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Sri Lanka regulator to permit friendly bank mergers: report

Nov 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank will support friendly mergers of banks, which can be difficult due to existing regulations, a media report said. "We have had some feelers and have discussed it at the Monetary Board (the governing board of the central bank)," The Sunday Island newspaper quoted Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal as saying. "We have let our thinking to be known to banking circles. But we don’t want any hostility; there must be agreement all round." more..

Let’s take S.M. Krishna seriously

Nov 29 (LB) India is here. In many ways, some quite obvious (like ‘expanding diplomatic services stations’) and some not so apparent (India’s presence in our economy is a subject that many dissertations can be written but for some reason has hardly been touched on by the relevant academics). India is here in the form of the failed, flawed and thrust-down-out-throats 13th Amendment to the Constitution and in the form of a conspicuous reluctance on more..

'Sri Lanka has not been a debt defaulter'

Nov 29 (NS) The new Senior Minister of International Monetary Co-operation, Dr Sarath Amunugama, says 2010 is a very good year for the country with an eight per cent growth reflecting spectacular performances by the agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors. The economy is improving further with North and East agricultural output coming in, tourism booming, foreign remittances increasing and every other sector progressing. more..

Sink those blithering sea-planes!

Nov 29 (LB) Tourism development must not be at the cost of destroying the livelihood of thousands of people. Aren’t there enough things to do to improve tourism than bring sea-planes into the Negombo Lagoon and drive thousands of people who depend on fishing to destitution? Of course there are! But the government has become accustomed to using the big stick; it tried to do it in the universities and had a revolt on its hands, and now it intends to crush resistance and more..

Prabhakaran safe: Vaiko

Nov 29 (EB) MDMK leader and pro-Eelam supporter Vaiko on Saturday once again claimed that LTTE chief V Prabakaran was ‘alive and is in safe Addressing a gathering in the city as part of the November 27 Maaveerar Day celebrations, Vaiko said, “Don’t bother about rumours floating on the internet… it’s a conspiracy against us. Prabhakaran is safe and in hiding for security.” Vaiko also said that the claims on rehabilitation of Lankan Tamils displaced during the ethnic war by more..

Sri Lanka Navy to celebrate Diamond Jubilee

Nov 29 (SO) Protecting the island from possible threats that may hinder national security would have been an enormous task vested with the Sri Lanka Navy which began sailing on the territorial waters of Sri Lanka from December 9, 1950, as the Royal Ceylon Navy. Today, after a six-decade long journey the Sri Lanka Navy has created not only a stronger first line of defence across the coasts of the country but is also a giant shield against global terrorism. more..

Editorial : Superstition and despondency

Nov 29 (Island) Former SLFP strongman turned UNP stalwart Mangala Samaraweera, MP made an interesting observation in Parliament last week. Taking part in the Budget debate, he claimed that the government\'s lucky number was eight, which was also the unlucky number for the Opposition. Giving examples, he pointed out Mahinda Rajapaksa had first become president at the presidential polls held on Nov. 17 (2005), 1+7 being 8, and secured a second term on Jan. 26 (2010), 2+6 being 8. more..

Editorial : Do they really represent us?

Nov 29 (DM) The media reported last week the Speaker of parliament seriously reprimanding certain unruly MPs in the House and informing them to seek treatment from the Parliamentary doctor if they so needed. Timely action indeed! Fast becoming a national joke if not an international one as well, the calibre of some of people we are increasingly sending to the august assembly to represent us and deal with issues of serious national and economic matters, seems in need of serious rethinking. more..

Susanthika wants to consult President and return

Nov 29 (DM) Olympic silver medalist in the 2000 Sydney Games and veteran sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe is willing to make a come back to the international circuit after Sri Lanka\'s performances in recent international competitions deteriorated. Susanthika, retired from athletics two years ago and wants to announce the decision to come out of retirement in consultation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the new minister of sports more..

