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3rd Test: Sri Lanka look to level series

Sept 16 (CI) Sri Lanka have been outplayed during this series but they could still escape with honours even, if they find a way to win at the SSC. Australia's 1-0 lead would likely have become 2-0 had rain and bad light not intervened in Pallekele. Instead, Michael Clarke and his men now find themselves needing to draw or win in Colombo to take the series. It won't be as easy as it appears. The SSC has been renowned for flat, batsman-friendly pitches in recent years, but more..

‘We are not defending the exchange rate'

Sept 16 (Island) Central Bank Deputy Governor Dharma Dheerasinghe said the bank was not defending the exchange rate but was responding to growing importer demand and was selling dollars to the market to meet the shortfall caused by the widening trade deficit. "We are not mandated to defend the exchange rate. A country such as Singapore has an exchange rate target but not us. We have been selling dollars in the market because there is a shortfall there, and we have plenty of reserves with more..

Act against companies with false credentials: UNP to CAA

Sept 16 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara complained in writing to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to take action regarding the sub-standard cement that was released to the market under a false SLS certification, he said. “They haven’t replied to the complaint and I don’t see them taking any action with regard to the sub-standard cement,” Mr. Jayasekara said. According to him he had made a written complaint to the CAA, which was the only competent authority that was mandated to more..

$ 1.5 bn China loan to finance Sapugaskanda expansion

Sept 16 (Island) With an Iranian offer to upgrade the ageing Sapugaskanda oil refinery, completed by an Italian firm in the late sixties, failing to click, China is now likely to fill the void by pumping in the required external financing to the tune of US$ 1.5 billion. A Chinese bank is already studying the feasibility reports on the proposed expansion from 50,000 barrels per day to 100,000 barrels, but cautioned that discussions in this regard with more..

Cargills to double biscuit production

Sept 16 (LBO) Cargills group has launched a range of biscuits under its existing 'KIST' brand after taking over and revamping a defunct factory and aims to double production. Biscuits made by Cargills Quality Confectionaries, a fully-owned subsidiary of Cargills (Ceylon), are 100 percent vegetarian and certified as Halal so they can be eaten by all consumers. The firm had invested 350 million rupees to acquired and revamped a defunct factory owned by Diana Biscuits. more..

Govt. going bankrupt: Muzammil

Sept 16 (DM) The UNP mayoral candidate at the elections to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said yesterday if elected to the post of Colombo mayor he would not depend on the central government to run the CMC because its resources were sufficient for such work. Mayoral candidate A.J.M. Muzammil said he was prepared to work with institutions such as the Urban Development Authority (UDA) as long as whatever it did was not harmful to the people in the city. more..

No shortcut against dengue virus, say Lankan experts in Pakistan

Sept 16 (ITN) Sri Lankan experts, who arrived in Punjab to help the government against the dengue virus, said there was no shortcut to deal with the challenge of dengue virus and long-term planning was essential for the purpose. The head of the Sri Lankan delegation, Dr Kolitha Sellahewa, and other members of the team, said this during a high-level meeting, chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, at the Chief Ministerís Secretariat. more..

Asgiriya Prelate commends Mervyn Silva

Sept 16 (DM) The Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera has commended and bestowed his blessings on Minister Mervyn Silva for acting to stop the slaughter of animals for offerings at the Chilaw Munneswaram Kovil. The Asgiriya Prelate had said that he vehemently opposed the slaughtering of animals and to places of this type which are stained with the blood of innocent animals. more..

Seeing through the arsenic haze

Sept 16 (LB) With the presence of arsenic in pesticides, and arguments and counter arguments for and against the validity of tests, both local and Malaysian, being splashed across our newspapers for two months or more, it is now time to reflect on what we can conclude from the results obtained so far. The Kelaniya group results suggested that 14 of the pesticides tested had arsenic at levels ranging from 200 to 1750 parts per billion (ppb). They did not however disclose the names of any pesticides which they found to be free of arsenic. more..

