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CB says all merry in December review

Dec 17 (FT) The Central Bank yesterday left policy rates unchanged for the eleventh ninth consecutive month, suggesting that all things are fine following the year-end December review. The move was also mostly in line with expectations as 11 analysts out of 15 polled by Reuters predicted on Thursday that rates will be kept unchanged. It said that inflation was seen moderating over the second half of this year. Following a further decline in the year-on-year inflation measured in more..

සබැඳියාව – December 13, 2011

Sri Lanka’s Jetwing managed hotel opens in Laos

Dec 17 (Island) The Grand Opening of Xiengthong Palace managed by Jetwing, a Sri Lankan company, was held in the presence of a distinguished international gathering including invitees from Laos, Vietnam & Sri Lanka. At a time when Luang Prabang, the cultural capital of Lao PDR is becoming a top travel destination, the newly constructed and opened Xiengthong Palace is destined to play a key role as a service provider to the intelligent traveler as a top end hotel more..

A reversal of time

Dec 17 (FT) In ancient Sri Lanka, kings were called on to solve the problems of the people; indeed every problem of note ended up with the king, who called together his officials and his subjects and solved the issue. Present day Sri Lanka, despite having evolved into the democracy, bears a striking resemblance to those bygone days. Perhaps they are not that bygone after all, as successive events have proved in the past; it seems that the officials, ministers and other authorities of more..

Mathews taken for scan with groin injury

Dec 17 (CI) Sri Lankan vice-captain Angelo Matthews has suffered a groin injury and will have a scan to determine the severity. Matthews bowled five overs on the second day before leaving the field. Batting coach Marvan Atapattu confirmed that he was taken for an MRI scan but could not comment on Matthews' participation in the rest of the match, saying that information will only be available after the scan has been conducted. Matthews has only just made his return more..

Farmers deny participating in Dambulla anti-crate demo

Dec 17 (Island) The Dambulla Free Farmers Association denied that any of its members had participated in the anti-crate protest. Issuing a statement to the media, the Association said its members were not against the use of plastic crates to transport vegetables and fruits. It totally rejected the claims published by some sections of the media that the Dambulla farmers participated in the protest demonstrations staged in Dambulla demanding the implementation of more..

Eleven trade unions in Mercantile sector makes two demands for salary hike

Dec 17 (Island) Eleven trade unions belonging to the National Labour Advisory Council has forwarded two demands to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Minister of Finance. The letter addressed to the President on December 1 request a budgetary relief allowance of Rs. 5000 to offset the impact of the depreciation of the rupee and a minimum wage increased to Rs. 12,500 for private sector employees. The trade unions are Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions, more..

Govt. agrees to probe specific situations

Dec 17 (Island) The government said yesterday it would investigate ‘specific situations’ set out in the report of the LLRC relating to death of civilians during the last phase of the war. "It is a matter of the greatest importance to the Govt to have the truth relating to each of these matters established in a manner that puts controversy to rest for all time," Minister Nimal Sirirpala de Silva who presented the Report to Parliament said. more..

Ministry plans to double Eppawala fertilizer production

Dec 17 (Island) The Ministry of State Resources and Enterprise Development says that steps will be taken to double the production at the fertilizer plant in Eppawala to save a large amount of money spent to import fertilizer for agricultural purposes. Currently, about Rs. 20 billion per year is spent to purchase adequate fertilizer for the farmers. "Plans are underway to start producing Triple Super Phosphate fertilizer instead of the currently produced more..

Trial against sub agents who sent Rizana to Middle East fixed for January 5

Dec 17 (DM) The Colombo High Court today served the indictments on the three sub agents who sent Rizana Nafeek, the house maid who is on death row for killing an infant child of her employer in Saudi Arabia, on January 5, 2012. The contents in the charge sheet were read over and explained to the accused by the Court Interpreter S.A.M. Nafli in Tamil, the language conversant to the accused. Thereafter High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa fixed the trial for more..