SLMC leader takes over Justice Ministry

Nov 29 (Island) SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem, MP will take over the Justice Ministry today (Nov. 29). The Kandy District MP Attorney-at-Law Hakeem succeeds Kegalle District MP Athauda Seneviratne, who has been elevated to the post of a Senior Minister (Rural Affairs). In keeping with the understanding between the SLFP and the SLMC, Basheer Segu Dawood (Batticaloa District) has been appointed Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade. more..

TRC to broaden check on broadband internet services

Nov 29 (NF) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has decided to impose a maximum charge for broadband internet services taking into account the speeds offered by service providers as well. According to the Director General of the TRC, Anusha Pelpita, the charge will be decided on based on the speed of the service offered. Furthermore, the TRC has decided to announce an average speed to be provided by internet service providers to customers. more..

Tusker tragedy prompts calls for safer transportation

Nov 29 (ST) Minister of Wildlife, S.M. Chandrasena, at a meeting on Friday afternoon, instructed his officials to ensure that elephants are transported in spacious vehicles, without endangering their lives, following the tragedy that befell a tusker last week. The Minister has also called in the CID to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the tusker while being translocated from one area in Galgamuwa, in Anuradhapura District, to another. more..

Probe into Colombo Port oil spill slow

Nov 29 (Island) Controversy surrounds the delay on the part of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to conclude an inquiry into an oil spill caused by bunker vessel Chahad, which discharged about five tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) into the sea on Nov. 13. Sources told The Island that if a similar incident had occurred in any other country, a heavy fine would have been imposed on the culprits following a swift inquiry, though the SLPA was yet to complete its investigation more..

Trade mafia holds sway in stalls : pavement hawkers

Nov 29 (ST) A group of Pettah traders, calling themselves the ‘Victimised Pavement Hawkers Association’ (VPHA) have complained to authorities that the re-located trade stalls meant for displaced pavement hawkers had been allocated to outsiders while the deserving displaced had been left out in the cold. VPHA President Nalini Swarnalatha told the Sunday Times that most of the stalls constructed in Pettah and Nugegoda had fallen into the laps of those with political links and more..

Report immediately, PWCB warns porn artistes

Nov 29 (NF) Persons who have been forced to appear in videos and photographs with lewd content, or did so unwittingly, should immediately contact the Police Women and Children's Bureau. “It is essential, especially for those whose videos and photographs have been posted on the Internet,” said the Bureau. Accordingly, the Bureau will launch investigations into the cases that have not been reported as well. more..

Minister defends obstruction of opposition

Nov 29 (DM) Minister Dilan Perera who defended the obstruction of opposition members when speaking in Parliament said it is better than killing them. “Isn’t the obstructing better than killing your opponents?” he questioned during the budget debate in the House on Saturday. Minister Perera made this point by recalling that the LTTE had killed a number of its opponents in the past. He questioned as to who was behind the killing of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and more..

Housing ban in disaster areas

Nov 29 (Island) The government has decided to relocate people living in disaster prone areas around the island in order to avoid displacement and loss of lives caused by flooding and landslides. Newly appointed Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that a report has already been sought on disaster prone areas and once those areas are identified the people living there will be relocated. Minister Amaraweera noted that natural disasters like floods and more..

DNA sacks Sarath Manamendra

Nov 29 (LT) The Leader of ‘Nawa Sihala Urumaya’ Sarath Manamendra has been sacked from the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). The Executive Committee of DNA unanimously decided to sack Mr. Manamendra from the Alliance. A communiqué issued by the General Secretary of DNA Parliamentarian Vijithe Herath states: “The Member of the Executive Committee of the DNA Mr. Sarath Manamendra had informed the President of DNA Mr. Tiran Alles and more..

Middle East travellers to Sri Lanka up 58%

Nov 29 (GT) Arab travellers to Sri Lanka increased by 58% in the first ten months of the year. Statistics compiled by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority indicate that the growth from the Middle East is higher than the overall growth in arrivals to Sri Lanka which is pegged at 43.5% “Sri Lanka is witnessing a dramatic rise in visitors which in turn has enabled vast development of Sri Lanka’s existing tourism infrastructure with new hotels and more..

