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Three more fisheries harbours in the pipeline

Jan 3 (Island) Plans are afoot to construct modern fisheries harbours in Gandara in the Matara district, Gurunagar in the Jaffna district and Silawathura in the Mannar district to assist the economy of the country, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that the estimated cost of the constructions was 59.3 million euro and the Government of Denmark will provide funds on a long term credit facility. more..

Top officials at Health Ministry threaten trade union action

Jan 3 (Island) The top officials of the Health Ministry yesterday threatened to pullout from all administrative duties unless the co-ordinating Secretary of the Health Minister, who had threatened Director General of the Health Services with death last week, was not transferred. The co-ordinating secretary of the Health Ministry, who is an intern in the hospital had made death threats to DGHS Dr. Ajith Mendis, after the intern entered into an argument over a tender issue. more..

Prasad to play for injured Fernando as Sri Lanka seek history

Jan 3 (Island) Exciting wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Chandimal has been ruled fit to play the deciding final Test against South Africa that starts today here at Newlands in Cape Town, but fast bowler Dilhara Fernando has been ruled out with a knee injury. Fernando will be replaced by his ex-school mate Dhammika Prasad, who joined the squad after the first Test as replacement for the injured Nuwan Pradeep Fernando. more..

Luxury bus service on Southern Expressway from today

Jan 3 (GDI) Arrangements have been put in place to commence a luxury bus service on the Southern Expressway from 03rd of January 2012. The ceremonial opening of this service will take place at the Maharagama bus station at 7.30 am under the patronage of Transport Minister kumara Welgama. Four 48 seater buses from the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the National Transport Commission will be provided during the initial stage. Buses will ply from Kottawa to Galle and Galle to Kottawa. more..

Ganeshan lashes out at UPFA

Jan 3 (Island) DPF leader Mano Ganeshan accused the govt of failing to address the legitimate grievances of Tamil speaking people, though the conflict ended in May 2009. He said his party no longer believed in the UPFA’s promises to resolve the national issue. The DPF Leader said that the govt had failed to devolve powers to the provinces in line with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The failure on the part of the Rajapaksa administration couldn’t be accepted, he said, more..

A/L fiasco: Probe team’s mandate limited

Jan 3 (DM) The five-member committee appointed to look into the controversy surrounding the 2011 GCE A/L results will submit it report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa within the next ten days, an official said. Technology and Research Ministry Secretary Dhara Wijetilaka, who heads the committee, said they would only be looking into the circumstances that led to the release of the controversial results but had no mandate to propose amendments to more..

BMC now a profit making institution

Jan 3 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando said that the loss incurring Building Material Corporation (BMC), since it came under his purview in 2010, has made a profit of Rs. 50 million last year (2011). He said that the BMC was running at a Rs. 20 million loss in 2010, but he managed to turn it around into a profit making institution. The BMC made a profit of only Rs. 2.1 million in 1999, while the turn over in 2010 was Rs. 250 million, and Rs. 990 million last year. more..

Sajith criticises move to reduce youth representation

Jan 3 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday criticized a move to reduce the representation of the youth in local government bodies. He alleged that the proposed Local Govt Election Amendment Bill had recommended the reduction of the youth representation to 12.5 per cent from the present 40 per cent. Premadsa said according to the proposed Bill, those in the age group of 18 to 35 would receive 12.5 per cent of total nominations, while more..

Student Union suppression – two sides of a sorry story

Jan 3 (LB) It appears that the govt is trying to fix the mess in our universities which have lost their elegance, intellectual vigour and most of the reputed professors. But it also appears that the govt, which has now dismantled the main political opposition, has launched a crackdown against student activism in universities. The govt’s onslaught on that score has rarely drawn media attention or public outrage as more..

Private buses lose race trishaws

Jan 3 (Island) Sri Lanka’s private bus industry is losing Rs. 200 billion annually due to commuters opting for other modes of transport. The country’s private bus industry has fallen into a pathetic state due to the non availability of a professional to even design a time table. That is why the industry is on the verge of collapsing, Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne told The Island last night. more..

