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Provincial Councillors' duty free vehicle limit increased to USS 40,000

Dec 27 (DM) The Cabinet has approved to increase the limit of permit for importing vehicles on duty free basis to Provincial Councillors from USD 30,000 to USD 40,000. This request was made by East Provincial Council Members, Chairman of the Chief Ministers Conference, Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake and Local Govt. and the Provincial Council Ministry due to the present rise of vehicle prices. Local Govt. and Provincial Council Minister more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka's Jaffna: Booming after war

Dec 27 (Xinhua) Two years after the civil war ended, Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna, stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels for many years is slowly recovering from three-decades devastation and moving towards new horizon of development. The workers from various road development companies are moving fast to rebuild roads that were damaged during the war and paved the way for development. Declared as cleared from mines, most of the high security zones in more..

Two Chinese companies given construction bid for Lotus Tower

Dec 27 (CT) The contract to construct the Lotus Tower multi-functional TV and telecommunication tower in Colombo has been given to two Chinese companies namely CEIC and Elite, Ceylon Today reliably learns. The agreement on the construction of the Lotus Tower, the tallest tower in Sri Lanka, will be signed at TRC office on 03 January, Chairman of TRC Anusha Pelpita confirmed yesterday. Approximately 105 million dollars will be invested for the project, more..

Euro 22 million for Reconstruction of 46 Bridges

Dec 27 (GDI) The national road network consists of 12,000 km roads which cover the whole island linking all provincial centres, district centres and townships in the country. As a result of the rapid economic development, volume of traffic has increased in the recent past. Improvements to most of the bridges on the national road network are imperative to get the expected benefits from improvements and developments made to the road network made recently. more..

Reacquisition of Uncultivated State Lands

Dec 27 (GDI) Steps are being taken by the Land Reforms Commission to reacquire the uncultivated lands given to estate companies for cultivation. The companies were given a time frame for cultivation of these lands. The commission said that taking this step has become necessary since the companies neglected their responsibility. About 30 thousand acres of such lands have been identified. These lands will be handed-over to interested parties for cultivation. more..

CEYPETCO forms flying squad to check malpractices

Dec 27 (DM) A ‘Flying Squad’ has been formed at the CEYPETCO to conduct surprise checks on filling stations to ascertain whether they issue fuel to the accepted standard and quantity, a spokesman of the Petroleum Industries Ministry said. The formation of a Flying Squad was the result of a large number of complaints received by the Minister Susil Premajayantha from motorists, he said. Since its inception the Flying Squad has been able to conduct 439 surprise checks and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 27.12.2011

Over 1600 complaints on rape

Dec 27 (NF) According to police 1,636 complaints have been lodged with the police pertaining to rape cases. Police Media Spokesperson S.P.Ajith Rohana noted that around 1,500 of these cases have been solved. He pointed out that what was alarming was the large number of complaints that were lodged concern the rape of girls under 16 years of age. He stated that the Sri Lankan law also recognizes statutory rape, where even the ‘consent’ of girl under 16 years, still constitutes as rape. more..

29 Indian fishermen stranded in Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (ANI) The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday informed that seven fishing trawlers with 29 Indian fishermen are currently stranded in Sri Lanka due to adverse weather conditions. "Due to adverse weather conditions presently obtaining in the Palk Straits and the Gulf of Mannar, seven fishing trawlers with 29 Indian fishermen which had set off from Tamil Nadu had run aground or got damaged in Sri Lankan waters and have been rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy," more..

Welegedara gives Sri Lanka big lead

Dec 27 (CI) In what has already been a champagne year for Test cricket, Chanaka Welegedara and Rangana Herath set Sri Lanka up for what could be the biggest Test upset of 2011. There were no signs of Durban's famed Green Mamba - tides which are rumoured to make the Kingsmead track juicy - but that didn't prevent South Africa from being knocked over for their lowest total against Sri Lanka. While the lower order had to deal with some sharp spin, more..

