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Pera undergrads protest over court summons

Jan 24 (Island) Undergraduates of the Peradeniya University protested at Galaha junction yesterday against 25 students being asked to appear before courts over ragging. President of the Students Council Mahesh Lanka told The Island that those students had been summoned to appear before court on Thursday Jan. 26 claiming they were involved in ragging a student. He said that all were arts faculty students and they included four females. "We held a demonstration opposite the more..

30 political parties to be suspended

Jan 24 (DM) The Elections Department has decided to suspend the registration of 30 political parties, which had failed to submit relevant documents such as their statements of accounts and policy statements for several years, an official said today. He said there were 67 registered political parties in Sri Lanka, but for years 30 of them had not engaged in active politics and as such their registration would be suspended immediately. more..

US$ 1.56bn used up in four months to defend Rupee

Jan 24 (Island) The Central Bank has sold US$ 1,560.22 million in four months to keep the exchange rate stable amidst severe import demand. According to data released by the Central Bank, the bank was a net seller of dollars amounting to US$ 416.99 million in July, US$ 197.6 million in August, US$ 514.05 million in September and US$ 431.58 million in October 2011. An additional US$ 985 million was sold since the November 22 depreciation of the rupee and more..

Parents, NCPA call for strict guidelines for schoolbus services

Jan 24 (ST) 21 year-old, Sandaruwan the driver of the school van that was involved in a collision with a bus in Mt Lavinia early this week, leaving nine students injured – at least one seriously, was in the habit of racing with another school van owned by his employer. Sachini Imara, a year 11 student of St. Lawrence College, Wellawatte said that even on the day of the accident he was driving at a high speed going in a zig-zag manner, raising cries from students travelling in the van. more..

Jail break spoiled by sentry

Jan 24 (Island) Police and prison authorities believe there could have been inside help for the attempted escape of three prisoners from the Galle prison early yesterday in which they were injured along with two jail guards. Tension erupted at the Galle Prison around 6.30 am when three inmates attacked two jail guards at the gate and attempted to escape by forcibly opening the wooden door but the situation was brought under control when an alert sentry more..

Most Islamic clerics ordered out have left

Jan 24 (Island) The decision to order out 161 foreign Islamic clerics has been handled firmly by the govt and Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera told The Island last night a majority of them had left by yesterday. A majority of them were Pakistanis, Indians and those from the Gulf."This was indeed a catastrophe where these clerics who arrived in Sri Lanka were without proper visas and we have told religious leaders of the requirements needed to more..

CEB unions settle for 25 per cent pay hike

Jan 24 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board trade unions which were demanding a 45 per cent pay hike, yesterday decided to accept the 25 per cent hike promised by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Island learns that out of the 52 unions, 31 gathered yesterday in Colombo, to decide on a sick note campaign, but a majority of them felt that there was no point in fighting when the salaries had gone to the banks with a 25 per cent hike, a day before the usual salary day. more..

N’cholai sabotaged, claim CEB unions GM denies allegation

Jan 24 (Island) The Norachcholai coal power plant has again broken down indefinitely since last Friday and authorities are unable to say when it would be able to generate power to the national grid. According to Minister Champika Ranawaka if the 300MW plant doesn’t contribute to the grid, it costs the Ceylon Electricity Board, a staggering Rs. 80 million per day to get electricity from independent sources. more..

Steps to identify remaining development needs of Jaffna

Jan 24 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapakse has given consultations for the relevant sections to hold a survey by interfacing with Jaffna university to identify and accelerate remaining development activities in Northern province. Director Northern Rehabilitation Emergency program and re-awakening projects, Mr. Liyanage declared that survey is being implemented by northern rehabilitation emergency project under the Ministry of Economic Development and it is proposed more..

LRC to acquire uncultivated land in hill country

Jan 24 (Island) Land Reform Commission (LRC) had taken steps to acquire all the uncultivated land in the hill country, which comes under the LRC in order to be distributed for better utilization, the Executive Director of LRC, Hariguptha Rohanadeera said. Nearly 1500 such under-utilized lands had been identified in Nuwara Eliya and Buttala areas. "Nearly 400 letters had been sent to the regional plantation companies and other cultivators to immediately utilize the lands to more..

