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Amunugama asks whether country has no shame to import canned fish

June 7 (Island) Sri Lanka being a country surrounded by ocean should be ashamed of importing canned fish, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama told Parliament on Monday. Presenting four new regulations, under Customs Ordinance, Excise Act, Excise Ordinance and import duties, he said that the government should also think of stopping the importation of milk powder and sugar which could be produced locally. more..

UPFA trade unions on war path demanding salary hike

June 7 (Island) General Sarath Fonseka promised a Rs.10,000 salary hike and the then incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised to increase the salary of public servants by Rs.2,500 during the 2010 presidential election campaign. But, people had faith in President Rajapaksa’s leadership and voted him to power, Sri Lanka Health Services Union President W. A. Wimalaratne told a media conference more..

Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia Mayor denies Karunanayake’s assertion

June 7 (Island) Dehiwala – Mt Lavinia Mayor Dhanasiri Amarathunga, referring to our news report, headlined ‘Attempt to expel 23,000 Muslims from Dehiwala — UNP’, published yesterday, says that it is factually incorrect, misleading and may cause racial disunity between the Muslim and Sinhala communities. "The fact is that, a few weeks ago a few persons organized a protest against illegal cattle slaughter at a place, in Dehiwala. more..

Sri Lanka car registrations fall in IQ

June 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's motor car registrations fell 16.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 12,496, with a steeper 23.3 percent fall to 4,246 in the month of March, official data show. Interest rates on leases, which are used to buy cars, had gone up steadily since the last quarter of 2011 and the rupee also fell steeply in March, pressured by earlier sterilized sales of foreign exchange by the central bank. The slowdown in car registrations came ahead of a hike in vehicle taxes more..

Matthew Lee probed for unethical behavior

June 7 (DM) The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) is investigating the unethical and unprofessional behaviour of well-known Inner City Press correspondent Matthew Russel Lee, who has on several occasions attacked Sri Lanka over alleged war crimes. One charge against him is that of the alleged harassment of his colleagues at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The UNCA executive committee voted 13 to 1 to more..

Bus fares will go up : LPBOA

June 7 (DM) Private bus fares would be increased soon, Lanka Private Bus Operators Association (LPBOA) Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said yesterday. He said that even if diesel prices were reduced, bus fares could not revised downward because of other costs involved. He told a news conference that they had no alternative but to increase bus fares as the prices of goods and services were also sky rocketing and the bus fares that were more..

President tells Lankans in Britain: ‘I will stand firm by country’

June 7 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will never allow any power or force to snatch away the country which has been liberated from terrorism. The President said he is prepared to make any sacrifice on behalf of the future generations to transform Sri Lanka into a super country to be reckoned with in the international world. He said this when he met a large group of Sri Lankans domiciled in Britain who staged a more..

Govt. finally sets lead content guidelines for decorative paints

June 7 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has introduced new regulations on the amount of lead which can be included in decorative paint. The CAA has published the standards for lead in paints in response to the Fundamental Rights application filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), in the Supreme Court, on Feb 14, 2011, when The Island broke the story regarding the high Lead level found in paints used in more..

Editorial - Media Terrorism

June 7 (DM) The manner in which its journalists reported on the wartime Sri Lanka, Channel-4 has long made clear as to where its journalistic ethics lay. The British-based Television channel has deliberately forgotten that instigating unrest and fuelling disharmony are not the duties a responsible media institution should be fulfilling. The only justification one can provide in its defence is that, Channel-4, funded and aided by the pro-LTTE sects of the diaspora, more..

Sri Lankan stocks up 0.42 percent

June 7 (LBO) Stock prices rose marginally on Thursday, on selected buying across key blue chip counters, brokers said. The All Share Price Index rose 0.42 percent or 20.23 points to 4,757.98, while the liquid Milanka Price Index gained 25.09 points or 0.59 percent to close at 4,223.35. Thursday’s turnover was 499.46 million rupees, with foreign buying of 190.58 million over foreign sales of 211.20 million rupees. John Keells Holdings dominated the day’s trading on 769,287 shares. more..

