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Sri Lanka gets final IMF tranche, asked to watch inflation, state firms

July 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka should watch inflation, the budget gap and fix energy enterprise to the economy stable in the future the IMF has said ending a three-year bailout program. The IMF released a final 415 million US dollar tranche under a 2.5 billion US dollar bailout package, a somewhat unusual occurrence in Sri Lanka where bickering among the elected ruling class has earlier de-railed many programs half-way. more..

Docs in North strike on July 24

July 21 (Island) Around 1,000 government doctors, serving in 100 hospitals in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullativu, Vavuniya and Mannar, including 350 doctors attached to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, will launch a strike on July 24 to protest against the failure of the police to arrest those who attacked Consultant Oncologist Dr. Nadaraja Jayakumaran’s residence and the Health Ministry’s reluctance to hold a formal inquiry into allegations against Jaffna Teaching Hospital Director more..

Harvest of 3 bn coconuts expected in 2012

July 21 (Island) Sri Lanka would achieve a harvest over 3,000 million coconuts at the end of 2012, Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said. "Sri Lanka has already harvested 2,000 million coconuts of its expected annual production of 2,900 million nuts," he said. Compared with last year’s yield, the country’s total coconut production had increased by 44.8 percent, he said. The island’s total coconut production during the year 2011 was recorded as 2,757.3 million nuts, more..

Flat dwellers vow to fight acquisition of children’s playground

July 21 (ST) Residents of the Anderson and Chitra Lane Flats in Narahenpita are fretting over moves by the authorities to acquire a portion of the children’s playground, to make way for a housing complex for lawyers and staff of the Attorney General’s (AG) Department. A group of elderly residents from both flats have vowed to fight the matter down to the wire, and have already written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

Four brokers hail SEC efforts to regulate market

July 21 (DM) In the backdrop of stockbrokers and several high net worth investors/traders expecting Presidential intervention to unshackle the Colombo bourse from overregulation, a set of stockbrokers have welcomed the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) efforts in regulating the capital market in the country. In a letter sent to the SEC dated July 19, 2012, the brokerages, JB Securities, CT Smith more..

'Ranil’s invitation to SF a trap'

July 21 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s intention of inviting General Sarath Fonseka to join the UNP was only to destroy the latter’s political career and nothing else, a leading reformist camp activist said yesterday. Secretary of the Movement for the Protection of the UNP and Trade Unions Lal Perera said that it was one of Wickremesinghe’s ploys, but General Fonseka and the DNA would never fall for it. Perera said what the people wanted was a more..

Navy launches full-scale op to nab illegal migrants

July 21 (DN) The Navy has curtailed illegal migration of 537 persons so far this year. The Navy yesterday said they have strengthened operations in the seas off Eastern and Northern Provinces and it will not be easy for human smugglers to penetrate the security at sea. Navy Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya yesterday said they intercepted over 14 boats carrying hundreds of people, including more..

Facebook lovers traced to city

July 21 (ENS) The search for a Sri Lankan woman from Denmark, who went missing from here on Thursday, literally went viral with police tracing her from Chennai, where she was with a ‘Facebook friend’, on Friday. Danish citizen Marry Renida Aloysius (42), was reunited with her husband Aloysius on Friday evening, police said. The couple and their five-year-old daughter arrived in India on July 16. more..

SLC assures credibility of SLPL franchisees

July 21 (CG) The Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) says it has taken all possible precautions to safeguard the integrity of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) which will be conducted according to the ICC Code of Conduct , in conformity with the ICC Anti Corruption/ Anti Doping guidelines and as well as adhering to the MCC “Spirit of Cricket”. SLC says it introduced a competitive bidding process in order to ensure transparency and obtain more..

19 countries confirm attendance

July 21 (CT) The Sri Lanka Army says out of the 63 countries that have been invited to attend the 2012 Defence Seminar, 19 countries have confirmed their attendance so far. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said the theme for this year’s seminar will be, ‘Towards Lasting Peace and Stability.’ According to him, the countries that have confirmed participation are the United States, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nepal, Nigeria, more..

