “Recently, we had a small ceremony to honour Kumar Anandan. We’re now discussing erecting a statue to him. His wife’s family has promised to help with funds,”’ said M.K. Shivajilingam, once a militant in TELO, and now a member of the VVT Urban Council.
Anandan’s uncle, Murugapillai Navratnaswami, the first person ever to swim the Palk Straits, in 1954 — he took 28 hours from VVT to Point Calimere — is being considered for a similar honour.
(dm) Several hotels and guest houses in the South are said to be facing difficulties following the government’s decision to shift the public holiday in view of the Haj Festival from October 26 to October 27.
They said clients who had booked rooms for October 26 now wanted to shift their bookings to October 27 which has triggered the problem since most rooms had been already booked by other clients for October 27. They said some clients had cancelled their bookings and sought the return their advance payments.
Owners of such hotels told the Daily Mirror that some of their clients were calling for a revision or cancellation of their bookings.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the Samudrika Research Vessel (Samudrika RV) of the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) at the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa International Port on Friday (19).
This vessel, specially designed for maritime research built at a cost of Rs.300 million, is 25 metres in length and 6.5 metres in width.
The data collected by this research vessel will be used for publications of hydrographic data and nautical information on near shore, offshore and inland waters. The sea-borne research activities being planned to be carried out by this vessel will enhance the applications of hydrographic and oceanographic data in the advancement of the sector and also be a great advantage for the development of aquatic resources and the fishing industry of Sri Lanka.
(dn) A trilateral meeting on Maritime Security was held at the Light House hotel, Galle on Thursday with the participation of Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives.
The meeting focused on a wide range of issues which included sharing of information on shipping and tsunami warning, extending anti-piracy structures and coordination of joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance, said Navy Media Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasooriya.
Delegates explored the possibility of oil spill response, maritime domain awareness training and joint naval, coast guard exercises. Attention was also drawn to Search And Rescue (SAR) operations and trilateral mechanisms to prevent illegal poaching.
(ognp) The Ministry of Public Administration announced today that the Public holiday on October 26 has been changed to 27 as Muslims in Sri Lanka will be celebrating Haj festival on the 27th.
Hence the earlier decision making October 26 as a Public & Bank Holiday has been cancelled.
(dm) Sri Lankans who dig traditional or tube wells to obtain water for drinking, agriculture, commercial or industrial purposes will have to obtain an annual permit from the Water Resources Board (WRB) at fees ranging from Rs.7,500 to Rs.15,000.
This is in keeping with the set of far reaching amendments to be introduced by the government to the Water Resources Board Act of 1964.
According to the new amendments prior approval would be required to dig agricultural wells with a diameter of more than 12 feet, water projects for domestic use of few families, tube wells for domestic or agricultural purposes, water projects for drinking water bottling plants, natural or ground water resources utilised for soft drinks or related industries and the use of natural or ground water resources for industrial purposes such as car washing or laundry services.
(ognp) The government is planning hold a dialogue with the Tamil Diaspora at the BMICH shortly under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
This was stated by the Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella at the Cabinet Decisions announcement meeting held at his Ministry this morning. Responding to questions raised by media personnel on the current status of Kumaran Pathmanathan known as KP, the Minister explained that although the LTTE and its terrorism has been defeated militarily the causes that led to terrorism in Sri Lanka has not been eliminated yet and if that was not done properly it may re-emerge in another ten or fifteen years time.
The Minister pointed out that the government takes steps for the wider benefit of the people and it has accommodated certain persons who participated in the war against the government. Even certain persons who carried out destructive activities against the country in the South are now functioning as MPs and members of local government institutions. He said that if persons who did mistakes in the past enter the mainstream politics or they could be used for a better cause such persons should be accommodated.
(dn) The 45th Annual Esala pageant and Cultural Festival of the historic Sittamgallena Raja Maha Viharaya at Walasmulla in the Hambanthota District will be held from October 26 to November 1.
Earlier, the Esala festival was held with the support of devotees and well wishers of the temple. But this time, state patronage has been received under the guidance of Presidential Coordinating Secretary Kithsiri Ganaganath Abeygunawardena who was appointed to the post of Basnayaka Nilame of the temple in 2007.
The new Basnayaka Nilame said the glamour and beauty of the cultural pageant has elevated it by attracting more local and international visitors. The road network has also been reconstructed at a cost of Rs.45 million and the temple up to Ihala Viharaya has been illuminated.
(island) Hotels in Trincomalee were charging exorbitant rates per night from local and foreign visitors, Trincomalee Rehabilitation Project Director Anura Weeraratne told The Island yesterday (18).
He stressed that Sri Lanka was targeting one million tourist arrivals this year which would be a boon to the tourism industry and the country’s ailing economy. But, exorbitant prices would keep many tourists away.
Sri Lanka expects to raise the number of arrivals to 2.5 million and to earn an annual revenue of US$ 2.75 billion by 2016. He warned that the greed of hotel owners could ultimately deprive the entire country of potential revenue.
(cp) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has called for quotations from potential minters for minting of circulation coins for the next three years.
The Central bank has placed a notice calling for potential bidders with 10 years of minting experience to mint 550 million coins of different denominations to be supplied within a three year period, on a staggered basis starting from 2013.
The contract will be to mint 175 million coins of Rs. 10 denomination, 100 million coins of Rs. 5 denomination and 275 million coins of Rs. 2 and Rs. 1 denominations. According to the bid notice, the majority of the ownership of the prospective Minter should be in the hands of a Government, Central Bank or under a Monetary Authority.
(dn) The Petroleum Corporation has already taken initiatives to swiftly import the required amount of crude oil despite the export sanctions against Iran, to assure continued fuel supplies, Petroleum Industries Ministry media sources said.
Though there might be a slight delay in importing crude oil due to the continuous sanctions against Iran from whom Sri Lanka imports crude oil, the Petroleum Corporation will continue its supply with the stocks they have which are sufficient for coming weeks.
Sri Lanka also import crude oil from Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The US sanctions against Iran has affected many countries including Sri Lanka and face difficulties in importing crude oil.Earlier Sri Lanka imported 13 crude oil ships from Iran and after the economic sanctions it was reduced to 10 ships and later came to a complete halt as the sanctions were strengthened by the US.
(dn) The Institute of Sports Medicine launched its official website (www.ism.gov.lk) The new website is intended to create awareness of the healthcare of the sportsmen and sportswomen, to improve their knowledge about sports medicine and to provide appropriate guidance.
The website will also carry information to educate the sports personnel on anti doping, about the prohibited list of drugs, the rules and the regulations of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and information in relation to the public services of the Institute of Sports Medicine.
On the occasion the students who completed Assistant Physiotherapy course conducted by the ISM, received their certificates from Minister Aluthgamage where M G G T Malagoda of Sri Lanka Navy Medicine Unit won the best student award. After officially launching the website, Minister Aluthgamage addressing the gathering said that the duties of the doctors at the Institute of Sports Medicine were commendable.
(ognp) Doctors in the Kandy General Hospital said that the quintuplets born to Dilini Rasangika Shyamanthi of Kegalle at the Kandy hospital on Monday (15) morning are in good health. The 29 year old mother of the quintuplets said she and her husband considered the five babies as the greatest gift they had received.
Hospital authorities said the five babies, three boys and two girls, are kept in the premature baby unit and in good health. This is said to be the second set of quintuplets born in Sri Lanka. A Presidential Security Division officer’s wife gave birth to quintuplets on an earlier occasion.
The father of the quintuplets, who is a Central Provincial Council Member, Shilantha Wijepala who was overjoyed about the birth of quintuplets has thanked the Kandy General Hospital staff for the support given during their birth.
(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of National Heritages has planned measures to declare Ceylon Tea as a Word Heritage.
Additional Secretary of the Ministry of National Heritages D.G. Samarasinghe said that a proposal would be made after that to the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO.
The plan for declaring Ceylon Tea as a World Heritage is implemented with the support of the Ministries of Plantation and Environment.
(ognp) Sri Lanka hopes to start the commercial operation of its second international Airport at Mattala early next year. Mr. Prasanna Wickremasuriya, Chairman Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka Ltd told Information Department website that the construction work of the Mattala International Airport in the Hambantota district would be completed at the end of the year and its commercial operation will be launched early January 2013.
The Mattala Airport had its first ever test landing this morning. The Super king 20, Test Aircraft belongs to Pakistan Civil Aviation Department with dual engine was successfully landed on the new runner way.
This dual engine test Aircraft called Beach aircraft at its preliminary landing was piloted by Pakistani pilot and they would continue their test landing and other logistic checking continuously for a week as well said the chairman Wickremasuriya. Construction work of the Mattala International Airport is being handled by a Chinese firm while the testing of the equipment is being carried out by the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority. Sri Lanka is having only one international Airport- Colombo International Airport the need for an alternative International Air Port was felt, only recently President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the assistance of the Chinese Government commenced this project.
(ognp) Sri Lanka’s gem and jewelry industry is aiming to earn a record 600 million U.S.Dollars this year and build the country as a gem trading hub. It has been found that there is a capacity to reach One billion U.S.Dollar earning by the year 2016.
During the first half of this year, earnings from gem and jewellery reached 297 million U.S.Dollars, despite the lackluster global economy, raising hopes that 2012 can hit a new high. In 2011 Sri Lanka’s gem and jewelry industry earned 520 million U.S.Dollars which is a 28.85 per cent increase from 2010.
The Authority has also planned to promote small and medium jewelry producers who need exposure to take their designs international. The Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority Prasad Galhena said that an estimated 50,000 are expected to participate and already around 250 foreign participants have signed up from various countries.
(ognp) Ministry of Transport in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will conduct a workshop for awareness creation among key stakeholder agencies about the on-going urban transport master plan study for the Colombo metropolitan region on 17th Wendsday. Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport will be the Chief Guest at the event, together with K. D.Dhammika Perera, Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Hiroyuki Abe, Senior Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office.
The study aims to identify the optimum methods of resolving traffic congestion and transport difficulties faced by the public in Colombo city and suburbs. It will review present conditions, on-going developments and future plans, to identify short and mid term measures to improve the existing transport system, and in the long term to establish a new mode of transport as the core system to fulfil the growing public and corporate mobility needs. The study methodology, expected outputs and timeline will be shared and discussed with the participants.
The survey data will be used to formulate the urban transport master plan for Colombo metropolitan region which includes identification of a new core public transportation mode, transport corridors and connection with existing transport systems.
(island) About 70 eminent scientists from 34 Academies of Science in 30 countries will meet in Colombo from October 16-19 to hold the Inaugural General Assembly of the Association of Academies and Societies of Science in Asia (AASSA). The event will be hosted by the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (NASSL).
The two major apex bodies of scientists in Asia and Australasia, the Federation of Asian Scientific Academies (FASAS, established in 1984) with 16 member National Academies and the Association of Academies of Science in Asia (AASA, established in 2000) with 27 member National Academies, had been holding discussions for some time on merging their two organizations into a single body. The merger was finally approved by both organizations and announced to the world of science on April 27, 2012.
