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(island) The Kokavil telecommunication transmission tower will be declared open on June 6 providing television, radio and telecommunication coverage to the entire Northern Province, Chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita said.
"The test transmissions, by the State owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Rupawahini Corporation and the Independent Television Network, commenced in April. The privately owned TV, Radio and telecommunication networks will be able to function in the Northern Province by the end of August," he said.
The Kokavil telecommunication tower was constructed at a cost of Rs. 330 million by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau to replace the old telecommunication tower in Kilinochchi, destroyed by the LTTE during the war.
Palpita said that depending on the success of transmission of Kokavil tower the TRC is planning to construct more towers at Pidurutalagala, Yatiyantota and in several other areas. "The TRC is also planning to commence the constructions of the ‘Lotus’ multipurpose tower at Peliyagoda in September at a cost of US$ 120 million," he said.
(dn) The Anuradhapura special Poson festival steering committee is expecting a mammoth crowd of around three million devotees to visit Anuradhapura and Mihintale Sacred zones during this year's Poson celebrations as Poson falls within the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi commemorative year.
The Poson Full Moon Poya day falls on June 15, 2011, and the week starting from June 12, has been declared Anuradhapura Poson festival week.
The traditional week long Poson pirith chanting ceremony would commence at 9.00 am on June 11 following the procession carrying water from Tissawewa to be placed in the special pirith mandapaya standing in Mahamevuna Uyana within close proximity to the Sacred Sri Maha Bodhi.
(cp) Sri Lanka's internationally acclaimed cinema director Lester James Peiris has planned to launch a foundation to work towards setting up a national film archive.
The ceremonial launching of the foundation will take place on June 9, News 360 website reported. Indian film maker, Padma Vibushan Dr. Adoor Gopalakrishnan will be the Chief Guest at the launch of this foundation.
The 92-year-old film director says that the present film archive maintained by the National Film Corporation is at a very basic level which is not adequate for long-term preservation of films.
(dn) The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Yalpanam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCYI) yesterday.
AMCHAM President Vijaya Ratnayake said the main objective of this agreement is to promote trade relations and investments between the member companies. "The macro picture of Sri Lanka is very optimistic in the post war era. Hence, many companies and investors are keen on investing here.
The signing of the MoU was a result of AMCHAM participating in the Jaffna International Trade Fair this year. This agreement will ensure mutual assistance in concluding bi-lateral joint investments and agreements with the US and joint participation at trade and investment related initiatives in the US.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government is aiming at completing the Northern railway line to Kankasanthurai within two years.
The rail track from Omanthai to Kankasanthurai is to be reconstructed with the support of the Indian government.
Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has said the government was working with the goal of extending the Yal Devi railway service to reach Kankasanthurai from Colombo in two years.
(cp) Senaka Abeygoonasekara, the Chairman of the National Insurance Trust Fund says that a new insurance scheme has been commenced for the journalists.
He said that the insurance scheme was commenced under the directions of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa aiming to pay gratitude to the journalists for the service they render to the society.
The journalists will be granted all privileges enjoyed by the public employees and they can subscribe to the health insurance, he says.
(cp) A group of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians have met with the resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Sri Lanka, Koshy Mathai to discuss matters about the IMF and its role in Sri Lanka.
UNP sources told ColomboPage that during the meeting, the UNP members have questioned the IMF about the strict conditions imposed on Sri Lanka when there are doubts being cast on the efficiencies of the Fund's management given the criticism leveled against the conduct of the most senior official at IMF.
The UNP members have also asked the IMF to permit Sri Lanka to make its own decisions.
(so) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) will focus on receiving over 50,000 new skilled and unskilled employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before the end of this year.
Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera disclosed this following his recent four-day visit to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other employment generating countries in the United Arab Emirates.
During the visit, Minister Perera conducted a `Job Promotion Forum' in collaboration with Chairman, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Mohamed Thani Murshid Al Romaithi. Twenty five foreign employment agents from Sri Lanka and a number of foreign employment agents in Dubai also attended the forum. According to the SLBFE, over 200,000 Sri Lankans are currently employed in the UAE. Minister Perera told the Sunday Observer that the UAE is the second most prominent job supplier for Sri Lankans after Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait.
(ognp) The Pigeon Island, National Park in Trincomalee was reopened today by the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Hon. S.M. Chandrasena, Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife, Hon. Susantha Punchinilame, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Dr. P.B. Jayasundara secretary to ministry of Fiancé and planning and Ministry of Economic Development Dr. Chandrawansha Pathiraja, Director General Department of wildlife conservation also participated at this occasion.
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka, situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli a coastal town in Eastern Province. Pigeon Island consists of two islands; large pigeon island and small pigeon island. The large pigeon island contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka and the small pigeon island is surrounded by rocky islets.
It has derived its name from the bird pigeon that is most abundant in this park. The other animals that are part of the pigeon island national park are the various types of turtles, birds and rock pigeons. The rock pigeon is one of the most attractive attributes of this park. The visitors come to watch the rock pigeon from different parts of the world.
(amei) A team of delegates from Postgraduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), University of Colombo, Sri Lanka led by Prof. Mohamed Hussain Rezvi Sheriff, Director visited the Gulf Medical University (GMU), Ajman, U.A.E. for possible collaboration to develop Short Term Certificate Program in Family Medicine and other short term courses including opportunities for GMU postgraduate research students to pursue research and project work were broadly discussed.
The visiting delegation was accorded a warm welcome by the Founder President of Gulf Medical University Mr. Thumbay Moideen, Prof. Arifulla, Dean-Admissions and Registrar of GMU and the academic team.
They have also visited the newly inaugurated Learning and Information Centre which houses multimedia laboratories, learning and discussion rooms and the Graduate Study Centre. They were highly impressed that the GMU had an international faculty, modern and advanced facilities and the exceptional teaching arrangements to offer to all its students and felt extremely satisfied with the professional educational structure. .
(dn) Sri Lanka had achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on water and sanitation four years ahead of the targeted year, National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi told the Daily News yesterday.
He said that the country has reached 85 percent on sanitation coverage which was the MDG target for 2015. "With this achievement, Sri Lanka stands on top among South Asian countries regarding water and sanitation," Hettiarachchi said. He said that the NWS&DB hopes to achieve 100 percent sanitation coverage by 2015. Hettiarachchi also said that the safe water supply is ensured for 80 percent of the community. This will be upgraded to cover 90 percent by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020.
Twenty seven foreign funded projects are being implemented to meet this target. About Rs 30 billion has been allocated per year for these development projects. In addition, 3,600 community based water projects have been progressing in the island with the aim to cover eight percent of the population of the country.
(cp) Amidst concerns raised by trade unions in Sri Lanka, the government has decided to amend the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees' Trust Fund (ETF) Acts.
Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara has said the EPF and ETF Acts would be amended to make provision for the proposed pension scheme for the private sector.
Following the amendment of the two Acts, funds from the EPF and profits from the ETF could be transferred to the proposed pension fund. Meanwhile, trade unions have objected to the amendment of the EPF and ETF Acts claiming the government was trying to pilfer monies from the two funds.
(dn) The Health Ministry will take action to select the 10 most unclean towns and the 10 most unclean villages which do not cooperate to eradicate the mosquito menace, a ministry spokesman said.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has also directed the health authorities to take legal action against those who do not cooperate in ensuring a dengue free village or town. Meanwhile, action has also been taken to select the 10 most clean towns and 10 most clean villages and express appreciation of the services of those responsible. These measures have been taken to encourage the public to contribute in eradicating the dengue menace.
(cp) The Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka is to expedite the investigations into the many complaints it has received on alleged human rights violations.
A five-member panel of retired judges is to be appointed by the HRC to investigate allegations of human rights violations and complaints on torture.
HRC Head Justice Priyantha Perera has said the panel would include retired judges from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal among other courts in the country. The aim of the panel is to expedite the investigation process. According to the HRC Chairman, the Commission has received a large number of complaints on alleged human rights violations from all parts of the country.
(at) Sri Lanka today extended the operations of the Yal Devi train up to the war torn Omanthai railway station after 21 years, said Sri Lanka Railway Department.
The reconstruction of the Northern rail track will be carried out in three phases. The operations of the railway line from Omanthai to Pallai is scheduled to be constructed as the next (2nd ) phase of the project to operate trains from Colombo to Kankesanthurai and laying of the rail track from Pallai to Kankasanthurai will take place under the third phase.
The rebuilt railway track from Thandikulam to Omanthai and the Omanthai railway station were declared open today by the transport Minister Kumara Welgama. The cost of the entire Omanthai project is over 26 million rupees. The Omanthai railway station is the first in a series of stations that was built according to international standards.
(ognp) Sri Lanka President at Ranaviru Day celebrations...“We have An Armed Force committed to rebuild the country”...“We will not heed to the demands of separatists or terrorists”
We do not hesitate to ensure the democratic and human rights of the citizens living in north and east. But we will not heed to the demands of separatists or terrorists.
When people in this country do not accept their demands, they look for ways to make us bow down using foreign influence. But I must emphasize that no one can do anything in this country without the consent of our people. It is only we who can solve our own problems, and no one else, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the nation, at the 2nd Ranaviru Day celebrations at Galle Face, Colombo, today.
(ognp) Sri Lankan nation Friday celebrate the second anniversary of the fully elimination of one of the most ruthless terrorist outfits in the world, the LTTE, at a solemn ceremony at the Galle Face Green in Colombo under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa today.
Over 24,000 members of the Security Forces who made the supreme sacrifice for the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation would be remembered by observing two minutes silence at the commencement of the state ceremony.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a special message to mark the even said it is the greatest responsibility of every one to protect the hard-won freedom.
(dn) Air Taxis has launched daily services to Kandy.
Flights leave Colombo at 9 a.m. and touch down at Polgolla at 9.30 a.m. The return flight leaves Kandy at 10 a.m. and touches down in Colombo at 10.30 a.m. Flights from Colombo operate at present from the Kelani River but are to be shifted to the Beira Lake very soon.
(cp) The government of Sri Lanka has decided to declare two areas in the Southern coast as High Security Zones (HSZs) to protect the coral reefs in the area.
Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshamn Yapa Abeywardena has told media that the government has decided to declare Unawatunna and Hikkduwa coastal areas as HSZs.
The move is expected to help save the coral reefs in the Southern coast. According to the Minister, a separate area is to be designated for boats and water scooters in the sea.
