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Release LLRC report - UK

Nov 22 (BBC) The United Kingdom has urged Sri Lanka to publish the report handed over to the president by the govt appointed war panel. British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has called upon Sri Lanka to "seize the opportunity" to demonstrate that the country is committed to reconciliation by making the report of the LLRC public. “Many hope this report will mark a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s recovery from conflict, and I call on the Govt more..

Film about a ‘Disappeared Journalist’ from Linton Semage

Nov 22 (UL) Linton Semage the award winning actor and film director is getting ready to release his latest cinematic creation about the life of a Sri Lanakan Journalist who mysteriously disappeared. Linton Semage who has been living in Los Angeles USA for last several years has been working on this cinematic creation for last several months. ‘NIL’ is the name of this latest cinematic creation of Semage and it is a factual film about the life of a Sri Lanakan Journalist. more..

Rajapakse's media fears spread from TamilNet to Sinhala opponents

Nov 22 (TN) "The ban on TamilNet is the first instance of what the Free Media Movement believes may soon be a slippery slope of web and internet censorship in Sri Lanka," BBC reported on 20th June 2007 when local reports indicated that access to TamilNet was blocked by unannounced directives to service providers from officials in Colombo. Four years later, Colombo, increasingly alarmed by proliferation of opposing views to the authoritarian trend of the governing more..

A Budget for all!

Nov 22 (FT) President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday presented what the Govt described as a development and people-oriented Budget for 2012, whilst a fair cross section of the private sector welcomed it, though some expressed concerns and the Opposition simply rejected it as it failed to address thorny issues. True to Daily FT’s headline, the Govt benches were elated that President Rajapaksa’s 7th Budget is lucky for Sri Lanka, more..

Sri Lanka donates over US$ 50,000 worth of aid to Thailand

Nov 22 (AT) Sri Lanka donated over US $ 50,000 worth of aid to Thailand today as relief to their flood affected people. The ceremony to hand over the consignment of aid was held at the Ministry of External Affairs where Minister Prof. G.L Peiris handed over a token of the consignment to Ms, Rungnapa Srivannavit, the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy in Colombo. The humanitarian aid package included mainly 100,000 bottles of drinking water and more..

The real lessons of Sri Lanka's War: A global power shift and the end of human rights

Nov 22 (Time) The grandly named “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” submitted its final report to Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. The document is meant to account for the failure of a 2002 ceasefire and the events leading up to the end of the country's 26-year-long war against the LLRC, who were defeated in May 2009. On paper, the LLRC looks something like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission convened after the end of apartheid rule in South Africa more..

Southern Expressway- Fast track to Galle from Sunday

Nov 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s first fee-levying highway from Kottawa to Galle is part of an ambitious project to connect BIA with Mattala Airport in Hambantota, now under construction, Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. The first phase of the highway which has been fully constructed, will be ceremonially opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 27, and will cut present travel time between Colombo and Galle by at least one-and-a-half hours. more..

‘Sea Budget’ for SL: Rajitha

Nov 22 (DM) If Sri Lanka was able to exploit the sea to its full potential it will be able to present a ‘Sea Budget’ and refrain from obtaining loans from global financial agencies and donors, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Addressing a ceremony held in Matara, Nunawella to mark the opening of the ‘Community Centre’ Senaratne said it is sad to note that 21% of children in the country are malnourished, which is a scar on the image of Sri Lanka. more..

Suspect in bombing Pakistani High Commissioner discharged

Nov 22 (DM) A Colombo Court discharged a youth today, who was in remand custody on charges of having been involved in a plot to kill the Pakistan High Commissioner in Kollupitiya on Aug 14, 2006. Filing a report in court, the police informed that the PIU, TID and CID notified that the suspect S. Sivananda Raja had not been involved in the incident. Having considered the police report, Colombo Fort Magistrate Ms. Lanka Jayaratne ordered the suspect to be discharged. more..

Dole abandons banana plantation

Nov 22 (MB) After a threat of lawsuit, Dole Inc. has abandoned a banana plantation in Somawathiya National Park in Sri Lanka. The US-based food giant had partnered with a local company, Letsgrow Ltd, to grow bananas for export markets at the bank of the Mahaweli River, but Dole ran into trouble when local conservation organizations pointed out they were illegally destroying forest and planting crops in Somawathiya National Park, home to elephants and more..

