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Hi-tech theatre for posterity

Nov 9 (NS) The gigantic structure that is being built at the former Nomads Grounds, Colombo rarely fails to attract the attention of anyone travelling along Dr C W W Kannangara Mawatha or Ananda Cumaraswamy Mawatha. Its sheer size and shape and the considerable time period over which it was being built made many to wonder as to the purpose of such a structure. The purpose of the building is to fill the long-felt lacuna for a national performing arts theatre that more..

Firing Line

Nov 9 (NS) The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) with over 550 members proudly boasts of “a clear and coherent agenda, drawing on the wide experience of its diverse membership of economists drawn from academia, government, private sector, research institutions, and NGOs in Sri Lanka”. But if one looks at its office bearers it is more like a home for the aged with the average age being above 75. And the man who is hogging a key office of the Association for about eight years is well over 80. more..

EPF shock costs employee Rs 3m

Nov 9 (NS) An employee of the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL) received a rude shock recently when he paid a visit to the office of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) maintained by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to check his fund balance as he was nearing retirement. To his utter dismay, he discovered that the monies in his EPF account had already been completely withdrawn. Further inquiries revealed that the Rs2.9 million balance of the account has been withdrawn more..

'We have overcome bad policy and people’s protests'

Nov 9 (LB) Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka says he has taken measures to provide an uninterrupted supply of electricity and that our next challenge is to extend that success upto to 2030. Excerpts of the interview: Q: Is the power sector now problem-free? A: There is a power crisis from a world perspective. That is the inability to meet the ever increasing or escalating demand for electricity on the planet. more..

Editorial : Augean Stables clean-up

Nov 9 (Island) Prisons are hellholes only for the ordinary people who happen to be on the wrong side of the law and get landed there for that. Holiday bungalows of sorts they are for the rich criminals and the convicts with the right political connections. There they lead comfortable lives enjoying good food and drink while running their crime syndicates from their cells. It was only the other day that the prisons authorities revealed that a notorious drug czar known as more..

Editorial : Pandemonium in prison; needs a strong message sent

Nov 9 (DM) If prisoners can mount a brutal attack on about 50 odd policemen during a search operation at the Welikada prison and cause them serious injuries, it definitely speaks of an obnoxious trend. Strong chances are there this violent resistance by the behind the bars individuals working as a catalyst for the unruly elements outside the confines of the prisons, who are working round the clock, to create chaos. more..

The ‘great pretender’

Nov 9 (ST) Big and purple, it is proudly “propagated” as the ‘National Flower’ of Sri Lanka. It is on the government’s official website, the stamp issued to commemorate the National Flower, the school textbooks with children looking at it and committing it to memory, posters in Sri Lankan missions abroad and even on the worldwide web with Wikipedia and many a book on the flowers of Sri Lanka following suit. more..

Rs. 815 Bn. For Debt Servicing

Nov 9 (SL) Sri Lanka’s debt servicing according to the appropriations bill presented in Parliament recently will be Rs. 815 billion next year of which the interest payment component alone will be Rs. 350 billion, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said. De Silva speaking at a seminar titled “How is Our Money Spent” on Thursday said that the revenue estimates will be known only after the Budget is presented in Parliament on November 22. more..

Budget 2011: govt should be realistic with targets

Nov 9 (Island) Addressing a seminar organised by the Women for Good Governance last week, retired assistant governor of the Central Bank Dr. Anila Dias Bandaranaike highlighted something these pages have highlighted before; the government has always overestimated revenue and underestimated expenditure when a budget is presented for a given year. When the actual earnings and spending numbers come in after the given fiscal year, they are big deviations from the estimates more..

75% of Suhern expressway construction complete

Nov 9 (NF) Seventy five per cent of the construction of Southern Expressway is complete. Amongst the many development projects that have been launched in the country, the Southern Expressway occupies a prominent place, as it will be country's first expressway. The Southern expressway will run from Makambura, Kottawa, to Godagama, Matara. The expressway, which will be built in four phases, will consist of four lanes. more..

