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No takers for COMBank’s Rs. 1 b debenture

Apr 20 (FT) Commercial Bank’s five-year debenture issue worth Rs. 1 billion had closed this week sans a single application, a development which has shocked analysts. The bank was offering 500,000 unsecured subordinated, redeemable debentures at an issue price of Rs. 1,000 each with an option issue a further equal amount in the event of the oversubscription of the original figure. The issue which opened on 27 March ended on Wednesday with the bank saying it was not subscribed at more..

‘Solution to ethnic issue lies with PSC’

Apr 20 (DN) The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is the most appropriate mechanism to have a collective agreement on the ethnic issue and the govt has already appointed the PSC, minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said many proposals that came through the PSCs were passed in Parliament in the past. The 13th amendment is something that has already been passed in Parliament but anything more or less should be approved by a two thirds majority more..

Sajith says moves to ‘block’ May Day rallies unhealthy

Apr 20 (Island) Sri Lanka being a sovereign nation, any party should have the right to commemorate the May Day anywhere in the country. Any move to suppressthat right was not a healthy sign, said UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa. He said that he had been informed of a move to block May Day celebrations in some parts of the country. However, he said that he was confident that this year too commemorative celebration to mark the death anniversary of more..

NBRO warns people to be on alert for landslides

Apr 20 (Island) The National Buildings Research Organization (NBRO) has alerted the public living in landslide prone areas, of the Southern and Central regions, to be vigilant in view of the inclement weather being experienced in the country. Following a landslide on the Ensalwatte Estate in Deniyaya, causing damage to a house on Wednesday, nearly twenty families have been temporarily evacuated. Steps have been taken to evacuate some families from the Viharahena in more..

Duty free car permits of state officials sold to third parties

Apr 20 (DN) A large scale racket where duty free vehicle import permits issued to executive grade officers of govt departments are being sold to third parties has been uncovered. Certain officers in the state sector are granted duty free permits to import vehicles as a special privilege. According to details that have surfaced, certain large scale vehicle importers have employed separate brokers to purchase these permits. It is further revealed that a permit is sold between more..

Hashish case takes queer turn: Officers mum on suspect’s identity

Apr 20 (Island) Many an eye brow has been raised over the apparent reluctance on the part of the officialdom to reveal the arrest of a British national on a narcotics charge yesterday. The suspect was taken into custody yesterday, when he arrived at the the Central Mail Exchange at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo to collect three parcels. An accomplice managed to escape in spite of the presence of security personnel. more..

MSD warns UNP

Apr 20 (CT) The Ministerial Security Division (MSD) has allegedly warned the UNP through their Personal Security Officers (PSOs) not to attend the May Day celebrations as there is an LTTE threat to VIPs. When contacted, senior UNPer and Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga ridiculed the warning and said “we are going ahead with the May Day rally in Jaffna and we cannot be stopped by such rumours or warnings. It is the government that said they have completely eradicated the LTTE. more..

High Court issues notice on OIC, CID

Apr 20 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse yesterday issued notice on the Officer-in-Charge of the Criminal Investigations Department’s Special Revision Unit. The notice is returnable on April 26, 2012. The OIC has been directed to be present in Court, on that date. In this case, Duminda Silva and his father, Wilson Premalal Silva, had filed a revision application in the High Court of Colombo, seeking to revise a Magisterial order, which refused Duminda Silva’s more..

'We have no fear of been observed'

Apr 20 (CT) The govt said that the satisfactory manner in which the Indian delegation’s visit to Sri Lankan had proceeded would ensure that the myths and theories of Tamil Nadu’s political parties on the plight of the IDP’s could finally be debunked. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said that India could now stop looking at Sri Lanka through Tamil Nadu’s ‘politically-tinted spectacles’. He expressed his satisfaction that the Indian delegation were more..

Buhari Hotel in Jumbo soup

Apr 20 (Island) The Protection Movement of the UNP’s Trade Union wing, the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), lodged a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) yesterday against the management of the JSS-run Buhari Hotel at Maradana. President of the Movement Sanjeewa Samarasinghe said that it was in the 1980s, during the late Ranasinghe Premadasa’s presidency, that the Buhari Hotel had been acquired more..