Red Cross grieves loss of Briton killed in Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (BBC) A British man killed on holiday in Sri Lanka has been described as a "committed" Red Cross worker. Khuram Shaikh, 32, from Manchester, was a physiotherapist working for the International Red Cross in Gaza. He died early on December 25 after an attack on him and a colleague in the tourist resort of Tangalle. Four people have been arrested over the attack. The Red Cross said it was "deeply shocked and grieved by the loss". His colleague remained in hospital. more..

Habeas Corpus application filed

Dec 27 (DM) The wife of Kugan Muruganadan and the father of Lalith Kumar Weeraraj filed a habeas corpus application in the Court of Appeal requesting to produce human right activists Kugan and Lalith who went missing on Dec 9 in Jaffna, before Court. In this petition, Jaffna Army Commander, Army Commander, IGP and Attorney General were cited as respondents. The petitioners are seeking the Court to direct the police to produce Kugan Muruganadan and Lalith Kumar Weeraraj more..

LLRC had over passed their mandate: JHU

Dec 27 (DM) The JHU charged today that the LLRC had failed to look into the 9,878 civil assassinations which were carried out by the LTTE and put forward proposals in taking actions against those who are responsible. General Secretary of the party Champika Ranawaka said that the commission had exceeded the mandate which was given to them and had said that there is an ethnic problem in the country while going on to say that there is a need for the more..

Will there ever be a ‘Tahrir Square’ in SL?

Dec 28 (DM) When the Arab countries were swept away by a wave of revolution, there was very little hope that the winds will shift and a breeze of it would blow this way. Yet, it was a distant dream too unreal to come true when people whose individual desires and requirements were prioritized over those that we require and aspire as a nation. In fact, it is against this pathetic backdrop, that those who raise their cries against injustice and the prevailing impunities, more..

A letter to Santa and a copy to God

Dec 28 (NS) Considering your work load this time of the year, I trust you and the caribou are eating healthy and doing your yoga. Make sure you take your daily vitamin D (multivitamins apparently are not enough if you are not getting enough sunlight). Please don’t be offended that I have copied this letter to God. It’s not that I have doubts about your ability to deliver the goods, but I think you are going to need a lot of divine help with these requests. That’s why God is on copy. more..

Mulleriyawa 'Halfway Home' brings sunshine to its inmates

Dec 28 (SO) The lush greenery and the surrounding paddy fields gives the small cliff in Mulleriyawa, the location of the Mulleriyawa Halfway Home sheltering around 500 hapless women who have been distanced, cornered and sometimes neglected by their own relatives for the mere reason of becoming a mental patient, has given a sense of security for the inmates who thinks the normal society a distant dream for them. more..

Facebook at Peradeniya

Dec 28 (NS) Last weekend I spent a most stimulating day at a great institution, the University of Peradeniya. The occasion was an international conference on the social sciences and the humanities, and I was, to my great good fortune, invited to speak. There were many papers in parallel sessions throughout the second day (also the first, but I arrived only in time for dinner the previous day), and so I thought to share some insights I obtained from one very good paper in more..

Right to Information revisited

Dec 28 (NS) “The Commission was deeply disturbed by persistent reports concerning attacks and obstacles placed on journalists and media institutions including news websites and killing of journalists and the fact that these incidents remain to be conclusively investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. The Commission was also alarmed by the deplorable attack on the Editor of the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna, which occurred while the Commission’s sittings were still in progress. more..

LLRC was born to deflect international criticism and forestall a UN inquiry

Dec 28 (TC) A perceptive analysis of past errors and some judicious recommendations for the future constitute the strongest aspects of the LLRC’s much-awaited report. The Report, for instance, warns against disallowing the singing of the national anthem in Tamil, because such a ban will “create a major irritant which would not be conducive to fostering post-conflict reconciliation”. Its final recommendations argue that “the practice of the more..

Implementing LLRC report in New Year will be the challenge

Dec 28 (Island) The 388-page report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appears to be earning more bouquets than brickbats. Even one of the government’s foremost critics, the International Crisis Group, has noted its positive contribution to affirming principles of good governance and a political solution to the ethnic conflict. However, it has expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Commission’s findings on accountability. more..