Tuition Vs School

Nov 9 (SL) In an attempt to uncover whether schools are adequately preparing its students for the job market The Sunday Leader delved into the topic of secondary education in Sri Lanka. The competitive nature of students portrays an idea that the sole emphasis is placed on academics and good grades. Having met with the Principal of Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya, Enid Goonewardena, The Sunday Leader asked her what was missing in modern day education in Sri Lanka. more..

A National identity sans racial, communal bias

Nov 9 (ST) The LLRC heard submissions from Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who is also the Archbishop of Colombo, on the Catholic Church’s views on how best to move forward in the aftermath of the war, while former Government Agent (GA), Mullaitivu District, Ms Imelda Sukumar, who served there till almost the end of the fighting, gave an insight into the obstacles faced by government officials who worked in the area during those difficult days. more..

A doughnut sells every second in schools

Nov 9 (Island) About 4.2% of students below 16 years, 4.4% between 16 years and 18 and 9.8% between 18 and 22 years have diabetes. Around 1,800 doughnuts sell within a matter of 30 minutes at three leading Colombo school canteens, a survey conducted by the Health Ministry has found. Deputy Minister of Health Mahinda Amaraweera told The Island these findings had led to a ban on wheat flour based products in school canteens. more..

Seven at SJGH given notice to retire

Nov 9 (Island) Seven top notchers of the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital, including the Hospital Director, Deputy Director, four consultant doctors and an Accountant, have been given one month’s notice effective October 28, to retire after reaching 60 years, in accordance with government policy. The policy states that all State sector employees (including security forces and police personnel) would not be permitted to work beyond 60 years after December 31 this year. more..

Stringent measures to curb drug, liquor menace

Nov 9 (DN) Minister Basil Rajapaksa who addressed the Nuwara Eliya District Coordinating Committee meeting, alerted the law enforcing officials to take stringent measures to combat drug trafficking and liquor menace in the Nuwara Eliya district. Liquor bars and other drinking booths have proliferated in the plantation sector. The DDC meeting was presided over by Minister Arumugam Thondaman, where all Heads of Government Departments and local bodies within the Nuwara Eliya district were present. more..

'Prison system breaking down'

Nov 9 (DM) The UNP said the prison system had deteriorated with only five toilets at the Welikada jail for the use of some 1,000 prisoners, who on Sunday manhandled, assaulted and roughed up police officers. UNP MP Gayantha Karunatilake said he saw the plight of the prisoners when he visited former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in prison recently. “Today, the government is unable to control the prisoners either. Then, how can it instill discipline in the country as a whole?” more..

Dearth of engineers hinders Lanka’s economic progress

Nov 9 (DM) The dearth of professionals in almost every field has hampered the economic progress of the country and the agricultural sector has been severely affected due to the shortage of irrigation engineers and technicians, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Addressing a function held in connection with the distribution of appointment letters to 43 Engineering Assistants, he said his ministry was attempting to overcome the problem by training NDT qualified youth as assistant engineers. more..

Lankan gem merchant seeks refuge after being ‘kidnapped’ twice

Nov 9 (Island) A wealthy Lankan gem merchant who showed up at the Canadian border with his family and $85,000 in precious stones and filed a refugee claim that failed is being given another chance to plead his case. Mohamed Razakdeen Aziz, who lives in Toronto, said he had been attending a 2009 gemstone conference in Arizona just before he came to Canada with his wife, Fathima, and their five children. Their claims were rejected by an Immigration and Refugee Board but more..

President Rajapaksa participates annual Katina Ceremony of Gangarama Temple

Nov 9 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa participated the annual Katina ceremony organized by the Gangaramaya Temple, Hunupitiya, Colombo in the early hours on 08 November. The Katina Perahera (procession) was started from the Temple Trees with participation of the President, family members, Temple Trees staff and large number of devotees of the temple. more..

