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Arrest warrants issued of accused in Lankan team attack

Jan 19 (PT) A Lahore High Court division bench on Wednesday issued the arrest warrants again of three accused involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team, on petitions seeking cancellation of bail earlier granted to them by a trial court. The bench directed the Model Town superintendent police to arrest the accused and produce before the court on the next hearing, February 1. The division bench passed the order on the petitions filed by the Punjab government, more..

JVP, UNP demand Govt. reveal its position on 13 A plus

Jan 19 (Island) The JVP challenged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to either confirm or deny a statement attributed to visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna that India had secured Sri Lanka’s commitment to what he called a 13th Amendment plus approach. The minister declared that he had received the commitment from President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier in the day, though no timeframe was discussed with regard to the implementation more..

HR groups to focus on missing activists

Jan 19 (CT) International right groups have decided to focus on post war human rights violations in Sri Lanka. It is believed the abductions of Lalith Kumara Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan is likely to cause a major embarrassment to Sri Lanka in the UNHRC meeting in March this year. International rights organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other rights groups have decided to focus on these abductions as a part of post war human rights violations more..

Dinesh criticises question posed to PM

Jan 19 (DM) Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardane struck a note of criticism at the office of the Secretary General of Parliament for referring a question for oral answers to the Prime Minister instead referring it to the subject minister. In the Order Paper, the question about the university students and their Mahapola bursaries had been directed at the Prime Minister. However, Mr. Gunawardane said that the question should have been posed to the Higher Education Minister. more..

TU’s vow to continue strike

Jan 19 (CT) Trade Unions attached to Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) have vowed to continue their strike despite a Government pledge of a 25 percent salary hike. The Unions are demanding a 35 percent salary hike and say that they will never settle for a lower percentage. The Unions also launched a work to rule campaign with effect from last night. CEB trade unions are currently holding discussions to more..

EPF Amendment Bill passed

Jan 19 (Island) The Employees Provident Fund (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday, with amendments by a majority of 59 votes. According to the proposed amendments, the NIC number of an employee will be used as the EPF number and this number will not change even if the employee moves to another institution. The efficiency of the fund when paying back the EPF money to employees would be enhanced as a result of this new system. The thumb fingerprint more..

Govt. withdraws Pensions Bills

Jan 19 (Island) The Govt yesterday in Parliament withdrew three Bills, namely, the Employees’ Pension Benefits Fund Bill, Overseas Employees’ Pension Benefits Fund Bill and Pensions (Consequential Provisions) Bill. Parliament yesterday. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, at the commencement of Public Business, said that the Government wished to withdraw those three bills. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that the agreement of the House was needed for the withdrawal of more..

Govt. to offset CPC dues with treasury bonds

Jan 19 (DM) The govt has issued Treasury Bonds worth Rs.60 billion to offset a part of the massive Rs.1,007 billion owed to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPETCO) by the govt and semi-govt institutions. The bail-out plan has been declared in the wake of some 20,000 CEYPETCO employees agitating for a 45 per cent salary increase. The debts had reached a colossal Rs.100,690 million as at end December last year in addition to the accrued more..

2 Sri Lankans held for credit card fraud

Jan 19 (Hindu) Two Sri Lankan nationals, who allegedly cloned credit cards using information pertaining to customers of banks abroad were arrested here on Wednesday. Seventy fake cards and Rs.1.16 lakh in cash they withdrew from various ATMs in the city were seized. Police sources identified the arrested as Vinod (23) and Nandeepan alias Deepan (31), who were residing in a rented house in Muttukadu. While Vinod has been staying in Chennai since 2007, Nandeepan came to the city in 2010. more..

Attack on Lankan President relative: Bail granted to five persons

Jan 19 (PTI) The Madras High Court Bench here today granted anticipatory bail to five persons against whom police had filed a case for allegedly breaking into the residence of a priest at Rameswaram and attacking a relative of President Mahinda Rajapaksha during his visit there. Some persons had barged into the priest's house and threw stones and slippers at Rajapaksha's relative Tirukumaran Natesan as he was about to perform a parikara pooja more..

