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Editorial: Corruption: Why bash only state sector?

Feb 13 (Island) Corruption is worse than prostitution, Karl Kraus has famously said; the latter might endanger the morals of an individual but the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. In Sri Lanka corruption has not only endangered morals of individuals and society but also exacted a heavy economic cost. Unfortunately everybody keeps talking about it without doing anything to contain, let alone eliminate, it. Transparency International (TI) says more..

Changing economic scenarios: Economic liberalisation 1977-1994

Feb 13 (ST) The economic reforms introduced in Nov 1977 were a sharp break from the previous economic regime. The new policies transformed a closed, tightly-controlled inward looking economy pursued from 1970 to 1977 into a market-oriented, outward looking one. The govt laid greater emphasis on private enterprise. Economic growth was to be achieved through an export-led strategy rather than one on import substitution. Economic liberalisation in 1977 marked a watershed in the more..

Killing of Ragama croc frowned on by environmentalists

Feb 13 (ST) Two victims, a human and a crocodile, in a tragedy played out at Ragama. Sebastian Angelo Uday Kumara, 36, who went missing on January 26, is believed to have been killed by a crocodile at the Meda marsh in Ragama town while the alleged killer-croc captured by people of the area last week, breathed its last in agony on Wednesday night. The crocodile had been captured by using a chicken, with a large hook hidden inside the creature, as bait. more..

13-something & TNA’s M.I.A move

Feb 13 (GV) As world class singers of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage go, MIA isn’t half as good as a new voice, Bhi Bhiman, an American singer of blues–tinged folk music with a voice as clear and mournful as the whistle of a lonesome train coming ’round the bend. MIA’s flair for the theatrical far outstrips her singing talent. Giving the finger at the Super Bowl this month seems however to be politically symptomatic, because Mr. MA Sumanthiran, a sophisticated lawyer-politician, more..

Mysterious killings resurface in Kahawatte

Feb 13 (SO) It was in April last year when villagers of Niladura in Divulgala staged a mass public protest by burning tyres on roads to vent their anger over the inability of the Kahawatte police to solve the mysterious murders of several elderly women in their areas. Nine elderly women who lived alone at their homes at Kotakothana, Divulgala, Opatha, Katange and Niladura villages were killed, hacked to death with sharp cutting instruments and their bodies covered with clothes to conceal the wounds. more..

Strengthen SL-US ties, member of Congress urge Obama

Feb 13 (DM) A group of influential members of Congress have urged President Barack Obama to strengthen ties between the United States and Sri Lanka, noting Sri Lanka’s May 2009 triumph over terrorism, its flourishing trade ties with U.S. companies and its regional strategic importance, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington stated. “After three decades of internal strife, Sri Lanka has an opportunity to move forward as a unified nation more..

BOP crisis: Acting late has very painful consequences

Feb 13 (Island) A senior economist says Sri Lanka has tried to sweep under the carpet the chronic structural deficiencies of the balance of payments for far too long. When corrective policy decisions are taken too late, such as allowing more flexibility in the exchange rate and adjusting domestic fuel prices to reflect global realities, these adjustments would prove to be too painful to people of the country; the price we all have to pay for consistent flawed economic policy. more..

Second worst stock exchange keeps getting worse

Feb 13 (Island) The world’s second worst performing stock exchange continued along its dismal course last week, falling a sharp 12.47 percent since the beginning of the year amidst calls for thorough regulation. The All Share Price Index fell 12.47 percent year-to-date to close at 5,316.99 last Thursday while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks fell 11.51 percent to close the week at 4,627.14 points. Foreign inflows continued to be positive with a net inflow of more..

Modern world changing towards green revolution - Yapa

Feb 13 (DN) Management and the use of the vast data and information generated by researches in various sectors of development, new technologies and best practices and other forms of technological advancement is a challenge for developing countries, said Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. It is a great achievement for developing countries to gather these information and data and use them in national development agendas, he said. more..

Bakery products to go up

Feb 13 (Island) The Lanka Bakery Owners Association (LBOA) are now threatening to increase all bakery products by next week due to the fuel price hike. A spokesman for the LBOA told The Island that they had not yet decided in the quantum of increase for their products, including bread. A ministry spokesman said that it was unreasonable for bakery owners to jack up their prices as the majority of them utilize firewood ovens to bake.

