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A hint of pressure on interest rates

Aug 25 (Island) Benchmark Treasury bill yields stayed flat at yesterday’s auction of maturing govt securities amounting to Rs. 10 billion, but with the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank reissuing only 65 percent to real investors some analysts believe interest rates are coming under pressure. The auction attracted bids totaling Rs. 15.5 billion; Rs. 4.56 billion for the three-months bill, Rs. 4.33 billion for the six-months bill and more..

Is an “opposition” with no political alternative a democratic necessity ?

Aug 25 (SL) Street fights for the UNP leadership ended with the “Reformist” leader Sajith Premadasa once again compromising with party leader Wickramasinghe, despite public statements to the contrary. The media had plenty of “bites” to go round the whole week, with accusations and counter accusations thrown from both sides to the conflict. There were “sathyagrahas”, court orders, shifting of venues, wasps in bags, Maharajas in the ring, suspected govt manipulations, more..

Sirikotha battle ends in a draw, Maithripala breathes fire

Aug 25 (SL) The UNP internal battles took precedence over the government propaganda last week. The UNP has not had such media coverage in years. The grand old party hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons. The expected blitzkrieg by the Sajith Group petered out, though one suspects, to be reopened another day. The govt thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding scenario, but was not restricted to being mere spectators. President Rajapaksa’s covert hand more..

Is the Lankan university system ready for foreign students?

Aug 25 (DM) In a day and time where Sri Lanka wishes to expand its tiny island self to greater heights; one can only suppose that radical steps need to be taken. One may view the increase of allowable entrance for foreign qualified students to local universities, from 0.5 % to 5% as per the UGC. The ‘radical move’ must be understood in the context of Sri Lankan tertiary education, as intake of foreign students is not an idea more..

Committee to examine national flower issue

Aug 25 (DN) A committee of eminent persons has been appointed to examine various issues related to the national flower of Sri Lanka and submit a report, an Environment Ministry spokesman told the Daily News yesterday. He said that Environment Ministry Secretary Dr R.H.S. Samaratunga has been appointed as the chairman of this 10 member committee. The committee will look into the issue of identification of the correct strain of Water Lily as the national flower. more..

Strict instructions for MPs to uphold law and order

Aug 25 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given all his MPs strict instructions to ensure law and order is upheld in their respective districts, said Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, speaking at a discussion held at Mahara Kadawata Mosque on August 23. Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said that when it was brought to his notice that certain unknown persons had caused some damage to the Mahara Mosque, the President instructed Minister Basil Rajapaksa to inquire into the incident. more..

36,000 families 'resettled in HSZs'

Aug 25 (BBC) The govt has informed the Supreme Court (SC) that nearly 36,000 families earlier removed from high security zones (HSZ) in Jaffna have been recently resettled. The Jaffna GA Emelda Sukumar has submitted the details to the SC in response to a fundamental rights (FR) petition filed by a group of Jaffna farmers. The group in their petition has requested the SC to allow them to resettle in their ancestral lands in Tellippalai, which was turned into more..

Youth Parliament second session

Aug 25 (DN) The second session of the Youth parliament which paved the way for a new awakening in the youth population which commenced yesterday (24) at the Maharagama Youth Theatre Hall where the Youth Parliament format has been drawn up will continue today as well. The Global Statement on youth adopted at the conference on youth affairs by the United Nations Organization in New York recently will be taken up for debate at the two-day session. The second session will take place under more..

Three Service Centres to develop rural industries in Hambantota

Aug 25 (Island) Minister Douglas Devananda declared open three Common Service Centres in the Hambantota District to develop rural industries. In the Tissamaharama Secretariat Division, Muthiammagama village was earmarked for leather based products. The ministry had developed the coir based products industry at Kosgoda village in the Beliatta Secretariat Division. At Obadagahadeniya village in the Katuwana Secretariat Division furniture industry will be promoted. more..

'TN will secede if Rajiv Gandhi assassins are hanged'

Aug 25 (DNA) Vaiko, general secretary, MDMK and a popular Tamil politician has warned the Union government that Tamil Nadu would soon secede from the Union of India. "If Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case are executed as per the court order, it will jeopardise Indian unity. When the 100th anniversary of the Independence Day will be celebrated on 2047, Tamil Nadu would not be a part of India,” thundered Vaiko while more..

