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Sri Lanka farmers earn US$31mn from Nestlé

Dec 27 (LBO) The Sri Lanka unit of Nestlé, a Swiss-based food group said it had paid 4 billion rupees (31 million US dollars) to dairy and coconut farmers in the island to buy milk and coconuts during 2012. The firm has a network of 23,000 dairy farmers and 5,000 coconut farmers supplying raw materials. "It's nice to end the year having made such a positive impact on the lives of so many," Alois Hofbauer, managing director of Nestlé Lanka Plc said in a statement. "I'm extremely proud of our more..

Tamils and Iranians clash on Manus

Dec 27 (SMH) Seven people including a staff member were injured in a Christmas eve scuffle between asylum seekers on the Australian immigration detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen confirmed seven people sustained minor injuries in the clash between Tamil and Iranian asylum seekers. It is believed the incident happened in the internet room, when the Iranian detainees tried to recruit the Tamil more..

Herath rages against inept display

Dec 27 (CI) As the torment of day one morphed into day two's toil for Sri Lanka, the indiscipline that laid their batting low invaded their efforts in the field and worsened distress to despair. Perhaps it was never fair to expect Sri Lanka to outplay Australia at home, and even less likely they would effect a series win given the paucity of their pace attack. But the most disheartening aspect of their MCG performance has not been their more..

Cable cars to Sri Pada

Dec 27 (CT) The govt has decided to operate cable cars to Sri Pada for the convenience of pilgrims and tourists. However, it was opined by Environment Conservation Trust Chief Executive Tilak Kariyawasam, the impact that the project might have upon the environment. He stressed the need to consider the serious impact on the environmental, cultural and religious impact of the project. He expressed concern about the possibility of a secret plot that might disturb forestry rich in more..

TRC criticizes cricketer Sangakkara

Dec 27 (SM) The Tamil Refugee Council has issued a statement, criticizing leading cricketer Kumar Sangakkara for having suggested that ‘his homeland has become a haven of peace and tranquility.’ The statement alleges, “Sangakkara’s view of the country came from his tunnel vision as a member of the well-off Sinhalese community who was educated at an elite private school, Trinity College in Matale.” The statement reads, Leading Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara is currently in more..

Mahela: Golden glove faces SLC’s iron fist

Dec 27 (DM) The holiday mood in the country may have pushed political issues off the front pages only to give way to that other favourite pastime of Sri Lankans, cricket, and making news this week was national cricket captain Mahela Jayawardena. First, Jayawardena announced that he would be stepping down as captain at the end of the current Australian tour. Then, he got involved in a public spat with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) more..

I’ll take legal action against police spokesman – Wijedasa Rajapaksa

Dec 27 (LT) The President of Sri Lanka Bar Association, MP Wijayadasa Rajapaksa has said he would take legal action against the police spokesman SSP Prishanthe Jayakody. Mr. Rajapaksa’s residence was shot at recently and the police spokesman made a statement to the media regarding it. SSP in his statement had said there was a contradiction in the statements taken regarding the shooting. Mr. Rajapaksa says he would take legal action against the SSP more..

Sri Lanka buying refined petroleum from Vietnam

Dec 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka is buying refined products from State-run Vietnam Oil and Gas group (PetroVietnam) favourable terms and is also getting credit facilities, petroleum minister Susil Premajayantha said. "It is a term contract so it is below the spot market prices," he said. "We are getting three months credit." Premayantha said the purchases have been going on for some time and stemmed from an agreement signed following a visit by President Truong Tan Sang last year. more..

Olympian wants SL overcome fear of water

Strategy to grant security finance to 50 disabilities

Dec 27 (OU) Social Service Ministry Secretary Mrs.Imelda Sukumar said, 34 disabled persons from every divisional secretariat unit was granted security finance this year, and from next year it would be increased to 50. A variety of assistance was provided to disabled persons by the Social Service Ministry. Many working projects are processed, for self-advance activities. Three thousand rupees as monthly donation has been given as security finance by the Social Service Ministry to these more..

