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Sri Lanka private sector loans plunge in April

June 11 (LBO) Loans to private borrowers from commercial banks collapsed to just 18.7 billion rupees in April 2012, from 55 billion rupees a month earlier, the lowest since June 2010, amid heavy state borrowing. Loans to private borrowers from banks rose 34 percent from a year earlier to 2,179.8 million rupees but the monthly volume collapsed to just 18.7 billion rupees, a level not seen since June 2010 when private borrowings were 19 billion rupees. more..

100-day countdown to Twenty20 World Cup begins

June 11 (PTI) The 100-day countdown to the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka from September 18 began on Sunday with more than 350 school children from Kandy district forming a giant '100' at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. At a special event held to commemorate the day, the ICC, together with Sri Lanka Cricket, donated 100 cricket bats amongst the girls and boys who participated in competitive cricket in Kandy district. more..

South Asia's first Integrated INTERPOL Database Service launched

June 11 (MoD) The launching ceremony of the Integration of INTERPOL Database Services with Sri Lanka Immigration Border Control System by Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa was held today at the main auditorium of the Ministry of Defence. The system of this magnitude is the first of its kind in whole South Asia. The service was developed under the direction of the Secretary Defence and funded by the Govt of Canada. more..

Sri Lanka PR in Geneva kept in dark by ministry

June 11 (DM) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam said that she had been kept in the dark by the External Affairs Ministry regarding its preparations for the UNHRC session scheduled for this month. The session will start on June 18 and go on till the end of the first week of July. Though Sri Lanka’s issue is not officially listed to be taken up at this time, the Ambassador said, NGOs and international groups interested in the matter were more..

Editorial: From empty plate to empty stomach

June 11 (DM) A child, who learns to live on an empty stomach, if left with any luck to live, is most likely to turn into a pessimistic individual who won’t contribute to the country’s development. Every international and state declared convention on children dictates that they be given priority in everything and that their rights and needs be fulfilled without delay. Be it the protection children require, access to education, sanitation and safe drinking water or even more..

Sri Lanka shares up 0.26 percent

June 11 (LBO) Stock prices edged up Monday, on slim volumes with selected buying across blue chips counters, brokers said. The broader All Share Price Index gained 12.74 points or 0.26 percent to 4,811.44 while the liquid Milanka Price Index rose 17.62 points or 0.41 percent to close at 4,264.38. Monday’s turnover of 153.43 million rupees, was dominated by conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC. JKH counter rose 1.30 rupees to 180.00 rupees on volumes of 146,832 shares. more..

Damaged N/E places of worship being rebuilt

June 11 (DN) The demolished Buddhist temples and places of religious worship in the North and East are now being repaired, reconstructed and renovated by the govt for benefit of the public. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said on Saturday that a large number of Buddhist temples in the North and East that were dilapidated are now being rebuilt by the govt. “The public will be able to visit these historic temples soon to worship and more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to join Oneworld alliance

June 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run SriLankan Airlines will join 'oneworld' next year with Cathay Pacific taking it through an implementation program as its sponsor, the global alliance of air carriers said. "In SriLankan Airlines, oneworld is pleased to welcome a high-quality airline that will enhance oneworld's network and product offerings in one of the world's fastest growing regions for air travel demand," oneworld chief executive Bruce Ashby said more..

'TNA should join the Select Committee'

June 11 (GDI) Sri Lanka Govt said that it awaits the TNA to join the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to find lasting solutions to country’s national problem. Cabinet spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella has said that it is meaningless TNA having talks with the govt without joining the PSC. “Govt has appointed the PSC aiming at finding solutions to ethnic issues. In this background the government awaits its active participation in the process”, a Tamil daily said quoting Media Minister Rambukwella. more..

'Govt subdued by Indians & Americans, burdens masses with high fuel prices'

June 11 (LT) The ordinary people in the country have been made to carry the burden of fuel prices as the govt has been subdued by the crafty Indians and Americans charges the JVP. JVP MP Tilvin Silva said, “Fuel prices are speedily decreasing in the world market. However, the govt, without giving the benefit of the reduction in prices in the world market, continues to have the same prices that were increased when fuel prices in the more..

