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FR petition against Mervyn

Sep 24 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed in the fundamental rights application filed by a Kelaniya resident against newly appointed Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva who had allegedly broken down his boundary wall and the toilet unlawfully. Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Shirani Tilakawardena, K. Sripavan and Nimal Gamini Ameratunga granted leave to proceed with the application filed by Asitha Liyanage who cited the minister, more..

Foreign exchange controls relaxed

Sep 24 (DM) Through the 2011 Budget the government has relaxed and simplified foreign exchange regulations in a bid to attract more foreign investments while expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs and business establishments to invest in other countries, the Central Bank said. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told a news conference the liberalization of the economy was aimed at strengthening transactions with other countries. more..

SC suspends corruption case against ex-GM Railways

Nov 24 (Island) The Supreme Court issued an interim order, suspending, until further notice, the proceedings at the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Colombo, against R.P. Wijesekera, retired General Manager, Railways. The Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption had filed an application against Wijesekera, alleging corruption. The petitioner, Wijesekera, recently, filed a Writ Application in the Supreme Court, seeking to review the decision of the Commission, more..

New Secretaries Appointments

Nov 24 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that no government official could hoodwink him as he has thorough knowledge on the public sector and its functions. Addressing the new Secretaries to the Ministries who were given appointment letters by him yesterday the President advised them to discharge their duties properly according to the Mahinda Chintana. He said that it is compulsory to reply the letters sent by the public with regard to the matters concerning the ministry. more..

'UNP will vote against budget'

Nov 24 (Island) The UNP said yesterday that it would vote against the Rajapaksa government’s 2011 budget, because there was hardly anything in it for the common man. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake, said that the budget had only catered to the super rich, while dishing out a few crumbs to the masses, who are struggling to survive. Since the budget has made no attempt to ease the burdens of the poor, the UNP has decided to vote against it. more..

55 bn from liquor and cigarettes upto Sept.

Nov 24 (DM) The government has collected revenue running to the tune of Rs. 55 billion in terms of taxes levied on liquor and cigarettes from January to September this year. According to the Fiscal Management Report-2011, Rs. 29.5 billion has been earned from taxes on cigarettes and Rs. 26 billion on taxes on liquor, an increase of 24 percent compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. more..

Ravi hits out at Chambers - chambers of commerce

Nov 24 (DM) United National Party front-liner Ravi Karunanayake yesterday criticized the chambers of commerce for their failure to talk of real issues in the 2011 Budget. Opening the Budget debate in parliament, Mr. Karunanayake said the chambers of commerce had failed to realise that the government had not focused on helping employees enjoy the benefits from incentives given to the corporate sector. more..

Karunanidhi writes to Krishna on Tamils resettlement issue in Lanka

Nov 24 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today asked External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to take up the issue of finding a political solution to the vexed Tamils problem in Sri Lanka during his visit to the island nation. "The political solution and devolution of powers, which have been talked about for a very long time, are yet to be given a preliminary shape," he said in a letter to Krishna, who is beginning a 4-day visit from tomorrow. more..

A pittance to hoodwink workers: NTUC

Nov 24 (DM) The National Trade Union Center (NTUC) yesterday demanded a salary increment of Rs.8,499.50 in addition to the five per cent non taxable allowance and Rs.600 cost of living allowance. The Union said the government had not provided the salary increment it had asked for and the meager sum provided as an allowance was to hoodwink the people into thinking they were being given a salary increment. more..

EPF will not be replaced by proposed pension scheme

Nov 24 (Island) The government proposed an Employees’ Pension Fund (also EPF, adding to the confusion) in the Budget 2011 which has cast fear among workers that they would lose their lump-sum entitlements from the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) upon retirement. Many workers depend on their EPF/ETF entitlements to invest in a new business or income generating venture, a home, medical expenses, more..

Mahaveli dams, reservoirs as tourist attractions

Nov 24 (DM) The Mahaveli project which included the building of some of Sri Lanka’s largest dams and reservoirs, which were previously restricted to visitors, will be opened to local and foreign tourists from next year. A Ministry official said entry to these areas earlier demarcated as high security zones would be relaxed at Kotmale, Polgolla, Victoria, Randenigala, Ulhitiya Oya, Maduru Oya, Bowathenna, more..

