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Central Bank puts future of IMF programme in doubt

Jan 30 (Island) With the exchange rate policy currently pursued by the Central Bank heavily criticised by the Treasury and being a major bone of contention with the IMF which is monitoring the economy under a US$ 2.6 billion standby facility arrangement, the bank’s governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal has said Sri Lanka no longer needed to continue in the programme. Cabraal says Sri Lanka has a comfortable dollar reserves position therefore the additional more..

President calls for increased milk production

Jan 30 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed authorities in the livestock development and dairy product industry to implement a suitable programme for promoting the use of organic dairy products, with an emphasis to produce nutritionally superior liquid milk for the country. The President said so while on a visit to the Polonnaruwa milk factory of Milco Private Limited to inspect its activities. Livestock and Rural Development Deputy Minister more..

'Bim Saviya will end land frauds'

Jan 30 (DN) The 'Bim Saviya' programme launched throughout the country will cry halt to various land frauds involving the sale of state and private lands on forged deeds, Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said. He said so at an awareness workshop on the 'Bim Saviya' programme attended by a group of school principals and students at the Dambulla National School auditorium recently. Minister Tennakoon said land frauds involving the sale of expensive land on more..

My long term goal is to make SL the best team in the world – Ford

Jan 30 (Island) The adage that a good player doesn’t make a good coach has been proved in so many cases, with Sir Viv Richards and Greg Chappell being cases in point. But the contrary seems to be true. An average player can turn out to be an excellent coach. Australia’s John Buchanan played only seven first class games, but won two World Cups and the Ashes three times. Like Buchanan, Sri Lanka’s new coach, Graham Ford also played only more..

WPC appoints special unit to probe extortion by schools

Jan 30 (Island) Western Provincial Council has set up a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to probe allegations of charging exorbitant amounts from parents when they admit their children to grade one classes. The Provincial Council has received a large number of complaints against 40 leading schools in the Province that they demanded money to admit children. These complaints had been directed to the SIU, Chief Minister of the WPC Prasanna Ranathunga said more..

Court of Appeal takes up case on baby tuskers Sindu and Raju

Jan 30 (Island) The Writ Application filed by the Animal Welfare Trust in September 2009 for relief in the forcible separation of two baby tuskers Sindu and Raju from their mothers, by offering them to the Malwatte and the Asgiriya Chapters, was taken up before the Court of Appeal recently. At the time of their removal the baby tuskers were under three years of age. Experts state that elephant calves should not be removed from the mothers until they reach at least five years of age. more..

'I have the power to steer party'

Jan 30 (DM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today claimed that by virtue of the party’s Constitution he had full powers to give orders and take decisions to ensure strict discipline in the party. However he said anyone in the party had the democratic right to advise him under the party constitution. He said he was planning to form a national federation of Provincial Council Members and Pradeshiya Sabha Members to represent the party. more..

LLRC pussyfoots around Iniya Bharathi- TNA

Jan 30 (SL) The TNA says there is clear evidence of SLFP member Iniya Bharathi being involved in human rights violations. In its 70 page response to the report of the LLRC, the TNA had said that many witnesses in fact identify Iniya Bharathi as responsible for human rights abuses. The Sunday Leader in December 2011, carried an exposé on Iniya Bharathi. The article highlighted the fact that he is a man who has been accused of war crimes by the United Nations for giving more..

Ranil condemns politicos hijacking religion for personal benefit

Jan 30 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Saturday condemned politicians making use of occasions such as venerating the tooth relic and private meetings with religious dignitaries for political propaganda activities. Obviously hinting at his rival Sajith Premadasa, he said that it was not his policy to capitalize on a religious event to get political mileage. He said that paying homage to the tooth relic and meeting with Mahanayakes at the Dalada Maligawa more..

Destroyed documents to be collected from respective courts

Jan 30 (DM) The Prison Department is to collect the criminal records of the prisoners in remand for narcotic offences from respective courts destroyed after the records room of the Magazine remand prison was set on fire during riots on Tuesday, a senior prison officer said. “Most of the records destroyed were their character reports prepared by prison officers and criminal records. Character reports are prepared for future reference in order to more..