First ever Africa - Asia telecom regulatory confab in Colombo

Feb 13 (Island) The first ever Africa - Asia Regulatory Conference will be held at the Hotel Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo on February 14 and 15, a press release issued by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka stated yesterday. The press release issued by Director General of the TRCSL, Anusha Palpita, states that the conference is organised jointly by the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) and the TRCSL. more..

'No invitations extended to CBK’s children'

Feb 13 (Island) Rejecting speculation, President, Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) G.H. Karunapala said that former President’s son Vimukthi and daughter Yasodhara were not invited to join and foster the SLMP. Karunapala made this revelation during a media briefing following the meeting of the party Executive Committee at the Kandy YMBA Hall on Saturday. The meeting was held after paying homage to the Sacred Tooth at the Sri Dalada Maligawa. more..

Indoctrination by pro-LTTE schools in West

Feb 13 (DN) 420 pro-LTTE schools are functioning in five European countries operated by the diaspora with the aim of passing views and beliefs of the LTTE to the next generation and to keep alive the separatism ideology, according to information received by the Defence and Urban Development Ministry. The schools are functioning in Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands and Denmark. Approximately 20,000 Tamil students between the ages four to 20 are studying in these schools. more..

Record turnout at Deyata Kirula

Feb 13 (DN) The sixth Deyata Kirula exhibition in Oyamaduwa Anuradhapura concluded yesterday. The final day ceremony was held under the patronage of Prime Minister D M Jayaratne. The exhibition commenced on Feb 4 parallel to the Independence Day celebrations in Anuradhapura under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The sixth Deyata Kirula exhibition recorded a turnout of over 3.5 million setting a record by yesterday evening, the Deyata Kirula exhibition organizing committee said. more..

Census on beggars to be conducted

Feb 13 (DM) The govt is to conduct a census on beggars island-wide as they have identified a rise in beggars living in urban areas, the Ministry of Social Services said. The National Institute for Social Development (NISD) will conduct the survey on behalf of the govt. Following the census the Ministry also plans to integrate them in to the society and provide houses for the homeless. One of the main objectives of the census is to identify the true beggars as more..

Norochcholai power plant repairs

Feb 13 (CT) Sri Lanka's Norochcholai coal power plant will take a few more days to resume operations following repairs, the spokesman of the Ministry of Power and Energy Dhanushka Ramanayake said. However he earlier claimed that the repairs would be completed by 10 February. The coal power plant broke down on 21 January for the third time in two months as a result of fires erupting at the plant, one in October 2010 prior to its opening in January 2011 and the other in August 2011. The last breakdown in January was the fourth breakdown of the plant since its installation. more..

Sri Lanka India signed MoU for cooperation in footwear manufacture

Feb 13 (AT) The High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha visited the pavilion of the Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers Association (IFCOMA) at the Leather and Footwear Fair 2012 on 10 February, 2012. IFCOMA is participating in the 4th Footwear and Leather Fair being organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board at BMICH, Colombo from 10th to 12th Feb, 2012. In the presence of High Commissioner Kantha, Mr. Pradeep Aggarwal, General Secretary of IFCOMA and more..

Food, transport, and electricity prices to spike

Feb 13 (CT) Cost of living will rise massively over the next few days with food, transport, and electricity prices expected to spike as a result of the recent fuel price hikes, industry officials and traders say. Electricity costs for homes will spike by 25-50% soon as a result of rising oil prices and the devaluation of the Rupee, CEB officials said. “We have already sought permission from the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) to more..

Editorial: Pak-Sri Lanka bilateral ties

Feb 13 (DT) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Pakistan has been a success for enhanced bilateral ties between the two South Asian countries. Three MOUs were signed between Pakistan and Sri Lanka pertaining to trade, media and technical education. The joint statement said, “Both sides agreed to hold frequent summit-level meetings, promote parliamentary exchanges and enhance the process of consultations, cooperation and coordination between their respective institutions.” more..

Sri Lankans vow to make their nation an 'Asian wonder'

Feb 13 (AN) The Sri Lankan Expatriate Society Jeddah organized a cultural program to celebrate the 64th Independence Day last weekend. The program called "Let’s make the nation a wonder of Asia" engaged Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and other members of the Sri Lankan community at the country's consulate general in Jeddah. “The Sri Lankan Expatriate Society has engaged the community to come on one platform under one umbrella. My aim is to unite the community. more..