Inland Revenue assessor and clerk in bribery net

Sept 16 (DM) An assessor and a clerk of the Anurdhapura Inland Revenue Department who solicited Rs.400,000 and accepted Rs.375,000 as bribe were remanded till September 28, by the Colombo Chief Magistrate yesterday. Bribery Officers C. H. Chandrasiri and Ranjith Bandara producing the assessor Anurudha Abeyratne and the clerk Uduma Jaleela Begum submitted that they arrested the two suspects while accepting Rs.375,000 from a businessman of Anuradhapura. more..

Illegal ‘bank’ for huge foreign currency rackets

Sept 16 (DM) The Customs said yesterday the man who was arrested with foreign currency worth Rs.81 million at Katunayake Airport on Wednesday was suspected of being involved in smuggling money on behalf of a wider network of money-changers engaged in the illegal transfer of foreign currency. A senior customs officer said foreigners and locals who were keen to avoid using banks for money transfers use these money changers. more..

'Investment opportunities galore in Lanka'

Sept 16 (DM) Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka has become one of the most suitable countries for the investment as all the necessary facilities for investment were now available to prospective investors. Speaking at the inauguration of the North Western Province Zonal office of the Peoples Bank and its Maliyadeva Branch in Kurunegala, the minister also said “Sri Lanka is now one of the safest countries in the world. more..

Lanka looking for improved relations with US

Sept 16 (DM) The government, while expressing confidence regarding the outcome of a three-day official visit by US Assistant State Secretary Robert Blake, said that it hoped that relations between the two countries would be more cordial in the future. Cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told the media at the weekly cabinet news briefing that Mr. Blake may have left Sri Lanka in a better frame of mind than when he first arrived in the country. more..

Sri Lanka leaves interest rates unchanged to support growth

Sept 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka has kept policy rates steady at 7.00 percent to deposit excess reserves and 8.50 percent to inject cash as rupee liquidity in monetary markets declined, expecting credit growth and forex interventions to ease in the future. The Central Bank said broad money grew 20.7 percent in July from a year earlier led by "robust expansion" of private sector credit, but it may slow down, more..

'Political solution will be evolved but not overnight'

Sept 16 (Island) The govt said that it would present a political solution suited to the country, but it could not be done overnight. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that there was a good opportunity to address the grievances of the Tamils by offering them reasonable devolution. It took nearly thirty years to defeat the LTTE and one cannot expect to resolve outstanding issues in a short period of time, Abeywardena said more..

MR vows to haul PSC before Cabinet

Sept 16 (DM) The Cabinet and the Public Service Commission (PSC) are on a collision course over the government’s decision to absorb acting principals with required educational and professional qualifications into the permanent cadre. The situation took a turn for the worse on Wednesday with President Mahinda Rajapaksa even vowing to haul the PSC before the Cabinet. Recently, the Cabinet appointed a sub-committee comprising more..

Districtwise Gr.5 Cut-Off Marks released

Sept 17 (GDI) Cut Off Marks of the grade 5 Scholarship Examination have been announced. The Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisighe says that re-evaluation of answer scripts will not be undertaken. However, he says that if there are special appeals that can be submitted. The Cut Off Marks for the Districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale, Galle and Matara for Sinhala Medium students is 156. For the tamil medium students of these districts is 153. more..

International Oral Health Day

Sept 17 (GDI) The Ministry of Health has launched a 60 day programme to enlighten school children and the adults in connection with International Oral Health Day. The Ministry informs that majority of cancer patients in the country dies from oral cancer, which stands at 12 percent and the death toll exceeds 700 per year. Majority of oral cancer cases are reported from the age group of 65 to 74 and it is to be appreciated that majority of school children have become enthusiastic about more..

Human rights in Indian subcontinent debate

Sept 17 (BBC) The UK should give every opportunity to Sri Lanka to help them create a united country, a Conservative MP has said. As MPs debated human rights in the Indian subcontinent, Brian Binley said the Sri Lankan government was coming to terms with the consequences of "very considerable strife and conflict", and that it was trying to make advances in addressing human rights abuses. But MPs from both sides of the House expressed concern at more..