The members of the two organizations, being scientists, decided to celebrate the merger in true scientific fashion, not by throwing a party but by holding an International Symposium and Workshop! And as the venue to stage this celebration, they chose Sri Lanka, with our own National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (NASSL) organizing the event.
(dn) Sri Lankan consumers will enter the era of direct cash payments through ATMs on Octo 15 when five cash deposit taking ATMs will start operating in Colombo for the first time.
Abdul Rahuman, Managing Director of One & Only, the owning firm of the ‘PayTM’ network, said the initiative is a joint venture with Japan Cash Machines Co Ltd (JCM), the well-known maker of money-handling machines, equipment, and electronic cash registers for the global financial industry with $ 217 milion revenue (2010) and also listed in Tokyo and Osaka exchanges.
The machines are equipped to authenticate the user identity with a pin number which is already active and alternatively, the fingerprint scanner which we have not activated yet. Once we activate the fingerprint scanner, local banks can join us to allow their depositors to withdraw from their savings accounts through our network. When that happens, these ATMs will become dual performers-both to accept and dispense cash.
(cp) The Motor Traffic Department of Sri Lanka plans to make mileage meters compulsory for all three wheelers used for passenger transport.
Motor Traffic Commissioner, L.H. Harischandra has said that his Department will require all three wheelers engaged in passenger transport to use fare meters and the relevant laws to make the fare meters mandatory would be introduced shortly.
He has added that amendments to the Motor Traffic Act would be introduced to facilitate this requirement. According to statistics, there are around 400,000 three-wheeler taxies in the country.
(ognp) Ms. Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia and Mr. Reza Hossaini, Representative of UNICEF Sri Lanka at South Asia paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday.
(dn) White water rafting in the Kelani Ganga is the latest attraction among tourists visiting the Sabaragamuwa Province, said a spokesman for the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council. Other major tourist hot spots in the province are the Rambukkana Elephant Orphanage and the Udawalawa Elephant Transit home.
The spokesman said tourists add another valorous experience to their Sri Lanka tour by joining white water rafting in the Kelani Ganga from Makandura entrance. More over nearly 400,000 tourist visit the Rambukkana Elephant Orphanage annually. At present there are 22 tourist hotels, 10 resorts, 37 rest houses and 17 rest halls in the province for the convenience of tourists.
Since tourist arrivals gathered momentum after the return of peace the tourist industry which was restructed to the maritime regions and archaeological sites in ancient cities has extended to the interior of the country specially areas in the Sabaragamuwa Province. The Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council taking cognizance of this factor has declared three tourist promotion zones in the Kegalle and Ratnapura districts.
(dn) Harpo’s Hotel School had the soft opening of its branch in Galle last week by Adviser to the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development and RDB Bank Director Sarath De Alwis.
The school initially will conduct three to six months courses on Food & Beverage service, Cookery and Housekeeping and will provide the opportunity for higher education with Diploma courses offered by the well known Princeton Institute of Education in Melbourne, in Hospitality, Business and English programmes.
Managing Director Harpo Gooneratne and other Directors Hiran Serasinghe, Ravi Gooneratne and Asoka Jayewardene along with Asela Wijetunge (represantative in Galle) were also present at the opening of the new premises at 384 Matara Road, Magalle, Galle.
(ognp) The maximum age for the government servants for retirement has been extended to 60 years from the current age limit of 57 years in response to many requests made to the government by the public servants.
Earlier the maximum age limit was 57 years and public servants who needed extensions had to get approval from the Heads of the Institutions to obtain extensions.
(dn) The government officially decided to hold the 65th National Independence Day Festival in Trincomalee.
This was disclosed when the National Independence Day Festival Organising Committee functioning under the chairmanship of Prime Minister D M Jayaratne met at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday.
Anticipating the cooperation of all public institutions to celebrate the event successfully, the minister instructed officials to perform responsibilities of their institutions under the direct supervision of their Heads and instructed relevant parties to carry out the infrastructure development work including roads, water supply and electricity in Trincomalee before the end of the year.
(ognp) Addressing the Press Launch of Jewels Sri Lanka 2012 held at Department of Government Information on Wednesday (10) Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Environment said that, JEWELS Sri Lanka 2012, the International Gem & Jewellery Fair will be held from 6th-9th December at the Srimavo Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall ( BMICH ), in Colombo 7.
The Minister said that, this international trade exhibition is organized with the intention of showcasing local small and medium scale gem and jewellery manufacturers to the international market and making Sri Lanka the international gem and jewellery hub. He further emphasized that the Fair is expected to uplift the small and medium scale gem and jewellery dealer community as envisaged in the Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the future.
The Fair is being organized by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority in collaboration with the Gemmologists Association under the guidance of the Ministry of Environment.
(dn) Northerners are keen to learn Sinhala while some Tamil youths are quite adept at using Sinhala to communicate with the members of the majority community visiting the North in their numbers in the post - war era, Tamil Buddhist Association president A Ravi Kumar said.
"Public transport workers, taxi drivers and businessmen in the North have realised that Sinhala language is essential to communicate with the majority community and therefore they also like to learn Sinhala," he said.
Kumar said while a number of private classes have commenced to teach Sinhala, it is better if the government can start a school system to teach Sinhala free of charge. "If this could be arranged, there is no doubt that many children in the North will show a keen interest to learn Sinhala," he said.
(cp) Sri Lanka will hold the Commonwealth Business Forum in 2013 on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the visiting head of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) confirmed today.
The CBC team consisting of its Managing Director Nilk Holme and Manager Operations for Media Sean Leno is in the country to take part in the launching of Colombo 2013 campaign by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo Thursday (October 11).
The 2013 Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) is scheduled to be held on November 15, 16 and 17 and the theme of the forum will be 'Partnering for Wealth Creation and Social Development -The Commonwealth, Indian Ocean and SAARC'.
(dn) Lady Ridgeway Hospital Specialist Doctor Jayamini Seneviratne found a permanent treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa.
Epidermolysis Bullosa is a genetically transferred disease. Developing blisters that become wounds which result in part of the skin pealing off, are the symptoms of the disease. These wounds cannot be covered with plasters since the skin will peal off when removing the plasters.
There was no permanent treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa in the world.
Dr.Senevirathne found that the blisters are not developing on the head and did an experiment on Hair Follicle Stem Cells. He spread Hair Follicle Stem Cells on wounds and they recovered after 10 days. Seven children suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa were subjected to the experiment and all recovered.
(br) Sri Lanka has invited Pakistani pharma investors to explore possibilities of establishing joint ventures in Pharmaceutical industry in Sri Lanka.
"Sri Lanka is planning to set up an Industrial Park for pharmaceutical industry and Pakistani pharma investors should explore possibilities of establishing joint ventures in that facility in Sri Lanka", Rohita Thilakaratne, President, Pak-Sri Lanka Business Council said during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce here on Wednesday.
He said that textiles and tourism were also potential areas of cooperation between the two countries as tourism was one of the fastest growing sectors in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka also offers cheap and well trained manpower, which could be an additional advantage for Pakistani investors.
(dn) Wildlife Department Provincial Director Manjula Amararatne told the media the department will pay compensation to all those who had been victims of wild elephant attacks.
Earlier victims of wild elephant attacks had to wait for years to get compensation but now the Department has planned to pay compensation within two or three months Amararatne said.
Further he told the media if a member of a household died due to a wild elephant attack the dependents of that family will be entitled to Rs 100,000 as compensation. In the past the families who faced wild elephant attacks were paid only Rs 75,000. If a member of a household becomes incapacitated for life due to an elephant attack he will receive Rs 100,000 as compensation.
(dn) Two youths were selected as the first youth delegates from Sri Lanka to the United Nations General Assembly to represent the country. Jayathma Wikramanayake and Aruthra Rajasingham, backed by academic and extracurricular talents, are now in New York participating in the programme.
Commenting on the achievement, National Youth Services Council (NYSC) chairman and Director General Lalith Pium Perera said this is a significant accomplishment for Sri Lankan youths to expand their exposure to international affairs and to contribute Sri Lankan youths’ point of view to the UN which will help shape the country’s image.
Rajasingham is a social worker who has worked extensively with youths. She has done her first degree in Social Work and is following her Masters in Development Practices at the Peradeniya University. Wikramanayake is an undergraduate of the Colombo University attached to the Science Faculty. She is an ex - participant of the Rio +20 summit.
(dn) The Royal Thai government donated funds to the Thai - Sri Lanka Buddhist Cultural Centre in Heiyanthuduwa.
Thai ambassador to Sri Lanka Poldej Worachat handed over the donations to Ven Rassagala Seewali Thero at the Buddhist Cultural Centre Premises. The Thai - Sri Lanka Buddhist Cultural Centre in Heiyanthuduwa was founded by Venerable Rassagala Seewali Thera with financial support from Wat Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand and Thai Buddhists.
The Thai - Sri Lanka Buddhist Cultural Centre conducts a large number of activities to enhance religious and cultural relations between Thailand and Sri Lanka.
(dn) Measures are in place to establish 325 Healthy Lifestyle Centres in Sri Lanka under the programme Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases implemented by the ministry to control NCDs, a Health Ministry spokesman said yesterday.
Several health services, including blood pressure tests, diabetes tests, eye clinics and dental clinics will be available at these healthy lifestyle centres. Awareness programmes on diet and physical fitness will also be held at these centres, the spokesman said.
The ministry planned to establish Healthy Lifestyle Centers in every Medical Officer of Health (MOH) area under the direction of Health Minister and Health Ministry Secretary.
(dn) Ice rain was reported in Galenbindunuwewa on Saturday for over 20 minutes ending the severe spell of drought in the area.
It fell as small and medium sized ice cubes and did not cause any injuries or damages to property, Galenbindunuwewa OIC Inspector Chanaka de Silva said.
He said the ice rain was accompanied by strong winds. Galenbindunuwewa received continuous rain on Saturday evening after the ice rain.
(dn) The Sri Lankan rupee strengthened against the US dollar closing around Rs. 128 last Friday.
Rupee strengthened to 128.30 against the Dollar on Friday, from an opening of 131.17 on Monday.
The rupee was initially trading around Rs, 110, a few months ago and analysts predict that the rupee will stabilize around Rs. 125.
(ognp) An International Cricket Council delegation led by ICC President Alan Isaac called on the President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple trees yesterday.
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga were also presented.
(cp) Chairman of Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) Amal Senadhilankara says that all arrangements have been made to hold the Korean language examination next week.
Accordingly, the Korean language proficiency examination to select the migrant employees for the jobs in South Korea will be held on October 13 and 14.
The examination is held at nine centers in Colombo and 34,200 individuals have qualified for the examination this year. Out of them 5,000 who pass the examination will be recruited for the employment in Korea, says the SLFEB chairman.
(dn) The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2013 - 2017 was finalised jointly by the government and the United Nations (UN) Agencies in consultation with the agencies to provide a strategic direction to implement UN supported projects and programmes in line with the development policy framework of the government.