Sri Lanka raises levy on international calls

Nov 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised a levy on international calls with each outgoing minute charged 3 rupees from the current 2 rupees, a budget for 2012 presented to parliament said. Incoming calls will be charged 9 US cents per minute, up from the current rates of 7 US cents. The state expects to raise 2.0 billion rupees from the move. Last year a series of taxes charged on the telephone bills was consolidated to a 20 percent flat tax.

Harsha lashes out at budget

Nov 22 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva lashed out at some of the comments made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his 2012 budget speech. "Giving the lie to the much repeated statement that the expropriation bill was one off, the President announced another 37,000 underutilised acres belonging to privatised plantation companies will be nationalised," Dr. De Silva pointed out. "Also for the first time after the reintroduction of the market economy, more..

'Sri Lanka on a progressive path'

Nov 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka is travelling new road turning its back on a "very destructive" path the country started to tread from 1977, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said presenting a budget for 2012. "This nation was placed on to a very destructive path from 1977," President Rajapaksa said referring to a year Sri Lanka became more outward oriented following several years of a closed economy. "This path was overshadowed by neo liberal more..

Dilshan's captaincy under fire

Nov 22 (National) Tillakaratne Dilshan's future as the Sri Lanka captain is in doubt after a sixth successive series loss in his brief tenure. Sri Lanka lost the fourth ODI against Pakistan in Sharjah on Sunday after a collapse of seven wickets for 19 runs. That sealed a third successive ODI series loss, to go with three Test series defeats since Dilshan took over after the 2011 World Cup. Asked whether he would like to continue, or whether he feared his dismissal, more..

Sri Lanka cuts budget deficit, maintains investment: Treasury Secy

Nov 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka has managed to gradually reduce the government budget deficit without cutting public investment which is needed to build the capacity to enable private investments. Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said the govt was maintaining the downward momentum in budget deficits and inflation had been brought down with improved domestic production, especially of food. "The govt has been bringing the budget deficit down gradually and more..

State workers get 10% pay hike

Nov 22 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, presenting his govt’s seventh consecutive budget, offered the State sector workers a ten percent salary hike, a three percent devaluation of the rupee to encourage exports and reduce import costs, all taxes were removed from sports goods to encourage sports, vehicle duty for tourism was cut by 50 per cent and in order to become self sufficient other than in rice, a high cess was proposed on a number of pulse imports. more..

'Salary hike nullified by devaluation, inflation'

Nov 22 (Island) The Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s 2012 budget had true to form bluffed the working class, once again, by devaluing the rupee and then granting a 10 percent salary increase to public servants, UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said yesterday. He said that with inflation officially at six percent, though it was much higher and the rupee devalued by three percent, there had in effect been no salary hike and could possibly work out to a deduction in wages. more..

Budget surprise: Govt. to devalue rupee!

Nov 22 (Island) Contradicting the Central Bank, the govt has conceded to the arguments put forward by the country’s economists, exporters and the IMF that the rupee should be allowed to depreciate in order to maintain macroeconomic stability. It has decided to devalue the rupee by 3 percent against the dollar with immediate effect. Delivering 2012 budget speech yesterday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the government proposed to devalue the rupee by 3 percent. more..

Exclusive: Highlights of LLRC findings and recommendations

Nov 22 (Island) The LLRC has, in its final report, said that no state should be asked to suspend military operations aimed at rescuing civilians forcibly held by a heavily armed terrorist group. The failure on the part of a state to proceed with such operations will only allow terrorists to go on the rampage, the presidential commission has said. The LLRC is of the view that the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) prohibits the deliberate more..

Five monks vie for Sri Pada Chief incumbency

Nov 22 (Island) Five Buddhist monks were in the fray for the November 25 Election to the position of chief incumbent of the Sri Pada Madyasthana when nominations closed on November 17, Buddhist Affairs Department sources said yesterday. They said that 307 Buddhist monks from the Siyam Maha nikaya, attached to Malwatte Chapter Vihares in the Ratnapura district, were eligible to cast their votes with the coordination of the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs more..

