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    Test run on a new Madhu Road rail track

    Close on the heels of the inauguration of Pallai-Jaffna reconstructed railway track and signal system by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, IRCON International (IRCON), a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India, achieved yet another milestone with the completion of a successful trail run on the rehabilitated Madhu Road- Thiruketheeswaram railway track today, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said. The trial commenced from Madhu Road station and was completed at the newly constructed Thiruketheeswaram Station (also constructed by IRCON). This corridor has one crossing station at Murungan and two halt stations at Mathotomb and Thiruketheeswaram. The trial run evoked considerable enthusiasm among the local populace and many people were seen…

  • pope-logo

    Church denies claims over Pope’s visit

    The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka says it is not under any pressure from the Government to cancel the visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka. In media statement, the Church said that it’s request to the Government has always been that any election should not be held immediately after the visit of the Holy Father to Sri Lanka because that might be politically used by interested parties as a campaign tool. “If an election is to be held before the visit, it must be held in such a way that the preparations for the visit should not be disturbed by such an event. We have appealed to the President to give us a sufficient…

  • USA-flag

    India pledges Rs 50 lakh as immediate assistance for Lanka landslide

    To meet the urgent needs of victims of the recent landslides in Koslanda, the United States Government has provided Rs. 6.5 million (US$ 50,000) for emergency humanitarian assistance, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said in a release. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working closely with Sri Lanka’s National Disaster Relief Services Center and international aid partners to coordinate the donation of most urgently-needed items. The U.S. assistance is being provided through World Vision to supply emergency non-food items such as blankets, mattresses, clothing, hygiene kits, and footwear, as well as education material for children, child counseling services and psycho-social first aid to help those affected recover from the disaster. The U.S….

  • india flag 3

    India pledges Rs 50 lakh as immediate assistance for Lanka landslide

    India has pledged Rs five million as immediate relief for victims of landslide in Sri Lanka and is also considering medium and long-term assistance. “India has pledged as immediate relief assistance of Rs 50 lakh for the victims of landslide in Sri Lanka,” the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said. He said that the Indian government was also considering, in consultation with the Sri Lankan government, medium and long-term assistance options. Nearly 200 people were feared to have been buried alive in the landslide on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday expressed deep condolence over the loss of lives in the calamity that mostly destroyed homes of Indian-origin people and wished…

  • Mahinda-Modi

    Modi may take up fishermen issue with Rajapaksa

    With India stepping up efforts to prove the innocence of the five Indian fishermen sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Colombo High Court, sources told The Hindu that New Delhi was hopeful of finding a resolution to the situation that has led to protests in Tamil Nadu. While Sri Lanka retains the death penalty, no execution has been carried out in the country since June 1976, as successive Presidents have declined signing the final orders. Sources told The Hindu that Indian officials had already contacted President Rajapkasa’s office to express India’s appeal in the matter of the five Indian fishermen. Officials also confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will “certainly take up the…

train mannar

Test run on a new Madhu Road rail track

Close on the heels of the inauguration of Pallai-Jaffna reconstructed railway track and signal system by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, IRCON International (IRCON), a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India, achieved yet another milestone with the completion of a successful trail run on the rehabilitated Madhu Road- Thiruketheeswaram railway track today, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said. The trial commenced from Madhu Road station and was completed at the newly constructed Thiruketheeswaram Station (also constructed by IRCON). This corridor has one crossing station at Murungan and two halt stations at Mathotomb and Thiruketheeswaram. The trial run evoked considerable enthusiasm among the local populace and many people were seen…

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pope-logo

Church denies claims over Pope’s visit

The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka says it is not under any pressure from the Government to cancel the visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka. In media statement, the Church said that it’s request to the Government has always been that any election should not be held immediately after the visit of the Holy Father to Sri Lanka because that might be politically used by interested parties as a campaign tool. “If an election is to be held before the visit, it must be held in such a way that the preparations for the visit should not be disturbed by such an event. We have appealed to the President to give us a sufficient…

READ MORE
USA-flag

India pledges Rs 50 lakh as immediate assistance for Lanka landslide

To meet the urgent needs of victims of the recent landslides in Koslanda, the United States Government has provided Rs. 6.5 million (US$ 50,000) for emergency humanitarian assistance, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said in a release. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working closely with Sri Lanka’s National Disaster Relief Services Center and international aid partners to coordinate the donation of most urgently-needed items. The U.S. assistance is being provided through World Vision to supply emergency non-food items such as blankets, mattresses, clothing, hygiene kits, and footwear, as well as education material for children, child counseling services and psycho-social first aid to help those affected recover from the disaster. The U.S….

