Daily News

  • Sethu only after convincing people - Congress

    The Congress last night said the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) should be implemented only after "convincing people' in view of the controversy over dredging of the Ram Sethu, the mythological bridge believed to have been built by Lord Ram, PTI reported. Congress General Secretary and Tamil Nadu-in-charge V Arunkumar told reporters that the Congress wanted to implement the SSCP, which aims to dredge a shipping canal betwen India and Sri Lanka but did not want to hurt the feelings of the people. "We will convince the people and then take up the project,' he said.

  • Govt mulling cheaper energy sources

    COLOMBO: In the face of impending electricity rate hikes, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged authorities to look into cheaper alternative power generating avenues to overcome the crisis, without placing the full burden on the public. The President has made these observations at the 17th session of the National Economic Council on Friday, where an extensive discussion took place to find viable answers to overcome the power crisis. The President has stressed the importance of completing the construction of Norochcholai coal power plant by 2010, and looking at other renewable natural resources such as the wind to generate power, without heavily depending on fuel. It had been noted that since the Government withdrew its subsidy on fuel where a litre of petrol was provided at Rs.55 to the CEB, the Board had suffered huge losses and had no alternative but to increase the tariff. Attention was also drawn to expedite oil exploration to gain maximum benefits to the country. The authorities pointed out that the Government was still providing the kerosene subsidy at a loss of Rs.300 million monthly. Decisions were also taken to expedite matters regarding water management while imposing tough regulatory measures to arrest abuse.

  • Coal power projects to begin in June

    The Power and Energy Ministry has taken steps to begin the construction of the second and third coal fired power plants in Sampur and Velvuur in Trincomalee in June, a ministry official said.

  • Dumping garbage in Green Zone: Suspect to be produced on Feb. 15

    The flying squad of Wildlife Conservation Department arrested a person dumping garbage in the Green Zone located in front of Central Environment Authority building in Battaramulla last Tuesday. The officers of the flying squad arrested him for throwing garbage-filled bags into the marshy land in front of the Central Environment Authority, which is a Green Zone belonging to the Authority. The suspect is a resident of Robert Gunawardena Mawatha, sources at Environment Ministry said. He had come to the location in his car from home with the garbage sacks to be thrown into the marsh.

  • New WHO report on global tobacco epidemic

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week released a report that makes clear both the devastating scope of the global tobacco epidemic and that it is entirely avoidable if nations implement proven solutions. This report presents what nations are doing to address this public health crisis and it demonstrates that most nations are not doing nearly enough. Only about five per cent of the world's population is covered by any one of the key interventions recommended by the WHO.

  • Japanese grant for agricuture projects in Batticaloa

    Japan provided US$ 153,553 (Approximately Rs. 16.56 million) to the Sewalanka Foundation and the Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya for agriculture restoration and food security projects in the Batticaloa district under its Grant Assistance for Grass roots Human Security Projects (GGP) scheme. The Sewalanka Foundation will rehabilitate an irrigation channel and a tank, provide perennial crop and home gardening package and construct 15 wells in the Vavunnathivu and Vaharai DS divisions under the project for support of returnees' agriculture livelihoods in the district.

  • Soaring prices leave poor hungry - WFP Executive Director

    UNITED NATIONS: Many of the world's poorest people are unable to get enough food because of soaring prices partly caused by the use of food crops to produce biofuels, the head of the U.N. food agency said. "We're seeing more people hungry and at greater numbers than before,' Josette Sheeran, executive director of the Rome-based World Food Program (WFP), said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.

  • SAARC nations to fight illegal wildlife trade

    Eight SAARC countries have agreed to work jointly to tackle the region's illegal wildlife trade that has assumed alarming proportions. The countries have come under the banner of the South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), an inter-governmental organisation, to tackle the illegal trade. The South Asian region is a storehouse of biological diversity and rich terrestrial, freshwater and marine resources. As a result, illegal trade and over-exploitation of wild animals and plants pose a major challenge to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the region. In a first regional workshop held in Kathmandu, the group agreed to a series of joint action as part of a South Asia Wildlife Trade Initiative (SAWTI). This includes the setting up of a South Asia Experts Group on Wildlife Trade and development of a South Asia Regional Strategic Plan on Wildlife Trade (2008-2013). The SACEP was established in 1982 for promoting regional co-operation in South Asia in the field of environment. The group includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The workshop was organised by the Nepal Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, SACEP, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Nepal and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade-monitoring network. Senior wildlife officials from these countries have called upon the international community to support action in South Asia by providing financial and technical assistance in the implementation of the regional plan, an official statement of TRAFFIC said here. The Kathmandu workshop has agreed to focus on a number of key areas of work. These include co-operation and co-ordination, effective legislation policies and law enforcement, sharing knowledge and effective dissemination of information, sustainability of legal trade and livelihoods security, intelligence networks and early warning systems and capacity building. IANS

  • Bata Atha farm a tribute to Ruhuna farmers'

    The Bata Atha agro technological farm was set up as a tribute to the farmers of Ruhunu Magam Pattu, said the Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa. The Minister was addressing a meeting at Siyabalaheddewa in Weeraketiya DS area that followed the opening of several common amenities including a housing scheme set up by the Southern Development Authority (SDA) under the Jathika Saviya Gama Neguma programme. Rs. 3,197,037.80 were spent for the projects. The Minister said that the farmer community is the lifeblood of the nation and that it is the community that produces the staple food, rice. They are an asset and a legacy for a nation. We provide them necessary facilities and protect them like precious gems. He said the farming community has a lot of things to learn from the agro technology farm at Bata Atha. I request them to visit it in order to learn the latest technology in farming. The Minister said late D. A. Rajapaksa was instrumental in setting up the Chandrikawewa reservoir at Embilipitiya. That was also a tribute for the farming community. He said 4,000 villages are being developed in Sri Lanka under the Jathika Saviya Gama Neguma programme. The SDA has been entrusted with several villages under the programme in Hambantota district. The Minister said President Mahinda Rajapaksa became President in 2005. He is a leader with farsighted policies as such the people decided to elect him President. He said President's farsightedness has brought the NE conflict almost to an end. The cost of living has risen as a result of a colossal sum of money spent in this endeavour. The Minister said the people of Deduru Oya grow gotukola and earn a substantial income from it. They export them to America through an agency. In America they convert gotu kola into powder and tablets and export them to Sri Lanka. Ranjith Gunasekera Chairman and Director General SDA said that the Siyabalaheddewa village is an underdeveloped village which was known to him since 1970. A period of transition has occurred in the village with projects implemented under the Jathika Saviya Maga Neguma programme. He said President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is familiar with the less fortunate downtrodden masses implements development programmes to elevate them to the status of the haves. The Minister said we summoned the Jana Sabha to identify the priorities that need development in the village of Siyabalaheddewa. We as SDA utilised funds provided to us for fruitful purposes and the people reap the benefits of it. The Chief Coordinating Secretary to the President Upul Dissanayaka, Coordinator to the President Wasantha Gunasekera, SPC Minister V. K. Indika and SPC Chairman Somawansa Kodagoda were present.

  • Sethu: Indian Govt counters environmental concerns

    Indian Govt counters environmental concerns Hit hard by the flip flop over the

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