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LTTE ban: State to adopt Centre's counter

Feb 21 (Hindu) The Tamil Nadu govt has submitted before the Madras High Court that it was adopting the Centre's counter to a writ petition challenging an order of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal confirming the Union govt's ban on the LTTE. The writ petition has been filed by MDMK general secretary Vaiko. In the counter, M. Saleem, Deputy Secretary, Public (SC) Department, stated that the Centre issued a notification dated May 14, 2010 more..

Lunch time demos from today, tougher action later: JVP

Feb 21 (DM) Protests are expected to intensify with opposition political parties, trade unions and civil society organisations warning they would take to the streets over the massive increase in fuel prices and resultant increase in prices of essential items. JVP affiliated NTUC convener Samantha Koralearachchi said yesterday they had organised a series of protest campaigns to demand a substantial wage increase for public, private and estate sector employees who more..

Sri Lanka should cut ego boosting state expenses: legislator

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka should cut ego boosting wasteful expenses and close down a loss-making state airline, instead of simply asking people to tighten their belts to battle a balance of payments crisis, a legislator has said. "We call upon the govt to close down Mihin Lanka immediately," Harsha de Silva, an economist and legislator representing Sri Lanka's main opposition UNP said. "It has already lost 14 billion rupees. This is not counting losses in 2011. We call upon more..

Norochcholai power plant: Another false start today?

Feb 21 (Island) After nearly a month, the country’s first coal fired 300 MW power plant at Norochcholai will resume generation of electricity today. However, experts are wary of possible fresh trouble. Senior officials of the Ceylon Electricity Board have expressed their dismay to the Chinese Company that built the Norochcholai plant in Puttalam. A senior Board official said yesterday that usually a new coal fired plant’s more..

Row over Indian anti- terror outfit highlights dangers in devolution

Feb 21 (Island) A simmering controversy over India’s decision to establish a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) has highlighted the danger in the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which some members of the ruling UPFA believe might pave the way for federalism. Govt sources said that the dispute over the proposed agency couldn’t have come at a worse time for those pushing for police powers for the Northern Province in spite of Sri Lanka’ more..

CEB engineers to hand over demands in writing today

Feb 21 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) will today handover letters to Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando urging them to attend to salary and other issues that were taken up during a special general meeting of the union, last week. The Island reliably learns that the engineers would spell out the alleged injustices meted out to the and on certain contracts given to private companies more..

Shoot to kill policy

Feb 21 (SL) The fishing boats along the Chilaw lagoon and fish market were invaded by stray dogs. There was no fish to be sold and the entire locale looked like a desert. What happened in Chilaw on Wednesday February 15 is reminiscent of what happened at the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake nine months ago. In May last year when Roshen Chanaka was killed at a protest held over the private sector pension scheme in Katunayake, , the govt accused the protestors of more..

'Suppression of peaceful protests could lead to Syria like situation'

Feb 21 (Island) By suppressing peaceful protests, the govt was paving the way for a Syria like situation in Sri Lanka, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said yesterday. The govt has stated that it did not suppress peaceful demonstrations. However, the statement was made after using water cannons, tear gas, anti riot squads and live ammunition against unarmed persons including members of opposition political parties, who protested in Colombo last week, more..

A body blow, but look who lives it up?

Feb 21 (LB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged people to tighten their belts during the war and they did. When three years after the Tigers were defeated Sri Lankans are still expected to scrimp, they want to know why. Since fighting ended in 2009, the Central Bank and other govt agencies have used thrilling statistics and grand rhetoric to describe the economic situation. They cited high growth rates while boasting that Sri Lanka was impervious to the world economic crisis. more..

US President vested with power to grant immunity to MR

Feb 21 (CT) The United States Department of State reiterated to the District Court of Columbia that the US President is vested with executive power according to the constitution to grant immunity to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa over his court case. Tony West, Assistant Attorney General and Vincent M. Garvey, Deputy Branch Director of the US Department of Justice filed their response to the objection raised by more..

