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New pitch an unknown quantity

Nov 23 (CI) Sri Lanka, perhaps for the first time, will find themselves in alien territory despite the fact that they are the home side when they meet West Indies in the second Test starting at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday. There's a new laid pitch and construction work going all round the area to get the stadium ready for the 2011 World Cup and playing a Test match amidst such a set up is not the ideal scenario. But the Sri Lankans are keen to test the more..

West Indies aim to sustain improvement

Nov 23 (CI) Sri Lanka were grateful for some assistance from the weather in Galle after West Indies produced their finest overseas performance since beating South Africa in Port Elizabeth three years ago. The visitors were inspired by Chris Gayle's monumental 333, a fantastic innings which began as a destructive opening-day onslaught before he methodically consolidated the team's position. more..

'No concessions for the citizens'

Nov 23 (DM) The UNP commenting on the 2011 budget said that it failed to provide any concessions to the ordinary citizens of the country. The 5 percent monthly non pensionable allowance given to the public servants comes to Rs 555 and the cost of living allowance comes to only Rs 600, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said. This is unsatisfactory as the public servants expected much more than this. They expected an increment of Rs 2500 at least but their dreams were shattered. more..

Sri Lanka to raise electricity rates in January

Nov 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will raise electricity tariffs by eight percent on general users who consume over 90 units a month in January 2011, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told parliament. The present tariff rate will continue for small businesses, he said during the 2011 budget speech. The government will reduce the tariff by 25 percent to religious places, government hospitals,schools, vocational training institutions and universities. more..

Sri Lanka reforms tax to boost economy

Nov 23 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who sworn in for his 2nd term on Friday in his capacity as the Finance Minister has unveiled the national budget for the next fiscal year. This is Sri Lanka's first full-year budget since its long civil war ended in 2009, and its set out reforms to the nation's fiscal and monetary frameworks. The government has trimmed its budget deficit to 6.8 percent, a main goal under $2.6 billion IMF loan programme. more..

Budgeting Sri Lanka's peace dividend

Nov 23 (WSJ) A year and a half after Colombo finally won its battle against Tamil insurgents, Sri Lankans are starting to ask when the promised "peace dividend" will materialize. Yesterday's budget offers hope—modest hope—that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his administration are headed in the right direction. The government announced a rationalization of the country's tax code, which currently features 62 different taxes and can leave businesses paying more..

Prof. J.B. Dissanayaka: an understated academic

Nov 23 (LG) My sceptism towards academics and professionals who cannot communicate to the masses but who choose to use their specialist lingo throwing in excerpts from sophisticated writers in patronising and high-faluting language meant to throw ordinary readers into confusion, dissipated when I read an article by Prof. J.B. Dissanayaka in Sri Lanka Guardian two days ago. As I was busy enjoying the commentaries on our President’s second term inauguration more..

Sinhala language class for school leavers commenced

Nov 23 (Cimic) Under the Civil Military Coordination activities being conducted by Security Forces Headquarters-Jaffna (SF-J) for the benefit of Jaffna populace, a Sinhala language course for school leavers, government and private sector employees was started by the 51 Division from 6th November 2010. The course was organized by the 513 Brigade in Manipay at the request of Tamil youths yearning to learn Sinhala which helps them to more..

We have two homes

Nov 23 (LG) I refer to the email message from you regarding Remembrance day 2010. I did remember our fallen heroes on 11 November – the Common International Remembrance Day. I appreciate that you have used the Karthigai Flower (Gloriosa Lily) as the flower to represent Tamil war heroes. I note the following from a Young Canadian Tamil – “As a Canadian, I now have two flowers I can wear - the poppy flower and the Lily flower.” more..

Decriminalization of rape through impunity for perpetrators

Nov 23 (LG) While there are countless allegations of rape and sexual abuse of women and young children within the civil society, the high numbers are not reflected in the number of cases reported. The trauma and shame that generally follow sexual abuse prevent most women from ever reporting or speaking out about it. A great fear of retaliation from the perpetrators and their acquaintances also act as a deterrent. more..

