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When guardians plunder the treasure!

May 9 (LB) Treasure hunting in Sri Lanka’s archeological sites, has now reached epidemic proportions, with over 500 reported incidents in the last three years. Although it is not widely reported in the media, the involvement of the security forces in these incidents, especially in the Wilpattu and in the East, is a popular secret in archaeological circles. The Police Department in 2012, to date, has recorded around 92 such incidents involving digging for treasures, stealing, and more..

Spiralling CoL: A never ending story

May 9 (ST) More burdens were heaped on the public this week with the price of bread, gas, milkfood increasing and more hikes to follow in the ensuing weeks. On February 12 the govt announced a fuel price hike, with the price of Lanka Petrol 95-Octane increasing from Rs. 155 to Rs. 167 a litre, Lanka Petrol 90-Octane from Rs. 137 to Rs. 149 and Lanka Auto Diesel from Rs. 84 to Rs. 115. Two days after the fuel price hike the minimum bus fare was increased to Rs 9, and other charges increased by 20 per cent. more..

JVP faults govt. for failing to act on COPE findings

May 9 (Island) JVP MP Sunil Handunetti yesterday faulted the govt for failing to investigate into alleged fraud and corruption revealed in the report released by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). MP Handunetti, participating in the adjournment debate on the COPE report, demanded to know what action the government had taken on the allegations raised and findings made by the COPE. more..

AE Authority says stopped paying employees’ PAYE tax

May 9 (Island) Controversy over a section of public enterprises paying PAYE tax on behalf of their employees took a new turn yesterday with the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) claiming that his institution had received specific instructions from the Inland Revenue Department not to subject its employees to PAYE tax. AEA Chairman, Dr. R.L.W. Wijayawardana said that a circular dated August 10, 2005 issued by the Inland Revenue Department categorised PAYE as more..

Kuwait repatriates 240 Sri Lankan domestic workers

May 9 (KT) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait pressed for the immediate passage of Domestic Labor Law Bill, which lay pending at the Parliament. C A H M Wijeratne, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kuwait said that passing the bill will serve as the key to resolving domestic labor issues that plague the country. “I think the immediate passage of the Bill is the only answer to many troubles arising from the domestic labor sector. more..

Cricketers unlikely to earn increments

May 9 (DM) Sri Lanka may have emerged the World Cup runners up last year, but they will not be offered increments when they are offered new contracts for this year by their cash-strapped employer Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), sources said. All categories of contracts for the National players have been offered at the same rate as last year and only those players who would receive a promotion to a higher category can earn a better contract fee than last year’s. more..

Sri Lanka appoints new Ambassador to U.N.

May 9 (Hindu) At the end of a short-lived war waged through the media by a few diplomats, the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry on Tuesday said that it had transferred its Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, and appointed “team player” Ravinatha Aryasinha as the new Ambassador. Mr. Aryasinha, is now the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. Ms. Kunanayakam, a Tamil, has been posted to Cuba. more..

'Indian appeal for its fishermen to fish in Lankan waters turned down'

May 9 (Island) Sri Lanka has turned down a request from India to allow Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters for a certain period of time, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday. He said the request had been made before a discussion between Indian and Sri Lankan authorities on the problem of Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen entering each others sea territories recently. more..

Bouquet of tax exemptions for Sampur Project

May 9 (FT) The Govt has decided to give very attractive tax exemptions for the Sampur Coal Power Plant Project, which will be debated in Parliament today. The documents detailing the tax exemptions were presented to Parliament yesterday by the Economic Development Ministry under the Strategic Development Projects Act, which will be based on a Build-Own-Operate basis. Key among the points are a 25-year Corporate Income Tax holiday more..

'Bribery Commission has suspended investigations'

May 9 (DM) The Bribery Commission had arbitrarily suspended investigations into financial irregularities and malpractices at a number of public enterprises -- which the Committee of Public Enterprises (COPE) had unearthed in 2007 -said UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse in Parliament yesterday. Mr. Rajapakse, who had been chairman of COPE at the time, said that he had submitted two separate reports to Parliament more..

