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Greed of tea smallholders, factories ruining Ceylon Tea

Feb 29 (Island) The country’s Tea Commissioner has been warned by experts that a war-like situation was brewing in the tea industry. Tea smallholders who produce 70-75% of the national output continue to violate conventions and requirements with regard to leaf quality, openly ignoring basics with impunity, concerned industry sources have charged. And owners of small scale factories are no better. Together, they are ruining the Ceylon Tea brand. more..

Ravi Dias takes over as Commercial Bank CEO

Feb 29 (FT) Ravi Dias has been appointed acting CEO of Commercial Bank from Monday ahead of eventual succession from April onwards. The move follows longstanding CEO Amitha Gooneratne taking leave prior to retirement by end April. Previously Chief Operating Officer, Ravi counts over 30 years experience in banking and had been in corporate management of Commerial Bank since 1995 and was admitted to the Board in December 2010. He holds a degree in Law and is a Fellow of more..

Maldives seeks SL support to uplift youth affairs

Feb 29 (DN) The Maldivian govt has sought the support of the Sri Lankan govt to uplift youth affairs in the Maldives, a Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry official said yesterday. Maldivian Human Resources, Youth and Sports Minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef who met Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma at the ministry recently, had praised the way Sri Lanka handles youth affairs and skills development, the spokesman said. more..

සබැඳියාව – February 21, 2012

Private bus driver held for stealing SLCTB bus

Feb 29 (DN) The Pussellawa Police arrested a private bus driver for allegedly stealing a SLCTB bus. The private bus driver who was under the influence of liquor at the time of the theft, had bitten the hand of a police officer when he was arrested, Police Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. He said that after being produced before the Gampola magistrate to a charge of theft and obstructing the duty of a police officer, the suspect was remanded until March 9. more..

Milco won’t increase milk food price

Feb 29 (Island) MIlco Lanka Ltd. has decided not to increase the price of milk powder. Chairman of Milco Lanka Ltd. Sunil Wickremasinghe said that though their was a high demand for Highland products, especially for Highland full cream milk powder, the company had decided not to go for a price hike, although world market prices of milk foods were increasing. "In keeping with the Mahinda Chinthanaya proposal to increase the nutrition intake among the masses more..

Shortage of milk powder feared

Feb 29 (DM) A shortage of milk powder in the local market is feared shortly as importers suspended the packing and marketing of milk powder with immediate effect yesterday pending the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) decision on a price hike. Milk powder importers on Friday threatened to stop imports unless the CAA permitted to increase a packet of 450 grams of milk powder by Rs.15 by tomorrow. Mr. Lakshman Weerasuriya the CEO of Maliban Milk more..

Intellectual Property Facilitation Centres throughout the country

Feb 29 (Island) The govt has commenced a programme to set up Intellectual Property Facilitation Centres throughout the country, Director General of Intellectual Property D. M. Karunaratne said yesterday. "We hope to take the message of creating new inventions, registering inventions, intellectual property laws and their rights," he said. Some of the space within the Vidhatha Centres, established throughout the country by the Ministry of Research and Technology, more..

2 Policeman accused of murder granted bail

Feb 29 (DM) Two police Narcotics Bureau officials who were held in remand custody in connection with the alleged death of a 30-year-old who had visited the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) office to sign the case book were released on bail by a Colombo Court yesterday. After taking into consideration bail applications by the suspects, the Colombo High Court had granted bail to the two suspects Sub Inspector Ruwan Kumara and Police Constable Manoj Nehinna. more..

Indictments served on two suspected LTTE bomb experts

Feb 29 (DN) The Attorney General indicted two persons considered as bomb experts of the LTTE, for causing the deaths of 27 passengers and grievous injuries to 40 others by exploding a claymore bomb in a bus on the Moratuwa - Katubedda road using a remote control device. The accused are Thagervelu Nimalan alias Selvam and Nadesan Kugernadan alias Nenrill. They were indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act No 48 of 1979 and the Criminal Procedure Code. more..