Kaarthigai Theepam~ Triumph of Light over Dark

Nov 23 (HA) “Kaarthigai” is a month of purity and devotion. Hindu devotees in Sri Lanka celebrated the festival of “Kaarthigai Theepam” in the temples and houses on 21t of November 2010 amidst a heavy downpour. It falls on IL Poya day, which coincides with Karthigai star. “Sorkka Paavanai” (Bonfire) which later derived as “Sokka Paanai” is also held at Hindu temples. “Sorkka Paavanai” is held at Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple in Bambalapitty. more..

Reflections on Journalism : From a Buddhist perspective

Nov 23 (LG) A journalism grounded in Buddhist morals is most likely to produce (1) a journalism of healing because the goal of Buddhism is achieving the end of “suffering,” which connotes many facets of existence, and (2) a journalism of timely, truthful, and helpful speech based on the Noble Eightfold Path. This assertion comes from American journalist Doug McGill (2008), who claims that in Buddhism he “finally found ... explicit and practical morals of human communication. more..

Media in the dock – ‘Innocence of the pen questioned’

Nov 23 (LG) Victor Ivan’s new book “Innocence of the pen questioned” (Ravaya publication, Sept.2010) makes its appearance at a crucial point in time in the trajectory of Sri Lankan media and politics. During a phase when both the media and the political system are struggling to adjust to the new realities of a post-war situation, the contents of this book are likely to re-ignite intractable debates surrounding these subjects. more..

Staff of the ministry of defence pledge support for development of the country

Nov 23 (MoD) Staff of the Ministry of Defence commenced their official works today, 22 November, following an oath of allegiance towards ensuring maximum contribution for the success of country's development programmes. The next decade which has begun with the second term of His Excellency the President and Honorable Minister of Defence Mahinda Rajapaksa will be a decisive period that will bring development to the country, more..

Tamil Nadu fishermen society delegation to visit Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (TN) A delegation of representatives of fishermen societies in Raameasvaram and Tamil Nadu are expected to visit Sri Lanka shortly to conduct talks with the related authorities in Colombo on issues affecting the fishermen of both Tamil Nadu and Northern fishermen, fisheries society representatives in Jaffna said. Many decisions taken by both fishermen society representatives in the talks held in Tamil Nadu in August remain unexecuted due to non-cooperation by Sri Lanka Navy more..

SLA victimizes released ex-Liberation Tiger combatants in Jaffna

Nov 23 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officers and intelligence wing men threaten the owners of the shops and other places which had given employment to the ex-Liberation Tiger combatants released after arrest and rehabilitation not to employ them. Many of them, intimidated by SLA are sending away the ex-Tiger combatants who have no other means to earn their living. Meanwhile, the families which had come from Vanni and settled in Jaffna peninsula complain that more..

Bed tax $20 for 5-Star hotels with room rate below $125

Nov 23 (NF) A Bed Tax of US$ 20 will be levied from all five-star hotels that charge a room rate less than US$ 125 with effect from January 2011. “The industry is largely underpriced,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday presenting the budget for 2011 and pointed out that although the country expected around 600,000 tourists this year, earnings had shown only a moderate increase. more..

'Everybody who opposes a pure Sinhala Govt. will be murdered'

Nov 23 (LeN) A group calling itself the ‘Dutugemunu balakaya’ has sent letters of threats to some lawyers at Hultsdorf that all those who are traitorous will be murdered. These letters have been received by them yesterday (21). These threatening letters from the Dutugemunu Balakaya has been received by Lawyers who are engaged in legal actions for and on behalf of Democracy. These letters holding out grave threats state that when the terrorism demanding division has more..

Police unravel eight year murder mystery

Nov 23 (DN) Gampola Police have been able to unravel the mystery behind a death that took place eight years ago following the arrest and interrogation of a suspect involved in 16 house breaking incidents. The suspect, a three-wheeler driver had confessed to murdering a bank employee named Sarath Kumar in the year 2002. According to his confession Sarath Kumar returning after working in Colombo had hired his three-wheeler at about 11 pm to go home from the Gampola town. more..