Politicians have created friction in the country: Ven. Nalaka Thera

Nov 9 (DM) Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera said yesterday that it is not the common people who are responsible for any ethnic differences that existed among communities but the politicians who he said have created friction in the country. Ven. Nalaka Thera said this while addressing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). He said that some of the residents in the North and East also shared the same view. more..

CBK attempted murder convict appeals sentence

Nov 9 (Island) Sakthivel Elageswaran, convicted of conspiracy to cause the death of Chandrika Bandaranaike and others and sentenced by the High Court to 20 years rigorous imprisonment, has appealed against the excessiveness of the sentence. In his appeal filed in the Court of Appeal, he has sought relief in respect of the sentence. In addition to the offence of conspiracy, Sakthivel, who was also convicted of aiding and abetting in the attempt to cause the death of more..

'US statement at UN HRC positive'

Nov 9 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says the global community should realize the growing danger posed by terrorism and take tangible measures to deal with the threat. Sri Lanka, he says, can share her experience with those fighting non-state actors in difficult circumstances in various parts of the world. "Anyone perpetrating terrorism should be considered as the common enemy and the world should be united to meet the challenge," more..

No more talks on GSP

Nov 9 (Island) The government and the European Union (EU) are not involved in fresh talks to revive the GSP plus trade benefits for the country, the European Union has said. The EU Ambassador in Colombo Bernard Savage told The Island that the government had not made any approach to resume negotiations on the issue and so the matter was now closed. When contacted, the Sri Lankan Ambassador at the EU Ravinatha Aryasinghe also said there were no new developments. more..

Cabinet reshuffle after Budget debate

Nov 9 (DM) The Cabinet will likely be reshuffled after the completion of the budget debate, and not coinciding with the swearing in of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his second term as speculated earlier, informed sources said. They said it would most likely be done by the end of December or early January next year. The government has taken this decision because the Appropriation Bill allocating funds for the Ministries has already been presented to the House. more..

Sri Lanka moves to second place in ODI rankings

Nov 9 (ANI) With the countdown towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 reaching the 100-day mark, Sri Lanka has laid down a marker to the other 13 teams by claiming second place in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI championship after a confidence-boosting series win over table-topper Australia. Sri Lanka won the series opener in Melbourne by one wicket and then took an unassailable 2-0 lead by winning the Sydney ODI by 29 runs (D-L method). more..

Bakery owners won’t end up with crumbs

Nov 9 (DM) The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association has appointed a committee to recommend measures to be taken in the event of a campaign against wheat flour consumption in the country. Association President N.K. Jayawardane said the adverse campaign coupled with high wheat flour prices had reduced bread sales mostly in rural and semi urban areas. “Today, some people call it an act of terrorism to consume food made of wheat flour. more..

Bail for 21 students: ‘Don’t let politicians use you’ says judge

Nov 9 (DM) Twenty one university students who had been arrested and held in remand on charges of having damaged University Grants Commission property on October 14 were yesterday released on bail when the case came up before the Colombo High Court. High Court judge Deepali Wijesundara advised the Rajarata and Peradeniya-students to be cautious of being dragged into politics and to concentrate on their studies. more..

UNP’s Draft Constitution ready

Nov 9 (Island) The UNP’s draft new constitution was ready and would be submitted to the party’s Working Committee, which was scheduled to be held on November 15, Media spokesman Gayantha Karunathillake MP, said yesterday. He, told a news conference in Colombo that all proposals contained in the Reforms Committee Report and approved by the Parliamentary Group and Working Committee, have been included in the draft constitution. more..

BOI concession to LIOC costs country Rs. 500 mn in taxes

Nov 9 (Island) Sri Lanka is poised to lose over 500 million rupees in tax income due from Lanka IOC filling stations, trade unionists say. The Lanka IOC owed the Department of Inland Revenue over five hundred million rupees in income tax but the Indian company had been granted a tax exemption for 50 of its filling stations contrary to initial agreements between the company and the Board of Investment, more..