Sevanagala writ application : Court reserves order for today

Nov 22 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday reserved till today, November 22, 2011, the order on whether to issue notice or not, in respect of the Writ application filed by the Sevanagala Sugar Industries Private Limited. Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando said that the land was vested in the State, by the law coming into operation on November 11, 2011. The adverse effect of the Sevanagala project had already been decided and the company placed in more..

The dissenting judgment

Nov 22 (LB) The Colombo High Court on Friday sentenced former army commander Sarath Fonseka to three years in prison, delivering the verdict of the controversial white flag trial. The three member trial-at-bar comprising Deepali Wijesundera (chairman), M. Zurfick Razeen and W.T.M.P.B Warawewa delivered a dissenting judgment, two to one, ruling that the former war winning General Fonseka was guilty of disseminating disinformation and inciting violence, more..

Criminals posing as the CID

Nov 22 (SL) The white van phobia is back again. Notorious for its link with a series of abductions in the past, said to be carried out by the security forces; two youths were abducted in white vans on Thursday November 10 and Friday November 11 from Gonawala in Kelaniya and Jubilee Post in Nugegoda respectively. Who is behind this, is the question that has arisen among the victims’ families. It is learnt that both abductions had more..

JVP union complains of abuse of position by Medical Suptd.

Nov 22 (Island) All Ceylon Nurses’ Union (ACNU) President S. B. Mediwatta accused the Medical Superintendent of the Horana Base Hospital of allowing twenty unauthorized nursing students to train there. The JVP affiliated union charged that once trained they would be recruited by the Private Sector MDK hospital which was being constructed in Horana. The Medical Superintendent of Horana Base Hospital more..

Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Games: Winning isn't everything

Nov 22 (Economist) THE Australians are not the only ones to feel chuffed by the Gold Coast winning its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Most Sri Lankans, whose country competed for the event with none of the infrastructure in place, are beyond relieved. So roundly have the media criticised Sri Lanka’s failed attempt to secure the event that many are left wondering who the devil wanted these games in the first place; but more on that later. more..

Inquiry to be conducted into commotion in Parliament

Nov 22 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa today said that he would conduct an inquiry into the circumstances that led to a commotion in Parliament during the budget speech on Monday. The Speaker was responding to remarks made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that the security of his MPs was at stake inside the House under the present circumstances. Mr. Wickremesinghe said that security of individual MPs more..

'Assault of UNP MPs inside parliament proof of Rajapaksa dictatorship'

Nov 22 (Island) The assault of UNP MPs, inside the parliamentary chamber, by some govt MPs yesterday, reflected the dictatorship that had been foisted on the people by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, John Ameratunga MP said. Ameratunga said that he, Karu Jayasuriya, Anoma Gamage, Harin Fernando and several other opposition legislators had protested peacefully in Parliament against the govt’s undemocratic acts more..

Dilshan retains captaincy for South Africa

Nov 22 (Island) Misfiring Tillekeratne Dilshan has been retained as captain for Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of South Africa that gets underway next month. Sri Lanka will make their first Test tour of South Africa in ten years in December and apart from the three Test Matches will also play five One-Day Internationals. Under Dilshan the national team has suffered Test and ODI series defeats against England, Australia and Pakistan and more..

Minister orders back -log be cleared within a week

Nov 22 (Island) Posts Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga yesterday directed the Postal Unions to clear the letters and parcels, which had been piling up due to their protest campaign, within a week. Over one million letters and parcels had accumulated due to the strike. Kumaratunga yesterday met union leaders to request them to end the on-going hunger strike demanding the removal of the Post Master General. The unions yesterday called off the strike after more..

Pay hike insufficient: UNP

Nov 22 (DM) The UNP today decried the proposed ten-per cent pay hike in the budget saying that it would be totally insufficient given the high cost of living. Opening the second reading debate on the 2012 budget, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the govt servants would get around Rs.2,500 as their pay hike according to this decision. “This is the amount pledged in the run up to the Presidential Elections in 2010. more..