The UNDAF, prepared for 2008 - 2012, focused on humanitarian assistance, poverty reduction, peace building and emergency assistance. It is expected to obtain financial and technical assistance from UN agencies to address the development priorities highlighted in the Mahinda Chinthana -Vision for the Future Development Policy Framework of the government, with the government's accelerated economic development initiatives.
The overall objective of the new framework for the next five year period is to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth with equitable access to quality social services and strengthen human capabilities.
(infolanka) Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday said that the CEB did not supply power to International Cricket Stadiums where ICC World T20 cricket matches are being played due to the precarious situation in power generation.
He said individual managements of Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pallekele and R. Premadasa International Cricket stadiums had made arrangements to purchase power from private power suppliers and installed power generators at each stadium.
“Though it is a major international sports event we have decided not to supply power as the CEB is in dire straits due to the drought prevailing in the country. The night matches are played during the peak hour. We do not want to give an opportunity for our detractors to charge that we have supplied power to major sports events despite the difficulties in power generation,” Minister Ranawaka stressed.
(dn) The National Museum Department has taken steps to set up a fully fledged museum in Hambantota. The old District Secretariat buildings will be utilized for this purpose.
These buildings will be renovated to retain their pristine glory before setting up of the museum, the Superintendent National Museums Ranjith Hewage said.
The museum will be named as the Hambantota Urumaya. Hewage said that a sum of Rs. 18 million has been allocated for this purpose by the Treasury.
(lbo) Sri Lanka has raised tobacco taxes from October 06, a notice posted on the island's customs office showed, to raise extract more money from citizens and cut a budget deficit stemming from unchecked state spending.
The tax hike came ahead of a budget for 2013 to be presented in parliament on November 08.
A notice on Sri Lanka's customs office said excise duty on tobacco on cigars had been raised to 7,000 rupees a kilogram (5,500 rupees in March), and cigarettes below 60 millimetres to 4,612 rupees per 1,000 units from 4,037 or 57.5 cents a ciggarrette. For cigarettes between 60 and 67 millimetres taxes were raised from 9,258 a kilogram from 8,112 in March for 1,000 units and for cigarettes between 67 and 72 millimetres taxes were raised to 12,100 rupees per 1,0000 from 10,953. For cigarettes between 72 and 84 millimetres taxes were raised to 14963 per 1,000 from 13,815 and for cigarettes of over 84 millimetres to 18,500 from 17,100 rupees in March.
(cp) Sri Lanka Customs today arrested an individual who was attempting to smuggle equipment used for stealing money from electronic teller machines.
The suspect, a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and India, has arrived in Sri Lanka from Chennai. He is a diploma holder for computer science and resides in Nellikulam in Vavuniya.
The CID said the seized equipment included a machine used in reading data from the banking cards and inserting data into them and 110 empty magnet cards used for producing credit cards.
(ognp) The first World Youth Summit to be held in the Asian region will be held in Sri Lanka in the year 2014. This has been officially intimated to Sri Lanka by the United Nations.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon officially intimated this to Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma when the Minister met him in New York on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly Sessions.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry said selection of Sri Lanka as the venue for the 2014 World Youth Summit is a victory achieved by the Sri Lankan government and the youth generation. The mission accomplished by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government in stabilizing democracy and peace and harmony would have been a factor for selecting Sri Lanka as the first Asian country to host this summit. It said that hosting the World Youth Summit would contribute towards a youth reawakening in the country.
(dn) The Department of Archaeology will build a museum at the entrance to Jaffna Fort. The work is to be completed before the end of this year, Archaeological Director General Senerath Dissanayake told the Daily news.
"A chamber inside a tunnel of the Jaffna Fort that will provide recreation to the visitors will be constructed," he explained. "The estimated renovation costs for the year is Rs104 million. Out of this amount, Rs 64 million is provided by the Netherlands government. The rest of the funding is provided by the Sri Lankan government," he said.
“This will help in the study of the history of the Jaffna Fort, while housing monuments that speak of its centuries old past,” he said. “Around 60 percent of the renovation programme of the Jaffna Fort has been completed by now.
(ognp) Increasing forest fires are likely to have a negative impact on the catchments areas where reservoirs are located and also on the supply of drinking water.They also could reduce the forest cover which may cause soil erosion and landslides. Soon it would be a threat in many ways.
All forests including forest reserves are administered by the Forest Conservation Department under the purview of the Environment Ministry and National Parks and Sanctuaries are administered by the Department of Wild Life. Most forest fires in Sri Lanka are man made. Some of the fires are ignited by burning cigarette butts thrown out by people while travelling by trains or through jungle terrain, ignition of unsystematic garbage disposed by maintenance workers and burning of dried up grassland by dairy farmers to pave the way for new grasslands.
Other factors include the burning of deteriorating forest cover to facilitate the chena cultivation and setting fire to forests by poachers to drive out game for poaching.
(ognp) The month of October has been declared as the National Reading Month by the National Library and Documentation Services Board. Accordingly the National Library decided to offer 10,000 one-year free membership during the National Reading Month in October 2012.
This offer can be made use of only by visiting the National Library during the opening hours in October 2012. Application forms can be obtained from the main counter of the Reader Services Division.
Opening hours of the National Library Tuesday and Thursday from 8.30 am to 6.15 pm. Monday,Wednesday,Friday and Saturday from 8.30 am to 4.15 pm (Closed on Sunday and other public holidays)
(firstpost) Sri Lanka’s minority Muslims condemned attacks on minority Buddhists in the Muslim-majority Bangladesh and demanded that authorities there punish those responsible.
NM Ameen, president of Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella organization of over 100 Muslim civil society groups, said Wednesday that any ethnic incident against minorities in Bangladesh or any other South Asian country “is surely to reflect in our country Sri Lanka too.”
About 7 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are Muslims, and 74 percent are mostly Buddhist Sinhalese.
He said his group handed over a letter to Bangladesh’s top diplomat in Sri Lanka, asking the country to ensure the safety of Bangladeshi Buddhists.
(dn) Sri Lanka has set in motion plans to develop a policy and regulatory framework for Next Generation Network and is also set to unveil a National Broadband Policy shortly.
Secretary to the President and chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) Lalith Weeratunga said the government is making many efforts to expand and develop the ICT sector and ensure equity of access.
He said one is to introduce a National Broadband Policy. He was speaking to the media after the inauguration and the morning session of the 12th Global Symposium for Regulators at Hotel, Hilton, Colombo. "The government of Sri Lanka gives very high priority to placing Sri Lanka at the cutting edge of new technologies, such as, broadband mobile and the spread of digital technology throughout the length and breadth of the country, particularly in the rural and remote areas, as we steer our country forward, in line with our vision and goal of making Sri Lanka the 'Wonder of Asia' and the key regional hub" Weeratunge said.
(dm) The US Embassy in Colombo announced that the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program, popularly known as the Green Card Lottery, will be accepting on-line applications starting on October 2, 2012.
Issuing a statement, the embassy said that the Diversity Visa Lottery allows 50,000 randomly selected applicants an opportunity to legally live and work or study in the United States each year, so long as they are selected and are born in a qualifying country (Sri Lanka and the Maldives both qualify) and that they meet either an educational or work experience qualification. In order to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery, please visit www.dvlottery.state.gov.
For more information about the program, as well as detailed instructions in English, Sinhala and Tamil, please see the U.S. Embassy Colombo’s website at: srilanka.usembassy.gov/visas/diversity-visa-lottery-program.html. The online application for the Diversity Visa Lottery is completely free. The lottery application period will be open from October 2, 2012 to November 3, 2012. Individuals wishing to participate in the visa lottery are strongly urged to apply early to avoid any possible delays. An applicant may only apply once; more than one entry will result in automatic disqualification.
(ognp) Minister of External Affairs Professor G. L. Peiris addressing the 67th Sessions of the UN General Assembly sessions yesterday emphasized that conflict resolution must be based on the United Nations principle of the sovereign equality of States, and deplored the selective intervention in the internal affairs of some countries by certain States.
He pointed out that In the conduct of international relations, Sri Lanka, a founding member of the NAM, firmly upholds the tenets of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect for each others’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and equality and mutual benefit.
Sri Lanka believes that in the settlement of international disputes, action must be based on the fundamental principle of sovereign equality of states, a principle firmly enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday invited all adults to join hands on World Children’s Day to work towards creating a better world for children in realizing its theme ‘Children’s World is for Children’. “The government has taken multiple initiatives to upgrade the status of children in many respects. We achieved the hardest but the essential thing, a peaceful country for children to grow up with pride.
In Sri Lanka, Children's Day is celebrated on October 1.
Children's Day is celebrated on various days in many places around the world, to honor children globally. It was established in 1954 to protect children working long hours in dangerous circumstances and allow all children access to an education. The UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should establish a Universal Children's Day on an "appropriate" day. Today, World Children's Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries.
(dn) Sri Lanka Telecom’s television arm PEO TV’s latest addition to its already diverse channel list comes in the form of “Shraddha TV”, a television channel focused on offering enlightenment to viewers through the philosophy of Buddhism.
The channel, which is a partnership between SLT PEO TV and Shraddha TV, will be telecasted from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on a daily basis under PEO TV Channel. (Number 99). The channel launch will also be available for viewing under local TV Channel TNL.
Shraddha TV would consist of programmes for viewers of all ages and would be presented in both Sinhala and English languages. Viewers would also be able to experience Shraddha TV in High Definition in future as all programming is conducted using state of the art HD technology.
(cp) Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) has taken steps to commence an academic course on care-giving envisaging a high demand for caregivers in European countries.
The SLFEB has signed an agreement with the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) to initiate a new program following international standards for qualified caregivers.
The course will cover knowledge and practical trainings required to care for the elderly persons. The OUSL has already set up the course schedules for Caregiver training and it hopes to continue the program in 30 other centers across the country.
(so) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) will offer 2,500 scholarships to children of migrant workers at a ceremony tomorrow at Temple Trees under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The scholarships, which are named Mahindabimani Scholarships will coincide with President Mahinda Rajapaksa's first day in office, 2,500 days ago.
The Bureau has also launched a scheme to offer short term vocational training courses such as Information Technology, English, foreign languages, motor mechanism and other training courses to children of migrant workers.
The distribution of scholarships to children of migrant workers was initiated by the Bureau in 1996 with 156 students and over 21,800 students have been awarded scholarships worth over Rs. 418 million.
(so) It sounds like a mash-up of Indian Jones' plots, but German researchers say a heavy statue connected to Buddhism brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that likely fell 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.
The statue also known as "iron man" to the researchers, is of unknown age, though the best estimates date the statue to sometime between the eighth and 10th centuries. The carving depicts a man, probably a Buddhist god, perched with his legs tucked in, holding something in his left hand. On his chest is a Buddhist swastika, a symbol of luck that was later co-opted by the Nazi party of Germany.
A chemical analysis of the iron man samples revealed they are a close match for a famous scattering of space rocks from the Siberia and Mongolian border. The Chinga meteorite field holds at least 250 meteorite fragments, most relatively small, though two topping 22 pounds (10 kg) have been found there. Scientists estimate the Chinga meteorite fell 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The field's first discovery was recorded in 1913, but the statue's existence suggests people were mining the field for artistic materials long before that, Buchner said.