GoSL - Australia on collision course over refugee boats

July 21 (Island) Sri Lanka and Australia are on a collision course over what the Australian High Commissioner in Colombo Ms Robyn Mudie asserts is the failure on the part of the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) to put an end to human smuggling. Australian HC Mudie urged Navy Commander Vice Admiral Dissanayake to step up SLN action, at a hurriedly arranged meeting to discuss the issue last Wednesday more..

Sri Lanka seeks another IMF bailout after record loan

July 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka announced the completion of a $2.6 billion IMF bailout, but it was seeking fresh loans to support an economy emerging from decades of ethnic war. The International Monetary Fund on Friday released the final instalment of the bailout agreed in July 2009, two months after Colombo defeated Tamil rebels in a major offensive to end the drawn-out conflict. more..

BASL wants Minister arrested

July 21 (DM) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) at a meeting with the Attorney General had requested that necessary action be taken to arrest the minister and other suspects who were involved in a mob attack on the Mannar Courts complex. BASL President Wijedasa Rajapakse PC said he met the AG at his office and requested him to take necessary action to arrest those involved in the incident including a govt minister. more..

Editorial: Mayhem in Mannar

July 21 (DM) Mannar is on fire. The eastern town was no better than a battlefield on Wednesday, when the unruly protesters pelted stones at the Mannar police and the courts complex, compelling the Police to disperse the crowds with tear gas. Six policemen including HQI’s of Mannar and Vavuniya have been injured during the clashes and the Mannar magistrate court was closed due to the damages caused by the protesters. The situation hints of a conflict of more serious nature, which more..

Vietnamese getting richer,want to holiday in Sri Lanka

July 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s economy could take off if there was an increase in exports, which was only 17 percent of GDP, the Vietnamese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ton Sinh Thanh said. The Ambassador told The Island in an interview that Vietnamese exports amounted to 90 percent of its GDP and he saw no reason why Sri Lanka could not do the same. "Aquatic products is one of our success stories. Last year, we exported US$ 6.2 billion of aquatic products, accounting for more..

Lawyer in ‘Ocean Lady’ case to argue charges as unconstitutional

July 21 (VS) A Vancouver criminal lawyer representing one of the men accused of smuggling Tamil migrants aboard the Ocean Lady in 2009 plans to argue the charges are unconstitutional. Peter Edelmann said Section 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which criminalizes organizing, aiding or abetting undocumented persons to get into Canada, is so broad and vague it can apply to most legitimate refugees. more..

Sri Lanka corporate executives on 'pay for performance'

July 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 'pay for performance' schemes should be carefully designed to be fair and transparent and linked to a firm's short and long term goals while incorporating the organization's core values, top corporate executive said. Pay for performance is an incentive based reward scheme where workers are paid (variably) on productivity and achievement of goals as opposed to hours spent on the job. more..

CM will not be from Polonnaruwa; Berty

July 21 (DM) Former Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake said that the Chief Ministerial post for the North Central Province will never be given to a candidate from Polonnaruwa. “Anuradhpaura has seven electorates and Polonnaruwa has only three, so in terms of population Anuradhapura has the higest number of people residing. Therefore the post of Chief Minister will be given to a candidate from Anuradhapura” he said. Speaking last evening, he said more..

'Youth of a country is more precious than gems and jewellery'

July 21 (GDI) The Youth of a country is more precious than gems and jewellery, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the passing out ceremony of the National Youth Corps 2012 batch of the National Youth Services Council on the 19th. He said youth between 15 and 29 represent a 26 percent of the total population. "Many countries reach the apex in development with the contribution of their youth. more..

Fourteen election law violations reported, says CAFFE

July 21 (NF) The CAFFE says that fourteen incidents of election law violations have been reported since the conclusion of the acceptance of nominations for the upcoming Provincial Council Elections. The Executive Director of the Organisation Keerthi Tennakoon noted that thirteen of these incidents were illegal rallies. Executive Director of the PAFFREL Organisation said that information on illegal propaganda activities has been reported from every district where more..