Editorial: Will this Bill also end up in the bin?

May 9 (DM) Last year, the ‘Right to Information Bill,’ never became a law when the powerful majority in the govt thought it would be too much of a luxury for the public to know what is going on behind the curtains of power. The Bill has come to the limelight again, with the media reporting that the UNP deputy leader will soon table it for parliamentary approval. On the previous occasion, when the Bill was defeated in the House, it was a clear sign as to how democracy was being more..

CB confident of BOP surplus

May 9 (Island) An optimistic Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal says sovereign inflows would improve considerably within the next few months, appreciating the rupee, building up reserves and leading to a balance of payments surplus of US$ 1,250 million by the end of the year, from a deficit of US$ 1 billion as at the end of 2011. The Central Bank has revised Sri Lanka’s medium term macroeconomic framework keeping in line with the external sector pressures more..

Don't copy my action, advises Malinga

May 9 (CN) Mumbai Lasith Malinga is a unique cricketer in many ways. It is not just his slinging action that is a standout feature; he's probably the only cricketer in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) who has hardly attended more than a couple of practice sessions and still stands out as the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 20 scalps in eight matches, equal to Delhi Daredevils' Morne Morkel. more..

'8 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan jails'

May 9 (PTI) A total of eight Indian fishermen are currently held in Sri Lanka while 36 of this country's fishermen are lodged in Indian jails, the Parliament here has been informed. Fisheries Minister Rajith Senaratne told the House yesterday that 26 of the 36 Sri Lankan fishermen are held in Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh. There are only eight Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka, he said. Senaratne said the problem pertaining to the intrusion would be sorted out through discussions more..

Sri Lanka sees rapid boom in boat building

May 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has witnessed rapid boom in the boat building industry following the end of the three decade war in 2009, an official said on Wednesday. Gamini B. Herath, Managing Director of the Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute said the island nation recorded 152 percent growth in boat building industry compared to 2010 by earning in 149 million U.S. dollars in 2011. This was following 20 million U.S. dollars and 54 million U.S. dollars income in more..

'Sri Lanka may miss 2012 growth projection'

May 9 (DM) Sri Lanka may miss its 2012 growth projections due to the slower recovery in advanced economies and unfavourable developments in export markets, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal yesterday. The Central Bank in March cut its projection for growth in the island nation’s US $ 59 billion economy to 7.2 percent from the 8 percent forecast set in January. “Unfavourable developments in Sri Lanka’s export destinations in terms of more..

Sri Lanka shares at three-month low; rupee edges up

May 9 (Reuters) Stock market fell to a three-month low on Wednesday, a seventh straight decline, after the country's treasury department ordered an investigation of a share sale involving The Finance Company PLC, traders said. A Sri Lanka Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official told Reuters that it is continuing its investigation on the share sale. "We are continuing our investigations to find out about the conflict of interest," more..

Six year old dies after stone assault

May 9 (CG) A six year old child who was assaulted by a woman using a stone within the premises of a school in Ella last week, died in hospital last night. The police media unit said that the woman had been arrested following the assault last Friday while the child was admitted to the Badulla hospital. The assault had taken place inside the Kithalanwatta Tamil Vidyalaya and the victim was identified as 6 year old Manoj Sivakumari, a resident of Kithalanwatta, Ella. more..

JVP decries cost of living

May 9 (CT) The JVP today accused the government of ‘strategically targeting festive seasons’ to increase the prices of commodities. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the masses have been faced with untold hardship as a result of the sudden escalation in the prices of essential goods. “Whenever there is a national festival, people are going to wonder what to expect from the govt next. Milk powder was increased by Rs. 160 per kilo, gas, by Rs 350, and more..

Indian MEA criticized on Lanka

May 9 (CG) An Indian parliamentary panel has criticized the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) over its “slow progress” in the resettlement work in Sri Lanka. The Standing Committee on External Affairs, which presented its report on demands for grants of the ministry for 2012-13 in parliament on Tuesday, observed that the Indian government was spending a substantial amount on rehabilitation of internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka by way of constructing houses, more..