CEB employees threaten aftershocks against higher pay hike for management

Jan 30 (ST) Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employees threatened to strike demanding a salary hike, if salaries of the management are to be increased by 60 to 70%. Electricity Board Employees' Union Spokesman Ranjan Jayalal said, the unions agreed to a 25% salary increase for all employees, including the top management. “The Govt announced a 25% pay hike for employees of the CEB, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB). more..

Spot fines, jail terms for mosquito breeders

Jan 30 (ST) Chief occupants of households with mosquito-breeding grounds will now face spot fines or even jail terms, a Health Ministry official warned yesterday as the dengue epidemic continues. He said this would take effect when Parliament approved amendments to the Mosquito Breeding Prevention Act of 2007. The amendments would empower the Director General of Health to declare an emergency situation in areas with high number of dengue cases. more..

Rapp here next week

Jan 30 (CT) US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp will be in Sri Lanka next week for high level discussions with the Sri Lankan Government including the Sri Lankan President, Ceylon Today learns. A US Embassy Spokesman in Colombo yesterday confirmed that Ambassador Rapp will be in the island during the week of 5 February for meetings, but said his schedule was still in the process of being prepared for the visit. more..

Kieswetter ton helps Lions go 2-0 up

Jan 30 (CI) England Lions, led by Craig Kieswetter's century, registered their second successive win in the one-day series in Dambulla. Kieswetter made an unbeaten 112 off 99 balls to help the Lions to 293, and Sri Lanka A fell short by 67 runs. The Lions didn't have the best of starts, losing three wickets for 57 after choosing to bat. The lower middle-order pair of Jos Buttler and Samit Patel hit 40s to rally around Kieswetter. Buttler added 48 during his stand with Kieswetter before he was dismissed by Seekkuge Prasanna. more..

Micro first corporate to launch luxury bus service

Jan 30 (FT) Veteran automobile engineer, Dr. Lawrence Perera will make his venture to be the first corporate to herald a new phase in public transportation with the launch of Micro bus service next month. The Company has already imported eight low-floor air-conditioned buses to be deployed on the popular routes identified as the six main corridors to Colombo having a demand for 200 new buses according to the Ministry of Transport. The routes are Moratuwa-Pettah, Kesbewa-Pettah, Negombo-Pettah, more..

Sri lanka's migrant labour keeps economy afloat

Jan 30 (BP) 'The old order changeth yielding place to new," said the 19th century poet Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem on the death of King Arthur. The context might be entirely different but the words seem apposite to describe the metamorphosis in Sri Lanka's economy in the 64 years since independence. When Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) gained independence from the British in February 1948, a year after India and Pakistan and one month after Burma, it inherited more..

TNA adopting a ‘two-nation policy’

Jan 30 (SO) The Government aims at uniting all communities under one banner, while developing the linguistic, cultural and religious values of every community, under the 10-year national plan for Trilingual Sri Lanka, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara told the Sunday Observer. While the Government pursues a ‘one nation policy’ the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is doing the opposite, by adopting a ‘two-nation policy’. more..

Major credit card scam busted

Jan 30 (ST) A major credit card scam run by a group of locals using more than 100 forged cards has been busted by the police. The modus operandi of the group was to skim details of credit cards used at a particular petrol shed in Colombo and use these details to produce forged cards. The group had skimmed details of more than 400 credit cards used at this particular petrol shed. The masterminds behind the scheme never used the forged cards themselves. Instead they called for more..

'Home-grown solutions to Lanka’s issues'

Jan 30 (DN) ‘In finding solutions to whatever issues the country faces, the govt would always look for home-grown methods, that meet the aspirations and needs of the people, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He said that solutions to country’s problems should come from within based on dialogue and understanding and stressed that he and the government were always prepared to listen and were open for discussion to resolve any issues on behalf of the people. more..

Future of LG Bill unknown!