(dn) The sister of Queen Mahamaya, the aunt of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, who was later the foster-mother of the Buddha was the first Bhiksuni-Buddhist Nun in Buddhism. On three occasions, the Blessed One, turned down her request. In her fourth attempt she was successful. It was Ven Ananda - the Secretary of the Blessed One - The "Dhammabandagarika" was the negotiator in her attempts.
Considering her appeals, Buddha gave the green light for the establishment of the Bhikkhuni Sasanaya or Bhikkuni Order, under Eight (8) strict disciplinary code of conduct called Garudamma ...
(ognp) The first round of annual bilateral consultations between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Kazakhstan took place in Colombo on 25th September 2012 at the Ministry of External Affairs.
The members of the delegation visited the Export Development Board and toured production facilities in Galle in furtherance of their desire to increase bilateral trade.
Preparations for the state visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Kazakhstan before the end of this year and a review of the status of a number of bilateral agreements which are currently being negotiated were also discussed during the consultations.
(cp) The Motor Traffic Department of Sri Lanka is to introduce an online network system for the registration and transfer of vehicles.
Once the new system is introduced, people could make their applications online and the process would be expedited.
Commissioner General of the Department, S.H. Harishchandra has told the local media that the online networking will be first introduced for the registration and transfer of motorbikes and the facility would later be introduced to cover other vehicles as well.
(island) The Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration yesterday said that it had issued instructions to the Police to take legal action against bus operators who failed to display the destination boards in Sinhala and Tamil.
Media Secretary to the Minister, Mahendra Harishchandra, said that the Ministry had repeatedly instructed the Private Bus Operators’ Association, Passenger Transport Authority and the Sri Lanka Transport Board to instruct all bus operators including the SLTB to use both languages to indicate the starting point of the journey and the destinations in the two languages.
Bus operators could be fined or given a six-month jail sentence for not displaying destination boards in Sinhala and Tamil.
(dn) Sahana Udaya Elder's Retreat Home in Aththidiya - Dehiwala was judged the Best Elder's Home in the Colombo District and the Western Province respectively, at the recently concluded 'Ran Da Bindu 2012' social welfare project evaluation programme.
These awards were presented at a ceremony held on September 22 graced by Western Province Health, Indigenous Medicines, Social Welfare and Women's Affairs, Probation and Childcare and Council Affairs Minister Jagath Angage, Western Province Social Services Director Anusha Gokula Fernando and Western Provincial Council members Sandya Siriwardene and Jagath Kumara.
(dn) As part of its technical cooperation programmes, KOICA is offering fellowship programmes to government officials and personnel to support the Human Resources Development (HRD) of Sri Lanka by sharing Korea's accumulated experiences in HRD and economic development.
In particular, KOICA is offering four country specific fellowship programmes to Sri Lanka in the fields of the Central and Local Governance, Economic Development, Capacity Development of Educators and Waste Management.
This fellowship programme is designed to transfer technical skills and knowledge and help Sri Lanka to build capacities of government officials and for sustainable development.
(dn) The Sri Lanka Navy seeks possibilities of equipping helicopter carrying ships for surveillance purposes in an area 200 nautical miles off the shores to prevent illegal activities and harness resources in the seas for the country's development in the government's bid to transform the country into the Miracle of Asia, the new Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage said.
He said that Sri Lanka Navy is amply equipped with vessels and craft, however, it is short of a ship with a helicopter on board that many other navies have and a ship with such modern technology would make it easier to prevent human smuggling which is being commendably controlled, drug trafficking and also preventing the emergence of another threat of an armed group in the country.
The Navy Commander also said in response to a question raised by a journalist that the Sri Lanka Navy would further tighten measures to curb illegal migration.
(ognp) Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tea Board has launched a vigorous campaign to promote Ceylon Tea in the United States. The focus of the campaign is to strategically and effectively position Ceylon Tea in the US market, which is currently experiencing a notable increase of tea consumption.
The guests were introduced to the seven agro-climatic brands of Ceylon Tea as they enjoyed the traditional Sri Lankan menu. The tables were named after the seven agro-climatic regions namely Dimbula, Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pussellawa, Sabaragmuwa, UVA, Kandy and Ruhuna. The teas belonging to each region were readily available for the guests to enjoy.
The Ceylon Tea campaign was launched in conjunction with the intersessional meetings of United Nations’ FAO Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea hosted by the US Tea Council at One Washington Circle Hotel from 17 to 18 September 2012 . The IGG meetings were attended by a number of tea producing and tea consuming countries and was followed by a well attended Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health on September 19, 2012 at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC.
(dn) The first Dhamma School in Jaffna will be opened on September 30 to revive Buddhism in the North which suffered neglect under three decades of LTTE terrorism.
The Tamil Buddhist Association will conduct the Dhamma School programme in Jaffna. It is hoped the move will lay the foundation to promote religious harmony between all ethnic groups in the Northern Province, Tamil Buddhist Association president A Ravi Kumar said.
Jaffna Mayor Logeshwari Pathgunaraja and Divisional Secretary Sundaram Arumageinayagam will open the school. Ven Meegahajandure Siri Wimala Thera of the Jaffna Naga Vihara said due to the LTTE’s dominance during the past 30 years, around 15,000 Tamil Buddhists who had membership of the Tamil Buddhist Association, had given up participating in social activities since the terrorists banned events conducted under a Buddhist theme.
(ognp) The Director of the Social Service Department Hemachandra Hewage said that disabled persons are getting many facilities under the Mahinda Chintana. He said that accordingly 3% of the disabled people are being provided employment in government institutions and vocational training centres. In addition to this separate health care activities are also being carried out for these persons.
Speaking further he said that the government also provides Rs. 250,000 for the ddifferently-abled persons for construction of houses, Rs. 20,000 as health care assistance and Rs. 25,000 for self employment.
Mr.Hewage said that Differently-abled citizens do not expect sympathy but a positive endorsement from society and equal place. He also pointed out that 11,216 differently-abled persons in the Divisional Secretariat Divisions at the rate of 34 persons from each Division are being provided monthly payment of Rs. 3,000 each and it has been planned to increase this number and the amount to Rs. 5,000 and to 16,600 persons from next year.
(dn) The School for Tourism Studies was opened in Eruthayapuram, Batticaloa yesterday.
Former Eastern Provincial Council member P Prasanthan was the Chief Guest. Director Vijitha Nugegoda said the education curriculum of the school will promote tourism and the tourist industry not only in Batticaloa but all over the island.
(dn) There are opportunities for more than 10,000 trained workers in the United Arab Emirates in various fields including security service, hotel sector, catering service and factories.
The process has already been initiated to send 1,000 trained employees to the United Arab Emirates, said Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Company chairman Senaka Abeygunasekara.
(il) The Kandy Municipal Council unanimously passed a resolution banning the slaughter of cattle and goats within the Kandy municipal limits with effect from yesterday .
The present slaughterhouse is on land belonging to the Sudhumpola Raja Maha Vihare, and no Mahanayake, Municipal Council or politician had been able, in the past, to close it down. The Council’s Leader of the Opposition, Nerajan Wijeyaratne, a former Diyawadana Nilame, tabled the resolution to the effect that the slaughtering of cattle and goats should be stopped and the building be converted into an animal hospital.
This was the first such resolution since the council was established 147 years ago.. The slaughterhouse is to be closed and the building is to be The WPC was the first provincial council (PC) to approve the Bill after the Supreme Court used for a hospital for animals.
(dn) The ancient Victoria Park Curator's Bungalow is to be converted into a Museum by Nuwara Eliya Mayor Kumara Dodambage for the benefit of the large foreign and local holiday crowds who throng this Garden City of Eden.
According to the Mayor, the new Museum will comprise pictures and information from the British colonial times, Sir Samuel Baker and Governor Barns era, in addition to facts relating to historical places in Nuwara Eliya and other places in the hill country. The Victoria Park figures as one of the parks which was founded during the British times.
(ognp) The connecting of the Jaffna peninsula to the national electricity grid after a period of 25 years will take place today under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapakse. The President will also inaugurate the operation of the Killinochchi sub station of the Ceylon Electricity Board and the 132 KW transmission line from Vavuniya to Killinochchi today.
The Jaffna Peninsula is to be linked by way of 33KW transmission line from the Kilinochchi substation and construction of another 132KW transmission line from the Killinochchi substation to Chunnakam in Jaffna is in progress under the second stage of the project.
Referring to the Sampur Coal Power Plant project, the Minister said that there is only a technical problem relating to the launching of the project and the Electricity Board is presently holding discussions to resolve this issue. The Minister also disclosed that a 500 megawatt power plant will be established in Trincomalee and another power plant will be established in the Colombo district.
(ognp) The Ministry of Health informed that the number of patients affected by various types of cancer in Sri Lanka has alarmingly increased since 2009. It said that around 14,000 cases had been detected since 2009 and it has reached an annual figure of 20,000.
The Ministry said 10 types of cancers such as oral, cervical, thyroid, esophagus, lung, womb, breast, rectum, brain, blood, and prostrate are common in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Paranagama said that about 90 per cent of the oral cancer cases were due to chewing betel.with lime, tobacco and arecanut which contain substances that could cause cancer.
(dn) Queen of the Sinhala cinema, Malini Fonseka has been accorded the honour of being invited to be a member of the jury at the International Film Festival in India.
Dr Lester James Peris was the only Sri Lankan film personality before this to have sat as a jury member at this prestigious film awards ceremony.
The film festival is billed to take place in Goa from November 20 to December 1. Malini said she will leave for India on November 18 to participate as a member of the jury at the awards ceremony.
(cp) Sri Lankan authorities say that there would not be any internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country from today.
Accordingly 1,186 people belonged to 361 families will leave the Manik Farm IDP camp in Vavuniya today.
Security Forces Commander, Major General Boniface Perera, who is the Competent Authority for IDPs in the Northern region, has told the media that the last group of over 300,000 displaced persons during the war in the North will return to their original hometowns in the Mullaitivu District today.
(ognp) The Government of India has accepted the Sri Lankan request for relaxation in the requirement of fabric sourcing for 5 million pieces of Ready Made Garments (RMG) export to India and necessary approval processes are underway for providing exemption to this condition, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said yesterday.
During the visit of Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles, Government of India, to Sri Lanka in August 2012, the Government of Sri Lanka had raised the issue of relaxation in the TRQ condition for fabric sourcing for 5 million pieces of Ready Made Garments (RMG) export to India and collaboration in Textiles sector for revival of the textiles industry in Sri Lanka. Anand Sharmahad promised to give favorable consideration to both the requests.
India has an abiding vision of a prosperous South Asia, in which all countries of the region grow together. This implies, on India's part, providing preferential and asymmetrical access to its markets, without demanding reciprocal concessions. The FTA, signed between India and Sri Lanka in 1998 and operationalized in 2000, was the harbinger of this approach based on asymmetrical obligations.
(st) Authorized money changers (AMCs) have been given an extended deadline to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems at their business premises or face the threat of closure.
