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Tea exports to Iran hit by payment delays, pre-shipment credit

Feb 3 (Island) Sri Lanka’s tea exports to Iran is currently in a quagmire due to local banks not providing pre-shipment credit to Iran leaving exporters to do their own funding of exports while having to sustain delays in the remittances of their dollar funds. "This is a very critical situation where we are not allowed pre-shipment loans by the state banks which are not negotiating the loans with us due to the fear of sanctions and also for the fear of these banks being more..

Lawyers oppose move to shift courts out of Hulftsdorp

Feb 3 (Island) Lawyers of the Colombo Magistrate Courts, District Courts and High Courts yesterday launched a massive protest campaign against the govt’s decision to relocate the 100-year-old Courts Complex out of Colombo. Moves were afoot to shift nine Magistrate Courts, Nine District Courts and Seven Magistrate Courts to be located in the suburbs. Protesters vouched not to give into the whims and fancies of anyone and pledged to continue more..

'Opposition should constructively criticise govt'

Feb 3 (DN) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody yesterday stated that the responsibility of an opposition which loves the country is to constructivly criticise the government and support it in finding solutions the country's issues. The Deputy Speaker made this observation at a ceremony held to open a drinking water project at tsunami villages in Thiththagalla area in Ahangama, Galle. He also stated that the Opposition which claims there were issues in the country more..

Man nabbed at BIA while attempting to smuggle birds

Feb 3 (DN) A Sri Lankan man was arrested while trying to smuggle eight birds at the BIA yesterday. The birds brought from Thailand are valued at Rs 800,000. Four parakeets and four ducklings were found in the suspect's possession. The man was fined Rs 100.000. The authorities were directed to send the birds back to the country from where they were brought. The suspect was arrested following investigations by a team of Customs officers headed by more..

Lanka looking for new oil options

Feb 3 (CT) Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of striking fresh deals with Saudi Arabia and Oman for oil imports. A preliminary discussion with these countries has already been held and further discussions are on-going. Minister of Petroleum Industries, Susil Premajayantha speaking to Ceylon Today noted that discussions with oil producing countries commenced because of the US sanction imposed on Iran which will ban Iran from exporting oil. more..

Sri Lanka to build museum chamber for Zheng He

Feb 3 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka will build a memorial chamber for Chinese traveler Zheng He inside the Maritime Museum in southern Dutch Fort city Galle. In a statement, Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of Sri Lanka's Tourism Development Authority, said the chamber is to be made in tribute to the 14th century Chinese explorer who is considered as the greatest navigator to visit Sri Lanka from China in 1405 for the first time. "Zheng He was believed to have been the first sailor to more..

CMC barred from holding special meeting

Feb 3 (DN) A special extraordinary general meeting called for today by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to present a special statement by the Colombo mayor and to consider a report of the Council’s Finance Committee was prevented by the Colombo District Court yesterday which issued a stay order against proceedings. The stay order was obtained by four members of the Town and Finance Standing Committee of the CMC representing the Opposition UPFA in a case filed by more..

Only 1965 IDPs remain to be resettled in Settikulam

Feb 3 (Island) Only 1,965 war displaced families remain in the currently functioning Kadirgamar and Ananda Coomaraswamy relief villages in Settikulam in the Northern peninsula had to be resettled, Minister of Resettlement, Gunaratne Weerakoon said. "The ministry is planning to resettle 200 more families in a land area of 600 acres in Kombavil, close to Pudukudirippu on February 07," he said. 200 houses with rooms of 120 square feet each and more..

National mosquito control week

Feb 3 (CT) Health officials in Jaffna and Kurunegala have been identified as the most efficient in the country by the Health Ministry as they were able to clear large areas of mosquito breeding sites. The Health Ministry made this identification after health authorities in Jaffna and Kurunegala were able to clear over 40,000 houses and premises during the National Mosquito Control Week which was held between January 16 and 22. Health Ministry Spokesperson, more..

Taj Group upbeat about prospects in Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (PTI) Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces said it has taken up an expansion at its Sri Lanka properties. The company's 'The Gateway Hotel' is going to add another 100 rooms to meet the growing demand. The hotel has just completed a renovation of it existing 113 Rooms. Indian Hotels Company Vice-President (Sales) Renu Basu told reporters here that it is upbeat on Sri Lanka. She said the company has two owned properties (Taj Samudra, Colombo and Vivanta by Taj Bentota) and more..