(cp) Sri Lanka has planned to set up an open-air sanctuary for stray dogs in a two-acre land in Anuradhapura of North Central Province.
The Health Ministry says the move is a first step to control the growing problem of rabies in the country due to dog bites. According to the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, the stray dog population stands at 2.5 million despite the introduction of a sterilization program in 1995.
Sri Lanka has banned the killing of stray dogs since 2005.
(dn) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W D J Senewiratne made a three-day official visit to the Jaffna district to inspect the development projects underway and to launch new projects. The newly built holiday resort in Old Park area in Jaffna was opened by the Minister during his visit.
The Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry had built this circuit bungalow from financial assistance from Kuwait under the Strengthening Civil Administration Program (SCAP) which allocated Rs 13 million for this project.
Kuwait had provided financial support to reconstruction activities in the North and East provinces while the government distributed the funds for several development projects in those areas. The government officials face accommodation problems when they travel to Jaffna for official works. Both local and foreign tourists too face this problem. Therefore, the newly built holiday resort will be beneficial to them.
(ognp) Popularity of cricket has reached all corners of Sri Lanka and even among the Aadivasis community. Last weekend several sports events with the participation of Adivaasi’s were held at the Welagedara Stadium in Kurunegala in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. This included a softball cricket match.
In the softball cricket match played between the Adivaasi’s and the members of the Kurunegala District Boy Scouts, the Adivaasi’s secured an easy four wickets win by beating the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts team batting first scored 76 runs in their 10 overs. Adivaasi team in reply scored 77 runs in 7 overs. It was a significant moment when in this match the Adivaasi Manchila Aththo scored 34 runs.
In addition to this there were several other sports events with the participation of Adivaasi’s. They excelled in these sports events as well and became the Champions. These sports events were organized by the Kurunegala District Boy Scouts Society, National Thalassemia Unit and the Kununegala Municipal Council.
(dn) The first Hindu-Buddhist Cultural Association in Jaffna was established to strengthen religious and cultural ties on Monday with the participation of senior priests of both religions, senior citizens and senior military officials.
The inauguration of this association held at Palam Road, Kantharmadam in Jaffna was attended by Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and about 25 Buddhist monks from Colombo, Rev. Vasudeva Kurukkal with several other Hindu Priests and more than 100 senior Jaffna citizens.
(cp) Veterinary authorities of Sri Lanka warn that the spreading deaths of birds in certain areas threaten the fauna life in bird sanctuaries of national wildlife parks.
Veterinary scientists say that mass deaths of birds have been reported from Colombo and Kalutara districts.
Bird corpses were recovered from Aththidiya reserve in Colombo district and Bundala reserve in Hambanthota district also, authorities say. Authorities suspect the deaths were caused by an epidemic.
(island) An opportunity to perform at a five-star hotel would have been the last thing on their mind when the LTTE collapsed on the Vanni east front two years ago. Today, the majority of LTTE cadres taken into custody are free with those undergoing rehabilitation expected to come down to about 1,500 by end of this year. The military held about 11,700 LTTE cadres at the conclusion of the war in the third week of May, 2009.
At a reception held at the Cinnamon Grand (formerly Oberoi) on Monday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a group of ex- LTTE cadres had a rare chance to perform for a distinguished gathering.
Trained at the Abhina Academy of Performing Arts, situated at Kalapura, Templer’s Road, Mount Lavinia, under the guidance of versatile actress Ms. Anoja Weerasinghe, the unprecedented show reflected the post-war reality. Their energetic performance enraptured the audience, including those sceptical of Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation programme, due to it being placed under the Sri Lanka Army. Under Ms. Weerasinghe’s guidance, several groups of ex-LTTE cadres and those affected due to terrorism received training at the Abhina Academy.
(cp) Due to the emergency situation in Europe created by the erupting Icelandic volcano, Sri Lanka's national carrier SriLankan Airlines urged the passengers to call ahead before departure to the airport.
The carrier requested the passengers to call a hotline number 1979 and enquire about the flights schedules six hours in advance.
However, SriLankan announced that the flights bound for London Frankfurt, Paris, Rome and Milan will leave at the scheduled time.
(ucan) A Catholic is doing his bit to smooth over longstanding divisions between religions and ethnic groups of Sri Lanka. Badde Liyanage Don Felix, has unveiled 15 replicas of ancient dagabas (temples) on the road in front of his house.
They are designed a show of respect to Buddhists as they mark the 2600th anniversary of the Lord Buddha’s enlightenment and make effort for inter religious harmony.
“I want all people in this country to be united and live and work in racial and religious harmony,” Felix said. “These anniversary celebrations should remind all to get back to the core religious values and live accordingly.”
(dm) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will request Russia and China to urge the Sri Lankan government to work out a long lasting political solution to the national question, parliamentarian and party media spokesman Suresh Premachandran said yesterday.
Russia and China supported Sri Lanka in its war against terrorism and as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, had at the time thwarted an attempt to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka. Mr. Premachnadran said his party had sought meetings in Colombo with the ambassadors of these two countries.
“First, we will meet the Chinese and Russian diplomats based in Colombo. Later, if invited, we are ready to visit these countries. These are the countries that backed the war. In the post war period, there are issues that need to be addressed. We will brief them on all those matters,” he said and added that some months ago two TNA representatives visited China to study its foreign policy.
(ognp) The Colombo - Ja-Ela dual track railway line will be declared open by the Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama today.
The railway line from Colombo to Puttalam covering a distance of 134 kilometers was a single track since its inception in 1926, which caused the journey slow due to the need of stopping the train to facilitate crossings.
The second track from Ragama to Ja-ela has been developing using modern technology and local expertise, at a cost of Rs. 30 million per kilometer. The new dual track is expected to speed up the journey by half an hour..The distance from Colombo to Ja-ela is approximately 20 km.
(dn) The national War Heroes memorial ceremony to offer the nation's salute to the valiant men who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the motherland will be held under President Mahinda Rajapaksa's patronage on May 27.
Around 8,700 Security Forces and Police personnel will join the victory parade at the Galle Face green.The main War Heroes commemoration ceremony will be conducted near the War Heroes cenotaph at the Parliamentary grounds under President Rajapaksa's patronage.
(transcurrents) Ram Thapa, owner of the Greedy Buddha in Fulham, says he has been bombarded with abusive emails and letters from Buddhists all over the world. The campaign has been whipped up by the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, which has urged “religious and cultural organisations” to “express their concerns” to the restaurant, Nepalese born Mr Thapa, 35, said he may have to close the highly rated restaurant “if things get very serious”.
The campaign against the restaurant began in February when the Sri Lankan High Commission invited officials from the Thai, Myanmar and Nepal embassies for a “summit” on commercial exploitation of images of Buddha in Britain.
In a statement, the Commission said: “Embassy officials who attended the meeting agreed to persuade their respective religious and cultural organisations in the UK to write to the owner of the restaurant expressing their concerns.” Saman Ekanayake, minister for cultural and educational affairs at the commission, said: “As Buddhists we feel as bad as if he was insulting Jesus Christ or Allah. If he had called it Greedy Allah, you can imagine what the reaction would be.”
(ognp) The Ministry of Health has announced new regulations governing food imports. Accordingly food importers must ensure that imports reach the country prior to the expiration of a minimum of 60% of time before the expiry date. The new regulations issued under the Food Act of 1980 will become effective from 1st of August.
Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena has instructed officials to strictly adhere to the new regulations as it was revealed that certain food items reach Colombo port only a few days before the expiry date and within a few days it become unfit for human consumption, but still the importers market them through unscrupulous means.
(cp) Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau has banned sending people to employment in Saudi Arabia for job opportunities sought through non-agency sources.
The Bureau said it has taken this measure to prevent people from migrating to the Kingdom for employment found through personal contacts or the local foreign employment agencies as those migrants sometimes face severe hardships and life threatening situations.
The Chairman of the Bureau Kingsley Ranawaka said that the move is to prevent such situations and to guarantee the safety of the migrant workers of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, migration for employment in Saudi is permitted only if the job opportunity is through a registered recruitment agency of Saudi Arabia.
(dm) The deadline set for the drilling of three exploratory wells in Mannar basin has been once again extended by one month, according to interim financial accounts of Cairn Energy Plc. Cairn Energy Plc, UK, is the ultimate parent company of Cairn India and Cairn Sri Lanka, which was contracted to drill oil in Sri Lanka.
The earlier deadline Cairn India has set for the drilling of three oil wells was July. This was stated in the company’s December quarter interim accounts. The dragging of deadlines has been typical with the Sri Lankan oil exploration process since its commencement back in 2008. This in fact is the second time the drilling of the exploratory wells was dragged.
Earlier, it was scheduled to begin on December 2010 and later the deadline was extended to July 2011. Even if Cairn India and Cairn Sri Lanka stick to the deadline set for August, it is uncertain whether the drilling of exploratory wells can be started on the renewed deadline, due to certain issues unfolding at the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS).
(dm) For the first time in Sri Lankan history, the Veddah Community played the ‘gentlemen’s game’-of cricket -- and won it! -- in a tournament yesterday at the Welagedara Stadium in Kurunegala.
The tournament had been organised by the Scouts’ Association of Kurunegala in aid of thalassaemia patients. The Veddahs played against a team of rural based actors of the mini and large screens.
(cp) Sri Lanka has taken measures to establish a D Check hangar for airplanes at the international airport being built anew at Mattala in Hambanthota district of Southern Province, Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayaratna said.
Minister Jayarathna said that the Ministry has come to an agreement with a Dubai based company for the D check hangar. A three acre land is to be allocated adjacent to the airport for this purpose.
The Heavy Maintenance Visit (HMV) or the D check is the most comprehensive maintenance check on an air plane and is normally performed every 5-6 years. A D check can generally take from 3 weeks to 2 months, depending on the aircraft and number of technicians involved .
(so) The container feeder vessel MV OEL DUBAI, with a capacity of 1,028 TEUs, entered the Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa International Port recently as part of the program for the harbour pilots to familiarise themselves with the manoeuvring of vessels at the port.
The MV OEL Dubai, which is 51 metres long, is owned and operated by the Dubai-based feeder operator Orient Express Lines, a premier common carrier feeder operator serving the Port of Colombo.
