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Sri Lanka negotiating billion dollar facility for petroleum: officials

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka is negotiating a billion dollar facility from an international bank to defray payments for petroleum imports by made state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation in 2012, officials said. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said petroleum imports had increased by 1,500 million already in 2011 as had capital and investment goods and the central bank was keen not to curtail imports as they were necessary to keep the economy ticking. more..

Nishantha Ranatunga plays down SLC cash crunch

Jan 3 (CI) Nishantha Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka Cricket [SLC] secretary, has described the financial situation the board is in as a "short term liquidity problem," and said it was nothing more serious than that. Ranatunga, who was uncontested for the secretary's post during the SLC elections, defended the decision of the Interim Committee (IC) headed by DS de Silva to build stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, which left SLC heavily in debt. more..

Fruit and vegetable exports to top US $ 4,000 m

Jan 3 (FP) The value of vegetables and fruit exports will go up from the present Rs 3,000 million to Rs 4,000 million per annum by end 2012 . There is an increased demand for quality Sri Lankan fruits and vegetable products from Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Bahrain, Maldives and Saudi Arabia. Sri Lankan fruits that are in demand are pineapples, passion fruit, red lady papaya, fresh dragon fruit, rambuttan, avocado among others. The major competitors in the global fruit and more..

Govt. servants have no right to criticize govt. policies: PM

Jan 3 (DM) The Prime Minister yesterday said that govt servants have no right to criticize govt policies. Addressing a function at his office, the Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne said soon after the commencement of New Year’s official work that the public servants who get paid from the money of the common man has no right to criticize govt policies. He said: “They can point out mistakes of the govt. But they do not have the right to destroy the programmes of the govt. more..

Kallis, Petersen pound feeble Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (CI) Alviro Petersen made a memorable return to Test cricket, while Jacques Kallis enjoyed his new-found batting freedom as South Africa made a merry mockery of Sri Lanka's decision to bowl first at Newlands. Kallis had a sense of occasion, converting his 114-ball century into a 150-plus score in his 150th Test. His first ton against Sri Lanka, and his first in a year, was all the more significant since it followed the first pair of his more..

A/L expert committee meets former Commissioner General of Examinations

Jan 3 (NF) The Committee of experts appointed by the President to look into the irregularities that took place when releasing the G.C.E. A/L exam results, has met the former Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe. Chairperson of the Committee Dhara Wijethilake said that Edirisinghe was questioned on the irregularities in the A/L district rankings. Wijethilake said that the Committee of Experts will visit the Department of Examinations in more..

Concessionary loans for fishermen

Jan 3 (DM) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has planned to establish three new fishery harbours in the Gandara, Gurunagar and Silawathura areas, a ministry media release said. "A long term loan of Euro million 59.3 from the Denmark Government is anticipated for these construction works," it said.the release said: "Kalametiya Fishery harbour would also be constructed at a cost of 853 million. Jaffna Point Pedro, Kudawella, Puranawella, Mirissa, more..

More people friendly initiatives in 2012: Police

Jan 3 (DM) The Police Department is planning to take a number of steps this year to increase its efficiency and move closer to the public by introducing a number of people friendly initiatives under the directions of Inspector General of Police (IGP) N.K. Illangakone. The police department plans to connect all the police stations via the internet to enhance the exchange of data and to provide information to the general public. more..

Leave education alone… please!

Jan 4 (NS) With the release of advanced level results for 2011, the public outcry about the education system of Sri Lanka has started again. This time, it is the National Evaluations and Testing Service who seems to be at the receiving end. The Department of Examination has been one institute of the govt who has to maintain 100% accuracy in its operations. In simpler terms it is the kind of like the operating theatre of the “future of Sri Lanka.” One small mistake in terms of more..

Our land of smiles...

Jan 4 (NS) Salutations and warm wishes for a wonderful New Year dear reader to you and all who matter in your life, as what was once the tomorrow of 2012 has become our today, today. Sunday is generally a day to laze and relax and today in all its newness of a year dawned just hours ago can surely afford just that. So, can we assume there is something to smile about very blissfully this Sunday as we enter 2012? I certainly hope so, and I hope further that the smile we may be more..

