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South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Preview

Jan 11 (CI) Before the Test series, the gulf in quality between the two sides seemed unbridgeable, though Sri Lanka went on to pull off one of the upsets of the decade in Durban before surrendering the series. In the one-day format, the teams are more evenly matched, as the rankings show - South Africa are third with 116 points, while Sri Lanka are fourth with 112. Also Sri Lanka's attack gets the cutting edge it lacked in the Tests with the return of more..

Naval Contingent departs for UN Peace Keeping Mission in Haiti

Jan 11 (MoD) The naval contingent assigned for the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission left for Haiti on 07th January 2012. A total of 44 naval personnel including 02 officers, 10 senior sailors and 32 junior sailors were among them. They will be deployed for the mission along with 118 army personnel and 41 air force personnel. The naval contingent completed their training at the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations Training Center in Kukuleganga and passed out at more..

No India-China rivalry in Sri Lanka: Wijesinha

Jan 11 (LM) China has conveyed to Sri Lanka that it understands the primacy of the relationship between India and the island nation, a Sri Lankan MP and adviser to President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Tuesday. The India-China rivalry in Sri Lanka was predominantly a Western construct, Rajiva Wijesinha said, adding that at times some Sri Lankan groups too played up the perceived rivalry. Wijesinha, on a trip to New Delhi ahead of a 16-19 January visit to Sri Lanka by more..

JVP faction preparing for uprising - minister

Jan 11 (DN) The split in the JVP poses a great danger to the country’s democracy. According to the information received by the govt a faction is getting ready to launch another insurgency. Both factions are trying to be heroes among schoolchildren and undergraduates, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. According to him unrest in universities is not something new to Sri Lanka but the present situation is entirely different from all more..

Another VTC planned for Urubokka, Matara

Jan 11 (Island) Moves are now afoot to setup a new Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Urubokka, Matara involving an expenditure of Rs. 60 million. Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry target was to admit over 120,000 youth to the Vocational Training and Technical Studies field by the year 2016, VTC official said. The spokesperson said that VTC was currently conducting a number of programmes to enhance the quality of training and services to meet the more..

Seventeen undergrads suspended

Jan 11 (DN) 17 undergraduates of the Kelaniya University have been suspended by the university authorities for allegedly holding forcefully a group of freshers inside the CWW Kannangara Hostel. According authorities the first year male students were provided with accommodation facilities at the Yakkaduwa Sri Pagnarama hostel while the other students were lodged at the CWW Kannangara Hostel. All the student unions have agreed to this decision as this step assists to minimise ragging. more..

Some govt. workers get 78% pay hike

Jan 11 (Island) The govt is under pressure to review a controversial formula under which four key state institutions, namely the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) are given substantial salary increases. Ministerial sources told The Island that the national economy couldn’t meet unions’ demand for a staggering 15 per cent more..

Cabinet nod for new business university

Jan 11 (Island) Cabinet approval has been granted to set up a Business University affiliated to National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) in the name of National School of Business Management (NSBM), at a cost of Rs. 5 billion, to provide high quality degree programmes for Sri Lankan students, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. The Minister also said that a 50 acre block of land in Homagama owned by the UDA has been identified to set up the new University. more..

‘A Ministry for Reconciliation is needed to implement LLRC recommendations’

Jan 11 (Island) Sri Lanka should create a Ministry for Reconciliation to implement the recommendations made by the LLRC in its recently-released report, a Presidential Adviser has suggested. The suggestion was made by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Adviser to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Reconciliation, in a presentation on "Reconciliation, Sri Lanka and the World" made here today at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a leading private think tank. more..

Sri Lanka warns of Tamil Tiger separatist revival

Jan 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka is maintaining high defence spending and sizeable military to guard against any possible resumption of violence by Tamil Tiger separatists who are trying to regroup, a senior defence official said. The island's intelligence services had picked up evidence of attempts to reactivate the LTTE separatist group which was defeated in May 2009 after a 30-year war, defence ministry secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. more..

