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India v Sri Lanka Preview: Desperation time for Sri Lanka

Feb 14 (CI) Nearly two months after landing in Australia, India finally enter a match as the more confident team. The monstrous last-over six from MS Dhoni which helped secure victory on Sunday made it two wins in two for India, and leaves Sri Lanka desperate for a win to stay in touch with the other two sides. Dhoni's finishing skills and Gautam Gambhir's return to form may have grabbed most of the attention after the win over Australia, but more..

Over 60 percent work at Jaffna teaching hospital building complete

Feb 14 (DN) The Health Ministry has accelerated the construction of the new administration building of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital launched at a cost of Rs.2877 million. Over 60 per cent of the construction work has already been completed. Japan International Corporation Agency (JAICA) funds this project, a Health Ministry spokesman said. The project is launched under the 'Uthuru Wasanthaya' programme. Minister Maithripala Sirisena inspected the constructions more..

Indian ayurveda delegation holds workshop

Feb 14 (DN) A delegation from Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, visited Sri Lanka from February 5-9. The aim of the visit was to identify areas for cooperation in mutually beneficial areas in traditional indigenous medicine between Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, Government of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka state petroleum firm to lose money despite price hike

Feb 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation lost 89 billion rupees in 2011 and would lose 63.6 billion rupees even after a steep increase in tariffs, petroleum ministry secretary R H S Samaratunga said. "If we did not increase tariffs the CPC would have lost 188.465 billion rupees in 2012," Samaratunga told reporters Monday. CPC had lost 89.879 billion rupees in 2011, on top of a 24 billion rupee loss in 2010. more..

Z score dispute: SC grants leave to proceed with FR violation application

Feb 14 (Island) The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application filed by a group of students and the Ceylon Teachers’ Union, requesting the Court to declare null and void the GCE (A/L) 2011 results and to order the respondent authorities to re-issue the results, after re-calculating the Z-scores by taking the new and old syllabuses separately. The petitioner had said that the respondents, the Commissioner General of Examination and more..

Farmers’ pension scheme revised

Feb 14 (Island) Plans were afoot to revise farmers’ pension scheme to address their grievances due to its suspension since September, last year, General Manager of the Agriculture Insurance Board, Panduka Weerasinghe said. "The new scheme will be introduced in collaboration with the Social Security Board, where the farmers would be able to select the pension scheme they like," he said. The proposed scheme would be presented to the directors of the Agriculture Insurance Board for more..

Rupee in sharp fall, down 3% against dollar

Feb 14 (Island) The rupee had a steep fall against the dollar closing at Rs. 117.20/30 on Monday as the Central Bank stayed clear away from the foreign exchange market. Dealers said the rupee to fell to around 117.50 against the greenback during the day, with some trades going at Rs. 118. But the currency gained some ground to close at Rs. 117.20/30. The rupee has fallen by nearly 3 percent from Rs. 113.90 against the dollar before the Central Bank announced more..

Karu unaware of his appointment

Feb 14 (CT) UNP Former Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said he is not aware of any decision made by the party Working Committee to appoint him as the Electorate Organizer of Mahara. Speaking to Ceylon Today Jayasuriya further added that he is not officially informed by the party of any decision made by the Working committee last week. “I also got to know that decision through media. But the party did not inform me about any development formally,” Jayasuriya further added. more..

PCs to amend Town and Country Planning Bill

Feb 14 (DM) Several Provincial Councils are to amend the Town and Country Planning Ordinance Amendment Bill making provisions for the Central Govt to obtain the consent of the minister concerned with the local government when acquiring land under this legislation. The legislation gives the central govt to take over lands within municipal and urban areas for economic, social, historical, environmental and religious purposes. Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said more..

Fishermen take to the streets

Feb 14 (DM) Thousands of fishermen working on some 20,000 boats did not go out to sea yesterday in protest over the massive fuel price increase. Some 5,000 fishermen in Chilaw marched to the town shouting slogans and blocked the Colombo-Puttalam Road by burning tyres. They urged the govt to reverse the price hike so that they could continue with their livelihood once again. Some fishermen were seen sleeping on the road in protest while some others burnt a boat in the town. more..