Sanga regrets Asgiriya losing Test status

Nov 29 (Island) With Test cricket in Kandy now shifting to Pallekele, it becomes vivid that Asgiriya International Cricket Stadium, the venue for some thrilling contests, several historical moments of Sri Lankan cricket and of course more than one heart breaks will cease to host international matches. Asgiriya Stadium, a private property of Trinity College, Kandy is a mere ten minute walk from the centre of the city and usually when an international team toured Sri Lanka, more..

Tamil political prisoners appeal for release

Nov 29 (PTI) Political prisoners from the minority Tamil community, including pregnant mothers and children, have appealed to the government to release them on bail from the high-security New Magazine Prison in Colombo. "Our parents suffered greatly during the war and are still living a life of sorrow just like us. We are also experiencing agony in prison after being held in prison for many years," they wrote in a letter to more..

‘Lanka never wavered to bring justice to Palestine’

Nov 29 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a message on the occasion of the photographic exhibition organized by the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine to mark the International Day of Palestine, said: “Sri Lanka has always expressed the strongest solidarity with the Palestinian people and has never wavered in its efforts to bring justice and due international recognition to the rights of the Palestinian people. more..

Time to end dependency on Dollar, says Pakistan President

Nov 29 (NF) Time has come to end the dependency on the dollar when dealing among developing nations, says Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan. He made these observations while holding discussions with D. M. Jayaratne, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in Colombo today. Ali Zardari also pointed out that in achieving development goals of countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan, it was more appropriate to resort to the exchange of goods. more..

'A satanic budget has been presented despite promising an angelic one'

Nov 29 (LT) The government, despite stating it would bring an angels budget, has really brought a satanic budget says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said the country is being dragged towards liberalism by the budget presented for next year. He said the President, who promised in front of the Maha Sangha at the presidential election that he will give a salary increase of Rs.2500, has outrageously deceived both more..

Gen. Fonseka receives treadmill courtesy Tiran Alles

Nov 29 (Island) Former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka has received a treadmill from DNA MP Tiran Alles following representations made by Defence Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty to the Trial-at-Bar hearing. Sources told The Island that MP Alles had bought the exercise machine for Gen. Fonseka last February, when the Genaral was held at the Navy headquarters. Authorities had declined to allow Gen. Fonseka to use the treadmill, in spite of repeated requests. more..

Gota says TNA, JVP cause ofcontinuing Emergency Regulations

Nov 29 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Sunday (Nov. 28) said that Emergency Regulations couldn’t be lifted due to clandestine activities of the TNA and JVP. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa alleged that the TNA and JVP had launched a campaign to destabilise Jaffna Peninsula, where the government was engaged in a major development effort. Responding to a query by The Island, the war veteran said that armed forces had paid a huge price to restore peace in the country, more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa: one nation, one leader

RDA to prevent heavy vehicles damaging roads

Nov 29 (Island) The Road Development Authority (RDA) intends to install three ‘weighbridges’ at Ratmalana along the Galle Road, Thannekumbura on the Mahiyangana Road and Hathara-skotuwa on the Trincomalee Road to prevent overloaded heavy vehicles causing damages to public roads. A senior spokesman for the Highways Ministry said that the RDA had ordered the installation of three weighbridges. According to him this was being done to control the movement of heavy vehicles. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 29 (ST) External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris received a devastating snub from the Government of Nepal this week. It was over his remarks in no less a hallowed precinctthan in Parliament that Nepal's President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav had asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to mediate in the internal political crisis in the Himalayan nation. The claim was that the request was made when the two Presidents met in Shanghai recently. The Government of Nepal has flatly denied it. more..

