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President orders assistance to farmers

June 26 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapkasa yesterday instructed govt officials to provide immediate relief and assistance to farmers affected by the drought. The President gave the above instructions during an urgent meeting convened yesterday to look into the difficulties faced by farmers of the North Central Province due to drought. It was attended by politicians, farmers, and govt officials of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts and ministry Secretaries. more..

Editorial: It’s a long, long way to real and lasting peace

June 26 (DM) At a time when we in Sri Lanka speak loudly about peace, democracy, the need to express our views freely and law and order, it is an insightful learning experience to focus on the acceptance speech made by Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi in Norway, more than two decades after she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Greeted by heartfelt applause from those gathered in Oslo City Hall, she explained how the prize at first did not seem quite real but that her more..

Sri Lankan stocks flat; high turnover driven by Aitken Spence, Lion Brewery

June 26 (LBO) Share prices were virtually flat on Tuesday, despite big ticket deals in Aitken Spence PLC and Lion Brewery PLC which propelled the bourse to one of its highest turnovers in a single trading day. All Share Price Index was down 0.44 points or 4,989.99 while the Milanka Price Index dipped 0.38 percent to close at 4,435.55. Turnover was 8.08 billion rupees, which the second highest for the year since March 15, more..

'Improper water management by Govt'

June 26 (DM) The JVP charged today that the present crisis in the paddy cultivation areas was because of the improper management of water being used for irrigation though the govt conveniently blamed it on the prolonged dry weather. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that water had been released from Kalaweva to Tissaweva and Nuwaraweva in the Anuradhapura district without carrying out a proper assessment of water more..

Tyre shop ablaze in Mount Lavinia

June 26 (CT) One person was killed and three others were injured after a fire erupted inside a three-storey tyre shop in front of Hotel Road in Mount Lavinia along the Galle Road early morning today. The fire, which erupted between 1.30 a.m and 2 a.m this morning, raged on for hours fueled by rubber tyres inside the shop, the building was heavily damaged due to fire which was later brought under control by several Fire Brigade and Sri Lankan Air Force Units after more..

Person nabbed for theft at SIS

June 26 (CT) The Cinnamon Garden Police yesterday informed Colombo Chief Magistrate Court that a suspect had been arrested for the theft of stationary from the State Intelligence Service (SIS). Manoj Ruwan Nawarathna, who was suspected of the theft and later pleaded guilty to the offence, was released on two personal bails of Rs 50,000 each by the Court. He was arrested while carrying the stolen stationary using a fertilizer bag from the SIS’s record room on 22 June. more..

Ceylon Today saga: The management speaks out

June 26 (CT) The Ceylon Today management has sent their version of the story. We below produce the full version of their side of the story. To read other sides of the story click here. Much has been written about the purported termination of Ceylon Today’s Director Editorial and Editor-in-Chief, Lalith Allahakkoon and the resignation of four other journalists on what they term as a matter of ‘editorial independence.’ Since Thursday 14 June, more..

State banks, insurers among top contributors to budget

June 26 (LBO) State banks, two insurers and a state airport agency are among the top contributors to the budget by levies and dividends a finance ministry report showed. State-run National Savings Bank paid 4,560 million as levies, the Peoples' Bank 4,500 million rupees and Bank of Ceylon 4,500 million rupees. Sri Lanka's National Insurance Trust Fund has paid 3,495 million rupees. A state-run CEB has also paid 2.0 billion rupees in a levy. more..

Frist ever Sri Lanka Food & Dance Festival held in South China

June 26 (GDI) The first ever Sri Lanka Food and Dance Festival organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou and the Hilton Tianhe Hotel organized was held in South China from 13 to 21 June 2012. It showcased some of the best of Sri Lanka’s vibrant culture. The promotion was aimed at promoting Lanka as a tourism destination just prior to the July-August travel peak. The people of Guangzhou enjoyed the tantalizing flavours more..

SB Stands by Z- Score

June 26 (DM) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake today reiterated that the Z- score system devised by the UGC was the best method that would cause the “least difficulties”. “We stand by the system devised by five eminent professors that this system would cause the least amount of difficulties and would ensure fairness among all students” he said. However the Minister said that they would abide by the decision of the Supreme Court. more..