Three UPFA members boycott CMC training programme at Kandalama

Feb 14 (Island) Three prominent UPFA Councillors of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) including Milinda Moragoda, Mohamed Maharoof and M.H. Manzil boycotted a training programme organized by the CMC at a cost of Rs. 1.5 million at the Kandalama Hotel on Feb. 11 and 12. Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil said that 90 percent of the Councillors had confirmed their participation but he was disappointed the aforesaid three UPFA members had kept away from what he more..

Chinese national fined Rs.100,000

Feb 14 (DM) A Colombo Court today imposed a fine of Rs.100,000 on a Chinese national who pleaded guilty for selling foreign liquor without a permit and possessing a stock of illegally imported cigarettes. The accused, Chang, was arrested by the Kollupitiya Police at a business outlet in Kollupitiya with 47 bottles of foreign arrack and 600 illegally imported cigarettes. When the Chinese national was produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne, more..

JVP asks Chamal to summon parliament asap

Feb 14 (DM) The JVP wrote to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa asking him to summon Parliament immediately to discuss the country’s crisis situation triggered by the unprecedented fuel price hike. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the rupee had been drastically devalued against the US dollar resulting in fuel prices having soared by the largest ever percentage in history. On Saturday, the govt increased the price of diesel by more..

Sri Lankan Tamils suffer

Feb 14 (DC) War chased her from one place to another, but when 69-year-old Thamizh Selvi finally wanted to settle down in her hometown in northern Sri Lanka, fate had different plans for her. “We lost everything in the war, but we hoped that the Indian govt’s scheme to construct 50,000 houses for the war-affected will help us rebuild our lives. But now that hope is also almost shattered,” says a tired Selvi. The gesture of the Indian govt to construct 50,000 houses might be more..

Container transport charges to increase

Feb 14 (CT) Adding to the dilemma of the recent fuel price hikes, the Association of Container Transport has decided to increase the transport charges of imports and exports by 26 percent, President of The Association of Container Transport (ACT), Chinthaka Hennanayake said. This in turn has shown signs of affecting the price of essential items such as rice, flour, potatoes and onions and also importation of vehicles and machinery, he said. According to more..

Sri Lanka heaps praise on Kevin Rudd

Feb 14 (AAP) Sri Lanka's controversial ambassador to Australia has praised Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd for refusing to back calls for an independent international inquiry into his country's vicious civil war. Mr Rudd on Monday finally responded to the Sri Lankan govt's LLRC report into the final stages of the 26-year war against the Tamil Tiger separatists. Mr Rudd said that while the report contained some constructive proposals, he agreed with other more..

Samurdhi projects for North, East Provinces

Feb 14 (DN) Minister Basil Rajapaksa has taken immediate action to implement Samurdhi projects in areas in the Northern and Eastern Provinces which were cut off from the Samurdhi programme due to the conflict, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. “Up to now the Samurdhi project has not been activated in areas such as Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Mannar and Nedunkerny,” he said. “The authority has drawn up plans to commence the project before March,” he said. more..

'Customs Dept, a major revenue earner'

Feb 14 (DN) “Customs officers should render an honest, sincere and dedicated service and strive to rake in the maximum possible revenue to state coffers,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he presented appointment letters to a batch of 280 Customs Superintendents and Inspectors at a ceremony at Temple Trees yesterday. The President said Customs officers are serving the state rather than any individual and as such, they should render their service in a disciplined manner more..

UN rights chief raises concern about Sri Lankan to Ban

Feb 14 (Reuters) U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday that she has raised concerns in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the appointment of a Sri Lankan army general to Ban's senior advisory panel on peacekeeping. Pillay's worries relate to General Shavendra Silva, currently Sri Lanka's deputy U.N. ambassador, who commanded the Sri Lankan army's 58th Division during the final assault against the LTTE more..

Govt. has introduced mechanism to fair fuel price

Feb 14 (DM) Acting govt spokesman, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said the govt for the first time has introduced a mechanism to pay a fair price for fuel by the affluent and a lesser amount by the low income groups. Addressing a news briefing to explain the fuel price increase, Minister Yapa said the relief packages proposed for the private bus owners, three wheelers, fishermen and school van owners have exempted the poorer sections from paying a higher fuel price. more..