New LTTE leader Vinayagam exposed as a pretender

Nov 23 (DBS) Vinayagam the new leader of the LTTE based in Europe has been exposed as a “pretender”! Information has come to light that claims made by a senior tiger leader in Europe that he was “Colonel” Vinayagam the sea tiger commander are false. The Vinayagam who has donned the mantle of LTTE leadership in Europe is not the well-known sea tiger Deputy – commander who was at one time third –ranking in sea tiger seniority to more..

Editorial : No reigning jumbo but jumbo rains

Nov 23 (DM) ‘Doctor Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain He stepped into a puddle up to his middle and never went there again!’ On Wednesday November 10 residents of Colombo and the suburbs retired to bed as usual after a hard-days work. On Thursday morning, for many, it was a rude awakening. It rained literally jumbos in Colombo! With drains, culverts and canals overflowing overnight, the city had gone under water. more..

Editorial : An inspiring story

Nov 23 (Island) Sri Lanka was not short of proponents and opponents of her war, which came to an end in May last year. While the combatants of both sides were fighting it out with the war spilling over into other areas as well, those who advocated and opposed the war locked horns on the ideological plane-from a safe distance. Besides, there were some other people who neither had time nor cared to ponder the whys and wherefores of the conflagration but more..

'Give us room to forge reconciliation'

Nov 23 (NS) Question: Sajith Premadasa’s prime complaint is that you all did not put his proposal to allow provincial council and local authority members the voting right at party elections, before the working committee for adoption into the new constitution. Answer: The party reforms committee headed by Joseph Michael Perera received various recommendations. On the election of party office-bearers, more..

England women seal Twenty20 whitewash against Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (BBC) England women won two matches in a day to seal a 3-0 Twenty20 series whitewash over Sri Lanka in Colombo. Sunday's washout was rescheduled for Monday morning and England won by 17 runs, with Laura Marsh making 30 in a total of 114 and then taking 2-15. England shone in the final game, Jenny Gunn firing four fours and three sixes in 69 off 46 balls in a total of 160-5. Gunn held three catches and Danielle Hazell took 3-14 as Sri Lanka were 71 all out and England won by 89 runs. more..

'Litro: primary aim is not profit, but service'

Nov 23 (N360) The Director General of the Department of Public enterprises Dr. B.M.S. Batagoda says the primary aim of the Litro gas is not to make profits but to ensure a better service to the consumers. Batagoda said “We will use it as an intervention tool to control prices in the market”. He said the Government has several arms under it which helps to intervene in the market to control unwarranted price hikes. more..

Sri Lanka relaxes foreign exchange controls

Nov 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has allowed resident to buy stocks abroad and foreign investors has been allowed to buy into local corporate debt and insurers have been given permission to invest up to 20 percent of their reserves abroad. The exchange control relaxations are in effect from Nov 22, the government said in a statement issued with the budget. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal promised to liberalize exchange controls in a road map in January. more..

CID in Matale to probe vandalism charge

Nov 23 (ST) A police team from the CID visited Matale, following a home and home turf war between legislators of the UPFA after buntings, cut-outs and other decorations put up to mark the swearing in of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a second term on Friday were vandalised. Gemunu Dharmasiri Herath, co-ordinating Secretary to the Deputy Minister of Education Nandamithra Ekanayake, said that the police team had sought full details in connection with the incident, more..

JICA renovates irrigation and jetty facilities in Jaffna

Nov 23 (AD) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has funded the Department of Agrarian Development (DAD) to renovate seven irrigation tanks that required urgent rehabilitation in the Jaffna district. JICA has also funded the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) to renovate damaged fishing jetties in the district. This pilot project of renovating small-scale community infrastructure facilities in the district before the rainy season, more..

Sri Lanka to tax international calls, new telecom fee

Nov 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has imposed new taxes on telecommunication including a 20 percent tax removing some of the existing ones, a regulatory license fee equal to 2 percent of revenues and has also imposed a new tax on international calls. The govt. removed VAT from telecoms and made it an exempt industry, further complicating the regime. Exempt industries cannot claim back VAT, but imports of high tech telecom equipment will not be charged VAT. more..

