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Lanka Tractors says state doesn’t own their land

Dec 4 (ST) Even as the state-appointed competent authority prepared to offer the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC) to its former owners on new terms, the govt ran into further trouble in the troubled Revival of Underperforming Enterprises andUnder-utilized Assets Act with Lanka Tractors saying its land is not owned by the state but by a public company. The company also threatened to resort to international abitration in three months if the matter was not resolved by then. more..

SEC cancels meeting tomorrow with stock brokers

Dec 4 (ST) Following Indrani Sugathadasa’s resignation as chairperson, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has cancelled the scheduled meeting on Monday between commission members and members of the Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) to discuss critical market issues, SEC officials said. They said that at a SEC commissioners' meeting on Wednesday, SEC Chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa had requested the SEC Secretariat to ‘seriously’ consider the CSBA proposals. more..

Hyde Park rally draws prompt Govt. retaliation

Dec 4 (ST) The reaction of the UPFA was spontaneous. Just two days after the main Opposition UNP spearheaded a rally at Colombo's Hyde Park to demand the release from jail of former General Sarath Fonseka, there was one by trade unions backing the government. It was led by Transport Minister Kumara Welgama and Western Province Governor cum trade unionist Alavi Mowlana. As a result, Colombo Fort was choked with traffic jams on Friday afternoon. more..

Sajith prescribes ‘by-pass’

Dec 4 (NS) UNP Co-Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has once again urged fellow Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya to take over the party leadership in the face of the deepening crisis in the party. Premadasa in a letter to Jayasuriya yesterday has outlined several reasons he mentioned as causing the rapid decline of the UNP vote base and has called for immediate measures to rectify the situation. Sajith made a similar call to Jayasuriya in July this year. more..

National Drugs Policy to be revived 40 years later!

Dec 4 (LB) The National Drugs Policy which was first introduced in the 1970s by the late Prof. Senaka Bibile is to be revived by the Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena, sources say. However, all efforts thus far to revive the policy introduced by Prof Bibile have not borne fruit. When contacted, Minister Sirisena aired his views on price controls connected to vital drugs and medicines sayng: “We intend to introduce price controls for medicinal products in order to more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 4 (ST) Last night the black gowned ladies and gentlemen of the legal fraternity had their yearend fellowship at the Cinnamon Grand. It is one event where the epicurean delights are enjoyed to one's heart's content in a convivial atmosphere. This is also, the one function held annually, for now over a century, in memory of a distant Dutch jurist Johannes Voet at which slander, contempt of court and insulting the judiciary is permitted. more..

India seeks undersea power transmission project with Lanka

Dec 4 (ST) India is pushing for the implementation of its first undersea power transmission project with Sri Lanka, amidst concerns from the Sri Lanka Power and Energy Ministry and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers. India's power transmission company Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) has completed a feasibility study for the interconnection of the India-Sri Lanka Electricity Grids, which includes more..

Competent Authority operates from BOI office

Dec 4 (Island) In the wake of introduction of the hotly disputed Bill titled ‘Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets’, the govt has recalled Tudor Cooray, a former BOI official, from retirement and appointed him as the Competent Authority responsible for those BOI ventures covered by the new Bill. Cooray now operated from the office previously occupied by A.M.C. Kulasekera, formerly No 2 at the BOI, more..

'Any talks doomed to fail without Muslim dimension'

Dec 4 (Island) SLMC Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem said that if the TNA is shunning the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), a new mechanism should be proposed where Muslims also could play a positive role. It should not on the sidelines in the form of a bilateral discussion with the TNA as had been happening for several years now with no end in sight, he said. "It must be a collective exercise involving all stakeholders which is what the SLMC wants. more..

Private bus owners oppose increase in SLTB fleet

Dec 4 (NS) All Island Private Bus Companies Federation threatens to launch an island wide strike if the Transport Ministry goes ahead with the proposal to increase the bus fleet of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB). Secretary of the Federation, Anjana Priyanjith, speaking to The Nation, stated that there is already a surplus of buses in the country, and one cannot hope to provide an efficient service simply by bringing in more buses. more..