Cops arrest 11 women

June 11 (CG) The Badulla police arrested 11 women while they were being transported in a van to an unidentified location last night, the police media unit said today. According to the police, the women were residents of various parts of the country, mostly the north and east. The police said that the van was stopped and checked at a police post in the Badulla town and the passengers of the van were later arrested on suspicion. Among those arrested apart from the 11 women more..

Saudi relief: 4000 ton dates for Sri Lanka

June 11 (IINA) Sri Lanka took delivery of 440 tons of dates donated by Saudi Arabia. This was part of the consignment in line with a directive issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to donate 4000 tons of date toSri Lanka under the World Food Program (WFP). Abdul Aziz Al-Jammaz, ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka and Maldieves, handed over the consignment to Adnan Khan, representative of WFP in Sri Lanka. Last month, the Kingdom agreed to fund the more..

Conmen cheat Cricketer-Politician

June 11 (DM) Two men who had been selling plated pieces of metal similar to coins on the pretext that they were part of a hoard of hidden treasure were arrested during a police raid. The bogus coins were similar in size to bitter gourd seeds. It was found that the suspects had sold the 'coins' in lots of one kilogram each for Rs.1.2 million. The victims had included film actors, cricketers and businessmen. A leading cricketer turned-politician is among those who more..

Soldier arrested with cyanide

June 11 (CG) A soldier has been arrested in the Pollonaruwa area with a cyanide capsule in his possession, the police media unit said today. The police said that the soldier was arrested last evening in Pulasthipura by police officers in the area. A pistol and 4 bullets were also seized from the soldier during the arrest, the police media unit said. The soldier was to be produced in court today and further investigations are underway. There was no indication as to what the soldier was attempting to do with the cyanide capsule more..

Sri Lanka export rice to Africa and Middle East

June 11 (GDI) Sri Lanka which was a rice importing country until recently has achieved self sufficiency in rice production due to extensive encouragement made for paddy cultivation by the govt by providing various incentives including fertilizer subsidy. At present the country possesses a large stock of excess rice and initiatives made by the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has resulted in receiving several orders for over 100,000 metric tons of rice. more..

'Less than 50% spent by some universities'

June 11 (DM) Most universities have failed to use even 50 per cent of their annual allocations for last year because of administrative and financial problems, Minister S.B. Dissanayake told Parliament. The minister said though some groups accused the govt of not allocating sufficient funds to develop the university system, the authorities had failed to use the allocated amount. “They have been unable to use up even 50 per cent of their allocations. more..

Border security strenthened

June 11 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today that border security was strengthened after integrating Interpol database services with the Sri Lanka Immigration Border Control System. He thanked the Canadian Govt for funding the project, which was done for the first time in South Asia. The system is capable of storing stolen or lost travel documents and nominal information which contains the records of known international criminals with photographs and fingerprints and more..

Senior CPC official meets Sri Lankan guests

June 11 (Xinhua) A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Monday vowed to enhance party-to-party exchanges with Sri Lanka so as to promote common development. Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the pledge during a meeting with Ranil Wickremesinghe, head of the South Asian state's UNP. Zhou hailed the current China-Sri Lanka ties, saying it has become an example of more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 11.06.2012

Power through renewable energy

June 11 (CT) Plans are afoot to generate 20% of the power requirement through renewable energy sources. The Finish Ambassador Terhi Hakala recently expressed her government’s desire to assist Sri Lanka in renewable energy power generation. She added that with the looming power crisis in the world, the only alternative is to turn to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. She added the Finish government is hence committed to assisting in this Endeavour. more..

Tamil Nadu did all they could: Cooray

June 11 (DM) There is no necessity for the Sri Lankan govt to stage its displeasure to the Tamil Nadu govt over the recent ordeal faced by Minister Reginald Cooray. He said that the Indian state govt had provided him adequate security from the time the news of a planned protest against him was uncovered and had taken all necessary measures to ensure his safety. He told journalists that he could always go back to Tamil Nadu as no one had ordered him out of more..

