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Central Bank assures no danger of asset price bubble in bourse

Dec 20 (Xinhua) Central Bank said in its latest directive that there is no danger of an asset prices bubble in the Colombo Stock Market, a statement said. The Central Bank's latest directive to commercial banks on provision of margin trading facilities for trading of shares noted that at present there is no risk of a possible assets prices bubble hence the removal of the previous ruling to limit exposure to 5 percent. The Central Bank has reviewed commercial banks' exposure to more..

'Sri Lanka can, will sustain rupee defence'

Dec 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank can continue to maintain the rupee exchange by selling dollars from the foreign reserves as it expects large dollar inflows in the coming months, the central bank governor said on Tuesday. The rupee was devalued 3 percent on Nov. 22, a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as finance minister shocked markets and his own central bank by ordering the rupee devalued in his 2012 budget speech. more..

Number of new businesses jump 40% in Sri Lanka on postwar boom

Dec 20 (Xinhua) Emboldened by a post-war economic boom, the number of Sri Lanka's new enterprises has jumped by 40 percent as business improved in 2011, an official said on Tuesday. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen told parliament that the newly incorporated companies in Sri Lanka have risen by 40.35 percent in the first nine months of 2011 compared with the previous year. He said the total number of new companies registered in 2011 is 5993 while in 2010 it stood at 4270. more..

Indian delegation to visit Sri Lanka to discuss fishing issue

Dec 20 (Xinhua) A high level Indian delegation is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka next month to discuss the deepening rift between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen. Minister Rajitha Senaratne told reporters that the Indian delegation is expected to include the Indian external affairs minister, defense secretary and navy commander. He said that the Indian delegation which is scheduled to arrive on Jan. 13 will look to work out a mechanism to ensure fishermen from both countries more..

Peace brings little for the war-disabled

Dec 20 (IPS) There are times when Thiyagarajah Santhirakumaran, 35, wishes that he had died in Sri Lanka’s civil war. There is peace now, but with both his legs blown off by a shell he has little to look forward to except a life of dependency. After surviving the crippling injuries in 2006, there was more in store for Santhirakumaran. He lived through the final stages of the war 2008-2009 when his native Mullaittivu district took the brunt of fighting between more..

Karu vacates office in Parliament

Dec 20 (DM) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya who lost his deputy leader post of in the party at Monday’s secret ballot has decided to vacate his office room in the parliamentary complex today, sources close to him said today. Mr. Jayasuriya was given this room to be used in his administrative work. However, after he lost his post of deputy leader on Monday, he has decided to leave it. His staff attached to the office packed his belongings so he could vacate the office room. more..

'Sri Lanka should boost international relations for progress'

Dec 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka should strengthen relations with the West and India and expand economic freedoms to boost foreign direct investments and exports, an economist who is a specialist in international trade said. Razeen Sally, a professor at London School of Economics who will be at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy from next year, said while Western economies would be sluggish in the next few years most of the demand for emerging economies still came from the region. more..

LLRC report will advance accountability: Commonwealth

Dec 20 (PTI) The Commonwealth has hoped that a Sri Lankan war commission report on the bloody conflict with the LTTE will advance the cause of accountability, saying that genuine reconciliation and accountability go hand-in-hand. Applauding the intent of transparency with which the Sri Lankan govt tabled the full report of the commission before Parliament, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said the recommendations in the report should more..

Roadshow to promote Expo 2012 held in New Delhi

Dec 20 (GDI) Addressing a Roadshow in New Delhi to promote the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 that will be held in Colombo in March 2012, High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam ihas nvited Indian entrepreneurs to make use of the emerging status of Sri Lanka as a hub in the region to achieve win-win situations in trade for both nations. A large gathering of New Delhi based diplomats who are concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka and members of various Chambers of Commerce more..