Sri Lanka & South Africa ties to strengthen

Sept 17 (LP) High Commissioner of South Africa, Geoff Doidge said South Africa looks forward to establish direct air links with Sri Lanka and welcome a direct airlift agreement to this end. During his courtesy call on Minister Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday (15), he said South Africa is to introduce its well- known west coast fishing industry Companies to fishery industry in the North and East and the country is willing to invest in the gem and jewellery sector, fruit and juice processing, more..

Couple arrested for printing fake notes

Sept 17 (AD) Serunuwara Police have arrested a couple, from the Batticaloa area, for printing and handling forged currency notes. The couple had been apprehended while they had attempted to complete a transaction using the counterfeit notes at the Werugal Kovil festival grounds in Serunuwara, police said. Preliminary investigation had revealed that the couple in question printed the forged notes using computers at a CD store owned by them. more..

Mobile prostitution ring nabbed using underage girl

Sept 17 (DM) Two persons including an underage girl who were alleged to be involved in a mobile prostitution ring had been arrested in the Kollupitiya area. When the main suspect who had allegedly operated the ring and procured an underage girl for prostitution was produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate, he was ordered to be remanded till September 22. Meanwhile, Magistrate Ms. Lanka Jayaratne further ordered that the 17-year-old girl who was allegedly more..

CPC deputy finance manager on fully paid compulsory leave

Sept 17 (SM) Deputy finance manager of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Udaya Doloswala has been sent on compulsory leave with an all inclusive salary paid, pending a disciplinary inquiry. Director of the CPC has taken the decision following a three-member committee accused the official over the importation of substandard petrol. Corporation chairman Harry Jayawardena has informed the Petroleum Ministry secretary regarding the decision. more..

President opened Temple Trees to the ordinary citizen

Sept 17 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened Temple Trees to the public in 2004 and since then he invited people from all walks of life and offered them meals. Public funds have never been used to offer meals for the people who visit Temple Trees, acting Cabinet spokesman and Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said that the family of President Mahinda Rajapaksa always offered meals to people and he cannot stop his daily routine because of elections. more..

SL disappointed over Canadian PM's remarks

Sept 17 (DM) Sri Lanka expressed its disappointment over remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper against holding the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in 2013, the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada said. “The Commonwealth Member States in 2009, at the CHOGM held in Trinidad & Tobago decided to hold the 2013 Summit in Sri Lanka and therefore it would be unfair to reopen the issue since the arrangements for hosting the more..

Maldives silent on media’s claim on Nasheed-Sunanda arguments

Sept 17 (SM) The Maldivian government is yet to respond to an incident that had reportedly taken place four days ago at the side event during the UN Human Rights Council sessions, involving the Maldives president and exiled Sri Lankan journalist Sunanda Deshapriya. Mr. Deshapriya has said, that government and pro-government media in Colombo had reported that president Mohamed Nasheed had accused him of being a disgrace to the country. more..

Maharoof demands public debate with Ranil

Sept 17 (Island) Former UNP Parliamentarian Mohamed Maharoof, who joined the SLFP recently to contest the forthcoming Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) election, on the UPFA ticket, reiterated that he had given one billion rupees for UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe’s two Presidential Election campaigns. Speaking at a UPFA rally at Gaswork Street Junction on Wednesday (14) night, Maharoof said that one billion rupees in two installments of Rs. 500 million each, more..

Canada nudges Lanka over accountability issues

Sept 17 (Island) The Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo, Bruce Levy yesterday emphasised the importance of Sri Lanka addressing concerns raised by the international community, regarding accountability issues as early as possible. Levy said that Sri Lanka couldn’t ignore accountability issues if it was keen to ensure peace and development. The official was responding to a query by The Island regarding a recent statement attributed to more..

Jaffna history, art and culture for the new generations

Sept 17 (AN) The Arts Faculty of the University of Jaffna has organised an exhibit and seminar for 24-27 September to show the people of Sri Lanka and the world the historical and cultural richness of the ancient Jaffna Peninsula (northern province). The event, which is being held on the university campus, was presented yesterday. Indian scholars will take part in the event, a fact that is especially important given the often tense relations between the two countries. more..