Enjoining order on health unions extended

Apr 20 (Island) Additional District Judge of Colombo Amal Ranaraja yesterday extended, till May 3, 2012, the enjoining order, issued on the Joint Federation of Paramedical Trade Unions restraining them from resorting to strike action. A group of patients, seeking treatment at government hospitals, had complained to the Court that the impending strike was detrimental to the interests of patients. They said the trade unions should not resort to strikes while more..

UK MP seeks debate on De Silva

Apr 20 (CG) A British Parliamentarian has called for a debate in the British parliament on the diplomatic immunity of the defence attaché at Sri Lanka’s high commission in London, Major General Prasanna De Silva. British MP Siobhain McDonagh told the House of Commons on Thursday that if the attaché is allowed to leave without being questioned, that will undermine Britain’s proud reputation for not tolerating war criminals. more..

Indian Delegation visits Northern Province

Apr 20 (GDI) Indian Parliamentary delegation led by Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition of Indian Parliament together with Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development visited Northern Province today to observe the facilities provided by the Govt for resettled people and to observe the development activities in the Northern region. Minister and Indian representatives first visited Puliyankulam North village. more..

‘Sushma acts as a real diplomat’

Apr 20 (GDI) A clear solution to the power devolution issue could only be provided through the parliamentary select committee appointed by the govt and all the parties represented in the Parliament can submit their proposals and discuss them in the PSC and arrive at an amicable solution which then can be approved by the Parliament with a two third majority. This was stated by Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene addressing the Cabinet Decisions announcement more..

Sri Lanka prematurely commended for avoiding trade sanctions

Apr 20 (LBO) The IMF has prematurely commended Sri Lanka for not imposing trade sanctions on itself, in a bid to end a balance of payment crisis brought by loose monetary policy, newly released documents show. An economic assessment by IMF staff prepared for the 7th review under a 2.5 billion US dollar bailout package welcome several measures taken by authorities to limit credit growth, including raising interest rates and energy prices. more..

Sri Lanka offers its expertise to Seychelles

Apr 20 (Island) Sri Lanka will offer its expertise to Seychelles in countering piracy, boat building, fisheries, education, tourism, health and power generation following the bilateral talks held yesterday between External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris and his Seychelles counterpart Jean Paul Adam. An official State visit is being planned for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Seychelles where further bilateral talks will more..

Import of fuel to India?

Apr 20 (LT) The JVP MP Anura Dissanayake has stated in the Political Bureau of the JVP that met yesterday that there was an attempt by the govt to hand over to India importation of fuel to Sri Lanka. Speaking regarding the fuel crisis that has emerged he said, “There is talk that prices of fuel would be increased again. However, a different issue has propped up. The govt has a financial problem regarding importing fuel. more..

Sri Lanka awards another construction deal to China

Apr 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has awarded a $252.3 million project to Chinese dam builder Sinohydro to construct a reservoir, the island nation's government said on Friday. "The cabinet granted approval to award the contract for the construction ... to Sinohydro to a sum of $252.3 million and to enter into a commercial agreement accordingly," the official cabinet decisions released by the govt showed. more..

'Sri Lanka cricket is in a major mess'

Apr 20 (E24|7) World Cup winning Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga fears the sport in the island nation is heading for disaster because of unprecedented political interference and corrupt administrators. “I’m sure the way we are going, we’ll end up being 7 or 8 in the Test and one-day rankings. Luckily for us we are a talented nation because of that we survive,” said Ranatunga who was saddened at the plight of cricket in Sri Lanka. more..

Six Sri Lankan fishermen rescued by Spanish Navy

Apr 20 (Bernama) The Spanish navy 'Infanta Elena on Thursday rescued six Sri Lankan fishermen captured by Somali pirates along their fishing vessels six months ago. A patrol team had intercepted and boarded the hijacked vessel as part of 'Operation Atalanta', the European Union operation to fight piracy in the Western waters of the Indian Ocean. On board the fishing vessel were seven suspected Somali pirates, along with six Sri Lankan fishermen, the initial crew of the ship. more..