Navy saves 18 Indian fishermen

Dec 20 (SLN) Naval personnel attached to SLNS Wasaba of the Northern Naval Command rescued 12 Indian fishermen when their trawlers were run aground in the seas off Delft Island on 19th December 2011 while Naval personnel attached to SLNS Elara of the same Command rescued 06 Indian fishermen in a trawler run aground in the seas off Analative Island on the same day. The Navy rescued the fishermen in distress and provided them food and medical assistance after bringing them to safety. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 20.12.2011

Conduct independent inquiry: Ranil

Dec 20 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today in Parliament asked the govt to conduct an independent inquiry into the incidents in and around the building of the party headquarters, Sirikotha on Monday. Making a special statement, Mr. Wickremesinghe begged pardon from the party and the people in this regard. “I assured Parliament earlier that there would not be any change of the opposition leader post. I can reassure it today,” he said more..

600 employees of Lanka Ceramic to be laid off

Dec 20 (NF) The Govt has decided to lay off the employees of Lanka Ceramic Limited after paying compensation. Minister of State Assets and Enterprise Development, Dayashritha Thisera said that this decision has been arrived at following a request by the employees. Thereby, 600 employees of the Lanka Ceramic Company will be paid compensation and laid off. Minister Thisera noted that of the nine factories which belong to Lanka Ceramic, only four are currently operational. more..

Threat to my life: Ranil

Dec 20 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that there was a threat to his life and to the UNP from certain elements as seen by the violence at Sirkikotha yesterday. Wickremesinghe addressing a media briefing showed a large stone which he had picked up at Sirikotha. “This is the rock that hit the UNP. I brought it here today to show you. This was an act against the UNP. No UNPer would have done this,” the Opposition leader said. more..

Trincomalee - SriLankan Air Taxi's 14th destination

Dec 20 (GDI) Trincomalee, Sri Lanka’s favourite tourist destination in the east coast of the country, can now be reached in just an hour from Colombo, with SriLankan Airline’s, Air Taxi service. Trincomalee, in the North East coast of the country, is SriLankan Air Taxi’s 14th destination and the airline plans to add more destinations like Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Passikudah, Jaffna and Kalpitiya, to its route network next year, opening up the entire more..

Railway Stations to become People’s Centres

Dec 20 (GDI) Plans have been made to upgrade Railway Stations as Centres providing many facilities to the people. This include establishment of supermarkets, banks, internet cafes and restaurants in Railway Stations in order to facilitate all services required by train commuters. Sri Lanka's Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama has said that vegetables and fruits would be sold to consumers at concessionary prices after transporting them in trains. more..

Sri Lankan leader accuses US of unfair criticism

Dec 20 (AP) Sri Lanka's president has accused the United States of unfairly singling out a govt war commission for criticism after it cleared the military of deliberately targeting civilians during the country's civil war. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office said he told newspaper editors that the U.S. is demanding that Sri Lanka immediately settle war accountability issues, while not criticizing other countries that have been much slower more..

Lankan sets hair raising record

Dec 20 (AD) A Sri Lankan in Australia has set a new world record in a very unusual way. The Sri Lankan born man dangled more than a metre off the ground for over 23 minutes by his hair. “My hair is strong because I usually use natural oil”, Suthakaran Sivagnanathurai said. The record was set in Queensland, and he says that he overcame the pain by meditating. In an attempt to set a Guinness world record, the 37-year-old performed an aerial act in which he was suspended by his long, black locks. more..

Ranil has special responsibility as leader now: President

Dec 20 (AD) A special responsibility, of uniting everyone and building a strong opposition, has been bestowed upon Ranil Wickramasinghe with winning the election for leadership, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today. Mr. Wickramasinghe, who was re-elected as UNP leader after beating Karu Jayasuriya in yesterday’s election, should now proceed to build a strong opposition and give the government a ‘neck-to-neck’ battle, the President stated. more..

Will discuss possible release with SF: Anoma

Dec 20 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s wife Anoma Fonseka said today that she would speak to her husband on discussions between Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP Tiran Alles and President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his possible release. Despite reports that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka would be released next month, Fonseka’s wife Anoma today said that these were only rumours as she had not been informed of such a decision. more..

Indian and local arrested with foreign currency

Dec 20 (DM) The Airport customs arrested an Indian and a Sri Lankan who attempted to smuggle out foreign currency worth around Rs.7.2 million to Singapore. The detection was made at the BIA this morning. They found 33,000 Euros hidden in their checked luggage. Customs believe that many such incidents have been reported throughout the last two to three years. The duo were arrested when they came to the airport to board a Singapore bound flight which was more..