Justice Minister cannot interfere with Law College admissions

Dec 27 (Island) Following a controversy over the Law College entrance examination results, the Ministry of Justice has stated that the Minister of Justice is not in a position to interfere with the affairs of the Law College or influence the Council of Legal Education or the Law College with regard to admission of students. A media release issued by the Ministry said and signed by Dr. A.R.A. Hafeez, Media Secretary to Justice Minister Rauf Hakim, says: Results of the Law College entrance more..

Lawyers deplore “false propaganda” against CJ

Dec 27 (DM) The Lawyers’ Collective issuing a statement deplored “false propaganda” against the Chief Justice and said that the attacks against the CJ are not isolated attacks but “meticulously orchestrated attacks coerced and carried out at the behest of highest in authority” Issuing a statement they say; “Among the false accusations intended to mislead the public, they have stated that the CJ has fixed the more..

Delegation to visit LTTE detainees

Dec 27 (DM) UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardene together with the Ven. Dambara Amila Thera and Mannar Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph are to visit the LTTE detainees at the Welikada prisons tomorrow to provide them with a Christmas treat. Dr. Jayawardene said he had decided to do so because their family members were unable to visit them during the festive season. “Prisoners are usually allowed to meet their kith and kin for Christmas or Vesak but these Tamil detainees have more..

Call for increase in public security funding

Dec 27 (Island) With the end of the war there was a need to increase the allocation of funds for public security, while maintaining state security at required levels, the UNP said yesterday. UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said that 75% of the Rs. 289 billion defence budget for 2013, which included Rs.4.5 billion for Urban Development, had been apportioned for the armed forces, while public security had received just 25%. Policing as well as intelligence was growing in significance with more..

Sex education a must – NCPA

Dec 27 (CT) In the light of Sri Lanka being ranked number one in Google searches for the term ‘Sex,’ the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) today said it was imperative to educate Sri Lankan children on sexual issues in a responsible manner. Chairperson of the NCPA, Anoma Dissanayake, expressed her views regarding the subject of sex education in Sri Lankan schools. “Sex education is a subject that must be more..

'Gotha should cease chauvinistic campaigns'

Dec 27 (OU) Defense Secretary Gottabaya Rajapakse immediately should cease racist campaigns and activities targeting the Tamil and Muslim community in Colombo including many areas was said by DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan. Tamil Muslim Alliance arranged a media briefing yesterday in Colombo and on his participation he made this statement. He said, prejudiced voice is emerging now in this country, against the Tamil and Muslim minority community. more..

Diplomats paint one-sided picture of Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (Age) Writing in the Weekend Australian, the Sri Lankan consul-general in Sydney, Bandula Jayasekara, gives a very one-sided defence of the Sri Lankan persecution of dissenters, including Tamils. It is interesting that Jayasekara is being put forward as the Sri Lankan representative in Australia to defend the indefensible, an acknowledgement that the Sri Lankan high commissioner, Thisara Samarasinghe, has singularly failed to get his message across. more..

Some 250,000 rain-affected people still in camps

Dec 27 (DM) Nearly 250,000 people who were displaced because of the torrential rains that lashed the country and the resultant floods are still living in 186 makeshift camps, Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said. He said only about 5% of the paddy fields were affected by the rains. The minister, who returned from an inspection tour in Batticaloa, said the district was the worst affected from among 16 districts that went more..

First steps need smooth ground

Dec 28 (NS) From Tiny Tots, to Cherry Blossoms, Kiddies Pep on to Rosemary, the name boards that are seen in and around Kandy and especially while traveling along the Kandy-Peradeniya Road, are many and diverse. Meanwhile, the number of little heads tossing, with little bags on their backs, is indeed a beautiful sight to be seen early morning. Happily they walk, holding the hands of their parents to ‘school’. Numbers are many, as these preschools keep emerging like mushrooms after more..

K.N. Choksy's constitutional conundrum

Dec 28 (Island) Mr. K.N. Choksy, PC, is a legal luminary who, in recent years, has tended to hide his lights under the bushel of quiet retirement. However, in the past few weeks he has come into the limelight once again to throw light on the controversial Impeachment Motion against the CJ. Even his son has joined him on the Rupavahini ‘’Hit Parade". As reported in the Sunday Island of 16 December, KNC has taken issue with the statement attributed to the President that he is answerable to more..