The money changers were initially informed that they should install the CCTV systems by August 31 but the deadline was extended till December 31, 2012 after they wrote to the Exchange Controller saying the decision to keep their place of business under surveillance 24 hours from a remote location is counterproductive and detrimental to the development of the country’s money changing trade in general.
However Exchange Controller P.H.O.Chandrawansa said in response that installation of CCTV systems is a common security feature in financial institutions including off site ATMs and that it not only enhances safety of the customers but also the security of the place of business in a minimum interventional manner.
(ognp) "Diyatha Uyana", the new dedicated horticulture sales zone catering the sales and marketing of local flora and tropical flowers at Battaramulla was declared open on 15th September.
The project was carried out under the close guidance and supervision of Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The combined efforts and expertise of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, The Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Civil Security Department personnel utilized in the construction of the project.
"Diyatha Uyana" comprises of 84 floral outlets built in an environment with a breathtaking landscape and setting. The spectacular water fountain built here adds much beauty to the whole place. "Diyatha Uyana", will be the central point of the local horticultural sales industry and already it has become quite a popular place.
(ognp) The visiting delegation of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) during their interaction in Jaffna, called on the Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J) with a view to receiving an update on current affairs and security in the peninsula.
Besides their meetings with Jaffna Bishop Most Rev. Fr. Dr. Thomas Saundaranayagam and District Secretary for Jaffna Mr S Arumainayagam, the delegation led by Mr Hanny Megally, Chief Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch of OHCHR met Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander, SFHQ-J where the delegation received a comprehensive account of what the Army has been doing before, during the war and in the post conflict period.
Major General Hathurusinghe, during his interaction with the OHCHR team recalled how both Sinhala and Tamil communities lived in harmony for generations and how interested parties destroyed those bonds of goodwill.
(dn) The Buddha’s message of tolerance and understanding is of great relevance today, as we see the tragic results of enmity and hatred towards other faiths leading to violence and destruction, and great loss to societies.
It is of equal importance in the East and West alike, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the ‘Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies’, at Madhya Pradesh, India, yesterday. He said “in practising this message, the great Emperor Asoka, honoured and supported all religions in his empire.
“He declared that one should not honour only one’s own religion and condemn the religions of others, but one should honour the faiths of others, as well.” “The federal structure and the emergence of states has not erased our vision of India as a single land of friendship with the great bonds of history.
(ognp) Exercise ‘Cormorant Strike III’, the three-week long joint military exercise, now underway in the East with the participation of 40 foreign military personnel, is reaching its final phase with several daring mock features.
The third of this kind began on 10th September after a comprehensive briefing before all military personnel under training proceeded to Verugal and Batticaloa areas for the Exercise proper.
Brigadier Ruwan Kulatunge, Director, Exercise ‘Cormorant Strike III’ said that 9 teams of 8-member Special Forces, together with the trainees of the ‘Cormorant Strike III’ are receiving training in the company of 11 officers and 29 other ranks of the Armed Forces in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and India.
(ognp) Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake declared open the Navy’s 07th Command in the South-eastern Naval Area at its headquarters in Panama on Thursday (20th).
Commander of the newly-established South-eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Calixtus Jayakody, senior naval officers attached to NHQ and naval personnel of the area were also present on the occasion.
The new naval command provides in-depth security to the area and will assist the uplift of infrastructure development and welfare of the people. Naval presence of the new command will be a deterrent to smuggling activities and illegal fishing along the South-eastern coast and the adjoining seas.
(ognp) Japanese Education Seminar 2012 will be held at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) Auditorium (BMICH), Bauddhaloka Mawatha Colombo 7 on Saturday 22nd September from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
This is the second successive seminar organized by the Embassy of Japan together with the Japanese Graduates Alumni Association of Sri Lanka (JAGAAS) and the Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE) in order to assist students interested in obtaining a first class university education in Japan that will become a launching pad for a bright future career. Admission to this seminar is free of charge.
This year Japan and Sri Lanka are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations marking a long period of mutual cooperation in many fields including the academic field. Japan warmly welcomes students from Sri Lanka to successfully pursue higher studies in one of the prestigious universities of Japan and also appreciate and enjoy the beautiful friendly country.
(dn) Lobsters will soon be extinct from the Southern Coastal belt, according to fisheries development officers.
They said the killing of lobsters that bear eggs and catching of small lobsters by unruly fisherfolk have threatened the existence of the species.
They said a lobster bears hundreds of eggs. Killing lobsters that bear eggs paves the way for the destroying of small lobsters that would have been born.
(ognp) Seekers of economic asylum in the guise of seeking political refuge in Western countries saying that Sri Lanka is unsafe for them to live due to political and ethnic reasons are now facing deportation from their dream destinations.
Meanwhile Sri Lankan asylum seekers are reported to be returning willingly from both Australia and India. Reports said that around 14 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on Christmas Island have opted to return home. Another group of 70 Sri Lankans who had been staying in Camps in South India returned last Tuesday.
Following Australia taking tough action to prevent human trafficked asylum entering its shores, the United Kingdom yesterday deported another group of 60 Sri Lankan asylum seekers and visa over stayers. The UK authorities have deported them, This is the fifth batch the U.K. authorities have deported in the recent times, amidst efforts by pro - LTTE elements in Britain to prevent British authorities from carrying out the deportations.
(dn) There will be a traffic diversion except for passenger transport buses and light vehicles in Pallekele during T20 Cricket World Cup matches in the Pallekele International Cricket Grounds from September 21 to October 1.
During this period daily from 12 noon to midnight, heavy vehicles including containers, lorries and trucks travelling from Mahiyanganaya should proceed to Madawala via Digana to reach Katugastota. From Katugastota, they have access to Kandy, Kurunegala and Matale. Heavy vehicles travelling from Kandy to Mahiyanganaya should go to Katugastota and proceed to Madawala and Digana. SLTB and private passenger buses can travel on the Kandy-Mahiyanganaya road via Pallekele.
(ognp) A programme has been initiated by the Ministry of Economic Development in conjunction with other relevant ministries and institutions to revive the textile industry in Sri Lanka along with the apparel industry.
Sri Lanka earlier had a well expanded textile industry consisting of handlooms, powerlooms, fabric and cotton industries. But all these sectors were closed down after Sri Lanka introduced the free economic policy said Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the President and Minister of Economic Development when he met the Indian Textile Industry delegationon Wednesday (19) at the Ministry of Economic Development.
A high-level Indian textile delegation arrived in Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral textile and garment trade between the two countries. The delegation, which is on a three-day visit , comprises of both high-ranking Government officials and representatives of major private sector textile and apparel companies. The visiting team consists of high-ranking Ministry of Textiles officials Mrs. Kiran Dhingra, V. Srinivas, Mrs. Sunaina Tomar and JP Dutt. The delegation also includes representatives of various textile and apparel associations such as Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL), and Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL).
(dn) Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane directed ministry officials to promote rice based food products among Sri Lankans to make maximum use of the surplus rice of the country.
The Post Harvest Technology has introduced various rice based food products, such as, noodles, rice biscuits, rice breads, rice based soup cubes, rice flakes etc. "Rice Cream" was introduced recently instead of Ice Cream.
"Due to the government's various agriculture development programmes, the country is now self sufficient in rice. So it is necessary to promote value added rice based food products to make use of surplus rice." said Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywaraden. He said when there is a surplus of food, prices come down. If there is a market for rice based food products, the demand for rice will increase.
(dn) freeshTV, a novel webTV was launched in Colombo yesterday. Targeting 50, 000 eye balls this year, freesh TV has been produced by Sri Lankan, for Sri Lankan of all the world.
"We haven't differences of cultures, religions or origins. All Sri Lankans are the equal to us," said freesh TV CEO Suranga Deshapriya Katugampala.
"This is a platform from where people can watch videos based on "demand" philosophy. It's completely different than television, with a different idea and a different vision of the world." In Sri Lanka, the word "webTV" is commonly used without a clear idea, but it's so difficult find a website where this word is really developed or where there are contents compatible to all family members.
(ognp) The first ever National Bamboo Processing initiative will be kicked off at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo today (Sep. 19).
The project, ‘Bamboo Processing for Sri Lanka’, a UNIDO-Government of Sri Lanka-GEF initiative aims at developing a bamboo supply chain and process industry in the country, for the first time in history of Sri Lanka.
“This initiative is expected to develop a new industrial bamboo sector in Sri Lanka to make it internationally competitive and also to be a provider for food, flooring, and alternative biomass energy, among others. The targeted beneficiaries are rural households which harvest bamboo from the countryside and river banks, said Mr.Nawaz Rajabdeen, Head of UNIDO, Colombo.
(ognp) The fifth National Conference on Reconciliation was held under the patronage of Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge at the auditorium of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies ( LKIIRSS) in Colombo Tuesday evening (18th).
Organized by the LKIIRSS under the topic of the role of Information Communications Technology in Reconciliation the event was attended by a number of experts, policy makers, entrepreneurs and academia engaged in post conflict reconciliation processes through ICT in different capacities, in order to give thought-leadership in formulating more cohesive strategies in leveraging ICT as a platform for reconciliation.
The institute's blog site was also launched Tuesday. Sessions were conducted by Reshan Dewapura, CEO of ICTA, Mahesh Perera, Director of IT of the Parliament, and Dr Charles Eugene of the University of Jaffna. Presentations were also made by Dr Manodha Gamage, Dr Arul Sivagananatham, Ramesh Shanmuganathan and Mano Sekaram.
(dn) Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday stated in Parliament that no steps have been taken to set up a Tourist Zone in the Yala National Park.
He made this observation in response to a question raised by UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana, MP. Pathirana questioned as to whether there was a plan to set up a Tourist Zone in a large extent of land belonging to the Yala National Park adjoining the Yala Village Hotel located in the Tissamaharama Divisional Secretariat Division in Hambantota district.
(cp) Sri Lanka Department of Archaeology has commenced studies on an ancient tunnel recently discovered in the central hill country.
The entrance to the tunnel was discovered accidentally as the earth was being removed using earth moving machinery for a construction.
Nuwara Eliya District Secretary D.P.G. Kumarasiri has visited the site. The tunnel is 10 feet tall and expands to three sides from the middle according to the official. The area has been declared as a restricted entry area and the studies have been started.
(ognp) The 14th International Book Exhibition will commence this morning at the BMICH. It will be held until the 26th of this month from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm each day.
There will be 410 exhibition stalls including 15 stalls from foreign publishers. The theme of this year's exhibition is "let us dedicate ourselves for the welfare of the children".
The Chairman of the exhibition committee Samantha Indeevara said that there will be several other entertainment and cultural events in connection with the exhibition to make it more colourful. A free of charge transport service will be in operation to facilitate the visitors.
(dn) Daily News Deputy Features Editor Sachitra Mahendra’s Sinhala novel Didulana Duhuvilla was chosen as the Best Buddhist Novel by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress for the Buddhist Literary Festival 2012, which will be held at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress Hall on September 20 at 2.30 pm.