WikiLeaks: Karu said he and his colleagues will be named ministers

Dec 20 (CT) “Jayasuriya told the Ambassador that he is leading a group of 17 reformists within the UNP and hopes he and some of his colleagues will be named ministers when President Rajapaksa announces a new cabinet, probably after a January 19 SLFP executive committee meeting. He noted that the UNP members who accept government posts will retain their party affiliation.”the US Ambassador Robert O. Blake informed Washington eleven days before Karu Jayasuriya joined more..

WikiLeaks: Despite criticism,no clear alternative for Ranil

Dec 20 (CT) “Long-standing UNP members have also criticized Wickremesinghe’s election strategy, though mostly in private. In a May 10 meeting with the DCM, for example, former Interior and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said the UNP had lost the election due in part to a lack of charisma on Wickremesinghe’s part. Amaratunga stated: ‘You have to at least give the impression that you are willing to die for what you stand for.’” more..

If it’s about territory, then it’s about history

Dec 21 (NS) TNA MP, M. A. Sumanthiran, speaking at a seminar, is reported to have waxed lyrical about children conscripted for battle. He had lamented that not only were their childhood taken away from them, they died and that their parents don’t have the privilege of visiting their graves. The TNA MP could have confessed the fact that neither he nor his party had ever found fault with the abductors - the LTTE, not for child-snatching and not for any of the countless acts of terrorism. more..

Words of wisdom from an unexpected source

Dec 21 (SL) The true essence of a dictatorship is in fact not its regularity but its unpredictability and caprice; those who live under it must never be able to relax, must never be quite sure if they have followed the rules correctly or not (The only rule of thumb: whatever is not compulsory is forbidden.)” Christopher Hitchens in HITCH 22. A MEMOIR. While “Hitch” had often driven many of us who followed his career as a polemicist, writer and political commentator and an often controversial more..

'Attitudinal change imperative: Productivity must increase'

Dec 21 (SO) Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said the media has a responsible role to play to promote productivity. The Minister said that his Ministry has recommended to Cabinet that promotions in the state sector should be given mainly based on performance. The Cabinet has agreed to this in principle. But we have to come out with methods of implementation. He said there are so many good state officers in the Govt sector who really do a lot of hard work. more..

LLRC report sets urgent national agenda

Dec 21 (TC) The initial reaction to the long awaited report of Sri Lanka’s LLRC from the international human rights organizations was one of rejection. They expressed their lack of satisfaction with the commission’s findings, some even going to the extent of calling it a white wash’. Their response would have been shaped by the circumstances of the LLRC’s appointment in May 2010 in the aftermath of the report of the advisory panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to more..

Jayalalitha Cracks down on ‘Lifefriend’ Sasikala and family members

Dec 21 (DBS) Hello Friends; In a sudden move Tamil Nadu Chief minister Ms.Jayalaitha Jayaram has cracked down on her close confidante and “Uyirthozhi” (Lifefriend) Sasikala Natarajan and several members of her family. Sasikala has been thrown out of both Jayalalitha’s residence “Vedha Nilayam” on Poes Garden in Chennai and also from the party AIADMK. Along with Sasikala several of her family members including husband and four nephews have been expelled from the party. more..

National Cadet Corp, a steering force for leadership

Dec 21 (SO) Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach, an Austrian novelist once said that in youth we learn; in age we understand. It is at old-age that people understand what was taught during childhood. It is essential to mould youth with proper skill, knowledge and good values for a righteous society. The National Cadet Corp (NCC) guides youth to be leaders in the country. The objective of forming cadet corps, was to prepare youth for military services. more..

The LLRC report and ‘accountability’ in Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (GV) It is very much what most people were expecting. A document that looks to the future, exonerates the military, does not touch on the question of accountability and includes some touchy-feely language about the country’s need to move forward, celebrate its diversity and be grateful for the defeat of terrorism. Essentially, all civilian casualties were the result of people caught in the crossfire or were the LTTE’s fault. “The protection of the civilian more..

