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Treasury Chief lambastes BOI

Jan 21 (Island) The ongoing tussle between Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera and the top BOI management took a turn for the worse, with the former lashing out at the board of directors’, of the premier investment promotion agency, at a meeting earlier in this week. An irate Jayasundera lambasted those at the helm of the agency for failure on their part to carry out his specific instructions, particularly setting up of country desks as part of more..

Railway technologists launch salary struggle

Jan 21 (LT) The Technologists’ Association of Sri Lanka Railway states they would launch a continuous trade union action on the 26th if their demands are not met. A press release issued by the union sates they would commence this trade union action if approval is not formally granted for technical salary and benefits. The release further states the decision had been taken at an Executive Committee meeting of the Union held on the 11th. The Union points out the more..

President marks the 65th anniversary of Sinhala cinema

Jan 21 (LS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa will attend a movie screening Saturday at the Tharanganee Cinema of National Film Corporation to mark the 65the anniversary of Sinhala cinema. The President and the First Lady will be the chief guests at the inaugural screening of the movie Kusa Paba produced by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne. Kusa Paba is the first Sinhala movie shot entirely at the Ranmihitenna Tele Cinema Village, more..

Once Tiger territory

Jan 21 (BT) The roads here are sturdy and clean. Japanese cars and motorcycles — Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Yamaha and others — zip on them at great speed. The colonial buildings are magnificent. At 152 metres, the World Trade Centre is the tallest structure in the island country. The malls are home to brands like Nike, Marks & Spencer and Hermes. The hotels include an Aman, a Taj, a Hilton and an InterContinental. The four casinos (MGM, Bellagio, Ballys and more..

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland in Tissa

Jan 21 (UT) “Do you want some drink? Perhaps a bottle of French wine? We have red wine and white wine. Maybe you’d like a cheap wine?” Dinner at Chandrika Hotel, an aspiring “boutique hotel” in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. Like so many service establishments in this developing South Asian country, they try so hard to give you what you want. After all, you’re a part of the relative trickle of Western tourists that visit the country, more..

Sri Lankan Blue Sapphire printed on German stamp

Jan 21 (Island) Countries knowingly or unknowingly issuing personalized stamps of the LTTE organization, had now realised their blunder, says Postal Services Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. However, he says the good news is that despite some countries trying to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka, some other countries are promoting the heritage and natural resources of the country. He said the Sri Lankan Blue Sapphire has been printed in more..

Muzammil confident of steering CMC smoothly

Jan 21 (Island) Despite Thursday’s setback Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil yesterday expressed confidence that he could run the UNP controlled Municipal Council smoothly. On Thursday the UPFA wrested control of the important Finance Committee of the CMC with the help of some UNP councillors who cast their secret vote in favour of the UPFA. Muzammil said that he couldn’t identify the UNP councillors more..

Wimal targets CEB, CPC et al, highlights tax fraud

Jan 21 (Island) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa yesterday lashed out at trade unions for turning a blind eye to some public sector institutions paying PAYE (Pay as You earn) tax on behalf of senior officials. Addressing golden jubilee celebrations of Sri Lanka Engineering Corporation (SLEC), the former JVP firebrand said that due to the illegal practice the State was losing revenue. more..

Midwives vow to make govt. feel labour pains

Jan 21 (Island) All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe faults the Health Ministry’s Public Health Unit for not recruiting midwives though there were around 3000 vacancies. Although the Health Ministry had provided motorcycles to midwives, no fuel allowance had been given to them. In addition, one midwife had to cover more than one area due to a severe shortage of personnel, but no additional allowance was paid to them more..

Govt. - TNA talks at standstill

Jan 21 (DM) The political dialogue between the govt and the TNA has come to an abrupt end over a row on the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which is to be set up to evolve a solution to the national question, the TNA said today. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said the government had not communicated with his party with regard to the deadlock. He said the govt was insisting that his party should participate in the PSC deliberations. more..

Srilankan Airlines opens a restaurant in Colombo

Jan 21 (LS) Sri Lanka's national carrier, Srilankan Airlines has added a restaurant to its network of businesses with the opening of 'Semondu' - SriLankan Catering's first restaurant in Colombo. The Semondu restaurant, opened last month, is located in the former Dutch Hospital in Fort that was recently restored and converted to a high end shopping complex. "Semondu's team of Chefs dish out more..