'I am prepared to compromise!'

June 7 (DM) It has been described as disturbing, conufusing, and even provocative. R Sampanthan’s speech at the 14th annual convention of the ITAK has generated tremendous public interest, and raised many questions about the veteran Tamil politician’s commitment to evolving a political solution to the ethnic issue within the framework of an undivided Sri Lanka. Mr. Sampanthan rubbishes claims of having a hidden agenda to create a separate state for more..

BOC gets a new General Manager

June 7 (GDI) Senior banker K. Dharmasiri has been appointed as the new General Manager at Bank of Ceylon.He succeeded W.A. Nalani who retired last week after a 37 year stint. Prior to elevation as the General Manager, Dharmasiri who joined BOC in 1975, was the Additional General Manager, a post which he assumed in June last year. He has been a member of the BOC’s Corporate Management since 2002. Bank of Ceylon sources said that Dharmasiri has a rich and more..

New SLTPB chief outlines vision

June 7 (Island) Working towards the welfare of the country and promoting Sri Lanka as one of the safest destinations was his top priority, the new Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Bhashwara Senanka Gunarathna said yesterday. Soon after being appointed Chairman, he told The Island that he would stick to the vision of Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the govt’s policies on tourism. He said that was in the process of studying the Bureau and more..

UNP delays appointing representative to key peace-building committee

June 7 (Xinhua) The UNP has decided to delay appointing a representative to a key committee tasked with finding a political solution to the country's long standing ethnic issue. The UNP has taken the decision during a high level meeting on Wednesday, according to its MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera. He told media that the UNP would not nominate a representative to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) proposed by the govt. more..

Pressure affecting reconciliation process

June 7 (CG) The govt says the reconciliation process is facing serious challenges partly due to external intervention by countries that have perused a diplomatic crusade to whim individual interests upon the island nation. A statement by the Defence Ministry said that a few hard-line elements are also hell bent in a belief of the reincarnation of a mono-ethnic, separatist spree of violence. However the Defence Ministry said that the govt has so far not given in to any more..

Govt to complete modernisation of court houses in North and East

June 7 (Island) The govt was now taking all necessary steps to upgrade and renovate existing court houses and also construct new ones where necessary in the North and the East, to strengthen the legal institutions and to establish the rule of law in those areas, Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Justice A.K.D.D. Arandala said. He said that the govt had already allocated Rs 175 million each to construct the Chavakachcheri, Kayts and Mallakam, more..

Suspected Swine flu kills one

June 7 (DM) One employee died and another two are being treated at the Mental Health Institute (MHI) of Angoda after complaining for a respiratory blockade from a suspected viral attack similar to that of H1N1, widely known as swine flu. Ministry spokesman Dharma Wanninayaka said the three employees at the MHI had reportedly fallen ill with respiratory problems and tests conducted by the MRI and GUE had revealed that the virus belongs to more..

Raids to seize illegal weapons

June 7 (CG) IGP N.K Illangakoon has ordered island-wide raids to seize illegal weapons including homemade guns. The police media unit said that there have been several reports of deaths and injuries caused by homemade guns in the recent past. According to the police it is illegal to have a weapon without a license even if it is a homemade weapon. The IGP had ordered the raids in accordance with existing laws and instructions regarding this have been issued to more..

Sri Lanka targets $ 5bn FDI from ports; new F1 track by 2014

June 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka hopes to attract five billion dollars in foreign direct investments from the ports sector by 2014, which includes a project to build a formula one track on reclaimed land, ports chairman said. Sri Lanka is on an investment drive to develop its ports facilities, including the main commercial port in Colombo and a new facility in Hambantota. “Our target is to reach 5-billion dollars in FDI by 2015, only through the port sector,” more..

Goals of those seeking revenge have not stopped; SF

June 7 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that the goals of those ‘seeking revenge’ have not been completely stopped despite his release. “Even though I have been released the goals of those who imprisoned me which include the need to suppress me and take away my political rights have notcompletely stopped as yet. These agendas are still continuing but we will fight them bravely and are not afraid of them” he said. Fonseka struck a defiant tone more..

