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Pakistani asylum seekers continue in limbo while living on the edge

Apr 19 (ST) An influx of Pakistani asylum seekers in Sri Lanka is putting a strain on the authorities dealing with the issue, as religious organisations supporting them are strapped for finances. At least 100 more Pakistani asylum seekers arrived in the first two months of this year, after a sudden increase of arrivals since mid 2013. In 2013 alone they registered 1,489 asylum seekers, against 102 arrivals in the previous year. more..

Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges

Apr 19 (Reuters) Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, on Friday lost a bid to dismiss some of the insider trading charges leveled against him last year. U.S. District in Manhattan ruled that the indictment adequately alleged the essential elements of the crimes charged. Buchwald agreed that four securities fraud counts were "internally inconsistent" with a conspiracy charge contained in the indictment. more..

Malinga responds to claims that he was captain in name only

Apr 19 (IC) Responding to a question on a live talk show on a Sri Lankan TV channel recently, Lasith Malinga set the record straight on claims that it was actually Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara who were in charge in the middle in Sri Lanka's final three ICC World Twenty20 2014 matches. Vice-captain Malinga took over captaincy of Sri Lanka's T20 side from the out of form Dinesh Chandimal, who was dropped from the side during the World Twenty20 tournament, but TV more..

Sri Lanka police reject kidney racket behind Indian's death

Apr 19 (PTI) Sri Lankan police today rejected reports of a suspected kidney racket behind the death of a 26-year-old Indian, saying he died of heart failure. Police in Hyderabad were probing a suspected Colombo- based kidney racket following death of Dinesh, who had arrived here looking for a job late last month but died days later, media reports said. His family had alleged foul play behind his death after accessing his more..

Malinga, Thisara free to play IPL: Jayasuriya

Apr 19 (DM) The two Sri Lanka players in the current IPL, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera, would be free to continue playing in the IPL if they don’t make themselves available for the forthcoming tour of Ireland and England, Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya said. The chief selector said the two senior players, Sangakkara and Mahela J along with Malinga, would anyway not be considered for the Irish leg of the tour. With the contract dispute between SLC and the players yet to resolved, more..

Video: Five dead after van falls into lake

Apr 19 (AD) Five persons, including three women, have been reported dead after the van they were traveling in fell into the Datagamuwa lake in Kataragama this morning, SSP Ajith Rohana said. A van transporting a group of persons from Kandy to Kataragama was involved in the accident, which occurred at around 5.30am today. Police suspect that the driver of the vehicles had fallen asleep on the wheel, causing the incident. Three women and two men are among the deceased more..

Kurunegala, Matara MP slots reduced

Apr 19 (DM) The number of Members of Parliament to be elected from the Kurunegala and Matara electoral districts has reduced by one each, whereas the number from the Wanni and Nuwara-Eliya districts has increased according to the electoral register, a statement said. Annually, in keeping with the constitutional requirement, the Elections Commissioner announces the number of MPs allocated for each electoral district more..

Drought dries up the ‘two leaves and a bud’

Apr 19 (ST) Januka Rangoda has seen no leaf growth this year in his small tea plantation at Imaduwa in the Galle district, and his average monthly production of 700kg per acre has fallen to 300kg. Mr Rangoda is among thousands of low country tea small-holders in Galle, Matara, Ratnapura and Kalutara who are experiencing heavy losses due to extreme warm weather conditions and shortage of rainfall. “The usual lifespan of a tea plant is about 20 years. more..

'Avert conflicts over energy-food nexus'

Apr 19 (ST) Water for food is a core issue that can no longer be tackled through a narrow sectorial approach, a major international conference held in Colombo last week was told. Nearly 500 experts from 40 countries participated in the three-day Fifth International Conference on Water Resources and Hydropower Development in Asia at the BMICH. Addressing the summit, senior minister Dr.Sarath Amunugama said native topography meant that Sri Lanka “was made for hydropower”, more..

TNA softens stand on PSC participation

Apr 19 (DM) TNA yesterday said it would reconsider its decision to boycott the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to seek a political solution to the national question, provided the govt addressed issues of mutual concern. TNA spokesman Suresh Premachandran said there had been several attempts in the recent past to woo the TNA to talks while ignoring its concerns. He was responding to PSC Chairman Nimal Siripala more..

CMC receives closure order from courts for eateries

Apr 19 (DN) As a follow-up to the crackdown on eateries that have been selling food unfit for human consumption, the Health Department of the CMC has received closure orders for two well known eateries in Colombo East. “Even if eateries sell food unfit for human consumption, we have no legal authority to force them to close down, even during instances where they are not operating with valid trade license,” said Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, the Chief Medical Office of the CMC. more..

Mobile phone companies offer to open up the drug trade

Apr 19 (Island) In a bid to provide a customer-friendly pharmaceutical service two major mobile phone companies had agreed to make the people aware of the kinds of drugs available in the market and their prices through their systems. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that last week two major mobile phone companies had met him and offered to make available information about pharmaceuticals so that they could make informed decisions when they purchased medicinal drugs. more..