Vehicle loans without interest for the Sri Lankan Artists

June 26 (GDI) Applications will be called from the senior Artists, next month to grant vehicle loans without recovering any interests, by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts. It is proposed to allocate Rs. 1.2 million for the Artists from the new budget accepted in the house for the 2012. The artists who have more than 18 years in the Arts Field will are eligible to request this loan. The Applicants who have been in the field of Literary, Music, Dance, Drama, Puppetry, more..

Re-scrutinised AL results out

June 26 (DM) The re-scrutinised results of the 2011 G.C.E. A/L Exam will be released by the Department of Examinations tonight, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane said. He said that he instructed the Department to do so since the Supreme Court had delivered its ruling. “We were ready with the results by May. Yet, the Attorney General asked us not to release them till the court ruling was announced. Now, the ruling has been given. Therefore, there is no reason for us to delay the results,” he said. more..

‘I don’t know you, don’t accuse MOD’ Gota threatened Dr. Nirmal

June 26 (CT) “Catch the suspects and hand them over to the police” the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, last Friday. “I received a call from Gotabhaya, the conversation initially appeared to be cordial, though later it turned into a bitter exchange” the president of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA),Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said. more..

Malaysia has emerged the biggest investor in Sri Lanka

June 26 (GDI) An article on Sri Lanka published in the Malaysian daily New Strait Times says that three years after the end of a brutal 30 year’s of separatist war, Sri Lanka is emerging to make the fruits of peace a reality to all its citizens. It says that it is evident to everyone living or visiting Sri Lanka that a new era has dawned; life has indeed picked up, particularly in the North and East where the people suffered the trauma of the war more than more..

Lankan flees with KD 60,000 from armored car

June 26 (AD) A Srilankan expatriate has been accused of stealing 60,000 Kuwaiti dinars ($170,000) from an armored vehicle that belonged to a company in Kuwait. According to security sources, the armored vehicle that was driven by two employees, had KD 570,000 cash, which the employees collected from various communication companies and banks. When they reached Kuwait International Airport to collect the money from a telecommunication company, one of the employees more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 26.06.2012

Military bars Tamils from their homes

June 26 (UCAN) Military personnel evicted more than 45 internally displaced Catholic Tamils in northern Sri Lanka over the weekend, saying they needed permission from the Defense Ministry to resettle in their own homes. The families had returned to the church housing project on Mannar island two weeks ago, after fleeing civil war violence in 2008. Naval officers said they not been informed about the resettlement, villagers reported. “The military asked us to vacate more..

Financing Agreement for Colombo South Port signed

June 26 (GDI) The China Merchant Harbour International (CMHI), and China Development Bank have signed a financing agreement for US$ 350 million for the Sri Lanka Colombo Port expansion project in Shenzhen, China recently. It marks the final financing agreement reached by CMHI for its first overseas Built Own Transfer (BOT) project. The China Merchant Harbour International plans a total investment of about US$ 500 million. more..

Sri Lanka banks stop quoting rupee spot rate after cbank request

June 26 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee market came to a standstill on Tuesday as banks stopped quoting spot prices against the U.S. dollar, after what dealers said was a request from the central to stop trading the ailing currency beyond the 133 level. "The whole market is distorted as central bank does not like to see the spot trading above 133.00. So nobody is quoting spot and everybody quotes spot-next," a dealer said more..

EPF welcomes S&P clarification

June 26 (NS) The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) in a statement issued today said it welcomed the clarification made by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) today that there was “no information of any specific incidences occurring” of “a potential conflict of interest” due to the Central Bank’s oversight of the EPF which is “a large investor in Sri Lankan banking stocks”. In the clarification, S&P has also stated that they “expect the central bank to have mechanisms to limit this risk”. more..

Micromax bags title sponsorship of Indo-Lanka cricket series

June 26 (PTI) Cellphone handset manufacturers Micromax has bagged the title sponsorship for the ODI series between India and Sri Lanka starting on July 22, which will now be called Micromax Cup 2012. The series will feature five one-day matches and a Twenty20 International, to be played on August 7. The official broadcast TV partner for the Micromax Cup will be Ten Cricket and Ten HD. Ten Cricket and Micromax have entered into an agreement for this. more..