SAARC women group’s Sri Lanka visit a success

May 9 (Hindu) A new initiative to bring together women entrepreneurs in South Asia has begun on the right note with the “successful” visit of an Indian delegation to Sri Lanka this week. “This is our first visit. A women’s delegation from India will visit all South Asian countries. We had great interactions with a variety of women entrepreneurs here,” Harbeen Arora, president, Creative Living Foundation and head of the 12-member delegation of SAARC Women’s more..

Fonseka given permission to receive treatment at Nawaloka Hospital

May 9 (AD) The Supreme Court today gave permission for the leader of the DNA Sarath Fonseka to continue receiving treatment at the Nawaloka hospital in Colombo. The Colombo High Court on May 4 ordered the Prisons Commissioner General to move Sarath Fonseka to the National Hospital from Nawaloka hospital where he is currently receiving treatment for an illness related to his lungs. However attorneys representing Fonseka today stated more..

Trial against Dhanuna’s mother fixed

May 9 (DM) The trial of the money laundering case which was filed against Dhanuna Tillekaratne’s mother Asoka Thillekaratne in the Colombo High Court today fixed for November 5. Meanwhile High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa directed the witnesses to appear in Court on the next trial date. Asoka Tillekaratne the mother of the son- in -law of former army commander Sarath Fonseka had been charged for violating the Foreign Exchange Control Act. The Attorney General indicted more..

Minister G.L. Peiris leaves for Egypt to attend NAM summit

May 9 (MEA) External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris will leave for Egypt today to address the Ministerial Meeting of Non Alignment Movement (NAM) Coordinating Bureau to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. During the meeting Prof. Peiris will make two presentations on May 10th, one on behalf of Sri Lanka and the other on behalf of Asia Pacific Group of NAM, at the closing stages of coordinating Bureau meeting. In addition Prof. Peiris will hold bilateral meetings with more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 09.05.2012

High chances of milk turning sour

May 9 (DM) Dairy farmers in the hills said yesterday that two private small-holders had volunteered to extend their support to purchase milk from them on a temporary basis until alternate buyers were found and the prevailing milk crisis had abated. They said however that the future remained bleak as they were uncertain if private milk purchasing companies would purchase their milk again in the future. The two small-holders had agreed to purchase milk from the dairy farmers more..

NGO finger in plundering 500 acres of forest reserve

May 9 (DM) Forest officers and environmentalists are disturbed that an area of about 500 acres of a forest reserve adjacent to the Gal Oya National Park is to be blocked out and alienated to a group of individuals said to be having political patronage. They pointed out that the virgin forest rich in bio-diversity would be cleared under the pretext of restoring the abandoned Bowella Tank to cultivate paddy and subsidiary crops. People residing in the area also expressed more..

C4 wins award for Sri Lanka's Killing Field

May 9 (CT) Channel 4 documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, which at the time was described by presenter Jon Snow as "one of the most important" stories he had ever reported, collected two prizes at the One World Media Awards last night. The programme, which prompted calls from the UK Foreign Office for an independent investigation of alleged war crimes during the 2009 military operation in Sri Lanka, was named the winner of both the more..

Sri Lanka seeks foreign players for cricket tournament

May 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has begun negotiations with foreign cricket boards to invite overseas players for the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament to be held in August, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board said. A Cricket Board member said on the condition of anonymity that Sri Lanka hopes to obtain the services of some of the top names in international cricket for the SLPL which was earlier scheduled to be held last year but had to be postponed. more..

Action against traders selling old milk powder stocks at revised prices

May 9 (AD) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) will take legal action against 60 traders who sold old stocks of milk powder at the new price. The CAA conducted the raids on the order of the Minister Johnston Fernando. Traders had pasted stickers over the old price or had scratched off the old price and written the revised price on milk powder packets. CAA Chairman Rumy Marshook stated that these raids will continue until the old stocks of milk powder are sold out.

