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Stocks up on retail buying; rupee weaker

June 20 (Reuters) Shares edged up on Wednesday led by retail investor buying into market heavyweight John Keels Holdings, while the rupee fell on importer demand for dollars, traders said. The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index edge up 0.37 percent or 18.77 points to 5,078.06, its highest since May 22. It has gained 5.6 percent in the last six sessions. "The market is on a bit of a retail run today. We saw retail participation and very little foreign activities," said a stockbroker on condition of anonymity. more..

Nine TN fishermen abducted by Lankan Navy personnel

June 20 (PTI) Nine fishermen of a fishing hamlet in this district have reportedly been abducted by Sri Lankan Navy off Kodiakarai coast in Indian waters. Fisheries department officials said the fishermen put out to sea in a mechanised boat on June 16. While fishing off Kodiakarai coast in Indian waters on June 19, some Sri Lankan Navy personnel in a fast craft reportedly abducted them and took them to Kangesanthurai port in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News-20.06.2012

Two Million families engaged in farming in Sri Lanka

June 20 (GDI) Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that around two million families in Sri Lanka are engaged in farming as their main occupation. Over 70 percent of the paddy lands belong to smallholders who own less than one hectare of land. The potential for agriculture to contribute to poverty alleviation is vast. The rural areas comprise 70-80 percent of the country. Participating as chief guest at the inauguration ceremony of the 27th Technical Committee meeting of more..

Lanka placed sixth in the world in organic farming

June 20 (Island) Sri Lanka was placed sixth in the world on organic farming with more than 15,215 hectares, amounting to 0.65 per cent of total agricultural land in the country under it comprising around 3,300 such farms, a top agriculturist said. "Currently, Sri Lanka is focusing on producing organic tea, spices and fruits for the international market. Those items have a very high demand from US and the European Union countries," Additional Secretary to the Ministry more..

Sri Lanka invites UN human rights chief to visit

June 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka on Wednesday said it has invited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai to visit the country and see firsthand the post war developments in the country. Pillai has been very critical of the human rights situation on the island and has backed calls for an international investigation into some of the incidents which took place during the final stages of the war between more..

Establish legitimate administration of EDCS – LTSU

June 20 (LT) The legitimate elections to the Education Employees’ Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society Limited (EDCS) which has a membership of more than 150,000 teachers and other employees of the education sector and has assets worth Rs.20000 million has not been held, the govt is carrying out its administration through an illegally appointed interim board to commit serious financial frauds states Lanka Teacher Services Union (LTSU). more..

Sakvithi’s wife seeks bail from High Court

June 20 (DM) The wife of Sakvithi Ranasinghe, who had been remanded on charges of his involved in Rs.1,060 million fraud along with several other suspects, today sought bail from Colombo High Court. The bail application was filed through a lawyer who appeared on behalf of Kumari Anuradhani, the wife of Sakvithi Ranasinghe. When the bail application was filed before Colombo High Court judge Sunil Rajapaksa, the inquiry into the bail application was postponed till June 27. more..

Displaced Tamils protest for access to land

June 20 (UCAN) Dozens of internally displaced Catholic Tamil families in Mannar, western Sri Lanka have demanded they be allowed to return to their land after the Navy blocked resettlement to what is still labeled a high-security zone. More than 140 people – who say they have lived in Mannar since 2007 after the designation of the military zone during Sri Lanka’s civil war – have been blocked from entering Mullikulam Village since Saturday. more..

'Overall selection process for telecasting rights is flawed'

June 20 (NF) MTV Channel Private Limited has challenged the awarding of telecast rights for international and domestic cricket tournaments conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket, to the Carlton Sports Network for three years, stating it is unfair and unethical. MTV has called for the awarded rights to be cancelled, citing an unfair bidding process that was not competitive in nature. MTV has also requested for fresh bids to be called in order to provide an opportunity for any party to more..

Infant buried alive and rescued

June 20 (DM) A five day old infant who was buried alive by his own mother was rescued in Vavuniya, the police said. The mother of the infant had lost her husband during the war and she has a seven year old daughter from that marriage according to reports. The vigilant parents of the mother and neighbors who had seen something suspicious were able to rescue the infant the Police said. According to people living in the vicinity the mother of the baby was chased away from her ancestral home after more..