Tagore bust unveiled in Colombo as anniversary celebrations conclude

June 26 (Hindu) The year-and-half-long celebrations in Sri Lanka of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore concluded in Colombo on Tuesday with the unveiling of his bust at the University of Colombo. The bronze bust, sculpted by Janak Jhankar Narzary, sculptor and Professor of Art History at Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, was gifted by the Indian Ministry of Culture. Tagore’s three visits to Sri Lanka in more..

Polls register on the web

June 26 (DM) Sri Lankan voters will get the opportunity to surf the web to check their name in the electoral register after August 15, Elections Commissioner General Mahinda Deshapriya said. This is the first time the electoral register of Sri Lanka is connected to the web and latest electoral register which has been compiled for 2011 will thus be able to check on the web, he said. The facility will be a great service for Sri Lankans abroad as until now they did not have the opportunity to check their names in the electoral register. more..

Sri Lanka targets foreign investment with top 20 index

June 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka launched on Tuesday an index of 20 of its leading listed companies in what the market regulator said was a bid to attract more foreign investment in the island nation's bourse. The S&P Sri Lanka 20 index included market heavyweight John Keells Holdings, top private lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon and Sri Lanka's No.1 mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata. "It will ... be helpful to attract foreign investors," the chairman of SEC more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka plead for cricket video technology

June 26 (AFP) Rivals Pakistan and Sri Lanka united Tuesday to demand mandatory video technology after several umpiring howlers in their first Test, placing themselves in opposition to India's powerful board. The Decision Review System (DRS), which uses ball tracking and thermal imaging to verify umpires' decisions, was recommended for mandatory use by cricket chiefs Monday, subject to member nations financing the technology. more..

Muslims’ contribution to the unity of Sri Lanka

June 27 (DM) The government and the people of Sri Lanka are fully appreciative of the huge sacrifices made by Muslims for the unity and territorial integrity of our country. In this backdrop, the community must ignore the attempts by a small minority of deviants who sought mischief but ended up in damaging the country’s image, at a critical time in its history. On 3rd August 1990, separatist tigers mercilessly gunned down 147 Muslims at the Meera Jumma and Hussainiya mosques in Kattankudy as more..

The LLRC: From recommendations to actions

June 27 (DM) One of the saddest aspects of the last three years has been the corrosive distrust among all political players. This is almost relentlessly exacerbated by several factors. The first, and perhaps the most worrying, is what I term a failure of rationalism, the practice of judging situations not in terms of evidence but rather through emotions. This contributes to a tendency to interpret ambiguities in line with fears rather than hopes. Then there are what might be termed political factors. more..

The case for a Two Stage solution to the Tamil Question

June 27 (DBS) While everything is debatable, not everything is negotiable. Some things, a few things, simply must not be negotiable. The territorial unity and integrity of the Sri Lankan state, Sri Lanka as a single indivisible country, must never be up for negotiation. Whoever we negotiate with and whatever we negotiate on, must know and understand this from the outset. Every political community has boundaries which constitute red lines that more..

Branding Sri Lanka’s banking as high risk

June 27 (CT) It is not unusual for one to find instances where there is a difference of opinion as to how one sees oneself and how others see him. Such differences invariably lead to hurling charges at each other and even making counter-charges to prove that the original opinions expressed had all been wrong. Such angry reactions, though not uncommon, prevent one from finding cures to heal one’s ailments if they had been working stealthily within one’s system without showing any symptom. The recent episode of Sri Lanka’s banking industry being branded as ‘high risk’ by more..

The New Violence

June 27 (CT) Six years ago, when bilateral and multilateral donors, representatives from the UN system, local NGOs and other humanitarian actors met weekly to share concerns and situational awareness over the war and human displacement, I was invited to address them at one of their meetings. I started in a novel fashion, by saying aloud the worst expletives imaginable. I then stopped, and looked around. As expected, there were looks of utter surprise, dismay and shock. After a minute of more..