Mervyn vs. Kelaniya PS: A Merv' win in doubt

Jan 19 (LB) As Minister Silva continues to face a spate of allegations mounted by his former acolytes, some of his closest friends have reportedly ditched him by fleeing overseas. A few others have got caught to the white van menace and among them have been two of his former coordinators Amal Rodrigo and Donald Ranjith. These two have been allegedly released only after vital information had been obtained from them more..

Indian Govt donates medical equipment to DGH Kilinochchi

Jan 19 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa and India's External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna participated in a handing over ceremony of critical medical equipment to the District General Hospital in Kilinochchi on Wednesday. Govt of India donated these equipment to improve the standard of medical care and to obviate the need to refer a number of cases for treatment to Jaffna or Colombo via ambulances. more..

Scrap Z-score system, provide more higher education opportunities - Ranil

Jan 19 (Island) Opposition Leader and former Education Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, during an interaction with university students in Colombo yesterday, said that the Z-score system should be scrapped, because it had caused a great deal of confusion and heartburn among children as well as parents. He said that the youth should be provided with more higher education opportunities, more..

Construction of Shangri-La hotels to be launched this month

Jan 19 (GDI) Construction work of Shangri-La’s resort in Hambantota is to be started later this month. Meanwhile, the launching of Shangri-La’s flagship venture in Galle Face will be held in February. This was disclosed by the MP Namal Rajapaksa addressing a media conference yesterday. Mr. Rajapaksa said that Shangri-La is to invest around 600 Million U.S. Dollrs in both projects. more..

Van exceeded 80kmph: Police

Jan 19 (DM) Nine school children were badly injured due to the negligence of a 21-year old school van driver on a temporary license who drove the van between 80-100 kilometres per hour and crashed into a bus at around 7.00am this morning between the Odeon Cinema and the Mount Lavinia cemetery on the Galle road, police said. The van is nearly 16 years old and the van driver had tried to overtake another vehicle and had travelled on more..

Company to be formed by Army to undertake projects

Jan 19 (DM) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said that the Army will form a separate company within its management to carryout development and construction projects at a low cost by following the tender procedure of the govt. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has also given the directions and the necessity to form a separate institution in the army for this purpose. more..

You don’t need Rajapaksa connections; opportunities are open to all – claims Namal

Jan 19 (FT) MP Namal Rajapaksa last week assured that the private sector shouldn’t have the misconception that they need to be connected to the first family or their immediate circles to do business or invest in Hambantota or anywhere else in the country. “It is unfortunate that such thinking is prevailing. This could be a legacy from the past regimes. Certainly this is a myth today. The opportunities are open for all, more..

Rebels defy UNP directive: ‘Mahinda-Ranil secret partnership’ launched

Jan 19 (Island) In spite of an unprecedented UNP Working Committee directive issued on Monday that no public meeting should be held without its sanction, the rebels on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the launch of ‘Mahinda-Ranil secret partnership’ at the National Library Services Board. On behalf of the rebel group, Southern Provincial Councillor more..

India hands over Galle-Hikkaduwa Railway section to Lanka

Jan 19 (Hindu) As part of an India-assisted plan to revive the south coastal Railway in Sri Lanka, the completed section of the Galle-Hikkaduwa railway track was on Thursday handed over to Sri Lanka. Phase-One of this Project, comprising the 42-km Galle-Matara Section, was completed in February 2011. Phase Two of the project, which involves the section from Galle to Kaluthara, will be completed by April this year. more..

Sri Lanka cricket heading for overhaul

Jan 19 (DM) Captain, national coach and national selectors all will be sacked as Sri Lanka cricket team will be completely overhauled before the coming tour to Australia later this month. Skipper Tillekaratne Dilshan will be replaced by Mahela Jayawardene, national coach Geoff Marsh will be replaced by former South African national coach Graham Ford and the selectors headed by Duleep Mendis will be replaced by a new set of selectors headed by Asantha de Mel. more..