Reformists threaten countrywide protests

Jan 3 (Island) At least five more vociferous critics of the UNP leadership, from the party’s rebel wing, would be suspended next week followed by disciplinary inquiries against them, a top Sirikotha source disclosed yesterday. Political observers see this impending move as a further move to consolidate the position of party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was re-elected recently by the party Working Committee and more..

Wanted PNB officer gives the slip

Jan 3 (DM) A police officer who is wanted in connection with the alleged death of a 30-year-old youth who had visited the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) office to sign the case book has left the country, police told Colombo Fort Magistrate yesterday. When the case pertaining to the matter came up before Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne, the Fort police informed Court the third suspect, a PNB officer had gone abroad. more..

SLT Broadband says internet now 4 times faster

Jan 3 (Island) Revolutionizing internet usage across the country whilst expanding Sri Lanka’s broadband capacity, SLT Broadband proudly announces up to 4 times faster internet speeds, taking the speeds up to as much as 16 Mbps. The telco said it had unveiled a significant enhancement to the SLT Broadband user experience for existing and new customers from 1st January 2012 to usher in the New Year. more..

Postal unions threaten trade union action demanding removal of PMG

Jan 3 (Island) Postal trade unions are once again threatening trade union action over the failure of authorities to remove the controversial Post Master General despite an inquiry headed by a retired High Court judge finding him guilty of a majority of charges levelled against him. Posts Ministry Senior officials however said yesterday that a decision will be taken within the course of this month on the fate of the Postmaster General. more..

LTTE stamps not authorized by France

Jan 3 (SL) The French government has not given clearance for stamps with images of the LTTE to be issued nor has the French postal service issued such stamps, the Sri Lankan Embassy in France said. Among the postage stamps said to be circulating in France are those with the image of slain LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabakaran. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France Dayan Jayatilleka said that the French postal authority has said that it had not issued such stamps so more..

'Sri Lanka to grow at 8-pct in 2012, new deal with IMF'

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy is projected to grow at 8.0 percent in 2011 with a new deal in the offing with the IMF, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. The island economy had grown at about 8.3 percent in 2011, he said. In 2012 Sri Lanka is targeting an inflation rate of between 5-6 percent, Cabraal said. Annual average inflation for 2011 was 6.7 percent compared with 6.2 percent the year before, more..

Dharmadasa elected unopposed in SLC elections

Jan 3 (CI) Upali Dharmadasa has been elected unopposed as president of Sri Lanka Cricket, along with the rest of his team, in the board's first election in seven years. The election, overseen by the sports ministry, was marked by the late withdrawal of all opposition candidates. Nishantha Ranatunga was voted in uncontested as secretary and Nuski Mohamed was elected treasurer. more..

'Govt ready to discuss scopes on Police, land powers with TNA'

Jan 3 (GDI) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that though the govt is concerned about giving land and Police powers to the provinces it is prepared to consider its scope provided the TNA put forward its proposals at the talks with the govt. The Minister said that the govt has concerns about devolving absolute Police powers to the provinces as in such an event the head of the country could be barred from entering more..

Editorial: End party politics, restore social justice

Jan 3 (DM) As we move into 2012 – which some see as a year of doom while others as a year of boom- we need to remember that politics has been defined as interest and concern in the affairs of the citizens. Going by that definition and studying the political situation in Sri Lanka today, it could be said that what is seen and heard is not so much politics but party politics where political leaders seek personal glory first for themselves and then for the family and party more..

Stocks close 0.7-pct weaker

Jan 3 (LBO) Stocks closed weaker Tuesday in very thin turnover with two newly listed hotels among the most actively traded shares. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.65 percent to 6,035.65, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.25 percent to 5,174.28. Turnover fell to a low of 380 million rupees. Waskaduwa Beach Resort was the most actively traded stock, closing up 1.50 rupees at 14 rupees after hitting a high of 17 with almost 6.4 million shares traded. more..

