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Sri Lanka shares end down 2.2-pct

Feb 13 (LBO) Shares plunged Monday, down for the eighth straight trading session in a continuing sell-off by investors that has seen the prices of some of those favoured by speculators fall sharply, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 2.20 percent at 5,199.98, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 2.23 percent to close at 4,524.17. Turnover was 1.5 billion rupees. At one point during mid-morning, stocks were down almost four percent in thin trade before more..

Subsidy a hoax, UNP says

Feb 13 (DM) Charging that the fuel subsidy promised by the government to the sectors which are affected by the fuel price hike is a hoax the UNP said and requested the govt to reverse the increased process to some extent for the sake of the people. UNP official Spokesman and Member of Parliament Gayantha Katrunatilleke told journalists today that the promised subsidy would be a non event just like the other promises that have been made by the govt. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 15.7-pct in January

Feb 13 (LBO) Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka increased 15.7 percent to 85,874 in January 2012 from a year earlier, maintaining growth but at a slower pace than last year. In January last year arrivals grew a steep 64 percent and year with annual growth clocking at 30 percent as the end of a 30-year war generated a tourism boom. Western Europe continued to dominate with arrivals growing 11.9 percent to 36,497 though UK arrivals fell 14.2 percent to 8,162. more..

Sangakkara says India vulnerable overseas

Feb 13 (CI) There was a time when you dialled Sri Lanka to knock India out of big competitions. They did that famously in the 1996 and 2007 World Cups. They beat India in the Asia Cup in 2008. They knocked India out of the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in 2010. At some time, though, the two teams' administrations became too friendly, and started making the teams play against each other every other day. The sting was taken out of the contest, and familiarity more..

Sangakkara wants an urgent review of Sri Lanka cricket

Feb 13 (IANS) Former captain and star batsman Kumar Sangakkara wants an urgent review of Sri Lankan cricket, and has said first class structure should be overhauled on the lines of Australian cricket. On the eve of Sri Lanka's ODI against India, Sangakkara said it was high time that shortcomings in the country's cricket structure was paid attention and warned that natural talent won't take the nation far enough. more..

'JVP prepared to struggle for farmers’ and fishermen’s pensions'

Feb 13 (LT) The govt that completely slashed the farmers’ pension is now attempting to plunder eh fishermen’s pension funds and eh JVP is prepared to give leadership to defeat such vile moves of the govt says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP and the President of the National Trade Union Center (NTUC) K.D. Lal Kanthe. Speaking after an agitation organized by the Nuwara Kalaviya Farmers’ Association held in Anuradhapura against the slashing of more..

Parents agitate demanding a school for their children

Feb 13 (LT) A case has been filed at Human Rights Commission regarding rights of 87 students. The case is for the rights of 87 students who studied at Mahinda Vidyalaya at Ananda Mawatha in Colombo 10. In 2007 then Minister Susil Premajayanthe named Maligakanda MV as ‘Mahinda Vidyalaya.’ 94 students were admitted to the school the same year promising students will be automatically transferred to popular schools in the area once they get promoted to Grade six. more..

Australian govt criticises Sri Lanka war report

Feb 13 (AAP) Australia has added its voice to international criticism of a Sri Lankan govt report on the country's civil war but stopped short of joining calls for a fresh, independent inquiry. The LLRC - set up by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010 - released its report on the final stages of the 26-year conflict two months ago. The Canadian and British govts have been among critics of the report, saying it does not properly address more..

Sri Lanka releases four fishermen

Feb 13 (PTI) Four Tamil Nadu fishermen, who had been detained in Sri Lanka, returned on Sunday. They were handed over to Indian Coast Guard, Mandapam on the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). Sources said the four fishermen - John Pritto, Maria Clause, Sahaya Robert and Justin of Rameswaram - had ventured into sea for fishing on February 8. They were detained by the Lankan navy on the charge of trespassing the IMBL. Then, the Mannar court issued an order to lodge them more..

Massive crowd for agitation in Chilaw

Feb 13 (LT) An agitation organized by the JVP to protest against nonpayment of farmers’ pensions and demanding to lower the increased fuel prices was held at Chilaw town today. Speaking to the media former JVP MP and the President of Inter Company Employees Union Wasanthe Samarasinghe said, “We hold this agitation demanding the govt to pay back the farmers’ pension that has been withheld. We also demand the govt to lower the fuel prices more..