Navy intercepts Australia bound Multi-day Trawler off Nilaweli

July 21 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy intercepted another multi-day trawler illegally headed for Australia off Nilaweli on 21st July. The intercepted trawler was escorted to the Trincomalee Harbour with 53 persons onboard for handing over to the Criminal Investigation Department for further investigations. Arrested persons are in Trincomalee, Negombo, Killinochchi and Jaffna. The trawler, named “Venura Putha 2” with personal belongings and dry rations stacked inside, was detected by more..

Jaffna to be connected to power grid soon

July 21 (PTI) Sri Lanka's northern district of Jaffna, devastated by over three decades of war, will soon be linked to the national power grid ensuring uninterrupted supply. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said once the project is completed, the entire north would receive power from the national grid. "We are aware that Jaffna public currently endure power stoppages. We would soon have the Jaffna peninsula and the entire north linking the national grid," more..

Website launched to deal with election complaints

July 21 (CT) The Election Secretariat has launched a website and district wise complaint centres to deal with those complaints on the election violation laws. The website launched named ‘tell the commissioner’ has given the opportunity for the general public to lodge their complaints on the election violence and disruption that has taken place due to the violation of election laws, Election commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya said. He also said district wise more..

Country is heading towards anarchy, says Karu Jayasuriya

July 21 (NF) UNP MP, Karu Jayasuriya says that an act of intimidation by a govt minister against the Magistrate of Mannar to change a verdict and an unsuccessful attempt by the same Minister to transfer the Magistrate, clearly indicates the evil effects of the present administration and that the country is heading towards anarchy. Issuing a communiqe Jayasuriya pointed out that it is a representative of the executive who had taken the law unto himself and more..

Sehwag, Kohli set up comfortable India win

July 21 (CI) India hardly looked a side playing their first match in four months. Their batsmen pounded Sri Lanka for a 300-plus total; their bowling, for once, did not fall apart and led by Irfan Pathan, ensured the total was a winning one. Virat Kohli, now easily one of the best ODI batsmen in the world, cracked his third consecutive century against Sri Lanka, his fourth in five innings, and his fifth successive fifty-plus score, equalling the Indian record. more..

Editorial: Prostituting journalistic profession

July 22 (SO) Today there is a large number of newspapers, web-based news sites, radio and television stations in Sri Lanka. Though generally branded as Sri Lankan media, not all of them adhere to the norms and journalistic traditions. Thanks to the immense INGO funding and even certain foreign missions here pumping money on the sly, some of these so-called media organisations make a song and dance over media freedom in Sri Lanka. Barely anyone bothers to ascertain whether more..

Editorial: Exodus from the ‘Miracle of Asia’

July 22 (SL) Sri Lankans are fleeing the land of their birth by the hundreds each week even to countries that do not hold out much prospects for them. The bulk comprises the poorest of the poor. Refugees who on selling their meagre possessions – their plots of land, homes and jewellery – take enormous risks with their lives in stormy seas in search of a better life. This exodus commenced during the conflict with the LTTE and it could be justified to a certain extent at more..

'Be true to yourself when taking to politics'

July 22 (SO) Senior Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka continues to be as vibrant as ever in national politics. Political acumen was his merit to deserve many a Ministerial portfolio culminating in Prime Ministership. The Sunday Observer interviewed him on a variety of issues. Minister Wickramanayaka said if the TNA wants to serve the people in a democratic way, first and foremost, they should give up their call for federalism. more..

Editorial: Our cultural icons

July 22 (NS) Stars come and go. They shine for awhile, are applauded, gone crazy over and then forgotten, like in the well known Eagles song ‘New Kid in Town’: ‘They will never forget you till somebody new comes along’.Icons are different. Somebody new coming along does not dislodge icons from cultural firmaments. What they produce continues to fragrance the world long after they’ve passed on. Icons, typically, do not seek immortality. And yet, they are honored not just by more..

Editorial: No room for mistakes in Mannar

July 22 (LB) This week’s attack on the Mannar Courthouse by a mob is one more in a strange series of incidents which seem to threaten the very underpinnings of the System — or what’s loosely termed the social contract that governs the smooth functioning of govt. There were earlier the political goons that ran amock in the Southern Province, and then before that in the remembered past, the grease yakka incidents, of course now culminating in the so called crime wave in which rapes of underage persons are – often falsely – blamed on more..

'Muslims should be out of the Govt.'