Armed forces to be withdrawn from community life

Dec 17 (DM) The govt, which tabled the LLRC report in Parliament yesterday, said the armed forces would be withdrawn from all aspects of community life. House Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva tabled the two-volume report and highlighted its salient points. He said the armed forces would disengage themselves from civil administration, and in particular, from any decision making aspects in respect of land issues. more..

Japan gives Rs 86 m grant for demining in North

Dec 17 (DN) The Japanese govt extended an additional US$ 785,000 grant aid for humanitarian demining in the North through the HALO Trust to expedite the efforts of the Sri Lanka govt to achieve a mine-free Sri Lanka. HALO Trust Programme Manager Adam Jasinski said: "We are very grateful to the govt of Japan for its continuing support, which will allow the HALO Trust to employ 200 local deminers and focus on clearing high-priority minefields in more..

Ministry to appoint committee to probe cancer deaths near Maharagama hospital

Dec 17 (Island) The Health Ministry has decided to appoint a committee to probe into the issue of people living in close proximity to the Cancer hospital in Maharagama dying of cancer. The Ministry sources said that Western Provincial Council Environment Minister Udaya Gammanpila had submitted a report to the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena that some residents who lived close to the cancer hospital have died of cancer and urged him to find out whether more..

LLRC wants political leaders to apologise to people for war

Dec 17 (Island) The LLRC has called for a joint declaration of apology from leaders of all sides to the country’s citizens who have suffered as a result of the 30 year long conflict. "Leaders of all sides should reach out to each other in humility and make a joint declaration, extending an apology to innocent citizens who fell victim to this conflict, as a results of the collective failure of the political leadership on all sides to more..

Duminda given leave from parliament

Dec 17 (Island) UPFA MP Duminda Silva who is undergoing medical treatment overseas was yesterday granted three months’ leave of absence from Parliament starting from December 23, 2011. The leave motion was moved in the House by Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva. Duminda Silva has been named as a suspect in the murder investigation into the killing of former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Earlier his Secretary had written to the Speaker asking for six months’ leave more..

LPBOA President claims to have received death threat

Dec 17 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne who was to launch a country-wide strike within the next few days has allegedly received anonymous telephone call threatening him with death. He received the call on December 15 at 9.00 p.m. to immediately call off the scheduled strike action of private buses. Wijeratne has already made an entry to the Mirihana police. When contacted Wijeratne told The Island that the LPBOA waited more..

Off The Expressway

Dec 17 (SL) The journey down south to Galle not only takes an hour via the Southern Expressway, but is also scenic. The road offers a glimpse of the picturesque side of Sri Lanka, winding past paddy fields where you would often see a farmer cultivating, past slanted rubber trees, branches spread as though holding up the sky, Buddhist monasteries, little villages and sheer rock outcrops from which accumulated water trickles down like a waterfall. more..

Sri Lanka to promote tea brand in key markets

Dec 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka will register its 'Ceylon tea' brand and seven growing regions in 25 key markets next year, using intellectual property law to protect its main agricultural export, officials said. Sri Lanka Tea Board chairman Susantha Ratnayake said the move is part of an international marketing campaign to be launched in 2012 to promote Ceylon tea using a special promotion levy on exports that has collected a billion rupees since November 2010. more..

'Skilled worker shortage in construction field'

Dec 17 (DN) There is a shortage of skilled workers in the construction field due to it being given less recognition, said Defence Secretary and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa participating at the Construction Forum 2011 at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo yesterday. He said there are about 1,000 vacancies in the army for nurses. "The same situation prevailed in the hospitality trade. Proper training is essential to produce a quality workforce. more..

FUTA threatens trade union action again

Dec 17 (Island)The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) has written to Higher Minister S. B. Dissanayake expressing its displeasure at his ministry’s failure to sort out its members’ salary issues. FUTA Secretary Dr. Terrance Madujith told The Island yesterday that his association had suspended trade union action three months ago following an assurance given by the government to solve university teachers’ problems. more..

Ceremony to felicitate Migrant Workers

Dec 17 (GDI) The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare has organized an island wide programme to felicitate Sri Lankan migrant workers, in line with the International Migrants Day which falls on the 18th of this month. Minister Dilan Perera has said that the felicitation ceremony will be held under the patronage of the President at the Galle Face Green on Sunday. A Special felicitation stamp and a first day cover will be issued at this ceremony. more..