Viability of Lanka’s C’wealth Games bid questioned

Nov 24 (Island) UNP lawmaker Harin Fernando wants the ruling UPFA coalition to review, what he called, a high-flying project to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018 at Hambantota. Responding to criticism, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that there were innovative ways of raising funds required for the project. Cabraal emphasized that the government was confident that a public-private sector partnership could take on the challenge. more..

'Sunday Leader interview damaged Lanka’s reputation'

Nov 24 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, based in Geneva, Kshenuka Seneviratne (50) on Tuesday, testifying before the Whte Flat Trial-at-Bar, admitted that even one and a half years after the ’White Flag’ allegation, she hadn’t submitted a comprehensive reply to the UN. The bench cosisted of Judges of the Colombo High Court Mrs. Deepali Wijesundera (President), Mr. W.T.M.P. Warawewa and Mr. M.Z. Razeem. more..

Sri Lanka's top lenders in 2010; China, capital markets

Nov 24 (LBO) China has become Sri Lanka's top bilateral lender up to September 2010, displacing Japan both in commitments and disbursements, with international capital markets dwarfing traditional lenders with a billion dollar bond a month later. Sri Lanka has racked up 2,481 million US dollars in bi-lateral and multi-lateral financing up to September 2010, the highest ever volume of foreign financing commitments, with China leading the way with 668 million US dollars of export credits. more..

Sri Lanka wages to rise as unemployment falls: official

Nov 25 (LBO) Sri Lankan business should be ready to pay higher wages as unemployment had come down, and youth becoming more educated and eager to find jobs abroad, a top Treasury official said. "Now the war is over and unemployment is now five percent," P B Jayasundera, secretary to the finance ministry said. "When unemployment is five percent, there is no excess labour - you have to pay a price," he told a forum on the government budget for 2011 organised by more..

60 more unconscious students admitted to hospital

Nov 25 (AD) 60 more students have been admitted to the Nuwaraeliya hospital after they were rendered unconscious due to inhaling air contaminated, the Principal P. Shanmuganadan of the Highforest Tamil School in Ragala, Nuwaraeliya said. Yesterday 21 students of the same school were admitted to hospital after suffering the same fate and are still receiving treatment. Today the students had come to school to sit for their exam and had fainted after inhaling the contaminated air. more..

Sangakkara completes 24th Test ton

Nov 25 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara continued to make batting look easy on the second afternoon of the second Test, as he completed his 24th Test century to take Sri Lanka to 294 for five, when rain forced a premature end to proceedings. The Sri Lanka captain ensured that that the hosts continued to stride towards a good first innings total, despite the loss of Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews to some excellent sustained pressure from the West Indies fast men. more..

Samaraweera aiming for World Cup spot

Nov 25 (CI) Thilan Samaraweera wouldn't have done his chances of securing a place in Sri Lanka's 2011 World Cup squad any harm when he scored a well-paced 80 off 170 balls against West Indies on the second day of the second test at the R Premadasa Stadium. With Sri Lanka struggling at 34-3, Samaraweera joined his captain, Kumar Sangakkara, to pull the side out of trouble, and at the end of another rain-hit day, Sri Lanka were sitting pretty on 294-5. more..

Another Zone at Menik farm closed

Nov 25 (LP) Zone-2 welfare centre of the Menik Farm relief village in Vavuniya was also closed by the Authorities in charge of the northern IDPs yesterday (23). With the closure of the Zone 2, the remaining number of Zones at the relief village is 4. 855 IDPs who were sheltered in Zone-2 are being resettled in Theravil, Pudukudirippu in Mullativu. Currently, the total number of IDPs in Vavuniya relief villages has dropped to 16, 531 as for the 22nd of November. more..

India ups Lanka aid to offset China presence

Nov 25 (TOI) Days after Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the Chinese-built port in Hambantota for business, India will be opening its consulate in the southern Lankan city. Foreign minister S M Krishna will be in Sri Lanka over the weekend to do a couple of things — open consulates not just in Hambantota but in Jaffna as well — and send a message that with India's expanding presence in the island nation, it's not playing second fiddle to the Chinese. more..