UN not sure whether Expert Panel will interview Shavendra Silva

Nov 23 (AD) After New York Times published an article critical of the Sri Lankan Government’s appointment of Major General Shavendra Silva as the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN a journalist yesterday queried the Acting Dpt. Spokesman of UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon whether Silva will be interviewed by the expert panel. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a panel of experts to advise him on Sri Lanka’s alleged violations of human rights and more..

‘De-mining to be completed in two years’

Nov 23 (DM) The on-going de-mining process will take another two years to be fully completed with the currently available de-mining facilities, Army Commander, Lieutenant General, Jagath Jayasuriya said yesterday. He said this while addressing officials at the U.S Embassy yesterday where four trucks, seven large troop trucks and five land-cruiser ambulances were donated by the U.S. He said there was another 10,000 km to be de-mined in the Northern Province and more..

Budget 2011 speech: Full Text

Nov 23 (DN) As you chair the proceedings of this august assembly, the image of my father late D A Rajapaksa who occupied your seat once as the Deputy Speaker comes into my mind. I recall him crossing over to the opposition with late SWRD Bandaranaike and several others to give a leadership to transform Sri Lanka to be a truly independent and prosperous country in Asia. It was a transformation based on our national heritage, culture, value system and our own identity. more..

Mobile consular services for Sri Lankan refugees

Nov 23 (Hindu) The Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka has initiated mobile consular services to provide assistance to Lankan refugees in the State. According to a release from the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, a mobile consular service was conducted at the Madurai district collectorate on November 21 and 22 to assess the viability and efficiency of extending such services to refugees living in 115 camps across the State. more..

Criminals with drugs-related problems to be kept separate

Nov 23 (ST) Minister D.E.W Gunasekara told the Sunday Times the Prisons Department had taken steps to isolate prisoners who have been charged with narcotics related-offences by relocating them to prisons which have facilities for rehabilitation. The move comes as a sequel to the recent prison riot at the Welikada jail. He said the Ministry had decided to place prisoners charged with drug related offences in prisons at Weerawila, Pallekale and Thaldena in Badulla. more..

Sri Lanka eyes tea trade to rebuild

Sri Lankans flock to see prelate made cardinal

Nov 23 (UCAN) A massive Sri Lankan delegation witnessed the elevation of the only Asian cardinal in Pope Benedict’s third consistory held on Nov. 20-21 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo was among the 24 new cardinals elevated in the presence of some 130 cardinals and other bishops. The Pope placed the biretta, a square red hat symbolising martyrs’ blood, on the new cardinals during the Saturday Eucharistic celebration and more..

Futuristic budget

Nov 23 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance and Planning Minister yesterday presented Budget 2011 in Parliament which could be best described as futuristic. The total revenue and grants envisaged in the Budget amounts to Rs 986.1 billion where as the total expenditure proposed amounts to Rs 1419.9 billion. The Budget deficit which was eight percent of the GDP excluding grants in 2010 will be brought down to 6.8 percent under the current Budget. more..

Trade Unions: Salary hike in budget misleading

Nov 23 (SL) The National Trade Union Center (NTUC) claims that the 2011 budget presented by the government a short while ago is aimed at misleading the state sector employees. The NTUC says that it would continue to fight for a Rs. 9,000 salary increase and called on the working masses to join forces to launch a massive trade union action to win the demands. NTUC Head K.D. Lalkantha says that the government has proposed a Rs. 600 cost of living allowance and more..

Over 500,000 flock to witness Kotmale tunnel

Nov 23 (Island) The Power and Energy Ministry said that more than 500,000 people had visited the Upper Kotmale Power Plant to witness the 12.9 kilometre long tunnel which was built to supply water to the power plant at Niyamgamdora which would generate 150 megawatts of electricity. Ministry officials said that more than 300,000 people visited the tunnel between November 17 and 21. The public were given the opportunity to view the tunnel immediately more..

Students should be disciplined - NWP Governor

Nov 23 (DN) If a child is spiritually bankrupt all the academic qualifications achieved would be of no use, said North Western Province Governor Tissa R Balalla. He was speaking at the badge pinning ceremony of Ibbagamuwa Maha Vidyalaya. The Governor said if the younger generation lacks discipline they will never become useful citizens. They should be taught that as sense of duty, patriotism and honour come before wealth and pleasure. more..