Colombo Uni dons want ragging stopped

Dec 17 (Island) Teachers of the Arts Faculty of the Colombo University have come under pressure from pro-govt student activists to deny that there is ragging on the campus, The Island learns. Although the govt tried to eliminate ragging by means of a leadership training programme conducted at military camps for prospective university entrants, first year Arts students at the Colombo University undergo severe ragging at the hands of more..

Sajith says election to choose leader inevitable

Dec 17 (DM) UNP Co-deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday said an election for the party leadership was inevitable and he was confident that Karu Jayasuriya would emerge victorious. Commenting on reports expressing confidence that Ranil Wickremesinghe would remain party leader, Mr. Premadasa said no one could predict the future party leadership until the votes are cast. “I am confident that Karu Jayasuriya will become the leader of the party. more..

LLRC recommends right to information law

Dec 17 (Island) The LLRC in its recommendations has supported the enactment of a Right to Information (RTI) law and called for all steps to be taken to stop/prevent the harassment and attacks on media personnel and institutions. In the section dealing with "Freedom of Expression and Right to Information", the LLRC report said it was deeply disturbed by the persistent reports concerning attacks on journalists and media institutions and killings of journalists and the fact that more..

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomes LLRC report

Dec 17 (ICP) When Inner City Press asked the UN about the Sri Lankan govt's LLRC report, the response was that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would comment on it when it was released. After it was released, with the claim that the govt did not target civilians, ICP at noon on December 16 asked Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq for comment. It took the UN nine hours to issue what many view as the quietest of diplomacy. more..

Rights groups criticize Sri Lanka war report

Dec 17 (AFP) International human rights groups criticized a Sri Lankan report Friday on the island's civil war and called for more accountability after the commission cleared the military of key charges. The Sri Lankan government commission, in a 400-page report, concluded that the military did not deliberately target civilians during the final stages of the conflict as forces wiped out the Tamil Tiger rebel leadership. Human Rights Watch renewed calls for an independent review. more..

Editorial: Chemical warfare on Sri Lanka

Dec 17 (DM) In the aftermath of the three-day vegetable war which led to countrywide protests by farmers and traders with hundreds of lorry-loads of vegetables and fruits being destroyed, the govt needs to look at some ground realities and take effective steps to overcome even more serious crises in the vital agriculture sector. During the past few decades we have seen a dangerous growth in the use of chemical fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides -- most of which are imported and more..

Kalutara-Aluthgama Railway line to be upgraded

Dec 17 (GDI) Sri Lanka Railway announced that the coastal railway line from Kalutara to Aluthgama will be closed from 1st January next year in order to upgrade the coastal railway line from Colombo to Matara. The train services on the coastal line will be limited from Colombo to Kalutara and Galle to Matara from January. Sri Lanka Railways is planning a special joint train-bus service for the convenience of the passengers during this period. more..

GMOA threatens strike if no reply

Dec 17 (DM) The Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday threatened to resort to countrywide trade union action if it did not receive a favourable response to a letter sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa weeks ago outlining the grievances of the medical profession in the country. The letter addressed to President Rajapaksa from 40 medical organisations requested an urgent meeting with the President to discuss critical issues pertaining to more..

Lankan shipping firm 'agent' cheats nine Guwahati students

Dec 17 (TOI) Nine students of a private Merchant Navy institute here on Friday complained that they were cheated by a shipping company in Sri Lanka. Filing an application with the Police Accountability Commission on Friday, the students asked the commission to take immediate action against Monoj Kumar of Haryana, who took them to Colombo and promised to appoint them in a shipping company, but cheated them later. Monoj Kumar, who claimed to be an outsourcer of more..

LLRC regrets failure to investigate massacre of 600 surrendered policemen

Dec 17 (Island) The LLRC has expressed regret over the fact that up to date no investigation had been conducted in respect of the killing of 600 policemen, the report released yesterday said. Two senior retired police officers and two representers who had been victims of abduction along with around 600 police officers, referred to the alleged involvement of Vinyagamoorthi Muralidharan alias Karuna the then LTTE leader of the Eastern Province and several other members of the LTTE, more..