Murder on the Southern Expressway

Dec 28 (Island) The Southern Expressway is a spectacular milestone in the growth of the new Sri Lanka. Right now the road cuts the travelling time to Galle by half (if not more) and the stress of staying one step ahead of the sniping tuk-tuks, private and AC buses is simply not there anymore. Phew. For once the driver’s eyes can briefly wander and appreciate the ever-changing landscape of the Western Province. Paddy fields seamlessly change into groves of palms and more..

Bamboo fabrics capture local market

Dec 28 (SO) A unique exhibition of products made with handloom woven bamboo fabrics was opened by Minister Basil Rajapaksa, at Kandygs Thirasara Island recently. The following is an interview done by Sunday Observer with the Design Director of Kandygs Pvt Ltd, Anuradha Yahampath. "Kandygs have worked with bamboo fabrics for a while and we have imported bamboo yarn as similar way we import cotton yarn and have already done a collection of products. more..

Editorial: Of that results mishmash

Dec 28 (Island) Students, teachers and parents are outraged at the mess-up of the GCE (A/L) 2011 results. Their consternation is understandable. The Department of Examinations (DoE) argued on Monday that there was nothing wrong with the marks and Z-score and only the rankings which had got mixed up needed rectification. The JVP-led teachers' union has rejected the results in toto. It says that subjects have also been messed up in some cases. Several students have more..

Apprehension of treasure hunters and preservation of archaeological sites

Dec 28 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the ‘Wonder of Asia’, turns its spotlight today on the prevention of the desecration of archaeological heritage sites in our land as Sri Lankan society aspires to preserve such sites for the benefit of future generations in our land. As Sir William. S. Gilbert said and quoted at the beginning of this column the punishment must fit the crime. The punishment meted out under our law seems more..

Z Score and Advanced Level results: The intricate story

Dec 28 (SO) The release of results of the GCE Advanced level examination was delayed this time due to the controversy in calculation of Z score from two different examinations under two different syllabi held in August. The responsibility for the delay was thrown from the Department of Examinations to the University Grants Commission back and forth resulting in the students who sat for the examination to have sleepless nights. more..

Interest rates ease, pressures unabated

Dec 28 (Island) Rupee interest rates eased on Tuesday with the Central Bank pumping in Rs. 12 billion into the banking system as intervention in the foreign exchange market continues to put pressure on liquidity, dealers said. The Sri Lanka Inter Bank Offered Rate (SLIBOR) eased to 9.06 percent on Tuesday from 9.10 percent last Friday. The weighted average call money market rates, for interbank borrowing without collateral, eased to 8.96 percent from 9.10 percent. more..

Revived Portugal eyes energy, apparel & water sectors of Lanka

Dec 28 (Island) Portugal, which is re-emerging due to its economic reforms, will send high level business and industry delegations to Sri Lanka Expo 2012 and is keen to establish apparel synergies with Sri Lanka. Portugal is also keen on the energy, water and edible oil processing sectors here, said minister Rishad Bathiudeen. He made these comments earlier this month after in-depth discussions with Jorge Roza de Oliveira, the new Ambassador Designate of Portugal more..

An innings worthy of an explosive celebration

Dec 28 (CI) Thilan Samaraweera has waited more than three years to pull out his machine gun outside Asia. The last time Samaraweera scored a century outside his comfort zone of the subcontinent was in 2008 in Trinidad, when he had not yet displayed his unique celebration to the world. The celebration was first used in an international match in Lahore, in March 2009, on the back of a second double-century against Pakistan in the series. more..

The Durban jinx continues to baffle

Dec 28 (CI) There is something a little comical about a confused cricketer. Usually, he starts off smiling, inexplicably so. Chances are a nervous giggle will follow, his eyes will shift, fingers will be twiddled and answers will be searched for from thin air; or if they are at Kingsmead from thick air because the humidity makes it so. Today, that confused cricketer was Hashim Amla. Usually sagely and sensible, Amla was a baffled, bumbling semblance of himself when he was more..