Orient Express Lines has been serving the Colombo Port for over two decades and has services covering most of the Indian subcontinent among other areas. The OEL Dubai shuttles between India and Colombo and calls every seven days with containers onboard to be transshipped in Colombo, to be loaded onto Main Line Vessels. The vessel, with a heavy load, entered the Ruhunu Magampura Port smoothly without any difficulty, said Marvis Gomes of MV OEL Dubai.
(so) Trade Ministers of Sri Lanka and Iran discussed increasing bilateral trade between the two countries by resolving existing issues. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen attended the bilateral meeting with his counterpart in Iran, Minister of Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mehdi Ghazanfari last week.
At the discussion the ministers reaffirmed historic relations between the countries and highlighted the importance of further boosting trade cooperation which currently stands at US $ 800 million. Minister Bathiudeen drew his Iranian counterpart's attention to a number of issues pertinent to Sri Lankan exports. He requested the relaxing of regulations on the import of the minimum weight from 10kgs at least to five kgs. for pre-packed tea.
"I invite a high level business delegation from Iran to Sri Lanka's mega export show - Sri Lanka Expo 2012 to be held early 2012. Iran and Sri Lanka have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations on the pillars of friendship and mutual cooperation. Our relations have always been cordial and congenial", Bathiudeen said.
(island) SriLankan Airlines began a new chapter in its long history with the arrival of its first brand new aircraft in more than a decade – a state of the art Airbus A320-200. The aircraft touched down at Bandaranaike International Airport on May 19, straight from Airbus Industrie in Toulouse, France.
The new aircraft was blessed by members of the clergy of Sri Lanka’s four main religions, watched by thousands of members of the staff of the airline, together with a large number of Government officials who included Members of Parliament.
This is the first of three brand new A320 aircraft to be acquired in 2011, the second and third of which are scheduled to arrive in the last quarter of the year. The last brand new aircraft arrived as far back as the year 2000, the airline said in a news release.
(dn) Sri Lanka Railways will launch a new rail bus service between Gal Oya junction and Trincomalee under the Negenahira Navodaya project from May 26.
The inauguration will take place at the Gal Oya railway station under the patronage of Transport Minister Kumara Welgama and Deputy Transport Minister Rohana Kumara Dissanayake, a Sri Lanka Railways Spokesman told the Daily News. He said that the first rail bus launched under the Negenahira Navodaya between Batticaloa and Gal Oya is being operated successfully. Thereafter, the Railways Department took measures to commence nine more rail bus services on the Eastern railway fleet following commuter requests.
The Indian government has provided 12 buses to Sri Lanka Railways and has made available an additional allocation to pay for the cost of conversion of these buses into rail bus units. The buses had been converted into rail buses suitable for local conditions at the Ratmalana Railway workshop. Each rail bus will have two buses. A rail bus comprising 80 seats costs about Rs 6 million and is easier to maintain, the spokesman added.
(dn) Regional Development Bank Chairperson and Food Security Advisor Janaki Kuruppu was recently appointed to the global steering committee of World Bank's AgriFin.
AgriFin has been set up by the World Bank with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the activities to substantially increase financing for agriculture, particularly for smallholder farmers. The international steering committee consists of eight members, two each representing the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and four other members from across the world with developing country experience.
She also holds the positions of advisor on food security to the Cabinet sub-committee on food security chaired by the President, Chairperson of Mother Sri Lanka Trust and a Director at the Colombo Dockyard Plc. She holds an MA in Applied Statistics and a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Missouri, USA and from the University of Colombo. She is also a recipient of the All American Scholar Award, the US Achievement Academy Award and the Most Outstanding Sri Lankan Award 2010.
(dn) "Our intention is to achieve the target of 800,000 tourist arrivals by the end of this year," said Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Product Development and Events Director Upali de Silva. Sri Lanka Tourism is promoting 12 themes for 12 months under the guidance of the Economic Development Ministry coinciding with 'Visit Sri Lanka' year which has already witnessed over 250,000 tourist arrivals, he said.
All promotional activities and events which have been planned for the next couple of years is with the goal of achieving the target of 2.5 million tourists by 2016, de Silva said.
The Tourism Awards 2010 which will be held at Waters Edge on May 27 is another attempt to achieve this target. This is being done for the fourth time and it is being held to recognize and reward excellence in the travel and tourism industry, thus promoting and enhancing the delivery of service standards.
(dn) A Sri Lankan initiative to establish Buddhist Centres and shrines overseas as a part of its programmes to mark the 2600 Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi was launched in Manila, Philippines, Tuesday.
On the occasion, the construction of the first overseas Buddhist establishment under the programme, an International Buddhist centre in Wisdom park, Manila began with Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne along with local officials and Maha Sangha participating.
Premier Jayaratne to mark the occasion planted a sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Anuradhapura at Wisdom Park, Manila, the Prime Minister’s office said.
(dn) Sri Lanka's spice industry is progressing well but it needs to invest its profits back into the industry to achieve stable growth. We should thank the spice producers for the forex revenues they bring in, said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
Minister Bathiudeen expressed satisfaction and thanked for the increased forex brought in by the spice industry. "Our spice industry needs to re-invest its profits, so that the industry can continue to grow," he said. "The Divi Neguma programme of the government could be used to increase our cinnamon production by getting the households to grow cinnamon and various other spices which will in turn benefit these families," he said.
According to the Export Development Board of the Industry and Commerce Ministry, Sri Lanka's total spice exports value in 2010 stood at US $ 165 million and 51 percent of it belonged to Ceylon Cinnamon (US $ 84 million). Spice exports earnings increased by 27 percent in 2010 in comparison to 2009 while cinnamon exports revenues too increased by 13.3 percent compared to 2009. Sri Lanka is noted for its traditional quality (Ceylon) cinnamon having 85 percent of world market share for cinnamon. Mexico is Sri Lanka's main cinnamon export destination followed by USA. More than 85 percent of locally produced cinnamon are exported.
(cimic) Students of University of Jaffna setting example to others collectively organized a Vesak festival on the 17th May. They decorated the Ramanathan road close to the University with Vesak lanterns and put up a Dansala.
It was impressive to witness the students belonging to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities together waving flags to stop all vehicles and pedestrians passing the University premises and offer them with soft drinks. The area was illuminated with coconut oil lamps in the evening. Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University Ms. Vasanthi Arsarathnam lit the first lamp while others of the academic staff and the students followed.
Marking the 2600 Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi, and with long years of non-activity, the first year students of the Jaffna University started a Buddhist Students Association with blessings of University administration and the support of senior students. Some appointments of the University Students’ Buddhist Association were willingly taken over by Tamil and Muslim students.
(cp) The frescoes at the World Heritage Dambulla cave temple (Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya) are deteriorating, a Sri Lankan website reported.
"The wall frescoes and ceiling frescoes that are spread over an area of about 2000 sq. ft are facing destruction due to neglect," the Lanka Truth website reported adding that the frescoes are not being conserved for the last ten years as expected.
Frescoes have been damaged by insects, some have been discoloured and some frescoes had foreign matter on their surface, the report said. Dambulla cave temple, which was under the Department of Archeology earlier, is now under the custodianship of Central Cultural Fund.
(mvn) The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives is holding an international Islamic event in Sri Lanka on May 22, 2011: ‘Da’wah Islamiyya at Colombo 2011′.
“The event consists of two religious lectures conducted by popular preacher Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed Ahmed and Sheikh Izzadeen Adnan, followed by a Q&A session,” the foundation said in a statement. The sermons will be aimed at Maldivians living in Sri Lanka, and will be conducted in Dhivehi.
“Da’wah Islamiyya at Colombo 2011” will be held on May 22 at 4:30pm at Shahran Banquet Hall, 56 Hospital Road, Dehiwala.
(ognp) A visiting Sri Lankan cabinet minister on Tuesday urged Saudi businessmen to invest in upcoming projects in the island state, that would yield attractive gains.
Rishad Bathiudeen, Sri Lankan, minister of industry and commerce, who met Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday told Arab News that the end of the ethnic conflict had paved the way for several business opportunities in the country. He added that the promising areas of investment include tourism, garments industry, cultivation of fruits and vegetables, and gem and jewelry. The minister said that there was a remarkable growth in the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka after peace was restored following the country's victory over terror.
Data from the tourist promotion office showed that Sri Lanka's tourism arrivals rose 43.5 percent in March 2011 to 75,130, with steep increases seen from South Asia and several European generating markets. March arrivals were the highest for a single month since December 2010, when 84,000 visitors came to the island. Last year, Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 46 percent to 654,476 after the 30-year war ended. "We also can cultivate agricultural crops for Saudi Arabia," Bathiudeen said, adding that items manufactured in Sri Lanka could find a ready market in all SAARC countries under the existing Free Trade Agreement.
(dn) A Sil campaign was among the religious activities organized by the Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters on May 15 to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi which was participated by over 1,400 male and female army personnel.
An officer at the Security Forces Headquarters said the objective of the Sil campaign was to improve spirituality of soldiers and wish the people in Jaffna a peaceful, prosperous and happy future.
Among the religious activities was placing 28 Buddha statues in new shrine rooms constructed around the Bo tree at the Security Forces Headquarters. The Buddha statues were brought in a procession and were placed in new shrine rooms by Security Force Headquarters, Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe and 27 others amidst Pirith chanting by the Ven Sangha.
(cp) Director General of Archeological Department Senarath Dissanayake says that Sri Lanka has made a request to the UNESCO to proclaim two of historical venues of eastern port city Trincomalee as world heritages.
These two venues are the ancient port in Trincomalee and the Old Dutch Fort. The ancient harbor is also known as Black Harbor.
Sacred City of Anuradhapura, Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sacred City of Kandy, Old Town of Galle and its fortifications, Golden Temple of Dambulla and Central Highlands of Sri Lanka are the present world heritages of Sri Lanka.
(dn) Special arrangements have been made by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) to mark 2600th anniversary celebrations of Sambuddhatva Jayanthi. During the whole Vesak festival season Sri Lanka Tourism is planning to attract as many tourists as possible to view the Vesak zones, pandals and other colourful illuminations around Colombo city and islandwide, an SLTPB spokesman told the Daily News.
Six special tours have been organized throughout the week for local and international tourists to tour covering all Vesak zones around Colombo city from May 17 to 22. The starting points will be from Mount Lavinia Hotel and Galle Face Hotel. This tour will start from 6.30 pm and last for three and half hours.
The Gangarama Vesak Zone, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Vesak decorations around BMICH, other city decorations and the Borella pandal can be viewed on this journey. Further details and reservations on this special tour can be obtained through 0777599963 and 0777772595
(cp) Sri Lanka's Census and Statistics Department has said the results of the census that is currently being carried out will be issued step by step from August this year.
