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World Bank approves additional US $ 11 million for ICT enhancement project

Feb 1 (WB) The World Bank today approved a US$11 million concessional credit to Sri Lanka in the form of additional financing to assist Sri Lanka enhance its ICT services that would help gain a considerable competitive advantage in the region post becoming a Middle Income Country. The implementing agency for this project is the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka. more..

CEPA review expedited

Feb 1 (DM) The Inter Agency Committee appointed to review the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, has been asked to expedite work on the matter, officials said today. The CEPA which provides for more liberalised trade between Sri Lanka and India was to be signed initially in 2008. However, it was put on hold due to concerns by certain quarters including local businessmen and industrialists. more..

The Fog of an Uncivil War in Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (NYT) It has been nearly three years since Sri Lankan govt troops crushed the separatist Tamil Tigers in a gory, scorched-earth campaign that brought an end to three decades of civil war. The final battles — with some 300,000 civilians caught in the crossfire — were fought on the northern beaches and in the impoverished hamlets of the island nation. But the fog of war still has not lifted in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka said Tuesday that it would not be sending a review of more..

When and why high-profile investigations fail

Feb 1 (ST) Many a police investigation in high profile cases in Sri Lanka has failed due to high profile interference. As often happens in such cases, the head of state, the IGP, and other powerful personalities take it upon themselves to direct investigations. The unfortunate feature then is the lack of professionalism, and how the investigations change course. Instead of starting the investigation from the scene of crime and finding more..

Sri Lanka may take act on high credit growth

Feb 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka may take action to cool down continuing high credit growth in the economy which has caused some concern, central bank governor said. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal also said the country will sell a $1 billion eurobond this year as Sri Lanka's debut $500 million sovereign bond is maturing in 2012. He said the timing and tenure are not yet decided. Private-sector credit growth has been at a 17-year high more..

Global confab of Lankan docs to help colleagues in North, East

Feb 1 (Island) A Global Conference to enable doctors of the North and East tacquire the expertise of Sri Lankan doctors serving in England, Australia and USA would be initiated by the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) by June this year. Public Relations Officer SLMA, Dr. Deepal Wijesuriya said the SLMA would establish branch Associations in these countries within the next six months as a preliminary step. more..

Minister hints at water rate hike

Feb 1 (Island) Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa recently hinted at an upcoming tariff hike on water, warning that it would become an expensive commodity in the near future due to waste. Yapa said that waste of water in Sri Lanka was going from bad to worse. Water management played a key role in bringing about economic development of a country. The minister said that water waste recorded in the country was very high mainly due to more..

Indian poachers released amidst controversy over ...

Feb 1 (Island) Following differences over the modalities regarding the handing over of six Indian trawlers along with 43 fishermen detained by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) last week, the Sri Lankan govt has asked them to leave. Authoritative sources told The Island that the Indian naval authorities wanted the transfer to take place 15 nautical miles north of Kankesanthurai, whereas the SLN suggested a point off Trincomalee. more..

Sri Lanka shares end down 0.2-pct

Feb 1 (LBO) Shares closed weaker Wednesday for the second day after a brief recent rally, with warrants in Environmental Resources Investments which has attracted controversy losing half their value, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 0.20 percent at 5,682.33, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.33 percent to close at 4,909.46. Turnover was 1.3 billion rupees. Environmental Resources Investments W0002 warrants, the biggest loser of the day, more..

Editorial: Delhi should not brook TN's unruly crowds

Feb 1 (DM) Despite the tricky tales of wading the troubled waters by the fishermen of the two territories, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka had been connected from the time immemorial. It has been the holy land for many Sri Lankan Hindus who were in the habit of making frequent pilgrimages there. In spite of the occasional turmoil created by the groups of LTTE sympathizers in Tamil Nadu, the security of the ordinary pilgrims was never in question; they were never harassed for more..