Tea growers battling prices, despite November output increase

Dec 28 (Island) Tea production for the month of November 2011 has increased to 31,225,907 kilos from the 27,951,260 for the corresponding period a year ago, but the Regional Plantation Companies and the Tea small Holders are battling the issues of prices amidst the uncertain global conditions prevailing as of now. The high growns have shown an increase to 8.1 million kilos for November 2011 vis a vis 7.3 million kilos for the corresponding period a year ago, more..

Sri Lanka’s growth world’s fourth best!

Dec 28 (FT) The high 8.4% economic growth enjoyed by Sri Lanka in the third quarter is considered the fourth best in the world according to an analysis by stock broking firm DNH Financial. It said that Sri Lanka judging by impressive third quarter GDP data has bucked the downward trend in the global economy. As per its analysis Sri Lanka is only lagging behind the world economic powerhouse China whilst Sri Lanka has also remained consistent as against other more..

Power piracy claims 25 lives this year, Rs 6,000m loss to CEB

Dec 28 (DN) Pirating of electricity has claimed 25 human lives this year in addition to causing a loss of Rs 6,000 million in revenue to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in monetary terms. The latest victims of electrocution due to electricity pirating were the mother, father and a two and a half-year-old child of the same family in Rekillagaskade, Maturata. The release said this factor also caused a four percent lost to the national electricity grid adding upto a total annual loss of over Rs 60,000 million more..

Paramedics resort to token strike today

Dec 28 (Island) The Paramedical Services Front (PSF) announced that they would stage a one day token strike from 8 a.m. today demanding the abolition of the 6:1 ratio in their promotion mechanism along with eight other demands. Deputy General Secretary of the Government Midwifery Association, (GMA), Devika Kodithuwakku said that the paramedics were the only service under the Health Ministry that received promotions according to the 6:1 ratio at present. more..

'Tourism, law enforcement authorities handling incident well'

Dec 28 (FT) Both tourism and law enforcement authorities have thus far successfully handled the unfortunate gruesome attack on a tourist couple in Tangalle over the weekend, Tourism Chief Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said. “I would say we have handled the situation well after the very unfortunate incident which all have vehemently condemned,” he said. He said that Sri Lankan envoys in both UK and Russia who are currently in the country as well as more..

Fishing with the aid of satellites

Dec 28 (Island) The National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) will introduce a new system to enable fishermen to track fish in the deep sea. NARA Research officer Jagath Rajapaksha said that satellite data will be used to assist the fishermen. "A programme will be implemented to transmit data captured by the satellites to the fishermen, especially of trawlers with the use of single side band radio transmissions," he said. more..

Inaugural ‘Youth Fest’ in N Eliya

Dec 28 (Island) Highlighting the importance of the City of Nuwara Eliya, as a hub of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry has made arrangements to conduct the inaugural ‘Youth Fest’, a National Youth Winter Festival in Nuwara Eliya. The winter festival, organized by the National Youth Services Council, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry and Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council, will be held from December 29 to 31 in Nuwara Eliya. more..

'Grid connectivity not economically viable'

Dec 28 (DM) The grid connectivity between Sri Lanka and India to allow the exchange of power between the two countries is not economically viable as things stand today according to the feasibility study conducted in this regard, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said today. The feasibility study was conducted jointly by the authorities concerned of the two countries to seek the possibility for inter-connectivity of grids. more..

Fire at Russian embassy

Dec 28 (Island) A fire that broke out in a store room of the Russian embassy, at Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha, Colombo 07, last evening was put out by the City Fire Brigade. Fire Brigade sources said as the store room had no windows but only a single door and they had to remove the roofing sheets of the room to tackle the fire. It had not been a full blown fire but a case of bellowing of smoke from smoldering air-conditioning insulation wool that was stored in the room. more..

Media minister meets Xinhua regional chief

Dec 28 (Xinhua) Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Tuesday met with Ju Mengjun, director of the Xinhua News Agency Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau on Tuesday, both sides expressed the hope to further enhance bilateral cooperation in all areas. During the meeting, Ju said Xinhua is glad to seek closer relations with Sri Lankan media and relevant departments in order to promote the long-term friendship between China and Sri Lanka. He said Xinhua as China's state media and more..