LLRC Report is Janus-faced in the best, original sense of the term

Dec 21 (TC) Though not without flaws and lacuna, the long awaited LLRC report does not disappoint, and reaches high standards, ranking with the best reports emanating over the decades from official and semi-official/autonomous Sri Lankan commissions, reviews and probes. It is a serious, thoughtful, carefully written and constructed text, striking in its fair-mindedness and balance. It deserves constructive engagement with, by all concerned Sri Lankan citizens and those in more..

Disappearance of human rights defenders

Dec 21 (GV) Two Sri Lankan human rights defenders and political activists disappeared in Jaffna in the North of Sri Lank on 9th December. There is still no credible news of their whereabouts and human rights groups have voiced serious concerns about their safety. Mr. Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Mr. Kugan Muruganandan were last seen by relatives, leaving Mr. Muruganandan’s house at Avarangal Jaffna, at 5 pm on 9th December. They have not been seen since. more..

Editorial: Winners & losers

Dec 21 (Island) Ranil Wickremesinghe has consolidated his power in the UNP as its undisputed leader whether one likes it or not. Karu Jayasuriya has fallen between two stools; today, he is neither the leader nor the deputy leader of the UNP. Worse, he has also ceased to be a member of the party Working Committee. Karu's crushing defeat at Monday's election to the UNP’s top post came as no surprise. He may have been able to muster external support for his leadership bid but more..

CSBA welcomes removal of 5% ceiling on lending against listed securities

Dec 21 (FT) The Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) welcomed the removal of the 5% ceiling on lending by commercial banks for trading of listed securities. “We are pleased to announce that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken prompt action in response to the appeals made by the CSBA at our meeting this month at Temple Trees,” the brokers’ body said. It said that the Central Bank issued a directive to all the commercial banks that the 5% ceiling on lending against more..

Sri Lanka: Women’s insecurity in the North and East

Dec 21 (ICG) Women’s Insecurity in the North and East, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns that the heavily militarised and centralised control of those areas – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces – creates serious problems for women’s safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance. They have little control over their lives and no reliable institutions to turn to. more..

President held in high esteem in Arab world - Azwer

Dec 21 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is today held in high regard and esteem in the whole of Asia and the Middle East and this was evident when he accompanied the President to the Far East and the Arab countries, UPFA National List Parliamentarian A H M Azwer said in Parliament. Today, in the whole of Asia and even in the Middle East, the name of President Mahinda Rajapaksa ranks very high. Wherever he went, to the Arab countries or the Far East, it was the same. more..

'Pension scheme proposed for CDF personnel'

Dec 21 (DN) "Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will take all measures to grant a pension to all personnel of the Sri Lanka Civil Defence Force (CDF). Discussions regarding this matter are continuing in a successful manner," said Civil Security Department Director General Rear Admiral Ananda Peiris. The Sri Lanka CDF which was established in 2007 and its members have been deployed outside their home villages, including Colombo. "Over 35,000 CDF personnel are deployed countrywide more..

CEB charade continues over dubious Rs. 3bn power supply contract

Dec 21 (Island) CEB officials have questioned Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka as to how the former Chairman of CEB Vidya Amarapala signed over a power supply contract worth more than Rs. 3,000 million to a company called Aggreko in 2011. Under Government Tender Guidelines, this contract should have been evaluated by a Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC) and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. more..

Janaki appointed Chairman of Sri Lanka Tea Board

Dec 21 (FT) Janaki Kuruppu has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, replacing business leader Susantha Ratnayake. Ratnayake, who is also Chairman of premier blue chip John Keells Holdings and main private sector lobby the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, had voluntarily stepped down after serving Tea Board as Chief for one-and-a-half years. However, his exit comes amidst a much-speculated reshuffle of select high posts in the public sector. more..

Hoteliers optimistice of high spenders to Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (SO) It is a well-known fact that as General Manager of the five star Galadari Hotel Sampath Siriwardena “maintains a well-honed ability to evaluate operational needs and implement strategies with profitable results.” That is the stern business side of his nature. On the other side of the coin he is endowed with a sparkling sense of humour that will keep you entertained for long hours. What’s more, when the mood hits him, he can entertain you with a song which makes you more..