Sri Lanka negotiates new IMF 'surveillance' program

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka will negotiate a "follow up or surveillance" program with the IMF with a standby facility ending in December 2011, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka had a 2.6 billion US dollar stand by deal with the IMF from May 2009 after the country ran into a balance of payments crisis. In 2011 Sri Lanka is estimated to have grown at 8.3 percent, up from 3.5 percent in 2009. In 2011 Sri Lanka is estimated to more..

Sri Lankan ex-lefts boost rightwing UNP

Jan 3 (wsws) The ex-left Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) has renewed its alliance with the rightwing UNP, promoting it as a defender of democratic rights and the living standards of the masses. In the recent weeks, the NSSP has participated in joint activities with the UNP, praising its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, as a “liberal democrat” and “social activist.” The NSSP has linked up with the UNP as popular opposition grows against the govt of President Mahinda Rajapakse and more..

Britain deports Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Jan 3 (wsws) Disregarding the safety of the deportees and warnings by human rights groups, the British Conservative government on December 15 deported back to Sri Lanka 55 Sri Lankan refugees whose requests for asylum it had rejected. They had sought asylum status in Britain, to save themselves from the notorious Sri Lankan intelligence services—known for kidnapping and murdering suspects and also for torturing them during captivity in secret camps. more..

TNA ‘sincerely committed’ to talks‪

Jan 3 (DM) The TNA today dismissed speculation that it was planning to withdraw from talks with the govt and reiterated its commitment to continue the bilateral discussions. The party also denied reports that it would launch a campaign to seek the support of the Colombo-based diplomatic community to pressure the Sri Lankan government on power devolution. “We are sincerely committed to evolving an acceptable political solution and more..

Sri Lanka debt to GDP ratio falls to 78-pct

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's debt to GDP ratio had fallen to 78 percent by end-2011 from 82 percent in 2010, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. The island's foreign exchange reserves had fallen to 6.0 billion US dollars by the end of 2011 enough to cover 4.0 months of imports and higher than the 3.5 months targeted in IMF programme, he said. The IMF has so far given Sri Lanka 1.7 billion US dollars under its programme, Cabraal said at the launch of the central bank's more..

Saudi woman held over affair with Lankan

Jan 3 (E24/7) Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police arrested a divorced local woman for having an affair with a Sri Lankan man after confessing she was pregnant, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice seized the woman with the Sri Lankan private driver at his room in the eastern province of Ihsa, 'Sabq' said. “She confessed to having a relationship for nearly four months with the Sri Lankan driver and more..

'JVP will give leadership to a socialist transformation'

Jan 3 (LT) The JVP has confirmed that it has the ability, strength and vision to defeat all conspiracies and repressions carried out by opportunists and the capitalist class against it during the more than four decades since the party was founded says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said this at the Special Convention of the JVP held at Debarawewa on the 1st. He said the inception of the JVP took place under very hard conditions and more..

Election for office bearers was mistake: Attanayake

Jan 3 (DM) The election which was held last year to elect new officer Bearers of the UNP was a mistake as it would lead to unwanted divisions in the party, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said today. He said that his effort to convince the party members to select the office bearers through a consensus failed at the last minutes. “I made a last effort just five minutes before the poll but none of the persons who contested for the posts were willing to more..

Get ready to be indebted to the tune of Rs.3150 million a day!

Jan 3 (LT) It has been made necessary to get at least Rs.3150 million as loans every day to meet the government expenses during the year 2012. The deficit in the budget presented by Mahinda Rajapaksa for this year is Rs.1150000 million. The estimate this time has exceeded past estimates for a year by Rs.50000 million and accordingly the daily expenses has risen by about Rs.100 million. Then the expenditure for a day would be about Rs.3250 million. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.01.2012

Nuwan Kulasekara joins squad for ODIs

Jan 3 (CI) Nuwan Kulasekara, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, will join the squad for the ODI series in South Africa after four months on the sidelines. Lasith Malinga, Upul Tharanga and Kosala Kulasekara will also be part of the one-day leg of the tour, while Chanaka Welegedara, Kaushal Silva, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kanishka Alvitigala will not be involved after the Test series concludes. Sri Lanka picked a different spin attack to more..

