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No milk powder price increase

Feb 24 (CT) The Trade Ministry has no plans of increasing the price of milk powder products even though the companies threaten that they will not import, Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority, Rumy Marshuk said. “We have so far not discussed on this issue but currently there are no plans of increasing the price,” Marshuk said. Private companies involved in the importation of milk powder to Sri Lanka have threatened to cease imports unless price more..

Abducted girl rescued

Feb 24 (CT) The three and a half year old girl who was abducted in Mundalama was rescued by the Police between 2.15 p.m. and 2.45 p.m. after the arrest of the kidnappers, police sources told Ceylon Today Online. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of Rs.5, 000,000 but the police had intervened and reduced the ransom amount to Rs.1, 500,000. Afterwards the kidnappers had requested the mother of the child to come to Anamaduwa Pallama area with the demanded amount. more..

Shangri-La Asia says new Sri Lanka hotels to cost 10 pct more

Feb 24 (Reuters) Shangri-La Asia said on Friday the cost of building two new luxury hotels in Sri Lanka has risen 10 percent to $550 million. "The cost has slightly gone up. Between the two projects it's about $550 million," CFO Madhu Rao told Reuters after the groundbreaking ceremony for the start of work on its planned 661-room hotel in Colombo. He said the higher cost was because of last-minute design changes. "It will take about three years to finish," more..

Sri Lanka December 2011 exports up 24-pct

Feb 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports in December 2011 went up 24 percent to 906 million US dollars from year ago with sharp gains in textiles and rubber products, the central bank said. Imports during the month went up 34 percent to 1.9 billion dollars with spending on investment goods like transport equipment and building materials rising sharply, a statement said. The trade gap during December 2011 widened 44 percent to just over a billion dollars. more..

Anura reveals how people are burdened with fuel prices

Feb 24 (LT) JVP MP Anura Dissanayake revealed in Parliament yesterday how the govt raised the prices of fuel and increased its tax revenues. He revealed the govt sells 80 million liters of petrol a year and earns Rs.38,400 million. Also, 230 million liters of diesel are sold and Rs.10,350 million earned. Mr. Dissanayake said people have been burdened to maintain a wasteful, massive cabinet. He showed how Rs.59 is added to the new price of Rs.149 a liter of petrol. more..

Sri Lanka outrage at UN over war general

Feb 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Friday expressed outrage over the barring of one its army generals from a UN peacekeeping committee following allegations that he killed civilians during the island's civil war. Major General Shavendra Silva, who is accused but not formally charged of war crimes during the final phase of Sri Lanka's war in May 2009, was barred from the peacekeeping advisory panel to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday. "To seek to exclude him from a position in the UN is unfair and contrary to the principles of the United Nations," more..

Sri Lanka govt publishes war death toll statistics

Feb 24 (BBC) Sri Lankan govt statistics put the death toll in the north of the country during the final phase of the war at 9,000, the BBC has learned. More than 7,000 of the deaths appear to be directly related to the military battle three years ago. It is the first set of govt figures given for casualties, which have been the subject of heated dispute between the govt and critics. A report commissioned by Ban Ki-Moon put the death toll at up to 40,000. more..

The fuel hike imbroglio

Feb 25 (NS) The present hike in world fuel prices is a phenomenon that has inevitably to be faced by all countries except those producing oil. Its impact on the people and the economy of any country depends on the manner in which the situation is handled by each country. Sri Lanka authorities have chosen to face it by increasing the prices by rates that have beaten all previous records of such increases. They, then­ ‑ proceeded to declare their plan to grant subsidies to more..

Fifty-six years since ‘56 victory

Feb 25 (NS) The 56th anniversary of forming the historic MEP coalition govt of 1956 falls tomorrow. The past 56 years had seen much water flow under the socio-politico-economic bridges of Sri Lanka making significant if not revolutionary changes in the country. Before the 56 govt came to power on a landslide election victory decimating the UNP to eight seats in the 101-seat Parliament, the country was ruled by elitist, one may say Anglophile forces, whose main task more..

Colombo 02; its fashionable and not so fashionable past

Feb 25 (CT) To Colombo 02 is attributed some of the cities’ darker pages from the past of our three colonial eras. Did you ever wonder how the lake of Colombo was named Beira? Or a certain spit of land became known as Slave Island ? Where and what is Kew garden? And how did the name Kompanni Veediya come into being? For the purpose of postal services Colombo 02 consists of Slave Island and Union place. Slave Island is a suburb, located directly south of more..