Jan 30 (NS) The Local Govt Elections (amendment) Bill that was to be taken up in Parliament on January 17 has been put off for a future date. However, it is still in the Order Paper of the House. The Draft Bill was approved by the Cabinet and the govt Parliamentary Group some time back. The Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms was chaired by Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardena. He said the bill proposed to elect 70 percent of members of local bodies on the first past more..

Govt moves to increase production of chilli, onion etc. to save exchange

Jan 30 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had requested the Ministry of Agriculture to initiate a programme to achieve self sufficiency in production of additional crops such as green gram, maize, onions, cow pea, chilli and peanuts, Additional Secretary to the Ministry, S. Emitiyagoda said. "The ministry has taken steps to set up zones to cultivate such crops in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Puttlam and many other districts in the dry zone," he said. more..

TNA ups the ante; demands finance too now

Jan 30 (Island) The TNA yesterday insisted that land, police and finance powers be included in the devolution discussions with the govt and all three had to be prerequisite for the party to sit on the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee to hammer out a final solution. "We initiated the dialog with the govt on the proposed solutions to the ethnic question and we insisted that the govt devolves land, police and finance powers to the periphery more..

Possible contribution to national reconciliation through tourism

Jan 30 (Island) Speech delivered by President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka Anura Lokuhetty at the National Conference on the role of the business community on reconciliation at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Stretegic Studies. Throughout the history of mankind, the human race has searched for peace and harmony through political, geographical, economical, and sociological avenues and, sometimes unfortunately through means of war. more..

President to launch Secondary Schools Programme

Jan 30 (GDI) The national programme of establishing secondary schools in all divisional secretariat divisions will be launched on 3rd February, initiating from the Walisinghe Harishchandra Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura. President Mahinda Rajapakse will be the chief guest at this function. Sri Lanka's Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that in line with this launching foundation stones will be laid for construction of secondary schools at Divisional Secretariat levels. more..

Ministry blames it on world turning to digital technology

Jan 30 (Island) All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) yesterday complained of a severe shortage of x-ray films in 55 main hospitals. Patients who were prescribed to have x-rays for fractures and lung, heart, kidney, stomach and brain diseases were the worst affected as doctors were not able to accurately diagnose their problems without x-ray. Out of four kinds of x-ray film, two were out of stock. more..

Bull “Dose”

Jan 30 (SL) The govt has spent Rs. 30 million to import 10 Jersey Bulls this month as part of a program to develop the country’s milk industry. Each bull has cost Rs. 3 million and is expected to produce 8,000 doses of semen in a period of five years to be used for the purpose of artificial insemination to improve local stock. The high cost incurred to import the bulls has raised eyebrows. Nevertheless, the govt maintains that importing Jersey Bulls more..

We were scared we would be eaten by fellow prisoners: Trawler skipper

Jan 30 (ST) Six fishermen who had been imprisoned in the Andaaman Islands for over two years returned to the island last week after they were released by the Indian government. The skipper of the boat said at a point of time the group feared they would be eaten by their fellow prisoners. The group left Trincomalee in February 2010 expecting to return in a short time. However this was not to be. more..

University dons threaten indefinite strike

Jan 30 (Island) University teachers last night announced an indefinite strike if the government presented the ‘private university bill’ to Parliament without consulting them. The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) had taken this decision at its Annual General Meeting held at the Nawala Open University on Friday, FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said. more..

'TNA is the stumbling block'

Jan 30 (CT) Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda says TNA is the stumbling block to the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). Devananda is one of the minority parliamentarians who initially suggested to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that it is through a PSC a reasonable solution could be found to the ethnic problem. The minister’s observation comes in the wake of TNA’s strong stance against nominating representatives to the PSC. more..

Leadership Training for Second batch of University Entrants

Jan 30 (GDI) The Ministry of Higher Education informed that the Leadership Training Programme, which was introduced last year, will be implemented for their new entrants of the Universities this year as well. The Ministry said the programme this year will consist of a streamlined programme identifying the shortages in the last programme and will provide solutions to such shortages. more..

