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JVP claims Pelwatta Sugar still to commence ops after takeover

Feb 9 (Island) The JVP - led Inter Company Employees' Union (ICEU) yesterday claimed that the Pelwatta Sugar Company was yet to commence operations three months after it was taken over by the govt. ICEU President Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the sugarcane crushing period was scheduled to commence on Jan. 15 but it had not started yet. He said that the company ran at full capacity under the previous administration while govt's administration had failed to meet the target. more..

Sri Lanka location services could attract Vietnam films: envoy

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka could attract Vietnam's growing film industry to shoot on location, as the two countries shared many similarities, Hanoi's envoy to the island Ton Sinh Thanh said. "Vietnam's film industry is growing and Sri Lanka has many beautiful locations," ambassador Thanh told reporters in Colombo. "At one time films were made by the government, but after the Doi Moi reforms many private companies are making films." Vietnam started its Doi Moi or 'renewal' market more..

Colombo City Tour marked 2nd Anniversary with special CSR Project

Feb 9 (GDI) The Colombo City Tour, Sri Lanka’s first ever open deck sightseeing tour which is a venture of Sri Lanka Tourism and Ebert Silva Holidays celebrated its 2nd Anniversary recently. To mark this event the Colombo City Tour team carried out a special CSR project for 100 children of the deceased and disabled war heroes of the Gamunu Watch Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army. Major General Susil Udumalagala, Director General MGO Branch Army Headquarters and more..

'TNA obstacle to post-war reconciliation'

Feb 9 (Island) Western powers should realize that the TNA is still pursuing a separatist agenda at the expense of Sri Lanka recovering from three decades of bloodshed, SLFP’s Batticaloa Organizer and presidential advisor, Arun Tambimuttu alleges. Slain EPRLF MP, Sam Tambimuttu’s son, Arun is concerned that the TNA’s partnership with Western powers can cause a debilitating setback to ongoing national reconciliation efforts. Tambimuttu, in a brief interview with The Island, more..

Dhammika Dissanayake new Secy. Gen. of Parliament

Feb 9 (Island) The Parliamentary Council, which met yesterday under the chairmanship of Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, approved the nomination sent by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint Deputy Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake as the Secretary General of Parliament. Dhammika Dassanayake is an LLB graduate from the Colombo University, an Attorney at Law by profession and has worked in the Foreign Employment Bureau since 1988. more..

Land grabbing: By the sea, in the Fort, wherever it is

Feb 9 (LB) With the end of the war and tourism development, the value of Sri Lankan beachside properties have greatly increased, nowhere more so than in the Southern Province which is one of the main hubs of tourism. Unfortunately, incidents of land grabbing have also increased parallel to that. During a recent visit to Galle this writer came across several incidents of large scale land grabbing spanning hundreds of acres. While some small scale land grabbing more..

'No faith in LLRC report'

Feb 9 (DM) Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, UPFA Gampaha District MP and widow of former Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, yesterday charged that the LLRC had completely forgotten the victims of LTTE terrorism and that its report was not unbiased. “I must specifically mention that I have no faith in the LLRC or its report. They never got our views though we were affected. They have forgotten the victims of LTTE terrorism and I suspect that they were catering to international pressure. So their report was not totally unbiased,” more..

Few refugees recognized from Sun Sea, Ocean Lady

Feb 9 (NP) The refugee claims from the nearly 600 Sri Lankans who paid smugglers to ferry them to Canada are moving slowly and face dwindling odds of success, new statistics show. More than two years after the Ocean Lady arrived off Vancouver Island carrying 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, only one has been accepted as a refugee so far, according to newly released Immigration and Refugee Board figures. Another has been ordered deported and more..

CEB wants refrigerators switched off for two hours

Feb 9 (Island) The CEB will soon request consumers to switch off their refrigerators for a minimum of two hours, during the peak hours, between 6.30 pm and 9.30 pm to avert a power crisis. CEB acting Chairman said that along with other stakeholders, Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) and Sustainable Authority of Sri Lanka, a vigorous campaign would be launched to create public awareness of the benefits of the planned move. more..