Discuss problems with regard to fuel price hike immediately, UNP asks govt.

Feb 14 (DM) The UNP yesterday asked the govt to summon Parliament immediately to discuss problems triggered by the recent fuel price hike, MP Ravi Karunanayake said. Mr. Karunanayake said that he, along with his colleagues, handed over the letter written by his leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to the Prime Minister’s office. UNP MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva, John Amaratunga, Eran Wickramaratne and Joseph Michael Perera also participated in this event. more..

Iran assures Sri Lanka of oil supply despite US threats

Feb 14 (Island) Iran said yesterday that regardless of various threats and pressures being applied by America, it would ensure that Sri Lanka gets an uninterrupted oil supply at reasonable prices. The Iranian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dr. Nabi Mohammad Hassan Pour said that his country’s nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes, and it had achieved rapid advancement in scientific research and the fact that Iran was more..

Chief Incumbent of Batti holds fast unto death for all three communities

Feb 14 (DM) The Chief Incumbent of the Batticaloa Mangalarama Rajamaha Viharaya Ampitiye Sumanarathne Thero has begun a fast unto death opposite the Viharaya. The Thero has cited two reasons for his fast: requesting that the land problems within the area pertaining to Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims be solved and that the President should intervene to stop acts of revenge instituted by local government officials against the poor of all communities forthwith. more..

Three cops interdicted after beach booze party

Feb 14 (Island) Amabalangoda ASP A. R. Mirando has interdicted three constables attached to the Ambalangoda police, allegedly for abusive behavior at the Akurala beach, under the influence of liquor, in the company of several others. The trio had gone for a bath there even without taking permission from the HQI, it is said. The ASP has instructed the HQI Mahesh Perera to take back all the belongings of the police department given to the PCs when on duty. more..

Is the military operating within legal limits?

Feb 14 (SL) Questions are being raised about revenue from special projects undertaken by the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Air Force personnel. Many personnel from the three armed forces are involved in commercial businesses after the war. According to the spokespersons of the three armed forces, all revenue goes to welfare funds which in turn are used for the welfare and rehabilitation of their forces’ personnel. more..

Can we squeeze out of the oil crunch?

Feb 14 (LB) However, the most worrisome scenario for Sri Lanka and a host of developing countries is that the US and EU economic sanctions on Iran could see a rapid increase in the oil price, which would see Sri Lanka’s trade deficit ballooning. According to an earlier research done by the IMF, every US$10 increase in a barrel of oil could reduce economic growth by 0.5 per cent. more..

Germany apologizes over LTTE stamps

Feb 14 (SL) The German postal department has apologized over the distribution of LTTE stamps saying it was done unintentionally. Following reports, which appeared in LTTE-affiliated websites and media regarding the issuing of personalised stamps in Germany depicting symbols of the LTTE, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Germany registered Sri Lanka’s vehement protest and deep concern on the issue to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. more..

12 arrested for running brothel as massage parlour

Feb 14 (DM) Twelve women arrested on charges of having run a brothel under the guise of an Ayurvedic massage parlour at Deanston Place in Kollupitiya were remanded till February 15 by a Colombo Court today. The twelve suspects were arrested on Sunday, by the Kollupitiya Police on a search warrant issued by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. The Kollupitiya Police alleged that the first suspect, the female manager more..

EU joins Lanka’s battle against dengue

Feb 14 (Island) The European Union (EU) had pledged its support to the government for a four-year dengue control project. The Spokesman for the Health Ministry, W.D. Wanninayake said yesterday that the EU pledged Rs. 169 million for a Dengue Disease Surveillance Project (DDSP). Wanninayake said a team of specialists headed by Prof. J. Gubler of the Duke University Singapore had arrived in Sri Lanka last morning and held discussions with officials of the Health Ministry. more..

Value added Lankan housemaids for Kuwaiti households

Feb 14 (ST) Authorities have introduced a dress code and a compulsory increase in wages for Sri Lankan female domestic workers heading for Kuwait, with effect from April 1, a senior official said yesterday. Maids lining up for employment in that oil-rich desert kingdom, will have the option of choosing a frock, jeans or even a saree of their choice while undergoing training at centres operated by the SLBFE, more..

