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Defending oil hedge claims cost SL USD 2.5 million

Aug 7 (Island) Defending the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation against the massive petroleum hedging claims that could have delivered a solar plexus blow to the national economy had cost USD 2.5 million, well informed sources said yesterday. Analysts believe that the banks would have carried a heavier tab as much of the work on the Lankan side was done by the Attorney General and his department. more..

'Ultimatums will only help extremist forces sabotage solutions'

Aug 7 (Island) Solutions to problems should be through patient negotiations, perhaps conducted behind the curtain. Presenting ultimatums, striking postures, taking public stances, laying down pre-conditions not only prevent solutions but lead to the opposite, of preventing solutions. It also strengthens these extremist forces on both sides who do not want a solution and would be delighted to sabotage it, minister Dilan Perera said. more..

Dealers mix kerosene with petrol & diesel: CPC officials

Aug 7 (Island) A sampling of fuel taken from filling stations countrywide in the aftermath of the importation of a stock of 20,000 tones of alleged low quality petrol in June had revealed that many of the dealers have been adulterating the fuel they sold by adding kerosene, but so far no one has been taken to task. According to CPC sources this was obvious even without testing as most samples had been of the red tint, the colour of kerosene marketed in Sri Lanka. more..

Harry cooked his own goose?

Aug 7 (Island) Controversial Chairman of the beleaguered Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Harry Jayawardena might be on his way out and the authorities are said to be looking for a full time replacement from among the top brass of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service. Sources said that though Jayawardena was not directly involved in ordering the recent shipment of 20,000 tonnes of alleged low quality petrol into the country which allegedly caused more..

Massive US $ 350m Havelock City project construction begins

Aug 7 (BL) Post-war foreign investment in Sri Lanka, which is fast picking up in transforming the country economically, saw the biggest to date in a US $ 350 million rupee investment in the Havelock City Club House which will be the largest such entity in Sri Lanka to be completed by October 2012. The entire Havelock City project to be completed by 2015 will transform the skyline of the city of Colombo. The project is spearheaded by Singaporean real estate entrepreneur and business tycoon S.P. Tao. more..

JVP to dress-up in posters, in protest

Aug 7 (LB) JVP members plan to paste posters on themselves and stage a massive demonstration as a mark of protest against the government for tearing posters they have put up around the country. The President of the National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) and former JVP MP K.D. Lal Kantha said that his trade union will be staging a massive demonstration tomorrow (August 8) in order to voice their objection to the government’s moves to tear down posters. As a part of this demonstration, more..

Minister refutes fishermens representatives’ allegations

Aug 7 (SO) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne refuted media reports purportedly emerging from fishermen in the Mullaitivu district pointing an accusing finger that his Ministry has permitted a large number of Southern fishermen to engage in ‘Ma Del’ fishing (beachseine fishing) in the district and denied local fishermen of their right to fish. This is one of the many communally-coloured accusations emerging from the district that more..

Lanka finally rid of cattle disease

Aug 7 (ST) The country is finally rid of the cattle disease rinderpest, and all efforts will be made to ensure the disease does not raise its head again, promised Livestock Development Deputy Minister, H. R. Mithrapala. The Deputy Minister was speaking at a Freedom from Rinderpest Infection seminar, held on Friday at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel. He said rinderpest had been globally eradicated, and the last recorded case of rinderpest in Sri Lanka was in 1994. more..

Crucial UNP WC meeting Tuesday

Aug 7 (NS) The UNP’s Working Committee meeting due to be held next Tuesday is expected to be decisive for the party’s political future, party’s inside sources said yesterday. Both rival factions – the one loyal to Ranil and the other backing Sajith are preparing strong briefs in support of their respective stands to win over the moderates and fence-straddlers and to carry the day, these sources said. Meanwhile, a party senior said that Ranil Wickremesinghe will not step down under any circumstances. more..

Gota points a finger at British media at diplomatic briefing

Aug 7 (Island) Responding to an LTTE driven campaign to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal over accountability issues, the govt of Sri Lanka has raised several contentious issues including the alleged involvement of a section of the British media with the terrorist group. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa expressed the govt position before the Colombo-based diplomatic corps at the recent launch of more..

