Daily News

  • SAARC model village at Mahavilawatta

    The Government has made arrangements to establish a fully-fledged SAARC Village at Mahavilawatta estate, Ulapane in the Nawalapitiya electorate to mark the 15th SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in S

  • Lankan scientists, others to study climatic changes

    Lankan scientists, others to study climatic changes

  • Indian Govt wants to resume Sethu

    The Indian Government has decided to throw its weight behind the controversial Sethusamudram project. The Government will now ask the Supreme Court to lift its stay on the controversial project to dredge a shipping channel between India and Sri Lanka and dismiss petitions challenging the project. The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) met for the second time this week to arrive at a consensus on a 90-page draft affidavit stating its position on the project. The Centre will submit the affidavit in court today. The petitions had opposed the project saying it will damage the Ram Sethu, a cluster of sand formations that many Hindus believe was the bridge built by Lord Ram. The Centre's last affidavit had landed it in trouble as it questioned the existence of Ram. But under pressure from its southern allies, the Centre has decided to tell the court that it wants the project to continue on its original route. The CCPA seems to have taken everyone's point of view in the UPA coalition and managed to harmonise them. There have been differences between Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni and Shipping Minister DMK's T R Baalu over the affidavit. The culture minister has written a two-page note raising certain objections, and wanted these incorporated in the draft affidavit. The project was approved by the Government in May 2005. However, soon after its approval, the project had run into trouble, and dredging work had to be suspended. NDTV

  • Marine animals smuggled from Lanka seized

    Veterinary inspectors at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday seized a shipment of marine animals banned for import into Israel. The contraband - eight starfish, 28 sea urchins and 15 small crustaceans - was smuggled from Sri Lanka via Jordan inside a shipment of aquarium fish and shrimp. Haartesz, Israel

  • Rs. 500 million for Eastern livelihood development

    The Government has allocated Rs. 500 million for livelihood-based development activities in the Eastern Province, Deputy Minister of Nation Building and Development Susantha Punchinilame said yesterday. Deputy Minister Punchinilame is currently in Trincomalee to steer several development programmes in the Eastern Province to benefit those resettling and living in the region. Referring to the funds allocated by the Government, Punchinilame said that Rs. 500 million allocated this year was the biggest amount ever allocated for Grama Seva Divisions. The money will be used to organise livestock development and farming in several selected regions, said the Minister. "The monies will be distributed to each Grama Seva Division through the Province's Development Committee,' he said. Each Grama Division will get Rs. 250,000 to Rs. 300,000 under the programme, he said. Punchinilame said that it was important to employ those who resettle in the East with their usual jobs. The Nation Development Ministry has taken several successful steps in this regard. "People are willing to resettle in the East now. We are providing them with the necessary infrastructure, houses, roads, jobs and safety,' he added.

  • Mosquitos work overtime as pest control dips

    A rapid increase in mosquito-borne diseases has been observed in the last quarter of the previous year due to poor pest control services following the slashing of overtime for health staff, said Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, the Colombo Municipal Council's Chief Medical Officer. "Nevertheless the department was able to control the diseases in the Colombo city limits by 57 per cent compared to 2006. Had not the services been interrupted we could have achieved better progress,' Dr. Kariyawasam added. He said the CMC re-activated its pest control services by spraying chemicals and fumigation of high risk areas after allocating adequate funds for the workers' over-time. The Department initiated a public awareness programme yesterday to explain Dengue and Chikungunya prevention measures to face a possible epidemic in the rainy season. Sources revealed that several cases diagnosed as Hepatitis-A in the city are mainly from homes close to the massive garbage dump in Mattakkuliya. Dr. Kariyawasam said the water consumed by residents of Mahawatte, Mattakkuliya and Modera are contaminated with sewerage due to poor sanitary facilities. The Municipality advised the public to consume only boiled water, refrain from eating half-cooked leafy vegetables to prevent Hepatitis - A. The public was educated through leaflets and banners detailing precautions and symptoms regarding Hepatitis-A.

  • Experts urge White Paper on Sethusamudram

    Scientists and experts urged the Indian Government to table a White Paper in Parliament on the

  • Lankan waters heavily affected by pollution

    The waters around Sri Lanka are among the most heavily damaged and polluted ocean regions in the world, a study has revealed. The research by a team of American, British and Canadian researchers was published in yesterday's edition of Science. Activities like water and air pollution, overfishing, commercial shipping or greenhouse gas emission are continually damaging the planet and there is no sign that they will ever stop. Apparently, the most affected areas are "the North and Norwegian seas, South and East China seas, Eastern Caribbean, North American eastern seaboard, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Bering Sea, and the waters around Sri Lanka, the study said. The survey, analysing all 17 activities through which humans impact the oceans, and their conclusion was that every square mile of the ocean has been damaged in some way. The researchers have designed a map that emphasizes and explains the results of their study. The map was released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston and published in yesteday's edition of the journal Science, the Associated Press reported. "Our results show that when these and other individual impacts are summed up, the big picture looks much worse than I imagine most people expected. It was certainly a surprise to me,' said lead author Ben Halpern, an assistant research scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, according to the Associated Press. The oceans around the polar areas are the least impacted, but scientists predict they will be damaged more and more in the following years, as long as the global warming continues. "There were two things we didn't anticipate,' Halpern added in the telephone interview. "Every single spot in the oceans was affected by at least one human activity ... we figured there'd be places people just hadn't gotten to yet.' Some good news is that, in the Congress yesterday, the House voted the approval of $454 million for ocean exploration programmes and studies over the next seven years, at the National Geographic and Atmospheric Administration. Ben Halpern still has hope that things can be improved. "There are some areas in fairly good condition. They are small and scattered, but have fairly low impact. That suggests that with effort from all of us, we can try to protect these patches and use them as a guideline for what we'd like the rest of the ocean to start looking like,' he stated. e-News

  • Coal-fired power plant construction to be expedited

    The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NPTC) are exploring the possibility of expediting the construction of 500 MW coal fired power plant in Trincomalee, Power and Energy Ministry official said. Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Senevirathne held discussions with Indian Commerce Minister Jairam Ramesh in this regard in Colombo recently. CEB and NTPC officials will visit the proposed site at Nilaveli, Trincomalee in the coming weeks, the official said. Senevirathne said a new jetty would be constructed close to the site and the Trincomalee Town would also be developed under the project. Indian Minister Ramesh had assured that India would provide assistance to develop the energy sector. He said India would expedite construction of the India-Lanka inter-transmission line through which India hopes to export electricity to Sri Lanka at cheaper rates. The minister said India would assist in the development of renewable of energy such as wind and solar power. Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Alok Prasad expressed willingness to assist in the rural village electrifying project in the Eastern Province.

  • Two new planets discovered

    Researchers have discovered two planets in a solar system 5,000 lightyears away that appear to be structured in some important ways like our own. The planets are gas giants similar to but smaller than Jupiter and Saturn. In addition, they circle their star at a distance proportional to the distances of Jupiter and Saturn from the sun. "This is the first time we've found a Jupiter-like planet in the same system as a Saturn planet,' said Scott Gaudi of Ohio State University, lead investigator. The discovery, published in the online edition of the journal Science, lends support to the long-held belief of many astronomers that there are many planets orbiting their stars in ways similar to our solar system. The simultaneous discovery of two planets is rare and this was the first time researchers had the opportunity to do so using a technique called gravitational microlensing, which magnified the light of the distant star 500 times.

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