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Sri Lanka’s economy grew at slowest pace last quarter since 2009

Dec 19 (BN) Sri Lanka’s economy expanded at the slowest pace since 2009 last quarter as faltering global demand hurt exports and a drought curbed farm output. Gross domestic product rose 4.8% in the three months through September from a year earlier, the statistics department said today. That compares with a 6.4% expansion in the previous quarter and the median 6% estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of six economists. more..

Sri Lankan regime under fire with Boxing Day Test protest at MCG

Dec 19 (DT) Cricket's biggest day of the year could be marred by protests as refugee advocates make a stand at the MCG. Security and police numbers could be bulked up to contend with hundreds of protesters at the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Sri Lanka. The threat is being taken seriously by organisers, who have urged activists to rethink their strategy. But support for the rally was building via social media yesterday. A similar campaign was held at more..

Sri Lanka Treasuries yields plunge

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Treasuries yields plunged at Wednesday's auction for the second week running with the 12 month rate falling as much as 27 basis points to 12.18%, data from the state debt office showed. The 3-month yield fell 21 basis points to 10.23% and the 6-month yield fell 25 basis points to 11.53%. The debt office, which is a unit of the Central Bank said it sold 1.0 billion rupees in 3-month bills, 6.0 billion in 6-month bills and 10.0 billion rupees in 12-month bills. more..

Chief justice asks court to quash impeachment guilty verdict by lawmakers

Dec 19 (AP) Sri Lanka's chief justice on Wednesday asked an appeals court to quash a parliamentary committee report that found her guilty of unexplained wealth and misuse of power. She says the verdict was illegal, she was not given a fair hearing and the committee itself was unconstitutional. Lawyers for Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake also asked the court to bar the parliament speaker from announcing a debate and a vote on the report. more..

Sri Lanka had no civil war

Dec 19 (TA) This is in response to your article "Battle for our borders" (19/12). Your reporters have made baseless accusations to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka did not have a civil war. We suffered in the hands of a brutal terrorist organisation, LTTE, which tried to separate the island for nearly 30 years. They mastered and perfected the art of suicide bombings. Our security forces carried out a humanitarian operation and ended 30 years of bloody terrorism more..

Sri Lanka helped India to identify King Asoka – President

Dec 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapakse said that no one can erase the great history created by our ancestors, and no amount of money or might can change a country’s history. He said that we are living in an era in which certain elements are trying to rewrite the history through money power. The President said that the country experienced an era recently in which certain elements tried to prevent the people from speaking about Sinhalese Kings such as King Dutu Gemunu. more..

Sri Lanka look to Herath's spin to save Australia series

Dec 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will be hoping for help from wickets more suitable for spin bowling in the second two tests against Australia after losing the opener by 137 runs on a Hobart track described as a "minefield" by coach Graham Ford. Spin has always been a key weapon in Sri Lanka's bowling armoury since they achieved test status in 1981, not least when wrist-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was taking his 800 test wickets from 1992 to 2010. more..

Australia go into 'quarantine' ahead of second Test against Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (Independent) Australia have put their squad into “quarantine” before next week's second test against Sri Lanka to make absolutely certain there are no additions to their already lengthy casualty list, according to coach Mickey Arthur. Captain Michael Clarke and pace bowler Ben Hilfenhaus were injured in the first of the three matches against the tourists, which Australia won by 137 runs in a dramatic climax at the Bellerive Oval on Tuesday. more..

Lyon is on the right track: Matthews

Dec 19 (CT) Greg Matthews has backed 'Australia's best spinner since Warnie' and questioned the lack of support for tweakers in the country. Former Canberra Comet Nathan Lyon has come under fire for struggling to make an impact on the final day of recent Test matches - a time when pitches are meant to favour spinners. In the Adelaide Test against South Africa, Australia needed just six wickets on the final day to take a 1-0 lead in the series, but its bowlers - with more..

Sri Lanka, Afghanistan to cooperate in defense, education

Dec 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have agreed to cooperate in defense and education as well as open embassies in each other's capital as they step up bilateral relations, a top official said here on Wednesday. The first Afghan Foreign Affairs Minister to visit Sri Lanka, Zalmai Rassoul held a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris ahead of a key meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Peiris told media that more..