Army, private sector in cultivation venture

Nov 25 (DN) The Sri Lanka Army, broadening its horizons further into large scale agro-industry, farming and dairy products entered into a joint cultivation venture with the Letsgrow (Pvt) Ltd for cultivation in selected Army-owned lands, farms and formations across the country after signing a MoU between the lessee and the Sri Lanka Army early this week. The new agreement with the private firm, which has potential buyers for agriculture products, both here and abroad is to more..

Again, Rajiv Gandhi's assassin asks for early release from jail

Nov 25 (TOI) More than seven months after the Madras High Court upheld the Tamil Nadu government's decision to reject the premature release plea of Nalini Sriharan, the life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has yet again approached the court -- this time for the review of the judgment. A division bench comprising justice Elipe Dharma Rao and justice D Hariparanthaman, before which the review plea of Nalini came up for hearing on Monday, more..

Floorboard of lorry give way: Gaint tusker falls to his death

Nov 25 (NF) A giant tusker, corralled from Galgamuwa, died last night when the floor boards of the lorry in which he was being transported, gave way resulting in the pachyderm crashing on to the tarmac causing mortal wounds. “The Galgamuwa Tusker was being taken to a reserve when the tragedy occurred around 8pm at Thambuttegama,” said Veterinarian Tharaka Prasad, Acting Deputy Director of the Wild Life Department. more..

A must to be above 21 for foreign employment

Nov 25 (LP) The age limit of those leaving the country for Foreign Employment should be over 21 said newly appointed Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera. Addressing Parliament yesterday (23) Minister Perera said that a programme to provide necessary training to those to be employed in foreign jobs would be launched by his Ministry along with the Ministry of Youth Affairs andVocational Training. more..

Colombo Crimes Division uncovers racket

Nov 25 (LP) Speaking to Lankapuvath, Police Media Spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said that the Colombo Crimes Division was able to take into custody a gang who was responsible for an organized racket involving the pilfering of goods from lorries leaving the Colombo Port. Three drivers and another 21 member-gang were arrested and Police say that the goods stolen was taken to Mahawatta, Grandpass area and then stored. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 24.11.2010

Produce raw footage of Fonseka’s speech; Court orders Derana

Nov 25 (AD) The Colombo High Court today ordered TV Derana to produce the raw footage of the speech of the then Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka made at a rally in Rathnapura. The High Court gave this order when the ‘White flag’ case was taken up. The prosecution had produced several videos of the Fonseka’s speeches telecast on TV stations and one such video was taken for observation today. The Defendant’s attorney then raised objection that more..

Developing skills and providing employment opportunities for youth in Sri Lanka

Nov 25 (UNICEF) Marking the 21st anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Youth Affairs Ministry and UNICEF joined hands in a 50 million rupee project to help develop skills and provide employment opportunities for youth in conflict affected areas. More than 850 youths, including those released from rehabilitation centres, will benefit from vocational training courses and on-the-job training in their chosen field. more..

'LSSP decision to support Govt taken at Party Convention'

Nov 25 (Island) The General Secretary of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party Minister Tissa Vitharana on Tuesday said that the party, at its recent convention, decided to be an ally of the UPFA government National List MP Vitharana said that the LSSP had agreed with the UPFA’s post-war development initiatives. "Our primary concern is poverty alleviation and provision of immediate relief to those struggling to make ends meet. more..

AHRC apeals to the Diplomatic Community in Saudi Arabia

Nov 25 (LG) To all Honourable Ambassadors and Consul Generals Serving In Saudi Arabia. I am making this appeal on behalf of the Asian Human Rights Commission to request your kind intervention to save the life of a young Sri Lankan girl, Rizana Nafeek who is facing beheading in Saudi Arabia. This young girl comes from a war thorn village in the Eastern Sri Lanka who due to the destitute poverty of her family, was sent for work in Saudi Arabia when she was seventeen years old (17). more..

An open letter to the LLRC

Nov 25 (LG) I would like to introduce myself, I am the Chief Sangha Nayake of America, President of the Sri Lankan Sangha Council of America and Canada, and Abbot of Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles. I have been living in the United States for over thirty-four years. I am a dual citizen of both the United States and Sri Lanka. I have traveled annually back and forth between the two countries. I have remained in constant communication with friends and associates more..

