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Seven reasons for liberalising Tea

May 20 (SL) Seven reasons were touted for the liberalization of the tea industry by Tea Exporters’ Association (TEA) representatives when they met the press on Tuesday. Those were “Ceylon Tea” losing its position in international markets to global brands; blenders moving out from Colombo to new tea hubs such as Dubai due to exorbitant duties charged on teas imported for the purpose of blending and reexport here; only a third of Ceylon Teas qualifying more..

SEC investigating Taprobane Securities for multiple offenses on the NSB deal

May 20 (SL) The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into possible multiple offenses committed by Taprobane Securities in the National Savings Bank share scandal. Highly placed sources in the SEC said Taprobane Securities is being investigated for insider dealing, front running, conflict of interest and other offenses. “It will take two to three weeks for the investigation and then more..

State encroaches on state land illegally

May 20 (LB) A recent survey has revealed that over 35,000 hectares of coastal and forest lands have been grabbed by various states institutions in the last few years. Sri Lanka has seen land grabbing in many forms and carried out by various actors since colonial times. The ecosystem has been affected as a result. In addition, the people of the country too have been severely affected by such actions on the part of our colonial masters and successive regimes since independence. more..

Dambulla priest insists: There was no mosque

May 20 (LB) Chief Incumbent of the Dambulla Raja Maha Vihara, the Most Venerable Inamaluve Sumangala Thera speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS said: I am trying to safeguard the 2300-year-old Buddhist heritage of Dambulla while those who criticize me are speaking to destroy that very heritage. It must be stated at the outset that this issue does not concern any Muslim mosque in Dambulla. more..

Lies and deception surround NSB-TFC deal

May 20 (ST) The Central Bank (CB) is yet to take action in the deal between some investors/directors at The Finance Co (TFC) and state-owned National Savings Bank (NSB) with many raising issues pertaining to the lies and deception surrounding this transaction. The Business Times reliably learns that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had sent two letters to the CB pointing out certain irregularities in this deal. "The first letter pointed out that NSB bought it at a premium more..

Astrologer-director quits, but NSB chairman defiant

May 20 (ST) National Savings Bank (NSB working director Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena, better known as an astrologer, resigned on Friday amidst pressure from trade unions and the public to take action against those involved in the controversial share deal, officials said. No reasons were given for his resignation which was handed over to Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundara. Mr. Abeygunawardena is widely believed to be the President's astrologer. more..

Recession good for business

May 20 (SL) A US based software/middleware company which has its main operational base in Sri Lanka, finds the recessionary clouds over Europe and the fact that the USA is not completely out of the woods, good for business! Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, joint WSO2 founder and CEO told reporters on Wednesday that their customers were having commercial relationships sometimes as long as 20 years with their competitors who were bigger than them and with the value of such contracts more..

SEC investigating Taprobane Securities for multiple offenses on the NSB deal

May 20 (SL) The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into possible multiple offenses committed by Taprobane Securities in the National Savings Bank share scandal. Highly placed sources in the SEC said Taprobane Securities is being investigated for insider dealing, front running, conflict of interest and other offenses. “It will take two to three weeks for the investigation and then the SEC commissioners will decide on the matter after more..

'SF misled by US'

May 20 (DM) Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that the United States was also responsible for misleading former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Sarath Fonseka was enchanted by the US embassy in Colombo and was under an illusion that he was President even before the Presidential election was over. Mr. Fonseka who sired Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe at first started to call him Ranil. What would have been the situation if he became the President?, a statement issued by more..

Sampanthan criticises lack of govt. action on war detainees

May 20 (SL) The decision by the govt to release information regarding the war detainees has been described by TNA leader R. Sampanthan as ‘not enough’. “The release of this information is a step in the right direction, but the govt has a lot more work to do”, Sampanthan said. He explained that the people in custody fall into several categories; “there are people who are arrested on specific charges, there are those who are being held without charges, there are more..

Sarath Fonseka to seek security

May 20 (SL) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is to seek security following his release from prison on a Presidential pardon. Fonseka had told a group of MPs who met him at the Nawaloka hospital on Friday that it has been reported internationally that there is a threat to his life. As a result he will communicate with the govt through his associates and seek protection. UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara confirmed that Fonseka was concerned about his security. more..