Theatrics of the impeachment drama

Dec 20 (CT) The impeachment of the Chief Justice is an expression of a political vendetta by the Rajapakse regime. It is a ‘gut’ reaction by a rabid bourgeois dictatorship that has got accustomed to unquestioning loyalty and abject servility by each and all to its absolute hegemonic domain. It is symptomatic of a megalomaniacal drive for absolute, undivided, omnipotent power. Beyond the psychological-maniacal dimension is the need to preserve and perpetuate the more..

Alfred Duraiappah: Prabhakaran’s 1st victim

Dec 20 (NS) The day of meeting that ebullient man from Jaffna is still fresh in the mind. It was another person of the same ilk that introduced him at the office of the senior Cabinet Minister of the 1970 United Front govt led by Madame Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The introductory words of Nanda Ellawala are also very fresh in the mind, “This is Alfred Duraiappah our Mayor of Jaffna.” Only the date is not certain but it was somewhere in 1971 or 1972 and soon Alfred was to become a close more..

Uma Oya multi-purpose project adds to Govt's development

Dec 20 (SO) The Iran-funded Rs. 76,316 million Uma Oya multi-purpose development project will be completed in four years marking another important milestone in the far-reaching Water Resources Development Programs of the govt to ensure increased agricultural productivity and food security of the people. This will be one more unique project that will add to the many other major development-oriented reservoir, more..

Asylum seekers from Lanka: No solutions in sight

Dec 20 (DBS) Beset by an upsurge of asylum-seekers arriving by boat from Sri Lanka, Australian govt and media personnel continue to rely on the tired shibboleths of the past. Three shortcomings hinder their evaluations. Let me stress three points briefly. 1. The increase in migration is largely due to the snowballing effect of chain migration with Sri Lankan kinsfolk and friends who have migrated to the Western countries over the last forty years assisting aspirant relatives and friends to more..

Private financial institutions overtaking state banks - Amunugama

Dec 20 (Island) Private financial institutions were surpassing the business of state banks as they are more courteous and flexible towards their customer community, said senior minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama. He said finance institutions have turned out to be an important factor in the economic development of the country. Dr. Amunugama that friendship and flexibility towards customers help popularity of any financial institution to attract more customers for mutual development. more..

D-day for planet earth: Everyone’s talking about it

Dec 20 (ST) In villages and cities alike, the “end of the world” is a topic of discussion. Radio, television and print media have dedicated airtime and many column inches to the calamitous event which, it is said, will take place on Friday. “Everyone in our village is talking about it,” said a retired school teacher in Horana, who wished to remain anonymous. “First, they said a meteor would crash onto earth. Then they said there would be more..

Can Parliament directly exercise people’s judicial power?

Dec 20 (NS) Sri Lanka has a democratic system of govt. The cardinal principle of democracy is that the sovereignty is in the people. The sovereignty means and includes peoples’ triple power viz. peoples’ legislative power (power to make and unmake laws), peoples’ executive power (power to enforce and implement such laws) and peoples’ judicial power (power to interpret and apply those laws to settle disputes affecting rights of people). These triple powers are considered more..

'A good third Republican constitution is the need of the day'

Dec 20 (CT) V.K Nanayakkara, former Secretary to Prime Minister and Secretary to many govt ministries, has started his book “In Search of a New Sri Lankan Constitution”, launched two weeks ago, with a quotation from Thomas Babington Macaulay, the 19th century British poet, historian, essayist and philosopher. Macaulay has said that “A good constitution is infinitely better than the best despot”. Macaulay had a good reason to uphold a good constitution over a dictator more..

'Rs. 35bn fuel waste at traffic lights each year'

Dec 20 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama says that a Master Plan which will be devised by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will see that there is a drastic reduction in the Rs. 35 billion fuel wastage at traffic lights which is burnt annually in the western province alone. He also wants the private sector to team up with Sri Lanka Railways to develop the handing, operations and more..

Sri Lankan asylum seekers say they were deceptively lured to Australia

Dec 20 (ABC) Most were Tamils who feared persecution if they stayed in their homeland. But this year boat arrivals from Sri Lanka spiked at more than a thousand a month and many are from the majority Sinhalese community - coming in search of jobs and money. In response, the Australian govt has sent hundreds home, most against their will. Canberra hopes the returns will stem a tide that's overwhelmed Australia's border protection regime. South Asia Correspondent Michael Edwards more..