The military defeat of the LTTE is by no means a defeat of the Tamil people

Nov 25 (TC) A new dawn broke over Sri Lanka last year. There is new promise of a new era of peace and stability over the island. There is optimism in the air; optimism that the time has come to address all outstanding issues in a sprit of understanding and mutual accommodation. There is expectation that the recent election will sow the seeds for genuine reconciliation between the various communities. more..

Assassination of a torture victim and the death of criminal justice in Sri Lanka

Nov 25 (LG) On the 22nd November 2004 at 11:30 am, Gerald Perera, a torture victim who was to give evidence in the High Court of Negombo against six police officers from the Wattala Police Station who brutally tortured him, was shot while traveling to work. He died two days later due to his injuries. Subsequent inquiries established that the assassins were the same police officers who were charged under the Convention against Torture Act (Act No. 22 of 1994). more..

Sanitizing and elevating Kudu Mervin - Shaming Sri Lanka

Nov 25 (LG) If there was one issue in which Sri Lankans across the many divides in their plural society agree, it must be in the unanimous condemnation of one nationally despised and who seems to enjoy being called Kudu Mervin. He absolutely has no compunction in being identified with known drug-traffickers, extortionists, kidnappers and the like - to whom he openly functions as Godfather. Worse, he is identified with the new "business" of land-house thieving where more..

Super Jumbo

Nov 25 (LG) To retain his two thirds majority in the parliament, the President Mahendra Percy Rajapakse has created his biggest ever jumbo ministerial team to run the small island nation of Sri Lanka. Fifty Cabinet ministers and thirty nine junior ministers have been appointed to various portfolios. It is bingo wins for most of them in the bending game of politics in Sri Lanka. The oversized ministerial team is expected to reach a whopping size of a squad of the President, more..

Sri Lankans remember massacre at Peradeniya

Nov 25 (LG) Police brutality in Sri Lanka has a long history. On the 12th November 1976, Peradeniya University (formerly known as University of Ceylon) suffered a bloodbath owing to the brutal police attack on the innocent students who were demanding to keep the university open and removal of the university President Professor PW Vithanage who ruled the university as a tyrant. Prof Vithanage was appointed by the late Prime-minister Sirima Bandaranaike more..

No Surety for 4 years; True Prisons Part 06

Nov 25 (LG) Badurukada Wimal is a 47 year-old resident of Hiralugoda, Bataduwa. He was remanded on May of 2010 to Galle prison because of a dispute in the work place. He was put into the H ward. When Wimal was remaded, there were 205 persons in the H ward, but the ward was only designed to hold 150 persons. According to Wimal there was not enough space to sleep, so the prisoners had to sleep in shifts, waking up so that others might have space to lie down. They were provided with very few mats. more..

Gandhi Jee, St. Peter’s & United SCs win the cups

Nov 25 (Cimic) Final encounters of Inter Club matches organized by the 513 Brigade in Manipay were held whole day on 13th November at the Navali ground with attendance of a large crowd of sports lovers in the area. In preliminary rounds of the tournaments held at Unit formation levels in 513 Brigade area from the 1st October included Cricket, Soccer and volleyball. Many young men belonging to 21 Sports Clubs showed their talents in the games more..

Colombo: Closed For Business

Nov 25 (SL) The Finance Minister according to recent reports is not happy with the performance of the Board of Investment (BOI) and is even contemplating scrapping the institution all-together come the next budget which is due to be presented tomorrow (22). The Finance Minister’s ire is due to the lackluster performance of the BOI in the post war scenario where the flow of foreign investment at best has only been a trickle when it should be the opposite. more..

The peace and development equation

Nov 25 (DM) It is not always that a Head of State or Government delivers an ex tempore speech at his Inaugural. It would be more formal at a Second Inaugural than the first, the incumbent having to measure every word of his word, as to what he has achieved in his first term and what he hopes to do so in the upcoming years in office. Often, experience and exposure dent one’s hopes and imagination, and wisdom thus having dawned on the incumbent a little too late more..