Sison’s testimony in accordance with U.S policy

June 11 (CG) The U.S Embassy in Colombo says the recent statement made by Ambassador-designate Michele J. Sison before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is in complete accordance with U.S policy. On June 6, Ambassador-designate Michele J. Sison testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as part of her confirmation process as President Obama’s nominee for Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives. more..

Float system cultivation a success

June 11 (GDI) Use of floats for cultivation of various crops, a novel method, has proved very successful yielding significant harvest. This system was introduced for the first time in Sri Lanka by the Godagama Agro Association in Matara for cultivation activities under the Nilwala Ganga scheme. Under this system floats are made on the structures of barrels or bamboo poles by filling them with soil for about 3 feet and cultivation is undertaken on these floats. more..

Sri Lanka concerned over surge in dengue fever

June 11 (PTI) Sri Lanka's ministry of health today alerted the public to the rising figure of dengue mosquito victims. Dr Palitha Maheepala, a top health ministry official said that there have been 11,795 dengue patients during the first five months of this year. There were 74 deaths during this period. Some 76 per cent of the dead have come from the age category of 15 to 50 and above. 24 per cent accounted for in the age category 5 to 15, health officials said. more..

Sri Lanka exports drop 9.2 percent April

June 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports fell 9.2 percent to 680.1 million dollars in April, while the country’s import bill slipped 3.3 percent to 1,441.0 million dollars, due to slower sales of apparels and tea, official data showed. Industrial exports, which include garments, rubber products and food, fell 8.7 percent to 520.0 million dollars in April, as against the same month 2011, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said Monday. more..

As Sri Lanka press appraises Casa Pioli, campaign contributions raise new Qs

June 11 (ICP) The Sri Lankan govt media is having a field day with the proceeding against Inner City Press by the UN Correspondents Association and its president Giampaolo Piolo. The pro govt Daily Mirror reports that "Mr. Lee is on trial not for his attacks on Sri Lanka but for accusing the UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli of 'accepting rent money' [from] Dr. Palitha Kohona, who is Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN when more..

Man stabs lover and commits suicide

June 11 (DM) An ambulance driver committed suicide after stabbing his lover, a nurse, to death at the Katuwana Hospital last night, police said. The nurse, a mother of two, was employed at the same hospital and was living together with the driver for a considerable time whilst abandoning their homes. The victim had committed suicide after he mistakenly believed that the nurse had succumbed to her stab injuries. According to the Police a brother of the nurse had forced more..

Smugglers open passage to Cocos

June 11 (SMH) The remote Cocos Islands are being targeted as an asylum destination, with Sri Lanka's top envoy to Australia confirming his government stopped a boat carrying 113 people departing the Indian Ocean nation. Three boats have arrived in the past weeks carrying 135 asylum seekers to the small Cocos Islands cluster, which lies a little under halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka. more..

Ruling with military might

June 12 (LB) The IMF delegation will arrive to consider the last part of the present loan agreement. The government is already under pressure from the IMF to slash social welfare and to implement pro global capitalist restructuring. Mahinda has reduced price subsidies on a range of basic items, including fuel and essential foods. Sinhala masses expected that the end of the war would bring an improvement in living standards; but conditions have only worsened. more..

The bedlam of the economists

June 12 (LB) Readers, no doubt, are bored hearing that “the Gods first make mad those they wish to destroy,” perhaps even dubious. Why dubious? Lanka’s political establishment is palpably loony, and populated by knaves to boot, but booting it out does not seem to be imminent. Ah pity, but I must move on. My column today is about hair-raising conflicts between the “great” economists of the bourgeois world (Nobel Prize winners included) tearing out each other’s hair in diatribes more..

Sinhalese in the WW II Japanese Army

June 12 (Island) This account is fully based on S.N. Arsecularatne’s fascinating book "Sinhalese Immigrants in Malaysia and Singapore 1860-1990". I had been planning to write on this little known topic ever since I read this book. What galvanized me into action was the recent obituary of Mrs. Muriel Kotelawala, widow of the charismatic Gladwin Kotelawela , founder of the Lanka Unit of Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army in Singapore, which fought more..