Brisk buying by foreigners before X’mas holidays

Dec 20 (FT) Foreigners are busy buying attractively-priced select Lankan equities before the onset of Christmas holidays. In the final full-week before Christmas, net foreign buying has amounted to Rs. 350 million, bringing the year-to-date figure to Rs. 37.5 billion. Most of the foreign buying however had been of stakes held by peers who were exiting booking profit. For example, foreign fund Janus figured on the selling side of Commercial Bank but new emerging/frontier more..

CB warns against public sector borrowings, wage increases

Dec 20 (Island) The Central Bank has warned that wage increases could fuel inflation while a spike in international commodity prices and fiscal slippages continue to worry the monetary authority. It has urged the govt to limit domestic borrowings to budgeted levels so that monetary policy would have the desired affect on the economy. "Any upward adjustment to wages without a corresponding increase in productivity could more..

Records tumble at 2012’s final tea auctions

Dec 20 (FT) At the final tea auction for the year concluded this week, a line of St. Coombs Dust 1 Grade was sold at an all-time record price of Rs. 700 per kilo, Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said. The buyer of this line of tea was L.G.W. Perera & Company owned by Akalanka Devinda Perera, a reputed buyer of high quality Dust Grades. St. Coombs Estate, situated in the famous Dimbula Valley, reputed for its quality and flavour, is managed by Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka more..

Indian AHC gifts Gandhi photos for schools

Dec 20 (Island) The Assistant High Commission for India in Kandy has gifted 100 black and white photographs of Mahatma Gandhi to be displayed in schools of the Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and North Western Provinces. The AHC A. Natarajan has provided the photographs on a request made by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in Kandy. Meanwhile, AHC Natarajan has taken steps to gift football kits to school in the Central Province to promote the sport there. more..

TNA will return for bilateral talks if invited

Dec 20 (Island) The TNA says it is willing to have negotiations with the govt, if invited, as a forerunner to a Parliamentary Select Committee on the ethnic question. "We are prepared to recommence bilateral talks with the govt on the ethnic issue as a forerunner to the PSC but it is the govt that is not responding," TNA spokesman, Suresh Premachandran said yesterday. He said that he and his party could not understand more..

Minimum age for ID card revised

Dec 20 (DN) The Department of Registration of Persons changed the age limit of persons applying for National Identity Cards. Those who have completed the 15th years of age can apply for national identity cards. The age limit earlier was 16 years. “Many students faced problems in obtaining their NICs. This move will help overcome them, said Kurunegala District Education Director W M Balasooriya. He said school heads must work with responsibility when their students have to sit more..

Ministry condemns nurses' strike during time of natural disaster

Dec 20 (DN) The Health Ministry condemned the strike launched by a trade union in the middle of a natural disaster where nearly 75,000 people are internally displaced and another 18 dead. Pregnant mothers, elders and sick persons affected by floods are turning in at state hospitals in large numbers these days, a Health Ministry spokesman said. Children, pregnant mothers and patients with chronic diseases in welfare camps have been admitted to hospitals. more..

Killing of British tourist: UK MP fears of cover-up by SL

Dec 20 (DM) British Labour party PM Simon Danczuk has expressed fears of a cover-up by the Sri Lankan govt after Red Cross worker Khuram Shaikh was murdered last Christmas. Speaking as the first anniversary of Khuram’s death approaches, he said he was worried the govt was trying to “quietly drop the case to protect a local politician”. Khuram was shot and stabbed on Christmas day in the resort of Tangelle after more..

Women's rights activists condemn sexist language

Dec 20 (AHRC) We, the undersigned note with extreme concern, the proceedings related to the impeachment hearing of the first woman Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Banadaranayake by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). Any hearing, regardless of the person, must adhere to principles of natural justice and rule of law. In the case of the Chief Justice all those norms and practices have been violated. On 6th Dec 2012, when she appeared before the PSC, more..

Local scientist predicts mid-scale quake on Dec 29

Dec 20 (DN) Sri Lanka is likely to experience a mid-scale earthquake on Dec 29, predicts scientist Lalith Weerawardena. He said scientists can predict where earthquakes are likely to occur based on the movement of the Earth’s plates and the location of fault lines. “They also can make general guesses about when earthquakes might occur in a certain area, by looking at the history of earthquakes in the region and detecting where pressure is building along fault lines,” Weerawardena said. more..