Paddy cultivation in several areas destroyed by virus

Feb 21 (Island) Due to a virus prevalent in the areas such as Udamapitigma, Kibulvila, Welgama and Keragala in the Dodampe electorate many paddy fields have been completely destroyed. In these areas B. G. 358 (Kekulu Samba) had been sown. Due to the viral attack destroying their cultivations farmers have appealed for state relief. According to Yasantha Premalal a farmer he had bought seed paddy from agriculture service more..

Petroleum Minister flays the Opposition’s foreign servitude

Feb 21 (GDI) The govt has reiterated that the increase of fuel prices was the result of a situation that arose suddenly. Minister of Petroleum Industry Susil Premajayanth said that the government always takes steps to provide concessions to the people. Steps will be taken in the future to establish a new oil refinery and to upgrade the existing refinery. He has said that the govt has not concealed anything relating to the oil price increases. more..

Trailblazing liver transplant service has now blossomed to meet a vital need

Feb 21 (ST) Many were the VIPs in the health sector who attended a simple ceremony at Ragama last Thursday – but the “most important” of all were a humble young woman and three men. For without them, there would have been no opening ceremony of the ‘Outpatient Facility’ for the Colombo North Liver Transplant Service on Thalagolla Road, opposite the Medical Faculty of the University of Kelaniya. more..

Sri Lanka to spend US26mn on fishery fuel subsidies

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka will spend 3.0 billion rupees a year on fuel subsidies to fishermen to help reduce the effect of a sudden increase in fuel prices minister Rajitha Senarathe said. Tax payers will fork out 256.7 million rupees a month or 3080.4 million rupees a year for the fuel subsidy which will defray a part of the fuel price increase. Senaratne said subsidies will be given to be effective from February 15, through fuel stamps which can be encashed at more..

Govt. still to receive US$ 25 mil from Iran

Feb 21 (CT) The govt is yet to receive a staggering 25 million US Dollars from Iran for the tea stocks purchased from Sri Lanka during the past six months, highly placed govt sources told Ceylon Today. This comes as a result of the Iranian govt being unable to pay the outstanding sum of 25 million US Dollars due to economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US and also due to the political turmoil prevalent in the country. Due to the US sanctions, a downturn in the tea market has more..

'Sri Lanka ready for UNHRC sessions'

Feb 21 (PTI) Sri Lanka is ready for the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva with an impressive record of post-war reconciliation, rehabilitation and resettlement efforts, a top official said Tuesday. Mohan Peiris, legal advisor to the Cabinet said that Sri Lanka has taken action at the highest level to implement the LLRC recommendations. Peiris' comments came as the US conveyed to the govt here last week that Washington was planning to back more..

Sri Lanka shares end up 0.4-pct

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lankan shares closed higher Tuesday with sharp gains seen in some illiquid stocks, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed up 0.44 percent at 5,308.51, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 1.13 percent to close at 4,600.63. Turnover was 1.1 billion rupees. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed at 166.50 rupees, up 3.50 rupees. Mercantile Shipping Company was the second highest gainer closing at 200 rupees, up 36.50 rupees, more..

Editorial: Be proactive when resolving crisis

Feb 21 (DM) The much hyped statements by several govt spokesmen and even the Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal that Sri Lanka’s economy was doing much better than most western countries came to a thundering crash last week when the govt increased fuel prices by an unprecedented margin triggering unrest among the ordinary people. The fuel surcharge on electricity bills, the 20 per cent increase in bus fares and the likely increase in the prices of gas, bakery products, more..

Sri Lanka too strong for listless India

Feb 21 (CI) India abandoned their rotation policy and played all three senior batsmen. They also brought in a spinner in place of a fast bowler. They still leaked runs at the death. Their heavyweight top order still caved in cheaply. Sri Lanka were on a different plane. Their old guard provided the base and the new order built on it to boost them to a substantial total. Their disciplined bowlers, led by Nuwan Kulasekara, dismantled a shaky more..

JVP distributes leaflets at Hingurakgoda

Feb 21 (LT) The JVP continued with its campaign of distributing leaflets to make the masses aware the reasons for the spiraling cost of living. The Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake participated in one of the leaflet distribution campaigns held at Hingurakgoda yesterday (20th). Speaking after the campaign Mr. Dissanayake said the government has increased the cost of living due to its agreement with the IMF. more..