Sri Lankan mosque forced to abandon prayers by protesters

Apr 20 (BBC) A mosque in Sri Lanka has been forced to abandon Friday prayers amid community tensions in the central town of Dambulla. About 2,000 Buddhists, including monks, marched to the mosque and held a demonstration demanding its demolition. A mosque official told the BBC he and several dozen companions were trapped inside and feared the crowd would destroy the building. Overnight the mosque had been targeted by a fire-bombing - no-one was hurt. more..

Sri Lanka shares end down 0.6-pct

Apr 20 (LBO) Shares slumped Friday after a short-lived rally the day before in a knee-jerk reaction to the lifting of price restrictions by regulators, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.64 percent to 5,483.61, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.30 percent to close at 4,924.99. Turnover improved to 622 million rupees. The market lost steam in the afternoon after a morning rally that followed a two percent gain Thursday, when the regulator said more..

Editorial: Health for all: Turn this mirage into a reality

Apr 20 (DM) Most political and other leaders often work in a selfish or self-centred way for personal gain or glory, power, prestige or popularity. They put on an act of sacrificially serving the people but often it is a deception. Some of the precious few who worked quietly and selflessly for the common good of all the people and generations to come in a vital area such as health were the revered Professor Senaka Bibile and his faithful disciple Dr. K. Balasubramaniam. more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

Urbanization of villages underway

Apr 20 (GDI) It is envisaged in the Mahinda Chintana to enhance the village population, who form the majority in the country, with the facilities being enjoyed by the urbanite population. With this objective the govt has launched a programme entitled “Pura Neguma” to urbanize the villages. Under the programme 108 selected villages will be developed as urban areas during this year. The villages are to be selected from the Western, North Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, more..

Foreign job sub agents told to register in time

Apr 20 (Island) All sub agents of foreign employment agencies have been told to forward their applications to be registered as ‘Foreign Employment Promotion Assistants’ soon, as the deadline for the closure of applications was drawing near. General Manager of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau Harischandra Batagoda warned the sub-agents that following the closure of applications, all Police Stations throughout the country would be officially informed to more..

UNP will help Govt. find solution says Ranil

Apr 20 (DM) Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had informed the visiting Indian Parliamentary delegation that his party was ready to help the govt find a political solution to the national issue. He had stressed that UNP had taken this stance as Sri Lanka could no longer afford to delay its resolution. Mr. Wickremesinghe told journalists that he had also said that a political solution should be based on the LLRC recommendations. more..

No anesthetist, no surgeries at Kantale

Apr 20 (LT) Patients who have to undergo surgery at Kantale Base Hospital have to undergo severe hardships due to the absence of an anesthetist at the hospital for more than a month. The anesthetist in the hospital has gone on medical leave but authorities have not taken any steps to find an alternative arrangement. Kantale Base Hospital is the only hospital in the area where patients from Kantale, Thmabalagamuwa, Seruwila, Muttur and villages and colonies around more..

'Touched as a child' says victim of abuse

Apr 20 (BBC) The alleged victim told how she was abused during her childhood to her hypnotherapist in 2009, it was revealed at the hearing on the rape and sexual abuse case against Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana. Prosecution presented its last witness statement against the accused on Thursday. Giving evidence, a former hypnotherapist of one of the victims said that the alleged victim had visited the witness back in 2009. The witness had asked the victim to complete a routine assessment form more..

Heart surgery recommended for Dr Jayalath Jayawardena MP

Apr 20 (IL) Specialist doctors at East Surrey hospital have recommended an open heart surgery for UNP MP Dr Jayalath Jayawardena, a reliable hospital source revealed. Dr Jayawardena was admitted on 11 April after collapsing at Gatwick Airport. A staff member who requested anonymity confirmed yesterday that the MP who has been received treatment at their Intensive Care Unit must undergo a heart surgery. more..

Iran, Sri Lanka want development of economic relations

Apr 20 (IRNA) Iran’s Minister of Economy and Finance Sayed Shamsedin Hosseini and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa stressed need for expansion of relations between the two countries in Wahington on Friday. Hosseini and Rajapaksa held a meeting on the sideline of semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington. The two officials conferred on international and bilateral affairs, emphasizing the more..