DIG issued notice for corruption

June 7 (DM) Galle DIG Hector Dharmasiri was issued notice by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli today. The DIG was accused of using 4 officers of the Civil Defence Force at the Raththota Police station and one Police constable of the Mathale Police station to build his house in Minuwangoda. The incident had occurred when the DIG was an SSP in charge of the Mathale area. The commission for Bribery and corruption presented 15 counts relating to fraud and corruption against the DIG to the Chief Magistrate today. more..

Sri Lanka stock market regulator to introduce tougher rules

June 7 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's stock market regulator is considering tighter regulations to promote investment and improve performance. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulatory arm of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), is studying new policies aimed at improving corporate governance, market liquidity and creating a better informed investor base, according to its Chairman Thilak Karunaratne. "We are also considering the possibility of introducing more..

Sri Lankan minister 'forced' to leave Coimbatore

June 7 (PTI) A Sri Lankan minister was on Thursday forced to cancel his participation in a function here and leave the city based on police advice shortly before Tamil Eelam supporters staged a protest against his visit. Sri Lankan agriculture minister Reginald Cooray left the city on Thursday morning for Chennai without attending the function at the Sugarcane Breeding Institute in Coimbatore after police advised him to move apparently getting more..

'We have not even dreamt about a nude beach'

June 7 (AD) We have not even dreamt about creating a nude beach in Sri Lanka, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said in parliament today. He completely denied rumours that the govt was planning to establish a nude beach in the Kalutara Calido beach strip. Lakshman Yapa said this is response to a question raised in parliament by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara. Jayasekara claimed that he has proof that the govt had already undertaken more..

No discussion until protest is called off - SB

June 7 (AD) No discussions will be held until the University Non-academic Employees call off the protest that they are currently engaged in, Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake stated while requesting the non-academic employees to report to work. The Minister said that the salaries of employees in government corporations and departments are determined by the National Salary Commission while neither the Education Minister or the Education Department can get involved in that matter. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.06.2012

Sri Lanka without the chaos

June 7 (LM) In 2005, when he became president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a document titled Mahinda Chintana, or Mahinda’s Vision. In it he proclaimed: “I will not permit any separatism.” This he held true to, corralling a brutal rebellion by the LTTE. The nearly 30-year war ended in May 2009 after the decimation of the LTTE and the death of its chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran. (The killing of its protégé-turned-pest stabilized India’s warped policy towards this neighbour. more..

Torture: Asian perspectives to be launched on 26 June

June 7 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission wishes to announce the release of its new bi-monthly magazine, Torture: Asian Perspectives. The first issue will be released on 26 June, on the occasion of the International Day against Torture and Illtreatment. The magazine is conceived to become an additional space to publish narratives and analysis on torture. Through this, the Editorial Board hope that the victims of torture in Asia would not be forgotten, that their hopes more..

'No security threat to World Twenty20'

June 7 (CI) The tournament director of the 2012 World Twenty20 to be held in Sri Lanka has denied that there were any security threats to the event. In a statement released by the ICC, tournament director Upekha Nell said, "there is absolutely no security threat to the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012, as no files were lost as alleged." Two weeks ago, it been reported that documents belonging to World Twenty20 2012 security consultant more..

China, Sri Lanka pledge closer military cooperation

June 7 (Xinhua) Jayasuriya, commander of the Sri Lankan army and China's Minister of Defense Liang Guanglie on Thursday pledged to boost military cooperation between their respective countries. Liang hailed the healthy development of bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1957, adding that both countries share common views on a variety of important international and regional issues. The development of Sino-Sri Lankan military ties has more..

Speaker warns MPs

June 7 (CT) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa today threatened to remove two UNP MPs from the Chamber after they defied orders given from the Chair. UNP MP Sajith Premadasa was the first to face the wrath of the Speaker when he attempted to speak after being told that the Speaker had decided to put off a question raised by the UNP MP after doubts were raised if the same questioned had been asked about a month ago. “I will postpone the question till next week until I can make sure if this question is not been repeated,” more..