Sri Lankan head another disaster in the making

Nov 29 (SP) From the vantage point of a country that's twisting itself into ethical knots trying to cope with the continuing fallout from Sri Lanka's lengthy civil war that ended last year, the conduct of the island's President Mahinda Rajapaksa is deeply troubling. In essence, it's like watching a crowded passenger train hurtling to disaster with a maniacal engineer's hand on the throttle. more..

Schools close down, no students

Nov 29 (DM) More than 200 schools have been closed down during the last five years due to the dwindling of the number of students and the resultant unusual student-teacher ratios at them, a document tabled in Parliament reveals. Among the 35 schools shut down in 2005, there were schools namely Delikanuangara Primary Vidyalaya in Giriulla and Hapathgamuwa Vidyalaya in Madahapola with only five students and four teachers each. more..

Change Thesavalamai Law, says UNP MP

Nov 29 (DM) Amid allegations by the Tamil parties about state- sponsored colonization in the North and the East, the UNP had stressed the need to amend the Thesavalamai law followed by people in Jaffna so that persons belonging to any community could live there. UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe noted that people should be able to work and live in any part of the country despite whatever community they belong to. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket’s hypocrisy exposed

Nov 29 (Island) Sri Lankan cricket selectors, no matter who gets in there, have done it again. They picked a band of ageing horses like they always did, this time for the Asian Games that concluded in China yesterday. The result, not even a bronze medal won. Cricket followers may have been too pre-occupied with the current home series with the West Indies in Sri Lanka than to find out who these blokes sent to China were. more..

'Rudra not violating US law'

Nov 29 (Island) The US government is of the opinion that the activities being carried out in public by some Tamil groups in the US led by V.Rudrakumar in support of an Ealam state is not a violation of US laws. The US Ambassador Patricia Butenis said that the US had constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly which meant that people in the US could protest, demonstrate or write opinions against foreign governments or even the US government. more..

EPF and ETF funds in danger: How true??

Nov 29 (LB) Following the budget revelation that private sector employees will be given a pension scheme, there is wide-held speculation that monies already contributed by employees to and employers to EPF and ETF will be utilized by the government to fulfill its own agenda thus depriving private sector employees of their most looked forward to ‘savings’. EPF funds more than ETF funds amounts to billions, thus causing doubts in the minds of contributors. more..

'Killing of Tiger leaders: Govt. yet to respond to UN letter'

Nov 29 (ST) Ms.Kshenuka Seneviratne, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva this week told the High Court Trial-at-Bar hearing the case against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka that the Government has yet to respond to a letter sent by the UN seeking clarification about comments of Mr. Fonseka that the Defence Secretary had ordered the killing of Tiger leaders who came to surrender. more..

Zardari, MR agree to enhance economic, defence cooperation

Nov 29 (Island) Pakistan and Sri Lanka yesterday agreed to work towards enhancing economic and defence cooperation. Diplomatic and government sources told The Island, that the decision had been taken during one-to one talks between the visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo. They said that Zardari’s four-day state visit, which commenced on Saturday, was more..

Dy Minister Cader walks free in Samurdhi fraud case

Nov 29 (ST) The newly appointed Deputy Minister Abdul Cader who was charged for misappropriation of Samurdhi funds was discharged by the Colombo High Courts on Monday. The courts was informed that the Attorney Generals department was unable to proceed in the case as some important documents had been misplaced and a key witness was out of the country. Sunday times earlier reported that it was under consideration to release a newly appointed Deputy Minister. more..

Wife set on fire for refusing to allow her face superimposed on local porn girl’s pictures

Nov 29 (Island) A 23-year-old woman, who had been struggling for her life at the National Hospital for nearly six weeks after being doused with kerosene and set on fire by her husband in the Seeduwa police area, succumbed to her injuries last Wednesday. The police told an inquest into her death before City Coroner Edward Ahangama that the suspect, who had been given bail, was missing. more..

