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US$ 10 Million ‘inadequate’ but at least a starting point for re-branding ‘Ceylon Tea’

Jan 1 (Island) The allocation of US$ 10 million for rebranding ‘Ceylon Tea’ was acknowledged as "inadequate" to meet the global challenges for a dynamic exercise, as envisaged, but Director, Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) Hasitha de Alwis said on Friday that although these funds were decidedly low at least now it was more a plus situation comparing past instances of negativity. He said positive influences brought to bear by the Minister more..

Minister seeks US$ 10 billion bailout for CPC

Jan 1 (ST) Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha is seeking a Treasury guarantee of US$. 10 billion to bail out the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) which is now in the red to the tune of Rs. 83 billion. The minister’s move came as a Finance Ministry official said plans by the CPC to increase its borrowing limit with the People’s Bank for fuel imports would have to be seriously re-considered given its high debt liability. more..

The way the wind is blowing: The story behind a high-profile resignation

Jan 1 (ST) The Way the Wind is Blowing is the theme of the Commercial Bank's most recent annual report -- that of 2010. Mahendra Amarasuriya gives me his copy of the report a day after he has handed in his resignation from the bank's board as its chairman. There is subdued pride in the eyes of this man who steered the Bank for the last 16 years and transformed it from a Colombo-centric corporate bank into Sri Lanka's leading more..

Govt. ready to discuss land powers for PCs

Jan 1 (ST) In what seemed a marked turn of events, the govt is to discuss with the TNA how to implement limited land powers enshrined in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. “Not only land, but we will also discuss a number of other issues,” Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who leads the govt delegation said yesterday. Earlier, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella declared that “if the TNA is coming for discussions on land and police powers, it is a waste of time. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 1 (ST) Holidaymakers in a crowded resort in Trincomalee, one morning this week, found the quietness of the area suddenly being disturbed by the whir of engines in the sky. Soon they saw a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter touch down in the open land adjoining the star-class resort. Alighting from it was Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. He joined other members of the family, who were staying at the hotel for the buffet breakfast. more..

CEA blocks proposed Indian industrial project on environmental concerns

Jan 1 (Island) A move by an Indian company to launch a BOI-approved industrial project in Sri Lanka with the Matugama area earmarked to dump Sulfuric acid, has been blocked by the Central Environment Authority (CEA). The CEA, following discussions with India’s premier scientific institution, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has decided to respond negatively to the proposed venture. more..

Two Indians arrested in Lanka for currency fraud

Jan 1 (PTI) Two Indian nationals, allegedly carrying illegal foreign currency worth 17.5 million Sri Lankan rupees and heading to Singapore, were arrested by police here today. The two from Tamil Nadu state were arrested from Colombo''s neighbouring business district of Pettah, police said. The Indians were allegedly in possession of US dollars and Euro worth 17.5 million Sri Lankan rupees, and had planned to carry the currency to Singapore illegally. more..

Roshen's family seeks justice

Jan 1 (BBC) The family of a murdered free trade zone worker has accused the Sri Lankan authorities of failing to fulfil pledges to the family following his killing in a police shooting. RT Madhushan, the elder brother of the Roshen Shanaka said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has failed to keep his word on compensation as well as bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice. Roshen Shanaka who received gunshot wounds at a protest by Free Trade Zone (FTZ) workers against more..

JVP reappoints Somawansa as leader, expels 9 dissidents

Jan 1 (SM) The JVP reappointed Somawansa Amarasinghe as leader of the party at a special convention in Tissamaharama today. The party also expelled nine activists of a dissident group, whose members were absent at the event at Debarawewa Stadium, attended by only around 3,200 identified delegates. The entire area was decorated in red. Welcoming the delegates, secretary of the JVP Tilvyn Silva alleged more..

Mayor accused of blackmailing hoteliers

Jan 1 (BBC) Hoteliers in a popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka have accused a local politician of blackmailing them and demanding ransom from hotels at the peak of a tourism season. The Hikkaduwa Hoteliers Association (HHA) told BBC Sandeshaya that the town's Mayor, Winnie Kariyawasam, discontinued collecting garbage from Coral Sands hotel for weeks after they refused to pay "extortion" money. Mr Kariyawasam, who admitted that the urban council stopped collecting more..

