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Sri Lanka seen 'priority destination' for Indian investment

Mar 31 (LBO) Indian companies are keen to invest in Sri Lanka with the island's Expo 2012 international trade drawing a large group of Indian businessmen, the High Commission of India said. Indian industry is committed to making Sri Lanka a 'priority destination' for Indian investment and wants to improve trade and economic relations between the two countries, it said. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has offered to help the Sri Lankan govt more..

Commissioner requests electricity, water bills paid by CMC

Mar 31 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council Commissioner Mrs. Bhadrani Jayawardene has requested Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil to consider having her electricity and water bills, at her official residence, be paid by the CMC. In her letter, addressed to the Mayor, Mrs. Jayawardene states that she had been unsuccessful in getting extra meters for electricity and water installed and that she had been paying for her consumption from her own private funds. more..

'NGOs behind paddy farmers’ agitation for price increase'

Mar 31 (Island) Former Minister and DNF member Piyasiri Wijenayake on Thursday said that there was a conspiracy by some NGOs to hoodwink the farmers and get them to force the govt to increase the price of a kilo of Paddy to Rs 40. He said the motive behind this was to reduce the number of Sri Lankans eating rice and encourage people to consume bread. He alleged that an NGO, funded by a western country, had brought farmers from more..

Bright student to receive Govt. assistance

Mar 31 (Island) Social Services Minister Felix Perera told Parliament yesterday that the government would assist the blind student who scored nine straight ‘A’s at the GCE Ordinary Level examination to continue her education. The student who excelled in the examination, Ridmi Handapangoda, was an exemplary pupil and the govt had decided to inviteher to the Social Services Ministry and grant her a scholarship. Minister Perera was responding to a request made by more..

Injured Welegedara out of second Test

Mar 31 (CI) Sri Lanka left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara has been ruled out of the second Test against England, which starts at the P Sara Oval on Tuesday, with a groin injury. Welegedara's place in the squad will be taken by 25-year-old right-arm fast bowler Shaminda Eranga. The Sri Lanka selectors made one other change to the 14-man squad, including allrounder Angelo Mathews in place of batsman Chamara Silva. more..

TNA MP proposes third party mediation

Mar 31 (DM) The political dialogue between the govt and the TNA has hit a fresh snag with MP Suresh Premachandran suggesting third party mediation for talks. Mr. Premachandran said that he requested both the govt and his party to give serious thought to his suggestion if they were genuinely interested in evolving an early solution. He said the UN, the EU or the SAARC could possibly play such a mediatory role. more..

Sri Lanka raises automobile import taxes

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka has slapped new taxes of as much as 100 percent of import value on some imported cars, but kept taxes on hybrid cars lower, in a move which can reduce state revenues from automobiles this year. Sri Lanka's finance ministry in a notice on its website said total taxes on imported hybrid cars has been raised to between 60 to 125 percent from the current 51 to 100 percent based on engine size. Taxes on diesel cars have been raised from more..

Sri Lanka raises tobacco, alcohol taxes

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's finance ministry said it had raised taxes on tobacco, alcohol and beer, including higher import duties on imported beer, which can potentially raise 3.0 billion rupees in new taxes a year. Excise tax on wine will go up by 50 rupees to 838 rupees a liter, on hard alcohol (arrack) by 60 rupees a litre to 983 rupees, on other 'foreign' alcohol types by 60 rupees to 1,123. On locally made beer excise will go up by 5 rupees to 90 rupees a litre. more..

Editorial: Earth Day - From moral darkness to light

Mar 31 (DM) In an enlightened and practical act of patriotism far more useful than the pseudo-patriotism of some self-centred politicians, the Minister of Power and Energy has launched a mission to educate some 4.5 million school children on how they could and should save electricity today for a brighter tomorrow. The school is the best place to start. The children, who unlike most politicians do not seek personal gain or glory, were made aware that every time they switch off more..

JVP restrained from holding inquiry against Ajith Kumara

Mar 31 (Island) Colombo District Judge Dhammika Ganepola yesterday issued an enjoining order restraining the Central Executive Committee of the JVP from holding a disciplinary inquiry against JVP MP Ajith Kumara. The petitioner Ajith Kumara had said that, the JVP initiated a new constitution commencing Jan 1, 2012. But he was not notified about the contents in it. He had been charge sheeted under the provisions of this new constitution, which was not known to him. more..