Minister blames police for Welikada riots

Nov 9 (DM) Sunday’s Welikada Prison mayhem that left 44 policemen and two jailors injured was a result of police insensitivity and lack of coordination between the police and prison authorities, Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said. “I submitted a preliminary report on the incident to President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning. I have also appointed a three-member committee headed by SSP Kenneth Fernando and more..

Iran exports $520m technical services to Sri Lanka

Nov 9 (TT) Iran carried out $520 million of technical and engineering services in Sri Lanka, the Iranian Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari said here on Monday. During his meeting with the Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, Ghazanfari declared Tehran's readiness to boost economic cooperation with Colombo, IRNA News Agency reported. During the meeting the two sides discussed construction of a new oil refinery in Sri Lanka by Iranian experts, more..

Army in jumbo chase

Nov 10 (DM) The Sri Lanka Army and the Wildlife Conservation Officers yesterday launched a three day program to drive away a herd of wild elephants roaming in villages in Nettchikulam in Omantha, Vavuniya Range Forest Officer W.J.K. Herath said. He said that this was the first time that the army was involved in such a program and the aim of it was to protect the newly settled villagers from the threat of wild elephants. more..

Sri Lanka seeks advisor for Commonwealth Games bid

Nov 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka seeks to hire a consultancy firm to advise the government on its bid to stage the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in the southern city of Hambantota, the central bank said. Central bank governor Nivard Cabraal has been appointed to head an organizing committee which will handle the island's bid, it said in a statement. The committee wants to hire a "reputed consultancy firm" to advise and assist it in the preparation of its bid document more..

Sri Lanka papers reject anti-porn campaign

Nov 10 (AFP) Newspaper editors in Sri Lanka have refused to publish pictures of men and women who are wanted by police for appearing on porn websites in the country. Under a crackdown on pornography on the Indian Ocean island, police are trying to trace local men and women pictured in compromising poses and had asked newspapers to reproduce mugshots of 83 of them. "We were given the photos with a request to publish them, but we decided not to," more..

Visiting hours for Jaffna Library

Nov 10 (AD) The Jaffna Library will be open for visitors from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m from today (09 November) onwards. Visitors will be permitted in groups of 25 and for sight seeing purposes only, Mayor of Jaffna Yogeswari Patkunarajah told Ada Derana. However tourists should refrain from taking any sort of baggage, mobile phones, cameras or any other electronic equipment inside the building, she stated. The library was once one of the biggest in Asia, containing over 97,000 different books and manuscripts.

Sri Lanka’s ‘bread battle’ bankrupts 2,000 bakers

Nov 10 (AFP) A Sri Lankan government campaign against bread and other wheat products has forced some 2,000 bakers out of business and left many more under threat, an industry body said Tuesday. The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association said more than a quarter of bakers in the island had closed down this year because of high taxes and other government moves to discourage imported wheat. “The government has intensified a campaign against bread,” more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 09.11.2010

Sri Lanka Masters enter finals in Windies

Nov 10 (DM) Sri Lanka Masters led by Marvan Atapattu will meet West Indies Masters in the finals of CLOBI Cup Masters T20 cricket tournament at Kensington Oval Barbados. Sri Lanka Masters beat the hosts West Indies by two runs in a thrilling final preliminary round match as both teams qualified for the final. The Sunday night’s defeat was the first loss for the strong West Indies in the tournament. West Indies finished on 155 for six in pursuit of 158 for victory, more..

Party leaders ill-informed about new office complex

Nov 10 (AD) The decision to establish a new office complex in the Parliament is a decision made by the government and there is no complication in it, says Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne. In response to a question made by the opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe at Parliament today he added that a cabinet paper has also been presented in regard. He had queried as to whether a cabinet decision had been made to establish a new parliamentary office complex. more..

Soldiers take to the streets on behalf of the General

Nov 10 (LeN) The disabled pensioned soldiers who were to stage a protest demanding the release of Gen. Fonseka at Welikade Prison this afternoon (08) had to change their venue of protest to Lipton circus roundabout after they suspected that a group of goons and marauders of Kelaniya were to arrive at Welikade and attack them. These soldiers had planned to stage their demonstrations in front of the Welikade prison demanding the release of Fonseka. more..