War games with Sri Lanka in Himachal

Dec 20 (Hindu) The Special Forces of India and Sri Lanka are now involved in war games at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. The exercises started on December 3 and are likely to last till December 24 at the Special Forces Training Centre. The two countries are expected to share their experience in counter-terrorism operations in the past two decades, they said. The exercises were scheduled to be held somewhere in more..

Sri Lankan nationals confess to conspiracy

Dec 20 (Hindu) Four Sri Lankan nationals detained on Tuesday by intelligence agencies were allegedly conspiring to trigger blasts in Sri Lanka and even conducted detonation tests some 150 km from the city recently, police sources said. Udayadoss, Sera alias Suresh Kumar, Mageswaran alias Eesan and Krishnamoorthy of Jaffna were arrested by the ‘Q’ Branch CID police under the provisions of the Explosives Substances Act, 1908, and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, more..

Withdraw impeachment immediately - PMD

Dec 20 (LT) The signing of the People’s petition organized by People’s Movement of Democracy (PMD) demanding the government to withdraw the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice took place today (19th) opposite Fort Railway Station. Among those present were lawyers, university teachers and trade union leaders including Parliamentrian Vijitha Herath, Srinath Perera PC, Senior Lecturer Chandraguptha Thenuwara and Attorney Sunil Watagala. The petition states more..

LTTE operative, 3 others arrested

Dec 20 (TOI) Tamil Nadu'Q' branch sleuths on Wednesday arrested a key LTTE operative and electronics expert and three men he had recruited in a plan to revive the banned organisation that had been decimated by Sri Lankan forces in 2009. Investigators made the arrests in information from the Sri Lankan army who recently apprehended two Sri Lankan Tamils on suspicion of attempting to rebuild the outfit. During questioning the men more..

Reconstructed Jayawardana tank opens for public

Dec 20 (MoD) Chairperson of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development SVU, Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa graced the opening ceremony of the reconstructed "Jayawardana" tank to the public at a function held at Nabiriththankadawara in Pannla yesterday (18). Under the patronage of the Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa the tank was rehabilitated by the troops with a view to boost the livelihood of the villagers. Mrs. Rajapaksa awarded the key of the sluice gate more..

BASL throws out two anti-impeachment proposals

Dec 20 (DN) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) rejected two proposals presented to it by the anti-impeachment lobby among the law fraternity, BASL secretary Sanjaya Gamage said. He said BASL president Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa rejected two resolutions forwarded by the anti-impeachment factions at Saturday’s BASL special general meeting, to call on UN organisations, the Commonwealth and the International Lawyers Associations to exert pressure on the govt more..

Free or Charge Detained Students

Dec 20 (HRW) The Sri Lankan authorities should immediately release or credibly charge four ethnic Tamil students from Jaffna University who have been detained since early December 2012, Human Rights Watch said today. The Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) arrested the students amid unrest in the northern city of Jaffna following a security crackdown in late November against attempts to commemorate dead leaders of more..

Strike successful – GNOA

Dec 20 (CT) Nearly 23,000 nurses attached to 600 State hospitals – excluding women's and children's hospitals – took part in an islandwide 24-hour strike yesterday. President of the Govt Nursing Officers' Association (GNOA), Saman Rathnapriya, said the trade union action was successful due to the sheer number of participants. "We have constantly asked the Health Ministry to recruit graduates, but it has failed to do so. There are many vacancies but they have not been filled. more..

BASL wants lawyer’s attackers brought to book

Dec 20 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka, while condemning the recent threats against its Life Member Gunaratne Wanninayake, called upon those tasked with the responsibility of maintaining law and order, including the IGP, to act fast and bring the culprits to book. A statement signed by the Secretary of the BASL, Sanajaya Gamage, says that the BASL would remain vigilant over the recent attempt to assault Attorney-at-Law Wanninayake. Wanninayake hads complained to more..

Floods: 180,000 affected, 20 killed

Dec 20 (Island) Floods caused by torrential rains have affected over 180,000 persons, in eleven districts. According to the figures issued by the DMC, 180,054 persons of 46,627 families have been affected while the death toll has risen to twenty. Thirty-four persons have been injured in flood related accidents. The worst affected districts were Hambantota, Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Moneragala, more..