July 22 (NS) Azath Salley who represented the UNP for a long time and held high positions in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) joined the UPFA in 2010. He also contested the CMC elections under the UPFA banner. Later he had some issues with the party leadership on allocation of posts in the CMC. Last week, he resigned from the CMC and joined with the SLMC to contest the PC elections in the Eastern Province. Here, he speaks to The Nation. more..

Editorial: The Mannar ruckus

July 22 (Island) Yesterday’s newspapers were full of reports of an angry reaction from the legal profession on allegations that Minister Rishard Bathiudeen was behind an attack on the Mannar courts complex and had attempted to intimidate the magistrate. Bathiudeen was quoted in The Island saying he was not in Mannar when the incidents occurred. However that be, it is clear that there is an ethnic issue between Muslim and Tamil fishermen about the use of a landing point in the area that more..

Editorial: Diplomacy - More than workshops

July 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Heads of Diplomatic Missions overseas were summoned for an ‘orientation course’, given some lectures and sent on a tour to familiarise themselves with the developments taking place in their home country. The intentions may have been good, but did it serve the purpose? The answer would best come from those who attended the programme. Whether they would be able to give their honest assessment knowing what fate awaits them if anything negative is said, is another matter. more..

‘Country on the verge of becoming a rogue state...’

July 22 (LB) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera says that he never went down on his knees to apologize to Sajith Premadasa over the alleged slandering remark on his website, adding that the exposure they have received consequent to the ‘raid’ in fact made his website more popular, both locally and internationally. Excerpts: Q: What are your views of the present govt? A: The Rajapaksa govt is totally corrupt, inefficient and insensitive to the needs of the people. more..

Fallout of SLMC’s opportunism

July 22 (NS) Confusion reigned last week as political parties scrambled to get their act together to submit nominations for the forthcoming provincial council elections. Much of it centered on the SLMC and its stance in the Eastern Province. After an initial announcement which said that SLMC Leader Hakeem had agreed to contest with the ruling UPFA after his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, hardly a day after he said that the Congress would go it alone. Even when the initial announcement was made there were indications that Hakeem was trying to impose his will on more..

SLMC’s plot backfires as tables turn on kingmaker

July 22 (NS) The SLMC and the CWC have played the kingmaker role in Sri Lanka’s political history for a long time. The SLMC in particular had at successive national elections used their political clout to successfully bargain for a share of power both at the periphery and the center. However, at present, it has experienced tables being turned on them. In fact the SLMC today has to struggle for political survival as a consequence of the backfiring of their political maneuverings. more..

'No external force can solve our problems'

July 22 (SO) Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam alias KP, former arms procurer of the now defunct LTTE, questioned the concern of the Tamil Nadu politicians in creating an Eelam state in Sri Lanka, while Tamils here want to live peacefully in a united country. “It is hilarious to see the concern of the TN politicians to create a separate land for us in an era where the Sri Lankan Tamils want to live in a united country. I strongly believe now that no external force can solve more..

What’s happening in Jaffna is even worse

July 22 (Island) As the week came to a close, all eyes were on Mannar with Trade and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen being accused of having threatened the Mannar Magistrate A. Judeson in the Mannar court premises last Wednesday. The magistrate has made a complaint to the police and the president himself has ordered a special investigation into the case. The Minister of Justice has gone on record that as a lawyer himself he cannot condone the threatening of a magistrate. more..

Others scramble for seats — Ranil super-glued to his...

July 22 (LB) Just three provincial councils up for hustings, and yet, it was the fight for seats that animated the politics of this country almost entirely last week. The SLMC fought the govt for more seats (eventually lost that fight), provincial council heavies such as former chief ministers fought for seats for their sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters (some eventually won that fight), and the smaller parties such as the left coalition partners of the govt fought with the bigger more..

MR has always been nice to her says Frederica

July 22 (Island) Last Friday, govt spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle struck back at the Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz by saying that she had come to Temple Trees to see the president in the company of Gamini Abeyratne and had asked him for a diplomatic posting but that Gotabhaya had objected to it and that was why she was trying to portray the defence secretary in a bad light. This was in answer to a question posed by Island staffer more..