Treasury steps in to save jumbo lives

Jan 24 (DN) The Treasury has allocated Rs 200 million to the Wildlife Conservation Department to prevent the increasing number of elephant deaths due to train accidents. The Treasury had released the money on the directives of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had reportedly directed Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundara to lend his fullest co-operation to the project. more..

'Govt to sustain law and order'

Jan 24 (DN) The govt is well equipped and ready to face any challenge posed by disruptive elements who are attempting to create a conflict situation in the country, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said even though there are no economic hardships or difficulties confronting the people today, attempts are being made by saboteurs to provoke and incite the people to meet their vile ends. more..

Huge desire for cross language mix - survey

Jan 24 (DN) There is an overwhelming desire on the part of native Sinhala and Tamil speaking people to learn each others’ languages, together with English, a socio-linguistic survey conducted in Sri Lanka revealed. According to the survey conducted across the country, between 80 percent and 96 percent of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people living in both majority Sinhala and majority Tamil speaking areas, have expressed a strong desire, more..

Further restrictions on smoking

Jan 24 (DM) An expert said Sri Lanka had the potential to introduce legislation calling for the total ban on tobacco consumption by those born after 2000. Singapore National University Professor A.J. Berrick told a seminar on tobacco consumption that academics had submitted a research paper on the possibility of stopping tobacco consumption altogether by restricting the access to tobacco by individuals born after 2000. Deputy Solicitor General Vijitha Malalgoda said there were more..

JHU insists govt. has no mandate to go beyond 13-A

Jan 24 (Island) The govt had no mandate to talk of a political solution beyond the 13th amendment to the Constitution, JHU insisted. JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that the people had voted for the Mahinda Chinthanaya manifesto which did not promise a solution beyond the 13th amendement to the Constitution. He the JHU as a member party of the ruling alliance was totally in the dark about more..

New unit to monitor tourists

Jan 24 (DM) The Immigration and Emigration Department will set up a special unit to monitor the activities of some tourists to Sri Lanka because several of them come here for purposes other than tourism, a senior official said yesterday. Immigration and Emigration Chief Chulananda Perera said the decision to ask the 161 Muslim visitors, who had arrived in Sri Lanka and had over stayed their visas, to leave the country before January 31 would not be changed. more..

Ford named new cricket coach

Jan 24 (SL) South Africa Graham Ford was named today as the new coach of the Sri Lankan national cricket team. He will replace Geoff Marsh who is among several officials to lose their spots as part of a major shakeup in Sri Lanka Cricket. Ford recently announced he was quitting as head coach of the Dolphins, the South African, Durban-based franchise. “While I feel a passion for Dolphins cricket, I respectfully ask for an immediate release from my more..

'Govt. is selling Sri Lanka to China on the sly'

Jan 24 (Island) The official announcement by Aitken Spence that China Merchant Holdings is buying it’s 30 percent stake as it was pulling out of the consortium to build and operate the Colombo South container terminal for 35 years is further evidence that the govt is making way for the Chinese to firmly take control of the Sri Lankan economy, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said. "This goes to show the absolute failure of the regime to attract genuine investors for more..

Tense situation at Welikada prison

Jan 24 (CT) 180 prisoners have been transferred from the Welikada Magazine prison for security reasons. Police Spokesperson S.P. Ajith Rohana said "24 prisoners and 4 prison officials have been injured as a result of this incident." More than 30 prisoners have been escorted from the Welikada prison in a prison bus. Further, another water cannon has been brought to the area. Director of the National Hospital said that all prisoners who have been injured through this commotion were in remand custody. more..

SLC in spotlight as COPE targets corrupt ministers, officials

Jan 24 (Island) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has rapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for taking overdrafts from banks at high interest rates in spite of having cash, fixed deposits and Treasury Bills. Addressing Secretaries to ministries in Parliament last week, COPE Chairman Senior Minister Dew Gunasekera highlighted the irregularities in the now bankrupt institution to emphasize the urgent need to restore financial integrity in the public sector. more..

