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What is the private sector worker to do with Rs.7,000?

Feb 22 (LB) The past week has brought the Sri Lankan consumer several shocks. The price of fuel and electricity shot up by 40%, bus fares by 20%, school van fees by Rs.500 -- and gas is set to increase by between 200-400 rupees. LAKBIMAnEWS looks at how the overwhelming majority of the private sector workers whose salaries remain abysmally low and are not protected by any legislation, cope with this sudden spike in prices – and what prevents more..

Ambuluwawa forest on fire

Feb 22 (CT) A fire had erupted in the Gampola Ambuluwawa Forest Reserve in the Kandy District yesterday, and had been raging out of control by this morning, Disaster Management Centre (DMC) spokesperson Pradeep Kodippili said. “The fire that erupted last night has spread across a large area. However the exact extent of the damage has not yet been estimated”, he stated. He further stated that the Air Force, the police and more..

Navi Pillay writes to Moon

Feb 22 (CT) The Asian group, representing countries from Asia at the UN had come under pressure to withdraw their nominee to the Special Advisory Group on UN Peace Keeping. Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Major General Shavendra Silva has been nominated to the Special Advisory Group on UN Peace Keeping by the Asian group as their nominee. The US led Western Block, Human Rights Chief Navi Pillai, more..

Military workshop for ministers and govt. MPs

Feb 22 (DM) Concerns have been raised and questions asked about a two-day workshop organised by the Defence Ministry to be held at the Diyatalawa Military Academy (DMA) for ministers and UPFA MPs, a senior SLFP minister said yesterday. The workshop on March 3 and 4 was earlier scheduled to be held at Nuwara Eliya but was shifted to the DMA after MPs Namal Rajapaksa and Udith Lokubandara visited Nuwara Eliya, Daily Mirror learns. more..

UNHRC sessions: US, LTTE target GoSL on HR front

Feb 22 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt is facing a multi-pronged attack at the United Nations Human Rights Commission sessions, scheduled to begin on Feb. 27, with the US spearheading a diplomatic offensive much to the delight of the LTTE rump. The 19th sessions will continue till March 23. Sri Lankan govt officials said that the LTTE was depending on the US to help it move a resolution against Sri Lanka, during the sessions in spite of many member countries, more..

Editorial: The dynamics of involvement

Feb 22 (DM) The unprecedented fuel price hike is having an explosive fallout, with more bombshells in the coming days and weeks and independent analysts warning the economic crisis may explode. Millions of people are finding it difficult if not impossible to meet their basic requirements. There were those who on the strength of their being affiliated to certain organizations, chose to get involved in showing their displeasure and protest and were able to seemingly more..

Stocks jump 2 pct on retail, foreign buying

Feb 22 (Reuters) Stock market surged more than 2 percent on Wednesday as foreign investors bought blue chips and retail buyers poured into speculative favourites, while the rupee fell as dollar demand from importers and foreign investors cashing in rupee bonds offset stock-related inflows. The main share index ended 2.12 percent or 112.46 points firmer at 5,420.97. It has risen 8.2 percent over the last five sessions from a 1-1/2-year low, once shares dropped into oversold more..

Fishermen keep away from fishing

Feb 22 (CT) Over 4,000 fishermen from Chilaw remained on the shores of the coastal town for the tenth day as a mark of protest over the government’s decision to raise fuel prices. Fishermen in the area say the government has failed to provide adequate solutions in terms of a fuel subsidy, and urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to meet directly with the fishermen to arrive at an amicable solution. Sri Lanka’s biggest fishing hub, Negombo, is also crippled since more..

Penal Code is being used fraudulently: JVP

Feb 22 (DM) The Penal Code has been fraudulently used to arrest those who criticise the govt though there are no such provisions for it, the JVP charged in Parliament today. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who raised a question on such arrests said today in parliament said that that the recent shooting by police in street protests in Katunayake and Chilaw have led to many individuals being arrested for criticising the govt under section 120 of the penal code. more..