According to the Department, this is the first national census to be taken island wide after almost three decades.
Since 1871, Sri Lanka has conducted censuses, usually in every 10 years with certain exceptions. The last island wide census was carried out in 1981. The census which was scheduled to be conducted in 1991 could not be implemented due to the conflict in northern and eastern parts of the country. The census which is to be carried out in July 2011 will be the 14th scientific census of the country.
(ognp) Sri Lanka releases 858 prisoners including 13 women under a Presidential Pardon to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatwa Jayanthi celebration. The prisoners who had been convicted on minor offences and those who have served long term will be released today.
Sri Lanka celebrates this year's vesak with grand religious ceremonies. Vesak Vesak, or Visakha (pronounced way-sak), is a celebration that commemorates the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death, and his passing into nirvana. It is named for the month of May and is celebrated on the full moon which falls May 17.
Vesak is the most important holiday in the Theravada Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia inclusive of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka has declared the week from May 14 to 20 as the Vesak week.
(ognp) Theravada Buddhism which taught us to move forward as a nation on the path of kindness, tolerance, humanity, equality and harmony is the greatest gift we can bestow upon the world, President Rajapaksa said addressing at the opening ceremony of the Sri Sambuddathva Jayanthi International Buddhist Centre in Thummulla, Colombo.
The Center will house the world's largest collection of Buddhist publications and literature.
The Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Mandiraya has been built at Thummulla to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi by the Dehiwala Buddhist Cultural Centre, under the patronage of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Ministry. It is the largest Centre for Buddhist Books and Information. The building has an auditorium conforming to international standards with seating capacity for 600 people and will function as a center t spread the Buddhist Philosophy in the region and conduct Dharma research activities. It is complete with modern amenities including a Buddhist psychoanalytic centre and a recording studio. It has been built at a cost of 300 million rupees.
(dn) The National Transport Commission (NTC) has made arrangements to deploy over 500 buses for the convenience of the people who come to Colombo for Vesak, NTC Operations Director H W Vipulasena told the Daily News yesterday.
He said that these buses would operate round the clock during the Vesak week. The buses will operate on the routes from outstation areas such as Galle, Aluthgama, Warakapola and Kegalle to Colombo city. The operations director said that special buses would be operating from Colombo to outstations at night for the convenience of the people who return to their homes.
(dm) A leading bank and a mobile company would introduce a technology when one was charged with traffic law violation could pay the fine through his/her mobile phone, sources said.
Informed sources told Daily Mirror that any one charged with a traffic law violation could SMS the bank asking it to credit the amount specified as the fine to the post office account from his account.
Taking the ticket and paying the fine to the post office and then going and collecting your driving licence will be a thing in the past,” an informed source who is playing an active role in introducing the new technology said.
(island) Devotees offer alms to Bangladeshi Buddhist monks residing in Sri Lanka as they parade on the streets during a ceremony to mark the religious week of Buddha Poornima, or Vesak in Colombo yesterday (15). This year Buddhists mark the 2600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha.
(dn) Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has given directives to declare the Gin Oya environs as a protected zone with immediate effect. This decision was taken considering the uncontrolled human activities taking place in Gin Oya surroundings.
It was reported that the Gin Pol mangrove variety which is frequently found in these environs is threatened due to human activities. However, stern legal actions could not be taken against these individuals since it was not declared as a protected zone, the Minister observed.
(dn) Sri Lanka's spice industry needs to re-invest its profits ensuring industry growth. We also need to thank the spice producers for the forex revenues they bring in, says Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
The Minister was addressing the Advisory Committee on Spice on May 11 at the Export Development Board premises in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen expressed satisfaction and thanked for the increased forex brought in by spice industry. "Our spice industry needs to re-invest its profits back, so that the industry can continue to grow," the Minister said. "The Divineguma programme of the government could be used to increase our cinnamon production by enlisting the households to grow cinnamon and various other spices so that the families too benefit," the Minister said.
"We need to double our capacity so that we will be able to meet this extra demand," Minister Bathiudeen said. According to the Export Development Board Sri Lanka's total spice exports value in 2010 stood at US $ 165 mil and 51 percent of it belonged to Ceylon Cinnamon (US $ 84 mil). Spice exports earnings increased by 27 percent in 2010 in comparison to 2009 while cinnamon exports revenues too increased by 13.3 percent compared to 2009. Sri Lanka is the topmost exporter of cinnomon with Ceylon cinnamon having 85 percent of world market share. Mexico is Sri Lanka's main cinnamon export destination followed by USA. More than 85 percent of locally produced cinnamon are exported.
(ognp) It is with immense fervor and devotion that we celebrate, with full State patronage, the thrice blessed festival of Vesak this year, which also marks the 26th Sammasambuddhatva Jayanthi.
In achieving a lasting and sustainable peace in our land and help us move to our goals of development, we have sought to follow the teachings of the Sakyamuni Sammasambuddha that showed the path to free us from the four evil dispositions of desire, hatred, fear and ignorance.
"Let an angry man be conquered by love; an evil man by goodness. Let a miser be won over by liberality; and a liar by truthfulness", states the Dhammapada in the "Koda Vagga". This exhortation of the Buddha should always nurture us in facing up to all challenges. ....
(cp) Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka has taken measures to make all Buddhist religious school books available online.
Buddhist religious school text books from Grade 1 to the highest Dharmacharya examination are now available online at http://www.dahamsayura.com/ website.
The Buddhist Gathas can be listened to via this website and the books can be downloaded free of charge. The project is a part of the 'e-social development' programme of the government.
(tn) Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi falling on this Vesak Poya marks 2,600 years since Buddha’s enlightenment. As the world awaits this most hallowed event in the Buddhist calendar, Sri Lanka, the Dharmadveepa blessed and inspired by Buddha’s message of Dhamma had been revived along the aphorism Piliwethin Pelagesemu, denoting the ‘correct path to living’ as encapsulated in the Five Precepts - the bedrock which moulds a society-friendly human being. The Nation delves into the timeless truth of Five Precepts or Panchaseela practically applicable in every realm of human existence.
The fundamental practice of Buddhist morality is enshrined in Pancha Seela or Five Precepts enabling human beings to live harmoniously with fellow living beings including fauna and flora.
A voluntary mechanism of self-discipline, Pancha Seela fosters human qualities to develop including compassion, empathy, contentment, truthfulness and mindfulness towards the entire world. “A Buddha comes into the world with the realisation or attainment of truth and with a vision of convincing the humans of this truth. Therefore, the best way the laymen can honour the word of Buddha is by living the truth of His teachings. This is possible by following the Five Precepts conceived in the Noble Eight-Fold Path or Arya ashtangika maarga,” explained Venerable Thalalle Chandakiththi Thera.
(so) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) on Thursday despatched large sized Buddha Statues to all the Sri Lankan missions abroad to coincide with the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthiya which commences from tomorrow, May 16.
The objective is to encourage over one million Buddhist migrant workers presently employed in the middle eastern and other countries to participate at religious ceremonies during the Vesak season.
Sri Lankan embassies and High Commissions have decided to conduct Sil campaigns and other religious activities during the forthcoming Vesak Week.
(cp) The Currency Department of Sri Lanka's Central Bank will issue two coins in the denominations of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 10 to mark the 2600th anniversary of Buddha's Enlightenment that falls on the Vesak Poya Day.
The Central Bank said the frosted proof silver coin of Rs. 1,000 denomination is a commemorative coin and the Rs. 10 coin is a normal circulation standard coin.
The Rs. 1,000 coin is a limited issue of 2,000 coins and a coin will be sold at a price of Rs. 7,500 from 16th May while the Rs 10 coin will be issued to circulation in June 2011.
(cp) Sri Lanka's major Tamil constituent Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said today that the party would soon meet and have discussions with the newly elected Tamil Nadu Chief Minister AIADMK chief Jayaram Jayalalitha who has called for prosecution of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa before the International Court on charges of genocide.
TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah said they appreciated the voters' decision of the Tamil Nadu and wished the new Chief Minister good luck.
He further stated that the TNA believed Ms. Jayalalitha who was elected for a third time yesterday had a good understanding about the problems of the Sri Lankan Tamils. Senathirajah expressed expectations that she would discuss with the Indian central government to negotiate a fair solution to the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
(dm) The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) is anxious to have a Sri Lankan representation at the forthcoming Ornamental Fish and Accessories Exhibition to be held in Singapore from May 26 to 29.
Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman and Chief Executive of EDB highlighting the importance of attending this event said, Sri Lanka has recorded a tremendous success by winning 19 awards under various fish categories at the International Fish Competition in Aquarama 2009. He further said that these achievements are very important to show the personalized breeding ability of Sri Lankan ornamental fish breeders to the international community.
The recently launched EDB’ strategic plan for year 2011-2015 has identified the Ornamental Fish as an important product sector for export promotion. EDB is planning to expand Sri Lanka’s market share for Ornamental Fish and Aquatic plants through introduction of high demand, new varietes to the International market.
(dn) The Sri Lanka Railways will operate special train services from May 16 to 20 to cater to the public during the 2600th Sri Sambuddathva Jayanthi and Vesak season.
All express, intercity and night mail trains on May 17 and 18 will stop over at Kelaniya Railway Station.
(dm) A fresh investigation will be launched on the four missing children, who according to a recent UN report were allegedly recruited by former Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) member Iniya Bharathi, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said yesterday.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, said Mr. Bharathi had recruited or abducted the children between 2006 and 2009. Ms. Coomaraswamy said with regard to the TMVP, the total number of pending cases on 13 boys, include the four allegedly recruited by Mr. Bharathi. He has been listed by the UN as among those who have recruited, killed or abused children.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s UN and Multi-Lateral Affairs Division Director General C.A.H.M Wijeyratne said the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) was asked to conduct a new investigation on the matter.
(dn) Steps have been taken to open a website for the Supreme Court where any judgment given by the Supreme Court can be seen within two to three hours from delivery, said outgoing Chief Justice Asoka de Silva addressing a ceremonial sitting on Wednesday at the Superior Court Complex to bid farewell to him who retired yesterday.
"As we live in a technologically advanced world, we need to keep pace with the new developments," he added.
It will enable any interested party to view the status of their case via the internet.