President addressed the Doha Economic Conference

May 20 (DM) Sri Lanka which successfully countered terrorism that threatened the country for 30 years is now regaining its place as the centre of economic and trade activities, and today people going ahead and ready to confirm the peace and economic prosperity said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This target could be achieved if we stand as a one nation and the govt is ready to go ahead to strengthen the people in economically and achieve a permanent peace more..

Two PNB imposters remanded

May 20 (CT) Nugegoda Magistrate’s Court yesterday remanded two suspects masquerading as officials attached to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB). The suspects were ordered to be remanded till 31 May after they were produced in court by the Kohuwala Police. The police informed court the suspects had been involved in several crimes within the area by claiming they were police officials attached to the PNB. The police said the suspects in question have managed to enter more..

Cancer patient seeks help to return home to Sri Lanka

May 20 (GN) A Sri Lankan woman with stage 3 ovarian cancer has appealed to the public for help to settle her debt so she could fly back home to be with her dying mom. “My mother said, ‘Before I die, come see me.’ And I told my mother, ‘I will come before you die. And before I die, you will see me,” Hathiba Bee, 52, a former driving instructor, tearfully told Gulf News. Bee’s mother, 90, was severely injured recently when they were evacuating from their home in Colombo due to more..

Earth tremor felt in Nuwaraeliya & Badulla

May 20 (LT) An earth tremor was felt in areas in Nuwara Eliya and, Badulla districts at around 1.30 a.m. today stated the Deputy Director of the Disaster Management Centre Pradeep Kodippilly. He said there have not been any reports of harm and advised the public not to panic. Meanwhile the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) states the tremor has not been felt at the tsunami and earthquake warning centers at Mihinthale or Hakmana as more..

Prison officials tell former LTTE cadres to stop strike

May 20 (SL) Prison officials had requested former LTTE cadres to stop their hunger strike at the Welikada prison, Sunday Leader learned on Friday. The Commissioner of Prisons P. W. Kodippili confirmed that the remandees had gone on a hunger strike complaining of the crowded conditions. In a circulated note purporting to be from the prisoners, it was pointed out that nearly three years had passed since the end of the war. Yet the political detainees were still being held at the more..

‘Is the tooth relic enshrined in its original gold container?’

May 20 (SM) Treasure hunting has aggravated to such levels that it is now doubtful whether the sacred tooth relic in Kandy is enshrined in the original gold container, said NLF leader Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne. Dr. Karunaratne also said all those who value democracy and supremacy of the law have a responsibility to join the island wide struggle against the repressive regime that swindles public money and places every burden on the masses. more..

Indian ‘expansion’ envelopes Sri Lanka

May 20 (NS) While India became Sri Lanka’s biggest importer with imports doubling in the last four years, touching a record US $ 4.4 billion dollars by 2011, concerns in local quarters ran high that India was making overtures to build a business and political clout in the Island. Imports from India jumped from US $ 2.6 bn in 2007 to US $ 3.5 bn. in 2008 for a 23 percent of all imports, according to the 2011 Central Bank report. more..

Karu, 4 others to be asked to explain May Day absence

May 20 (SM) The UNP has decided to call for explanations from Karu Jayasuriya and four other party MPs for their absence, without notice, at the combined opposition’s May Day rally in Jaffna, according to Sirikotha sources. A committee appointed to inquire into the matter is due to handover its report to the party’s working committee that meets at the UNP headquarters at 4.00 pm tomorrow. The four other MPs who will be asked to explain their absence at the May Day more..

Sri Lanka awaiting release of Census report

May 20 (SL) Sri Lanka’s first islandwide census in 30 years has been completed and is awaiting approval to be released according to H. R. Gunasekara, additional director general to the Department of Census and Statistics. Gunasekara said that the department had finished compiling its report regarding the census. He however said that no date had been set regarding its release as they are still waiting approval from the govt. He refused to reveal any details of the census, more..