Cigarettes sold to teens in Mannar

Feb 21 (SL) Cigarettes are being sold to teenagers in Mannar, parliament was informed today. Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake said that the relevant officials have been alerted over this. He was responding to a question posed by government MP A.H.M Azwer who had asked if it was true that cigarettes were being sold to youth under 18 years of age in Mannar although there is a law that cigarettes can be sold only to those over the age of 21. more..

Sri Lanka expressway gets online ticket system

Feb 21 (LBO) Dialog Axiata has provided an on-line system for Sri Lanka’s first expressway enabling real time ticket transactions at all entry and exit points and traffic and revenue monitoring. Its subsidiary, Dialog Enterprise partnered with Access Telecommunications Services which provided the required application platform and all Point of Sales machines for the southern expressway which was opened in November 2011. more..

Monk sentenced to death after 50 years

Feb 21 (SL) A Buddhist monk has been sentenced to death by the Tangalle Magistrate over the murder of a farmer. Another suspect was also given the death sentence over the murder of the farmer by the Tangalle Magistrate today. This is the first time that a monk has been sentenced to death since 1962, the Magistrate had said. In 1962 a monk was sentenced to death over the assassination of former Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike. Bandaranaike’s assassin more..

BASL top position: Waraliyadde vs. Rajapakse

Feb 21 (SM) Senior lawyers Tirantha Waraliyadde and Wijeyadasa Rajapkase will vie for the presidency of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka at its election of office-bearers tomorrow. Commenting on his candidature, Mr. Waraliyadde said most in the profession were of the opinion that he should be the choice for the position, as the appointment of his challenger would politicize the association. As a UNP MP and a working committee member of that party, he will have to more..

Ranil Abeynaike passes away

Feb 21 (AD) Former cricketer and commentator Ranil Abeynaike has passed away today at the age of 57. He had been receiving treatment at a private hospital and died of a heart attack. Abeynaike who is a proud product of S.Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia has played first-class cricket for Sri Lanka, List A cricket as well as English county cricket for Bedfordshire. The Right-hand batsman also played for Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). more..

Lankan maid alleges thieves raped her

Feb 21 (E24|7) Three young Emirati men have been arrested by Sharjah Police for raping a housemaid and stealing valuables from homes. The Sri Lankan domestic helper was alone when the suspects visited the home in Sharjah with the intention to steal. However, on seeing the woman alone they allegedly raped her. The three accused, aged between 19 and 21, have been referred to the Sharjah Public Prosecution. Recalling the incident, the house owner said he was surprised to find more..

Caritas distributes aid to fishing families

Feb 21 (UCAN) Caritas distributed permanent homes, fishing boats and related supplies to needy families in Kilinochchi who were devastated by the country’s blood civil war. Father Arulanandam Yavis, head of Caritas Kilinochchi, presided over a ceremony held at St Anne’s Church in Valaipadu on February 19. “Fifty boats, outboard engines, nets, other accessories and 22 permanent houses were given out to families to help them return to a normal life,” he said. more..

'No objection' form India for SLPL

Feb 21 (BBC) The Indian cricket authorities have made no objections against Sri Lanka re-launching the once abandoned premier league, says Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Upali Dharmadasa, the president of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) admitted it recently held discussions with the Singapore-based company that organises the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL). "It does not mean that we are going to re-launch the SLPL soon," he told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya. more..

University Entrance applications close today

Feb 21 (GDI) The acceptance of applications for admission to Universities will be closed today. The Additional Secretary to the UGC Dr. Priyantha Premakumara said that those who have not applied have still time to submit their applications. He said that if the students have any problems they can visit the University Grants Commission after 8.30 am today and obtain necessary advice and several counters have been established at the Commission for this purpose. more..