GL brief president of Senegal on Sri Lankan issues

Jan 11 (GDI) External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris, travelling to Senegal as the Special Envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had a meeting in Dakar on Monday with Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal. Professor Peiris handed over a personal letter of felicitation from President Rajapaksa to President Wade. The President of Senegal while recalling the meeting he had with President Rajapaksa in September more..

S'gamuwa undergrads attacked

Jan 11 (CT) Four students of the University of Sabaragamuwa were assaulted by an unidentified group on Tuesday night. The undergraduates had been assaulted when they were returning to their hostel premises at 10.30 pm after they had finished studying at the University, IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said. Despite the heightened security in all Universities, a group of thugs had been able to make their way into the University of Sabaragamuwa and attack the students inside, more..

Rajapaksa dynasty and their education qualification saga

Jan 11 (SL) In 1999, the Ravaya published an article under the byline Mahinda Rajapaksa which analyses the provincial council elections results. The late Jeyaraj Fernandopulle asked me who wrote that. I said it was Mahinda Rajapaksa, and he laughed heartily. Everyone around us were very curious about that and asked, “Why are you laughing?” He asked MPs and journalists who were in the parliament corridor at that time to come near him and said more..

Ragging rages on

Jan 11 (ST) Janith*, obtained good results at the A/L exam and was among the fortunate to enter the Arts Faculty of Peradeniya University last October. But sadly, this fresher who resided at the Marcus Fernando Hall was admitted to Peradeniya Hospital with assault injuries and medical reports revealing that he had been sexually abused several times. According to Peradeniya Police OIC Jaliya Heenkenda, the CID has taken over the investigation into the sexual assault. more..

Online Visa passengers waited 3-4 hours at BIA, but...

Jan 11 (LB) The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system which commenced operating from January 1, 2012 has resulted in a major revenue boost raking in Rs 30 mn from day one of the operation till January 6, (Friday). Immigration and Emigration Director General Chulananda Perera said, “People thought it would be a hassle for all but it has turned out to be a successful venture and nearly 30,000 applicants used the online service from January 1.” more..

Free Medical Care under attack at Castle Street

Jan 11 (Island) The Castle Street Maternity Hospital is accused of issuing a list of items to each expectant mother to purchase from outside though the hospital is required to provide them. This practice was limited to hand written form earlier, but at present the hospital had begun to issue a printed list of items to each expectant mother, All Ceylon Health Services Union (LCHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe told more..

Sri Lanka wards off pressure to hike interest rates, for now

Jan 11 (Hindu) Banking on the “structural changes” in the economy to “provide the momentum for the economy to grow by about 8 per cent in 2012, even in the midst of the slowdown in global economic activity,” the Sri Lankan Central Bank’s January Monetary Board, in its meeting on January 10, decided not to touch any of the interest rates. “The Monetary Board is of the view that the present policy framework does not require any more..

UPFA running an agent in UNP WC, allege Reformists

Jan 11 (Island) The reformist group of the UNP accuses party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of accommodating a UPFA agent in the decision making Working Committee, thereby making it easy for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to manipulate the main opposition party. The Reformists are on the warpath over the appointment of Central Provincial Council member and head of the UNP women’s arm, Lakvanitha organisation Shanthini Kongahage to more..

Sri Lanka expressway has upped hotel occupancy: minister

Jan 11 (LBO) Occupancy at hotels in the southern part of Sri Lanka had increased after a new expressway cut travel time to the area, deputy minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. The expressway cut travel time to Galle from the capital Colombo to less than one hour from over three hours by road. "Now tourists are going from Colombo to have dinner in Unawatuna, and hotels in the area are full," minister Abeywardene said. more..

Colombo under crosscurrents!

Jan 11 (FT) In a development likely to reverberate for a long time, Aitken Spence Plc has decided to pull out of Sri Lanka’s biggest FDI project worth $ 500 million to build the Colombo South Container Terminal. The Daily FT learns that Spence called it quits after much thought in the larger interest of its stakeholders and future viability in an apparent act of not wanting to be sorry later. Among key reasons for the Spence pullout, is the escalation of the project cost, largely on account of more..