Seamers set up comfortable win for Pakistan

June 7 (CI) It turned out to be a good toss to lose for Pakistan, as their seamers, led by Umar Gul, set up a comfortable six-wicket win by keeping Sri Lanka to a paltry 135. The ball nipped around, skidded, turned and bounced alarmingly and tested the technique and patience of the batsmen, with the cloudy conditions giving the bowlers an overwhelming advantage. Three rain interruptions in the first innings did little to help Sri Lanka's cause. more..

India’s nuclear radiation threat to Sri Lanka

June 8 (Island) "God is so far away, and US is so near". So goes a popular Mexican saying which is equally applicable to Sri Lanka’s plight, being so close to India. Although Sri Lanka survived even India’s (under Indira and Rahul Gandhi) ‘Agni’ Terrorism, we and even our future generations may not be able to survive from a possible nuclear disaster to Kudankulam 2000 MW nuclear reactor in India. The Russian-built reactor is only 150 miles from Jaffna, and less than more..

The origins of violent communal politics

June 8 (LB) The popular political dogma that dominate the mainstream public discourse blame S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike for (a) exacerbating Sinhala-Tamil relations with the Sinhala Only Act of 1956; (b) acts of discrimination against Tamils; (c) exploiting communal issues to advance his political career; (d) generally promoting “Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism” as politically expedient means to gain power; and (e) ethnic violence. But does this mono-causal view represent the more..

Athas breaks silence to reveal his ordeals under different govts

June 8 (CT) One night in February 1998, a group of well-built men, all clutching Browning automatic pistols, forced their way into my house in Nugegoda. One of them stormed into my bedroom in the second floor, cocked his pistol and placed it on my left temple. My wife Anoma and daughter Jasmin, then seven years old, watching television together with me froze in shock and horror. A second intruder walked in to thrust a loaded more..

Losses in public enterprises

June 8 (CT) The Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance and Planning for 2011, just released, has, among many others, one important positive message for the nation. It has reiterated the Govt’s commitment, as it had done earlier too, to improving the performance of what it calls State Owned Business Enterprises or SOBEs to ensure their sustainability, social responsibility and strategic role in the economy. There is a four–fold strategy which the Govt will pursue to attain this goal: management reforms, corporatisation initiatives, more..

Extended time in police custody: Is it Necessary or permissible?

June 8 (GV) The decision of the Justice Ministry to amend the law relating to the period of detention of people arrested and to extend it to forty-eight hours instead of the existing twenty-four is alarming and unjustified to say the least. The statement of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka issued through its President is more alarming and also saddening because it points to the fact that the justice Ministry has not thought it necessary or fit to consult more..

Cynics who attach prices for our artefacts

June 8 (DM) Incidents of digging, stealing and selling of treasure have gone up in many folds during the recent past. The climax of these incidents is the theft of invaluable artefacts including ancient swords and gold coins from the National Museum. The stealing of these artefacts from the National Museum that is mainly established to conserve and display to the people artefacts that are invaluable and are part of our heritage more..

Murugesu Sivasithamparam the ‘Lion of Udupiddy’

June 8 (DBS) Veteran Sri Lankan Tamil political moderate leader, Murugesu Sivasithamparam, passed away peacefully after a brief illness in the Colombo National Hospital at 1:50 a.m. on June 5 2002. The ailing president of Sri Lanka’s largest democratic Tamil party at that time, the TULF, was admitted to hospital on June 1st and was pronounced out of danger two days later. Fate however decreed otherwise. The departure of Murugesu Sivasithamparam evoked nostalgic more..

Treasure hunters and all that!

June 8 (SL) One of the fast developing contemporary national traits is to compare our national calamities or alleged national calamities with what have happened or are happening in the world beyond us, especially in the Western world. When Sri Lanka is accused of violation of human rights, harassment and torture of our own people our knee jerk reaction is to exclaim: Look what they did in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. What about Guantanamo Bay? While there is global consensus that gross violations did occur in those places more..