CID record another set of statements from Chilaw incident

Feb 21 (DM) The CID had recorded another set of statements mainly from policemen who were on duty at the time of the shooting incident in Chilaw in which a fisherman was killed during the confrontation on February 15. However no suspects have been arrested so far by the police. Statements had been recorded by the CID from policemen who were on duty and also policemen who were at the Chilaw police station and Chilaw SP’s office but no one had been arrested so far in connection more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 21.02.2012

Former UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha candidate remanded

Feb 21 (AD) A Kolonnawa Pradeshiya Sabha UPFA candidate who lost at the local government elections along with another person were ordered to be kept in remand until March 1 by the Gangodawila Magistrate Court today (21). The two suspects were caught in possession of over Rs.5 million worth of electronic goods by the Kohuwala Police. Police stated that an 18 year old youth was apprehended after stealing a cellular phone from a shop in Kohuwala after which the youth had more..

Champika to set example by redusing fuel cost by 10%

Feb 21 (AD) Minister Champika Ranawaka says he will cut down on his fuel allowance by 10% and has also instructed officials of the Power and Energy Ministry including the Secretary to do same, to set an example on behalf of the ministry. Pointing out that everybody, big or small, should do their part maintain the country’s economic stability, Ranawaka stressed that the Ministry of Power and Energy should also commit for this purpose. Asserting that he would also more..

Calls mount for government action on war inquiry

Feb 21 (IRIN) As the government of Sri Lanka comes under increasing international pressure to implement recommendations submitted by a presidentially appointed war commission, IRIN asked national analysts which recommendations were most easily achievable. International human rights groups and, until recently, several governments, including the UK, US and Australia, widely criticized the lack of accountability in the report by the LLRC. more..

Calls mount for government action on war inquiry

Feb 21 (AAP) Our aircraft is full. A man across the aisle, a tour director, is smiling. Members of his group speak excitedly about dream holidays, set to begin in about 30 minutes when we land in Sri Lanka - where, I later discover, hoteliers are happy, too. My, how times have changed. A mood of doom and gloom, caused by 25 years of bloody civil war, has been replaced by optimism. Tourists have returned in large numbers to a tropical island enjoying its third year of peace. more..

Protest against East councilor accused of land grabbing

Feb 21 (SM) A large gathering of people staged a protest at Abeypura Junction in Trincomalee this morning against a ruling party member of the Eastern Provincial Council, who is allegedly grabbing private land in the area. This woman councilor, claiming to have close connections with top officials of the govt, has set her eyes upon a two-acre plot of privately-owned prime land at Danesh Lane, Trincomalee. The protesting people requested the relevant authorities to more..

Sri Lanka braces itself for a battle at Geneva

Feb 21 (Hindu) In unusually strong contingent of Sri Lankan diplomats and officials has begun descending on Geneva to defend the country against likely onslaught when the session opens on Feb 27. The core issue is what has the govt done since the end of the Eelam War 4 (May 2009), in which it defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers, to grant Tamils the political space to function as equal citizens. “A lot,” said a senior govt functionary, pointing to the more..

Parliament 2.0

Feb 22 (NS) Earlier this week, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) organised a workshop on improving the access to and accountability of Parliament, based on a South Asian study of legislatures. Systemic flaws in our own Parliament were anchored to two broad areas – access to internal workings and proceedings, and inadequate, often untimely, Parliamentary output. I was interested in three areas – the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to strengthen more..

Gloom over Chilaw After fisherman’s killing

Feb 22 (NS) A pall of gloom hung over Chilaw since last Wednesday with the shooting of a 27-year-old fisherman as the protest of some 30,000 fisher folk over the price hike of petrol exacerbated in the loss of human life. The death of the fisherman from alleged Police STF gunfire around 11 a.m. last Wednesday following a confrontation left an entire local community in mourning as this sleepy town erupted leading to a curfew being slapped down. The killing of Warnakulasuriya more..

Colombo 03: When the roads were cart tracks

Feb 22 (CT) There was a time when Kollupitiya was known as Baradeniya. It was a beautiful rustic village with coconut gardens and cinnamon trees that grew wild and narrow cart-tracks which connected the few villas and homes here with the rest of the country. For the purpose of postal services ‘Colombo 03’ consists of Kollupitiya. The year was 1664 and the king was Rajasinghe II whose cruel acts embittered his subjects. more..