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Treasury outlines serious challenges

May 25 (Island) Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera yesterday outlined several challenges the economy was facing despite the significant macroeconomic gains made since the end of the 30-years long conflict in May 2009, calling on the govt to adjust themselves from being mere politicians to custodians, paying serious attention to reforming state-owned enterprises which were draining public finances. Releasing the 2011 Annual Report of the Ministry of more..

Guard dismantles camera, steals cash from ATM

May 25 (KT) A guard allegedly stole cash from a local bank after dismantling the surveillance camera, a court heard on Tuesday. The 41-year-old Sri Lankan guard is believed to have stolen Dh8,000 from an ATM machine at the bank’s branch in Al Khor area. He was charged with theft in the Court of First Instance. The manager of the investigation section at a security firm said he knew in mid February from the operations section of the firm that Dh8,000 was missing from more..

‘Public sector commitment to better services, vital’

May 25 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said public sector employees should commit themselves to provide a better service to the public who seek their help with much hope. The President said many countries have shown an interest in investing in Sri Lanka and public sector employees should be prepared to provide these investors a better service. He was speaking at the launch of the Finance and Planning Ministry’s annual report yesterday. more..

SF pardoned due to Intl. pressure – Ex-CJ

May 25 (Island) Former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva yesterday said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had released General Sarath Fonseka due to international pressure and in view of the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review, which would be held in October. He said that pressure was mounting on President Mahinda Rajapaksa in respect of Human Rights violation in Sri Lanka and the US had recognised General Sarath Fonseka as a political prisoner. more..

Nalaka Godahewa tosses three tourism hats

May 25 (FT) Top professional Dr. Nalaka Godahewa yesterday resigned as Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism and two other entities whilst continuing to serve as Head of Tourism Development Authority. “I have decided to resign from the Chairmanship of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Sri Lanka Tourism Convention Bureau and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. I will remain as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, where I will continue our work in implementing the agreed more..

Chinese extortion ring busted in Colombo

May 25 (Island) The CID, after a joint investigation with a special police team from China, arrested 17 Chinese nationals on Wednesday for operating an extortion racket from Colombo using the internet, police said. All 17 suspects were handed over to the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration yesterday for deportation to China. Controller General Chulananda Perera said that once the Chinese Embassy provided his Department the required air tickets he hoped to have them deported to China more..

SC refuses AG’s motion on Z-Score

May 25 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday refused a motion filed on behalf of the Attorney General seeking permission to appoint a committee tasked with ascertaining whether the dispute over the Z-Score calculation in respect of the results of the August 2011 A/L exam could be resolved in a manner acceptable to all parties. The Court said yesterday that leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application, which complained of unacceptable procedure more..

1381 treasure hunters arrested since 2008

May 25 (Island) National Heritage Minister Dr. Jagath Balasuriya told Parliament yesterday that 1381 treasure hunters have been arrested by the police since 2008 for offences related to destroying places of archaeological importance. The minister. replying to a series of questions, raised in a special statement made by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake the previous week, said that 1,351 sites of archaeological importance had been destroyed since 2005. more..

Decoy used to arrest rapists

May 25 (Island) The Galewela Police used a decoy to arrest five youths who allegedly raped a 15- year-old school girl. Galewela Police sources said yesterday that the girl, a resident of Galewela had left her home after an argument with her parents. A youth who had met her, when she reached the Galewela town, had tricked her into getting into a three wheeler and taken her to a school in the village where he was alleged to have raped her in one of its halls. more..

Gosh, now that other side calls for GL’s blood...

May 25 (LB) A call went out to “throw” External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris out of office on accusation of him being a thakkadiya (conspirator and traitor) against his motherland, Sri Lanka. It was made by the chairman of the Manel Mal Movement, S.L. Gunesakera, in Colombo recently. The case in point is the role the External Affairs Minister played at the recently concluded UNHRC in Geneva. more..

The grim case of the neglected corpses

May 25 (SL) Unclaimed bodies piling up. The air thick with the stench of decomposing bodies. Rats chewing on corpses. This is not a nightmare scene from a horror movie or a lurid description taken from a ghoulish H. P. Lovecraft novel or a creepy Edgar Allan Poe short story. It is the grim reality at hospital morgues in Colombo – and in other parts of the country. Corpses are brought daily for post-mortems to the Institute of Legal Medicine and Toxicology, more..