Police officers remanded pending identification

Aug 25 (DM) Three officers belonging to the Wolvendhal Police were remanded till August 26 by Colombo Additional Magistrate on charges of attempting to abduct a person. The Peliyagoda Police, producing the suspects before Colombo Additional Magistrate Tikiri Jayathilaka, submitted that the three suspects who were attached to the Wolvendhal Police station had ventured into the Peliyagoda area in order to abduct a person. They told court that the residents had been suspicious more..

Govt. could censor grease devil issue - UNP

Aug 25 (DM) UNP Puttalam District MP Niroshan Perera in Parliament yesterday expressed fears that the govt might impose a media censorship on reports about ‘Grease Devils’ in the coming days. Speaking during the debate on the regulations imposed under ‘Tea Small Holders’ in the House yesterday, Mr. Perera said such a fear arises when considering the way the government was handling the issue. “We might hear the ‘beep beep sound’ which we usually hear in the more..

Over 500 female births with male organs in SL

Aug 25 (DN) Around 500 female infants with male sexual organs are born every year, a Health Ministry spokesman said. “These children and their parents face social and psychological problems due to the unclear biological sexual status of the children. A surgery can make them a complete female without any defect,” the spokesman said. “Two foreign doctors and a Sri Lankan doctor operated on an eight-year-old girl at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital yesterday and more..

Sri Lanka, Pakistan stars to light up Al Aqili Ramadan Cup final

Aug 25 (National) Eurocon Alubond will aim to win a second title in a week when they play United Bank Limited (UBL) tonight in the final of the Al Aqili Ramadan Cup at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. In attempt to add to the Danube Ramadan Cup they won recently, Eurocon will field a powerful side, that includes two Sri Lankan internationals, Mahela Udawatte and Dilhara Lokuhettige, and Azeem Ghumman, the Pakistan opener at the Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand in 2009. more..

ACTC calls upon India, IC to ensure fundamentals

Aug 25 (TN) “We are of the firm opinion that the recognition of the Tamil People in the island of Sri Lanka as a distinct Nation entitled to the Right to Self-Determination is necessary to ensure the continued existence and protection of the Tamils as a People. Only then would any negotiations with the Sri Lankan State be meaningful,” said All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) in a separate statement as no consensus was reached in the meeting of Eezham Tamil political parties in more..

Sri Lanka seeks $2 bln refinery expansion investment

Aug 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is eyeing at least $2 billion in foreign investment to double the capacity of its sole decades-old oil refinery, after the island nation was unable to find a local partner to fund its share of an earlier Iranian proposal. Sandya Wijebandara, the top civil servant at the Ministry of Petroleum Industries, said Iran had agreed to lend 70 percent of the total $1.7 billion to expand the Sapugaskanda refinery to a capacity of more..

DMK, AIADMK members walk out on Tamils' issue

Aug 25 (Hindu) Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam protested against postponing of discussion on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. They staged a walkout after Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan said the issue of corruption would be taken up on Wednesday against the listed item of problems of Tamils in Sri Lanka. MPs from Tamil Nadu, including some from the Left parties, more..

Ratnayake pledges to implement joint time-table for buses

Aug 25 (Island) Private Transport Services Minister C. B. Ratnayaka has agreed to implement joint timetables for both, the SLTB and private owned bus operation in the near future. He has also pledged to construct rest rooms for inter-provincial private buses and display joint timetables with digital technology at all bus halts. Deployment of ticket checkers to carry out random checks on all private buses, taking disciplinary action against errant drivers and more..

New Delhi meet of Tamil parties ends without consensus

Aug 25 (TN) The two-days meet of Eezham Tamil political parties held in New Delhi on Tuesday and Wednesday on the initiative of Congress Party MP Sudharshana Natchiappan ended without consensus, participants told TamilNet. The main issue was that those who didn’t want to disappoint the Congress agenda didn’t want to resolve on the status of Eezham Tamils as a nation and that the nation has the right to self determination in the island. more..

Consultants appointed to advise senior ministers

Aug 25 (DM) The Cabinet yesterday decided to appoint consultants to senior ministers to advise them on various subjects coming under their purview, authoritative sources said last night. Accordingly, former Foreign Secretary G. Wijesiri would be appointed as the consultant to senior minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake, Dr, Vahisa Gunasekara to Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara, S. Jayawardane to Minister Athauda Seneviratne, Dr. S.M.S. Jayasiri to Minister P. Dayaratne, more..