'A Socialist society is not a Saradiel type of a society'

June 20 (LT) “A socialist society is not a ‘Saradiel’ type of society. It is a system that has a society that loves people. You may have heard of Saradiel. He was a person who robbed the rich and distributed among the poor. The capitalist media has created a fear in this society that Socialism is a devil and would carry out moves like Saradiel. It is a lie. Many fear that Socialism would seize their properties and assets. more..

Mahela wants ODI form to spill over into Tests

June 20 (C365) Sri Lanka Captain Mahela Jayawardene looked forward to converting success in the recent ODI series against Pakistan into triumph in the three-match Test series, the first of which gets underway in Galle on Friday. The hosts won the five-ODI affair three-one on the back of one victory in Pallekele and two in Colombo. The third ODI was washed out, while Pakistan came up trumps in the second match. Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara were key to their more..

Media rights group condemns sacking of Editor

June 20 (CG) The Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association (SLWJA) says it is extremely disturbed by the recent turn of events at Ceylon Today newspaper, where the editor in chief and respected journalist Lalith Allahakkoon was unceremoniously removed from all his duties by the management due to what believed to as a result of Mr Allahakkoon’s refusal to publish politically motivated and potentially libelous news stories sanctioned by the top management. more..

Central Bank fires response to S & P assessment

June 20 (NS) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued the following response to S & P's recent assessment. The full statement is given below. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka notes with grave concern, a statement by Standard and Poor’s, issued yesterday, on the Sri Lankan Banking System and wishes to state that the statement is factually incorrect, illogically analysed, and is highly contradictory. more..

Farmers take their problems to the streets

June 20 (NF) Farmers in the Mahaweli H-Zone who have become helpless as a result of their crops being destroyed, engaged in a demonstration in the Thalawa Town in Anuradhapura yesterday. Farmers belonging to twenty one farmer societies in the Mahaweli H-zone participated in the demonstration. They noted that their farmlands have been destroyed due to the lack of water and requested compensation. They added that their farmlands were destroyed due to water being released from the Kala Wewa in a haphazard manner. more..

State vs State: CAA to sue Cement Corp over old cement in new bags!

June 20 (Island) In an unprecedented case, where one State institution will seek legal action against another, the Consumer Affairs Authority will sue the Cement Corporation for packing old cement, which had passed the shelf life, into new bags and releasing the product into the market! This is a serious situation where we have detected this fraud based on a tip off which we received. There is an inquiry going on after which we will be taking legal action more..

Sri Lanka finds skeleton of prehistoric man 37,000 years ago

June 20 (Xinhua) The examination of the skeleton of the recently found pre-historic man in Sri Lanka is believed to be 37,000 years old, an official from the Archeological Department said on Wednesday. Director General of the Archaeological Department Senarath Dissanayaka said that the skeleton of the Balangoda human ancestor found in the underground Fa-Hien cave in western Sri Lanka is to be sent for carbon dating to more..

New chapter in Tamil struggle for political rights

June 21 (NS) Reading through the long speech made by Mr. R. Sampanthan, leader of the TNA at the recent party convention held in Batticaloa, which is really a policy statement, one gets the impression that there is hardly anything ‘new’ in it in essence. It is only a veiled re-statement of the infamous Vadukkoddai resolution and the Thimpu principles. They will pursue the same goal, viz., the Eelam project, described in different terms. Only difference is that more..

Media rights: For whom?

June 21 (NS) The Prison Department recently celebrated the ‘Mothers’ day’, which is a novel experience for Sri Lankan prisoners. There is no limit to pay homage to the love of one’s mother wherever she is – in a palace or in a prison. Sri Lankan media has given wide publicity to this ‘emotional’ event and photographers and videographers have captured the common moment of crying female prisoners, while their kids worshipping. Most of the media institutions published this ‘private’ more..