Police to go online

Jan 1 (CT) Department of Police is making arrangements to maintain online sites for all police stations this year. Police Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said the objective behind the plan is to connect all police stations around the island in order to share information and network with other police stations. “With the setting up of online sites for all police stations, it would be much faster and efficient for different police personnel to share information, various circulars. more..

UNP reformists take on the gauntlet

Jan 1 (Island) In spite of losing an attempt to oust UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe through a secret vote, the Reformists are taking their battle to the people as part of an ambitious overall strategy to regain the initiative. Reformists told The Sunday Island that they would go ahead with their campaign, though the party leadership was now threatening disciplinary action against those challenging Wickremesinghe’s authority. more..

Injury scare for Dinesh Chandimal

Jan 1 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman, who had a bright debut in the Durban Test with two half-centuries, has been taken to hospital after being struck on the hand during practice on Sunday. An assessment of the injury and news of his availability for the Newlands Test starting on January 3 is awaited. Chandimal made 58 in the first innings of the Durban Test, adding 111 with Thilan Samaraweera for the seventh wicket, and followed up with more..

Underworld firgure found dead in Thalawathugoda

Jan 1 (DM) A wanted criminal known as ‘Dabare’ was shot to death in Kimbulawewa in Thalawathugoda by an unidentified gang after he was abducted last morning. According to police sources the 40 year old victim was wanted by the police for a number of criminal activities. The suspects had abducted him at around 1.30am yesterday from his house situated along the Pannipitiya-Thalawathugoda main road. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that the body was found at around 7.00am today. more..

Sri Lanka: Paradise lost, post Eelam war

Jan 1 (AA) Driving on the potholed A9 highway to Jaffna that could break the strongest of spines, it was great relief spotting a volleyball match in progress at a wayside playground. It was in Kilinochchi, which used to be the LTTE capital until President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced its capture by his troops on January 2, 2009. Less than five months later, the forces ended the Eelam war killing the Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Over 800 Unprotected Level Crossings

Jan 1 (SL) The Sri Lankan Railway Department says that there are some 800 unprotected level crossings in the country. The General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways V. A. P. Ariyaratne said that the serious shortage of protected level crossings has hampered moves by the government to remove the speed limit on trains. He said that on average at least two accidents are reported at unprotected level crossings around the country. The latest accident was reported in Aluthgama on more..

Disabled cops demand equal benefits

Jan 1 (SL) Disabled police officers have written to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa demanding equal benefits for the police similar to those given to the three forces. Secretary of the Sri Lanka Police War Disabled Officers Association S.B. Herath said that disabled police officers and their families are not given benefits similar to those given to the Army, Navy and Air Force. He said that Minister Dinesh Guanwardena had even told Parliament recently that the police cannot more..

Tangalle murder suspects have past criminal records

Jan 1 (CT) The suspects involved in the killing of a British national at Tangalle on Christmas day, the police believe have been involved in several illegal activities in the area. Police believe the suspects are part of a criminal syndicate which has been carrying out several illegal activities in the area. CID sources revealed that they had unearthed details of some of the suspects being involved in extorting money from local businessmen in the area more..

Lankan missing in Saudi

Jan 1 (CT) A 57 year old Sri Lankan working in a private company in Saudi Arabia is reported missing since 19 December. According to his family members he has been working in the company for the past 10 years. The victim’s son Madura Seneviratne told Ceylon Today his family has been unaware of his father’s disappearance till recently. “We were informed of an accident he had met a week prior to his disappearance and being unconscious as a result,” he said. more..

Lanka Tractors Questions Acquisition

Jan 1 (SL) Lanka Tractors, one of the companies which are to be acquired by the government under the new Act introduced recently, has stated that the government has no legal right in acquiring the land. According to Lanka Tractors Chairman, Daya Wettasinghe, the properties targeted by the company had not been granted by the government but belonged to a public company before purchase. He explained that a controlling interest in, and management of, more..

Sri Lanka electronic visa system starts

Jan 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka has ended a free visa on arrival scheme from today with an electronic authorization system coming online, but anyone who arrives without an e-visa will be able to buy one for 50 dollars, a media report. Sri Lanka gave free visa on arrival to a number of countries including India which helped the island's tourism. Indian arrivals in particular kept the island's airline and tourist sectors afloat during difficult war years. more..