(f2f) Sri Lankan Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has proposed that Ghanian companies can make use of Sri Lanka’s garment industry technologies to upgrade their apparel manufacturing. The proposal was put forward by the Minister during his meeting with the visiting Ghanian High Commissioner to India and Sri Lanka Robert Tachie-Menson.
Both sides discussed the possibilities of developing their bilateral trade further. Although the volume of Ghana-Sri Lanka trade is small at present, the total trade between the two countries has grown by 260 per cent during 2005-09. The Sri Lankan exports to Ghana also saw a 272 percent increase in the corresponding period.
The World Bank has projected that Ghana would be the fastest growing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, after the discovery of offshore oil deposits and the subsequent joining of Ghana in the list of African oil exporters in January 2011.
(cp) Sri Lanka Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade announced that steps are being initiated to provide the students with laptops and internet connection at cheaper rates.
The Ministry signed MOUs in this regard yesterday with the Ministry of Education and Etisalat, the Emirates-based telecommunications company.
The Secretary of the Ministry Sunil Sirisena said that the students would be able to buy laptops from the State Trading Corporation at a price 25% lower than elsewhere.
(ognp) Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Council has approved President Mahinda Rajapakse’s nomination of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake as the new Chief Justice.
Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, is a Sri Lankan judge, and current Justice on the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. She has been nominated to succeed Asoka de Silva as Chief Justice of Sri Lanka following his retirement on May 17, 2011. Bandaranayake becomes the first female Chief Justice of Sri Lanka.
(dn) The world's largest Buddhist flag prepared by United People's Freedom Alliance Colombo district organiser and Western Provincial Councillor M Ajmal Maujud will be hoisted at Sahaspura flats' premises, Nugegoda to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Festival.
(dm) Even in the heart of Sri Lanka’s financial capital, convicted hedge fund founder and one-time billionaire Raj Rajaratnam remains a mystery to many on the island of his birth.
Found guilty of 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud on Wednesday in New York in one of the United States’ largest hedge fund insider trading cases, Rajaratnam’s fate and infamy in his adopted country has drawn negligible attention in Sri Lanka. . “Who is that? I really don’t know,” said a man who identified himself only as Fernando, when asked what he thought about Rajaratnam inside Colombo’s World Trade Center, the Indian Ocean island nation’s financial hub. Out of 22 people a Reuters correspondent spoke to, 10 of whom work in the financial markets, only three knew who Rajaratnam was. Others just gave bemused expressions when asked about the money manager, an American citizen who has lived in the United States for three decades.
His only visit to Sri Lanka after emigrating came after the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami that killed 30,000 in Sri Lanka, when he set up a charity to help rebuilding. Though he had been a big investor in the small Colombo Stock Exchange, Rajaratnam pulled out all of his investments last year. “He had liquidated a year ago. He is not a player anymore,” Murtaza Jafferjee, chairman and managing director of JB Stockbrokers in Colombo and a Rajaratnam schoolmate, told Reuters.
(dm) A young Russian Buddhist monk, Ven. Sugatha Thera walks from the Thera’s jungle retreat to the nearest village to beg for alms every morning.
Ven. Sugatha Thera whose lay name was Ivan, migrated to Sri Lanka in December 2010 to enter the order. The villagers are now in the habit of waiting for Ven.Sugatha Thera to offer alms every day. However, the Thera would call at a couple of houses and returns to his jungle retreat after receiving enough food for a meal.
(dn) Free Tamil language classes will be held at the Presidential Cultural and Sports Centre, Mahiyanganaya. These classes are open to children attending primary classes of government and non-governmental schools and those who like to learn Tamil. Contact D R Wasanti, the organizer of the programme, officer-in-charge of the Presidential Cultural, Mahiyanganaya Sports Centre on 055-3558376 055-3558376 during office hours.
(ani) Thilak Kandegama, a local environmentalist, manages the Kandyan Forest Garden, a natural farm in Ukuwela, a village in Sri Lanka's Central Province. Kandegama started this 12-acre farm in 2009 with the goal of creating an environmentally friendly farming system. He says that crops should be cultivated in a way that protects the environmental balance in Sri Lanka, a country rich in biodiversity.
At his farm, Kandegama says he uses the ancient "chena" cultivation methods, a simple two-stage process in which land is slashed and burned and then seeds that require minimal tending are planted in the nutrient-rich soil. He cultivates mixed crops, such as vegetables, flowers, paddy, coconut and fruit without using any chemicals. Instead, Kandegama relies on natural methods that provide insect and pest control without any chemicals. He says there are 29 kinds of predators that eat the nine kinds of pests in the natural chena environment.
After people began to suffer various illnesses, such as cancer and skin infections, Kandegama and other local farmers say they reverted to traditional methods, including the chena and muddy field cultivation methods. Kandegama says he relies on the farm's cattle for manure to fertilize the crops and milk to distribute among the school children in the adjoining day care center. Unlike modern methods, traditional farming techniques help to preserve the environment and consumers' health, he says.
(dn) 'The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry will introduce a Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) system to all multi day fishing vessels to protect nutritional value and freshness of fish cultivation, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne.
The ministry introduced flake ice to the Peliyagoda fish trade centre to protect fish cultivation. "When we supply fish for international and local markets, freshness of fish is vital to have a good demand. "As a developing country we have to use new technological methods," the minister said. 'The fisheries industry has developed after three decades.
'There is no barrier to the industry. The country has an eight times sea area as land. The Fisheries Ministry will uplift the fisheries community. It is targetted to double the fish cultivation, he added.
(ognp) For nearly thirty years, we had a conflict in our land that took away the lives of thousands and seriously injured similar numbers every year. That is now over with the humanitarian operation to defeat the forces of terror to which the entire nation contributed. Today we need another humanitarian operation on our roads to save the thousands of valuable lives lost and those injured by road accidents each year. We cannot, as a society let this tragedy on our roads continue, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
"Road accidents like armed conflict is a hazardous threat to society and to progress. Road Safety removes such threats and points the way to real progress. The Traffic Signs we read must be those of Progress on Safer Roads. Therefore, we as Sri Lankans should join hands and come forward with the commitment needed to conquer this threat to society," President said inaugurating the National Road Safety Conference at Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo this morning .
(espncf) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have confirmed the dates for the first edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League will be from July 19 to August 4, 2011. The seven provinces will play 24 matches over the 18 days, all of which will be telecast live globally. That suggests a format in which all the teams will play each other once in a league stage, before two semi-finals and a final.
Each team will only be allowed five overseas players in their squad, of which only four can be named in the XI. Several foreign players including Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Shahid Afridi and Herschelle Gibbs have already been signed for the tournament.
SLC also unveiled the team names for the provinces. The seven teams will be: Basnahira Bears, Kandurata Kites, Nagenahira Nagas, Ruhuna Rhinos, Uthura Oryxes, Uva Unicorns and Wayamba Wolves. The board plans to add two more provinces to the tournament within three years.
(ognp) SL Magazine - a quarterly magazine in English medium to enlighten the international community as well as our reading public on Sri Lankan Icons was launched with the first copy of it being presented to the Minister of Economic Development Mr. Basil Rajapaksa.
This magazine will highlight and bring forth facts and figures on Sri Lanka which will enable the international community as well as our reading public to grasp at a glance on truthful facts pertaining to our country.
The Magazine hopes to encourage the English reading public as well as Sri Lankans living abroad to value our traditions, heritages, culture etc. The Magazine will also be a resourceful hand book to provide information on Sri Lanka for prospective investors in the spheres of investment, trade and business.
(dn) New UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Subinay Nandy, presented his credentials to the government today at the External Affairs Ministry. Subinay Nandy UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Nandy as his designated representative in Sri Lanka.
As the most senior UN official in the country Nandy will lead the UN Country Team of 20 resident and non-resident UN agencies.
Nandy also held the position of Chief of the Regional Programme and Policy Division in the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in New York. He served as Deputy Resident Representative in Turkmenistan, and Assistant Resident Representative in Bangladesh - where he started his UNDP career as National Programme Officer.
(cp) The Sri Lankan government is to give priority to environmental protection with the implementation of two projects.
The Central Environment Authority (CEA) has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Peradeniya University and with the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) to implement the two projects.
The MoU with the KDU would see the launching of a novel 'Pilisaru' programme tailored to meet the needs of the defence academy in solid waste management. "We expect to run the two programmes as a pilot project using latest technology and equipment. The two premier universities will carry out their environment projects on an experimental level to be used at national level," Herath has said.
(dm) It is well known that Malays are not indigenous to Sri Lanka. Scholars differ in their views as to their earliest date of arrival. The Chulavamsa, where the word Javaka itself occurs, provides us with the earliest reference to their arrival in this country. The Chulavamsa records that a Javaka Prince Chandrabanu, invaded Sri Lanka twice. The first was in 1247 A.D. and the second in 1258 A.D.
In Sri Lanka, the Javakas or Malays who have domiciled themselves in this island during those early times, including those who arrived with the invader Prince Chandrabanu, would undoubtedly have been assimilated to the indigenous population of Sri Lanka.
The arrival of the Malays on a large scale took place during the time of the Dutch. Dutch activities in Java and counter activities of the Javanese led to the arrival of more Malays in Sri Lanka including some members of the Javanese royalty who had rebelled against the Dutch. They were exiled to Sri Lanka in 1723. These Javanese continued to live in Sri Lanka until the British drove away the Dutch in 1796. Many royalty and soldiers opted to return to Java while others became domiciled in this country. The present Sri Lanka Malays are, therefore, the descendants of both Javanese royalty and soldiery.
(ognp) All heads of Government Institutions have been informed to display Buddhist flag at their buildings during the vesak week from May 14 to 20. The Government has declared a vesak week to mark the Vesak which falls on May 17.
Secretary Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs in a circular to all heads of Government Ministries, Provincial Councils, Departments, Public Enterprises and the Government Agents has also asked them to illuminate all govt buildings during this period.
(ognp) The retirement age of employees in state enterprises has been increased to 57 years from 55 years. Secretary to the treasury Dr.P.B.Jayasundera has said the directive is effective from the 1st of May this year. He has said that the relevant circular has been released to the Secretaries of Ministries and Chairmen of State Institutions.
Accordingly employees in state institutions could serve until the age of 57 years without requesting for a service extension. Dr. Jayasundera has said that however, this rule applies only for employees in state bodies whose retirement age has been specifically determined through a parliamentary act. State employees who reach the age of 55 yrs are also permitted to retire voluntarily.