Congressman Kingston’s irresponsible letter on Sri Lanka

Feb 29 (FPJ) U.S. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) recently submitted a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama. Cosigned by eleven other members of Congress, it effusively praises the Sri Lankan government for all of its accomplishments since end of the country’s twenty-six-year civil war. The short note is heavy on rhetoric and light on reality. It talks about the enormous potential for a strengthening of US-Sri Lankan relations, going on to use words like more..

Lankans abroad rally against Geneva resolution

Feb 29 (DN) Thousands of Sri Lankans living in Italy yesterday staged a massive protest in Milan condemning the proposed UN resolution backed by the United States and several European countries to be submitted at the 19th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva. These Sri Lankans, irrespective of their political affiliations and ethnicity, showed their solidarity against the proposed UN resolution and condemned the vicious agenda of the US against Sri Lanka. more..

Britain defends the decision to deport asylum seekers

Feb 29 (BBC) Britain has questioned concerns raised by two charities which say that Sri Lankan Tamils deported from the UK are at danger of being tortured or raped. Another charter flight returning people to the island nation, including Tamil and Sinhala failed asylum-seekers, is due to leave on Tuesday. But Human Rights Watch and Freedom from Torture say that the flights should be suspended because some ethnic Tamils been subjected to cruel more..

Health sector minor employees protest today

Feb 29 (Island) Minor employees in the Health sector will stage a protest rally today demanding that the govt grant their four demands. The All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) said the protest rally would be held opposite the Health Ministry from 12.00 noon to 1.00 p.m. ACHSU General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe said that though the ACHSU had several discussions with Minister Maithripala Sirisena on the four issues affecting minor staff, no tangible action had been taken. more..

Exhibition of contemporary art inaugurated by Pakistan’s High Commissioner

Feb 29 (AT) The High Commissioner of Pakistan to Srilanka, Seema Illahi Baloch, inaugurated the Exhibition of Contemporary Sri Lankan Art at the National Arts Gallery Colombo. The 1 week long Exhibition will remain open from 28th Feb to 04th March. The Exhibition will be featuring 101 Paintings and a number of sculptures and art pieces of New Artists (Nawa Kalakaruwo) from Srilanka. The George Keyt Foundation has organized the Nawa Kalakaruwo Exhibition with more..

Samurdhi workers forced to participate in govt. protests – UNP

Feb 29 (Island) Despite govt claims of people participating voluntarily in Monday’s protests against the US resolution to the UNHRC, calling for the LLRC recommendations to be implemented, the majority of participants were Samurdhi workers threatened with termination of their jobs if they failed to participate, the UNP said yesterday. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the Rajapaksa regime was making all sorts of claims, but more..

SLFP Lawyers’ Assn tells UNHRC: ‘Don’t make Sri Lanka a Sudan’

Feb 29 (DN) “It is with great concern that nationally and internationally, we the members of the SLFP Lawyers’ Association of Sri Lanka, write to you as the local representative of the United Nations. “The international concern is that a member country of the UN, an independent sovereign state, Sri Lanka, was able under the present political leadership to put an end to terrorist separatists, armed attacks against the state, which had lasted for three decades. more..

NRI expertise to curb sea water pollution

Feb 29 (DM) The Power and Energy Ministry is to use Nuclear and Radio Isotope (NRI) technology for sea water pollution management for the first time as sea water contamination has gone out of control in the seas surrounding Sri Lanka, a Ministry spokesman said. He said a workshop on sea water management was held for scientists, managers, officials and researchers recently sponsored by the Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka (AEASL) and world renowned Japanese scientist and more..

Fonseka offers to go anywhere to defend SL

Feb 29 (Island) Former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that the 19th sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva were detrimental to the interests of corrupt govt leaders and not those of Sri Lanka. Addressing the media while he was being taken to the Colombo High Courts to attend the the Hicorp fraud case, Gen. Fonseka said the current situation in Geneva had been long expected and the govt was helpless before the international community. more..

No salary cut says UGC head

Feb 29 (DN) The UGC will not cut salaries of non - academic staff engaged in trade union action, chairman Professor Gamini Samaranayaka said. The UGC is able to deduct salaries of non - academic staff who neglect their duty under the power vested in the UGC by a circular issued in 2007, he said. "In accordance with the circular, the UGC has powers to deduct salaries of staff who are absent or neglect duty under the guise of trade union action," Prof Samaranayaka said. more..