PM pledges to bring code of conduct for Maha Sangha before parliament

Apr 19 (DM) PM and Minister of Buddhist Affairs D.M. Jayaratne said the Sangha Kathikawatha (code of conduct for the Maha Sangha) would be presented to parliament to prevent any defamation of the Maha Sangha and to maintain its respect among the people at large. The PM charged there were some who had donned robes who were bringing disrepute to the entire Maha Sangha. He said anyone could don robes and by so doing more..

Strong call for sterilisation with Rs. 6m dog ‘shelter’ to be shut

Apr 19 (ST) The Anuradhapura Municipal Council has decided to close down a controversial dog shelter on April 15 following protests from villagers and animal rights activists over negligence resulting in the death and suffering of dozens of dogs. The Rs. 6 million shelter was built by the Health Ministry last year in a 4.5 acre property bordering the forest at Nellikuluma, 13km from Anuradhapura town, to provide veterinary care close for 500 strays in Anuradhapura town. more..

Welikada Prison guards foil inmate’s escape attempt

Apr 19 (AD) An inmate who attempted to escape from the Welikada Prison in the early hours of Saturday morning has been caught by prison officers, an official said. The inmate had attempted to escape through the roof of the prison toilets at around 2.30am today, however he was captured by the guards, Superintendent of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya said. The inmate in question is currently serving a two year sentence at the Welikada Prison. Meanwhile the spokesman for the more..

Asgiriya Mahanayaka Thera hands over an appeal to the President

Apr 19 (IL) President Rajapaksa worshipped at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy this morning (18) and received blessings for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. The President participated in many religious observances before the Sacred Tooth Relic. Later he paid separate visits to the Chief Prelates of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters and received the blessings for the New Year. First the President called on more..

Netting profits the traditional way

Apr 19 (ST) With the high cost of expenditure for fuel and the govt’s inability to implement a fuel subsidy scheme for fishermen, many fishermen now opt to use traditional fishing methods, without going out to sea. Fishermen in the Puttalam district use the traditional nets known as ‘Madel’ for fishing and say that the cheaper method nets them higher profits. Some 40 labourers draw the fishing nets ashore after they are laid in the sea. “We are getting bigger profits these days and more..

75 complaints against private bus operators

Apr 19 (CT) Seventy five complaints had been received during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, against private bus operators, the National Transport Commission (NTC) said. These complaints cover the period 11-16 April, with the NTC anticipating the receipt of more complaints by 22 April when the NTC’s New Year special bus services programme concludes. NTC said that of the 75 complaints received, 43 were with regard to increased fares charged by bus conductors. more..

Former WNBA players to visit Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (USDS) From April 21-25, former WNBA players Tamika Williams and Edna Campbell will visit Sri Lanka as State Department Sports Envoys. They will teach basketball skills with a focus on empowerment of girls and with an emphasis on teamwork and cross-cultural communication. The exchange is part of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative. more..

Aralaganwila accident – reason revealed

Apr 19 (NF) The postmortem examinations of nine individuals who were killed in an accident in Aralaganwila, were conducted at the Polonnaruwa Hospital on Friday night. The postmortem examination of the remaining individual is scheduled to be conducted on Saturday. Our area correspondents reported that the magisterial investigation into the incident was conducted by Acting Polonnaruwa Magistrate Sandya Kumari. Ten individuals were killed in the accident when more..

Monk kills monk in Elpitiya temple

Apr 19 (ST) A Buddhist monk who was stabbed by a fellow priest of the same temple on the day after the Sinhala New Year succumbed to his injuries today at the Karapitiya Hospital, police said. They identified the victim as the Ven. Vathave Pananaga Keerthi Chief Priest to the Saranankara Vihara Temple. According to police the suspect is a junior monk. He is alleged to have attacked the victim after he was reprimanded for using a mobile phone inside the temple premises. more..

BJP will push for power devolution

Apr 19 (CG) The BJP says it will push for early devolution of powers and a political settlement in Sri Lanka if it wins the ongoing elections in India. BJP president Rajnath Singh, speaking at an election rally, said that the rainbow alliance forged by the BJP has emerged as a major political force and would provide an alternative to the people of Tamil Nadu. Accusing the Congress-led UPA govt of failing to help the cause of SL Tamils, more..

Modi’s ‘Civis Romanus Sum’ speech

Apr 19 (CT) Reproduced is an exceprt of a 40 minute speech made by Narendra Modi in Chennai on April 13, 2014. This news item is from Colombo Gazette. “India’s BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi says with Tamils living all over the world, including in Malayasia, Sri Lanka and Fiji, it should be a priority of the Indian government to take care of their well-being and he promised to do so if a BJP-led Government assumes power after the elections. more..

Pilot Premnath 1978

Apr 19 (Hindu) This film was an Indo-Sri Lankan joint-venture produced by businessman T.M. Menon and M.M. Saleem, noted building contractor (son of Mohammed Meeran, the famed architect and civil engineer who designed and built the landmark Gemini flyover on Mount Road) and D.M. Chandrasena of Sri Lanka. This film in colour was shot entirely in the picturesque island nation and the post-production work done in Madras (now Chennai). Sivaji Ganesan played the title more..