Sri Lanka's president to visit Singapore

Feb 13 (CNA) President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka will be in Singapore for a state visit from February 14-17. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that President Tony Tan Keng Yam will host the welcome ceremony and state banquet for President Rajapaksa on Wednesday. President Rajapaksa will also meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Both leaders will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding on investment cooperation more..

People must take to the streets: Dayasiri

Feb 13 (DM) “I urge the people of this country to get on to the road and go against this unethical and horrible act that the government has done. The government always thinks that they can get away with anything. They believe the people have to accept all decisions they make and it is exactly that mentality that prompted them to not even worry too much about the increase. What justification has been given for such a drastic increase?” he asked. more..

Armed group abducts ‘Mervyn’

Feb 13 (SM) A suspect of a court case related to drugs charges - Nothiyas Chandrapala alias ‘Mervyn’ has been abducted in front of the Hulftsdorp court complex a short while ago. An armed group of six in a white van had abducted the suspect. The suspect was produced before Colombo High Court judge Nimal Nambuwasam and was granted bail. He was being escorted by Prisons officials when the abduction took place. The abductors have threatened the prisons officials and abducted more..

MiG 27 jet crashes

Feb 13 (DM) A MiG 27 fighter jet belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force had reportedly crashed into the Hevana area belonging to the Dummalasooriya police area in the Puttlam district a short while ago. The Russian built jet was on a routine training mission after departing from the Katunayake Air Force Base. Air Force spokesman Group Captain Andy Wijesuriya said that the pilot managed to escape without sustaining any injuries. more..

Ensure voting rights to displaced persons

Feb 13 (DM) A polls observer today asked the Elections Commissioner in writing to take steps to ensure the voting rights of displaced people at the election to Puthukuduiruppu and Maritime Pattu Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Mullaitivu District. Executive Director of the People’s Actin for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Rohana Hettiarachchi said in writing that a considerable number of registered voters of the these local govt areas still remain displaced. more..

MPS opposes fuel price hike

Feb 13 (DM) Vehemently opposing Saturday’s fuel price hike, the Movement for Peoples Struggle (MPS) today said an exercise which helps people rise up against any injustice done to them without fear had become a dire need today. MPS Political Affairs Secretary Pubuddu Jayagoda told a news conference today that such an exercise should enable people to rise up amidst any false propaganda carried out by the authorities on impending conflicts and conspiracies. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.02.2012

State & other companies owe CPC Rs.47205 million

Feb 13 (LT) State enterprises and other companies are indebted to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to the tune of Rs.47205 million for supplying fuel at a subsidized rate say Corporation sources. Accordingly, West Coast Ltd. A shareholder of MW Yugadanwi Thermal Plant in Kerawalapitiya owes CPC Rs.4700 million while Sri Lanka air Lines owes more than Rs.14700 million. The money owed by Ceylon electricity Board is more than Rs.12000 million while the three services and more..

TNA briefs US officials

Feb 13 (DM) Ahead of the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, the TNA yesterday discussed what it termed ‘the whole gamut of issues’ with Robert O. Blake, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and Maria Otero, US Undersecretary for Civilian Protection, Human Rights and Democracy, who are here on a visit. TNA leader R. Sampanthan told Daily Mirror after the talks that his party discussed a wide range of issues confronting the Tamil people. more..

US to support resolution against SL

Feb 13 (DM) The United States will support a resolution at the UNHRC session in March to pressure the Sri Lankan govt to address alleged war crimes, a high-ranking US govt official said today. Addressing a media briefing Maria Otero, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights confirmed that the US will support a resolution “that provides an opportunity for the Govt of Sri Lanka to describe what it intends to do to implement more..

Basil agrees to make some changes to Country Planning Bill

Feb 13 (DM) Minister Basil Rajapaksa had reportedly agreed to make some changes to the Town and Country Planning Ordinance Amendment Bill after members of the ruling party of the Eastern Provincial Council UPFA opposed, confirmed source said. The source told the Tamil Mirror that the representatives from Eastern provincial Council who met Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Saturday explained to him how some matters of the Bill were disadvantageous to the minority community. more..