Mahendra is author of four English and Sinhala publications. He is also the Editor of the Daily News Vesak Annual Buddha Pradeepa It’s a Sarasaviya production.
(dn) The Chinese national who was taken into custody in connection with the theft of Rs.1,8 million diamond from an exhibition at BMICH said that he was willing to pay for the diamond.
The National Gem and Jewellery Authority informed that the diamond retrieved is a fake. Police further informed that the passport or the photos of the missing suspect are still to be recovered.
In this case the suspect was caught in the act on CCTV camera. He was allegedly accompanied by another who escaped. The court earlier ordered the immigration authorities to keep a tab on the suspect.
(dn) The opening campaign to set up new or upgraded libraries in schools that lack library facilities in remote and rural areas launched under 'EDEX Live your Dream' programme will gather momentum during the Colombo International Book Fair 2012 to be held from today 18 to September 28 at the BMICH.
Several new or upgraded libraries have been set up in seven districts under the programme whilst a number of bulk book donations have also been made since the project was launched in January this year.
A special counter will be set up to receive new books or books in reusable condition in curricula related categories, dictionaries, encyclopaedia, English language education, latest IT education, story books, recommended novels suitable for primary to senior students in all languages. 'Reuse of books' reduces use of paper, saves trees and the planet.
(ognp) West Indies cricket legend and International Cricket Council Hall-of-Famer Brian Lara met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at temple trees yesterday.
The President and Lara discussed the progress Sri Lanka has made in the sports sector and the island's achievements in cricket as well as in athletics.
Lara has commented that he has visited the island several times and never witnessed so much development in the country.
(ognp) "World Spice Food Festival ’ is an annual culinary event and it publicizes internationally our reputation of being a country blessed abundantly with spices , having historical links with countries of far East and Asia. This Spice Food Festival has been in the calendar of events of Sri Lanka Tourism since 2005.
The public event “Hawkers’ street food promotion” is scheduled to take place at ‘Board Walk’ of Waters Edge ,Battaramulla from 05th to 07th October 2012 this year.
Sri Lanka Tourism initiated this event in 2005 in order to popularize spiced cuisine among foreign visitors and to offer more dining options for both local and foreign visitors in Hotels & Restaurants. Further, it is also expected to have Sri Lankan counterparts given cross exposures in international spiced cuisine.
(ognp) Sri Lanka Convention Bureau which deals with up market high end foreign visitors, released the first ever Poetry Brochure on Sri Lanka which consists of 55 verses depicting the history, past glory, Ethnic and religious harmony and diversity of attractions in the country.
The Poet Yohanka Jayasuriya has given the Bureau exclusive rights for the publication of the Lyric in a colorful brochure printed by Selecine.
The poetry which begins from Prehistoric times , goes on to boast countries’ advance civilization and the engineering marvels, tourist attractions and the rich culture which encourage readers to pass on the presentation of the poems to likeminded friends and relatives and visitation to important sites in Sri Lanka.
(xinhuanet) Sri Lanka briefed a visiting team from the UN human rights office on the resettlement of thousands of war-displaced people, the government said on Saturday.
Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, who is also a senior advisor to the president, told the delegation that the human rights of the displaced and resettled people in the north and east of the country will be protected, the minister's office said in a statement.
The delegation headed by Hanny Megally, the Chief of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and North African Branch of the UN office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, includes Oscar Solers, the human rights officer at the UN human rights office. The delegation is in Sri Lanka after a resolution was adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in March calling on the Sri Lankan government to implement a set of recommendation of a local war commission and also in the process obtain technical advice from the UN human rights office headed by the UN human rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay.
(ognp) New agreement aims to deliver great travel experiences to MasterCard cardholders and promote Sri Lanka as a premier travel destination for tourists in India.
MasterCard cardholders traveling to Sri Lanka will soon have even more reasons to enjoy there stay. MasterCard Worldwide and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau have signed an agreement yesterday (14) to facilitate the development of cross border tourism, with a specific focus on attracting India’ s tourists.
The five year agreement aims to promote Sri Lanka as a premier tourist destination for Indian travelers and deliver great travel experiences for MasterCard and Maestro cardholders through special offers and benefits.
(dn) The annual Colombo International Book Fair will be held from September 18 to 26 at the BMICH, Colombo. The fair this year is dedicated to children. Children from all races will open the fair.
The entire income from the Rs 10 entrance fee is used for projects such as the Daru Diriya Scholarship Fund and the School Library Development Fund.
The fair will consist of 410 stalls including 40 foreign participants.
(dm) Sri Lanka is lobbying the support of friendly US congressmen to defeat a resolution tabled in the House of Representatives by seven congressmen demanding an international inquiry into alleged violations of the international humanitarian law during the war in Sri Lanka, officials said.
When asked for a comment, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunaratne Amunugama said the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington Jaliya Wickramasuriya had been asked to lobby friendly congressmen for their support to defeat this resolution.
“The tabling of the resolution does not mean much. Yet, our ambassador will work to defeat it,” he said.
(ognp) Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, met with Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, at the Ministry for a discussion of developments since their last meeting in Washington, D.C. in March this year.
(dn) The gateway Graduate School which sets a bench mark in international schools in Sri Lanka, opened their new Gateway Graduate School branch at Bampalapitiya on Tuesday, with a view to provide a wide access to the growing student demand.
"The Gateway Graduate School which started 15 years ago strives to maintain the standards in the private education sector and consider having regulatory frameworks to control and monitor international schools is important. As the country has no specific guidelines for private and international schools it is essential to have a mechanism to regulate these institutions, Gateway Graduate School Director Dr. Harsha Alles said.
The occasion also marked the Gateway signing of the MoU with Nottingham Trent University UK. The two institutions will develop articulation pathways in many areas of study. Plans are already afoot to provide an articulation pathway to the Diploma holders in teaching to complete a BA in Education in Sri Lanka.
(ftlk) The Government and the United Nations, Sri Lanka yesterday signed a historic agreement for Digital Data Dissemination aimed reducing the impact of disasters in the country and for the betterment of the economy and the environment as well.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in the last 34 years natural disasters have killed more than 37,000 Sri Lankans. As recently as November 2010, heavy monsoon rains triggered devastating floods in parts of the country, affecting close to 1.2 million people (319,451 families). Thousands of families lost their livelihoods. Some 30,000 houses were partially damaged or completely destroyed and 300,000 hectares of rice paddy was ruined. The economic cost of disasters over the last ten years in Sri Lanka exceeded Rs. 257 billion, or $ 1.95 billion dollars.
Survey Department of Sri Lanka Surveyor General Mahesh Fernando said that this agreement, “Will assist in addressing information gaps in disaster management by improving how disaster related information is analysed, as well facilitating better decision making.” Both the Government and UNOCHA underscored the pivotal role that common data standards make towards making disaster preparedness and response activities more efficient and effective.
(island) The Telecommuni-cations Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) had taken steps to assign new frequencies to all radio stations in the country with effect from Nov. 1, its Director General Anusha Palpita told The Island yesterday (13).
According to Palpita, Radio stations which had more than five frequencies would have two, while stations with fewer than five frequencies, would have one. Radio stations which got one frequency would get countrywide coverage, he said, adding that steps had also been taken to increase the gap between radio stations from 0.2 to 0.3.
Palpita explained that a radio station with three or four frequencies meant for different parts of the country may be given a single frequency with countrywide coverage.
(ognp) Parliamentarians who are presently in the island attending the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in Colombo arrived in Jaffna for a visit today in a special flight.
The delegation received warm welcome at the Palaly airport on their arrival today morning. Mr. Douglas Devananda,Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development , Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe ,Commander Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) and Mr. S. Arumainayagam,Government Agent Jaffna were present at the airport to welcome the Commonwealth Parliamentarians.
Later, the delegation set off to get first hand experience on the progress of government-augmented development work and to see housing projects and resettlement areas in Jaffna.
(dn) The government is considering lifting its travel advisory on Tamil Nadu in about a couple of weeks after monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu where Sri Lankan pilgrims came under attack, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama said yesterday.
Amunugama said they were monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu. “There have been improvements. Our High Commission in Chennai is closely monitoring the situation,” he said. “ It will take a few weeks to assess the situation.
There has been no incidents since the last attack,” Amunugama said. “We will lift the travel advisory once the situation in Tamil Nadu is safe for Sri Lankans. It could happen in couple of weeks provided the conditions are safe for Sri Lankan visitors,” he said.
(ognp) Sri Lanka has decided to declare October 11 of each year as the International Day of the Girl Child. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal made in this regard by Tissa Katalliyadda, Minister of Child Development and Women's Affairs.
The day is declared with a view to ensuring social security, parental care and also to provide suitable solutions to the impediments faced by the child in the day to day life in the fields of education, health, sports etc
The International Day of the Girl Child will give people and organizations the opportunity to raise public awareness of the different types of discrimination and abuse that many girls around the world suffer from.
(cp) Central Bank of Sri Lanka has agreed to the Human Rights Council to use all three national languages in currency notes.
The issue was taken up by the Human Rights Council as the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) filed a petition pointing out that the Central Bank has not used Tamil language in an important statement in currency notes.
Tamil language is the second major language in Sri Lanka spoken mainly by the Tamil and Muslim communities. Sri Lanka Constitution guarantees equal rights to all three languages.
(dn) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to meet new Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on September 20 during his official visit to India, External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris said.
Addressing a press conference at the ministry yesterday, the minister said the President is a special invitee at the foundation laying ceremony for an international Buddhist University in Sanchi on September 21.
He said periodic meetings and regular interaction with the highest political authority in Delhi is a usual practice which Sri Lanka pursues to strengthen bilateral relations.
(ognp) Sacred Kapilavastu Relics brought to Sri Lanka by Kumari Selja, Minister of Culture, on 19 August will be taken back to India toady after a successful conclusion of the exposition at ten venues in Sri Lanka.
The Kapilavastu Relics had arrived in a special aircraft of the Government of India and will leave for India in a special aircraft organized by the Government of Sri Lanka.
All the four Mahanayakas, Members of the Maha Sangha, Minister of Culture and Arts of Sri Lanka and a number of Senior Officials would be accompanying the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics on their return journey to India. In a ceremony at the Colombo International Airport, hundreds of Buddhist monks will chant pirith before the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics leave Sri Lanka for India.
(dn) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called on the visiting Commonwealth Parliamentarians to make use of the opportunity to learn about the real Sri Lanka in its post- conflict era, when the highest priority is given to nation building through reconciliation.
“Your presence in Sri Lanka gives you a good opportunity to see for yourselves the progress of democracy in our country, after the major threat it faced under terrorism. This is important in the context of the barrage of lies being spread about Sri Lanka today. As you will see, there is full freedom of travel to any part of the country. You can also speak to anyone, from the government or the Opposition and different communities. I urge you to make use of this opportunity to learn of the real Sri Lanka, in its post-conflict era, when the highest priority is given to nation building through reconciliation,” President Rajapaksa said inaugurating the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Colombo.
(island) Many an eyebrow has been raised over the British High Commission arranging a special flight for a group of visiting British and Canadian politicians here for the 58th sessions of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to visit the North.