Act in a more responsible manner -JVP responds to Gota

Nov 30 (LT) The JVP has issued a statement condemning the statement made to ‘Divayina’ newspaper by the Secretary of Defense Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse that emergency regulations are not lifted due to politics being carried out by the JVP and other political parties. The statement states: “The Secretary of Defense Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse has made a statement to a daily newspaper stating that emergency regulations are not lifted due to issues created in the North by more..

Sangakkara reclaims top spot in Test ratings

Nov 30 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, has reclaimed the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen, ending Sachin Tendulkar's short-lived stay at the head of the table. Sangakkara's performance in the first two Tests of the ongoing series against West Indies coincided with Tendulkar's modest returns against New Zealand, leading to a swap at the top. Sangakkara has so far scored 228 runs in the West Indies series, taking him to 882 rating points, more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa to address Oxford Union december 2nd

Nov 30 (SL) Its Official. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be leaving Sri Lanka on Monday night, bound for the United Kingdom. He is scheduled to address the Oxford Union Society on December 2nd, the same day that the famous explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will also address the Union. President Rajapaksa's visit to the UK - he departs after finishing his duties with the Prime Minister of Pakistan who is now visiting the island more..

Budget second reading passed

Nov 30 (AD) The second reading of the Budget was passed in parliament a short while ago with a majority of 104 votes with 150 voting for and 46 voting against. The TNA abstained from voting. The TNA moments before the budget vote was taken released a statement detailing why the party would abstain from voting. “The budget that has been presented has not made any allocation for the relief, resettlement and rehabilitation of particularly of the displaced Tamil people and the Tamil people in general.” more..

US wanted to know UN position on Sri Lanka: Wikileaks

Nov 30 (HT) The United States wanted its diplomats at the UN headquarters to find what the global agency was thinking about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, new documents released by the whistle blowing website Wikileaks have revealed. Some of the cables released by the website pertain to queries made by the US state department about what the UN was doing about human rights violation and war crimes in countries like Sierra Leone and Rwanda. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 29.11.2010

Lankans on hijacked ship

Nov 30 (NN) A group of Sri Lankans are said to be onboard a Malaysian-flagged ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean on Friday, the European Union's anti-piracy task force said today. According to the report Kenya-bound MV Albedo was seized about 900 nautical miles east of Somalia's capital of Mogadishu. The ship originated from the United Arab Emirates' port town of Jebel Ali. The anti-piracy force says the Malaysian-owned ship was seized Friday and more..

Sri Lanka 'porn actors' arrested and bailed

Nov 30 (BBC) Sri Lankan police have arrested and bailed seven people accused of appearing in pornographic films. Police said the seven had to make statements and pay a surety before being released. They said those arrested were all suspected of featuring in locally made pornographic movies. The faces of people accused of taking part were earlier published on the internet with a police plea for help to identify them. "So far we have identified seven suspects out of 83," more..

Zardari offers assistance to Sri Lanka in cement, sugar, dairy industry

Nov 30 (APP) President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday offered assistance to Sri Lanka in cement, sugar and dairy industry and urged Pakistani and Sri Lankan businesses to benefit from liberal trade policies of the two countries through joint ventures and investment. Addressing a business forum, comprising leading business personalities and corporate leaders of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, here on the third day of his visit to Sri Lanka, more..

Pakistani President visits Lankan Parliament

Nov 30 (LP) The visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited the Sri Lankan Parliamentary Complex today (29). According to Lankapuvath correspondent at Parliament, the Pakistani President was escorted to the complex by a motorcade where he was received by the Speaker of the House Chamal Rajapaksa. President Zardari exchanged views with several Ministers and Parliamentarians. He met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minster D M Jayarathne yesterday (28).

Pakistan offers Sri Lanka specialized police training in counter-terrorism

Nov 30 (APP) Pakistan on Monday offered specialized training, closer collaboration and sharing of expertise in counter-terrorism to help Sri Lanka better train its security forces to thwart any future terrorist threat.“We wish to strengthen our cooperation in ridding our countries of this menace and we can do it by learning from experiences of each other,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters at a press conference. more..