Legal Aid Commission mobile clinics to educate citizens of their rights

Aug 7 (ST) The Legal Aid Commission intends to start mobile clinics in villages aimed at creating awareness of its functions and facilities. “The project will start in the Batticaloa District where mobile clinics will be conducted in a number of divisional secretariats and expand to other districts,” Legal Aid Commission (LAC) Chairman S.S. Wijeratne said. Speaking at a conference on Equal Access to Justice Project by Legal Aid Commission in collaboration with more..

More and more people are now being diagnosed with mental illnesses

Aug 7 (Island) There is an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for mental disorders in Sri Lanka, says Dr. Pushpa Ranasinghe, Consultant Psychiatrist of the National Institute of Mental Health. "We are diagnosing more and more people with mental illnesses", she noted. "People are more concerned about their mental wellbeing now. At first, people thought there wasn’t anything called ‘mental health problems’. They thought it was all due to evil spirits or more..

US fighter jets intrude into Lankan air space

Aug 7 (ST) The govt will protest to the United States over the intrusion of Sri Lanka’s air space by a squadron of ten fighter jets. The Sunday Times learns that the protest will be handed over to the US Embassy in Colombo by the Ministry of External Affairs. “What we are trying to establish is whether the US fighter jets had violated the oceanic air space or the territorial part of it,” Civil Aviation Director Genera H. M. C. Nimalsiri said more..

Rajapaksa wishes Sonia speedy recovery

Aug 7 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, currently hospitalised in the United States, wishing her a speedy recovery. In his letter, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “Both Shiranthi [Mrs. Rajapaksa] and I were greatly concerned when we heard of your illness and hospitalisation. We are relieved, however, to learn that you are now in the process of recovery, which we hope will be a speedy one.” “Excellency, your dynamism and active participation in more..

High-hopes Karu will forgive all

Aug 7 (LB) In a bid to unite all factions of the United National Party (UNP) to support Karu Jayasuriya, party reformists have decided to work on a 'forgive and forget' principle, forgetting loyalties and mistakes of everyone in the past. As a part of this process, Karu Jayasuriya will not abrogate any positions held by Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalists in the party, if he becomes party leader, said Maithri Gunaratne, UNP Southern Provincial Councillor. more..

US sets UNHRC trap for Lanka

Aug 7 (ST) The clock is ticking away for the Government of Sri Lanka. It is still debating whether or not to respond to a call by the United States for what it terms an "Interactive Dialogue" before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva beginning next month. That is through a discussion of the impending final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). That report is due in November this year. more..

Nominations for National Integrity Award accepted

Aug 7 (LB) Nominations for the National Integrity Award 2011 are now being accepted. Individuals as well as organizations that have shown exemplary courage for the cause of integrity in the fight against corruption will be considered for the award, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) announced. The award is presented by TISL every year on the UN Anti-Corruption Day which falls on December 9. This is the seventh consecutive year that the NIA will be awarded. more..

Rat Fever cases exceed 2010 total

Aug 7 (NS) The cumulative number of Rat Fever (Leptospirosis) cases for this year has exceeded the total number of cases for last year. In January 2011, the cumulative number of cases was 230 as against 245 for the corresponding month last year. Yesterday, July 22, the number of cases stood at 4,550 as against 4,540 for the entire year in 2010. The number of deaths for this year is 60 - half the number for the entire year in 2010. This dramatic leap has been attributed to more..

'Don’t play politics at expense of the Tamils'

Aug 7 (Island) The government on Friday indicated it wouldn’t meet TNA’s 10-day ultimatum to keep talks on devolution on track with Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa lashing out at the party for playing politics at the expense of the Tamil community. The TNA on Thursday demanded President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal within 10 days its position on the structure of governance, more..

Elephant drive, a failure

Aug 7 (LB) It is reported that all efforts made by the Wildlife Department to move out elephants from the Southern and Wayamba Provinces have been unsuccessful. The reason is that almost all jumbos that were driven away from their original habitats have returned. Several persons when contacted in this connection alleged that the Wildlife Department has squandered millions of rupees instead of using the money prudently to address the issues in this regard. more..