Editorial: The need for truth and right living

Jan 24 (DM) We have rulers and leaders that they might look after society and nations. Sadly however, most of them fall short of humanity's expectations. By a curious twist of fate we see, that most of those who are elected or appointed begin to serve not those they are expected to look after, but themselves. In a way the rulers of the world serve themselves to satisfy their ego-centric dreams. We are sought more often than not, to earn through hard work, so that we may more..

Sri Lanka shares plunge 2.2-pct

Jan 24 (LBO) Shares plunged again Tuesday, following Monday's fall, amid continued panic selling, although recovering somewhat towards the end of trading, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 2.24 percent at 5,536.09, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 2.10 percent to close at 4,710.90. The main index actually fell below 5,500 to 5,455 in intra-day trade and recovered while the MPI fell to 4,650 levels and recovered. The market is now down 4.5 percent since more..

India seeks to build up ties with Sri Lanka after reluctance during Tamil insurgency

Jan 24 (National) For years, India was torn between its desire to engage with Sri Lanka and the need to appease strong Tamil sentiment among its own citizens in the state of Tamil Nadu. Last week's visit by the External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to Sri Lanka was an attempt to tread this fine line - combining talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse on increased economic cooperation with a trip to the war-ravaged areas in the north, where he assured more..

UNP accuses govt. of dilatory tactics

Jan 24 (Island) The UNP accused the govt of resorting to dilatory tactics by issuing inconsistent statements with regard to the political solution to the national problem. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake addressing a media conference held at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo said the government had stated one opinion to India and the international community and another to local stakeholders with regard to providing a long lasting solution to the problems. more..

Customs special unit halts raids

Jan 24 (CT) The Special Task and Investigation Unit of Sri Lanka Customs which generates revenue of over Rs 1000 million per year, has discontinued conducting raids from last week upon an order received by the Treasury. It is alleged that persons who are involved in smuggling with the help of political stooges were behind the discontinuation of raid by the Special Customs Unit, which had generated and brought to light a large number of smuggling and Custom Duty evasion incidents. more..

UNHRC sessions: Govt. seeks international support

Jan 24 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assigned several key Cabinet Ministers to visit UN Human Rights Council member states and garner their support ahead of the UNHRC session scheduled for March. Under this new plan, a delegation led by Minister John Seneviratne will visit Chile and Uruguay, two South American countries. At the same time, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella will also lead a delegation to another more..

Women face many media challenges

Jan 24 (UCAN) Male dominance, family restrictions, an unfavorable workplace environment, lack of training facilities, lack of security and inflexible working hours are among the main reasons why many women quit journalism. “Very few women journalists make it to the top; it’s still mostly men,” said Hanna Ibrahim, editor of English language newspaper Ceylon Today. “We only have three newspaper editors in the whole country,” Ibrahim said. Most female journalists end their careers after they get married,” she said. more..

Sri Lanka city hotel deep in red

Jan 24 (LBO) Galadari Hotels (Lanka) Plc, a hotel in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo said it lost 199.6 million rupees in the December 2011 quarter against a profit of 35.4 million rupees a year earlier, hit by an exchange loss. Revenues rose 16.2 percent to 373 million rupees and cost of sales rose at a slower 12.9 percent to 72.3 million rupees, allowing gross profits to increase 17 percent, unaudited accounts filed with the Colombo Stock Exchange said. more..

Govt. not showing interest in implementation of 13th Amendment: UNP

Jan 24 (DM) UNP today said there is no point in discussing devolving land and police powers to the provinces as the govt had not shown an interest in the full implementation of the 13th Amendment. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said it would be more appropriate to go for a new system of devolution in such a situation. He said the govt should however come up with a clear stand and present a solution to Parliament. more..