'LLRC recommendations to be implemented'

Jan 11 (DM) The Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa speaking yesterday said that reconciliation in its true sense within Sri Lanka defers from other countries. “Reconciliation is important but reconciliation in Sri Lanka is different from other countries. A dictator did not govern Sri Lanka and we had a fully-fledged democracy even during the war. Presidents and governments changed despite the war,” he said. The secretary went on to point out that more..

Mervyn's problems: President won't intervene

Jan 11 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told Minister Mervyn Silva, that he was unable to intervene in the problems at Kelaniya since the UPFA nominees for the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha elections were chosen solely on the recommendations of Mr. Silva, according to a highly placed source. It was also revealed that the president had instructed Mr. Silva to resolve these issues with the help of the SLFP high command. more..

Editorial: Dangers of the foreign policy mess

Jan 11 (DM) The United States, while trimming its 2012 Defence Budget by almost one trillion dollars, has announced that it will now give more emphasis to security and its geo-political interests in the Asia Pacific region which includes Sri Lanka. The obvious reference was to the growing influence of China in the region and this is where Sri Lanka needs to be cautious because of the increasing influence China is having in our country. Both India and the United States are known to be more..

Sri Lankan mysteries: Three striking differences with India

Jan 11 (TI) I am writing this on the road from Colombo to Kandy. And again (I have been doing this repeatedly for the last four days) I thank the gods for having allowed this break from the bitter cold of Delhi into such a lush paradise of warmth and water and throat-searing food. But it is also a bit disorienting to be in this country. It feels like home country (the landscape is especially so reminiscent of Kerala) and yet there is more..

Tamil refugees slowly return from India

Jan 11 (IRIN) For Thangamma, returning to Sri Lanka's once-embattled northern town of Jaffna is nothing short of a pilgrimage. "I waited for two decades to leave India," she said. The 65-year-old is one of a small number of Sri Lankan Tamils who have returned home after spending years as refugees in one of 100 camps in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. More than 100,000 Tamil civilians fled to the sub-continent to escape fighting between govt forces and more..

Sri Lanka stocks close slightly firmer

Jan 11 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed slightly firmer Wednesday, ending a six-day losing streak although turnover remained thin with a recovery in shares and warrants of a firm which has delayed conversion for the second time, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed up 0.09 percent at 5,865.06, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.30 percent to 5,010.22. Turnover was 578 million rupees. Shares of Environmental Resources Investments, which more..

Ruhuna university students attacked

Jan 11 (CT) Undergraduates of the Ruhunu university engineering faculty were attacked and tear gassed by the Police, disrupting their protest march organized to object to the proposed private universities bill. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said the engineering faculty students who initiated their protest march from the faculty premises in Galle to continue towards Matara, were attacked by police officials who were stationed before the university premises. more..

President emphasizes the role of the Trade Unions

Jan 11 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapakse has said that trade union members should think about their responsibilities similar to what they think about their rights. He has said that the time has come for them to make an attitudinal change in this respect. The President made these comments at a meeting held at Temple Trees yesterday in connection with obtaining views and suggestions from the Trade Union activists for strengthening the SLFP Trade Unions. more..

Indian fishermen fear backlash by SL Navy over attack on Natesan

Jan 11 (TOI) Fishermen's associations on Tuesday came down heavily against the outfits that attacked Thirukumaran Natesan during his visit here on Tuesday to perform a pooja on Tuesday. They fear that due to the attack, fishermen venturing into the sea for their livelihood will be at the receiving end at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy. Thirteen mechanised boats associations and 10 country boat associations have expressed their disapproval for such an act more..