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india flag 3

India pledges Rs 50 lakh as immediate assistance for Lanka landslide

India has pledged Rs five million as immediate relief for victims of landslide in Sri Lanka and is also considering medium and long-term assistance. “India has pledged as immediate relief assistance of Rs 50 lakh for the victims of landslide in Sri Lanka,” the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said. He said that the Indian government was also considering, in consultation with the Sri Lankan government, medium and long-term assistance options. Nearly 200 people were feared to have been buried alive in the landslide on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday expressed deep condolence over the loss of lives in the calamity that mostly destroyed homes of Indian-origin people and wished…

READ MORE
Mahinda-Modi

Modi may take up fishermen issue with Rajapaksa

With India stepping up efforts to prove the innocence of the five Indian fishermen sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Colombo High Court, sources told The Hindu that New Delhi was hopeful of finding a resolution to the situation that has led to protests in Tamil Nadu. While Sri Lanka retains the death penalty, no execution has been carried out in the country since June 1976, as successive Presidents have declined signing the final orders. Sources told The Hindu that Indian officials had already contacted President Rajapkasa’s office to express India’s appeal in the matter of the five Indian fishermen. Officials also confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will “certainly take up the…

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Protests continue in Tamil Nadu over death sentence to 5 fishermen

Protests rocked different parts of Tamil Nadu for the second day on Friday against the capital punishment awarded by a Sri Lankan court to five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking. A fishermen’s association at Rameswaram announced that they would go on an ‘indefinite strike’ till the Indian government went for an appeal in a higher court against the death sentence awarded to the five fishermen. Protesting fishermen lifted blockades in Rameswaram following assurances from Ramanathapuram MP Anwar Raajha, Collector Nanda Kumar and police officials who held talks with them. The officials assured leaders of the fishermen communities that appeal would be made in the case and that the Centre had also had expressed the…

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kamalesh

Sharma sends solidarity after landslide

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has sent his solidarity and condolences on behalf of the Commonwealth to the President of Sri Lanka following the devastating landslides in the country. In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: “I want to convey my solidarity with you and my condolences on behalf of the Commonwealth to those who have so suddenly and shockingly been bereaved and suffered such loss.” Sharma, who concluded an official visit to Sri Lanka on Wednesday, added: “I offer encouragement to the emergency and other services who continue to work so hard at the site of this tragedy.

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kahaliya

SL downplays India’s concern

Sri Lanka on Friday downplayed India’s concerns over the death sentences given to five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking, saying India is ‘clearly aware’ of legal systems in Sri Lanka. Responding to a question, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said India understands Sri Lanka’s prevalent laws. He said India’s concerns raised on yesterday’s verdict should not present Sri Lanka with any problems. The five fishermen, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were apprehended in 2011 by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of smuggling of drugs in the seas off northern Jaffna’s Delft islet. “India is clearly aware of another country’s legal systems, treaties signed, convicts exchange agreements,” Rambukwella said adding that Sri Lanka need…

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Another body found in Haldummulla

As the second day of the rescue operations in Haldummulla came to an end, another female body was recovered increasing the total death toll to four persons, the Police said. The body found today had been of a 50 year-old woman. Rescue workers had spotted the corpse this evening, trapped in the rubble. Some 33 persons remain missing following the tragedy that befell the Meeriyabadda estate located in Haldummulla, Koslanda on Wednesday morning. The three deceased victims found so far includes a 62-year-old man, a 50/ 60-year-old woman and a six-year-old girl while ten males, 19 females, four boys and one girl are among the missing. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said the information on…

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haldu

Sri Lanka landslides: Sniffer dogs join search for bodies buried under tonnes of mud

Sniffer dogs are being used in the search for bodies buried under tonnes of mud following a landslide in central Sri Lanka this week. Rescue operations were suspended on Thursday due to fresh rains, but resumed at daybreak with a team of sniffer dogs joining hundreds of troops already at the site Although officials have estimated that around 100 people lost their lives on the Meeriyabedda tea plantation, only a handful of bodies have been dug out from the mud. “We are using the sniffer dogs to look for any bodies,” an officer in charge of the sniffer dog unit said. The military stepped up its search for victims on Thursday, deploying earth-moving machinery to…

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haldumulla

Shelters Fill up After Deadly Sri Lanka Mudslide

Sri Lankan authorities warned of more landslides at a tea plantation where a deadly torrent of mud swept away scores of homes this week, but residents said Friday there was no room left at the shelters and no alternative housing for them to move to. They also asked people in six other districts in the country’s central hills to be on alert for possible mudslides. Disaster relief officials estimate that at least 100 people were killed Wednesday when monsoon rains unleashed a cascade of muddy earth at the Koslanda plantation in Badulla district, about 140 miles (220 kilometers) east of Colombo. The death toll has yet to be confirmed, and many villagers believe the figure…