Dissension within Govt. ranks stalls LG electoral reforms Bills

Jan 24 (ST) The long awaited amendments to the Local Govt (LG) election laws which were to be approved by Parliament last Tuesday, were further postponed due to a disagreement within the Govt on the proposed changes in the electoral system. The disagreement has cropped up over the change in the system of electing members to the LG in future, under which, 70% be elected under the Westminster (First-past-the Post) system, while 30% will be elected under the more..

Mervyn in yet another mutton soup

Jan 24 (CT) A minister who is in frequent controversy has reportedly sent a group of people to Kali Amman Kovil in Munneswaram to sacrifice a female goat to goddess Kali. Accordingly, a man and several women, who had come in a vehicle to Kali Amman Kovil in Munneswaram, offered a she-goat and sought the goddess’s protection for a politician, said its head priest Sivapakya Sundaram. The group had told the chief priest that they wanted protection for a politician more..

WikiLeaks: Sampanthan doesn’t discuss ‘war crimes’ out of fear

Jan 24 (CT) “While he believed the Tamil community was “vulnerable” on the issue and said he would not discuss “war crimes” per se in parliament for fear of retaliation, Sampanthan would emphasize the importance of people knowing the truth about what happened during the war” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and recounts details of a meeting the US Ambassador has had with more..

Karu determined to unite all UNPers

Jan 24 (DM) Former Deputy Leader of UNP Karu Jayasuriya who unsuccessfully contested for the party leadership vowed to unite all fractions of the party. He made this pledge at the opening of his private office in Kirulpone yesterday. "I will unite Ranil Wickremesigne with Sajith Premadasa and others as it is my duty," he told journalists at the opening ceremony. Besides, he said it is essential that all fractions to come together in order to take the govt on. more..

Sri Lanka to set up third consulate office in China

Jan 24 (Xinhua) China has given Sri Lanka the permission to establish a third consulate office in Guangzhou, the External Affairs Ministry said here in a statement on Tuesday. The Consulate General in Guangzhou will facilitate the expansion of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China in areas of economy, trade and tourism while further strengthening people to people contacts between the two countries. "Sri Lanka's Government has already appointed a more..

Tamil Tiger detainees removed following prison unrest in Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (Xinhua) 180 Tamil Tiger rebel suspects detained in a prison near in Colombo where a violent clash took place between the prisoners and guards have been removed, the Prisons Department said. The Prisons Department said the rebels had to be removed for their security. Over twenty people were injured when a clash erupted between prison guards and inmates of the main prison near Colombo on Tuesday, more..

PWC campaigns in Vavuniya

Jan 24 (LT) A press release has been sent by the ‘People’s Wall of Comradeship’ (PWC) with the signatures of its co-conveners Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi and former Parliamentarian Ramalingam Chandrasekar that PWC engaged in a leaflet distributing campaign in Vavuniya town today (23). The leaflet distributing campaign was carried out to demand the government to re-establish civil administration in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and install a more..

Representatives from USAID meet JVP leader

Jan 24 (LT) Three officials from the USA Agency for International Development met the JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe at the JVP head office today. The officials have mainly discussed the manner development aid given to Sri Lanka from 2014 could be used. The JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has emphasized that tanks and irrigation systems in the North should be restored to develop agriculture. He has also pointed out the investment benefits should go to the people more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 24.01.2012

Protected elephants become expensive gifts for politicians and businessmen

Jan 24 (AN) When they are not illegally sold by the dozen to politicians and Buddhist religious leaders, the animals at the Elephants Orphanage in Pinnawala (90 km north-east of Colombo) die from disease, beating and poor food. At a press conference on 18 January in Colombo during the Wildlife Conservation Forum, various environmentalist groups have called on the authorities to tag the animals living at the facility to stop their illegal trade. more..

No action against Sajith planned

Jan 24 (CT) Contrary to some media reports, no disciplinary action will be taken against UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. He said that there have been several false media reports of legal action and disciplinary hearings being planned against Premadasa on the no-meetings rule enforced by the UNP. Attanayake said that guidelines of operation have been sent to all parliamentarians and provincial politicians of the party, and more..