In such instances, they are entitled to receive the benefits of the Employees Provident Fund and the Employees Trust Fund. The circular of the Secretary of the Treasury also points out that in the event of an employee requesting to serve until the age of 60 years, the Board of Administration of the relevant institution has the authority to accede to this request taking into consideration the service requirements of the relevant institution and the service performance of the employee.
(dn) The foundation stone for the 522 ft tall Sri Sambuddha Raja Samadhi Buddha statue to be built on behalf of war heroes will be laid at the Kuda Kelettewa Sri Sarangaramaya Kurundankulama Anuradhapura on May 13 at 10.06 a.m.
This Buddha statue believed to be the largest Buddha statue in the world is built to redeem a vow made at the Sri Maha Bodhi and the Ruwanweli Seya on May 1 Vesak Poya day in 2007 for the success of the humanitarian operation to eradicate terrorism and reunite the country, said the Viharadhipati and International Friendship Educational-Cultural and Social Service General Secretary Ven Pilapitiye Pannatissa Thera.
(ognp) The Government has declared the period from May 14 to 20 as the vesak week.
The government has also selected the theme of the 2600th Sambuddathwa jayanthiya “Let’s Disciplined for 2600th Sambuddathwa Jayanthiya as the theme for the Vesak as well. May 17 and 18 have already been declared as the Public, Bank and mercantile holiday in view of the vesak.
Meanwhile all liquor shops, Race Bookies, casinos and night clubs will be closed and the sale of liquor at Super Markets will also be banned on May 16, 17 and 18 for the vesak. Further, all meat stalls closed and the sale of meat at super markets will also be banned on May 17 and 18.
(dn) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in collaboration with the Department of Official Languages (DOL) launched a scheme in 2010 to facilitate its staff to enhance their proficiency in the Tamil language.
The objective of this scheme was to provide the staff with the necessary skills in both Sinhala and Tamil Languages enabling them to discharge their duties efficiently and effectively in any part of the island. More than 250 Sinhala speaking officers of the CBSL participated in this scheme and the majority had improved their communication skills in Tamil language.
As an integral part of this educational programme, the CBSL has organized a series of debates in the Tamil language aimed at enhancing the level of proficiency in the Tamil language of the non-Tamil speaking officers of the bank who have followed the Tamil language training programmes.
(island) Ten Sri Lankan cricketers will leave the island this morning for a Test and ODI series in England. A section of the national squad leave without some of the senior players, who are expected to join the team in England ahead of the second warm up game against England ‘A’, starting on May 19.
Newly appointed captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, off-spinner Suraj Randiv and all-rounder Thisara Perera are the players who will join the squad in England late, due to their IPL commitments.
Sri Lanka will play three Test matches, five ODIs and a T-20 International against England before moving to Scotland, where they will play the hosts and Ireland in two ODIs. Sri Lanka’s tour kicks off on Saturday with a three day warm up game against Middlesex at Uxbridge. The national team’s last Test tour to England was in 2006, under Mahela Jayawardene, where they came from behind to square the Test series and whitewashed the hosts 5-0 in the ODIs.
(ognp) Preparation work relating to the construction of pavilions for the 1st South Asian Beach Sports Festival commenced recently in Hambantota. This sports festival will be carried out in the Hambantota beach area.
An area of 16 acres connecting the Hambanthota beach near Hambantota Town has been allocated for this festival. Four Sports Pavilions and Four Training Centers will be constructed in this land area.
12 beach sporting events, including beach volley ball for men and women will be held using the beaches of Hambantota, Tangalle and Tissamaharama. Nearly 1000 sports personnel representing SAARC countries are expected to participate in this festival.
(dn) Overall public participation in trade fairs has increased tremendously and there has also been a significant increase in foreign visitors to the trade fairs in Sri Lanka.
Imran Hassan Speaking to Daily News Business, Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference Exhibitions and Events Organizers President and Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (Pvt) Ltd., (LECS) Director, Imran Hassan said the industry grew at around 20 percent growth in 2010 and is expecting a similar growth from 20 to 25 percent during this year.
“It is vital to improve the existing infrastructure and fast track the undergoing infrastructure development projects to make Sri Lanka a trade fair friendly destination. Our aim is to position Sri Lanka in the SAARC region like Singapore to the South East Asia and Dubai to the gulf region. Therefore, more supportive policy decisions are essential to uplift the industry from its current position,” Hassan said. Events are getting bigger which require high-tech features.
(nst) Four visually-impaired Malaysians will soon be able to see again. The Sri Lankan government has donated four sets of corneas to the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple here in conjunction with the temple's annual Caring and Sharing Programme 2011.
Chief High Priest Ven K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thera said the temple had set a target of receiving 88 cornea donations. "We have received 16 corneas from Sri Lanka over the past four years." He did not say specifically who would receive the corneas, but did mention that a Malay, an Indian and two Chinese of different faiths would benefit.
Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Malaysia Dr DD Ranasinghe presented a mock organ-carrying box to the chief priest at the launching of the Caring and Sharing Programme to symbolise the handing over of the corneas. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who was present at the temple yesterday, thanked Dr Ranasinghe for his country's donation.
(bbcs) It is necessary that the new generation of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka learn the Tamil language to help reconciliation between communities after decades of war, teachers of Buddhist scripture say.
All Island Pirivena Teachers Association (AIPTA) made of teachers of Buddhism told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya that the Buddhist monks should be able to communicate with the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
“They should be able to communicate in Tamil and spread the message of peace to the Tamil community,” said Kompitiye Suseela thero, president of AIPTA. The thero expressed hope that Buddhist monks communicating in Tamil will help prevent another bloody conflict in Sri Lanka.
(so) Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera will begin an official visit to Qatar today on an invitation extended by the Qatari Government to explore the possibility of getting more jobs for Sri Lankans.
A delegation comprising senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau and Chief Executive Officers of recruitment agencies in Sri Lanka will accompany the minister. These meetings will be with a cross-section of Sri Lankans living in Qatar and representatives of recruitment agencies and companies in Qatar. A large number of companies and recruiting agencies has been invited to these meeting by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Doha.
As Qatar prepares for the 2022 Soccer World Cup, discussions were held on Sri Lanka’s expertise in the construction services sector and skilled employment opportunities for Sri Lankan employees. A proposal was also presented to the Qatari private sector to set up vocational training centres in Sri Lanka that would provide systematic training for jobs including opportunities in the medical sector for nurses and pharmacists.
(sl) In order to meet the growing electricity need of Sri Lanka till 2030, the government has conducted pre-feasibility studies to generate electricity from ocean waves.
Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka in response to a question in Parliament last week stated that although Sri Lanka is interested in generating electricity from ocean waves no feasibility study has yet been carried out thus far to use ocean waves as a source of generating electricity. “We have only done some pre-feasibility studies and have identified from Unawatuna to Panama as suitable shores for this future project. However, energy of ocean waves is generated more in the Polar Regions and less in the equatorial regions of the earth,’’ he said.
According to Minister Ranawaka there are several methods used to generate electricity from the ocean. “Tidal waves, wave motions, and thermal energy conversion are key methods that can be used,” he said.
(so) SriLankan Airlines will commence a new service to Moscow on September 15, making the Russian capital, the 52nd destination of the airline. The new service will operate via Dubai, and will commence initially with two flights per week on Thursdays and Saturdays.
SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said: "We are delighted to announce the launch of services to Moscow . This will be the first time in history that our national carrier has served Russia , and will no doubt serve to greatly strengthen the close relationship between our two nations."
Tourist arrivals from Russia grew by 21% in the first quarter of 2010, and by 22% from other countries in Eastern Europe . The airline already serves five European cities - London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome and Milan - with plans to commence services to several more. Asia is fast becoming a favourite destination for travellers from Russia, the world's fastest growing outbound tourist market. According to the World Tourism & Travel Council, Russia is well placed to become one of the world's travel and tourism powerhouses by 2016.
(so) Thalduwa Manor, an 11-room tourist hotel managed by Malwatte Valley Plantations PLC was opened by Senior Cabinet Minister Athauda Seneviratne near Thalduwa, Avissawella, recently.
Minister Seneviratne commended the company for its diversification effort and expressed confidence that the new hotel would benefit the people of the area and local and foreign travellers. Malwatte Valley Plantation CEO and Managing Director, W. L. Bogtstra said that the Thalduwa Manor was the first of a series of new tourist ventures undertaken by the company.
Located in Thalduwa in proximity to the Avissawella-Hatton main road, Thalduwa Manor was an old colonial bungalow before being transformed to a brand new boutique hotel. The Manor offers the comfort of six luxury and five semi-luxury rooms in the rubber plantation. The hotel has a swimming pool and the environs are also suitable for trekking and hiking.
(bbcs) The parliament in Sri Lanka will soon introduce live broadcasts of its proceedings, says the deputy speaker.
Chandima Weerakkody, MP, told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya that the initial trial will only be limited to radio broadcast. “The speaker is committed to broadcast the proceedings of our parliament to the Sri Lankan people,” he said.
“As it is going to be a trial, there won’t be television coverage in the beginning.” The deputy speaker, who is in London by the invitation of UK parliament to study Westminster system, said the arrangements are underway for the live broadcast of the proceedings to begin as soon as possible.
(dn) Sri Lanka's top apparel exporter Brandix has been commended as a role model for environment and employee friendly ethical manufacture at the House of Lords, the 'Upper House' of the British Parliament.
During a debate on 'Ethical and Sustainable Fashion', Lord Sheikh, Conservative, a prominent personality in the House of Lords, said: "I was recently a member of the parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka, where we were taken to a factory belonging to Brandix, which makes garments for Marks and Spencer. The factory was eco-friendly, the working conditions were excellent and the staff were well paid. Such a factory is a role model for others to emulate."
Lord Sheikh (Life Baron Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh of Cornhill) was one of 11 members of a high-profile Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation that toured the Brandix Green Factory at Seeduwa during a visit to the country last year at the invitation of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
(nn) Foreign passport holders must continue to register with the Ministry of Defence in order to enter Jaffna despite the war against the LTTE ending three years ago.
A group of Foreign passport holders who were born in Sri Lanka told News Now.lk that they were turned back at the Omantai check point while heading to Jaffna as they had not registered with the Ministry of Defence.