The Gradual Distortion of a Constitution through Amendment

Jan 2 (Island) The salient features of the electoral process in the 1978 Constitution as originally promulgated were as follows: An executive Presidency with a fixed term of six years; a Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers who are selected by the President from Parliament; a provision to allow for the appointment of Ministers of non-Cabinet rank, in addition to Deputy Ministers; the introduction of the proportional representation system whereby each party would be more..

Ten New Year Resolutions I won’t keep

Jan 2 (Island) At the dawn of year 2012 I want to tell you how to make life worth living. The method is to begin by taking note of the ten most important things that you must do – what your doctor, your wife or your tedious friends have been drilling into you – and then to reflect on why you have been unable to practice these virtues for tens upon tens of years. This is the central point in grasping the dialectic, the interpenetration of opposites. more..

‘Don’t politicise GCE AL mishap’

Jan 2 (SO) The outgoing Exams Chief Anura Edirisinghe spoke to the Sunday Observer to explain the reasons for the GCE A/L district rank mishap and why students should not panic over the issue. He voiced concern over the attempts by different quarters with vested interests to blow the issue out of proportion and discredit hard earned reputation of the Sri Lanka’s Examinations Department. Q: There are allegations over the decision to combine the two exams more..

A Better New Year?

Jan 2 (Island) To me old Father Time seems to be riding a steed or keeping up with the times, he’s jetting in a supersonic plane these days. We had only just settled down to 2011 when he slams 2012 on us! It’s hard to take, the way the days, weeks and months whiz past and here we are again on the first day of a new year! Hard because with Time speeding by he sprinkles more grey in the hair and crow’s feet on the face on us very much alive oldies. 2012 has dire predictions connected with it. more..

Reconciliation – What is the Big Deal?

Jan 2 (GV) It looks like the LLRC took their job far more seriously than expected. Some stake holders in the Govt who insisted that it is fully worth spending time to bring about reconciliation through the LLRC came out on TV to say that LLRC has over-stepped the bounds of its mandate. For the first time, they articulated to the citizens that the mandate of LLRC was mainly limited to study why the 2001 ceasefire failed, and to find out the parties responsible for the damage caused thereafter. more..

Nishan Duraiappah says he will lead by example

Jan 2 (TC) The first time Nishan Duraiappah laid eyes on Milton, Ontario, it was as a six-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant. An only child, Duraiappah arrived in this country when just a year old and after a brief time in Toronto, moved to one of Milton’s first new subdivisions. Today, 31 years later, as Duraiappah surveys the much-altered and densely populated Milton landscape, it’s as inspector, 1 District of the Halton Regional Police Service. more..

Editorial: Panels, panels and still more panels

Jan 2 (Island) The govt invariably gets into the denial mode whenever it is accused of bungling. Then, it reluctantly adopts remedial measures without owning up to its blunders. How it removed a rock partially blocking the entrance to the newly built Hambantota port is a case in point. It has acted in a similar manner as regards last year's GCE (A/L) results. The govt had two years to appoint panels of experts and devise ways and means of solving the problems that it knew more..

Wishes for a peaceful and a happy New Year from the President

Jan 2 (GV) I probably was one among millions of people in Sri Lanka privileged to receive a SMS from the President, wishing me “a peaceful and a happy New Year”. (A large majority who do not own a cell phone would receive no such wishes from the highest in the land). While many might argue this to be another gimmick of the President to gain popularity at the expense of the exchequer, I was prepared to grant His Excellency, these minor indulgences, since more..

From the Northern scars to the Arts

Jan 2 (SO) It is all about a new life in the Wanni. The sun shone brightly while people were rebuilding their lives. It is above his school that birds fly freely where there are no thundering explosions of deadly bombs or shooting to force them into hiding. Children are back in schools, which were abandoned for many years.This is how 10-year-old Pandiyan of Mallavi Tamil Maha Vidyalaya put his feelings about peace in his drawing displayed at a unique exhibition more..