Suspected bird flu case in Bingiriya

Feb 1 (DM) The Health Ministry this morning called for a full investigation on the Bingiriya chicken farm which had a suspected case of bird flu after 1,000 chickens were found dead including one which showed symptoms of the flu. Ministry officials said two groups of experts from the Health Ministry as well as the Livestock and Animal Production Department of the Agricultural ministry had carried out tests to determine the cause of the deaths and more..

Sri Lanka regulator imposes trading restrictions on warrants

Feb 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's markets regulator has imposed trading restriction on warrants of Environmental Resources Investments (ERI) after the firm said it wants to delay their conversion to shares. Prices of the ERI warrants had slumped in recent weeks amid selling pressure. The extension of the warrant conversion was passed at an extraordinary general meeting of ERI shareholders Wednesday, ERI said in a stock exchange filing. It said the SEC would allow the more..

SriLankan Airlines hires more cadet pilots

Feb 1 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines' latest batch of cadet pilots were awarded their 'wings' when they passed out as Junior First Officers recently at the international airport in Katunayake. "With plans for expanding the fleet size to 30 aircraft by 2015, more recruitment will be initiated to meet growing demand with SriLankan gearing to increase its’ route network," the airline said. "The batch of 2010 (cadet pilots) underwent a stringent one-year training programme before qualifying to fly with the national carrier," more..

Sri Lanka High Commission hosts London Consular Corps Seminar

Feb 1 (IL) Executive Committee member of the Consular Corps of London, Chaminda Kularatne organised the 999 Seminar of their Consular gathering at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Hyde Park Gardens, London recently. A large number of diplomatic officers turned up at the Chancery of the Sri Lanka High Commission to attend the 999 Seminar conducted by the Consular Corps of London. more..

Fisheries Ministry to bring Lankan fishermen back

Feb 1 (DM) The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource is taking steps to bring the remaining sixteen Sri Lankan fishermen in India along with four of their trawlers. The fishermen are residents of Gandara and Trincomalee. “We have also taken steps to release six fishermen along with their multi-day-trawler taken hostage by Somali sea pirates,” a spokesman for the Ministry said. “For that purpose we have contacted the Sri Lankan Embassy in South Africa through the more..

Fisheries Ministry to bring Lankan fishermen back

Feb 1 (DM) The police apprehended a Malaysian couple and three others yesterday, for questioning, regarding a racket where a number of persons were defrauded under the pretext of providing jobs in Malaysia. The police has also taken into custody four passports supposedly belonging to four job aspirants along with Rs.180,000. The Malaysian couple had arrived in the island on Jan 28 and had stayed in a house of one of the other suspects, located in Dikkiriya in Matale Aluviharaya. more..

Appreciation for Tony Blankley

Feb 1 (WT) I first met Tony Blankley in his office at The Washington Times in August 2006, when newspaper offices were in a flux over the trans-Atlantic aircraft plot - a terrorist scheme to blow up at least 10 airliners traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada. Despite chaos raging all around him, Mr. Blankley honored the appointment he had with me and gave me his undiluted attention for 20 minutes. The professional in him did not more..

People’s Tribunal promotes justice

Feb 1 (UCAN) Activists have held a “People’s Tribunal” to call for justice and highlight the plight of victims of land grabbing. Many people attending the event on Monday called on the activists to stop the government taking land and displacing people for so-called development projects. The event brought a wide range of abuses into focus through the staging of public hearings. “My land was seized by the government for a proposed project which has forced us to leave our homeland and jobs,” more..

NHDA bounces back from verge of closure

Feb 1 (Island) The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA), which was to be closed down one and half years ago, has now been transformed into an active public enterprise, with major State banks pledging Rs. 4 bn to facilitate housing projects this year, Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa said recently. He said that the NHDA would implement 113 housing projects for the benefit of low income people living in all districts. Addressing a public gathering at Maharagama recently, more..

Island wide strike halts train services

Feb 1 (BBC) Train services in Sri Lanka are halted throughout the country as a result of a strike action by railway professionals. The convenor of Professional Trade Union Alliance (PTUA), Janaka Fernando, told BBC that the strike was called after repeated reminders of their demands including resolving pay anomalies. “The Railway Department is forced to stop all train services in Sri Lanka as a result of the industrial action,” he added. more..