'Privatization of factories contrary to govt claims'

Feb 9 (DM) The privatization of the Hingurana and Kantale sugar factories was not in keeping with the govt’s policy of keeping under-utilized ventures under its care, UNP MP Harsha De Silva charged in Parliament yesterday. Dr. de Silva, who was speaking during an adjournment debate in the House yesterday, said that a 49 percent stake of the Hingurana Sugar Factory had been sold through the Colombo Stock Market recently, more..

Rudd under fire over Sri Lanka report

Feb 9 (SMH) Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is under fire for failing to respond to a Sri Lankan govt report on that country's civil war, despite repeatedly promising he would. The LLRC - set up by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010 - released its long-awaited report into the 26-year conflict two months ago. The Canadian and UK govts have been among critics of the report, saying it does not adequately address address persistent allegations that both sides of the conflict committed war crimes. more..

Former Maldivian president's family seeks refuge in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (Xinhua) The family of former Maldivian President Mohammad Nasheed have sought refuge in Sri Lanka following the unrest in the Maldives. Sources at Sri Lankan President's Office told Xinhua on Thursday that Nasheed's wife Laila Ali had spoken to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the telephone after arriving in the country. President Rajapaksa had then telephoned the newly appointed Maldivian President Mohammed Waheed Hassan and more..

Editorial: Maldivian democracy and Nasheed's integrity

Feb 9 (DM) Whatever triggered the unrest and the growing unpopularity of Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed among the citizens, his resignation comes at a time when democratic principles are extinct. Nasheed was the first democratically elected Maldivian president, whose appointment ended the three- decade autocracy of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He was the change people were anticipating; in the wake of his election victory people thought they found their leader and the country more..

Sri Lanka shares end down 2.3-pct

Feb 9 (LBO) Stock market slumped further Thursday, with the main index losing 125 points after falling 100 points the day before, down for the seventh straight trading session, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 2.30 percent at 5,316.99, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 2.00 percent to close at 4,627.14. Turnover was 871 million rupees. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 1.30 rupees to close at 163.60 rupees with 1.26 million shares changing hands. more..

British Lords and MPs bid farewell to outgoing Deputy High Commissioner Amza

Feb 9 (IL) Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sri Lanka (APPG-SL) in the British Parliament Rt Hon the Lord Nesaby PC hosted a grand receiption to bid farewell to the outgoing Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Mr P.M.Amza on 06 February (last Monday) at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Room in Westminster Hall. This is the first time a Sri Lankan diplomat has been hosted to a farewell at the Houses of Parliament. more..

Strauss and Bell plan to reach Sri Lanka early for better preparation

Feb 9 (PTI) England captain Andrew Strauss and middle-order batsmen Ian Bell plan to reach Sri Lanka, a week earlier than the rest of the England team in a frantic move to prevent another debacle against spin bowling. Both of them want to get acclimatized to Lankan conditions before England tour starts on March 26. This is being seen as a desperate attempt by the duo to avoid another humiliating series whitewash in the subcontinent. Some members of England`s management more..

'Central bank will not intervene at fixed price'

Feb 9 (LBO) Central Bank will not intervene at a fixed price but will continue to supply part of the dollars needed to settle petroleum bills Governor Nivard Cabraal said after a trading band was removed Thursday. The central bank stepped back from intervening within a fixed band earlier on Thursday after weakening the band by 30 cents to 114.60 rupees in the spot dollar market. "We are going to intervene with quantity. It will not be based on the price," more..

Sri Lanka president urges safety of Nasheed

Feb 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the new Maldivian govt to ensure the personal safety of his ousted counterpart Mohamed Nasheed. Rajapaksa's spokesman Bandula Jayasekera said the Sri Lankan president had telephoned the new Maldivian president Mohamed Waheed Hassan yesterday to urge him to ensure the safety of Nasheed. This was in the midst of violent protest in Male by Nasheed's MDP supporters. more..

Sri Lanka shippers warned of growing power of carriers

Feb 9 (LBO) Shipping lines are coming together and concentrating their power to survive a downturn in trade that is causing losses but a recent freight rate hike might not last, Sri Lankan shippers have been told. "The top 20 carriers now control 84 percent of ship board capacity - there is a concentration of power," said Parakrama Dissanayake, chairman of Aitken Spence Shipping. "How would exporters, importers and shippers react to this?" more..