This Russell's Viper has no bite

Feb 25 (LB) Is this guy for real? The more I read the bovine rubbish that is heaped upon more of the same, churned out like his daily diet by a fellow called Mathew Russell Lee, the more I begin to admire Goebbels. Hitler’s propaganda chief had a cunning approach to making a lie believable. He spun it so cleverly and repeatedly that the repetition gave it increasing credence. This Mathew Russell Lee, on the other hand, has neither the intelligence nor the craftiness of a Goebbels. more..

Lying through their teeth; Whole teeth; Nothing but their teeth...

Feb 25 (LB) What seems to set apart busybodies and do-gooders from those clearly with their hearts in the right place on justice and human rights issues, seems to be the matter of timing. A countless number of politically engaged individuals — including those in this newspaper — have raised issues with regard to post-war problems that are unsettled, such as the issue of detainees and paramilitaries. What’s the trick then in reiterating these same issues with a grim more..

How bad is the crisis for Mahinda Rajapaksa?

Feb 25 (GV) That perhaps is the easiest of the answers possible for any Head of State under pressure from his own people who voted him to power and from the international community, to explain his own dilemma. The Resolution proposed to the UNHRC’s 19 Session will pressure the Rajapaksa regime to honour it’s own Commission’s Recommendations, while Chilaw now, after Katunayake FTZ workers’ agitations on May 24 and 30 last year, followed by more..

History after the war: Challenges for post war reconciliation

Feb 25 (GV) The end of the war is certainly not the end of the conflict that led to the military confrontation between the military forces of Sri Lanka state and the LTTE. This conflict surfaces in different guises, the military episode being only one. It is well-known that conflicting interpretations of the past of the island by conflicting parties is a major factor in the conflict. When the military confrontation was the dominant form of the conflict, more..

Editorial: Frechette's veto

Feb 25 (Island) The world has come to such a pass that some conceited UN functionaries have emerged more powerful than even sovereign states. Sri Lanka's deputy permanent UN representative, Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, is reported to have been humiliated by a Canadian diplomat named Louise Frechette, who heads a UN peacekeeping panel, of which the former is a member representing the Asian region. She suddenly decided to bar him from the panel's deliberations. more..

Burgeoning defense expenditure and escalating social antagonism

Feb 25 (TC) The defense personnel in Sri Lanka are paid on average, half a million rupees per head per annum. Stranger than fiction, but none the less true. If this is the average, how much is it for the higher echelons? Best left to one’s speculative capability. The budget for 2012 provides this sum – Rs. 161.580 billion for salaries and wages plus overtime and other allowances. The estimated strength is 320,000. more..

Looking Back

Feb 25 (SL) I contributed a piece entitled “Then what?” to the now defunct Montage magazine’s Dec 15th, 2007- Jan 15th, 2008 issue which I am going to make the jumping off point for this week’s column. Despite having no pretensions to Cassandra status of any description either then or now, and the piece having been composed nearly 18 months before the end of “the war” and the defeat of the LTTE, I expressed no doubt that the Sri Lankan army juggernaut was well on its way to annihilating their enemy. more..

Like chaos in Laos with Pol Pot

Feb 25 (SL) Sududath and Nodath, two old boys of the Forward School for Backward Boys of the (Special English Crash Course) met for their monthly pow-wow at the Addi-Puddi, their usual water-hole. Sudath greeted his pal: So, so how- how? So, so how-how? What for the telling. Ha- Ho in Maho no? was Nodath’s response. (Nodath is a Sri Kotha Green UNPer) Sududath(SD) (staunch supporter of the Rajapaksas): Don’t put gong talk men. Only a few protests against the fuel hike. more..

Is the TNA response to LLRC report politically correct?

Feb 25 (DBS) The TNA is today the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamils. When the long delayed report by the LLRC was released the response of the TNA was eagerly awaited. The TNA did respond by issuing a devastating critique in the form of an analytical report. This aroused the anger of the Govt and is regarded as one of the contributing factors to the prevailing deadlock in Govt-TNA talks. more..