Gold rush in Pugoda

May 20 (SL) With the finding of tiny gold pieces in the Kelani riverbed last week, hundreds of people in Pugoda, a tiny village in the Dompe electorate are now into gold mining. They were seen in shallow waters removing earth from the riverbed and sifting carefully to see whether they were lucky enough to find tiny gold pieces. True to their claim, tiny gold pieces but not gold dust was seen glittering when sifting the river deposits. more..

Jaffna students need security: IUSF

May 20 (SL) The IUSF has called upon the state to look into the security of university student union members in Jaffna. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara told The Sunday Leader on Friday that university students in Jaffna have been facing threats to their security over a period of time, and that this is a matter the government should look into. He made this statement in the light of Friday’s attack on Jaffna University Students’ Union (JUSU) Secretary, Paramalingam Darshananth. more..

Fishermen to pay more for boats

May 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka will make boats more expensive for fishermen in a bid to fatten the profits of boat builders, the island's industries ministry said, in the latest in a series of move to restrict economic freedoms of citizens. Fishermen had won the freedom to import boats freely after a tsunami hit the island in 2004 devastating their lives and livelihoods. "The duty free boat imports were allowed by the govt in the aftermath of the Tsunami to re-build the fishing industry," more..

Dr. Farzana Haniffa

Event, Structure, History: July 1983, May 2009

May 21 (NS) The modern history of Sri Lanka is punctuated by two massive events that we are yet to fully understand; the civilian led anti-Tamil violence of July 1983, and the armed forces led destruction of LTTE in May, 2009. Other events that might claim to be such ruptures in temporality, events that structure both time and society, so that they are embedded in history; April 1971 or December 2004, don’t have the same weight. And weight it what matters, in this process I isolate, more..

Sri Lanka: An anti-immigration nation

May 21 (NS) Sri Lanka has no immigration policy at all. There is no legal path for ordinary people to immigrate to Sri Lanka. You can get citizenship by birth or descent, but you cannot immigrate. Even dual citizenship was, until recently, restricted. We say we’re trying to be the wonder of Asia, like Singapore, but we’re telling talented, committed people to keep out. That has to change. In Sri Lanka, you cannot be a Malaysian engineer who likes it here and wants to setup a company and more..

'SLMC, a bridge between two communities'

May 21 (SO) SLMC Chairman and Deputy Minister Basheer Segudawood said that their party considers the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) comprising members of all political parties represented in the parliament as the right forum to evolve a solution to the Tamils' grievances and they are continuing to persuade the TNA to join the talks. The SLMC wants to contest the upcoming Eastern PC polls in alliance with the Govt and anticipates the govt's more..

May 22: fortieth anniversary of Sri Lanka’s republican constitution

May 21 (TC) Forty years ago, on May 22, 1972, at the Navarangahala in Colombo, the Parliamentarians of Sri Lanka concluded two years of sitting there as the Constituent Assembly, by passing and accepting the new autochthonous Constitution of Sri Lanka. This home grown Constitution was formulated de novo by the elected representatives of the people of Sri Lanka, and was not derived in any way from the Constitution that was imposed on Sri Lanka by the British rulers, the Soulbury Constitution. more..

We need freedom to create with and for everybody living in Sri Lanka

May 21 (DBS) Mr.Jeyasankar says that there has been a statement in the leaflets like this, distributed at the premier of the drama “Theatre needs no spoken language and it evolutes sans spoken language several decades ago” says the leaflet”. There are no such baseless lies in that leaflet. As the Tamil translator of it I can take the full responcibility of it. This is the section of the leaflet (in English) which Mr.Jayasankar pointing out: more..

From Balapitiya to London; That’s how far Niluka has gone

May 21 (SL) ASK any athlete what it takes to achieve, no not medals, but mere presence in an Olympic arena and… well, you’ll get stories of sacrifices and hardships on the tap. They’ll tell you of the friends and relations they’ve long lost touch with, and inquire about the old, familiar haunts they once frequented; as well, they’ll tell you of a longing for the forgotten taste of ice cream and chocolates and, perhaps, also a yearning for the crispy more..

Three years after the war in Sri Lanka: To celebrate or mourn?