Academics demand just governance, countrywide

Dec 4 (LB) Academics, hurt by the govt’s continued disregard for their demand for higher wages vowed last week to agitate for justice with the entire spectrum governance in the island. As a first step, they set up a National Movement for Justice and Fair Play. “Crippling university education is minute compared to the agitation we will bring to bear within the nation,” a Colombo University lecturer who requested anonymity said. more..

Visa fees effective from Jan. 1 with payment gateway launch

Dec 4 (Island) The visa online system is now operational with plans to push ahead with the payment gateway, as scheduled, with effect from January 1, 2012, Commissioner General of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera said yesterday. This means that visitors to Sri Lanka from any country can apply online for a visa though the official website of the department called ‘electronic travel authorization’ more..

11 more 5-Star Hotels in Colombo and 24 outside

Dec 4 (ST) Approval has been granted for 11 more five-star hotels within Colombo city. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that among the locations selected for the hotels are those close to the Regal theatre in Fort and in Kollupitiya, while the Cargills building will be turned into a hotel cum shopping mall. He said that, under the plan, they hope to invite leading international hotels to set up in close proximity to one another, more..

Land takeover: SC refuses to give ruling

Dec 4 (ST) The Supreme Court has decided not to make a determination on a bill intended to amend the Town and Country Planning Ordinance on the grounds that it has been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament without complying with the constitutional requirement that it be first referred to the Provincial Councils (PCs) for their views. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announced the Supreme Court decision to Parliament yesterday on more..

COPE accuses Treasury of negligence

Dec 4 (Island) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) alleges the negligence on the part of the General Treasury has caused deterioration in the public sector, with those responsible for both management and supervision of loss making institutions ignoring the crisis. The 176-page report presented by COPE Chairman Minister Dew Gunasekera last Tuesday (1) in parliament revealed that the UPFA govt has done absolutely nothing to improve more..

Sri Lanka to invite more port industries

Dec 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka Ports Authority will invite more port related industries at Hambantota in the island's south this month, after a first round brought a billion dollars of investments, chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrema said. "We took a decision to go ahead with the second RFP (request for proposals)," Wickrema said. "Most probably during this month we will call." In a first round of RFPs four industries with nearly 800 million dollars worth of investments have already more..

Stocks undergoing correction: report

Dec 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock market is going through a correction after being fired to record highs by credit-fuelled speculation but another bubble could be triggered by brokers seeking easier borrowing and price rules. The Colombo bourse has been falling in recent weeks with the decline accelerated by forced selling of shares of investors by brokers after their clients exceeded credit levels, the newspaper said. Presumably, the forced selling will stop after stock brokers met more..

Nightriders to invade Colombo Colombo Night Race 2011

Dec 4 (ST) It’s going to be two days of thrills, spills and entertainment for the local and foreign motor enthusiasts when the first ever Colombo Night Race 2011 gets into action on December 16 and 17 opposite Galadari Hotel just adjoining the picturesque Galle Face Green. The Colombo Night Race is a concept mooted by Electric Peacock Festival and jointly organized by the Sri Lanka Automobile Sports Association (SLAS) the governing body of more..

Rajpal Abeynayake assaulted

Dec 4 (DM) Rajpal Abeynaike the Editor of Lakbima News has lodged a complaint with the Colpetty Police Station stating that he was assaulted at the annual get together of lawyers held at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo yesterday. Abeynaike a veteran journalist speaking to the Daily Mirror online stated that he was assaulted due to the comments he made regarding the former Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva. "This event is a 'lampoon' where people take pot shots at each other in good humour, more..

Another Indian company to explore oil in Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (SL) Officials from India’s Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) are to visit Sri Lanka to explore the possibilities of drilling for oil in the Mannar Basin. Minister Susil Premajayantha said that ONGC officials were initially scheduled to arrive in the country on Friday, but had postponed the trip due to the inability of one officer to participate on the tour. Premajayantha said that ONGC officials would arrive in the country to carry out an assessment of more..