Death in the Jungle: Quixotic Saga of Theiveegan, Appan and Gobi

Apr 19 (DBS) The traditional April new year named “Jaya” or Victory dawned on a positive note this year for Sri Lanka. A massive security operation launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces had resulted in the deaths of three persons in the Jungles of Vedivaithakallu-Oothukkulam-Bogaswewa in the North. Paradoxical as it may appear the “bad” news of deaths was in another sense “good” news for the Country at large more..

Students, teachers face hardships coming to remote school in Kalpitiya

Apr 19 (ST) Teachers and students in Uchimunai, Kalpitiya have been facing hardship in travelling to school due to lack of transportation facilities. The school is situated in the isolated island or spit of Uchimunai which could be reached only by boat as there is only a sand route by land which is impassable at most times. Teachers have complained that they have to travel about 15 kilometres in fishing boats to get to the school due to lack of accommodation on the island. more..

Slap on the face of parliamentary democracy

Apr 19 (CT) A group of UNP MPs, who were on a fact-finding mission to the Hambantota Harbour and the Mattala International Airport, were on Thursday attacked allegedly by ruling party acolytes in President Rajapaksa's pocket borough itself. The MPs were purportedly on a fact-finding mission on allegations of bribery, corruption and financial malpractice related to the construction of the MRIA and MMRP, two major infrastructure projects, both named after the incumbent President. more..

BBC correspondent refused a visa

Apr 19 (CG) BBC correspondent based in Colombo has been refused a one year visa extension and he has been asked to leave the country. The visa of Charles Haviland, who has been in Sri Lanka since April 2009, expired this month and he had sought a one year extension through the External Affairs Ministry. However the Ministry had refused to grant him one year extension and had given him a few days to leave Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka maintains stand on resolution

Apr 19 (CG) The Govt says it will maintain its position on the US resolution adopted at the UNHRC recently. The resolution had called for an international independent investigation in Sri Lanka into human rights abuses alleged to have taken place between 2002 and 2009. However Government sources said that while a formal request is yet to be made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) more..

Poaching talks: Rajitha wants at ministerial level

Apr 19 (Island) Taking the dialogue process forward, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the govt was looking forward to the ministerial level talks on the issue of trespassing and poaching by fishermen of India and Sri Lanka before the fisheries organisations discussions announced by the Tamil Nadu. He said that the letters had already been sent to the Indian Central Govt seeking dates for the meeting next month. more..

Sajith says H’tota incident would further tarnish Lanka

Apr 19 (Island) Hambantota is fast becoming a place notorious for thuggery and crimes providing grist to the anti Lankan forces that question on the good governance and break down of law and order in the country, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said in a media release. Thursday’s incident of government goons attacking five UNP MPs who tried to visit Mattala Air Port and Hambantota Harbour would further tarnish more..

ACJU seeks meeting with Asgiriya Chief Prelate

Apr 19 (CT) The All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), the apex religious body of Islamic Theologians in Sri Lanka states that it hopes to secure an audience with President Rajapaksa as well as with the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera. Chief of the ACJU's Media Unit and Moulavi, Aslam Zubair, said this decision had been reached to bring to notice the more..

Sri Lanka unaware of Farbrace's plans for England

Apr 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka cricket (SLC) is in the dark over any possible move by the national coach Paul Farbrace to become a part of England coaching staff. SLC, however admitted the ECB had communicated their interest in recruiting Farbrace, a release said. Farbrace had only become Sri Lanka's national coach in December when the incumbent Graham Ford left the job. Farbrace became an instant hit with the Islanders as more..

'Audit of Rs 1.3 T EPF fund not submitted'

Apr 19 (CT) It is a national tragedy that the EPF has still not submitted to Parliament its audited accounts for the year 2011 as required by law. UNP MP, Harsha de Silva, issuing a statement said: "This is notwithstanding the cynical press releases by the Central Bank 'warning' the public not to be misled by 'certain politicians' who have been repeatedly alleging that EPF's audited accounts have not been submitted since 2010. more..

CMC to control rat population in Colombo

Apr 19 (DM) Rat population in Colombo has increased and immediate measures need to be taken to bring it under control Chief Medical Officer of Health at the CMC Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said. “A special programme needs to be organised to reduce the rat population. We were unable to attend to the issue since most of our workers were involved in the dengue eradication programme. more..

LTTE faces Canadian challenge

Apr 19 (SL) Nearly five years after the extraordinary defeat of the LTTE, the Tamils in Sri Lanka and overseas are taking a tough stand against the LTTE. Tired of intimidation, assault and killings, ordinary Tamil civilians are beginning to fight back. One such leader is Rajan Mahavalirajan from Canada who is tired of racist Tamil politicians filled with hate and the LTTE remnants. These respectable men and women want to purge more..