Why land powers must be devolved

Feb 25 (Island) Subsequent to my opinion piece on why the TNA believes police powers should be devolved - published two weeks ago - the response to it from many moderates of the Sinhala community was overwhelming. What that response demonstrated was that moderates from the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities share much in common, and that the path to the resolution of the ethnic conflict need not be as treacherous and tortuous as it presently is. There is a critical - more..

It's the Economy stupid!

Feb 25 (Island) Twenty years ago, in the 1992 US Presidential Election, Bill Clinton was challenging the incumbent President, the senior George Bush. Bush had had some successful political triumphs, ending the cold war with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the invasion of Panama and deposing the dictator Noriega and freeing Kuwait after it was overrun by Iraq in the first Gulf War. With those triumphs, he was considered unbeatable. Soon after the Gulf War victory, more..

Sri Lanka and the UN: Unslayable ghosts

Feb 25 (Economist) Bury the past. Those killed nearly three years ago in the last, savage days of Sri Lanka’s civil war will never return. Foreign and local critics who harp on about horrors are doing down a fragile country. “Any sensible person will realise the advantage our people got. Today there is no more killing, fighting. It is peaceful, people are free.” So argues Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s defiant and powerful defence secretary. more..

Mobitel launches ‘Aachaara’ for SL migrant workers

Feb 25 (Island) "Aachaara", an exclusive prepaid package recognizes the continuing and significant contribution by migrant workers abroad towards the country’s economy and development. The ‘Aachaara’ prepaid package entitles users to Rs. 50 worth of credit talk time on local calls, local SMS, local GPRS and SMS Roaming, valid for 90 days. All foreign-employed citizens returning to Sri Lanka or leaving Sri Lanka can now collect their Mobitel "Aachaara" SIM card, by producing more..

Devananda assures industrialists relief

Feb 25 (DN) Action will be taken to provide relief to industrialists in Industrial Estates belonging to the Ceylon Industrial Development Board, Minister Douglas Devananda said. He was speaking at a meeting attended by industrialists from Industrial Estates at the ministry auditorium last week. The meeting was held to discuss matters raised in the report submitted to the minister by the ministerial committee he had appointed to look into industrialists' grievances. more..

Connections | February 20, 2012

National Christian Council tells Govt not to crush protests

Feb 25 (Island) The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka yesterday urged the government to ensure that undemocratic and violent means are not adopted to crush public protests. The NCCSL in a statement also appealed to those involved in demonstrations not to indulge in acts of violence. The NCCSL statement was signed by Rev. Charles N. Janes, Chairperson of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka/Christian Reformed Church, Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S, Thiagarajah, more..

'UNP committed to protecting country, not govt.'

Feb 25 (Island) The UNP said yesterday that it was fully committed to protecting Sri Lanka’s good name, but could not white wash the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime which had scant regard for democratic norms and human rights. Lakshman Kiriella MP, said that if only the govt had listened to the UNP and implemented the rule of law, the country would not have been in the predicament that it was in now. "We are not talking only about the war, but the Rajapaksa regime’s repeated violation of more..

Mahela hails "special" Chandimal

Feb 25 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene believes Sri Lanka have found a special player in Dinesh Chandimal after his third half-century of the series helped set up a record chase at Bellerive Oval. Chandimal scored 80 and kept the chase on track after Jayawardene fell for 85, and although he was out to an ill-judged attempted paddle off Ryan Harris, he had done enough to allow the tail to finish the job. Chandimal now sits on top of the series run tally with more..

Govt. abolishes 'Jana Sabha' secretary's post

Feb 25 (DM) The Govt had abolished the ‘Jana Sabha’ secretary’s post which was created recently leaving some 14,400 graduates who were appointed for the same jobs, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake charged in Parliament today. He made this point when he raised a question under the standing order 23/2 in the House today said this is one of the many discrepancies that are taking place in the public service today. Therefore Mr. Dissanayake charged that appointments have been given to more..

Self-sufficient home gardens

Feb 25 (CT) More than 150 houses in the country are to be visited by research officers from the Economic Development Ministry next month to motivate families to attain self sufficiency, Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. Rakapaksa said that the initiatives are being taken under the Divi Neguma programme of the government. According to Rajapaksa, the team of research officers – which would include local farmers and fishermen – are to visit at least 10 houses per day. more..