Pampered maids in Dubai sniff at flying budget airlines

Feb 1 (E24|7) A maid’s employment contract in the UAE states that it is the liability of the employer to fly the maid into the country and after two years of employment, provide a return ticket to her home country. While many residents, of their own accord, go beyond the contract and provide maids with additional incentives such as a food and clothing allowance and regular extras like tips etc., a new demand that is adding to the residents’ burden is the refusal of some more..

Sri Lanka's cash crisis threatens to overshadow tri-series tour

Feb 1 (SMH) This summer's tri-series will be played amid a backdrop of a pay dispute which sees Sri Lanka's players owed as much as $US 5million due to a cash crisis within the country's governing body. As Mahela Jayawardene's team battle the world's top two ODI sides on the field during this month's tri-series, off the field its players union will be taking on its cash-strapped board in a row which threatens to send cricket in the island nation further into turmoil. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 01.02.2012

Puttalam court issues death sentence

Feb 1 (SL) The Puttalam High Court issued the death sentence on a suspect arrested in 2007 for having heroin in his possession. P. Mohomad Jauffer was found guilty today for having heroin in his possession when a vehicle was stopped at a police check point in Nagaviluwa, Puttalam in 2007. Puttalam High Court judge S.B Arafat Kassim issued the death sentence when the case was taken up for hearing today. The first accused in the case, K. Selvaratnam, was released by more..

SL Navy can't patrol entire boundary line

Feb 1 (DM) Sri Lanka said yesterday if its navy had the capacity to patrol the entirety of the Sri Lankan territorial waters, not a single seafarer would be allowed to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). In an interview with India’s ‘Newsxlive’, Sri Lanka High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam said the Sri Lankan Navy did not have sufficient vessels to patrol the entire boundary line and thus was unable to prevent fishermen or others from the crossing over. more..

Geoff Marsh still has not been given a reason as to why he was sacked

Feb 1 (SNF) After a hectic month in which his younger son Mitchell blitzed the Big Bash, elder son Shaun was dumped from the Australian one-day squad and he was sacked, the former Test selector and coach says he was still in the dark about his personal situation. Back in Australia, Marsh said he was now on the lookout for another coaching role - while still baffled about why he is not still planning Sri Lanka’s upcoming series against Australia. more..

Fake Rajapaksa associates arrested

Feb 1 (DM) Two men who posed as close confidants of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa were taken into custody in Galkiriyagama for promising villagers in Uduruwa South that they will be given jobs in state banks and the customs department. They had also asked them for money. The two men had come to the area in a vehicle which had posters and stickers of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

4 TN fishermen repatriated by coast guard from Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (PTI) Four Tamil Nadu fishermen who had strayed into Sri Lankan territorial waters after putting out to the sea were today repatriated along with their fishing boat by the Indian Coast Guard. The fishermen, who had ventured out into the sea for fishing from Jegathapattinam on Jan 25, did not return to the shores as scheduled the next day after their boat engine suffered a technical snag and the craft drifted to Delft island in Sri Lanka in the Palk Strait. more..

PIL petition seeks protection for fishermen

Feb 1 (Hindu) The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday adjourned to February 23 the hearing on a public interest litigation petition seeking protection for Tamil fishermen from the Sri Lankan Navy as well as a contempt of court application filed against senior Central govt officials alleging disobedience of an interim order passed by the court on October 14 to provide adequate protection. A Division Bench of Justices Chitra Venkataraman and more..

Fitch releases Sri Lankan banking sector report

Feb 1 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings Lanka has released a special report on the Sri Lankan banking sector that highlights the structure, performance, trends and other developments pertaining to the sector. The agency notes that the Sri Lankan banking sector is concentrated and dominated by the public-sector banks that accounted for about half of sector assets at end-2010. The six large banks identified as systemically important accounted for 64% of sector assets at end-2010. more..