Sugar production to at Hingurana Sugar factory

Feb 9 (DM) Sugar production will start at the Hingurana Sugar factory by the middle of this year using the sugarcane harvest expected from present cultivations, the govt said in Parliament today. Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardane told the House that farmers were happy about the new deals signed in this respect. “I recently visited the factory. We have to wait for the harvest. By June, we will be able to start sugar production,” he said. more..

WikiLeaks: A top Sri Lankan Major General is a US informer

Feb 9 (CT) Major General Prasad Samarasinghe the former Military Spokesman and Director, Directorate of Media in the Army has provided valuable information to the US and contradicted government’s official versions, according to a cable sent by the US Embassy Colombo. Major General Samarasinghe who is also the Chief Signal Officer (CSO) of the Army and Chief Controller, Centre for more..

Sri Lankan apparel industry tops US $4 bn mark

Feb 9 (F2F) Sri Lanka’s apparel industry has surpassed the US $ 4 bn mark for the first time in its export earnings reaching $ 4.09 bn for 2011. As the industry tops $ 4 bn in foreign exchange it has also recorded a 22 percent growth over 2010 where the earnings were $ 3.2 bn. “We have now a bigger challenge to sustain the $ 4 bn level. This is largely due to the recession in the West. The USA and Europe are our biggest markets. However, we do not consider this as a serious threat as more..

Mahela targets Australian attack

Feb 9 (CI) The triangular series needs a strong Sri Lanka, especially after their slow start to the tournament on Wednesday night in Perth. The much-criticised format finds itself in a strange situation even before the end of the first of the four legs of the league stage. The crowds are coming to Australia games only - the India-Sri Lanka game was watched by fewer than 7000 at the WACA - but it's when India played Sri Lanka that we got the only close international game of the summer, across formats. more..

Case against Shavendra dismissed

Feb 9 (SL) The District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Tamil victims of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka against Shavendra Silva, a former Sri Lanka Army general, who is now Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, a statement released in Washington today said. Tamil plaintiffs in the case turned to a U.S. court to obtain redress and establish the truth about more..

Sri Lanka rupee eases lower with no intervention

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's rupee fell against the US dollar to below 115 rupees after the Central Bank stopped intervening on a specific price, following a 30 cent lowering of its band earlier in the day. The rupee fell from 114.30 to in the spot market Thursday with the lowering of the intervention rate. The spot dollar traded at prices ranging from 115.10 to 115.90 before strengthening backing 115.50 levels, dealers said. more..

Approx 15,000 new cases of Cancer diagnosed in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (DM) Every year approximately 15,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Sri Lanka and the number is on the increase. Recognizing this vital need, the Rotary Club of Colombo, has launched the lifesaving project setting up the ‘Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Centre ’ in partnership with the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) of the Ministry of Health, a spokesman said. The ‘World Cancer Day’ was marked around the world on February 04 with more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 09.02.2012

Crocodile of Ragama on its final journey in Dehiwala

Feb 9 (NF) The crocodile that is suspected to have killed an individual and caused fear among residents of Ragama has died. The reptile was captured by residents on February 7. Speaking to Newsfirst, the Vice Chairman of the Crocodile Specialists Group for South Asia and Iran of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Anslem Silva said that according to reports the reptile may have been one of the largest found in the region. more..

CID seek public help to trace Kahawatta killers

Feb 9 (DM) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is seeking the help of the public to trace the suspects involved in the double murder which took place in the Kotakethana area in Kahawatta between January 31 and February 2. The victims, a mother and daughter, were identified as Kavindya Chathuranganie (19) and Nayana Nilmini (52). Several police teams under the direction of the senior DIG in charge of the Sabaragamuwa Province have been deployed into the area. more..

Not so sweet warning by Health Ministry

Feb 9 (DM) Hotels, restaurants, tea kiosks and cafeterias where sugar is being used as a sweetener are to be advised to display a health warning regarding the excessive use of sugar and the diseases caused by it. In a bid to minimise the rapid increase of sugar induced diseases like diabetes, the Health Ministry has taken steps to issue guidelines on the consumption of sugar, Health Ministry spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayaka said. more..