India steps up assistance to Sri Lanka's Tamils

Nov 10 (IE) India will increase its assistance to Sri Lanka, particularly in the central tea growing region where majority of ethnic Tamils of Indian origin are concentrated, the Indian High Commission said here on Tuesday. During a two-day visit to the central region, Indian High Commissioner Ashok A Kanatha said New Delhi will help build houses, improve medical facilities, infrastructure and transportation in the region. more..

Court rejects bail to student union leader

Nov 10 (SL) The Colombo Magistrate’s Court has today (9) rejected the bail application of Convener of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Premaratne. The Magistrate had refused bail on the grounds that the respective court did not possess the power to grant bail. Premaratne was arrested last month for forcibly entering into the Higher Education Ministry premises with a group of IUSF members and causing damages to public property.

'We pressurize government regarding issues of foreign employees'

Nov 10 (LT) No institution has taken any measures to look into the issues of Sri Lankans when going abroad for employment or during their employment in foreign lands states ‘Ethera Api (We are Overseas) organization. The President of ‘We are Overseas’ Lawyer Ajith Kumara MP said the number of Sri Lankan employees abroad exceeds 1.5 million but the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have neglected more..

Hush, hush diplomacy to free Rizana .

Nov 10 (ST) The Government is currently involved in ‘ hush, hush’ diplomatic efforts in a bid to seek clemency for the Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Rafeek who is on death row in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of a toddler in her care, a senior External Affairs Ministry official said today. EA, spokesperson Bandula Jayasekera said the Lankan envoys in Riyadh and also in other countries are in constant touch with the respective governments in those countries in connection with the maid’s case. more..

Lanka student unrest continues

Nov 10 (BBC) University campuses in Sri Lanka have been in turmoil since a group of students stormed the ministry of higher education in mid-October demanding better facilities. Twenty-nine students were arrested and some were later granted bail, while more than 200 more have been suspended; several faculties are closed. Accusations have been flying between the students and the government and last Tuesday in Colombo about 250 students staged the latest in a string of protests. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom adds 80,000 broadband users; widens rural network

Nov 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom, the island's largest fixed access operator said it had added 80,000 new broadband customers in 2010 and its base of 200,000 customers was 70 percent of the market. About 20 percent of the operator's wireline customers were now using its ADSL services, the telco said in a statement. The firm said its 200,000th customers was PEDA Silva from Pulasthigama in Polonnaruwa. more..

‘Cardinal’ errors

Nov 10 (LG) The Roman Catholic and the Anglican Churches are two Institutions with considerable following in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, which could, had they been so minded, have saved tens of thousands of lives and billions of rupees worth of property by rendering their unstinted support towards the restoration of peace in our land by: a) exhorting their flock to oppose or simply refuse to obey the orders of the LTTE and to give information to the Security Forces regarding more..

Asymmetrical police arrests, prosecutions

Nov 10 (LG) A heartening aspect as regards the unrest in our universities is that the Higher Education Minister and the Vice Chancellors are taking appropriate, meaningful and ‘no-nonsense’ measures to bring the situation under control. It is clear that this violence, vandalism and assault on a section of university students and ragging are engineered by the JVP and no other. Everyone knows this. The JVP MPs and allies are fools if they think that due to more..

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith: What I said at the LLRC

Nov 10 (TC) His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith addressing the Presidential LLRC on 03rd November 2010, made the following submissions to the Commission. “First of all, I would like to thank the honourable members of this Commission and the President for according us an opportunity to present submissions before this Commission on the relevant topics that had been suggested to us over the Press and the Media. more..

A way to gain fuller international support

Nov 10 (LG) Sri Lanka has won its war against terrorism. There has been no terrorist attack since the end of the war last year. It is now a safer and more peaceful country than most others in the world. This is reflected in its relatively high human development ranking as reflected in UN calculations, ahead of India, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. But a spectre haunts the country. It is the spectre of war crimes that could lead to criminal charges in more..