Anandasangari’s task for govt. & a win-win situation for all Sri Lankans

Jan 2 (Island) Veerasingham Anandasangaree, the Tamil elder Statesman wrote recently that the "President’s immediate task is to win over Tamils". The converse question should also be posed, namely that the Tamil leadership’s first priority should be to win over the Sinhala people and all the other communities. The average citizen from the two communities will have no problem with that. It is the leaders and some elements of the media who may have a spot of trouble. more..

Windows of opportunity

Jan 2 (DM) New Delhi’s ‘initial’ reaction to the LLRC Report may not have set the Palk Strait, leave alone the Indian Ocean, on fire but it will have its own consequences if and when the West takes it up at the UNHRC at Geneva in March. Coupled with near-similar positions taken by Russia and China, India’s studied reaction to the Report indicates that New Delhi would like Colombo to sub-serve the long-term interests of Sri Lanka than stopping with addressing what at best more..

Extravagance veiled as National Pride

Jan 2 (GV) Just few months ago, in response to a public outcry for more accountability and transparency in the use of public funds, the State Council, which is the Cabinet in the Chinese government, directed 98 public institutions including ministries to make public their budgets and expenditure on official receptions, official overseas visits and public vehicles. Why these three items? China has recognized these as the most abused items of more..

Soya, maize to be cultivated on large scale

Jan 2 (DN) Soya and maize will be cultivated in the North Central Province on 100,000 acres in Maha and Yala cultivation seasons this year, North Central Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake said. There is a record awakening of paddy cultivation in the NCP and there has been a surplus harvest at present. Soya, maize and kurakkan will be cultivated on large scale in the region to make the farmer community richer. ‘The Provincial Council with govt support will make ample stores and more..

Akbar Brothers flies Lankan flag high as world’s biggest tea exporter

Jan 2 (FT) Akbar Brothers, which for decades has been dominating the local tea industry, in 2011 made Sri Lanka prouder by becoming the world’s biggest tea exporter, beating global giant Lipton. The company said that its exports in 2011 amounted to 52.2 million kilos, positioning it as the biggest exporter of single origin tea. Lipton Africa, the industry giant, is estimated to have shipped only 48.4 million kilos globally in 2011. Of Sri Lanka’s total exports, more..

New Tax Chief pledges to simplify taxes confining returns to a single page

Jan 2 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Inland Revenue (Tax) Department has achieved 99% of the revenue target of Rs. 307 billion set for this year while the 2012 target of Rs.400 billion would be met through the reduction of compliance costs and the enhancement of efficiency and productivity that would result from automated revenue collection and compliance, monitoring and enforcement. more..

'We’ll take final decision after meeting DG, Sports'

Jan 2 (Island) Michael de Zoysa, who is to contest for the post of secretary from the Thilanga Sumathipala camp at tomorrow’s Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections, said last evening that his group had not taken any decision to withdraw from the elections, as it was reported on Sunday. "There have been some irregularities in the form of changing names of the delegates (of the affiliate clubs) who are to vote at the elections. So, our group will have a formal discussion more..

Accidents soar in New Year

Jan 2 (DN) The number of patients admitted to the Accident Service of the Colombo National Hospital during New Year’s eve, showed a significant rise compared to the previous year, Colombo National Hospital Accident Service Director Dr Prasad Ariyawansa told the Daily News yesterday. He said that there had been 164 admissions to the Accident Service during the 24 hours ended 7am yesterday. He observed that this was a 36 percent increase compared to the same period last year. more..

Sri Lanka seek unprecedented series win at Protea stronghold

Jan 2 (Island) History is not on Sri Lanka’s side as they chase a historic first series win away from home against a major Test playing nation. No team, barring Australians, have beaten the Proteas in Cape Town since their re-admission to Test cricket with the South Africans having an impressive record here winning 15 of the 23 Tests since 1992. And the fact that Sri Lanka’s worst ever Test defeat against any country was more..

Karukapane cleared ignoring habitat laws

Jan 2 (LB) The large forest reservation that is to be found in the Karukapane Grama Seva division in the Arachchikattuwa electorate in the Puttalam district is currently in grave danger of being destroyed completely to make way for the construction of a large hotel complex. This project is being carried out by the property development wing of a gas company. As a first step towards the construction of this hotel complex, a roadway is currently being built by more..