‘We cannot create equality; we have to strive towards equality’

June 21 (DBS) Social exclusion has been long identified as a key trigger of internal conflict. It represents an impediment to the achievement of national objectives such as peace, stability and economic prosperity. The higher the levels of exclusion in society, the more fertile the grounds for conflict – and a return to violence cannot be ruled out so long as inequalities continue to persist. In a bid to complement the efforts at more..

The political meaning of the retreat in London

June 21 (GV) DBS Jeyaraj is not a representative of the Tamil diaspora that has set out to wage war against the govt of Sri Lanka. He is a journalist who lives in Canada and maintains links to all sides. What he has reported is quite similar to other reports that have appeared in the media regarding this incident. At the same time, there was a group of about one hundred demonstrators near the hotel where the President was staying, who called out the slogan ‘Rajapakse is our King’. more..

Democratizing reconciliation: From rhetoric to reality

June 21 (DBS) Whoever said that demand must drive supply was certainly not talking about reconciliation. However, the relevance and applicability of the philosophy and its wisdom in a post-war reconciliation setting cannot be overstated. After all, reconciliation is as important a goal as it is a process. While Govt efforts in post-war rehabilitation, reintegration, and reconstruction have been commendable for the most part, there remains a need for ensuring that the dividends more..

Medicine can be fun

June 21 (ST) A 10-year-old girl presents herself shortly after a seizure. She has experienced low-grade fever for a week, a severe headache for two days and loss of vision since waking up today. Her medical, family and birth histories are unremarkable. The scenario that would come to mind immediately is of a knot of white-coated medical students gathered at the foot of the 10-year-old’s hospital bed, poring over the bed-head ticket, unsure and ill at ease, more..

Why is the FMM silent about ‘Ceylon Today’?

June 21 (CT) Recent events at ‘Ceylon Today’ have made waves in media circles. First and foremost, as a member of the small but vibrant English newspaper fraternity, ‘The Nation’ sincerely hopes that the newspaper will survive these hiccups and go from strength to strength in playing its part in the larger role of keeping the public informed and those acting against the public interest on their toes. That said, we believe it is incumbent on us to offer comment on the implications of the said developments for media freedom more..

The remarkable transformation of the Ex-CJ and the sitting judges

June 21 (CT) The President has declared that any citizen requiring information has only to ask him. The Speaker has indicated that Democracy cannot survive in Sri Lanka unless questions raised in Parliament are answered fairly and adequately. An Ex-Chief Justice who, as CJ propounded, the age-old doctrine of Public Trust (which, in essence, is that all public office is held in trust for the Public) has recently opined that “The Right to Information was blocked in Sri Lanka and more..

Bloodhounds should be tied with their masters

June 21 (DM) It is not very clear when dogs were domesticated. However, it could be presumed that at the end of man’s hunting age the dog was a regular member of his abode. Many of these dogs were reared for hunting and with man beginning to lead a civilised life the need for hunting dogs diminished. There hasn’t been any record of using bloodhounds to hunt down people until defense sections of dictators like Hitler or more..

Editorial: A political chess game?

June 21 (Island) Julampitiye Amare (JA), the suspected mastermind of last Friday's attack on a JVP meeting in Katuwana, where two persons were gunned down, has given himself up. His surrender may be considered a sign of the govt buckling under pressure. For, he would not have done so unless his masters had asked him to. It is also a damning indictment on the police. There had been an arrest warrant out for him but he, by virtue of being a privileged govt goon, carried out his illegal operations openly for years more..

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

June 21 (SL) Sri Lankans have the remarkable capacity to believe that snatching of victories from resounding defeats suffered by their favourite leaders are outstanding successes. On Thursday, we had the state controlled Daily News and another English language daily (calling itself an ‘independent publication’) proclaiming on their front pages that the recent debacle in London of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was an outstanding success. Of course they were quoting a trio—President’s more..

flydubai to operate flights to Mattala

June 21 (DN) flydubai is the first airline to make a firm commitment to operate flights to Sri Lanka’s second international airport in Mattala Hambantota. flydubai, CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith said that the airline held several positive discussions in this regard with Sri Lanka authorities and said that they will be flying to Hambantota when the new airport opens. flydubai launched flights to Colombo in July 2010 with four flights a week. more..