'India will provide skills training to Lankan youths'

Apr 20 (GDI) The visiting Indian All Party Parliamentary Delegation accompanied by the minister Basil Rajapaksa visited the Batticaloa district on Friday afternoon. The Leader of the delegation and the Opposition Leader of the Indian Parliament Ms Sushma Swaraj and the Minister Basil Rajapaksa declared open the newly facilitated Vantharumoolai Vocational Training Centre on the invitation of Minister of Youth Affairs and Vocational Training Dalles Alahapperuma. more..

Houses, water and electricity for all plantation sector families

Apr 20 (GDI) People in the plantation areas are already enjoying the fruits of the govt’s development programs. All of them will be soon provided with houses, water supply and electricity. Infrastructure for this purpose is now being built, according to Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He also states that the govt has given priority to raising the educational level of all schools in these areas by appointing graduates from the plantation sector to more..

Two suspects identified in double murder

Apr 20 (CT) Two suspects in the Kotte Rajamaha Viharaya double murder case have been identified by the witnesses at an identification parade held at the Nugegoda Magistrate’s Court today. The identification parade was held before Nugegoda Acting Magistrate Thissa Wijeratene where two out of six suspects were identified by five witnesses. Following the identification parade the Acting Magistrate ordered the suspects to be remanded till 4 May. more..

New Year in Chennai

Apr 20 (GDI) The Sri Lanka High Commission in Chennai has celebrated the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in an elaborated manner on 15th of April at the Chancery premises. The key traditional New Year rituals of both Sinhalese and Tamils were demonstrated with the active participation of the resident Sri Lankan community. The strong cultural links and the common belief system inherited by the Sinhalese and the Tamils in Sri Lanka were accentuated throughout the celebration more..

Leader of the Indian delegation Sushma Swaraj calls on President Rajapaksa

Apr 20 (IL) The visiting Indian parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka headed by the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President’s House (Janadhipathi Mandiraya) in Colombo this morning. The BJP leader and the President discussed the devolution of powers to the Northern and Eastern provinces and Mrs. Swaraj also conveyed the concerns of the major Tamil party, more..

Should education be a commodity?

Apr 21 (DM) Some people remonstrate that through the privatisation of education the quality of education dwindles. And then anyone would be able to buy any education qualification just by oiling the palm of some authority, which is alleged to happen today. Another thing is although we say that we receive free education from the govet, our parents have paid for it. In other words that money is the money of people who pay taxes to the govt. Then it is the quality of education that more..

How serious is Karunanidhi in his call for Tamil Eelam?

Apr 21 (DM) According to the Hindu newspaper the DMK leader said that many new countries had come into being following the U.N. intervention and referendum. Hence, he said that the U.N. should take steps to conduct a referendum that could lead to the formation of ‘Eelam.' “India should also put pressure on this issue” he had stated. Before we look into the merits of the poet cum politician’s latest comments on Tamil Eelam, we can pose him the question as more..

New Year: A borrowed concept?

Apr 21 (NS) After enjoying a 4-day long weekend out of the staggering 126 holidays allowed to the Sri Lankan citizen, the average Sri Lankan will be back at work by tomorrow, hopefully. Sri Lankans irrespective of religion or race enjoys 13 Poya holidays, 12 Public, Bank and Mercantile Holidays and 52 Saturdays and 49 Sundays to top it off. The average Sinhala person, with his inherent holiday spirit celebrates not only the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, more..

Ties that come at a cost

Apr 21 (CT) In June 7, 1970, a 24-year-old Mahinda Rajapaksa, lawyer and the youngest member of the Sri Lankan Parliament, gave an impassioned speech centring on the Palestinian struggle, the first of many more to come over the next four decades. The speech was the vote of thanks to the Throne Speech by the world’s first woman prime minister Mrs. Bandaranaiyake when she came into power, in which she declared Sri Lanka would sever all relations with Israel. Most heads of the country have more..