Travails of being the tallest man in Sri Lanka: A talk with ex-LTTE cadre Kasendran

June 27 (DBS) He cuts a gigantic figure, as he steps out of the tin-roofed dwellings of the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Village. Gunasingham Kasendran, considered the tallest man in the country, who stands at a staggering height of 7.3’, is currently being rehabilitated at the govt-run rehabilitation centre in Kandakadu in the Polonnaruwa District. Although an awe-inspiring sight to behold, the towering giant says his height is God’s more..

Provocative speech about Mullivaaikkaal by minister Ranawaka will bring disrepute

June 27 (DBS) Oh God the British never told the French ‘one Waterloo is enough. Don’t try to get 100 more’. What kind of a speech is this? Is this the tolerance Lord Buddha taught or his disciples learnt? A Tamilnadu newspaper in her editorial said, ‘Emperor Asoka, seeing the killing, blood shed and the destruction in the battle field, vowed not to wage war again and accepted the peaceful path of Lord Buddha. Here a minister who calls himself more..

Ranil goes to war without armour

June 27 (SL) Ranil Wickremasinghe and his UNPers preparing for elections are like medieval knights going to war without body armour, swords, lances and even horses. Elections in the 21st century are fought with the media – press, radio, TV and now on Internet – but Ranil’s faction of the UNP which is the main body of the Grand Old Party has none of them. The Young Turks of the UNP – the dissenting faction – too are in a similar predicament save for one TV Channel giving them half-hearted coverage. more..

The Medamulana-Doctrine and a brave new Sri Lanka

June 27 (SL) Ten men on five motorbikes, armed with T56 rifles, descend on a legal political gathering. They shoot into the crowd, killing two and injuring several. For the next 15-20 minutes, they engage in a slash-and-trash operation, undisturbed. Finally, their job done, they leave as they came, with their weapons and on their bikes, into the night. This happens in the home-district and the political-bastion of the country’s more..

Editorial: A welcome judgment

June 27 (Island) Our omniscient ministers in charge of education and higher education and their bureaucratic geniuses have suffered a gavel blow each at the hands of learned judges. The Z-score judgment has left the govt with egg on its face. The Supreme Court on Monday declared the 2011 GCE (A/L) Z-score null and void and directed the UGC to recalculate Z-score separately for the new and old syllabi. This is exactly what many an expert urged the govt to do several moons ago. Prof. R.O. Thattil of the University of Peradeniya, more..

Declaring war on corrupt politicians

June 27 (Island) I’m no fan of Sarath Fonseka, but he’s got one thing right. Something has to be done about the corrupt political culture in Sri Lanka. At his first press conference after being released from prison, the former Army Commander identified tackling corruption and nepotism as his top priority. These are issues the middle class loves, so he may expect and indeed get a lot of support from across the ideological spectrum. People are fed up with politicians. more..

CB says all okay, S&P says otherwise

June 27 (Island) The Central Bank EPF Department yesterday issued a public statement using a quotation from a Standard and Poor’s clarification to justify its stance on using the EPF to invest in banking sector stocks, but omitted sentences in the very same paragraph quoted by it which raised concerns. "The EPF welcomes the clarification made by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) that there was ‘no information of specific more..

Colombo hosts World construction Symposium from 28 June to 1 July

June 27 (FT) The prestigious world construction Symposium of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) will have Sri Lanka as its next venue for the 2012 deliberations. The world Construction Symposium 2012 will be held in Colombo from 28th June to 01st July 2012 at the cinnamon Grand Hotel. This year’s symposium is organized by the Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) in collaboration with the department of more..

Mahela stresses need to focus lead up to second Test

June 27 (Island) Sri Lanka cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene is keen not to repeat the mistakes against England a couple of months back and has stressed the need to keep concentration levels high ahead of the second Test against Pakistan as Sri Lanka search for their first Test series win since 2009. Since beating New Zealand in August 2009, Sri Lanka have not been able to win a Test series. The hosts won the opening Test against Pakistan by 209 runs in Galle on Monday. more..

Govt. to set up first science and Nanotech Park in Homagama

June 27 (FT) One of the most ambitious development projects in the science and technology field will commence this week when the foundation for the first ever Science Park in Sri Lanka is laid tomorrow. The Science Park will be established on a 50 acre property at Pitipana, Mahenawatte, Homagama released to the Ministry of Technology and Research for this purpose. The development of the Park will be pursued in four stages. In Phase one the more..