Lobby Group urges Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider those who exposed misdeeds in SL

Feb 3 (CT) The Lobby group, Tamils for Obama, highly active in the US, has urged the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider those who comforted the victims and exposed misdeeds in Sri Lanka during the civil war, for their prestigious peace award. The group in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee appealed to the Committee to focus on victims of civil war in Sri Lanka. “We are surprised that the peace prize committee has not more..

Over Rs 21,000m for Deyata Kirula projects

Feb 3 (DN) Minister Rangith Siyambalapitiya said the govt has spent over Rs 21,000 million for development projects which were conducted parallel to the 6th Deyata Kirula national development project in the Anuradhapura district. “The amount spent this time is double than the previous 4th and 5th Deyata Kirula programme in Monaragala -Buththala and Kandy- Kundasale’, he said. “In the first three years the Deyata Kirula exhibition was held along with days of National significance at the BMICH. more..

Yapa blames Ranil for downfall of education

Feb 3 (Island) Condensing the age old wisdom and knowledge into a single subject called ‘Social Studies’, was the downfall of the education system, masterminded by the Education Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe in 1977, Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. Addressing a ceremony to mark the World Wetlands Day, he said that he was not talking to get political mileage but it was a fact that the education system went for a six with bad policies implemented in 1977. more..

'Govt proposal will be presented to PSC'

Feb 3 (DN) Nobody can say that the govt does not have a proposal to be presented to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to find a solution to the ethnic issue. The government’s proposal will be presented to the PSC. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he will abide by the final decision taken by the PSC, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. He said that any SLFP MP can have his or her opinion on the ethnic issue, LLRC recommendations, etc but more..

'UN must act at next UNHRC session'

Feb 3 (HRW) You Excellency, We write to urge your delegation to work with other member and observer states of the UNHRC to bring the issue of accountability for wartime abuses in Sri Lanka onto the agenda of the Council during its March 2012 session. Almost three years after the end of the military conflict between the Sri Lankan govt and the separatist LTTE, the govt has not kept its commitments to the people of Sri Lanka, the UN Secretary-General, and the Human Rights more..

Sri Lanka estate living standards seen improving

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea plantations industry said investments in improving infrastructure and community services had improve the quality of life of workers who produce the island main export crop. The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA), which represents 23 listed Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), said estate communities in RPC estates have seen improvements in all areas of quality of life since privatisation of plantation management in 1992. more..

Private Medical College challenges its critics

Feb 3 (Island) The South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) more popularly known as the Malabe Private Medical College yesterday urged mud-slinging and malicious medical associations not to mislead people about the status of the PMC. Its Director, Dr.Sameera Senaratna, challenged them to produce evidence as to whether the Malabe PMC was lacking any of the requirements for medical education. more..

Laugfs Gas to request a price hike

Feb 3 (NF) The Laugfs Gas Company has stated that it will request a hike in gas prices when the next price revision comes up for review. Chairman of Laugfs Gas, W.K.H Wegapitiya said that this situation has been brought about by the unexpected increase in world gas prices. The price of a 12.5 kilogramme domestic gas cylinder sold by the two main gas companies in Sri Lanka at present is Rs 2046. The last gas price hike took place in August last year when the price of a domestic more..

Will rectify GMOA salary issues – PBJ

Feb 3 (CT) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara justifying the government doctors’ demands to rectify salary anomalies has vowed to meet them in due course. During a discussion Dr. Jayasundara had with the representatives of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) he has said steps would be taken to rectify salary issues faced by them. The discussion took place on Tuesday. Discussions were held between Dr Jayasundara and representatives of the GMOA to come to a conclusion about salary more..

Tamil Nadu boycott: Sri Lankan exporters remain unruffled

Feb 3 (Island) The govt expressed confidence that the boycott imposed by the Tamil Nadu state on Sri Lankan exports of confectionery products such as biscuits and chocolates was only a temporary setback and that the matters would be ironed out before long. Director General of Commerce P.G. Fernando said that he was in touch with both the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi and the Deputy HC in Chennai and was confident that matters would more..