Army hampers JVP’s ‘Brotherhood Day”

Aug 7 (LB) Former JVP MP Bimal Ratnayaka charged that the army had hampered plans mapped out by his party to organize a cricket match in the North to mark “Brotherhood Day” last week. A cricket match was to be held at Manipur, Kilinochchi on August 2. Ratnayaka alleged that plans made by his party to hold a cricket match in this connection had been scuttled by the army, in addition to the organizers being ordered to make statements to the army in this regard. more..

Cricket train is back on the right track

Aug 7 (ST) Finally there is a huge sense of relief. Once again, one can generally feel that the cricket’s engine is on the right track and is looking to go on a smooth run after the whole train had been derailed for a while. Not only had the train been derailed, but it had also left the main control room in chaos and abegging as a direct result of some bad decisions made by a politically servile group which was led by more..

'People’s power more important than numbers in Parliament to win workers’ rights'

Aug 7 (LT) History has proved that people’s power is more important than the number of heads in Parliament for the working people in winning their rights as well as defending them says the President of National Trade Union Center (NTUC) K.D. Lal Kanthe. Speaking at the 6th Annual Convention of the State Engineering Corporation Employees’ Union Mr. Lal Kanthe said, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 7 (ST) The "Nigerian Scam", also known as the Advance Fee Fraud, has landed in virtually every single email box in the world. The fraud originates from someone who claims to have inherited a fortune but seeks your assistance to move millions of dollars out of the country (mostly in Africa or the Middle East) on the promise of a hefty reward. But there are suckers who still fall for the worldwide fraud. more..

Sri Lanka gets only 10% from oil exploration in its waters

Aug 7 (LT) It is reported that Sri Lanka gets only the ‘royalty’ in the oil excavation deal in Manna basin with the Indian company. Accordingly, the government violating Inland Revenue regulations secretly has abolished all taxes the company has to pay the country. In the tender it had been mentioned that no tax relief would be given to companies involved in the excavation for oil. more..

Indian poaching: Big protest tomorrow by Lankan fisherfolk

Aug 7 (ST) Mounting incidents of poaching by Indian fishermen have prompted a protest tomorrow on the Mannar beach by 36 organisations representing the local fisherfolk. All Ceylon Fisher Folk Trade Union General Secretary Dinesh Fernando said yesterday they had regularly taken up the issue with the Navy and the fisheries authorities, but there had been little or no effective response. more..

SLT unions threaten to extend struggle to an islandwide strike

Aug 7 (ST) Twenty one trade unions of telco giant Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) are threatening to intensify their trade union action to an islandwide strike, if the authorities fail to fulfil their 10 demands including settling of salary anomalies, granting promotions, and increasing transport and food allowances. The threat came after the authorities obtained a court order on Friday morning barring any trade union action inside any SLT office premises, and more..

We have $8b in US t-bills, but CB unmoved by US crisis

Aug 7 (ST) The US debt crisis compounded by the country’s latest credit downgrade by rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) is unlikely to affect Sri Lanka’s economy, particularly the Central Bank (CB) which has a sizable portion of its $8 billion foreign reserves invested in US Treasury Bills (t-bills), CB sources and analysts said. “The CB invests in a mix of securities in the US and elsewhere (in other countries). more..

Maldivian MP wants govt to withdraw maritime agreement with Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (MN) MP Mohamed Musthafa of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has demanded the govet withdraw a maritime agreement with the Sri Lankan government – an agreement to allow Sri Lankan vessels passage through Maldivian waters to to the Arabian sea – or face a binding resolution from parliament that will force the government to invalidate the agreement. “The agreement is for opening Maldivian waters for Sri Lankan fisherman to steal our fish in more..

Private buses want both ways

Aug 8 (DM) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) today said that they have requested a meeting with the Transport Ministry to discuss the option of making one lane available in the one-way Galle Road stretch, for public transport in and out of Colombo. Gemunu Wijeratne the President of the LPBOA said that due to the prevailing one-way plan along the Galle Road passengers were greatly inconvenienced and had to travel almost a kilometre to find a bus halt, more..