Bribery, CID officers to be summoned by COPE

Jan 21 (DM) Officers of the Bribery Commission and the CID are to be summoned before the COPE shortly to inquire how investigations into alleged malpractices and financial misappropriation in state institutions are progressing. COPE Chairman D.E.W. Gunasekara said a large number of such instances had been identified by the committee and had been referred to the Bribery Commission and the CID for further more..

Players strike in the offing

Jan 21 (DM) Young players of the Sri Lanka cricket team are feeling the pressure of unpaid salaries and are suf fering heavily from financial burdens and if the rich and f amous senior players begin even show semblance of solidartoaity with their junior mates, it can develop into a player strike at any moment to cripple the national team, sources told “Daily Mirror”. SLC President Upali Dharmadasa merely said yesterday that the issue will be solved “within two weeks” but more..

Editorial: Manioc cure for terminal Cancer

Jan 21 (DM) Yesterday we spotlighted the need for the govet and the Sri Lanka Medical Council to consider the use of a homoeopathic remedy for dengue at a time when this dreaded mosquito-borne epidemic has reached endemic proportions and western medicine seems to have no effective answer. We quoted an international homoeopathic consultant as saying there was an effective remedy which had cured hundreds of dengue patients in Sri Lanka and asked why western medical practitioners more..

Return gift: Dose of rationalism for Lanka, from India

Jan 21 (DNA) India learnt first lesson in rationalism from AT Kovoor of Sri Lanka. The man challenged several superstitions and questioned many religious practices as early as 1976. This was similar to a movement started by Dayananda Saraswati and Vinoba Bhave in social reformation. Kovoor was one of the patriarchs of rationalism who visited India four times and sowed the seeds of rationalism in India. After 35 years, Mangalore is planning to return the favour. more..

'Uttama Pooja Tribute' medals awarded for Rana Viru families- Matale

Jan 21 (MoD) The brave men and Women of armed forces and Police who had sacrificed their noble lives to save the motherland from the ruthless terrorism in the past 30 years were commemorated; and honoured their beloved parents and wives by awarding "Uttama Pooja" medal. Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa participating as the chief guest of the felicitation ceremony honoured the next of kin of those who more..

Sri Lanka to discourage raw commodity exports

Jan 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's decision to raise taxes on exports in raw form and reduce those for raw material imports is to encourage local manufacture and value addition, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said. The island intends to make it more expensive to export rubber, timber and minerals in raw form and has removed taxes on imports of raw materials to reduce the apparel export industry's costs, he told parliament. “The encouragement of value added industry will lead to more..

I made a few tactical errors - de Villiers

Jan 21 (CI) AB de Villiers' bright start as South Africa's limited-overs captain has hit a speed bump and it did so in embarrassing fashion for a man who prides himself on professionalism, athleticism and commitment to the cause. South Africa put on a barely believable and sometimes-comical fielding display, mixing terrific catches like Alviro Petersen's leap on the boundary to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara with horrible gaffes such as Morne Morkel's drop of Angelo Mathews. more..

Dilshan wants strong finish to lost series

Jan 21 (CI) What if Tillakaratne Dilshan had come good more than just once in the Tests and in the four ODIs so far? What if Sri Lanka's bowlers had been able to take 4 for 47 in one of the previous matches as well? What if their fielders had shown the commitment they did in Kimberley throughout? Then, according to Dilshan, "the last match could have been a final." Instead, the corpse of the series will travel to Johannesburg. However, Sri Lanka's steady improvement in more..

Police to question controversial Minister on ransom taking

Jan 21 (LS) CID and the Colombo Crime Division have commenced a special investigation regarding ransom taking by an organized gang in Kelaniya electorate. The organized gang allegedly led by Minister of Public Relations Mervyn Silva has collected ransom from the businessmen in Kelaniya, Peliyagoda and Kiribathgoda areas in the guise of various development work, organizing festivals and social work. CID and the Colombo Crime Division had already recorded statements of more..