Five institutions to come under one umbrella

Aug 25 (DM) The govt decided to form a new entity named the ‘Department of Divineguma Combined Rural Development’ bringing five such institutions coming under the Economic Development Ministry under one umbrella. The Cabinet, which met last evening with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the chair, gave approval to the memorandum submitted by Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Accordingly the office of Commissioner General of Samurdhi, Samurdhi Development Authority, more..

Muzammil to meet Milinda in the fray

Aug 25 (Island) The UNP yesterday selected former Western Provincial Councillor A.J.M. Muzammil to be its Mayoral candidate for the forthcoming Colombo Municipal Council elections ahead of other aspirants Mohammed Mahroof, Karunasena Kodituwakku Y.P. Ram and Imitiaz Bakeer Markar. Informed sources told The Island that Muzammil had resigned from the Western Provincial Council yesterday, while a disappointed Maharoof was expected to join the UPFA. more..

Angulana judgement today

Aug 25 (DM) Judgment will be delivered today on the case in which former Angulana OIC and three other policemen were accused of abducting and committing the murder of two youths while in police custody. The Colombo High Court-at-Bar comprising judges Deepali Wijesundara (president), W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa and Kumudini Wickremasinghe heard the case against the former Anuglana police OIC and Inspector K.W. Newton and three police constables -- Galhenage Kumarasiri, more..

President assures reduction of army in Kinniya

Aug 25 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given an assurance that the excess army personnel in Kinniya would be withdrawn gradually, Trincomalee MP M.S. Thowfeek said. He quoted the President as saying some unwelcome incidents connected with a mythical devil had necessitated the deployment of the army in some parts of the country. The attack on the Kinniya Navy Camp had taken place at a time when the newly established navy camps in the coastal area of Trincomalee were more..

Minister Prof G L Peiris tells diplomats: Intl. bodies must adhere to procedure

Aug 25 (DN) Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L.Peiris said yesterday that it was unreasonable for the international community to expect a complete remedy for all issues in the short span of two and a half years since the Lankan conflict ended. Addressing the diplomatic community in Colombo he pointed out that certain other countries which have faced similar situations had taken a number of years to come up with lasting solutions to major issues. more..

Ranil loyalists to be censured

Aug 25 (DM) UNP members of the Western and North-Western Provincial Councils are planning to move motions against the councils’ opposition leaders as done against North-Central PC opposition leader Katsuri Anuradhanayake known to be a Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalist, reformists said yesterday. Ten of the 12 UNP members of the North Central PC handed a motion against Mr. Anuradhanayake who publicly defended Mr. Wickremesinghe during the tussle for a leadership change in the party. more..

Certification for the three languages

Aug 25 (DM) A bilingual and trilingual certification system similar to the one by Sri Lanka Standards (SLS) will be introduced to the public and private sector organisations to give recognition to all three languages and promote ethnic harmony, the National Languages and Social Integration Ministry said. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said a bilingual and trilingual certificate issued by the ministry will give further recognition to organisations and the demand for more..

War widows, A legacy of the civil war

Aug 25 (SL) The social upheaval caused by the Sri Lankan civil war is being clearly seen through the enormous number of widows living in the North and the East of the island. The govt recently released a statistic which stated that there are over 59,000 war widows residing in those regions. TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran has vehemently denied this, claiming that the figure stands much higher. Currently there are 59,000 widows in the North and East. more..

Sri Lankan tourism goes wild in September

Aug 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka tourism sector would promote and showcase its wildlife assets in September to attract nature loving tourists with the largest gathering of Asian elephants also taking place during the month. Rumy Jaufer, managing director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau says the month has been chosen for wildlife as part of a series of specialist thematic promotions carried out over the past six months. more..

Wild life dept. to supervise Hikkaduwa coral garden’s boat service

Aug 25 (Island) Glass-bottomed boat service, at the Coral Gardens, Hikkaduwa, operated by 53 boat-owners has been taken under the supervision of the Hikkaduwa branch of the WildLife Conservation Department since July 29. This step has been taken after a discussion the political authorities had with the WildLife Conservation Department, Hikkaduwa Provincial Secretary, Hikkaduwa police, Hikkaduwa UC and glass-bottomed boat owners. more..