What is in store for the northern youth with military training?

Nov 25 (DM) Comments made this week by two prominent Tamil personalities would have drawn interest of many who wish to see national reconciliation become a reality. Dharmalingam Siddharthan, the leader of the PLOTE, also registered with the Elections Commissioner as DPLF has told BBC early this week that the plight of the supporters of non-LTTE Tamil militant groups has been completely ignored since the war came to an end in May 2009. more..

Suu Kyi euphoria may not help SF

Nov 25 (LB) The despicable Burmese military junta, one of Rajapaksa’s best friends, has released the world’s most renowned political prisoner since Nelson Mandela. Why these loathsome generals did so is anyone’s guess; maybe a PR stunt to boost the phoney government “elected” at last weeks fraudulent electoral sham, or maybe a desperate attempt to get sanctions lifted. Nevertheless Burma and the world reacted with euphoria though it could be just another deception; more..

Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds!

Nov 25 (ST) My dear Champika, I know you must be still busy probably eating some of the left over kiribath and planting a few of those million trees, but I thought I must write to you, especially because I was surprised by the recent actions of your party. We have known your party for some time now Champika, and I believe people have voted for it because they thought your party was somewhat different from the other ‘traditional’ parties, the Blues, Greens or Reds. more..

Disabled war heroes receive three wheelers from the President

Nov 25 (MoD) Understanding the difficulties faced by the disabled war heroes, who risked life and limb to eliminate the terrorism from the motherland provided with Three Wheelers today, (24 Nov). In a special function organized by the Ranaviru Seva Authority at the premises of the Ministry of Defence, President Mahinda Rajapaksa together with Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, tri forces commanders and IGP distributed 100 Three Wheelers among more..

Editorial : Cometh Krishna, running

Nov 25 (Island) Close on the heels of the commissioning by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Hambantota Port, Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna is coming here to open a consulate in Hambantota (and another one in Jaffna). His visit is widely seen as a move to expand India's presence in Sri Lanka in view of China's involvement in what New Delhi terms India's backyard. Minister Krishna is also expected to push for devolution of power among other things. more..

Editorial : The suffering of the masses not lessened

Nov 25 (DM) No budget ever succeeds in satisfying the masses. There is a limit to how much the welfare state notion of the people’s psyche can be supported by a government moving away from a three-decade-old war. Add to it, the responsibility of feeding thousands of people left destitute by the conflict, the infrastructure in need of immediate repair and the many welfare measures on offer in areas such as education and health; balancing the economy is not an easy one. more..

An impossibly distinguished gentleman

Nov 25 (ST) Laughter echoes through the cluttered offices of WICPER (Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education). Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry is its instigator. Surrounded by a sea of books and papers, he is sharing the story one of his grand-daughters wrote for him when she was seven. Fittingly, it featured a ‘jaj’ named Weeramantry who was called upon to settle a dispute that was the source of great rancour between two fairies more..

SLAM – top guns in literature and some well-known flops

Nov 25 (LB) On November 26 and 27, Kandy will witness some of the so-called ‘leading’ published writers in English literature in Sri Lanka (depending on how you look at it!) taking centre stage for “SLAM 2010” - a literary gathering that promises a rich exchange among writers, readers and literary scholars. The forum will be hosted by the Student Welfare Centre of the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, working with a reading/discussion group based in Kandy, more..

Budget 2011: Rs 50.9 billion for North and East

Nov 25 (DN) Leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday said in Parliament that one fourth of the expenditure of the Budget for 2011 has been allocated for the development of North and the East. He made this observation in his speech at the budget debate. The Minister added that the Opposition members were just shedding crocodile tears for the people in North and the East. But the Government has performed a mammoth task in rebuilding those areas. more..

A drive back into the past

Nov 25 (NS) Classic cars ‘don’t spill oil, they only mark their territory’ No, it wasn’t love at first sight, but it was something quite close to it when I happened to walk towards the classic car (a whitewashed Jaguar) that stood still in front of me at the Ceylon Motor Show 2010 that was held last week at the BMICH. The show featured over 100 Classic Cars and the very latest vehicles being marketed in Sri Lanka; therefore providing a unique blend of vehicles and more..