Magistrate’s Court won’t be shifted

Feb 13 (DM) The Govt has suspended its decision to shift the Magistrate’s Courts from its present location in Huldtsdorp and relocate it to Kolonnawa. This decision was made during a meeting which President Mahinda Rajapaksa had with a delegation of lawyers led by UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa today. A committee which includes retired judge Gamini Amarasinghe, a representative from the BAR association and a representative from the Ministry of Justice had been appointed more..

Bus fares up 20 percent; Strike called off

Feb 13 (BBC) Bus and lorry operators have staged a day-long strike across Sri Lanka in response to sudden steep rises in the cost of fuel. Roads have also been blockaded by fishermen who say the price hikes will ruin their livelihood. The bus strike has now been called off after the authorities said fares will be allowed to rise by 20%, but the fishermen’s blockade will continue on Tuesday. There are now fears that basic goods will get more expensive. more..

Police probe into mysterious death of novice monk

Feb 13 (SM) Police are investigating the mysterious death of an 11-year-old novice monk at the historic Andiyakanda Aranya Senasana in Ritigala. With support of the people, police found the dead body of Laksirigama Nimalaratana Samanera on February 10 at the foot of a rock, a day after he went missing. Head of the Aranya Senasana Ven. Galapitagala Pemaratana Thera has inquired into the missing novice monk and was told that he had been last seen with several foreign tourists. more..

Clarke out of Sri Lanka ODI

Feb 13 (CI) Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, has confirmed a hamstring complaint will keep him out of Friday's triangular series match against Sri Lanka in Sydney. It will be the first ODI or Test he has missed since replacing Ricky Ponting as leader following the end of the 2011 World Cup campaign. Clarke complained of right hamstring soreness in the field against India during Sunday night's loss at Adelaide Oval, and upon his return to Sydney underwent scans to check more..

Ceylon Electricity Board to raise tariffs

Feb 13 (LBO) Ceylon Electricity Board has asked the regulator for a tariff hike or a fuel surcharge to cover part of an estimated 79 billion rupee loss in 2012, power ministry secretary M M C Ferdinando said. The CEB has budgeted for expenses of 179.05 billion with revenue of 146 billion rupees and a loss of 23 billion rupees for 2012 but a recent fuel hike had pushed up total costs to 218 billion rupees and the projected loss to 79 billion rupees. more..

A thousand days

Feb 14 (NS) I don’t want to go back to war. I don’t want Sri Lanka to go back to war. My fear is that most of what we are doing today, and who we are, will drive us back to one. One thousand days after the last war ended, what gave rise to it is still largely unaddressed. Tamils remain, for most of us, an inconvenient adjunct – recipients of our largesse, never welcome to aspire for more. The LLRC’s final report is already being dismissed and ridiculed in public fora. more..

Yaka invests the mimics

Feb 14 (NS) Shigeharu’s poem on 1930s Japan, The Imperial Hotel begins, “Here it’s the West: The dogs talk English...” Yet, Colombo’s canines can also understand English better than anyone. Is this why we give our dogs English names? Is it to express what house-trained ‘western’-educated intellectuals over-hastily misname ‘post-colonialism’? Our neighbour who called her dog Tommy, now calls out “Tawmeh!” And why not? She speaks English as she hears it at the club she’s not more..

Politicos air views on SLMC’s latest demands

Feb 14 (NS) The SLMC’s demand for a ‘Muslim’ unit of devolution has barely created ripples in political circles, but deserves serious discussion. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva stated the SLMC has so far not conveyed its stance officially to the govt. “However, as this is a coalition govt, it is natural that different parties within it have differing views regarding certain matters”, the minister said. Even the govt of India is a coalition govt, De Silva said. more..

A nasty political cocktail: human rights, oil, external reserves and external affairs

Feb 14 (Island) Seldom have ethno-politics, economic imperatives and external affairs have got so mixed up in a political cocktail as at the present time. I wrote last week that Sri Lanka faces either a showdown or dialogue at the 19th session of the UNHRC that will be held in Geneva from Feb 27 to March 23. What I did not know at that time was about reports that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had written to her Sri Lankan counterpart expressing concerns about more..