Disciplinary action sought on Sally

Jan 21 (SL) The UPFA section of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is to write a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa requesting him to take disciplinary action against member Azath Sally. At Friday’s UPFA meeting, which was attended by 20 out of 22 members, a unanimous decision was taken to exclude Sally from group meeting discussions in the future. The decision will effectively alienate him from the UPFA faction of the CMC. However, Sally will still be a CMC member, UPFA CMC more..

WikiLeaks: Basil Rajapkasa admitted military shelling into the safe zone

Jan 21 (SL) “The Norwegian Ambassador commented that in two recent meetings with Rajapkasa he acknowledged military forces were shelling into the safe zone, but was not comfortable discussing the subject.” The US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recounts details of a meetings the US Ambassdor has had with Co-Chair Ambassadors on March 5, 2009. more..

Legal action against pharmacies which do not have air-conditioning

Jan 21 (NF) The Ministry of Health has arrived at a decision not to register pharmacies which do not have air conditioning. The National Cosmetics and Drug Regulatory Authority states that in order to preserve the quality of drugs, air conditioning is essential. Accordingly, legal action will be taken against pharmacies which are not air-conditioned. Last year, pharmacies were instructed to obtain air-conditioning and those who failed to do so were granted a grace period. more..

FUTA to discuss private universities bill with authorities

Jan 21 (DM) The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) said that Higher Education authorities had agreed to discuss refor ms to the higher education sector - including private universities - with local academics. Minister S.B Dissanayaka, UGC officials and other ministry officials met with the union. "We agreed that that there should be a forum that constitutes academics, students and higher education authorities to discuss education policies," more..

Sri Lanka warns ex-rebels against moves to overthrow gov't

Jan 21 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has warned former Tamil Tiger rebels not to engage with any group which may attempt to overthrow the govt. The warning came after a splinter group of a Marxist political party in Sri Lanka claimed it had established contacts with some former rebels who were rehabilitated by the govet and released into society. The military official in charge of the rehabilitation program of former rebels said that if a former rebel who more..

The Year 2012 has been declared as Sri Lanka’s trilingual year

Jan 21 (SLBC) The launching of the ten year programme form making Sri Lanka a trilingual nation and declaring the year 2012 as the Trilingual Year of Sri Lanka took place at Temple Trees this morning. Joining this function as a special guest the former Indian President Dr. Abdul Kalam said that some of the practical phenomenon that hold the dignity of a society is elimination of poverty, food scarcity and diseases. He said that in this connection a development agenda based on more..

Tea break: Discover vertical rock climbs and giant Buddhas in a Sri Lankan idyll

Jan 21 (Independent) Going to Sri Lanka for the first time gave us an excuse to buy some new maps. That's how our journeys always start. The journey we worked out took us straight from Colombo on the west coast up to the ancient sites of Dambulla and Polonnaruwa, in the centre of the island. I'm a bad sight-seer – I find it too difficult to set what I'm seeing in any meaningful context. But we climbed the vertical face of the Lion Rock at Sigiriya. more..

Govt. to consider merging Mihin with Srilankan

Jan 21 (DM) The government is to conduct a corporate research to assess the viability of merging Mihin Lanka with the national carrier Srilankan Airlines, Minister Priyankara Jayaratne told Parliament yesterday. Mr. Jayaratne made this point in response to a supplementary question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake during the oral question time in the House. Mr. Karunanayake asked whether there was going to be a merger of the two airlines in the future. more..

Editorial: Was there a hidden hand behind strikes?

Jan 22 (SO) Employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) along with their counterparts at the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) finally agreed to the Govt's terms on Friday after resorting to trade union action earlier in the week demanding an unreasonable salary increase. The CEB trade unions were apparently not satisfied with the initial 18 percent salary hike. As a people-friendly democratic Govt which more..

Editorial: Awaiting the elusive 13th amendment

Jan 22 (SL) The Rajapaksa Govt has found a super mantra to ward off New Delhi’s diplomatic sharpshooters interested in protecting the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils. When inquiries are made about alleged violations of Tamil rights the prompt reply is that the implementation of the 13th Amendment plus additional concessions is being considered. The Indian protectors of Sri Lankan Tamil rights are dumbfounded because the 13th Amendment is a creation of the New Delhi more..