When contacted by News Now.lk Director General of the Media Center for National Security (MCNS) Lakshman Hulugalla said that the regulations which were implemented soon after the war with regard to foreign passport holders still remains while locals have free access. “Foreign passport holders must continue to register with the MoD. However Sri Lankan passport holders can travel freely without any registration,” he said. Hulugalla added even Sri Lankans with overseas residence visas stamped on their Sri Lankan passports also do not have to register with the Ministry of Defence.
(ognp) On a proposal made by Minister of Power and Energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Cabinet has approved the introduction of solar powered LED Lighting Products to power the basic lighting requirements of houses and other places in remote villages, numbering 150,000.
Kerosene had been in use as a source of lighting for many decades in Sri Lanka and presently, it is at a historically low level due to expansion of the national grid to all corners of the country. Only 10% of households are dependent on kerosene and majority of them are Samurdhi beneficiaries.
The project has been developed to introduce advanced solar powered white LED lightening products to those segment of population to power their basic lighting requirements and to eliminate the use of kerosene for lighting purposes thus reducing kerosene subsidy by up to LKR 0.444 billion per annum. It is estimated that this project would result in Kerosene savings of LKR 1.150 billion per year, once all 150,000 households use renewable energy instead of kerosene and thereby accompalish the Government;s mission to provide "electricity for all"
(spero) Sri Lanka is a "pluralistic society as it combines ethnic groups, religions and cultures," says Fr Hettiarachchi from the Inter Religious Alliance for National Unity. For this reason the faithful of all religions should celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment.
Christians, Muslims and Hindus in Sri Lanka must "join hands" with their Buddhist brothers and celebrate together this "Vesak" the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment, said religious leaders from the Inter Religious Alliance for National Unity (Iranu) in a press conference last May 3, hosted by the Government Department of Information. This year's Vesak falls on 17 and 18 May next.
On the occasion of Vesak, the government will open the first Buddhist museum in the world, Kandy (Central Province), on 20 May. The museum is located in Sri Dalada Maligawa, the temple of the "relic of the tooth" one of the holiest places for the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka and around the world, declared World Heritage site since 1988. It preserves a canine of the Buddha.
(ognp) The government has made arrangements to implement a housing programme for the displaced persons in the North. This programme is being jointly implemented by the Ministries of Resettlement and the construction, Engineering Services, Housing, and Common Amenities.
Under this programme, the National Housing Development Authority extends a loan of 200 thousand rupees to every house recipient. The programme is to be implemented in every district in the North and will commence from the Mullathivu and Kilinochchi districts.
The government further says that Jana Sevena housing projects are to be set up in the Jaffna, Mannar and Vavuniya districts, based on the success of the programmes carried out in the Mullathivu and Kilinochchi districts.
(ognp) A National Steering Committee has been appointed to improve common amenities in flats in the Colombo district. The committee is chaired by Secretary to the Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Gotabhaya Jayarathne.
The Ministry informed that common amenities of 14,900 apartments in 155 flats will be given a facelift under this initiative. There were no streamlined repairs carried out to the common amenities of these Flats for the last several decades and the people were left with the burden of carrying out the essential repairs in the apartments they live in.
The Ministry has allocated 55 million rupees for this project.
(dn) A discussion to establish a Samanera Bhikkhu Training Centre at Buddhagaya, India to mark the 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthi was held at Charikaramaya under the patronage of Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera.
Addressing the meeting, the Thera said that Indian Maha Bodhi Society General Secretary Ven Dodamgoda Rewatha and the Indian Mahabodhi Society are working to protect the heritage of Buddhists in India. The programme launched by Anagarika Dharmapala in India to protect Buddhism should be continued, he said.
"India is a large country. Sri Lanka should get Indian government's support to spread Buddhism in India. We should train many Bhikkus to make this a success", the Thera said.
(ognp) The Government of Sri Lanka will send a detailed response to UNSG Ban Ki-moon regarding the Darusman Report giving details of the un-going development work in the North and East since the war ended and the drawbacks that would cause to the reconcilliation process by the report compiled by the panel of advisors appointed by him.
The Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris dismissing the report as prejudice from beginning to end said that the prejudice of the Darusman Panel was also evident from the way it described the LTTE as 'a most disciplined and nationalist Tamil organization' thus betraying its bias. He further pointed out, it had also said that 'Sri Lanka' war ended tragically, amidst controversy'. He questioned as to whether the panel considered the ending of the war tragic because, in its opinion, the wrong side had won.
It was a basic misnomer to call it a UN report. It was a private initiative of the UNSG to appoint a committee to advise him. The UNSG had informed him, said the Minister, that the report had no relevance to the UN or any other bodies coming under the UN, since Sri Lanka or any other UN member country had not taken it up with the UN. The committee which compiled the report was only an advisory body.
(dn) The newly built Omanthai railway station will be opened on May 27. The railway station has been renovated with modern facilities, Sri Lanka Railway's Planning Director Wijaya Samarasinghe said.
The Omanthai railway station is one of the main stations on the Northern railway line leading up to KKS.
The Sri Lanka Railway renovated the Northern railway line up to Omanthai prior to the Indian government funded reconstruction of the track, he added.
(dn) President of Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka Wijaya Amarasinghe who met the Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage stated that carrom is not included in the National Sports Festival. This sport has brought many laurels to the country. Amarasinghe with the hope of popularising the sport in the districts commenced a program. The first of this kind was held recently in Jaffna.
Rohini Mathiaz along with two other former national champions M Sheriffdeen and M.T.M. Hilmy conducted this workshop and the seminar at Jaffna Central College. At this seminar the main theme was to educate the players of the rules and regulations of the sport.
After the completion of the seminar and workshop they also conducted a tournament for the players of the Jaffna Peninsula which was attended by over 150 enthusiastic carromites. They were form Jaffna Central College, St John's College, St. Patrick's College, Kokuvil Hindu College (Boys and Girls) Uduvil Vidyalaya, Chundikuli Ladies College, Jaffna Hindu Ladies College, Vembadi High Ladies College and University of Jaffna.
(island) Sri Lanka’s first tele-medicine centre was launched in Colombo yesterday. The centre is a joint venture between Afro-Asia’s largest hospital network, headquartered in Chennai and Serenity Health Referral Services.
Telemedicine is the term used for the process, where healthcare services are provided when the patient and the doctor are far apart.
Chief guest at the launch Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayaka said Sri Lanka, being a technology driven country, the latest initiative between India and Sri Lanka would add to healthcare connection between the medical fraternities of both countries. He said that India had plenty of experience in the field of medicine, thus sharing their expertise would certainly be a boon to the local medical sector.
(dn) A rare encounter of four planets, namely, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter is visible to the naked eye during this month, Colombo University Physics Department Senior Lecturer Dr Chandana Jayaratne told the Daily News yesterday.
He said that this spectacular event can be seen in the Eastern skies just before sunrise. From May 7 to 15, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will be within about five degrees of each other, he noted.
"The identification of these planets by the naked eye is very easy. "From May 15 to 25, the three small planets will form a trio lying within five degrees of each other. May 21 is the morning to look for Mercury, Venus, and Mars in their tightest pairing, at 2.1 degrees across. Venus's closest approach to Mars will occur on May 23, when Mars is one degree to the upper left of Venus. After this date, the planets stretch apart and form a line, with the Moon passing alongside of this line during the last days of the month", he remarked.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare open the two day conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue on ‘Building World Peace - Role of Islamic Buddhist Dialogue’. The conference will be held at Hotel Galadari today (4th).
This was announced by the Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University, Professor, Venerable Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero participating in an Inter-faith Conference on 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthiya held in Colombo yesterday.
The opening of two day conference today is organized by the Sri Lanka Islamic Centre in association with Jamiyah-Singapore and International Islamic Forum for Dialogue-Saudi Arabia. Muslim religious leaders mainly from Saudi Arabia and Theravada priests from Singapore and Cambodia will participate in this conference.
(dn) The Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry is in the process of establishing new computer training centres in the North which will pave the way for Northern youth to acquire knowledge and skills of international standard and be ready for modern world challenges.
"This will also provide an opportunity for them to be ready for the demanding job market here and abroad," Youth Affairs Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said.
"We upgraded the Jaffna Technical College as a Technological University to provide the opportunity for Northern youth to develop their academic knowledge, skills and specialized knowledge in traditional and emerging technical areas," he said. A new branch of the National Institute of Business Management has also been set up in Jaffna. Students and Northern youth will get the opportunity to follow courses in Information Technology, Management Studies and English language with the opening of its new centre.
(dn) 'Buddhism does not belong to any one, nation or race, but is a philosophy which includes all the people in the world. It is a dogma delivered to the world signifying peace, said Prof Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thera.
'The 2600 Sambuddhathva Jayanthi is a very important event for Buddhists. 'Many Buddhist countries are preparing to commemorate this important event. It is very important to us because we can commemorate this event ensuring the participation of all.
The Thera was addressing a press conference at the Information Department yesterday. Kirulapone Pushparama temple Chief Incumbent Ven Elkaduwe Nagitha Thera also participated
(ognp) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has decided to obtain expert opinion from Senior Lecturer of Department of Computer Science and Engineering of University of Moratuwa, Dr. Chathura De Silva on the recent video telecast of the Channel-4 about Sri Lanka, alleging that the Sri Lankan security forces committed war crimes in Sri Lanka by shooting innocent Tamil population.
Responding to the invitation extended by the Chairman of the LLRC, Dr. De Silva has agreed to provide his opinion regarding the matter at a public sitting to be held tomorrow at 3.30 pm at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institution of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
Dr. Chathura De Silva is also the Director of the Center for Instructional Technology at University of Moratuwa.
(cp) The Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) has assigned May 05 as the Public Awareness Day on Insurance to educate the general public of Sri Lanka in regard to the benefits of Insurance.
The Chairman of the Association Ramal Jasinghe said that the aim of the Awareness Day was to make the people of Sri Lanka aware of the importance of insurance and to build trust between all parties related to insurance.
He says the public's lack of knowledge on the importance of insurance in facing difficult situations in life and the benefits of insurance prevent the growth of the insurance market. He also pointed out that 18 companies are operating in the insurance field of Sri Lanka but only 10.4 percent of the populations are covered by these insurance companies.
(dm) Robert O. Blake, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who arrived in Colombo yesterday, held talks with the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on the current political situation in the country.
The TNA National List parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran told Daily Mirror that the discussions took place at the US Ambassador’s residence immediately after Mr. Blake’s arrival from the Maldives and went on for nearly 1 ½ hours (from about 8.00 pm to 9.30 pm).