Stable market to boost Kithul industry vital

Jan 4 (SO) Although Sri Lanka is blessed with different species of plants such as coconut, palmyra, arecanut, breadfruit , jak, tea and rubber, the Kithul palm which is another important tree of which people do not talk much, has a history of over 500 years. Kithul is known as the Toddy Palm by Sri Lankans during the colonial period, since the sap taken from tapped Kithul flowers is used to produce a herbal drink called Ra in Sinhala and Toddy in English. more..

Plastic crate issue: Wrong strategy, meaningful cause

Jan 4 (Island) It was when I was drafting this piece that Dr. U. Pethiyagoda expressed his views in his very brief opinion on the subject on the 17th in "The Island" and hit the nail on its head. The similarity of my title and views art a coincidence but many who know this field of activity but prefer to be silent would concur. I believe that as a person who was associated with the effort to improve the agricultural marketing sector by the state in the late nineties and more..

'Strange Fruit' and associated concepts in Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (SL) Sitting at a computer with headphones conveying music of one’s choice is a simple pleasure that “modern times” brings to a returnee to his South Asian home after many years in northern climes. “Strange Fruit” is, for even the most superficial students of popular North American music, a landmark in the canon of that music written about a very dark time in the history of the continental United States, a time when lynching was a fact of life in the southern states, more..

LLRC, TNA and the LTTE

Jan 4 (Island) My intention is not to comment on the LLRC report which has made a number of recommendations on what is fashionably called reconciliation. The Sinhala and Tamil communities could have lived amicably if not for the Tamil Vellala politicians who were used by the English (British if you wish) to deny the Sinhalas, especially the Sinhala Buddhists their due place in the country and to weaken if not destroy the Sinhala Buddhist culture. more..

Editorial: Compassion of hypocrites

Jan 4 (Island) British politicians have suddenly realised that it hurts animals to be killed! The Palace of Westminster is reported to have refused to serve halal meat in any of its restaurants, claiming that the practice of slitting animals' throats without stunning them first is cruel and therefore offensive to non-Muslim MPS and peers, who have voiced their protest. In a comment posted on a British newspaper website a reader has said that he has been so horrified by a video of a more..

Fracas at Tangalle beach resort

Jan 4 (SO) The beach resorts that dot the picturesque Tangalle beach were packed with foreign tourists who were getting ready to celebrate Christmas last week. There was plenty of sunshine to the delight of tourists who revelled in sea bathing while some lay on the beach exposing themselves to sunlight to acquire a tan complexion before returning to their countries. The tourists were also seen hobnobbing and mingling freely with the locals and nothing untoward happened till more..

‘Rajapaksa Wamsa’: The New Mahawamsa will be a twisted historical narrative

Jan 4 (TC) If the law was allowed to take its normal course after the Kolonnawa mini-war, the Christmas Eve murder of a British tourist in Tangalle may not have happened. If the regime did not protect parliamentarian Duminda Silva so blatantly, Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Chandrapushpa may not have thought that he too could get away with murder. If not for the message of impunity sent by l’affaire Kolonnawa, Khuram Shaikh, more..

Packets of White Powder

Jan 4 (GV) Suddenly, scores of packets of white powder began appearing in the homes of many farmers we were working with. They were organic farmers, who respected their field and soil. They would never poison their farm knowingly. When questioned, they made a wry face and declared that ‘the stuff was forced upon them’ as a part of some government program. Some resorted to putting it onto their home gardens to get rid of it. This means that, the poisoning of our soils is more..

A topsy turvy year for Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (SL) It was early January this year when Sri Lankans realised that people had taken the law into their hands. It was not confined to the people who were fighting for their just rights from an autocratic government. It was also those who had taken the law into their hands to dispense justice extra judicially to those opposed to the regime. Mix this with a healthy dose of murder, rape, robbery, abduction and extortion and we have a “land like no other”. more..

Bowlers punish Dilshan for wrong decision

Jan 4 (CI) The question is not what Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, was thinking when he put South Africa in to bat in Cape Town; it is whether he was thinking at all. Perhaps, he was being cautious. The last time Sri Lanka played at Newlands, they elected to bat and were shot out for 95. They have already suffered two batting embarrassments on this tour and, after the high of winning in Durban, Dilshan may have wanted to avoid more..