Colombo least electrically connected: Minister

Aug 25 (DM) Statistically Colombo District was the worst affected for want of electricity and that 76000 households in the district were yet to receive that basic facility, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. The minister pointed out that the highest number of households without electricity had been reported from Kaduwela UC area. He further said “The people should understand that at present we depend mostly on thermal power which is costly. more..

Eranga, Prasanna in Sri Lanka's Test squad

Aug 25 (CI) Sri Lanka's attack has been given a major overhaul ahead of the first Test against Australia, with the uncapped Shaminda Eranga and Seekkuge Prasanna among those vying for a position. The Sri Lankans have named a 16-man squad for the Test series, which begins in Galle next Wednesday, and there was no room for Thisara Perera. Also missing from the group that toured England was Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof and Dinesh Chandimal, more..

'India should stop degrading Test cricket'

Aug 25 (Island) Following India’s embarrassing 4-0 rout at the hands of England on Monday at The Oval, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India to stop degrading Test cricket. After winning their first World Cup this year since 1983, all of India’s leading cricketers went straight to play the IPL tournament and then several of their leading cricketers opted to miss the West Indies tour that followed soon after. more..

UNICEF encourages small entrepreneurs in northern Sri Lanka

Aug 25 (UNICEF) Amarashanthini proudly shows us the doors of her house – two solid wooden doors, with substantial locks. As a mother of three she now feels more confident about the security of her children. It is a remarkable story of resilience and forward thinking that has enabled Amarashanthini, 44, a widow, to re-build her conflict-damaged home and start up a small business. The doors are the latest in a series of urgently-needed repairs to the family home in Mullaitivu, more..

Govt to go ahead with Rs. 21bn development of North

Aug 25 (Island) Despite accusations from certain quarters, including the opposition, the govt has decided to go ahead with developing the northern region under the ‘Uthuru Vasanthaya’ programme, estimated to cost Rs 21 billion. Minister Basil Rajapaksa is scheduled to appraise the Northern MPs on development activities being undertaken in the northern region and request their cooperation in taking the govt activities to the people in the rural areas of more..

Ex IGP has HR case against him: UNP

Aug 25 (DM) Controversy is rife as to how former Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya came to be appointed Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Brazil despite there being a human rights case against him, the UNP asked in Parliament. During the adjournment motion debate on the recent clashes at the FTZ, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, said that diplomatic postings could not be given to people against whom there were such allegations. more..

Sri Lanka lifts emergency laws after three decades

Aug 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president announced Thursday that draconian emergency laws imposed nearly 30 years ago to deal with the armed Tamil separatist movement were to be lifted. "I am satisfied that there is no need to have the state of emergency any more," President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a speech to parliament. The laws, which give security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention, have been renewed on a monthly basis - with only brief breaks more..

Driver & mahout transporting Ven. Sumangala’s elephant calf fined

Aug 26 (LT) The driver of the lorry that transported an elephant calf illegally and the mahout that accompanied were produced before the Colombo Court and were fined Rs.43,000 by the Colombo Additional Magistrate Mahee Wijeweera. The Magistrate also ordered that the elephant calf be examined by a veterinarian before releasing it. The elephant calf had been offered to Kolonnawe Sri Sumangala Thero by a person known as Gampola Arachchige Roland and was being transported illegally to more..

Sri Lanka tea crop seen matching last year's record

Aug 26 (LBO) Although Sri Lanka's tea crops have fallen in recent months, the island is likely to match last year's record production with output seen reviving later in the year, a broker said. "Despite a downturn in production in the month of July, tea production is on course to achieve last years all time record," brokers John Keells said in a report. The production for July 2011 fell 12 percent to 24.1 million kilos from a year ago with the decline mainly from tea produced in more..

Indian MPs slam Sri Lanka for 'war crimes'

Aug 26 (IANS) The Indian opposition Thursday accused Sri Lanka of ill treating Tamils even after crushing the Tamil Tigers, while a Communist leader also flayed New Delhi for its silence on 'war crimes'. 'There are increasing concerns and worries over the ill-treatment of Tamils Sri Lanka,' Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav said in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the situation in Sri Lanka. Saying the continuing 'humiliation' of Tamils must end, more..