Kili citizens yearn for better health facilities

Dec 28 (NS) Development process in Kilinochchi has been moving uphill ever since the end of the war. For a region that was devastated because of the war, even the slightest improvement in any sector counts. Till May 2009, thousands of people were affected in several ways. Many of them are yet to recover from the trauma completely. Health officials in Kilinochchi said the most important aspect of the health sector more..

The continuing debate on impeachment

Dec 28 (Island) Not a day passes without comment relating to the impeachment proceedings of Sri Lanka’s CJ, Shirani Bandaranayake. Of these comments the two most common are: 1. Provision in the Standing Order 78A (5) requiring the accused to "adduce evidence, oral or documentary, in disproof of the allegation made against him" violates the normal principle of burden of proof being with the accuser. 2. That the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed under more..

Racing tanks with Bicycles: A parable of ‘Reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka

Dec 28 (GV) Some photographs of ‘aid’ being provided to Sri Lankan Tamils in Keppapilavu were recently posted online. The Keppapilavu community were the last to be released from the Menik Farm Camp, but were not allowed to return home, and instead were forcibly re-displaced into the wilderness. The aid was being provided by a youth group called ‘Sri Lanka Unites’ – whose objective is to promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the ‘Foundation of more..

The Rajapaksas launch ‘Humanitarian Operation II’ against the judiciary

Dec 28 (CT) With a single pronouncement, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has cleared the air of all false hopes, unreasonable expectations and rational imaginings. In his reply to the begging-letter by Ministers Tissa Witarana, DEW Gunasekera and Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the President has stated that the impeachment will go ahead, the Daily News reported on Christmas day. There will be no compromise or détente; more..

‘More on the impeachment’ – A further response

Dec 28 (CT) Izzeth Hussain in his article filed “Chief Justice and the struggle for democracy” published in the Island of 28th November 2012 stated that “There does seem to be a broad national consensus that the govt has acted hastily and put itself in the wrong. On one point there seems to exist a virtual unanimity: the Govt is acting unconstitutionally in arrogating to Parliament judicial functions in regard to the alleged misdeeds of the Chief Justice, whereas under the Constitution Parliament more..

Acts of unreserved surrender by our leaders?

Dec 28 (CT) “Our leaders, by acts of unreserved surrender, have abdicated their accountability to us and totally sacrificed our rights before those in governance” was a pathetic cry heard recently from the wilderness, in a stage play that is in public performance currently. An unknown source is attributed to have narrated the moral of the story as the play came to an end “The pig and the chicken were on their way to breakfast, trying to decide what to have. When the chicken said, more..

Compulsory fitness test draws flak

Dec 28 (SL) The compulsory fitness test for officers from the Presidential Security Division (PSD), Prime Ministerial Security Division (PMSD) and the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) has come under criticism since several officers have collapsed during the test. The fitness test commenced on Dec 7 and is to continue till Dec 31. Those who pass the test are given a payment that is one-fourth the salary added to their more..

Reconciliation through trust and participation

Dec 28 (Island) I must hasten to add that the situation I faced was much less complicated than what prevails today. The civil administration and the people I dealt with did not identify themselves altogether with the LTTE. They were acting under compulsion but were not won over completely. Annihilation of the LTTE created a different mind-set. With all his limitations, Prabhakaran was their kin and he was claiming to fight a war of liberation on their behalf. more..

Editorial: Of that question paper leak

Dec 28 (Island) Most of us are enamoured of the barbershop quartet in which vocalists belt out sentimental, romantic oldies from the 1920s and 1930s. This comment, however, is not about that unaccompanied, melodious quartet or any other piece of evocative music that warms the cockles of many a heart. Instead, it is about an abominable barbershop racket, as it were, involving four unscrupulous males––an Examinations Department employee, a retired military officer, a private tutor and, more..

‘Govt. will meet budget deficit targets’

Dec 28 (Island) While the govt is facing a tough time meeting the 2012 budget targets, a senior minister told parliament that the budget deficit for 2012 and 2013 would be met. "The 2013 Budget has committed to a Budget deficit of 5.8 percent of GDP; the lowest ever since 1977. We have committed to this, having proved ourselves that deficits can be reduced without cutting welfare and development spending," Senior Minister more..