Illusory independence

Feb 10 (NS) “Under the current regime, with its urge for development, the neglected Shrine is being erased. As its designer, I really don’t know what to say! I don’t know if I should say anything against what’s happening to the Memorial now, because it makes no sense as such; it was an orphan from its very beginning! The erasure of the Shrine is actually a process of enacting an abstract MONUMENT for our collective amnesia, and for our opposition mentality! I’d say that this more..

Bugbear of party politics

Feb 10 (NS) Has the country attained the required level of independence over the last six decades? It has so far failed to emerge as a prosperous nation utilising the rich human, material and natural resources. The main reason for this debacle is the political leaders’ failure to adopt a political system capable of providing an environment for all communities of the country to live in equality and dignity. Sri Lanka’s 64th Independence Day dawned today. more..

Everything to Each Other

Feb 10 (CT) His films taught us about life. Her films taught us about love. The duo Lester James Peries and Sumithra Peries have been more than a blessing to the Sri Lankan cinema industry. Their creations not only succeeded in bestowing a cinematic culture to Sri Lanka, but they also raised Sri Lankan art to a new level by making the world recognize Sri Lankan films. Many are the artistic gifts they have given this country. more..

President failed to utilise opportunity presented at Independence Day celebrations

Feb 10 (TC) Addressing the nation and the international community on Independence Day President Mahinda Rajapaksa made many inspirational statements. These could be regarded as statements of govt policy that will charter the future course of the country. The President’s speech was also finely tuned to appeal to the nationalism of the masses of people and their sense of patriotism. Making reference to the economic crisis that the country was experiencing and more..

On Puswedilla and pushing the envelope

Feb 10 (LB) During Premadasa’s time, those who were responsible for stage dramas — political satire – on the lines of the Puswedilla spoof were ‘disappeared’ said President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week, speaking to editors of national newspapers at Temple Trees. The president has all the right to say so. This Pus ‘satire’ may have not passed muster during the Premadasa era, and the fate of the director and producer of a Premadasa spoof during his tenure is only too well more..

Constitution stipulates devolution of police powers to provincial councils

Feb 10 (DBS) The devolving of some Police Powers to the Provincial Councils is a Constitutional requirement that is yet to be implemented in practice. In recent times this important issue has been muddied further by President Rajapaksa’s pronouncements that Police powers will not be given to the Provincial councils. Apart from being a violation of the Constitution this stance amounts to a dilution of devolution already granted to more..

Editorial: 'HR gods climbing down trees'

Feb 10 (Island) A suspect's hands are tied behind his back and raised with a rope looped over a pulley until his shoulders are dislodged; incisions are inflicted on his body and a stinging liquid poured; his nails are pulled out with pliers after pins and needles are driven into the quick; burning coal is placed on the sensitive parts of his anatomy. He is made to go through hell until he reveals what his torturers demand to know. These are some of the methods employed to make more..

Indiscipline in police

Feb 10 (FT) The transfer of 122 policemen in the Mahiyangana police station has created headlines and left many wondering as to whether this is a positive development. On the surface, officials insist that the sudden change was due to disciplinary issues but the question remains as to whether this was overkill, and if not, what exactly is being concealed from the people. The fact that all transferred policemen have not requested to have their transfer revoked is another more..

Sri Lanka’s first PGA golf event tees off on February 15 in Kandy

Feb 10 (Island) Asia Pacific Senior Golf Masters Tournament, which is the first marquee PGA event in the country, organized by Sri Lankan Airlines will get underway on February 15 at the Victoria Golf and country resort in Kandy. Over 60 professional golfers from all around the world will pack their bags to stake a claim to be the first player to win a major golf tournament in Sri Lanka. The stroke play for the actual trophy will be played on more..

First rehabilitation centre in Asia for elephants

Feb 10 (SO) For us Asians, the elephant has become not only a powerful cultural symbol also a mark of fortune and prosperity within traditional framework. So strongly had the elephant become associated with man since ancient history until man destroyed its natural habitats. Thereby a chapter of tragic conflicts between man and elephants began to unfold bringing chaos and devastation on both parties. When man gradually encroached upon the elephants' natural home more..