Although the government was ready to organize visits to the former war zones, the British HC had sought approval to arrange a special tour on its own.
A senior official told ‘The Island’ that the government had given the green light in spite of having reservations. He alleged that a section of the international community was still pursuing an international war crimes inquiry into accountability issues in Sri Lanka. Asked whether the government was under pressure to give diplomatic missions access to former operational areas, the official said, that since the eradication of terrorism in May 2009 Sri Lanka was a free country.
(ognp) A delegation representing African National Congress Progressive Business Forum (ANCPBF) during their visit to Jaffna on Saturday (08) met Jaffna’s civil administrative and military officials.
Deputy Minister Ms Hlenglwe Buhle Mkize and the team of ANCPBF members first met the Government Agent Jaffna S. Arumainayakam and visited a few important places in Jaffna including the Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Atchuvely industrial park and Navatkuli Palmyra Research Centre in the morning.
Saturday afternoon, they arrived in the Headquarters Security Forces - Jaffna (HQSF-J) at Palaly to be briefed on security situation and Army’s role in post war Jaffna. Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, Brigadier General Staff SF-J received them and explained them the Army’s contribution to Jaffna’s development programmes launched by the government. The visiting delegation was also educated on livelihood programmes initiated by the Army for Ex-LTTE combatants as well as other welfare projects meant to improve living standard of low-income families in Jaffna.
(dn) I emigrated to the United Kingdom (UK) in my twenties over half-a-century ago and worked until retirement in 2001. As retirees, my wife and I now live in Costa Blanca, Spain, captivated by the lure of sea, sun and sand.
The occasional glass of Sangria or red wine adds to our sense of well-being. I am writing this on my laptop sitting on our front terrace as the summer sun streams through cascades of red and scarlet bougainvillea.
This is the sort of life retired expatriates, like us who live in Spain's Costas enjoy. They know that they have only a few more years and want to indulge in harmless diversions while still alive on earth. Indeed, the World Health Organizations (WHO) has put on record that living in this part of Spain, eating a Mediterranean diet, can prolong your life span by an extra ten years.
(ognp) SriLankan Airlines received the title of Best Airline Operator from South Asia for an amazing sixth time, at the annual Kuala Lumpur International Awards 2011 which recognize the finest airlines operating into Malaysia.
SriLankan’s Head of Service Delivery Chanaka Olagama said: “SriLankan has won this award in six of the seven years that it has been presented. This is indeed an extraordinary achievement by our team in Kuala Lumpur and our worldwide sales team.”
Airlines are judged on a series of criteria which include passenger numbers, growth in passenger numbers, sales performance, international recognition and service performance. The KLIA Awards are presented by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhard to honour all partners operating at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), including airlines (passenger, low cost and cargo), food & beverage outlets, and retail businesses.
(cp) Sri Lanka police have decided to get tough with drunk drivers from today, police spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police Ajith Rohana said.
The police headquarters said that round the clock raids will be conducted from today to nab drunk drivers and all police stations have been informed in this regard.
Persons found to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated will be subjected to a fine of 2,000 rupees, three months imprisonment and one year suspension of the driving license. The fine for driving a passenger transport vehicle consuming alcohol will be 3,000 rupees, six months imprisonment and cancellation of the driving license.
(ognp) Over 1,000 delegates from 54 Commonwealth countries are in Sri Lanka at present to participate in the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Conference. Their presence in the country will provide an excellent opportunity to provide accurate information on peace and stability in thecountry to the international community.
The 58th Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference will be ceremoniously inaugurated tomorrow by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Arts Theatre. The President is also the Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association while Queen Elizabeth II of Britain is the Patron.
The theme of the Conference this year is ‘Ensuring a Relevant Commonwealth for the Future’. The Conference will also be addressed tomorrow by CPA Secretary General Dr. William F. Shija and Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma. The Chairperson of CPA is Rt. Sir Alan Hasehurst, MP, a member of the UK House of Commons.
Sri Lanka Provincial Council Results 2012 (dn)
(so) The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine has launched a project to popularise Ayurvedic Medicine in Japan. The first branch of the Sri Lanka Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation (SLADC) will be opened in Tokyo soon, said Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake.
The first consignment of Ayurvedic medicine exported to Japan and traditional Ayurvedic medicine and the Ayurvedic treatment will be displayed at the Japan-Sri Lanka Festival from September 8-12 at the Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, the minister said.
The head of the Dhafanvir company in Tokyo, Reigen Masami Sugasaka held a series of discussions with the SLADC and ministry officials with regard to the setting up of the SLADC branch in Tokyo and the packaging of Ayurvedic medicine for the Japanese market, the minister said.
(ognp) Polling in the three provincial council elections for the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern provinces started at 7.00 a.m. this morning. Brisk polling is reported from all the areas and voters are reported to have queued up since early morning to cast their votes. At least two Policemen will be on duty at every Polling Booth.
3.36 million voters are eligible to cast votes in the three provinces to elect 108 provincial council members. There are 3073 candidates in the fray. 1619 of them are candidates from registered Political parties and 1454 are Independent candidates.
There are 895 polling booths in the North Central Province, 1189 in the Sabaragamuwa Province, and 1163 in th Eastern Province. Several thousand election monitors have been deployed by the election monitoring organizations and the Paffrel organization has assigned 2000 monitors in all the three provinces.
(dn) The Sri Lankan rupee has shown some stability against the dollar during the last few weeks due to the Central Bank's effort for the free flow of rupee. The Central Bank also looks for ways to tighten monetary policy to enhance stability, sources said.
The Sri Lankan rupee had now stabilized between Rs 130/131 level during the last few weeks because of the government's prudent fiscal discipline, Director General Department of Fiscal Policy Ministry of Finance and Planning K.M.M Siriwardena said. He said the rupee expects to reach sustained appreciation towards the end of this year. The reasons being that Sri Lankan current foreign reserves have also reached US 7.1 billion, with International Monetary Funds loan, which was a healthy situation for the economy Siriwardena said.
The Central Bank has forecast 7.2 percent economic growth this year, after revising it down in March from the original 8 percent. Growth last year was a record 8.3 percent.
(ognp) Indian origin Tamil Businessmen in Sri Lanka who are reputed business tycoons in the Jewellery, textile, and import trades shut down their business establishment in the Sea Street, Old Moor Street, Pettah and Fort for several hours yesterday and staged a protest against the recent attack of Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu.
This is the first time that such a protest was held by the Indian origin businessmen in Sri Lanka.
When the protesters attempted to march to the Indian High Commission Office, the Police prevented the move and allowed only a delegation to visit the Indian High Commission Office. Accordingly owners of 5 leading trading establishments headed by the Chairman of the Ranjanas Group of Companies K. Doraisamy handed over a letter to the Indian High Commission Counsellor N Achariya to be sent to Indian President Pranab Mukerjee, Prime Minister Manamohan Singh, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and Opposition Leader of Tamil Nadu M Karunanidhi.
(dn) One road death occurs every four hours in Sri Lanka due to motor accidents and 100-110 road accidents occur each day in Sri Lanka, Traffic Administration and Road Safety Director Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) K. Arasaratnam told the Daily News, recently.
"At present, there are over 4.5 million registered vehicles in the country and half of them are motor cycles and they are the reason for most of motor accidents which occur in Sri Lanka," he added. He said that the number of deaths reported due to accidents is higher than the deaths caused by dengue and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).
He urged the public to be more careful when they are driving, travelling and walking on the roads and to support the Police to protect and implement the rules and regulations in a correct manner.
(ognp) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has taken a project to establish a new thermal power plant in Jaffna at a cost of Rs.4,000 million.
The project while providing 24 hour uninterrupted power to the Jaffna peninsula and supplying electricity to certain areas in the Kilinochchi district continuously after powering the high tension line in Kilinochchi, Chunkanam, will also help to uplift livelihood of people in Jaffna.
The new power plant with three thermal power generating machines, one machine having a capacity to generate 8.6 MWs, will be established in Chunnakam on the direction of Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. The power plant will add 24 MWs to the national electricity grid within the next four months. Lakdanavi Company, an institution affiliated to the CEB has been entrusted with planning and construction of the power plant and work has already commenced for establishment of generators.
(dn) The Joint Field Training Exercise Cormorant Strike 2012 will be held for the third consecutive year with the participation of military personnel from the Tri Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force)in Vakarei and Toppigala areas from September 9 to 25.
Approximately 2,500 Armed Forces personal representing the Tri Forces,including foreign military personnel from Bangladesh, Maldives and Pakistan will participate in the training programme during the 16 days.
The 'Diyakawa' mission will be implemented in three stages and the Army Commando Special Force, the Naval Squadron, the Air Force Helicopter Squadron and the fighter jets squadron will be involved in this mission. Monitoring nations from six countries, including India, Pakistan, Maldives, Russia, Japan and Iran will participate in the event. He said the series of military exercises will include sharing of war-experiences and tactics used in military operations.
(ognp) Prasad Kariyawasam Sri Lankan Envoy to India speaking to NDTV clarified that there is no tension between Sri Lanka and India. He said Sri Lanka and India have historical relationships with mature democracies and the two leaders are fully capable of handling these situations without tension. It is regrettable to witness such an unfortunate incident especially due to few fringe groups of pro-LTTE as well as who were supporting and continue to support LTTE ideology have resorted to violence.
Between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu the relationship is very deep and old. There are 80 flights between Colombo and Chennai per week, so that's the level of people-to-people contact, the depth and the breadth of contact. So natural state of affairs between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu is very normal and people go up and down in large numbers - for business, for pleasure for, tourism, for pilgrimage, that's normal.
Answering to a question as to when Sri Lanka hopes to withdraw the travel advisory issued, the Commissioner pointed out that the situation has to be observed first and he categorically stated that Sri Lanka was compelled to issue that advisory because it was so unexpected for a pilgrim group, a Christian Tamil group - who were mostly Tamils - to be attacked.
(scotsman) IT was a conflict that spanned a quarter of a century and claimed the lives of more than 80,000 people. Now, an Edinburgh tutor has helped Sri Lankan children to cope with the aftermath of the island’s civil war through a music workshop.
Dr Tanya Ekanayaka, who was born in Sri Lanka and lectures part-time in the music department at the Edinburgh College of Art, staged the event in the northern part of Sri Lanka, which bore the brunt of the 25-year-long conflict.
A noted pianist, Dr Ekanayaka is also a composer and linguistic expert. She believes that children in her homeland can benefit from music therapy to help overcome the effects of the civil war.
(dn) Promotions are in full swing as Sri Lanka gears up for its only international gem and jewellery show commencing today and held till September 8 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre at the BMICH.
FACETS Sri Lanka 2012 which is being held for the 22nd consecutive year is tipped to witness its largest foreign delegation yet. Over 50 Gem and Jewellery dealers from China alone are expected at the exhibition. The exhibition is organized by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association and is sponsored by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority as well as the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.