'Nasheed not to seek asylum in Sri Lanka'

Feb 13 (IANS) Former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed has said he will not seek asylum in Sri Lanka despite his family being here but instead continue to fight for democracy in his country, a Sri Lankan daily reported. Nasheed told the Sunday Leader that the international community must act before it was too late. "I will continue my fight in the Maldives. I will not give up. I cannot leave. My family is in Sri Lanka but I will not leave now," Nasheed said. more..

Shipping Secretary carries out survey at Sethu project site

Feb 13 (Hindu) Even as an expert committee lead by R.K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, constituted by the Centre based on the direction from the Supreme Court to find an alternative alignment for the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project is about to submit its final report, K. Mohandas, Secretary, Shipping, carried out intensive survey at the project site in Palk Bay and Palk Strait on Sunday. more..

Mechanism to cushion effects of fuel hike

Feb 13 (DN) The govt has made arrangements to put in place a concessionary mechanism to cushion the effect of the fuel price hike on consumers. Accordingly, arrangements have been made to provide a subsidy on fuel to public transport providers buses,three wheelers,school vans,fishermen and the samurdhi beneficiaries living in villages which do not have electricity, with immediate effect. The govt is set to provide an advance from the proposed subsidy for the private bus more..

'Change economic direction or face consequences'

Feb 13 (Island) Economist and UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday urged the govt to change the direction of its post-war economic strategy or face the consequences. The warning came in the wake of the govt increasing petrol by Rs. 12, diesel by Rs. 31 and kerosene by Rs. 35 a litre with effect from Saturday. It was the biggest hike in diesel and kerosene prices. Until Saturday, the price of a litre of petrol was Rs. 137, diesel Rs. 84 and kerosene Rs 76. more..

Indian-born Sri Lankan children issued birth certificates

Feb 13 (Hindu) Forty seven-year-old Mariya Loratta was happy when she received the birth certificate from the Government of Sri Lanka for her 13-year-old son that would make him eligible to become a citizen of his homeland. And so did the refugee parents of 100 other children who also received the same at a special camp organised by the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka and the State Commissionerate for Rehabilitation with the assistance from Organisation for more..

'Mahapola has own sources of funding, not dependant on budget'

Feb 13 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando has said that Deputy Leader of the UNP Sajith Premadasa has misled the people by saying that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not even allocated a cent to the Mahapola Scholarship fund. The Minister said that it was ridiculous to hear such a statement from the son of President Premadasa who was instrumental in cancelling the Parliament membership of Lalith Athulathmudali who was the founder of the Mahapola Scholarship fund. more..

Tamil businessman who filed FR case against police abducted at Wellawatte

Feb 13 (DBS) State Terror in the form of the dreaded “white van goon squad” struck again in Colombo on Feb 11th when a Tamil businessman of Indian origin was abducted near his residence on Canal Bank Row, Wellawatte in the presence of his Sinhala wife and daughter. 42 year old Ramasamy Prabakaran the owner of “Panama Traders” an electronics store cum showroom within the Majestic City Complex in Bambalapitiya was seized in broad daylight by armed goons more..

Now, gas to go up by Rs. 200?

Feb 13 (Island) Laugfs Holdings have asked for an increase of Rs. 200 plus per a 12.5 kg cylinder as the world prices for LP Gas has gone up during the last few months due to the unstable situation in West Asia. Since October last year, Laugfs has been appealing to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) for a price increase, which was not approved. Sources at the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade said that the Pricing Committee of the CAA would take a decision within the next few days. more..

Bus operators clash: 29 arrested

Feb 13 (AD) Several buses which had not taken part in the ongoing strike have reportedly been attacked today allegedly by other bus operators. 29 persons were arrested in connection to the attacks on private buses operating in the Narahenpita area, police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. Meanwhile four individuals, three private bus drivers and one conductor, have been arrested in Matara. Police have provided maximum protection to private buses not engaged in the strike and SLTB buses, more..

Possible legalising of abortion

Feb 13 (SL) The possibility of the Government legalizing abortion under certain circumstances, has met with mixed reactions. While the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, for instance, has spoken out against it, others are looking at it from a victimized woman’s point of view – women who sometimes resort to illegal, and dangerous, alternatives. The word abortion has, even in the past, been cause for debate; some view abortion as the murder of an unborn child. more..