Post War Sri Lanka Under the Rajapaksa

Sept 17 (OO) The International Crisis Group (ICG) is known for its detailed on the ground research and its commitment to making impartial but fearless calls. Its conclusion, in its latest report on Sri Lanka, is that the more than two years since the end of the civil war has resulted in lost opportunities for reconciliation. The result is that the different groups that go to make up Sri Lankan society have less understanding of one another's concerns than they did two years ago more..

Sri Lanka urged not to give Philippines elephant

Sept 17 (AP) An international animal rights group on Friday urged Sri Lanka to halt its plan to donate a baby elephant to the Philippines, saying the zoo where it would live is decrepit and doesn’t have enough space for such animals. Officials at the Manila Zoo, where the elephant is being sent, rejected the criticism, saying the facility has taken good care of another elephant from Sri Lanka since 1980. more..

Former Army captain remanded

Sept 17 (DM) A former army captain who was arrested on charges of preventing prisons officials from carrying out their duties when former army commander Sarath Fonseka was taken for treatment to a private hospital on July 21 was remanded till September 23 by a Colombo Court today. When the former captain Gayan Prasad Kumara Vithanage was produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate Ms. Lanka Jayaratne, the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) moved court that more..

'Gamani refreshes memory of a history going into oblivion'

Sept 17 (PRIU) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that Gamani is a film that refreshes our memory of a history that is being forgotten. The film best explains to the viewer the suffering of the people in villages targeted by terrorists, the sacrifice made by the armed forces to protect the people, and various difficulties and challenges encountered by govt servants working in those areas. He made these observations at the launch of the official website of the movie more..

SL v Aus, 3rd Test: Marsh stars again on hard-fought day

Sept 17 (CI) Shaun Marsh justified Australia's decision to keep him at No.3 by making a wonderful 81, but Sri Lanka finished the first day with a slight edge in a match they must win to draw the series. A day that began with changes galore for both sides and an unexpected decision from Tillakaratne Dilshan to send Australia in on a good batting surface finished with the visitors at 235 for 5, with Michael Hussey the key. more..

Paradise lost in a secret war

Sept 17 (SMH) The United Nations recently released a report into war crimes committed in Sri Lanka in the final stages of that country's brutal civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Colombo regime that ended in May 2009. The results were devastating and detailed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians targeted by a rampaging government army and human shields held by Tiger rebels. It was one of the worst massacres of the 21st century but remained largely a secret war, with journalists, more..

Sri Lanka stx edge up in low trade; rupee flat

Sept 17 (Reuters) Stock market edged up on Friday to end six straight losses as investors hunted bargains amid fears of a liquidity crunch and regulatory action. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week took action against a broker that engaged in price manipulation, and warned seven others. The island nation's main share index closed 0.29 percent or 19.99 points firmer at 6,870.92, from its lowest since Aug. 29. But it slipped to the second-best performer in Asia more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 16.09.2011

Accused freed after 11 years of trial

Sept 17 (DM) An accused who was indicted before the Colombo High Court for transporting weapons and explosives at the Chilaw Old Road at Negombo on February 23, 2000 was acquitted by the Colombo High Court today. The accused Chandrakumar Robert Pushparaj was arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Division allegedly for transporting explosives and weapons. The case was heard for eleven years before several Magistrates and High Court judges in Colombo and Negombo. more..

State aid for over 1,000 Sri Lankan Tamil students

Sept 17 (Hindu) The govt will provide financial assistance to over 1,000 Sri Lankan Tamil students pursuing higher education in various colleges in the State. Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam told the Assembly on Wednesday that the govt was providing free school education to Sri Lankan students living in refugee camps. As it was necessary to fund their higher education, it would introduce a finance assistance scheme from this year. About 21,500 Sri Lankan students in more..

Tamil Tigers in court: controversial screening of war crimes documentary

Sept 17 (RNW) In a day bogged down by the virtually lone voice of Judge Van Rossum reading out witness testimonies gathered from Sri Lanka and neighbouring countries, defence counsel Victor Koppe sparked the potential for controversy by requesting the screening of British Channel 4’s “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” documentary. It will be viewed by the court today. The film contains evidence that the govt of Sri Lanka committed war crimes in more..