The exhibition is expected to run for four days starting on September 5. Last year alone, the exhibition witnessed a crowd of over 8,000 visitors out of which 2,000 were foreigners. However based on registrations and queries received for this year's exhibition, the number is expected to increase greatly. Over 154 booths at the exhibition have all been sold out. Some of them include Jewellers exhibiting precious stones to custom made jewellery. The Gem and Jewellery Association confirmed that there has been an increase in the number of buying delegations attending the show, with reasons being a relaxed climate for investment and the zero tax regime for the export and import of gems, which has made it all the more lucrative.
(ognp) The group of Sri Lankan pilgrims harassed by the pro-LTTE activists in Tamil Nadu and sought refuge in a church has come under attack again as they have been taken to Tiruchy by the Indian authorities today.
The Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai reported last afternoon that the group of 184 Sri Lankan pilgrims who had taken refuge at the Poondi Madha Basilica in Thanjavur has been taken in buses for their return to Colombo by the Indian authorities and assisted by the staff of the Sri Lankan Mission.
It was also reported that the buses had come under attack en route to the airport by a group of protesters. The pro-LTTE mob have pelted stones and smashed the windows of the buses as a convoy of five buses took the Sri Lankan pilgrims to the Trichy airport. However, the Indian authorities have provided the pilgrims security and safe passage, and taken them to a tourist lodge, near the airport until their departure, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
(cp) Sri Lanka Department of Immigration and Emigration has decided to act hard on the Sri Lankan origin foreign nationals who overstay their visa in the island.
The Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera requested public to inform the authorities if they know about any such person.
The official said that these immigrants would be dealt as same as other foreign nationals despite their origin and would be deported.
(ognp) Speaking on the launching of the National Project for the expeditious processing and passage of cases of child abuse by the criminal justice system of Sri Lanka and for the prevention of secondary victimization of victims of child abuse, UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative, Reza Hossaini said “UNICEF is proud to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice on this very important initiative which will help speed up the process and ensure justice for children” and congratulated the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney Generals Department for placing child rights high on their agenda and addressing the case delays involving children in the criminal justice system.
The Ministry of Justice together with the Attorney General’s Department, Department of Police and the Ministry of Health with the technical assistance and support of UNICEF has launched the national project for the expeditious processing and passage of cases of child abuse by the criminal justice system of Sri Lanka and for the prevention of secondary victimization of victims of child abuse with an aim to give priority to child abuse cases in the several phases of the criminal justice system.
This new initiative is intended to expedite the processing and disposal of cases of child abuse in less than one year from the date of the complaint to the police. This is sought to be achieved by enlisting the support and cooperation of all stakeholders involved in the process of criminal justice.
(cp) Sri Lanka's tri forces will conduct a joint military exercise involving thousands of Sri Lankan military and foreign military beginning next week, the Army announced today.
The joint field exercise, known as the 'Exercise - Cormorant Strike III - 2012', is organized by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) with the participation of about 2000 tri-service personnel of Sri Lanka's Armed Forces. The 16-day event will begin on September 10 and continue until September 25 in the Vakarai area of Eastern Province.
Foreign military personnel of Maldives, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India have confirmed participation. India is to send two observers. According to the Army, the exercise is conducted in an amphibious setting with emphasis on specialized ground operations and is to be executed in stages.
(dn) Delhi boy Gagan Malik, who is essaying the character of Lord Ram in Zee TV’s epic retelling of Ramayan, has bagged his debut international project Siddharth - The Buddha. The actor plays the titular character in the Sri Lankan film which will focus on the journey of Gautam Buddha’s life. The film will release in Sri Lanka on January 17.
“The film is in Sinhala and if it gets good response then it will be dubbed in other languages also,” Gagan told reporters. A former Mr India contestant, Gagan rose to fame with TV series Pratha and Navya.
(ognp) Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris has approved the appointment by the Sri Lankan High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa of .Vali Momade Hassam as Sri Lanka’s first Honorary Consul in Mozambique.
Hassam is a Chairman of a diversified family owned business situated in Maputo involved in tourism, property development and trading. Hassam has also been a long standing member of the FRELIMO Ruling Party which at its inception played a crucial role in the revolutionary struggle against Portuguese colonial rule. Accordingly it is envisaged that Hassam will assist the Pretoria High Commission to develop the commercial relationship between Sri Lanka and Mozambique as well as strengthen Government to Government linkages.
Shehan Ratnavale the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Pretoria, South Africa concurrently accredited to Mozambique, presented Hassam on August 24, the commission letter appointing him as Honorary Consul in Mozambique.
(cp) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today launched the project to construct a domestic airport in Batticaloa, the main Eastern Province town.
The President laid the foundation stone Monday for the construction of the passenger terminal building and runway of the Batticaloa airport.
The cost for the construction of 1700- meter long tarmac, access and flight landing areas has been estimated at Rs.800 million. Sri Lanka Air Force is entrusted with the construction of passenger terminal with an estimated cost of Rs.20 million.
(ognp) Ebert Silva Holidays (Pvt) Ltd. won the Tourism Award for the “Most Improved Tourism Service of the Year” at the 5th Annual Tourism Awards held at Waters’ Edge recently. The award was presented for the Colombo City Tour, the first ever open deck sightseeing service in Sri Lanka, operated by Ebert Silva Holidays.
This service highlights and features the unique history and heritage of Sri Lanka’s premier city, Colombo, to visitors arriving on our shores. Open deck sightseeing tours are an essential feature of all leading cities around the world. Initiated two years ago, it faced many obstacles and challenges as a new product in the industry said Rajini de Silva Mendis, Managing Director, Ebert Silva Holidays.
Commencing with one tour, today the Colombo City Tour operates a choice of morning and evening tours. With a live commentary the tours on the open deck double decker depicts the interesting history and the cultural tapestry of a city of ‘old and new’, Colombo.
(dn) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) yesterday refuted claims they had stopped sending workers to Lebanon.
Certain media reports said the SLBFE had stopped sending workers due to the volatile political situation in the country. Reports said the Sri Lankan ambassador to Lebanon had informed the External Affairs Ministry to temporarily halt sending Lankan workers to the country until the situation there improves.
The SLBFE spokesman while stating there was no imminent threat to Lankan workers, said they will take every possible measure to ensure the safety of Lankan workers, if necessary. There are around 85,000 Sri Lankan workers in Lebanon.
(sl) The Central Bank is unaware of millions of Swiss francs deposited in Swiss bank accounts in the past few years by Sri Lankan individuals and organizations or how the monies have been sent out of the country.
The Exchange Control Unit of the Bank says it does not have any record of the monies deposited in Swiss bank accounts and they would have been deposited through illegal means. He explained that monies could be legally sent out of Sri Lanka only through three channels – for education, medical or business purposes. “Apart from these three means there is no other legal way of sending monies out of the country,” he observed.
However, admitting that he too had heard of the millions deposited in Swiss bank accounts, Chandrasoma said there was no inquiry into such accounts by the Central Bank.
(ognp) The Government has declared Monday September 3 as a day of national mourning to mark respect for the death of Most Venerable late Weweldeniye Medhalankara Thero, the Chief Prelate of the Ramannya Nikaya.
The Mahanayake Thero was 103 years old at the time of his death.
Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration P.B. Abeykoon has announced that Monday has been declared as a national mourning day as the final rites of the Chief Prelate will take place on that day.
The funeral will be conducted with full state honors at the D.S. Senanayake national school ground of Meerigama in Gampaha district.
(so) The Economic Development Ministry has established 'bee villages' under the Divi Neguma program in the Sabaragamuwa Province. A special program is under way to popularise bee keeping as a household industry in the province.
Families or individuals in selected villages of the Sabaragamuwa Province will be given technical and financial assistance to start bee keeping as a self-employment venture through the Economic Development Ministry. Experts and researchers conduct training programs in villages, educating people on starting in the industry at a low cost using locally available resources.
(cp) The fourth edition of the Lanka Challenge, the popular Tuk Tuk adventure in Sri Lanka, a three-wheeler driven escapade for charity, commenced on August 31 and now underway until September 11.
Some 45 foreigners from 20 nationalities are traversing the island in three-wheelers, the organizers say. The 12-day adventure is organized by Large Minority for the fourth consecutive year this year.
The total trip covers 1,500 km and the participants will face various cultural and social challenges during the course of the event, the organizers say. The Lanka Challenge is supported by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism & the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau. SriLankan Airlines is the prize sponsor and Sri Lanka's adventure sports provider Mongoose Adventures is the local sponsor for Lanka Challenge 2012.
(so) The National Alcohol and Tobacco Authority (NATA) yesterday warned film and drama producers to refrain from showing scenes of smoking and alcohol consumption.
NATA Chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka told the Sunday Observer that most film and drama producers in the country do not pay attention this request and are still in the habit of showing smoking and drinking scenes in their productions.According to the National Tobacco Control Authority Act No. 27 of 2006, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products and the portrayal of smoking or alcohol use in public (either directly or indirectly) are prohibited.
He appealed to the youth to refrain from this dangerous habit.According to the National Cancer Institute, around 80 percent of cancers are caused by tobacco smoking, either directly or indirectly.
(cp) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will visit India later this month to participate in a ceremony to lay a foundation stone for center on Buddhist studies.
The President will lay the foundation stone for the Sanchi University for Buddhist Studies in world-famous Sanchi town on September 21.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Thinley and the Leader of the Opposition in Indian Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will also join President Rajapaksa, announced in New Delhi, according to a PTI report.
(dn) Sri Lankan Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry is showing a significant growth due to increasing demand for IT related products and services and the country is expected to sell 650,000 personnel computers by 2014.
PCH Marketing Head Rizwan Anise said we see an increase in the adaptation of ICT and the industry has been eventful in the recent past. The local ICT market has shown similar behaviour as developed markets. Several investors have identified the growth potential the industry possesses and ensured they capitalize.
This has clearly shown with the increase in consumer interest and sales of notebooks over desktops over the past year. They are willing to pay for higher technology segment and are interested in spending more for a pricier product that will stay within the Tech Radar for longer. Latest research showed a need in the consumer to shop at ease, over the then present service over-the-counter method", meaning the consumer preferred a super market experience over a self service method," Anise said.
(ognp) The visiting State Councilor and Minister of National Defence of the People's Republic of China (PRC) General Liang Guanglie called on the Secretary to the Ministry Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (31st August) at the Ministry premises.
A cordial discussion was held between the visiting Chinese Defence Minister and Secretary Defence on matters of bilateral importance between the two friendly states. Secretary Defence greatly appreciated the valued assistance and cooperation extended by China in times of great need.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between visiting General Liang Guanglie and Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa with regard to development assistance for an academic building complex for the Sri Lanka Military Academy.
(dn) The Education Department plans to introduce the Korean Language to the school syllabus as a subject. As an initial step of this programme, a diploma for teachers in the Korean Language was introduced at the National Institute of Education (NIE) recently, under the auspices of Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane and Korean Ambassador in Sri Lanka Choi Jong Moon.
The Korean government presented 100 scholarships to 100 teachers selected for the diploma course on the occasion.
The scholarships were presented to the selected teachers under the patronage of minister Bandula Gunawardana and Korean Ambassador in Sri Lanka Choi Jung Moon.
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