Lankans look forward, not back, says Malinga

Feb 1 (SMH) The marvel of Sri Lanka's last visit to Melbourne, slinging speedster Lasith Malinga, says his team will not get cocky from winning its past two one-day international series against Australia. Malinga carried the drinks yesterday in a depleted Sri Lanka XI's 23-run loss against the Victoria 2nd XI. In late 2010 he provided the highlight of the lightning limited-overs series before the Ashes with a pivotal half-century against Australia at the MCG. more..

India, Sri Lanka hold defence dialogue

Feb 1 (PTI) Aiming to enhance bilateral defence cooperation and to discuss the regional security situation, India and Sri Lanka have held the inaugural round of Annual Defence Dialogue here. The two sides were on Tuesday represented by the Defence Secretaries, officers of the armed forces and those from the Defence Ministry. "Regional security situation including issues of maritime security in the Indian Ocean region dominated the more..

Give SL time to carryout LLRC recommendations

Feb 2 (DM) I am aware that many others in this room – officials of the European Parliament, the EEAS, the European Commission – from ECHO, DEVCO, TRADE, as well as from the Belgian Government, have similarly travelled to Sri Lanka in recent times and/or have followed developments in my country over an even longer period of time. As a result, the Government of Sri Lanka takes your assessments made here as informed views, and whatever concerns you express, with more..

Black January and enemies within the fraternity

Feb 2 (DM) Here in Sri Lanka, those who step into the troubled waters of journalism do not come with fairytale versions of the vocation which comes without a collar. Nor do they come with the expectations of exhibiting swashbuckling heroics. They are under no illusion that with it come the perks and privileges inherent to lesser risky professions. In here, anyone who becomes a journalist does so by his or her individual choice; there is a risk one carries of being more..

Private universities: A note on options

Feb 2 (NS) Student leaders of the JVP rebel faction’s ‘Jana Aragala’ movement often claim the govt is intent on bringing an act which will pave the way for the establishment of private universities and the destruction of the country’s free education system. Not only do they make these claims, they are also carrying on aggressive protest campaigns against it at universities. They even attempt to persuade school children to join in their protests. more..

A plague on all your houses!

Feb 2 (SL) The title of this week’s column is one that has been front and centre in my mind for a very long time and well you might say, “Given the Sri Lankan reality, absolutely no surprise there!” The “Houses” I refer to are the political parties and other entities that pretend to provide a voice for the people of this country. The constituent parties (and their members) of the current ruling coalition, of course would receive No. 1 billing in that regard for reasons that should be obvious. more..

Prabhakaran, The LTTE and Fascism: The evidence

Feb 2 (CT) Was the LTTE fascist? Certainly not according to Comrade Surendra Ajith Rupesinghe, who considers it a “political organization that represented the national-democratic aspirations of a nation”. If the Tigers were representative of a national–democratic aspiration of any nation, it sure doesn’t speak much for that nation. Unfortunately for the good comrade, the fascist character of the Tigers is no longer a matter of speculation or theoretical argumentation. more..

Snake venom: A slithery conspiracy

Feb 2 (LB) In the coming decades bio resources will be a most valuable commodity. Many now believe that cures for diseases like cancer lie in the chemical compounds found in snake venom and there is now a rush to obtain patents for such compounds. All around the world scouts of pharmaceutical giants are on the lookout for snake species with such chemical compounds and there are many such operatives in Sri Lanka,” said Environmental Activist more..

Answer the question Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka !

Feb 2 (CT) I shall conclude this debate with the following piece. I thank all those who engaged in the debate, and hope that it raised some crucial issues and provided some food for thought. Dayan Jayatilleka is simply not worth wasting any more time and energy. My intention was not to awaken his mind, which has now petrified into intellectual and theoretical morbidity, but to raise some serious issues with our readers and draw some lines of demarcation. more..

'This speaks a lot about you': An open letter to H.E. the President

Feb 2 (SL) President, who appointed the “LLRC with the mandate to learn and report back on how to avoid another catastrophe, like the one the whole country was through, for 30 years, in armed conflict. But your Commission has, after almost an year of listening to people and reading their submissions, learnt that Tamil people have grievances and most importantly, they are not just 30 years old. more..