Uni non-academic staff to go on strike

Feb 22 (DM) Non-academic university staff will go on a 48 hour countrywide strike starting today (Thursday) in protest against the government’s failure to provide higher wages and benefits to them, unions said. The Executive Officers, Academic Sub-ordinary and University Executive Staff Union Joint Committee said they had earlier requested for an increase in wages but had not received it. They had met with the Salary Cadre Commission last year and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 22.02.2012

New programme to upgrade Sri Lanka Fisheries Harbours

Feb 22 (GDI) The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development will launch its fishery harbor development programme under the theme of “Let Us Protect Our Harbors “on the 25th of this month from the Mirissa Fisheries Harbor. The objective of the project is to make maximum and productive use out of physical and human resources available in the harbors. Introducing the 5-S concept to the harbors, minimization of environmental damage, more..

JPA for Northern Province 2012 was launched

Feb 22 (GDI) The Joint Plan for Assistance (JPA) for Northern Province 2012 was launched on Tuesday (21) at the Ministry of Economic Development, by the Govt together with the United Nations and the broader humanitarian community in the presence of minister Basil Rajapaksa. The JPA identifies priority activities and strategies which have been developed in support of the overall national programme to assist the people of the Northern Province to more..

Minister Siyambalapitiya exposes UNP’s blunders

Feb 22 (GDI) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya refuted the allegations being made by the Opposition UNP saying that the government has increased oil prices in accordance with an agreement made with the International Monitory Fund as baseless and sheer imagination. He said that it was the United National Party govt that made secret agreements with the IMF and sold the resources of this country, slashed welfare assistance to the people. more..

Give rights, instead of bullets - MFPS

Feb 22 (SM) The Movement for People’s Struggle asks the government to give the people their rights, instead of bullets, as they fight for their dues in the face of an unbearable cost of living. The MFPS will fully support the agitation by the fisher community against the fuel price increase, its convener, MP Ajith Kumara, told the media in Colombo today (Feb. 22). He accused the government of sending the Army to crack down on protests, instead of solving the core problems. more..

Big time robbers in police custody

Feb 22 (DM) Two men allegedly in toe with major robber gangs were arrested today, police said. They said the gangs were wanted in connection with some 22 robberies in Colombo and the suburbs where shops, showrooms and supermarkets had been robbed of goods worth about Rs.5 million. Police alleged they were involved in carrying out robberies at Kohuwala, Welikada, Athurugiriya, Thalangama, Mirihana, Kadawatha and Maharagama. One of the men was arrested while attempting more..

TNA puts conditions on further talks with gov't

Feb 22 (Xinhua) A key minority Tamil political party in Sri Lanka has put conditions to take part in talks with other political parties aimed at solving the national issue. The TNA said Wednesday that it will join a Parliament committee to discuss the political solution only after there is an agreement on talks already held between the govt and the TNA. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had talks on Tuesday evening with TNA leader R. Sambanthan and requested more..

Senior Chinese military official meets with Sri Lankan guests

Feb 22 (DP) Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), met with Collenberg, commander of the eastern military area command of the Sri Lankan Navy who came to China to attend the International Naval Escort Seminar, in Beijing on February 21, 2012. Ma Xiaotian said that China and Sri Lanka have enjoyed deep traditional friendship and the solid foundation of the China-Sri Lanka relationship jointly laid by the elder generation of more..

In Sri Lanka, Marie Colvin mediating role in white flag killings recalled

Feb 22 (ICP) The death of journalist Marie Colvin in Homs in Syria calls to mind her work in another war zone: Sri Lanka. Based on her reporting in 2001 forward, she became an well meaning humanitarian intermediary in attempted surrenders that ended in the murder of those surrendering. Also involved were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, who conveyed assurances of safety but refused to go witness the surrenders, and Shavendra Silva more..

Wijeyadasa Rajapakse elected Bar Assn. president

Feb 22 (SM) Wijeyadasa Rajapakse has been elected president of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka at its annual election of office-bearers. At today’s election, he received 1,297 votes, while his challenger Tirantha Waraliyadde obtained only 676 votes. Around 7,000 votes from across the island were eligible to vote at the BASL election. Born in 1959, he went to school in Hambantota and graduated from Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura Universities. more..

G.L. Peiris dropped from the UNHRC speakers' list

Feb 22 (SM) Foreign Minister Prof. G.L Peiris, who arrived in Geneva two days ago, has been dropped from the speakers' list at the high level segment of 19th session of the UNHRC. A week ago UNHRC extranet published Mr. Peiris as the speaker from Sri Lanka at the high level segment. By yesterday, however, Minister of Plantation Industries, Mahinda Samarasinghe has replaced Minister G.L. Peiris. Minister Samarasinghe will address the UNHRC on Feb. 27th at 3.10pm more..