“We discussed several issues, including a political solution to the ethnic problem and the progress of the ongoing talks between the government and TNA,” Sumanthiran said. Mr. Sumanthiran and TNA leader R. Sampanthan represented the TNA, while Dr. Paul M. Carter head of the political affairs division of the US Embassy and US Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis joined with Blake in the discussions.
(ognp) No force will be allowed to deprive the country of the freedom and the peace enjoyed by the people of all communities, with the eradication of terrorism which plagued the country for over 30 years, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
When we try to rebuild the country, we face various external threats, people creating problems. I want to tell you that we won‘t bow down to them, President said addressing the UPFA May Day rally yesterday.
President Rajapaksa said that those who wrote reports against Sri Lanka had not paid a single visit to the North. “They are playing with the lives of the people of this country. If they are successful in their attempt, not only the people in the North but the entire nation and the country would plunge into an abyss of no return. Therefore these elements must realize that they were harming the hard fought democracy, peace and harmony of this country” he said. “This government is determined to put an end to the blood-letting that was experienced in 1971, 1989-90 and during the 30 year conflict. Therefore, the government would not let any power, any individual, organization or even a country to destabilize Sri Lanka. The people of this country would not let it happen, he said.
(dn) The largest Samadhi Buddha statue in the world, to commemorate the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi is proposed to be constructed in Anuradhapura on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Laying of the foundation stone of this is scheduled to be held at the auspicious hour of 10.00 am on May 13, at the precincts of Siri Sangarama, Kuda Kaletthewa, Anuradhapura.
Faculty of Aesthetic Studies Dean Prof Sarath Maldeniya is the architect of this project. The estimated cost of this statue, the height of which will be 522 feet when completed, is Rs. 1,000 million. It is proposed to complete the work in 30 months.
(ognp) Sri Lanka is in the 5th place among the countries developed in computer literacy and information technology in a very short period. Accordingly, during the last five years the computer literacy in the country has increased from 4 percent to 30 percent.
The basic plan of the national information technology has been prepared as part of a Mahinda Chinthana programme, to make Sri Lanka the knowledge hub of the Asian region. The main objective of the new plan is to increase the computer literacy up to 75 percent by the year 2016.
Many plans have been made to create employment opportunities in the field of information technology such as starting 1,000 Nenasala Centres, creating information network in the fields of Agriculture, Fishing and Technical sector.
(abc) Like most children of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora I have almost no experience of the Sinhalese as human beings. The breadth of my experience has been confined to a friend here, an acquaintance there, but no widespread human contact with a range of people in Sinhalese society. I suspect that many Sinhalese people, particularly here in Australia, are in a similar situation regarding the Tamils.
The situation in Sri Lanka itself seems much the same from some accounts. I raise the point about human contact because it is so vital to empathy and understanding. It is the absence of empathy that has given both sides a fairly vitriolic view of each other. The lack of real contact as equal human beings allows unhelpful stereotypes to prevail.
An entire generation of Tamils brought up on the news reports that they have seen from Sri Lanka and the commentaries that they receive from the Tamil community might likely perceive the Sinhalese as violent and criminal. Similarly, the Sinhalese fed a diet of stories from government media about the Tamil Tigers might view the Tamils as terrorists and troublemakers. Racism grows in the absence of understanding.
(dn) The Jaffna Gnanam and Subash Hotels reopened yesterday after being renovated following the ending of the three-decade old conflict.
These hotels which are situated in the Jaffna town limits, had been operating well prior to commencement of LTTE terrorist activities. The hotels were reopened under the patronage of Major General Mahinda Haturusinghe and with the participation of several other government officials.
(island) Jetwing Hotels invested US$ 1 million to add more rooms to its Tangalle Bay Hotel situated in the deep-South, the management of which was taken over by the hotel chain last year. Jetwing is also looking to develop properties in the once war-torn regions of the country; to construct a hotel in Jaffna and two more in the Northeast.
"The refurbishment programme has been immensely successful, and we look forward to extending our hospitality through the management of Tangalle Bay," Jetwing Hotels Chairman Hiran Cooray said. He said Jetwing invested US$ 1 million to refurbish Tangalle Bay Hotel and added 34 more rooms to the capacity of Jetwing Hotels.
Cooray said the hotel chain was looking to construct a brand new hotel in Jaffna which would be located near the Jaffna General Hospital. Discussions were on-going and Cooray hopes it would take off the ground within the next four months. Jetwing Hotels manages 12 properties spread across the country.
(st) The first Buddhist monk to be invited to a royal wedding has advised Prince William and his bride Kate Middleton to meditate daily for a happy marriage. The Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Thera has said that meditation would help them get through any marital difficulties.
He said: "Discuss your problems and meditate together each morning to empty the mind of all your problems." Ven. Seelawimala Thera, 55, who is head priest at the London Buddhist Vihara in Chiswick — managed by the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust in Colombo — was one of the 1,700-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey that witnessed the the wedding between Prince William and Kate on Friday.
The wedding was not Ven. Seelawimala's first link with royalty. Prince Charles visited the Vihara in 2005 following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. "He is a very warm-hearted man," Ven. Seelawimala said. "He was very interested in Buddhism and asked some great questions. He was very keen to know about meditation and how hard it was sit with your knees crossed for so long."
(so) The street nameboards in the Colombo city which are now in a very bad state due to pasting of posters and lack of maintenance are to be replaced with high quality ones under a program involving the private sector and the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC).
Therefore, the CMC invited the private sector through a tender to join hands with it to install the name boards with some advertisement space on the boards to cover costs of the boards and their maintenance also.
It's a model project in association with the private sector as we view that city street nameboard, should be changed in accordance with the improvement of services and city beautification programs said CMC Special Commissioner Omar Kamil. "The CMC belongs to every citizen of Colombo. The private sector, public sector, and civil society has a moral obligation to assist to improve the city as they profit from the city's appearance," he said.
(st) Sri Lanka will host an international conference on Islamic-Buddhist dialogue for world peace on Wednesday and Thursday in Colombo with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe among key speakers, former minister and Sri Lanka Islamic Centre Chairman M. H. Mohamed said.
He said the conference which was last held in Cambodia was being organized by the Sri Lanka Islamic Centre in collaboration with the Saudi-Arabia based International Islamic Centre. The other sponsors of the conference are the Buddhist Centre Singapore, the Muslim Missionary Society Singapore and Jamiyah Singapore.
Speakers at the conference include Ven. Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera, Ven Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera, Ven. Nabiriththankadawara Gnanaratana Thera, Ven. K. Gunaratana Thera from Singapore, Prof. Hamid Ahmad al-Rifaie from Saudi Arabia, Abdul Karim Mohideen from Singapore and Dr. M.A.M. Shukri. They discuss Buddhist and Islamic perspectives on peace, understanding issues and how to reach consensus.
(ognp) Sri Lanka has announced the holding of a mega export exhibition for international buyers to be held in 2012 in Colombo.
“Sri Lanka Export Development Board will be launching the most anticipated event by all our exporters –that is the “Sri Lanka Expo 2012” to be held in March 2012” declared Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Toasting an exporter’s networking session hosted by the Export Development Board at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo, Minister Bathiudeen said “Sri Lanka Expo 2012 milestone exhibition will showcase Sri Lanka’s new export capabilities to international buyers.” He stressed: “An approach of sustained diversification will ensure new market opportunities to Sri Lanka.”
(st) The Government will respond to the United Nations Panel report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka next week. A note to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon signed by External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris will be sent through Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations in New York. It will set out the official position of Sri Lanka. A more comprehensive response which addresses the contents of the Panel report will follow later.
Arising out of the report, the government has also initiated action on a number of other issues. Main among them is the extension by six months of the mandate of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a warrant dated May 15 2010 when the Commission was originally appointed.
The Government is also to relax several provisions in the ongoing Emergency Regulations as well as remove some provisions from the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). An immediate study is under way to determine what these provisions are.
K. Raju, an ardent Hindu who attended the ceremony on Easter Sunday, renovated the church and donated the statue to the poor parish. He said “it was a flowering of a dream of his late wife” who had wanted to see the renovated church but died before it was finished. “But I did all what I could to make her dream come true.”
assured that a positive dialogue will be created among Koreans on Sri Lanka. He added that top level Korean investors will arrive in Sri Lanka to embark on mega scale investment projects.
Bristol Street in Fort will be officially renamed "Sir Razik Fareed Mawatha" by Prime Minister D M Jayaratne on May 2, 2011. The Prime Minister will address the commemorative meeting at the premises of the Moors' Islamic Cultural Home (MICH) after the ceremonial renaming of the street.
The co-sponsors of the course are CARE International and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).
Royal College rugby matches organizing committee, a subcommittee of Royal College Union (RCU) has embarked on a just cause towards sheer sportsmanship, to coincide with the event. In a bid to keep smokers at bay during the match, the organizing committee has printed a message in the match-ticket, requesting spectators to refrain from smoking.
Sri Lanka Minister of Housing and Construction and the leader of government coalition party National Freedom Front, Wimal Weerawansa says that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa can suggest the need of an alternate United Nations Organization.
Senior Sri Lanka officials may be arrested and tried abroad as a result of the UN expert panel report on Sri Lanka, a legal expert said.
Sri Lanka has gifted a Ceylon Sapphire studded diamond hair pin to Kate Middleton who marries Britain's Prince William today.
Sri Lanka's Department of Posts has made a significant achievement by getting shortlisted for an award at the World Mail Awards 2011 ceremony to be held in Brussels, Belgium on May 17. It has been shortlisted for an award in the "Retail Project" category in respect of its entry for 'inhouse development.'
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has said that people should not have an unwanted apprehension about a tsunami, as the Ministry of Disaster Management has a streamline mechanism to inform the people if there is any such danger.
"We are well aware of the piracy threat affecting oil exploratory activities off India’s coast. We are still in the preparatory stage and in the process of finalising appropriate measures to deal with such threats," Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat Director General Dr. Neil de Silva told The Island Financial Review.
Sri Lanka will be now be eligible for international Bank for reconstruction and development funding in addition to the international development assistance (IDA) funding in the World Bank deciding to provide double the funds, Dr Amunugama told the Daily News yesterday. The assistance will be for education, health and development of national and provincial roads countrywide.
"One hundred Sri Lankan Buddhist monks will be provided with opportunity to learn the Korean language in South Korea with the aim of translating Tripitaka into the Korean language," said South Korea Chief Sanghanayaka Sakkayan Thera ...& more ....