TNA asks government not to place new impediments in talks

Dec 4 (Hindu) Reiterating the commitment of the TNA to continue the talks aimed at arriving on an amicable political solution for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the TNA on Saturday urged the govt “to honour the mutual agreement reached and not to place new impediments to achieving an acceptable political solution that is desired by all the Peoples of Sri Lanka.” Leader of the TNA R.Sampanthan said in a statement that after the talks resumed last month, more..

The Sri Lankan serenade

Dec 4 (TOI) President Mahinda Rajapaksha's face could not be missed on Sri Lanka's highways. As I kept tabs on the billboards announcing his temple visits, political meetings and environment-conservation efforts, it struck me that the motorable stretch (450 km North to South and 220 kms East to West) had features that I had stopped associating with road journeys - a clean blue sea coast, spice gardens, lush rainforests, vast rubber plantations, rich wildlife reserves and a more..

No land for CATIC yet

Dec 4 (SL) China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), which was initially offered a seven acre plot of land in Galle Face, is yet to receive an alternative piece of land to commence its hotel projects. The Cabinet last week approved the hand over of the land that was initially offered to CATIC to an Indian company to build a Sheraton Hotel. The govt after annulling the agreement with CATIC for the Galle Face land showed three plots of land surrounding the Beira Lake more..

'Let’s defeat budget presented to appease the IMF'

Dec 4 (LT) “The fraudulent budget presented by the govt doesn’t have answers for unemployed youths. Nothing has been mentioned regarding graduates. We condemn the budget presented on the requirement of the IMF,” said JVP MP Vijithe Herath participating in an agitation held by the JVP. The agitation to protest against the budget 2012 was held at Kiribathgoda today. MP Sunil Handunneththi, Member of CMC Sunil Watagala, more..

Buddhika refuses to withdraw his name

Dec 4 (SL) UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana has refused to withdraw his name from the charge made against UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe by UNP Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne of political victimization over the refusal of sexual overtures by the party leader. Gunaratne had handed over to the party secretary a complaint with 20 charges against Wickremasinghe’s conduct and his actions in violation of the party Constitution that have affected the party’s progress. more..

Asian gang members get death sentences for murder

Dec 4 (SG) Three Asians were sentenced to death and eight others face lashes and imprisonment for their part in the murder and robbery of a real estate agent in Jeddah four years ago. A three-judge panel of the Jeddah General Court issued the sentences on Saturday. The gang, with male and female members from Sri Lanka and India, were convicted of killing the real estate agent and stealing money and valuables from his apartment in Jeddah. more..

Cricketers will be paid 'next week'

Dec 4 (BBC) The sports minister in Sri Lanka has pledged to resolve the issue over non-payment of player salaries by next week. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told BBC Sinhala service that he expected half of the outstanding salaries to be paid next week. “There has always been a delay in of 4-5 months in paying their salaries. We admit that the players are to be paid 347 million rupees for the last seven months until September,” he said. more..

Independence Square and adjacent area opened for public

Dec 4 (GDI) The Independence Square and its adjacent area was declared opened for public, Saturday by Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka in the gracious presence of Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The site will be open for public 24x7, including the newly constructed bikers' path and the walking lanes that run across the National Library and the national Archives Department. The site renovation work was initiated under the close supervision of more..

Underdog status suits us, says Jayawardene

Dec 4 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka batsman, has said his side will enjoy bearing the underdog tag on their tour of South Africa because they have exceeded expectations before. Jayawardene pointed to the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, saying Sri Lanka were not favourites in those tournaments but managed to reach the finals in both editions. "When you are playing away from home and with the unit we have, we will be tagged as underdogs," he said. more..

Beggar killer nabbed

Dec 4 (DM) Police have unearthed valuable information from a suspect regarding the string of killings of beggars in and around the city of Colombo. The police officers who conducted investigations and inquiries into these cases have extracted such information from a beggar arrested in connection with these murders. He is currently being interrogated. According basic interrogation, the suspected beggar has been involved in the killing of 15 other beggars more..