China Merchants said to plan Sri Lanka terminal stake purchase

Jan 11 (BN) China Merchants Holdings (International) Co. plans to increase its stake in an under- construction Sri Lankan container terminal, according to two people familiar with the situation. The company, the largest shareholder in the facility, is considering acquiring at least some of Aitken Spence & Co.’s 30 percent stake as the Colombo-based partner is quitting the project, said the people who declined to be identified as the discussions are private. more..

'Group of uni. students trying to launch armed struggle'

Jan 11 (DM) Minister S.B. Dissanayake charged today that a group of university students in the south were trying to team up youth who were involved with the LTTE at that time to launch another armed struggle. He said that these students have political dealings with the breakaway group of the JVP. He said, “These students came to the Jaffna University in search of youth who were with the LTTE at that time. more..

Nepal-Sri Lanka society formed

Jan 11 (HT) A Nepal-Sri Lanka friendship society has been formed under the patronship of Sri Lankan Ambassador Thosapala Hewage with an objective of acquiring and defusing knowledge for bilateral understanding and promoting travel between the two countries. The society was formed by a special gathering of renowned Buddhist scholars, diplomats, tourism entrepreneurs and media persons organised at the Sri Lankan Embassy on January 7. more..

Sri Lanka fast tracks hotel construction to meet tourism boom

Jan 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is fast tracking tourism investment to increase room capacity in a bid to meet the 1 million arrival target set for 2012, an official said here Wednesday. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told media that at least 2500 new rooms need to be added this year to facilitate the 1 million tourists expected in the Indian Ocean island. "Tourism grew by 30.8 percent in 2011 and even though we targeted 750,000, the year ended with over 850,000 arrivals. more..

'If you want to change the Govt. change it at the polling booth'

Jan 11 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa speaking on the spate of revolutions that swept across the Arab continent said that a revolution of the sort should not take place in Sri Lanka. “There are various groups who are trying to topple this govt and have taken example from the wave of protests in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Sri Lanka does not need such a revolution because this country is a fledgling democracy and unlike those countries more..

Sri Lankan gov't targets poverty reduction in former war zones

Jan 11 (Xinhua) In an attempt to reduce poverty to 3 percent by 2016, the Sri Lankan government is expanding handouts to the poor and for the first time encompassing the former war zones in the north and east, a minister said here on Wednesday. At present, the government gives handouts under a poverty alleviation program titled "Samurdhi" to about 1.5 million families countrywide, said Acting Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana. more..

Sri Lanka's private sector credit grows 33.5% in 2011

Jan 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's private sector credit grew by 33.5 percent in 2011 reflecting the buoyant post-war growth, the Central Bank said on Wednesday. Largely reflecting the robust expansion of credit, broad money growth also remained at a level higher than that projected for 2011, the Central Bank said in a statement. However, market interest rates moved upwards in recent months, in line with changing liquidity conditions in domestic money market. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 11.01.2012

Wimal protests NGOS taking over NHDA’S duties

Jan 11 (DM) “There was an attempt in the recent past to oust the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) from its prime duty of house building and hand over the job to certain NGOS by some interested parties, Wimal Weerawansa said. Addressing a function held to hand over appointment letters to Technical Officers recruited by the NHDA and distribute motor cycles to Senior Technical Officers, Minister Weerawansa went onto say that a good example for this negative more..

Thirteen Indian fishermen arrested in Pulmudai

Jan 11 (DM) 13 Indian fishermen were taken into custody this morning along with their two fishing trawlers in the seas, 14 nautical miles north east of Pulmudai, Navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said. They were arrested by a naval patrol team of the Eastern Naval Command after observing the unwarranted movement towards the sea and for wilfully trespassing on Sri Lankan waters. The two fishing trawlers were brought to the Trincomalee Port and more..

Sri Lankans protest editor's unsolved murder

Jan 11 (AP) Hundreds of political and human rights activists on Wednesday questioned the Sri Lankan government's will to solve the killing of an outspoken newspaper editor three years ago. Platform for Freedom, which is comprised of opposition politicians and activists, lit lamps in remembrance and held a protest meeting against the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunga, the editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper. more..