Colombo fashion week to introduce ‘Bright Spark’ show

Feb 22 (F2F) A ‘Bright Spark’ fringe fashion show will be introduced this year at the Colombo Fashion Week (CFW 2012) to be held from February 24 to 26 in the Sri Lankan capital. After the successful launch of the ‘Gen-Next’ Award at HSBC CFW 2011, the fringe fashion show is being introduced this year as a part of CFW’s new designer development programme. The Gen-Next award was introduced last year to fill the necessity of a formal system to unearth potential designers more..

Bring down prices of fuel – A petition by the JVP

Feb 22 (LT) The campaign to collect signatures for the ‘People’s Petition’ demanding the govt to bring down the prices of fuel, electricity tariff and bus fares was launched from opposite the Fort Railway Station with the participation of a large gathering. The General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva launched the campaign and among the participants were Information Secretary of the JVP Parliamentarian Vijithe Herath, more..

Money Matters

Feb 23 (NS) In a cash economy money matters, but this is not an essay on monetary policy or on the rates of exchange. This has to do with the national budget, the powers of the General Treasury and the Monetary Board and how they are being employed. For several decades now, it has been the theme song of the IMF and its ancillary agents (the IBRD, ADB, some UN agencies and our house and toilet-trained Economists) that we should ‘Export or Perish’. As was demonstrated to our policy takers more..

Sri Lanka continues to suffer as a pawn in regional geopolitics

Feb 23 (DM) Sri Lanka as a collective is at times regarded by some as a pawn of India, China, the USA, and at times as having been of the USSR as well. This situation has prevailed for a long time. Today, it appears it is a high stakes pawn of India and the USA because of China’s interest in Sri Lanka. If it had been China of some three decades earlier, there would not have been this high stakes game as China then was not considered a rising super power. more..

Curse of the conflict junkies

Feb 23 (NS) Throughout Sri Lanka, many heart-strings will have been tugged; many a tear will have welled in many an eye, at the pictures of the wedding of EMD Sandaruwan and Chandrasekaran Sharmila at Kilinochchi on January 27, 2012. For my foreign readers, I should explain, that this particular wedding attracted attention because the groom was a former member of the Gajaba Regiment of the Sri Lankan Army. He had participated in the defeat of the LTTE more..

LLRC promptings fall by the wayside

Feb 23 (LB) The sixty-four thousand dollar question doing the round in town: Is the government really under intense international pressure and will it be compelled to do something about the Tamil question, or is it all plain bluff till the Human Rights tamasha in Geneva draws to a close? I do not know how much credence to give Frances Harrison, a former BBC correspondent based in Sri Lanka, who wrote on 10 February in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper: “There are signs that more..

What is the world day of Social Justice all about?

Feb 23 (DM) According to thinkers in the social contract tradition, justice is derived from the mutual agreement of everyone concerned. Therefore it will be necessary to first look into what a “social contract” is. Thomas Hobbes defined the social contract theory as follows: “I give up my natural right to steal your food because you give up your natural right to steal my food”. Thus, social contract can be understood as the condition in which people give up some individual more..

Why not reduce the military by half and go in for a duty free economy benefiting all?

Feb 23 (TC) For successive inept governments of Sri Lanka, no opportunity was more welcome than the two insurgencies and the ethnic war. They produced the occasion, the justification and the means of engagement when avenues of productive employment could not be adequately created. Capital available with the govt was squandered away. The process went on from independence to 1960, till there were no more finances or exchange to waste. more..

Editorial: A Sisyphean task in Geneva

Feb 23 (Island) Sri Lanka has reportedly joined forces with a collective of nations on a noble mission to establish transparency at the UNHRC, which has sadly become a pliable tool in the hands of the western bloc notorious for using human rights as a bludgeon against its enemies. The UNHRC's servility to the US and its allies is only too well known; that fact became patently clear when its head, Navi Pillay, issued a strongly-worded statement condemning Bahrain for unleashing more..

Sri Lanka commences diplomatic offensive

Feb 23 (SL) The govt has commenced its diplomatic offensive following the motion passed in the EU parliament on pushing for a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions and the announcement by the US govt of supporting the resolution. The govt ministers assigned the task of taking Sri Lanka’s case before the international community are looking at the possibility of getting the resolution withdrawn without being presented to the UNHRC. more..