Pvt. bus operators to strike, demanding diesel at Rs.76

Feb 13 (Island) Private bus operators yesterday threatened to launch a countrywide strike from mid night yesterday unless the govt gave in to their demand for a 17. 1 per cent fare hike immediately or subsidised diesel at Rs. 76 per litre. Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA), including all transport unions were united to launch the strike, President LPBOA Gemunu Wijeratne said. He said that it was not reasonable to increase fuel prices suddenly. more..

UNHCR: March action planned against Lanka, for a mid-year body blow?

Feb 13 (LB) For months, Sri Lanka fought off calls for an international probe into war crimes allegations by marching its LLRC down the catwalk. Look, the govt said firmly, let our domestic mechanism complete its work first. It was not something the world could dismiss. International devices gained relevance only if local processes failed. And there was nothing yet to say that the LLRC–despite its limited mandate–would not deliver. more..

Govt. seeks private sector investors to resume Elephantpass Saltern

Feb 13 (DM) The govt has decided to seek private sector investment to resume operations at the Elephantpass Saltern which ceased work in 1980s due to the escalation of violence between the military and the LTTE, officials said today. At that time, 50,000-70,000 tonnes of salt were manufactured annually at this place, and the amount accounted for 35 per cent of the country’s requirement. more..

GNOA poised for TU action if demands not given

Feb 13 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) warned they would stage a protest opposite the Health Ministry on February 28 if the govt fails to grant their eight demands, which include recruitment of graduate nurses into govt service and allowance payment. National Convener of the GNOA W. A. Nandasena said that over 500 nurses had participated in the picket as they had to maintain more..

International call charges revised

Feb 13 (DM) The Govt is expecting revenue to the tune of Rs.2 billion from the levies charged on foreign telephone calls for the financial year ending in March 2012, Telecommunication Regulatory commission (TRC) said yesterday. TRC Director General Anusha Palpita told the Daily Mirror that that the TRC is expecting such an amount. He said exact revenue figures would be known when the audit report comes out by February 20 this year. more..

'Sri Lanka tighter money to keep inflation low'

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka has tightened monetary policy and imposed a credit ceiling not only to counter balance of payments pressure but also to keep the island's inflation low, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka lost more than a quarter of its foreign reserves defending a dollar peg from around August to December, while the peg was also re-adjusted from 110 to 114 rupees levels. Two weeks ago the Central Bank imposed a credit ceiling of more..

Abductors demand Rs100 mn to release businessman

Feb 13 (Island) The abductors of a 42 -year-old Tamil businessman close to his house at Canal Road, Wellawatte on Saturday evening have demanded a ransom of Rs.100 million for his release and the Wellawatte police suspect it to be the work of a Tamil extortion gang. Ramasamy Prabhakaran was grabbed by a group of seven persons, who came in a white van armed with assault rifles and hand guns. Ramasamy had earlier filed a more..

'Petrol, diesel cost govt. only Rs. 75, 71 respectively'

Feb 13 (Island) The Opposition yesterday slammed the govt for increasing fuel prices. The price of a litre of Octane 90 petrol was raised by Rs. 12 to Rs. 149, the price of a litre of diesel by Rs. 31 per litre to Rs. 115, a litre of kerosene by Rs. 35 to Rs. 106 and a litre of Octane 95 petrol Petrol by Rs. 12 to Rs. 167. "It is absurd that the govt has imposed such hefty fuel price increases where the landed cost of a litre of more..

'Bus strike will stop as soon as subsidy is given'

Feb 13 (DM) Private bus operators today vowed to continue the strike action if they did not receive the fuel concessions that were promised to them by the government after the price of a litre of diesel rose by Rs.31 during the weekend, the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) said today. Hundreds of commuters islandwide were left stranded yesterday owing to the scarcity of buses. more..

Editorial: The choice to love or hate

Feb 13 (DM) Sri Lanka, going into the third year after the annihilation of the LTTE from the island’s soil, needs to put its full emphasis on the reconciliation process to assure equality and harmony among all the citizens. As hackneyed as it may sound, without equality, peace that was won at the expense of so many lives, will not be one that is here to stay. However, the recent so-called ‘reconciliation’ efforts by the govt were limited to the LLRC whose recommendations, more..