SLTB ready to ply on Expressway

Dec 4 (NS) ‘The Ceylon Transport Board is all set to commence its services on the newly laid out Southern Expressway but the Road Development Authority is yet to give its sanction’, Chairman Sri Lankan Transport Board, M.C. Bandusena said. At present, CTB has two buses to the standards required by the authorities and are ready to commence service once the green light is given. The two buses include air conditioning, automatic doors, driver seatbelts and other standard facilities. more..

CMC to increase tax on developed areas

Dec 4 (SL) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is to increase the Property Assessment Tax on commercial and residential land situated in developed areas in the City. According to the CMC the Property Assessment Tax has already been increased in parts of Colombo 7, Kirillapone and Pamankade. The CMC says the tax will be increases on commercial and residential land situated in areas where the roads have been upgraded, environment is clean and electricity and water supply is available. more..

Nine JVP trade union leaders removed

Dec 4 (DM) The JVP-affiliated trade union sector is on the brink of a split with the removal of nine trade union leaders from their positions recently, party dissidents said today. Among them are All Ceylon Health Services Union General Secretary Dr. R.M.W. Ranasinghe and Treasurer T.E. Ian Chandrakumar, Inter Company Workers Union Senior President Ranjith Piyatilake and Vice President Upul Wijesinghe, Ceylon Teacher Services Union President more..

The political economy of outsourcing responsibility

NDec 5 (NS) Ranil Wickremesinghe has found fault with the Government for adding its voice to the chorus of Commonwealth members in rejecting a proposal submitted by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group to set up a ‘Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights’. The Leader of the Opposition has buttressed his objection thus: ‘Why does the Government of Sri Lanka want to oppose such a recommendation? more..

Experiments in ‘faceless revolutions’...

NDec 5 (NS) Back in the era when I was a schoolboy, the concept of internet was known but its use was not widespread. I knew of the concept of email but its practical usage became relevant to me only after I left college. I became an email user in 2003. And seeing now how much the cyber realm has become a part of the average kid’s life. I feel there is a staggering gap between school goers now and back in my day on the cyber/ICT factor alone. But what has got me talking about more..

JVP rebels to form new left front - MP Ajith Kumara

Dec 5 (NS) Q. What is the current position of the rift within the JVP? A: As you know the problems had been going on for a while. We wanted reforms within the party, as the party leadership had moved away from the original ideology of the JVP when it was started. Today, the leadership has moved towards neo-liberalism. This was not the ideology of our founder leader Rohana Wijeweera. They should have addressed the issue internally without talking more..

Editorial: Rationalisation of school system necessary

Dec 5 (BL) A large number of schools are being closed because there are less than 50 children attending them. The number is estimated at 1,500. There is no demand for such schools due to lack of teachers and educational facilities. We can argue that these shortcomings be made good. But the government doesn't have sufficient money since its budget is in deficit on the Revenue account. In any case, the country cannot afford to dissipate financial resources which are scarce. more..

Editorial: Preaching to the choir

Dec 5 (Island) Minister D. E. W. Gunasekera and other members of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) should be complimented on their report shedding light on widespread corruption, mismanagement, wasteful expenditure etc in the public sector. Their trenchant criticism of a number of key state institutions including the Treasury is sure to meet with the approval of the public, whose money the government has been squandering despicably. more..

'Budget 2012: The great leap forward'

Dec 5 (SO) The following report is based on the speech Minister Basil Rajapaksa made, concluding the debate on the second reading of the Budget for 2012. This is the seventh Budget presented by the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “I regret that there was no constructive criticism at all during the debate on the Budget for 2012. Therefore, let me conclude the debate by recalling our childhood days. When we had no one to play cricket with, more..

Sinhalese Govt Agents for the North: How feasible

Dec 5 (Island) The Govt wants to post Sinhalese administrative officers as Govt Agents in the North. In the past Sinhalese have served as Govt Agents in Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Trincomalee. Some of them were quite popular too. But the ground realities have changed over the years since the switchover to Swabasha as the medium of instruction in education. Tamil children have no choice but to study in the Tamil medium just as the Sinhalese children had to study more..