'Lanka, ideal for spiritual and nature-based tourism'

Jan 22 (SO) JHU stalwart and Minister in the Western PC Udaya Gammanpila said that man's excessive greed and over-exploitation of natural resources had resulted in a major crisis. The world is interlocked in an interdependent economic environment and energy crisis. Simplicity and brotherhood preached by Buddhism is the only way out for mankind from this crisis, he said. He also spoke on antidotes, in terms of Buddhist perspective, more..

Editorial: Are we a terminally ill nation?

Jan 22 (NS) There are occasions when those afflicted with terminal diseases (e.g. certain forms of cancer and AIDS) are offered the option of being administered with experimental drugs. The desperate, i.e. those with no other choice, generally agree. These are in reality clinical trials, typically couched as exercises in the larger interests of humankind. While there is no doubt a positive aspect to such procedures in the development of cures to debilitating diseases, more..

Editorial: Krishna and the 13 factor

Jan 22 (LB) ‘13th Amendment in the most visible manner.’ That’s the new Indian manthra — recipe if you will — articulated by the visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Krishna. The president, he says, has pledged the full implementation of the 13th, though technically we do not have any corroboration on that from the govt. Queerly, what the minister says is at odds with what the president said earlier in the month — which is that land and police powers cannot be granted under the 13th Amendment. more..

'TNA should not backtrack on talks'

Jan 22 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva joined in an interview to speak about the TNA-Govt. Talks, in the backdrop of Indian External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna’s four day visit and the developments thereafter. Speaking of the current deadlock over the Parliamentry Select Committee the Minister said, "We have not withdrawn from the talks or suspended the talks per se. But a request has been made to facilitate the continuation of the talks. more..

Editorial: Poaching fish – a tricky issue

Jan 22 (Island) What stuck out like a sore thumb in the joint statement issued following the two-day meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries of India and Sri Lanka held in Colombo on January 13-14 was Sri Lanka’s stress on "the need to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)" between the two countries. There was no word whatever of India’s stance on this matter and this, in the context of fishermen from South India regarding more..

Editorial: Handling India the President's way

Jan 22 (ST) This week's VVIP traffic from India signifies the continuing importance of our neighbour to the life and times of Sri Lanka. It has been the case for several millennia and continues to be so today and will be in the future for sure. Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrived in the early part of the week on an official visit and it would appear ex-facie (on the face of it) that both sides took pains to display a normalcy in bi-lateral relations. more..

'Tolerance is the foundation of sustainable development and peaceful society'

Jan 22 (TC) Address by Hon. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India ‘Evolution of Noble Nations’ at the launch of National Action Plan and declaring 2012 As the year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka. I am delighted to participate in the historic event of the launch of National Action Plan and declaring 2012 as the “Year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka”. My greetings to all of you. Friends, at this juncture, I would like to recall an more..

UNP rebels bound hand and foot by new directive

Jan 22 (NS) The Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill and Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill presented in Parliament in October 2011 were not taken up for debate in Parliament on January 17 as scheduled following a decision taken by the Govt Parliamentary Group the previous night. Several political parties in the ruling coalition are opposing the proposed legislation. The Proportional Representation System of Elections (PR System) which replaced the more..

13-Plus: Battle of wits has begun

Jan 22 (NS) Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna was always expected to hit the headlines during his visit to Colombo, but he raised more than a few eyebrows when he said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to extensive devolution of power as part of a political solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue. Minister S.M. Krishna was always expected to hit the headlines during his visit to Colombo, but he raised more than a few eyebrows when he said that more..

Sleek late-cut saves cricket

Jan 22 (ST) We know that we have been here before. Have seen the same faces and shared the same experiences. It may be the result of Sri Lanka being a small country. A few moons ago, Asantha de Mel and his band of selectors were done away with and the task was given to Aravinda de Silva and co. De Silva resigned during the controversy-ridden gray area in the aftermath of the 2011 World Cup and then the task was handed over to Duleep Mendis and now the more..