The Z-Score and Professorial Pronouncements

Feb 14 (Island) A number of informative articles on the controversy surrounding the Z-score calculation have appeared recently, especially in The Island. Of them those by Professors Thattil, Samita, Arivalzahan and Kumar David attempted to lay before the interested reader the complexity of the issue at hand. The contribution by Prof. Gunawardane was most helpful in explaining the background that gave rise to the introduction of the Z-score method in 2001. more..

Eyewitness accounts in DVD: More LTTE atrocities come to light

Feb 14 (SO) Although one is severely wounded or completely paralysed, one has the right to live until one breathes one’s last. Unaware of the fate which would befall them within the next few minutes, several dozens of wounded Tigers, including forcibly conscripted children, brought from a makeshift medical facility in a Rosa bus, were helplessly gasping for life. Another group of Tigers, who were guarding another bus load of wounded youth more..

Quality Tertiary Education outside the (state) University sector at very low cost

Feb 14 (Island) The two tertiary level programmes conducted by the College of Chemical Sciences (CCS), (which is the educational arm of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon) over the past four decades have proved to be typical examples of the type of tertiary education that can be provided at low cost, without delay, efficiently, effectively and without the constraining effects of state bureaucracy and political interference. The Graduateship Programme in Chemistry of more..

Mahinda has to decide whether he wants to be a prisoner of Sinhala chauvinism or not

Feb 14 (TC) Pro govt trade union leaders claim that a certain group of people backed by International NGOs is conspiring against the country, when it is on the right track for development after 30 years of protracted war. They say that these elements are acting with ulterior motives to reverse the achievements made by the country in the aftermath of the conflict. On the other hand, they say that those who talk about human rights today did not raise their voice when more..

A diaspora writer’s interest in Sri Lankan writing

Feb 14 (CT) V.V Ganeshananthan is a Sri Lankan diaspora writer, whose first book, Love Marriage, was named one of Washington Post‘s Book World’s best of 2008. It has been published in a number of countries with translations thus far in Italian, German, Serbian, Romanian and French. She is currently working on her second novel, an excerpt of which, titled “Hippocrates” appeared in Granta as a short story; it was selected by Best American Short Stories as more..

Editorial: Heed people's piteous appeals!

Feb 14 (Island) The unprecedented massive fuel price hikes have sent people reeling. They are bound to have a domino effect, plunging the country into absolute chaos unless the government takes timely action to ameliorate people's untold suffering. Private bus operators yesterday went on strike demanding a fuel subsidy or a fare revision. The government in spite of its rhetoric and threats finally gave in and bus mudalalis succeeded in obtaining a 20% fare increase! more..

The full implementation of the 13th Amendment: What can be done?

Feb 14 (TC) There has been in recent weeks a revival of interest in the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, as part of a broader on-going debate triggered by the publication of the report of the LLRC about future constitutional reforms addressing the need for devolution and democratisation. As implicitly acknowledged by the LLRC, the salutary need for a new post-war constitution, or substantial reforms to the existing one, is a matter of pivotal more..

Creating Social Reconciliation or Social Implosion?

Feb 14 (GV) Lankan society in its post-1948 history has undergone many violent conflicts in the form of pogroms, insurrections, and a civil war. The latest round of violence said to have ended with the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009 continues now at a much lower level, but seems to operate throughout the land. These campaigns of violence have caused collective social trauma within the society. With the end of the war, the opportunity was ripe to more..

Ostracised economists do not take last laugh

Feb 14 (Island) Several economists, who have for years urged the government to take action to stave off an impending balance of payments crisis, have now been vindicated but they are not taking the last laugh as they remain gravely concerned. Several economists had been vocal in the recent past that Sri Lanka’s balance of payments was under stress with reserves fast depleting and competitiveness of exports eroding. But they were ostracized in the media and elsewhere. more..

First-ever petrochemical venture coming soon

Feb 14 (FT) Hot on the heels of strong prospects of producing oil, Sri Lanka is to soon have its first-ever petrochemical venture, which given the planned mega scale, will position the country on the global map of this high tech industry. The Govt has approved a project to build what would be one of the world’s largest single location Polyester Bottle Resins (PET resin) manufacturing plants in Hambantota by a consortium of investors promoted by the Singapore-based more..