Fresh bid to secure pardon for Rizana

May 9 (DM) In a fresh effort to secure a pardon for Rizana Nafeek who has been sentenced to death under Islamic sharia law in Saudi Arabia, a group of Sri Lankan MPs recently visited the victim infant’s grandparents, Minister Dilan Perera said today. Rizana was sentenced to death in February, 2005 under Sharia law for allegedly strangling to death this infant while bottle-feeding. Mr. Perera said that the group of Sri Lankan MPs visited the village of more..

Workers’ Day wrested

May 10 (NS) The May Day that was observed on Tuesday in this country saw, among other things, the complete party politicization of the day dedicated to the promotion of workers’ welfare and interests. The trend was developing over the years and this time the undisguised demonstration of the practice was clearly evident. The occasion was utilized by the political parties of the govt as well as of the opposition to show their power and strength. It is creditable that the govt parties had more..

A decade of struggles

May 10 (NS) ‘All that is solid melts into air’, said Marx and Engels in the famous Communist Manifesto. The impregnable fortress of power built and maintained by President Abdine Ben Ali in Tunisia for over two decades crumpled like a house of cards before the wrath of the people. The Tunisian Revolution of January 2011 was kindled by the flames surrounding the body of 26-year old street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi when he set fire to himself in protest against the harassment he more..

Sri Lanka and the Olympic Games

May 10 (NS) So another Summer Olympic Games is dawning on us and as usual the sports bodies in Sri Lanka are busy trying to get as many of their athletes qualified to be included in the national team that will leave for the 16-day event to be hosted in London from July 27 to August 12. So far according to National Olympic Committee (NOC) secretary general Maxwell de Silva only four Sri Lankans have qualified to participate in the London Olympics more..

National unity cannot be imposed by National Security

May 10 (TC) The dominance of national security considerations in the actions of the government have been highlighted again in the hundreds of detentions that have taken place in recent days in the East, especially in the Trincomalee area. It is reported that most of those detained have been released after being screened by the security forces. But the sudden search and detain operations have sent a wave of fear amongst the Tamil people living in those areas. more..

Only Mahinda Rajapaksa matters in his ‘hangers on’ govt of self-seeking ‘yes’ men

May 10 (DBS) There was a time, not too long ago when even a relatively small increase in prices led to consternation among the public. Thus, an increase of even 10 cents in the price of a gallon [not litre] of petrol; or of 2 or 3 cents in the price of a cigarette made the people throw up their hands in collective horror and seek to cut down on purchases of such commodities. Accordingly, an increase in the price of petrol led to there being fewer cars on the road, while more..

President Rajapaksa orders transfer of Tamara Kunanayakam

May 10 (DBS) Tamara Manimekhalai Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka ’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva has been transferred out from her current station with effect from July 1st 2012. Ambassador Kunanayakam was sent an official facsimile message from External Affairs Ministy secretary Mr.Karunatilake Amunugama dated May 7th 2012 which informed her that she was being given notice of more..

And now they have come for the Muslims

May 10 (CT) It is alarming, what is happening to the Muslims in Sri Lanka. There is a 50:50 chance it will blow up into unrest and instability – I will explain anon why I have hedged my bets. However, there is a disease these events have exposed about which there can be no doubt. This is a deep animosity towards Muslims, which remained buried during the civil war against the Tamils, and has now broken out into the open. Explicit expressions proliferate on the web and more..

Dambulla, Kuragala and Batticaloa

May 10 (Island) The recent incidents at Dambulla, Kuragala and Batticaloa where a Bhikku has been assaulted by members of a certain political party could be understood only if the ethnic problem is understood without resorting to hackneyed terms such as Sinhala Buddhist supremacy. At Batticaloa though a Buddhist Bhikku has been assaulted no human rights organisation, NGO or any such body has come forward to protect at least the human rights of the Bhikku. more..

Should we ‘celebrate’ Vesak?

May 10 (NS) Buddhism is the most environment-friendly religion on Earth, and Vesak is the most important day for the Buddhists. How should we spend this day? Every year this topic is discussed, written about over and over again, and after Vesak till the next year, we forget about it. This article is an attempt to look at all the issues once more, but from a different angle. Among all the teachings of the Buddha, we cannot find a single word that more..