May 21 (GV) For the 3rd successive year, the Sri Lankan govt has made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the end of the war in Colombo. This year, May was declared as “war hero’s commemoration month”. For the last few days, roads were closed in Colombo causing great inconvenience, as preparations were being made for celebrating the end of the war. However, in the North, among Tamils, where the last phase of the war was fought, the mood was far from celebratory, but more..

3 years after the end of war: Official statements vs. reality

May 21 (GV) “There is no State of Emergency today.” – President Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation, 19 May 2012. Vs “Therefore, the attempt of the Sri Lankan govt to replace emergency laws with another set of laws under a different name, yet meant to do the same task is not surprising. State of emergency is not only a particular set of laws. Removing emergency regulations while continuing with militarisation and a massive project of policing in socio-cultural arenas more..

The author on Gota’s War

May 21 (CT) Gota’s War, a book on Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict and the end of the LTTE, has been the centre of attention since its release on Monday. With some praising the author’s efforts at compiling and narrating these events, and others questioning why the book focuses exclusively on the role played by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, author and Divaina columnist C.A. Chandraprema discussed the reasons behind more..

We are engaged in Revolutionary Praxis as advised by Marx

May 21 (TC) Central bank governor Ajith Cabraal said “This would include the fact that Sri Lanka has recorded a more than 8% growth for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011, and a projected growth of 7.2% this year. Our country’s foreign reserves are at a level of over USD 6 billion. The recent depreciation of the rupee, although the subject matter of many comments, is one of the lowest ever in our history. more..

Editorial: GL meets Hillary

May 21 (Island) External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris’ Washington tour aimed at repairing strained relations between the US and Sri Lanka following the Geneva showdown seems to have yielded the desired results. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has welcomed Sri Lanka’s reconciliation plan as a ‘very serious’ one while calling for ‘a really transparent, open, public process’ on implementing the LLRC’s recommendations and tackling allegations of war crimes. more..

Disturbing questions about NSB and TFC

May 21 (TC) Recently the Board of the National Savings Bank (NSB) sought to explain why it purchased shares of The Finance Company (TFC) from two or three of the latter’s directors with a premium exceeding 50% of the market value at a time when the entire Stock Market was in dire straits. It was apparently a very sound investment! For whose benefit? The NSB has not revealed from where it got the confidence to violate the very Act under which more..

Police thwart treasure hunters’plans to vandalise religious sites

May 21 (SO) National treasures of archaeological value are being plundered by treasure hunters with impunity, according to media reports. Treasure hunters have a passion for gold statues at places of worship. They believe that statues contain gold and precious gems. However, most of them end up in police custody. It is not surprising that treasure hunters are active outside archaeological sites. Temples and kovils have been vandalised in search of treasure. more..

Bollywood glamour at Carlton Super Sevens Rugby

May 21 (DN) The Carlton Super Sevens Rugby Tournament 2012’ will be held on May 26, 27 and June 2, 3 at the Bogambara Grounds in Kandy and Police Park, Colombo respectively. To add glamour to the tournament, a musical extravanganza has been organised with the participation of several leading local and international stars on the final day of the tournament. Several leading film stars from Bollywod including,Bipasha Basu and Sameera Reddy too would attend the event. more..

Mini seaplane airport opens today

May 21 (SO) Sri Lanka's first sea port landing facility will be opened tomorrow at the Dandugama River. The new mini seaplane landing airport could accommodate sea and float planes on wheels and have a wooden teak pier, passenger lounge to accommodate passengers and parking facilities to accommodate large tourist buses. The facility was first planned to be built in a section of the Negombo Lagoon but the Govt decided against it as fishermen in the area more..

Fertilizer subsidy extended to subsidiary crops

May 21 (DN) The govt has decided to provide farmers engaged in the cultivation of subsidiary crops the Rs.350 fertilizer subsidy that is being given to the paddy farmer. This is being done on the instructions of Minister Basil Rajapaksa according to Minister S M Chandrasena. He said farmers growing green gram, cowpea, maize, gingerly, chillies etc., have been appealing for a long time that the Rs. 350 fertilizer subsidy be extended to them as well, which had engaged the more..