'Anti-govt. rallies will continue until Mahinda goes home'

Mar 31 (Island) The Opposition would continue the protest campaigns against the present regime until the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt was dislodged, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday. He was addressing a party rally at the Kandy Central Market ground. A large crowd had gathered to listen to UNP leaders Ranil Wickremesinghe, deputy leader Sajith Premadasa, Karu Jayasuriya and others. However, Premadasa, Karu Jayasuriya did not speak. more..

Asylum seeker bashed by guards, Rintoul

Mar 31 (SKY) A Tamil refugee has been bashed by Serco guards at Villawood detention centre in southwest Sydney, a refugee advocate group says. However, the Department of Immigration denies the assault ever occurred and says only that a man was taken to hospital for 'a medical condition'. Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul said about 20 officers from the security company Serco had some involvement in the incident, while five or six were directly involved in the assault more..

Sri Lanka’s people paying high price of tourist drive

Mar 31 (FT) Sir, We at the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice read with great interest the article by Carole Cadwalladr (“War-torn beauty”, Life & Arts, March 17). We were glad to see the author acknowledge the atrocities committed by govt forces in the north of Sri Lanka three years ago, but still fear that her article will only assist the massive propaganda drive currently undertaken by that same govt, which is promoting and investing heavily in tourism, more..

Media battle heats up in Sri Lanka, again

Police say media has put child at risk

Mar 31 (CG) The police say media reports today regarding the abduction of a child in Vakarai for ransom has placed the child’s life at risk. Police media spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that the child had been abducted several days ago but the incident was not given to the media as the abductors had threatened to kill the child if the police was informed. He also said that he had personally informed some journalists not to report the incident as priority should more..

Bandula wants to debate not with Handunneththi but with Ravi

Mar 31 (LT) Minister Bandula Guanwardene has sent a letter to JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi stating he cannot have a debate with Mr. Handunnethti but would prefer to debate with UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. The Minister has sent the letter in response to a letter sent to him by Handunneththi. Minister had challenged anyone to come to a debate with him on the statement he had made that a family of three could exist for a month with an income of Rs.7500. more..

Increase, to meet IMF conditions; UNP

Mar 31 (DM) UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said today that the increase in taxes that were announced by the Ministry of Finance and Planning was in order to meet conditions stipulated by the IMF. “The IMF board will meet on Monday and the loan that is suspended will be taken up then. The govt is trying desperately to get that money that was suspended. In order to do so the govt has to do a whole bunch of things including the increase in utility prices, more..

After Sri Lanka now India in trouble,UN asks to repeal AFSPA

Mar 31 (PTI) The United Nations has asked India to repeal the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, saying it had no role to play in a democracy. This comes amid clamour for withdrawal of AFSPA from Kashmir. A United Nations Special Rapporteur today urged India to repeal the controversial law that gives its military special powers to act in troubled areas. Christof Heyns, UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told reporters more..

Cyclone hit Manik Farm- 2000 displaced

Mar 31 (BBC) A mini cyclone that swept through northern part of Sri Lanka has displaced over two thousand war refugees in the Manik Farm camp. According to Settikulam police, cyclone which began slowly with rain at about six a clock on Saturday evening lasted for an hour. As soon as the cyclone hit the area power supply and telecommunication services went out of order. “When the cyclone started, people started to run around, we do not know about the damage because we do not have electricity more..

Bajaj three wheelers to cost more in Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (PTI) In a move that will impact Indian auto exporters to the island nation, Sri Lanka today raised tariffs on vehicle imports to curb high import expenditure and the fuel bill. The new manufacturing levy will come into force at midnight today and affect Indian brands of motor vehicles which dominate the island. As a result of the hike, a 1000 cc car would attract a total tax payment at the point of import at 200 per cent, as opposed to 120 per cent earlier. more..

Editorial: People's security - the top priority

Apr 1 (SO) The US and those countries which supported the American Resolution against Sri Lanka at the recent UNHRC and shouted from the rooftops over the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka should bear in mind that it was the Govt which initiated the reconciliation process following the liberation of the East, long before the Tigers were vanquished from the North. After the successful liberation of the Eastern Province, the Govt embarked on many development and nation-building more..