Ousted SLMC member petitions Bribery Commission

Feb 3 (Island) Dr. Shirley Herath, who was removed from the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) by the Minister Maithripala Sirisena following protests by the GMOA, has petitioned the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) on alleged misappropriation of funds by SLMC officials. His petition contained several allegations of injustice meted out to doctors who had sat the Examination to Register and Practice Medicine in Sri Lanka (ERPM), more..

Those asking for powers beyond 13 A did not lift a finger against LTTE

Feb 3 (Island) Those asking for powers beyond the 13th amendment are groups that did not make any contribution towards the defeat of the 30 years of terror inflicted by the LTTE, Central Province Governor, Tikiri Kobbekaduwa said inaugurating a self-employment vocational programme for families of war heroes yesterday. He said that peace had returned to the country due to sacrifices of the war heroes of the security forces under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

How they nearly missed finding President Premadasa’s body

Feb 3 (Island) The then President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s body was found on a blood splattered stretcher under a table at the police morgue, Borella two hours after an LTTE suicide cadre blew him up at Grandpass on May Day 1993. "For over two hours, we thought the President got away just before the blast: In fact, the then SSP in charge of Colombo South, Rukman Silva believed the President was more..

A plethora of issues plague school vans

Feb 3 (LB) The scourge of school vans has become the talk of the town in the aftermath of the accident that took place at Mount Lavinia last week which resulted in nine school children sustaining injuries. Police inquiries conducted so far into the accident has revealed that the school van that met with the unfortunate accident last week had been driven by a 21-year-old youth who had been driving on the wrong side of the road. more..

Sri Lanka’s multi billion rupee commitment – courtesy China

Feb 3 (SL) Sri Lanka has spent an astounding Rs. 391.7 billion on investment projects in the country in the last four years. This enormous amount of money has been spread over five projects, of which only two have been completed but are still to serve any real purpose. All of these projects have been undertaken by Chinese firms, and have been funded by loans obtained from the Chinese state-owned Export-Import bank. Many of these loans more..

Govt. to acquire land for military camps

Feb 3 (DM) While claiming that permanent military camps are to be established in the Northern Province, Deputy Minister Muralitharan allias Karuna yesterday said the government would take over civilians’ land to set up military camps, which are to be built on for security reasons. “These military camps will be established not only in the Northern Province, but also in all the regions including the Eastern and Southern Provinces as well”, more..

Health Ministry takes no chances; prepares for bird flu

Feb 3 (Island) The Health Ministry would continue with its quarantine programme at the Bingiriya and Chilaw hospitals as the virus that killed the fowls in Bingiriya were closely associated with the bird flu virus -H5N2. The spokesman for the Health Ministry, W. M. D. Wanninayake when contacted said yesterday that the Ministry took the decision as there was the possibility of the H5N2 altering as the deadly H5N1 which more..

British MP urges debate on LLRC report

Feb 3 (DM) British Labour Party Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy has called for a full debate in the British Parliament on the recommendations of Sri Lanka’s LLRC. Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on Human Rights, Ms. McCarthy said, “We have recently had the report published by the LLRC. I hope that, at some point over the next few weeks, we will find time for a full debate on that in the House, because there are many question marks over the report, more..

First fatal accident on E01

Feb 3 (DM) A 26-year-old was killed when his car skidded off the road on the Southern Expressway (E01) reporting the first fatal accident on the expressway. The victim was identified as the manager of a private establishment in Matara, Poltupitiyage Arosh Yeshan Cooray (26) of Dehiwala. Inquiries revealed that the car ran off the road at the 21.1 kilometre post and had crashed into a wayside boulder. The body of the victim is currently at the Nagoda Hospital. more..

President wants to brief US

Feb 3 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to send a delegation to the United States ahead of the UNHRC sessions, to brief US leaders on measures taken to improve the human rights situation here, sources said yesterday. The US govt has announced it would support a motion against Sri Lanka at the next UNHRC sessions in Geneva later this month. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently invited her Sri Lankan counterpart to visit the US more..