AG discusses whether to arrest Duminda Silva

Feb 14 (SM) The Attorney General’s Department held a special meeting on February 10 to discuss whether to arrest MP Duminda Silva, said OIC of the special investigating unit at the CID Merrill Ranjan Lamahewa. The police officer informed Colombo additional magistrate Prasanna Alwis that he too, attended the discussion, adding however, the AG was yet to advice for the arrest of the MP. more..

Fuel concessions to fishermen

Feb 14 (GDI) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senarathne said that expeditious steps will be taken to provide fuel concessions to the fishing community. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed him to provide fuel concession to each and every fisherman. The Minister said that a meeting in this connection will be held with the representatives of the National Fisheries Association at his Ministry at 10 am today. more..

Crisis brewing in plantation sector

Feb 14 (DM) A crisis is brewing in the plantation sector as well, as a result of the recent fuel price hike as some estate worker unions are threatening a token strike with others too criticising the price hike. The unions say the estate workers are affected by the increase in the price of kerosene as the price of kerosene was increased by Rs.35 a litre. The DWC led by Mano Gaensaan has decided to go for a one day token strike soon to protest against the price hike. more..

'Stocks may slump more on rates'

Feb 14 (BN) Sri Lanka’s benchmark stock index, the world’s worst performer this year, may extend its slump as the central bank raises interest rates to curb inflation, according to HSBC Holdings Plc’s private banking unit. HSBC Private Bank, which oversees about $499 billion, will wait for stock valuations to fall to “single digit” multiples before it considers buying shares, Arjuna Mahendran, Singapore- based head of Asia investment strategy, more..

Editorial: Act fast for social justice, trilingual policies

Feb 14 (DM) With Sri Lanka in turmoil over Saturday’s unprecedented increase in the prices of the common people’s diesel and kerosene, we need to reflect deeply on what is happening and what needs to be done nearly ten days after the pomp and pageantry for the 64th anniversary of Independence Day. Independent observers and analysts believe there are serious questions over when or whether the govt will implement the most important recommendations of the more..

Sri Lanka shares end down 3.4-pct

Feb 14 (LBO) Shares plunged again Tuesday with the main All Share Price Index crashing below 5,000 points in a widespread sell-off before recovering somewhat, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 3.35 percent at 5,026.04, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 3.33 percent to close at 4,373.68. Turnover was 2.4 billion rupees. At one point the ASI was down four percent or 215 points at 4,984.22 in early afternoon trade with fundamentally weak shares among the biggest losers. more..

US commends Lanka for tackling child labour

Feb 14 (Island) Visiting United States under Secretary for Civilian Security for Democracy, Human Rights Maria Otera commended the govt on its efforts to curb child labour. It has made great progress, she said. Making the opening remarks at a joint news conference with US Under Secretary for South and Central Asia Robert Blake yesterday, she said: " Child labor is another area where the Sri Lankan govt and NGOs are more..

New UK student visa regulations introduced to cut abuse

Feb 14 (DM) The British High Commission issuing a press release today stated that the new visa regulations for students “will cut abuse”. New Visa regulations introduced last year would be in force from April 2012. The Immigration minister Damien Green has stated that the new visa regulations “ will cut abuse of the student visa route and ensure only the brightest and the best students can stay and work in the UK,” The current Post Study Work route, which allows students to more..

'People seeing stars in broad daylight'

Feb 14 (SM) With the recent fuel price hike, fuel has become costliest in Sri Lanka among South Asian countries, says UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya. It may be a miracle for the government, but it is a cause for ‘seeing stars in broad daylight’ for the masses, he says in a statement. Quoting prices given by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and a statement by a government minister sometime ago, Mr. Jayasuriya says the CPC is one of the devils that spell doom for the national economy. more..

Ice-cool Dhoni delivers nerve-shredding tie

Feb 14 (CI) The best death-overs bowler in the game went up against the best finisher in the business with four to defend off the last ball. It was only fair that neither Lasith Malinga nor MS Dhoni ended up on the losing side of that contest. Malinga's wide full-length ball would have hoodwinked most batsmen who would have been setting themselves up for the swing to the leg side. Not the fleet-footed Dhoni, though, who calmly stretched across and more..