Three wheeler subsidy talks underway

Feb 29 (Island) Three wheeler owners are in talks with the government to obtain a fuel subsidy. President of the Federation of Self Employed Association Mahinda Kahandagamage said that talks were underway with govt representatives to obtain the fuel subsidy promised for around 645,000 three wheelers in the country. Kahandagamage, who is also a UPFA Councillor of the CMC, said that he had taken up the matter with the Chairman of the National Transport Commission more..

'Defeating terror without rousing racism helped unite SL'

Feb 29 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the mammoth crowds in Kilinochchi, Jaffna, the East and the rest of the country could protest unitedly on highways on Monday, irrespective of all differences, against a resolution before the UNHRC in Geneva against Sri Lanka because ruthless terrorism was defeated without rousing racist passions, by the state. He made this observation yesterday addressing more..

Temporary importation of vehicles under revised rules

Feb 29 (Island) A decision had been taken to allow temporary importation of vehicles subject to revised conditions to streamline the CARNET (Convention on the Temporary Importation of Private Road Vehicles) scheme in order to prevent the facility being misused, Sri Lanka Customs had said in a statement. Accordingly the temporary importation of vehicles by the residents outside Sri Lanka for their private use on the occasion of a temporary visit would be allowed under more..

Two Lankans charged with murder in New Zealand

Feb 29 (NZH) A pair of Sri Lankan men have been charged with murdering a dairy worker before burning down his Oxford home. Sameera Chandrasena, 28, a Sri Lankan national, was found dead in the burnt-out shell of his Domain Road home on February 23. Police said he had been beaten to death before his house was set on fire. Two Sri Lankan men, aged 23 and 33, were arrested soon after the death on unrelated charges. The pair had been charged with murder and arson. more..

Thailand pledges support for Sri Lanka in Geneva

Feb 29 (Island) Sri Lanka has secured Thailand’s unstinted support at the 19th sessions of the UNHRC, where President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s govt is under heavy pressure over alleged war crimes. Addressing the ‘high level segment’ on Monday, Thai Foreign Minister Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul emphasized the need to work on the basis of consensus. While reiterating commitment and the responsibility on the part of Thailand for human rights issues and situations, more..

Australian Alumni Excellence Award 2012 for Dr Karunasena Kodituwakku

Feb 29 (Island) The Australian Government has selected Dr Karunasena Kodituwakku, the former Cabinet Minister of Human Resource Development, Education and Cultural Affairs, to be honoured at the 2012 Australian Alumni Excellence Awards. Dr Kodituwakku, whilst an academic in Economics at the Sri Jayawardenepura University, was awarded the Colombo Plan Fellowship, granted by the Australian govt, to complete his postgraduate studies in Economics at more..

USAID empowers communities to chart their own future - Butenis

Feb 29 (Island) Effective development means empowering communities and countries to chart their own future and it was with this objective in mind that USAID’s Public- Private Alliance Forum was established in Sri Lanka, the US Ambassador Patricia Butenis said. Addressing a Roundtable attended by public and private sector representatives at Galle Face Hotel last week, the ambassador said that USAID was inking agreements that provided grants to partners more..

Abortion debate open

Feb 29 (LB) Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karaliyadda says that in special circumstances the govt will look to further widen the legal framework concerning abortions in the country. He said that already two rounds of talks have already been held with the participation of officials from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs in this connection. more..

Real estate changes hands via unreal deeds

Feb 29 (ST) Dubious land deals are on the increase with more and more cases piling up in courts, with some of the victims seeking the assistance of the CID to probe them. The frauds have sparked off a multitude of serious repercussions including that of banks unable to recover their loans granted for land purchases, incomplete constructions and victims losing millions of rupees. Within three months of setting up, the CID’s special unit to probe more..

Sri Lanka policy changes to bolster external position: Fitch

Feb 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's external finances are under pressure but recent policy changes could bolster the balance of payments even if they hurt growth, Fitch Ratings said. Sri Lanka has raised fuel prices, placed credit curbs on banks, floated the currency and raised interest rates, though some analysts have called for further tightening. On Wednesday the pot US dollar fell to 121.90/122.05 rupees by more..