The Right to Speak

June 12 (NS) The successful efforts to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa from speaking at the Commonwealth Economic Forum in London, were, I believe, ill-advised and wrong. Firstly, I derive little pleasure from the public humiliation of Mahinda Rajapaksa. This is the second time he has faced a trenchant protests in England that have forced him to cancel very high profile public engagements. The gloating paraded by so many after successful activism and advocacy to cancel these engagements is, in fact, not anchored to any more..

Channel 4 disgraces itself

June 12 (NS) The infamous UK based Channel 4 director and its announcer, a Sri Lankan born woman from the North, were arrested and deported by the State Intelligence Service a few days back when they entered the country in dubious circumstances. It was very curious that none of the pro-LTTE foreign media or other do-gooder bodies thriving on scandal often at the expense of countries like ours made any mention on the deportation of these two persons. They were known to have played a key role in producing the slanderous Channel 4 video more..

Composting comes in handy to manage solid waste in WP

June 12 (SO) A few years back, when heaps of garbage gathered on a daily basis from the households in the Western Province, the most populated province in the country, people never thought that those heaps of garbage one day would become mountains of garbage and pose a social and environmental threat in the country. It was only after these heaps of municipal waste invaded valuable lands in the Western Province that the local authorities frantically more..

Pitiable Deaths at Railway Crossings and…

June 12 (Island) Now that bombs and suicide bombers are no more, vehicles and unprotected rail crossings have taken over to keep the death toll rolling. You can blame the drivers of vehicles for road accidents but the blame lies fair and square on the Ceylon Govt Railway, or Sri Lanka Railway as it has been reborn, for the several recent deaths caused by trains ploughing into vehicles, many of them three wheelers. The accidents were caused due to the absence of gates that would be closed when trains were passing more..

Banning the clergy from Parliament: A non-issue

June 12 (ST) MP Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha has announced that he intends presenting in Parliament a Constitutional amendment in the form of a Private Members Bill that seeks to prevent members of the clergy from becoming members of the legislature. Newspaper interviews given by Mr. Rajapaksha make it apparent that although the intended bill relates to all clergy it is clear that it is specifically the participation of the Buddhist clergy in Parliament that is sought to more..

Piyaseeli’s four decades in Kilinochchi

June 12 (NS) Her smile broadens as she hears the familiar language - Sinhala. “You know Sinhala?” she asks. Piyaseeli, a domestic aide, has been living in Tharmapuram, 20 kilometers east of Kilinochchi, a shade over four decades. She has seen, experienced and shared the harrowing experiences of 30 years of war with thousands of people in the area popularly known as the Wanni. Having lived in a predominantly Tamil area, it was not often that more..

Ushering social justice as development philosophy

June 12 (CT) The development philosophy of the present Government, as pronounced in the Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance and Planning for 2011 released two weeks ago, is a blend of social justice with economic progress (p 14). This is a laudable goal which goes well with the current development thinking of the world. The Ministry report has further clarified its philosophy as one that does not concentrate merely on the economic progress. more..

Buddhism in Tamil Nadu: The ‘Buddha Samy’ of Thiyaganur

June 12 (DBS) In most ways, Thiyaganur is a typical village in Tamil Nadu. Matchbox houses with gleaming white walls and red earth tiles, fields with irregular patterns, a provisional store that sells garishly coloured beverages, and the occasional bus chugging through. The lime-washed temple, in this village 80 km north-west of Tiruchi, has a familiar air about it too. Until one gets closer. Inside this modest structure, framed by four granite columns, is a six-foot Buddha more..

Will the Galle Fort become a haven for the rich devoid of vibrant people?

June 12 (DBS) Armed with images from the news media of a partially restored Galle Fort in the context of the, literary festival, and with the excuse of driving down the new southern highway, we, a group of four, set forth to spend a weekend in the Fort. Starting with a very tasty Sri Lankan lunch at. Mama’s restaurant on the roof-top of a Guest House down Leyn Wan Street with a view of splashing waves behind the light house, more..