Budget: Focus on development, some relief to govt. workers

Nov 23 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa proposed a five percent non-pensionable allowance for all public servants including the security forces, in the 2011 Budget presented in Parliament yesterday. Pointing out that a 100-rupee increase per month for salaries and pensions would cost a staggering Rs. 1.9 billion annually, President Rajapaksa said amidst interruptions by a section of the Opposition. more..

Swindlers target parents of missing children

Nov 23 (Island) Army headquarters yesterday warned the Northern public against certain manipulative moves currently set in motion by an organized gang of swindlers to exploit the grievances of war affected civilians, including parents who have not yet been able to trace the whereabouts of their children. In a recent incident, a suspect calling himself as ‘Major Seelan’ of the Army through his accomplices has approached parents of missing children and more..

Budget 2011: Ranil has nothing to say

Nov 23 (Island) The budget proposals presented to Parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, drew mixed responses from the lawmakers on both sides of the ‘Well’. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe asked to comment on the budget responded with a counter question, "What can I say?" UNP Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera described it as a "fairy tale budget" which will not be beneficial to the common man. more..

Udul case: AG, OIC told to appear in Court

Nov 23 (DM) The Attorney General and the Cinnamon Gardens OIC were noticed to appear in court on Friday when the Colombo High Court will inquire into the bail application filed by IUSF convener Udul Premaratne. Mr. Premaratne is in remand on charges of having damaged public property valued at Rs.152,834 during a student protest at the University Grants Commission premises on October 14. The application filed by Mr. Premaratne’s father Premaratna. more..

World Cup Secretariat’s inefficiency exposed

Nov 23 (Island) There are serious concerns about whether Sri Lanka’s venues for the 2011 Cricket World Cup will be ready in time after the journalists were given a firsthand experience of the construction now underway at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, ahead of the second Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies, starting today. R. Premadasa Stadium right now is well behind schedule and is not going to meet ICC’s deadline of 30th November, by which period all construction should be over. more..

ICRC to close in North

Nov 23 (IRIN) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) looks set to close its doors for good in northern Sri Lanka following a government statement that the organization's mandate in Sri Lanka had changed since the war ended. "The ICRC's work and responsibilities have changed totally today. This is not something new," government spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, told the media on 20 November. more..

Govt. Haj Committee accused of big fraud

Nov 23 (Island) The UNP called for an independent inquiry against the Government Haj Committee, which arranged for Sri Lankan Muslims to perform last week’s Haj pilgrimage, alleging that a big fraud had taken place. WPC UNP member AJM Muzammil said that the Sri Lankan pilgrims numbering around 6,200 had been charged 1,000 Saudi Riyals each, for facilities provided in Minah and Arafath, but the "real cost was between 550 to 650 riyals per person." more..

TUs vow to take stern action

Nov 23 (DM) Major Trade Unions yesterday warned that severe action would be taken following the government’s failure to provide public sector workers with the much needed salary increment. The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) warned the government that severe action would be taken, but did not say when it would be done. “The government has let us down and what has been proposed to be given is a meagre sum that is virtually nothing,” more..

Non-State universities to be regulated

Nov 23 (Island) A new Bill will be drafted to regulate the non-State universities functioning in Sri Lanka, an official of the Ministry of Higher Education said. "The Bill to monitor non-State universities is already in draft form and the Ministry is planning to implement the new law next year," Higher Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Jayantha Navarathne said. The Ministry is planning to present the Bill in Parliament at the end of January 2011, he said. more..

Sri Lanka allows electric cars, hybrids duty free

Nov 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has made electric and hybrid cars duty free, while value added tax and higher rates of depreciation allowed for used cars has also been increased, a budget for 2011 said. A Treasury official said excise taxes have been raised to recoup revenue losses from VAT. Some commercial vehicles were already on the lower duty. Electric and hybrid vehicles will be completely freed from excise duties and value added tax more..