Kallis feasts on the green grass of home

Jan 4 (CI) If two men are hungry, they can only eat if food is plentiful. Luckily for Alviro Petersen and Jacques Kallis, Sri Lanka brought everything from the placemats to dessert and laid out a royal feast. Petersen admitted that South Africa were "surprised" that Sri Lanka asked them to bat, on a pitch that looked "quite dry". At first, they may have suspected a poisoned apple but no such dangerous food emerged. All that lay before them was a land of milk and honey: more..

It is not free and fair election – Mohan de Silva

Jan 4 (Island) Mohan de Silva who was to contest for the vice presidency from the Thilanga Sumathipala faction, the rival party of the victorious Upali Dharmadasa camp at yesterday’s Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections, held last morning, said the cricket board elections, that were held after a lapse of about seven years, was not free and fair. He said so after complaining to Ms. Ranjani Jayakody, Directress General of Sports (DGS), before the elections last morning. more..

JVP to lead protest against amending EPF Act

Jan 4 (Island) JVP-led trade unions plan to launch a fresh protest against the govt’s latest move to amend the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Act. President of the Inter Company Employees Union Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the government was planning to amend the Act again after a lull due to their protests. "The government is going to introduce a new pension scheme and insurance under the EPF according to the drafted amendments," he said. more..

Degree courses in cinema/TV

Jan 4 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka, the University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) has introduced two degree courses for those who engage in the television and cinema industry, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. He said that the cinema industry was started over 60 years ago and television industry was over 30 years old. But both government or private universities never introduced any degree course for these two fields. more..

Four sanitary landfill sites to be constructed

Jan 4 (DN) Four sanitary landfill sites would be constructed for the first time in Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Korean government, Central Environmental Authority chairman Charitha Herath told the Daily News yesterday. He said that lands have already been selected for this move in Udu Nuwara, Hikkaduwa, Anuradhapura and Panadura. He said that the Korean government and the Treasury would sign an agreement in this regard within the first quarter of this year. more..

'Nauseatingly one-sided political propaganda'

Jan 4 (FT) UNP MP Harsha de Silva yesterday alleged Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal’s 2012 and beyond road map was “nauseatingly one-sided propaganda” whilst it failed to address the balance of payments issue. Here is the full statement. Without taking away from the hard work of the private sector for having driven this nation’s growth in 2011 which must be appreciated and encouraged in spite of the road blocks placed in its path by the regime more..

USAID support generates jobs and investments

Jan 4 (USE) Support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project Connecting Regional Economies (CORE) has increased incomes for over 14,000 households in the Eastern Province, Anuradhapura District and Moneragala District through business training and the introduction of new farm technologies and crops. On December 16, USAID – the U.S. Embassy’s development arm – hosted a seminar with the Ministry of Economic Development to review CORE as it nears completion. more..

CEA, volunteers to keep Sri Pada clean

Jan 4 (DN) A special programme to keep Sri Pada (Adam's Peak) clean during the pilgrimage season has been launched under Central Environmental Authority (CEA) coordination. The programme is being conducted by the Post Consumer Plastic Waste Management National Project of the CEA with the coordination of the Explorers' Club of Peradeniya University, voluntary groups and Ambagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha. The Sri Pada pilgrimage season which started with the Full Moon of more..

Prof. Anil K Gupta, Editor

Sound of axe rings death knell for Lanka’s forests

Jan 4 (ST) The past year, 2011, was declared International Year of Forests by the United Nations. The message was sent out to all countries. Sadly, this message has not been taken seriously in Sri Lanka. Last year was not a good year for forests here, and the year ended with the news that yet another forest is being destroyed – one of the few remaining mangrove covers in Puttalam. A five-acre plot of mangrove along the west coast, in Kurukapane, Arachchikattuwa, in more..