Lanka must grant autonomy to Tamil areas: CPI-M

Aug 8 (PTI) The CPI(M) today demanded that the Sri Lankan government take specific measures for granting autonomy to Tamil-speaking areas in the northern and eastern regions of the island country. "The measures are essential for enabling the Tamil people to live a life of dignity and as equal citizens within a united Sri Lanka," the CPI(M) said in a statement after the two-day party central committee meeting here. more..

Cement shortage ?

Aug 8 (DM) More than one hundred thousand cement bags have been awaiting SLS certification for the last six months without being able to be released into the market, Chairman of the National Cooperative Council of Sri Lanka, Bandu Ranawaka said. He added that “Co-op cement” was distributed to the market by the National Cooperative Council for a concessionary rate and although they had SLS certification for cement imported from one company in Pakistan they were awaiting more..

SL inquiry on possible US violation

Aug 8 (BBC) The government has ordered an inquiry into suspected United States fighter jets detected on Sri Lankan air space. Suspected United States aircraft has been seen on Sri Lankan radar screens few days ago. "We have reason to believe that it was aircraft from a US carrier," Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Spokesman Andrew Wijesuriya said. Minister Priyankara Jayaratrne has ordered them to submit a report over the incident 'as soon as possible'. more..

Sri Lanka 'infamous for doping'

Aug 8 (BBC) Sports authorities in Sri Lanka have been blaming each other and sports stars for increasing misuse of banned substance. Sri Lanka's head of National Olympic Committee (NOC) has warned that the country is getting adverse publicity for doping scandals in sport. Describing the recent controversies over six national players taking banned substances as "very serious," Hemasiri Fernando told BBC that Sri Lanka is becoming 'infamous for doping'. more..

FR petitions filed by LTTE members rejected

Aug 8 (AD) The Supreme Court has rejected the fundamental rights petitions filed by three high ranking members of the LTTE, arrested by the CID while allegedly in Colombo to carryout terrorist attacks during the war. The three suspects had filed the petitions claiming they are being unlawfully held in custody and therefore request that they be released. However when the fundamental rights petitions were taken up the Attorney General had informed the Supreme Court that more..

DIG for Dengue

Aug 8 (DM) DIG Ravi Wijewardena has been given the authority to purview and speed up the dengue eradicating programme covering all parts of the country. DIG Wijewardena is also in charge of the Puttalam District. His task is to use the police environment protection units and ‘Praja Police’ units to coordinate and speed up eradication programmes implemented in their police areas. The decision to appoint a DIG to handle the dengue eradication programme takes place as more..

Negotiations underway to commence Colombo- Malé passenger ferry service

Aug 8 (HNS) The Sri Lankan and Maldivian governments are making arrangements to commence a passenger ferry service between Colombo- Malé, as part of a joint campaign to boost economic cooperation and tourism amongst both countries. Currently, negotiations are ongoing between the Sri Lankan,Maldivian governments and the passenger shipping companies, in order to commence the Colombo- Malé passenger ferry service. more..

Dilshan revisits an old favourite

Aug 8 (CI) A conversation with his new coach Rumesh Ratnayake prompted Tillakaratne Dilshan to re-employ his trademark scoop shot for the first time in more than a year, the Sri Lankan captain has said. Dilshan's startling 104 from 57 balls rushed the first Twenty20 international away from Australia in Kandy, the visitors unable to mount an effective chase of 199 after being bogged down by the spin of Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath. The shot played over the head of the wicketkeeper more..

No report on Lanka for discussion at the next UNHRC session

Aug 8 (NN) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva says so far it has not received any report on Sri Lanka to be taken up for discussion at the next Human Rights Council session. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said earlier this year that Sri Lanka can be investigated for human rights abuses during the last stages of the war only if either Sri Lanka agrees or if the UNHRC or UN General Assembly passes a resolution for such a probe. more..

Now, Indian point man here for Lankan solution

Aug 8 (LB) India will appoint a special representative who would work with the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration directly regarding a political solution to the North and East. This representative who is expected to be appointed soon is to visit Sri Lanka and may be based here on a long term basis. "The Indian govt is not pleased with the discussions that seem to drag on pointlessly between the govt and the TNA which has yielded no results. more..