2nd Court Martial: Appeal Court dismisses SF’S petition

Dec 17 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s writ petition challenging the verdict of the 2nd Court Martial that sentenced him to 30 months in jail. The three-judge bench comprising Justice Eric Basnayake with Justices A.W.A. Salam and Upaly Abeyratne in a unanimous decision said the former army commander was guilty of non disclosure of a family relationship in the Hicorp case. more..

Basic rights of the people have to be guaranteed first; Sujeewa

Dec 17 (DM) UNP MP, Attorney at Law Sujeewa Senasinghe said today that the govt has to take complete responsibility for the alarming rate of abductions that the country has witnessed during the recent past. Speaking to Daily Mirror on the implications of the LLRC report Senasinghe said that the govt has to first make sure that basic rights of the people are guaranteed, before any implementation. “The level of abductions prevalent in the country is alarming. more..

St. Clair back to normal

Dec 17 (DM) The St. Clair waterfalls that ran dry when the filling of water in the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Reservoir started on Thursday (15), was back to normal yesterday. The filling would be done in three stages and that stage I was completed by last morning. Stage 3 would be completed soon and the power station at Niyangandora could be commissioned by early next month. The St. Clair falls that feeds the reservoir dwindled when diverted to fill the reservoir, but it was back to normal yesterday.

Ranil loyalist says posts of party/Opposition Leader inseparable

Dec 17 (Island) With the stage set for the UNP’s biggest showdown tomorrow, Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga said yesterday that the position of UNP cum Opposition leader could not be separated,because no political party could be run effectively on such lines. He told "The Island" that, to begin with, the new UNP constitution did not permit such a division and it was also an impractical proposal by the Karu Jayasuriya camp. more..

New tactic to drown out outspoken Gen. Fonseka

Dec 17 (Island) Prison guards escorting former army commander Sarath Fonseka to the prison van after the Court of appeal rejected his appeal yesterday appeared to adopt a new tactic to prevent the outspoken General from making comments to the media and the crowd assembled outside. When Gen. Fonseka tried to speak, jail guards surrounding him shouted in unison to drown out his voice in what appeared a preplanned exercise which went on for several minutes. more..

LLRC report copies given to TNA MPs go missing

Dec 17 (SM) The sergeant-at-arms has received a complaint that the copies of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s final report distributed to TNA MPs have gone missing in Parliament. Copies given to R. Sampanthan, S. Vino and others have been taken away, by mistake or on purpose, by UNP MPs who had sat close to the TNA members, ‘Divaina’ reports. When TNA’s Sampanthan questioned parliament staff about his missing copy, they have returned to him more..

LLRC report: Principal observations, recommendations

Dec 17 (Island) The CFA brought about a short lived respite to a country and people who had suffered decades of terrorism and counter violence. However unstable and eventually unproductive, the CFA gave an opportunity, albeit without necessarily providing a sound political or security framework, for all parties concerned to make an effort to lay a foundation for a process leading to a negotiated solution. more..

Tamils, Muslims revive talks in Sri Lanka

Dec 17 (PTI) TNA and a Muslim party have revived dialogue to reach consensus on key concerns of the Muslims in the north and east, even as the main Tamil party strives to hammer out a political solution towards autonomy with the Sri Lankan govt. The main Tamil minority party, TNA and the main Muslim party, SLMC have revived their stalled talks. A senior SLMC official told PTI their leader Rauff Hakeem and the TNA leader R Sampanthan had met in parliament on Thursday. more..

Malu Malu got land at Rs. 1000 an acre: UNP

Dec 17 (DM) The land in Pasikuda given to the Malu Malu resort hotel had been sold at a price as low as Rs 1000 an acre, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva charged in Parliament yesterday. He said the hotel was earning Rs 25,000 from each room after obtaining the land at an unusually cheap rate. Coming up with more disclosures, the UNP MP said the land where the CATIC Hotel was to be set up had now been given to Indian Tobacco Company on a 99 year lease. more..