Govt. ready to acquire 37,000 hectares

Nov 22 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his budget speech, announced yesterday that 37,000 hectares of land belonging to the plantation sector would be acquired in the similar manner the govt took over underperforming and underutilised assets of 37 companies through the Act enacted in the House on Nov 9, 2011. The President also announced the acquisition of the assets of these companies in the last budget. more..

Eviction report from Mannar GA awaited

Nov 22 (Island) The Ministry of Resettlement has requested the Govt Agent of Mannar to send a report on the eviction from Talaimannar of the recently resettled IDPs by the military and the police, an official from the ministry said. Nearly 600 families, recently resettled, after the war, in Talaimannar, had been asked to quit their ancestral lands by the police and the military, claiming that the lands are owned by the govt. The evicted families are camping on more..

Sri Lanka's Jayawardene to miss fifth ODI

Nov 22 (AFP) Injured middle-order batsman Mahela Jayawardene has been ruled out of Sri Lanka's last two matches against Pakistan and returned home, team manager Anura Tennekoon said on Tuesday. The 34-year-old batsman hit a half century in his team's 26-run defeat in the fourth match in Sharjah on Sunday, but played in some discomfort after injuring his knee. Tennekoon said Jayawardene has returned home to regain fitness ahead of next month's tour of South Africa. more..

A large gathering at Nativity Church in Bethlehem to bless President Rajapaksa

Nov 22 (AT) Palestinians from Bethlehem and Sri Lankans from Israel filled the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem to take part in the Holy Mass to bless Sri Lanka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his 66th birthday. Holy Masses to bless President Mahinda Rajapaksa were held in Bethlehem in 2009 and 2010 organized by the Friends of Sri Lanka in Bethlehem. This year too, the Holy Mass organized by the same group headed by Advocate Michele Shomaly more..

Stocks end down almost one pct

Nov 22 (LBO) Shares closed lower Tuesday with plantations stocks among the biggest losers after the govt said in its 2012 budget it would seize estate lands lying unused. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.96 percent to 6,060.95, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.09 percent to close at 5,299.24, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover was 1,189 million rupees. Among the eight most traded stocks, only Diesel & Motor Engineering closed higher, more..

Budget taking from the people to fund wastage of govt.: NTUC

Nov 22 (DM) The budget, which was presented yesterday, will not increase the income levels of the people, President of the National Trade Union Centre and former JVP MP Lal Kantha said. "This budget will extract the wealth of the people to finance the wastage of the govt and its mounting debt. The budget will not satisfy the working class of this country," Mr. Lal Kantha said. The govt’s expenditure has increased two fold and in comparison to that the tax burden is more..

Card. Ranjith against the aggressive proselytism of Protestant Churches

Nov 22 (AN) Card. Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, has asked the govt to form an inter-religious committee to monitor the inter-evangelical churches in the country. The Cardinal explained the reasons for the request stating that some of these communities have offered money and assistance of various kinds to Buddhists and Catholics in rural areas to encourage them to convert. more..

Academics flay the Opposition

Nov 22 (GDI) Political analysts have deplored the UNP for staging protests in the Parliament on an important day when the Budget is presented in the Parliament and for leaving the Parliamentary Chambers when the President started announcing concessions for the ordinary people of this country in his budget speech yesterday. They have said that their organized act can never be accepted and it only undermined the opposition locally and internationally. more..

Arab world’s most powerful woman arrives in Sri Lanka tomorrow

Nov 22 (ST) Her Highness Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, considered the Arab world’s most powerful woman and also Minister of Foreign Trade of United Arab Emirates, is arriving in Colombo tomorrow on a 3-day official visit. The visit is aimed at renewing trade ties between Sri Lanka and UAE. She is visiting Sri Lanka on a special invitation extended to her by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce of Sri Lanka, the Ministry said in a more..

WikiLeaks: Govt. of SL was very concerned about using Fonseka as a source of ‘prying’

Nov 22 (CT) “Bogollagama said the GSL was very concerned about using Fonseka as a source of ‘prying’ into the actions of the government in Sri Lanka and was seeking ‘immediate action’ to prevent anything further from happening on November 4. He claimed that their sources told them that Department of Homeland Security had investigated war crimes in the past.” the US Embassy Colombo informed to Washington. The cable recount details of a meeting the more..