Sri Lanka monetary tightening welcomed by IMF

Feb 3 (LBO) A hike in rates and credit ceiling which signalled a slowdown in credit for banks would reduce loan growth and help narrow the external deficit, but exchange rate flexibility should be part of the policy package, the IMF said. Strong credit growth put pressure on Sri Lanka's peg with the US dollar and the central bank hiked policy rates by 50 basis points Friday and put a 18 percent ceiling for credit growth for 2011. more..

Sri Lanka raise rates, slows lending

Feb 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka's central bank on Friday raised its key interest rate for the first time in five years and asked commercial banks to reduce lending in the face of a worsening trade deficit. The Central Bank hiked its benchmark lending rate by 50 basis points to 9.0 percent, the first rise since February 2007 when the rate was upped to 12.0 percent from 11.50 percent. The bank also asked commercial banks to rein in lending, arguing that much of it financed the country's more..

Sri Lanka shares end down 0.3-pct

Feb 3 (LBO) Shares closed weaker Friday for the fourth straight day in dull trade despite the central bank announcing it was allowing foreign firms to give margin loans for share trading, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 0.34 percent at 5,586.39, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.58 percent to close at 4,813.12. Turnover was 420 million rupees. Allowing foreign entities to give credit for stock trading was one of the requests made by more..

Editorial: If TU terror can't be stopped, ban it

Feb 3 (DM) With the govt hoping to make Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia in the aftermath of the ravages of a 30-year war, which battered and bruised Sri Lanka, it has had little or no respite, during the past two and half years. We have seen strike after lightning strike that have plagued the country and its essential services like health, education, electricity transport and fuel supplies. Trade union action may be the right of workers but strikes should be the last resort more..

Sri Lanka Welcomes ‘Arcadia’

Feb 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, along with the officials of Sri Lanka Port Authority, welcomed the vessel ‘Arcadia’ yesterday, at a brief ceremony held at the Colombo harbor. This luxury carrier, owned by the UK based company Carnival PLC, had more than 2100 tourists on board, consisted of the British, Australian, New Zealand and Brazil nationalities. The local excursion tour operator Gemini Tours and Travels were in charge of more..

SL’s environmental performance improving

Feb 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka's overall environmental performance is improving and the country has been ranked as a modest performer according to a study on global environment released during this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. Sri Lanka has been ranked at the 55th place, six places below the United States which is ranked at 49th, in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) prepared by the Yale University in the United States. more..

'Govt hides behind 13+ to avoid other issues'

Feb 3 (LT) The govt is hiding behind the national question is avoiding all other issues says the President of National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) and Member of Political Bureau of the JVP K.D. Lal Kanthe. Mr. Lal Kanthe was the chief invitee at the 12th Convention of the Lanka Postal Services Union held at the auditorium of the Public Library in Colombo yesterday. Speaking further he said, “Our Rs.10,000 salary struggle goes under due to the talk of the 13 plus. more..

Sri Lanka backs nomination of controversial officer to UN

Feb 3 (ABC) Sri Lanka's envoy to Australia says it fully supports the nomination of a controversial military officer to a UN body advising Ban Ki-moon. Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe says Major General Shavendra Silva is a man of "outstanding calibre" and an appropriate choice for the UN Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations, despite accusations his 58th Brigade was responsible for war crimes. Sri Lanka is preparing to celebrate its Independence Day more..

Sri Lanka's warmup match in Australia rained out

Feb 3 (AP) Sri Lanka’s warmup match ahead of its tri-series limited-overs tournament with Australia and India has been rained out. Sri Lanka was to have played a Prime Minister’s XI invitational team captained by Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who has been dropped from the national team for the start of the tri-series. But persistent rain Friday at Manuka Oval from the scheduled start time of 10 a.m. forced officials to call the match off four hours later. more..

Stocks still under pressure: broker

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock market is still under selling pressure and subject to speculative trading and is also likely to be hit by an interest rate hike, a stock broker said in a report. "Sri Lanka continues to be under all sorts of pressure," Bartleet Religare Securities said. "The markets this week continued to get hammered from all angles and being in cash until the dust settles seems to be the best bet going forward. "Last week’s Friday’s rally made us rethink our stance on more..