Editorial: Z-Scores and Zeros

Jan 19 (DM) So, it happened again. If it was in a land where ethics and fundamentals of humanity were respected and valued, the errant officials and the incompetent high-heads who guide them, would have submitted their resignation letters with notes of apology. Yet,in Sri Lanka, such noble gestures are in the list of impossibilities; such spectacles only exist in midsummer dreams. Just as the aggrieved students and parents who were victimized by the A/L results mishap more..

Sri Lanka shares end down one-pct

Jan 19 (LBO) Sri Lankan shares slumped again Thursday as selling pressure continued despite the regulator agreeing to demands from stock brokers to lend more money to buy stocks, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 1.02 percent at 5,786.60, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.40 percent to close at 4,909.51. Turnover was 952 million rupees. Newly listed Asia Asset Finance bounced back, recovering some of its losses of the day before, more..

'Sri Lanka at risk from global slowdown'

Jan 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's post-war economic rebound is slowing and financial problems in key Western markets could reduce demand for the island's exports and hit earnings from worker remittances and tourism, the World Bank said. It has also lowered its forecast for economic growth in the island, saying Sri Lanka is now expected to grow at 6.8 percent in 2012 and 7.7 percent in 2013. Earlier this month, central bank said Sri Lanka's economy is more..

EPF plunder begins under the cloak of a 30 storied building

Jan 19 (LT) After the attempt by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to plunder the EPF under the pretext of a pension scheme for EPF members failed another amendment broung into the bill was adopted in Parliament yesterday (18) to extensively fleece the fund. The government, confronted with a severe financial crisis, launched its latest conspiracy under the cloak of a thirty storied building to plunder funds of workers who have contributed to the EPF. more..

Sri Lanka donates 7500 MT of Rice to Somalia

Jan 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka has decided to donate 7500 MT of rice to Somalia and a paddy stock of 15000 MT approx. will be released from Ampara and Polonnaruwa districts to produce rice for the purpose. Sri Lanka expects a bumper paddy harvest during this Maha season as several thousands of acres in the North and East have been additionally brought under paddy cultivation. As per the Minister of Co-operative and Internal Trade storage facility is available for more..

Sri Lankan opposition demands protection for female tourists

Jan 19 (Xinhua) With increasing reports of harassment of female tourists, the women's arm of Sri Lanka's main opposition party on Thursday demanded the govt to ensure safety of female tourists in the country. The dangerous trend with a record of 1673 complaints of rapes of local women in 2011 and several incidents of sexual harassment on female tourists has painted a dismal picture of the country that is famous for its hospitality and more..

Coal power plant to get tax breaks

Jan 19 (LBO) A 500 mega watt capacity coal plant to be built in eastern Sri Lanka with Indian aid is to get a range of tax exemptions and priority in approvals, the island's Cabinet of ministers has decided. The Sampur power plant, in the eastern port of Trincomalee, is to be recognised as a 'Strategic Development Project' under an investment law on a proposal made by minister Basil Rajapaksa. The power project with plants of 250 MW each is to be built by a joint venture more..

Online vehicle verification project launched

Jan 19 (GDI) The online vehicle verification project developed by Dialog Axita Ltd was launched by the Secretary Defence & Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Tuesday (17). The official event was held at the Ministry of Defence & Urban Development in the presence of a distinguished gathering including the Chief of Defence Staff, Dr. Hans Wijeyuriya, Additional Secretary Rohan Senevirathne and Commissioner General of the Motor Transport Department. more..

US impressed by investment and trade potentials in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (GDI) US Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia has said that the impressive economic growth in post-war Sri Lanka was “exciting” and it is motivating the US Department of Commerce to urge their companies to invest in the country and diversify trade between the two nations. She has said that the United States is taking a more regional approach to increase ties and they hope to more..