Gem and Jewellery Authority makes killing in single day

Feb 25 (Island) A staggering Rs. 270.9 million was collected by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) yesterday following an auction of 49 plots of land in Kataragama, said to be the best gem bearing land in Sri Lanka, particularly when it comes to blue sapphires. The much discussed land attracted people from every nook and corner of the country after a number of valuable stones were reportedly found in quick succession. more..

Killer of mother and infant sentenced to death

Feb 25 (DM) The suspect convicted of the gruesome killing of the young wife of an army soldier and his one-and half-year-old child by hacking them with an axe on March 30, 2005 inside a house in Walasmulla, Pansalgoda, was sentenced to death by Tangalle High Court Judge Chandrasena Rajapakse. The convict Maddumage Lionel alias Lionel Banda (25) was a resident of Punchi Nelukwatte in Pansalgoda, Walasmulla. It was revealed that while W.G. Dayapala, more..

IGP wants people friendly police

Feb 25 (CT) IGP N.K.Illangakoon said the police force will be brought under a single corporate plan to be more people friendly. Illangakoon made these remarks at an event held in Colombo yesterday. He said there must be a mechanism to bring the entire police force under one single cooperate plan. “What the public expected from the police during the time of the civil war is different to what they expect from us today. The public expects 100% efficiency in our duties which more..

Cost of hiring Sri Lankan maids 'unreasonably high'

Feb 25 (AN) Several Saudi citizens have decried an exorbitant hike in recruitment charges by the Sri Lankan manpower recruitment offices and middlemen. They noted that the recruitment offices have raised the charges for hiring housemaids from $3,000 to about $4,000, and that was in clear violation of the agreements signed earlier between the two countries. The citizens urged the intervention of Saudi authorities to put an end to the reckless practice more..

Bringing justice to Sri Lanka's victims

Feb 25 (FP) During the past year, the U.N. has launched independent investigations into possible war crimes in Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria. But in Sri Lanka, where as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final phases of the country's civil war, the U.N. has been unable to muster support for an independent investigation into atrocities. So why has Sri Lanka been different? The scale of killing -- perhaps the worst spasm of violence committed by any govt under U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's and more..

In Asia group, Sri Lanka says stands Behind Silva

Feb 25 (ICP) Two days after Sri Lankan General Shavendra Silva was ruled "inappropriate" to participate as the Asia-Pacific Group's representative on the UN Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations, the Asia Group met Friday behind closed doors about the controversy. For four weeks, ICP has questioned the UN Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon and diplomats from Asian countries how they could accept Silva as adviser on peacekeeping, given how he appears in more..

Govt. delegation meets Navaneetham Pillay in Geneva

Feb 25 (DM) Two days ahead of the 19th sessions of the UNHRC here in Geneva, Human Rights Commissioner Navaneetham Pillay raised the issue that the LLRC had not dealt with the accountability issues raised in the UN panel report dubbed by the govt as the Darusman report. A top govt delegation led by Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris met with Ms. Pillay in Geneva yesterday. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who participated in the meeting told journalists that more..

Life expectancy rate of Lankans up

Feb 25 (DN) The life expectancy of Sri Lankan women and men has increased up to 80 and 76 years, according to latest statistics. Health Ministry Acting Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala presented latest facts during a recent ceremony which shows an improvement in health care service and the living standards of people. It is expected that the average life expectancy rate of Sri Lankans can reached 100 years in the next four decades, if current positive trends continue. more..

UK: Halt deportations of Tamils to Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (HRW) The United Kingdom should suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and immediately review its policies and information about the country’s rights situation used to assess their claims, Human Rights Watch said today. Research by Human Rights Watch has found that some returned Tamil asylum seekers from the United Kingdom have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and torture upon their return to Sri Lanka. In recent months the British govt has sent more..

Sri Lankan murdered in new Zealand

Feb 25 (Stuff) Christchurch police have launched a homicide inquiry into the death of a 28-year-old Sri Lankan man whose body was found in a burning house on Wednesday. The victim has yet to be formally identified but is believed to be Sameera Chandrasena. He was the sole occupant of a house in Domain Road, Oxford, north of Christchurch, which was extensively damaged by fire on Wednesday morning. A post mortem conducted on the body yesterday indicated more..