Farmers demand action on elephants

Jan 3 (UCAN) Farmers say that they are subject to increasing threat of attack by elephants as development in the country continues to encroach on the animals’ breeding and foraging lands. Forty-six people have been killed in the past few months, according to data compiled by the Wildlife Department, and 97 elephants have been shot and killed. About 500 farmers gathered to demonstrate late last month to demand that the government address the issue. During the event, more..

Central Unit for Crime Analysis opens

Jan 3 (DM) The police opened the Central Unit for Crime Analysis today to identify trends of criminal activities, the instant prevention of crime together with advice on the necessary measures that need to be taken and the establishment of divisional units to monitor crime. IGP N.K. Ilangakoon inaugurated the new arm within the police. The main aim of this analysis wing is to identify trends, and the criminology of crime that takes place in the country. more..

Indian Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (GDI) The Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna is to make an official visit to Sri Lanka on the 16th of this month to discuss bilateral relations and security in the region. In an interview given to the Indian Journal “Business Standards” Mr. Krishna has said that the Indian government has never provided overt or covert assistance to any group in Sri Lanka in order to maintain bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, and security wise, India is dependent on Sri Lanka. more..

Threat to Pera student's lives discussed at meeting

Jan 3 (DM) The meeting which was held between the leaders of the Student Unions of the nine faculties, Deans and the Vice Chancellor had ended cordially sources say. The Unions had put forward their request to remove all conditions that harm the smooth functioning of the unions stating that their actions never put the students lives at risk and did not bring the university into disrepute. However the Student's Union leaders raised questions regarding the burning of more..

G.L meets French envoy over LTTE stamps

Jan 3 (DM) Minister G.L. Peiris called on the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka Christine Robichon today to register Sri Lanka’s acute concern on the issue of four stamps by “La Poste” of France depicting images related to the LTTE including its insignia, while being a proscribed group in France. Minister Peiris observed that while the publishing of these stamps had not been facilitated by the Govt of France, however, it is its responsibility to more..

Youth and documentary short film competition to mark International Youth Day

Jan 3 (GDI) The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development in association with the University of Vocational Technology has taken steps to organize a Youth and Documentary Short Film Competition to mark the International Youth Day which falls on August 12, Minister of Youth Affairs Dulles Alahapperuma speaking to the media at his office pointed out that Youth and Documentary Short Film competition -2012 will be held under the following three categories. more..

Sri Lanka: saved by the bell

Jan 3 (Guardian) In a world of internet shopping, shopping in Jaffna comes as a pleasant surprise; they do things a little differently here. The first tinkle of a bicycle bell can be heard at about 5.30am – the milkman on his bike, dispensing milk from an old metal churn into housewives' recycled bottles and jars. This discreet little tinkle is followed by the very much less discreet, irritating tune of the bread van. Dah da dah, dah da dah, dah da da dah. And again. And again. more..

SLC eager to host IPL matches

Jan 3 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has approached the BCCI about the possibility of hosting IPL matches, the new SLC president, Upali Dharmadasa, has said. The idea has been proposed as a way for SLC to raise additional revenue because the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) failed to get off the ground last year, after the BCCI's refusal to allow Indian players to take part in the tournament. It is for the same reason - an increase in revenue - that more..

Ten suspects identified in Bharatha murder case

Jan 3 (BBC) MP Duminda Silva's official bodyguards were among the ten suspects identified by witnesses of presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman murder hearing. The suspects were identified by nine witnesses at an identification parade held on Tuesday at Colombo magistrate courts. Three of the identified suspects were police constables who worked as official bodyguards for wounded MP Duminda Silva. The legal team representing the murdered presidential advisor's family asked more..