Sajith vows to protect UNP reformists

Jan 4 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, yesterday said that he wouldn’t allow the party leadership to harass those seeking urgent reforms. An irate parliamentarian said that the Reformists would face the threat posed by those bent on undermining their efforts to revive the party in the wake of a series of electoral defeats suffered over a period of time. Premadasa was responding to our yesterday’s lead story captioned ‘Reformists threaten countrywide protests.’ more..

Reform and growth would ease constraints for Sri Lanka – Moody’s

Jan 4 (FT) Whilst noting that financial weaknesses as a key rating constrain, Moody’s said yesterday reform and growth as well as Govt’s financial strength will help improve the situation. Moody’s Investors Service noted that that the Govt of Sri Lanka’s B1 rating and positive outlook for its foreign-currency obligations was based on an assessment of the country’s low economic and govt financial strengths, moderate institutional strengths and more..

Gem of a student

Jan 4 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate directed the Controller of Immigration and Emigration to prevent a Sri Lankan student studying in Japan from leaving the country as he had allegedly cheated a gem businessman of Rs.11.4 million. Lodging a complaint with the CID, a director of a gem and jewellery shop at the World Trade Centre in Fort told police that a Sri Lanka student studying in Japan had befriended his father while he was engaged in business activities in Japan. more..

'International stampede to enter local construction industry'

Jan 4 (Island) There is a massive competition among international construction companies to undertake projects in Sri Lanka, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. He said that More than 17.3 percent of the national economy was covered by the construction field and Construction workers played a key role in the development drive of the country. Local builders should acquire new technologies as they had to compete in the international market and it was also necessary to more..

Robust Roadmap!

Jan 4 (FT) A highly confident Central Bank yesterday unveiled a robust roadmap for Sri Lanka for this year and beyond though with a rider that realisation was subject to absence of any major unforeseen supply side shocks. Governor Nivard Cabraal proudly told the ceremony attended by business leaders and media that the country in 2011 is estimated to have achieved its highest GDP growth of 8.3% thereby recording the second consecutive year of over 8% growth. more..

Indian team to reach Colombo today to repair boats

Jan 4 (Hindu) A team from Tamil Nadu is arriving here on Wednesday in a bid to repair and re-float the seven boats that require to be fixed before they can be taken back. Earlier, 35 Indian fishermen, with two boats in tow, were taken to the IMBL and handed over to the eastern region of the Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday afternoon. The fishermen were reluctant to leave without all the boats that they had come in but were persuaded after their compatriots from India, and officials of more..

Trinco gets cracking over attracting investors

Jan 4 (Island) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will call for investor bidding to start port related industries in Trincomalee before the end of January 2012, an official said. However, so far, no dates had been finalized either for calling of applications or for their closure. "The investment opportunities were to be advertised in mid November 2011, but was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances," Trinco Port Resident Manager J. A. Chandraratne said. more..

Baratha’s bodyguard shot first - CID

Jan 4 (Island) The CID yesterday told Additional Colombo Magistrate Prasanna Alwis that former PA MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s police bodyguard, Sergeant Rajupurage Gamini, had fired at UPFA MP R. Duminda Silva first during a confrontation at Kolonnawa on Oct. 8, last year. The CID informed the Court that it had received statements from two persons to that effect. The clash claimed the lives of four people, including Premachandra. more..

35 out of 40 Tamil Nadu fishermen released by Sri Lanka reach Mandapam

Jan 4 (PTI) Tamil Nadu govt on Tuesday said 35 of the 40 fishermen from the state who "drifted" into Sri Lankan waters following adverse weather conditions and wind power were brought back by the Indian Coast Guard to Mandapam, after they were released by the court in the Island republic. "One of the five fishermen of a boat that started out of Pudhupattinam near Thanjavur has been rescued and brought to Rameswaram, another is feared drowned, while searches are on to locate more..

Lagodan opens doors for former LTTE cadres

Jan 4 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka rehabilitated LTTE youth are being offered foreign employment by Lagodan Pvt Ltd, one of the oldest foreign employment agencies in Sri Lanka. Lagodan Chairman and Managing Director Ranjith Perera said he has already opened a link in Malaysia and in the Gulf for this purpose. Speaking to Daily News Business he said these openings will be for males. “Our partners are looking for youth to work in factories, Super markets, dairies and farms,” more..