Vehicle racket exposed

Dec 28 (Island) A Dolphin van which was taken on lease from a rent a car service in Mount Lavinia a month ago was recovered by the Organised Crime and Corruption Division of the Mount Lavinia police on Christmas Eve after it was abandoned on the road. The police said that those involved in an organised vehicle racket are now in police custody and they were responsible for the theft of this van as well. The gang members after stealing the vehicle, had prepared false documents and more..

Big onion growers to be provided more facilities

Dec 28 (DN) Matale District Secretary Helen Meegasmulla and high officials of the agriculture department made an inspection tour of the Dambulla Agriculture zone to ascertain the real problems of big onion growers recently. They toured the Galewela area and met onion farmers who explained to the officials their difficulties. The District Secretary promised to provide necessary facilities to expand the big onion cultivation next year, under the govt agriculture expansion scheme. more..

CT Smith downgrades 2012 economic growth

Dec 28 (FT) CT Smith Stockbrokers has downgraded the country’s economic growth for this year to 6.3% from 6.8% earlier, whilst remaining optimistic of a rebound in 2013. The downgrade is on account of the challenges faced mainly in agriculture, forestry and fishing, import trade, export trade and transport sectors. With regard to 2013, CT Smith has slightly revised growth forecast to 7.2%, down from 7.4%. However, it said: more..

Coach hopeful Mahela’s poor run will end

Dec 28 (Island) It’s been more than three years since Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene scored a half-century, away from home in Test cricket. In his last 25 Test innings out of Sri Sri Lanka, Jayawardene has not scored a 50 and lack of contributions from the number four batsman has been one reason for Sri Lanka’s struggles overseas. As a result, for the first time in a long time, Mahela’s average is now below 50. Former captain and the team’s batting coach Marvan Atapattu more..

Belgium’s Flemish heartland looking for more trade with SL

Dec 28 (FT) Flanders, the industrious Belgium province renowned for its logistics hub Antwerp, wants to enhance trade and manufacturing cooperation with Sri Lanka significantly. Kris Peeters, Minister President of Flanders Region, Belgium, revealed this to visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 20 December when Minister Bathiudeen met Peeters in Brussels. Minister Bathiudeen was on an official visit to Belgium when he toured more..

'Health Ministry launched programme to safeguard public health'

Dec 28 (DN) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the Ministry of Health and the Health Ministry of the Western Province Provincial Council have launched a strong and intensified health campaign to safeguard the lives of the people who suffer from various diseases such as the HIV virus, Dengue, liver diseases and tuberculosis in the Western Province which many people have been found to be suffering from at present. more..

Electricity transmission losses down to 12%

Dec 28 (CT) The Ministry of Power and Energy said the electricity transmission losses had been cut down by a great degree in the recent past. According to a senior official at the ministry transmission losses have been cut down to 12% since recently. “Our transmission losses were at 25%, but we managed to cut it down to 12%. To compensate for the losses in Jaffna, we will be opening a power plant there. We can save up to Rs 1,500 million by commencing operations at this new plant,” he said. more..

IOM assists with flood relief efforts

Dec 28 (IOM) The holiday season in Sri Lanka has been marked by heavy rains, high winds and landslides affecting 315,000 people in 20 districts through the country. The hardest hit district is Batticoloa in the Eastern Province with over 229,000 people affected. The police and military are conducting rescue missions where needed and the government is providing cooked meals to those who have been displaced by the storms. 13,008 houses have been reported by the govt’s more..

Captain Cool strokes the ball back to the bowler

Dec 28 (Island) The 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka Cricket captain turned Kalutara District DNA MP Arjuna Ranatunga says that he has been invited to rejoin the SLFP but he has declined the offer on a matter of principle. "I have been invited by my friends in the SLFP to rejoin the party but I have rejected the offer as the current policies of the SLFP are a far cry from those of the Bandaranaikes," Ranatunga told The Island more..

Ministry moots scheme to control invasive plants, animals

Dec 28 (DN) The Environment Ministry is to introduce a new scheme for management and effective control of invasive alien plant and animal species. All plant and animal species brought into the country would be strictly monitored once the new scheme is introduced, Environment Ministry Biodiversity Secretariat senior officer Ajith Silva said. He said legal and policy frameworks have been formulated with stakeholder consultations to address gaps in controlling the introduction and more..