3 to 5 children raped daily

Jan 30 (ST) Last week a 28-year-old man from Dambulla was arrested along with an owner of a guest house and a three-wheeler driver for allegedly luring and raping a 13 year old girl. According to police the young girl had had a fight with her mother and gone to a relative’s house without telling her mother where she was going. On the way she had been picked up by a person travelling in a three wheeler before being taken to a rest house where she was raped. more..

UNP Leader announces launch of a protest campaign against lawlessness

Jan 30 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe announced Saturday the launching of a campaign against lawlessness in the country from the beginning of February. "The first of the series must be held in Kandy", he said. Addressing a meeting of UNPers and party Provincial Council and local govt representatives, he said that the cause of all ills was the presence of lawlessness in the country. more..

Human remains burnt with garbage

Jan 30 (CT) Skeletons, including human skulls were burnt openly by the roadside in the Catholic section inside Borella Cemetery, last Saturday. Visitors complained that they saw skulls and bones strewn along some of the lanes within the Borella Cemetery. The CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam confirmed human remains were being burned along with garbage. He said the Catholic section of the General Cemetery was being cleared yesterday, while some more..

Sri Lanka won't draw balance of $2.6 bln IMF loan

Jan 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka, which is locked in a row with the IMF over its exchange rate policy, will not draw the remaining $800 million of a $2.6 billion loan from the global lender due to the high interest rate, the governor of the central bank said. The island-nation has already received $1.8 billion of the loan in seven tranches since July 2009, but the IMF has withheld the eighth payment since September after the central bank failed to allow flexibility in the rupee exchange rate. more..

Editorial: Flames behind the iron bars

Jan 30 (DM) By resorting to the modern and the most ineffective norm of expressing displeasure, the prisoners at the Magazine Prison have lived up to the writing on the prison wall – ‘prisoners are people too.’ However, not in their wildest dreams would they have thought their ruthless actions would reinterpret if not ridicule the saying. While many changes are being suggested to the prisons system, subsequent to this incident, the reason for the pandemonium that broke more..

Bourse up on earning hopes; banks lead

Jan 30 (Reuters) Share market closed firmer on Monday extending its positive momentum as investors snapped up financials and blue chips on better earning hopes after the market heavyweight and bellwether John Keells Holdings posted strong earnings. The main share index ended 0.53 percent or 30.12 points at 5,755.56, its highest since Jan. 23, after retreating from a early gain of 1.78 percent. Analysts said institutional investors are still on the sideline due to concerns more..

'E01 bus ticket prices high'

Jan 30 (CT) High ticket prices for commuter buses along the Southern Express have kept passenger numbers low, Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) president Gemunu Wijeratne said. “People hesitate to go in buses in Expressway because the cost is too high,” Wijerathne said, comparing the normal intercity rate of Rs. 230 to the expressway bus ticket charge of Rs. 400. “We spend millions to purchase a new bus for expressway, but with more..

Indian trawlers in Trinco

Jan 30 (CT) A large contingent of Indian multi day trawlers is engaged in fishing activities in the sea to the north of Trincomalee, according to fishing association representatives. The vice president of the Kokilai Fishing Association, Ranil Fernando stated that the Indian multi day trawlers fish very close to the shore line and each vessel carries around 40-50 members. He also stated that these Indian fishermen not only exploit the fishing resources of Sri Lanka but also more..

Chinese Dragon meets the Sri Lankan Lion at Ayubowan China

Jan 30 (GDI) Sri Lanka Tourism, along with AIESEC Sri Lanka, hosted “Ayubowan China” on last Saturday at the Light House Galley in Colombo to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The aim of the show was to promote Sri Lanka as a favorable Tourist destination in China. The Chinese New Year Show was focused on sharing the Chinese culture and tradition among the other nationals, which is a rising global trend at present. 50 Chinese University students from over 20 major cities more..

WikiLeaks: “STF murdered Trinco students” Basil to US

Jan 30 (CT) “We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill some one. We need forensic experts. We know who did it, but we can’t proceed in prosecuting them.” President’s advisor and his brother Basil Rajapaksa told US Ambassador Robert O.Blake. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recounts details of a meeting US Ambassador to Colombo has more..