EPF’s response to S&P’s Statement

June 21 (FT) Our attention is drawn to a statement made by Standard and Poor’s that was issued yesterday, in which they seem to have drawn attention to a possible conflict of interest as a result of the EPF investing in shares of banks. In this regard, the EPF wishes to state that different departments in the Central Bank deal in exclusive fields of different operations with high confidentiality and professionalism. Within the Central Bank, the EPF Department functions independently from all other departments of the Central Bank, more..

Sri Lanka searching for first series win in post Muralitharan era

June 21 (Island) The national cricket team’s woes since the retirement of ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan are many. Muralitharan’s last campaign for Sri Lanka was last year’s World Cup tournament and since that they went through six series without a win while in Test cricket the barren period extends even further. Since beating a weak New Zealand side in 2009, Sri Lanka have been not able to win a Test Match with the barren period extending over eight series. more..

Suwahas Mal: Program generates market for flower growers

June 21 (SO) Today the word is not 'growing flowers' but it is floriculture. The one time hobby which provided colourful and sweet scented flowers to beautify our surroundings and for religious purposes has today become a lucrative business venture with a never ending growth. There is considerable opportunity in both export and domestic markets for cut flowers from southern Asia. Using native plants, botanists are now more..

SEC says not out to create a fear psychosis in the minds of investors

June 21 (FT) Following is the Securities and Exchange Commission statement in reply to the front page article in the Daily FT of 19 June 2012 under the heading “Top Govt politico among investors summoned by SEC via ‘fiery’ notice”. SEC notes with grave concern the inaccuracy and the misleading nature of the above caption as no politician has been summoned by notice ‘fiery’ or otherwise to the SEC. What we have done is to seek written information from individuals more..

Sri Lanka to diversify ties with Cuba

June 21 (DN) External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris highlighted Sri Lanka's interest in diversifying relations with Cuba, the purpose which framed the visit of a delegation led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In an interview with the Prensa Latina shortly before traveling to Brazil on Tuesday for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, the minister considered that potential exists to expand links established in July 1959. more..

Marsh sacking to cost Over Rs.41 Million

June 21 (DM) The hasty and foolhardy action of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials to sack former Australian cricket star Geoff Marsh as Sri Lanka national cricket coach is about to cost a mini fortune to the institution which is already struggling for financial breath. Many cricket personalities such as Arjuna Ranatunga, Tom Moody and Mahela Jayawardene pointed out that the unceremonious dumping given to Marsh was highly unethical more..

All 74 tsunami warning towers functioning

June 21 (Island) The Disaster Management Ministry stated that all 74 tsunami early warning towers, set up in the country, including the 10 towers which had not functioned due to a technical failure, when a tsunami alert was issued on April 11, following the massive 8.6 magnitude earthquake near Banda Aceh in Indonesia, were now functioning well. According to the media reports 10 tsunami towers have not functioned and five of them had been on a test stage. more..

Farmers exempted from crate law - Johnny

June 21 (Island) No action would be taken against farmers for not using plastic crates, as the new law applied only to those who transported vegetables, Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando told Parliament yesterday. "Only large scale vegetable and fruit transporters, who send produce to the main markets and economic centers, have to use plastic crates," he said in response to a question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera. more..

Sri Lankan army rejects claims of land grab by force

June 21 (Xinhua) The Sri Lanka army on Wednesday denied claims by minority Tamil political parties that it was taking over civilian land in the north by force. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya insisted that most of the land which was occupied by the military during the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels, has been handed back to the civilians. The TNA, staged a protest rally in the northern town of Jaffna on Tuesday more..

Two undergrads swindle money

June 21 (CT) The CID arrested two youth who were pretending to be undergraduates of the Colombo University and had swindled approximately Rs. 200,000 from bus-drivers. The suspects, a 27- year- old man and an 18- year- old girl, were arrested in the Colombo University premises last Monday. The suspects were not residents of Colombo, and had befriended and baited long-distance bus drivers and conductors into lending them money over a long period. The man had worked at the university canteen six years ago, more..