Born again Bourse?

Feb 23 (FT) The Colombo stock market is increasingly showing signs of rebirth as its value has risen by Rs. 153 billion in a week after slumping sharply on 2011 Valentine’s Day. Bullish sentiments saw the Bourse up over 2% yesterday with market capitalisation improving by Rs. 41 billion to Rs. 1.987 trillion bringing the total to Rs. 153 billion from Rs. 1.834 trillion on 14 February. Of the rally, last Thursday produced the biggest with market’s value gaining Rs. 96 billion. more..

21st century UN Human Rights mechanisms and the Tamils in Sri Lanka/Ceylon

Feb 23 (DBS) On 18th February 2012, a conference organised by the Centre for War Victims and Human Rights (CWVHR) took place in Toronto, Canada. It was attended by 400 participants. The conference title was: ”International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century and its challenges – Case Study on Sri Lanka”. Papers were presented by professionals, lawyers and intellectuals, followed by questions to the panel and discussion. Five Canadian Members of more..

Rupee float unlikely to fix BOP crisis, interest rate hike needed

Feb 23 (Island) Floating the rupee may not be of much help to fix the balance of payments crisis leaving the Central Bank no option but tighten monetary policy interest rates by a further 75 basis points this year in order to curb credit demand. The bank also faces the prospect of having to make a tough choice between growth and inflation, suggests a new research paper released by Standard Chartered Bank yesterday. "The sensitivity of import growth to the more..

Marie Colvin, wounded while working in Sri Lanka in 2001 dies in Syria

Feb 23 (TC) Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times journalist, and French photographer Remi Ochlik have been killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs after the house where they were staying was shelled, today, Feb 22, 2012. Marie Colvin, recognized as Best Foreign Correspondent in many Press Awards, was wounded in the eye when she was fired upon in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka in April 2001. In May 2009 Marie Colvin was in contact with LTTE, Sri Lankan officials and more..

One laptop per child well on course

Feb 23 (DN) In line with the national drive to arm the younger generation with the knowledge of English and Information Technology, the Education Ministry will issue laptops to every student in 13 primary schools representing the whole country. The programme is carried out under the One Laptop Per Child programme (OLPC) conducted by the Education Ministry in collaboration with the University of Colombo. The programme is funded by the World Bank and World Vision Organisation. more..

SLT net profit grows 21% despite huge Rs. 18bn capex

Feb 23 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) reported impressive results for the financial year ending December 31, 2011 despite a huge capital expenditure of Rs. 18 billion. The group recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 6.53 billion, up 10 percent, and a net profit of Rs. 4.78 billion, up 21 percent from a year earlier on revenue amounting to Rs. 50.95 billion, up 1 percent. At company level, SLT posted a profit-before-tax of Rs. 4.8 billion, up 21 percent more..

Resolution passed nominating Nishantha for ICC meetings

Feb 23 (Island) By the day, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) boss Upali Dharmadasa is proving that he is just a puppet at the hands of politicians. The SLC Chief during last week’s board meeting didn’t utter a word as a resolution was passed to send controversial board Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga for ICC CEOs Meeting. This was after he had promised his team lead up to the cricket elections that only the CEO and not the Secretary will represent SLC at more..

Shuttlers Achini and Upuli cleared of all charges

Feb 23 (Island) Sri Lanka’s medal winning badminton duo Achini Ratnasiri and Upuli Samanthika Weerasinghe were cleared of all charges leveled against them for not making themselves available for national duty by the General Committee of the Sri Lanka Badminton Federation (SLBF) recently. SLBF President Parakrama Basnayake said that Ratnasiri and Weerasinghe were cleared of all charges leveled against them, by the disciplinary committee which conducted the inquiry. more..

Court orders seizure of two busess

Feb 23 (Island) Anuradhapura District Judge and Additional Magistrate Lakmali Hewawasam on Tuesday ordered the seizure of two buses worth over four million rupees, belonging to the Raja Rata Bus Company, as the company had failed to pay two million rupees in compensation to a victim, after one of its buses crashed into a lorry and caused serious disabling injuries to a man travelling in it. The incident occurred on May 21, 1999 at Tirappane where a bus belonging to the company, more..