President calls for report on Mt.Lavinia School Van accident

Jan 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has requested the Inspector General of Police to provide an urgent report on the School Van accident that took place at Mt. Lavinia area last morning. President has told the IGP to make arrangements to investigate about the competency and experience of drivers of School Vans and has said that their competence and experience is essential for the safety of school children. The President has also emphasized that these drivers should more..

India releases six detained fishermen

Jan 19 (UCAN) India has freed six fishermen held in the Andaman Islands for nearly two years, following an appeal for their release by the Sri Lankan govt. “They were handed over to the police by a local court yesterday. The Sri Lankan high commission in Chennai is now arranging for them to be brought home,” Herman Kumara, convener of the National Fishery Solidarity Movement, said today. “Their families and their supporters who have battled hard campaigning for their more..

Massive ammunition pit found in Vakarai

Jan 19 (DM) The largest ammunition recovery made by the police since the end of the war was detected when they found 81,500 ammunition rounds used for a various number of fire arms in a pit in the Verugal forest area in Vakarai. The ammunition was found in 122 boxes and all were 7.6 millimetres long. The recovery was made by a special team attached to the Vakarai police. The weapons were hidden underground and were therefore unable to be tracked. more..

Amend MTO - NCPA

Jan 19 (CT) The Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said that amendments should be made to the Motor Traffic Ordinance (MTO) in order for them to streamline the process of regularizing school van services. “The NCPA was able to conduct the pilot project, however, without the amendment of laws and implementation of regulations we are unable to regulate activities or punish offenders,” Chairperson of the NCPA, Anoma Dissanayake told more..

Sri Lanka trade mission to Vietnam in March

Jan 19 (LBO) A business delegation from Sri Lanka will visit Vietnam in March to expand trade, investment and tourism, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. The Sri Lanka-Vietnam Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber is leading a trade and investment delegation to Vietnam's capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the economic powerhouse in the south from March 04 to 08. The delegates will meet key government officials and visit high tech industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 19.01.2012

European Commission to help Sri Lanka fight dengue

Jan 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to conduct a four year dengue surveillance project with 1.1 million Euro assistance from European Commission, a minister said here on Thursday. Cabinet approval was granted to a proposal made by Health Minister Maithripla Sirisena for the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry to carry out a four year surveillance project supporting healthcare system capacity building, and to develop an early warning system for dengue in the country, more..

Kalpitiya: Muslim woman defeats mega tourism project over land expropriation

Jan 19 (AN) After seven months of hearings and 300 thousand rupees spent on lawyers, a Muslim woman from Kalpitiya (North Western Province) has won her battle against a local businessman of luxury resorts. A court has in fact recognized Seinulabdheen Saleema, a married mother of two children, the right of ownership of two plots of land of coconut trees, on which Neil Silva had begun construction of 80 villas for his company Dutch Bay Resorts. more..

CMC in crisis as UPFA gains clout

Jan 19 (DM) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) ran into chaos on its 147th anniversary today after the opposition UPFA gained control of the Standing Committee on Finance. Four of the six members elected to the committee were UPFA members. Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil adjourned the council sessions after some UNP members of the council including Premajantha Kasthuriarachchi and Sunil Withanage protested charging that some UNP members had been bought over. more..

‘Jina Madam’ remanded further

Jan 19 (SM) Colombo High Court judge Sunil Rajapakse today (19) issued notice for the OIC of the Crime Division in Dematagoda, ordering him to appear before court on Jan. 25, over the case against Rosemary Jude Perera alias Jina madam. The judge also permitted to include constable Deepal of the Dematagoda police to the list of witnesses. The Attorney General had filed the case against the suspect, who stands accused of forcing a woman into prostitution in October 2007. more..

Students stable, more action to be taken against errant van drivers

Jan 19 (DM) The condition of the four students who were injured when the school van they were travelling in crashed into a bus in Mount Lavinia on Wednesday had improved and they are in a stable condition according to hospital authorities. They are currently receiving treatment at the Colombo South General Hospital in Kalubowila. The 21 year old van driver who drove the van at a speed exceeding 80 kilometres per hour was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday evening more..