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kamalesh

Commonwealth chief calls for reduction of army role in northern Sri Lanka

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has called for scaling down Sri Lankan Army role in the war ravaged northern province to address the legitimate concerns of the Tamil population. The steps that needed to be taken to empower the people affected by the conflict include addressing legitimate concerns about restricted and monitored movement of both the citizens of the province and those visiting them for lawful purposes. Mr. Sharma said after visiting Jaffna, the erstwhile bastion of the LTTE. A continued reduction of the military role in civilian life in the (northern) province was important to see legitimate concerns of Tamils being addressed, he added. After the travel restrictions imposed in the northern provinces earlier…

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Jen-Psaki

Washington is to rush aid to Koslanda

The US State Department says it is currently working with USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to respond quickly to offer assistance to Koslanda. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the United States has received an official request for assistance from the Government of Sri Lanka. “The ambassador – our ambassador on the ground has exercised her authority to declare a disaster and request assistance from Washington. The Department of State is currently working with USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to respond quickly,” she said at a press briefing in Washington. Yesterday, the US Embassy in Colombo, in a statement said the US extends its deepest condolences to the Government of Sri Lanka…

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Malcolm

Church ok for polls around end of Jan

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka hopes the date of the Presidential elections will be postponed to at least the end of January and not be held close to the date Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka. According to a news report appearing on the Vatican news network, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, during a meeting with the priests of the Archdiocese of Colombo, confirmed the Holy Father’ visit in Sri Lanka, scheduled from 13 to 15 January 2015. The Cardinal has asked the priests present to inform the faithful in parishes and Catholic institutions that the Pope’s trip will take place, and encouraged the faithful to pray for his visit….

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panneer

Panneerselvam Seeks Modi’s Help To Save Lives Of Five Indian Prisoners In SL

Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to save the lives of five fishermen from Rameswaram who were sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan court on charges of smuggling narcotics. In a letter to Modi, the chief minister said, “The people of Tamil Nadu are shocked and deeply grieved to learn of the judgment of the Colombo high court convicting and sentencing the fishermen from Tamil Nadu to death on charges of smuggling narcotics.” The fishermen — Emerson, Agastas, Wilson, Prasath and Langlet — set out from Rameswaram fishing base on November 28, 2011. They were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy on charges of possessing narcotics….

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Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe asks why Minister Pavithra is not complaining to Bribery Commission

UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday queried as to why Minister of Power and Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi was not complaining to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption regarding the Rs1500 million fraud that she claims had taken place in connection with coal purchases during the tenure of her predecessor Minister Champika Ranawaka. “Both Ministers say a fraud has taken place but none of them have gone to the Bribery commission regarding this,” the UNP MP said. “Why is it not being investigated? In whose bank accounts is the Rs. 1500 million. Please find that out. If as people‘s representatives we don’t find these out, future generations will curse us,” he added. MP Rajapakshe…

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haldumulla

Nearly 200 buried alive

Hopes of finding survivors in the landslide-hit village in Haldummulla in the Badulla District were fading, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday. “No survivors have been found so far and I don’t think there could be any survivors,” Minister Amaraweera told The Island after visiting the place for the second day. “Bad weather is hampering search and clearing operations; rescuers are digging through mud”, he said, adding that there was also a risk in digging the area further as the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has warned that the adjacent hills may collapse and some cracks on the upper crust of the land had been observed. “We will keep rescue operations going, but under…

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Shock and anger over death penalty

“My four-year-old son was saying that his father will return home tomorrow and get him an ice cream, but his hopes have been shattered,” said Jansi Rani, 32, wife of R. Wilson, one of the five fishermen awarded death sentence by the Colombo High Court on charges of drug trafficking. Staging a road blockade at Thangachimadam along with scores of men and women protesting against the verdict, Jansi Raniwept uncontrollably as she recalled her son Jogans’s anxiety on Wednesday after they were told the Colombo High Court would deliver the verdict on Thursday. For a middle-aged mother and four young women in Thangachimadam, the verdict was a rude shock as they came to the road…

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Sirisena ready to be PM

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena, said he is ready to accept the position of Prime Minister, if the President is willing to entrust him with that responsibility. The Minister made this statement at a media conference held at the SLFP Headquarters yesterday. He was responding to a question posed by a journalist regarding a resolution passed at the SLFP Polonnaruwa Asana Bala Mandala, declaring that Sirisena should be appointed the Prime Minister. ‘This resolution was not brought with my knowledge. However if the post is offered to me, I shall certainly accept it,” he said adding that the SLFP has been during the past three months getting ready for a…

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SL man bites roommate’s finger

A 29-year-old Sri Lankan worker allegedly bit his roommate’s finger during a heated argument and caused him six per cent permanent disability, the Dubai Criminal Court heard. According to the records, on June 28, the accused was consuming alcohol in his room when a dispute broke out between him and the victim who was a Pakistani driver. “A dispute broke between us and then he rushed towards me and bit my right hand’s index finger,” the victim told investigators without mentioning what the dispute was about. Criminal Evidences reported that the driver sustained six per cent permanent disability in his finger. The accused admitted to assaulting his roommate but claimed that he did not mean…

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