Nilanga Dela under fire

Feb 29 (SL) Following the expose of Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara (Dela) – the lay custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Dalada Maligawa in our Feb 12 issue and the threats his former Personal Secretary Nimal Ferdinando has received for furnishing facts to us, many details into Dela’s unorthodox administration has come to light. Dela been accused of not sending Maligawa accounts to the Commissioner General, more..

'India should not support Sri Lanka at UNHRC hearing'

Feb 29 (PTI) DMK, a key constituent of the ruling UPA at the Centre, on Wednesday said India should not support Sri Lanka, which is facing war crime charges, in the hearings being conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. "India should not back Sri Lanka at any cost when the UNHRC resolution comes up for voting," DMK president M Karunanidhi said in a statement, stressing that Sri Lanka should be tried for alleged war crimes. more..

GoSL bashing by UK makes expensive NGO campaign irrelevant

Feb 29 (Island) An unprecedented British attack on Sri Lanka at the inauguration of the UNHRC on Monday has made a planned anti-govt NGO campaign here spearheaded by the London-headquartered Amnesty International redundant. Geneva-based sources said that the British statement meant that Western powers had taken control of the operation targeting Sri Lanka, thereby more..

Meeting called to streamline medical schools admission

Feb 29 (Island) The Health Ministry has called for a meeting with the Ministry of Higher Education and the UGC to reorganise the commencing of their medical batches. Spokesman for the Health Ministry said that the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) had appealed to the Health Minister to ensure that all batches passing out of various medical faculties commenced their internship simultaneously. more..

Aussie police probe Rambukwella’s fall

Feb 29 (Island) The Australian police have launched an investigation into an incident where Minister Keheliya Rambukwella fell from the balcony of his third floor hotel room in Melbourne, injuring his legs. Rambukwella, who is still recovering after a number of operations, told The Island from his Melbourne hospital bed that when he wanted to sue the hotel over the incident, its owners had offered to come to a settlement. more..

Woman found dead inside hotel room

Feb 29 (DM) A 48 year old woman was found dead with stab wounds, inside a hotel room in Colpetty early this morning, the police said. She was identified as Sudarashani Kanagasabay. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said that the victim had sustained serious injuries in her neck possibly with the use of a sharp weapon. Police said that the hotel staff who gave statements following the incident had stated that she was living together with another person inside the room and more..

UNP: Govt. virtually surrendered to UN

Feb 29 (DM) The UNP yesterday charged that the govt had virtually surrendered to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva after putting up a show by getting public servants and govt supporters to stage street protests in Colombo. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had in his statement at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva undertaken to implement the recommendations made by the LLRC just as more..

Editorial: Cost of living: The writing on the wall

Feb 29 (DM) Following Monday's countrywide demonstrations intended to build up patriotic sentiments to face the unprecedented international pressure on human rights issues, the Govt needs to now focus on realities which directly affect the day to day lives of millions of people. For instance with the cost of living crisis turning into the proportions of a calamity, Government leaders are facing their moment of truth. The only way out now is for the leaders to stop the stage more..

Editorial: Denial in Sri Lanka

Feb 29 (BG) It's been nearly three years since the Sri Lankan government ended a long war by crushing the Tamil rebel army, killing thousands of civilians - perhaps tens of thousands. The UNHRC, which meets in Geneva this week, should push Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes. But accountability for past crimes must not come at the expense of Sri Lanka’s future. Tamils who are full of bitterness over their defeat must not miss this chance to offer a vision for peaceful coexistence. more..

Biking legend to storm Jaffna, Colombo streets

Feb 29 (DM) World champion stunt rider Chris Pfeiffer will conduct an encore tour of the island by performing in Jaffna tomorrow and in Colombo on 3rd March. Pfeiffer will perform an action packed ‘street bike stunt show’ in the open space opposite the Duraiappa Stadium in Jaffna from 3.00 pm. The Colombo stunt will be on Saturday at Nelum Pokuna Mawathe (Green Path) at 3.00 pm and at the WTC, Bank of Ceylon Mawatha in Fort starting at 5.00pm. more..