'TFC’s NSB deal was to bridge Rs. 3.7 bn negative net worth and merge synergies'

May 25 (Island) The Finance Co. PLC, hot on the heels of the share deal fiasco with the National Savings Bank, said last night, that the deal was meant to be as a part of a capital infusion, that the oldest finance company was looking for, to bridge a Rs. 3.7 billion negative net worth. Dropping a further bombshell in the immediate aftermath of the share deal, which left the first reversed transaction on the floor of more..

Sri Lanka seeks foreign investors for marina

May 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka is seeking foreign investors to build its first marina on the south coast as boating enthusiasts are drawn to the island amid a post-war tourism boom, officials said. Sarath Kumara De Silva, chairman of the Cey-Nor Foundation, a state-owned boat building outfit, said a marina is planned in the Beruwela fisheries harbour, south of Colombo. "We are planning to build a marina in the northern basin of the fisheries harbour," he told LBO. more..

'Other than Ranil and his coterie, majority of UNP MPs receptive to Gen. Fonseka'

May 25 (Island) Close on the heels of Ranil loyalist John Amaratunga chiding UNP MPs, who rushed to welcome Gen. Sarath Fonseka on his release from prison last Monday, Mrs. Anoma Fonseka said that except for a coterie of people behind the UNP leader, a majority of party MPs had expressed their willingness to have political links with her husband. Amaratunga, the Chief Opposition Whip, who has just been appointed more..

Investigation into theft at Museum to CCD

May 25 (LT) IGP N.K. Ilangakone has taken steps to hand over the investigation in to the plunder of artifacts from the National Museum to Colombo Crimes Division (CCD). The CID investigations carried out so far have not revealed any leads to the plunder. Investigations have resumed with the supervision of Superintendent of Police R.L. Ranaweera and by a team of officers that include ASP Nuwan Wedasinghe and Chief Police Inspector Hemanthe Dikowita. more..

New controversy at BoI

May 25 (Island) With the country’s premier investment promotion agency struggling to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera has set up his own team to explore the possibility of generating investment. Dr. Jayasundera, who is also the Secretary to the Economic Development Ministry, has intervened as part of an overall strategy to bring in FDI. In spite of the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the country hadn’t received substantial FDI more..

Lanka Phosphate to begin work soon

May 25 (DN) Lanka Phosphate Limited, Eppawala, the newly established fertilizer plant will commence work at the beginning of the next month on the directions of State Resources and Enterprise Development Minister Dayasritha Tissera, Lanka Phosphate Limited chairman Admiral Daya Sandagiri said. The govt spent Rs.56 million for the fertilizer plant along with Lanka Phophate Limited. "It is expected to produce 200 metric tons of fertilizer per day. more..

US State Dept. says unlawful killings a major HR problem in Sri Lanka

May 25 (SM) The US State Department says unlawful killings by security forces and government-allied paramilitary groups are a major human rights problem in Sri Lanka, often in the predominantly Tamil areas. The Department’s 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices says that unlawful killings by forces or persons tied to the government are regarded as politically motivated in many instances. more..

Ranil pledges support to any agreement between TNA & Govt.

May 25 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called upon the govt to expedite the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC and pledged the support of the Opposition for commencing inter-party and inter-community dialogue to find a solution to the national problem. "If we fail to do so, Sri Lanka will be reviled internationally, and be forced to confront a hostile global environment," more..

Editorial: Private health sector, a big business

May 25 (DM) Just as the Government for some suspicious reasons delays and delays vital structural changes and policies needed to restore a health service where the well-being of the patient is given top priority, the private health sector and private hospital charges appear to have soared out of control with 90 per cent of our people unable to enter and be warded at private hospitals for any serious ailments. Some years ago parliament approved a law to monitor and more..

University teachers irked over UGC chief’s call for report

May 25 (Island) University teachers are irked over UGC chairman Gamini Samaranayake’s decision to call for a report on an incident involving a lecturer of the Sri Jayewardenepura University. The lecturer has been accused of threatening Education Secretary H.M. Gunasekera with death over the failure on the part of some schools to admit children of academics to popular schools. President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations more..

SF wants army camps removed

May 25 (CG) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka says military camps in the north must be removed. Speaking to the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, Fonseka said that the military is involved in the civil administration in the north. He said that the army should do only what the army does best and not get involved in civil administration. During his victory day speech President Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected calls to close army bases in the former war zone. more..

Poson under the theme ‘Harmony through equanimity’

May 25 (DN) The Poson Week has been declared by the Anuradhapura Govt Agent Mahinda Senevirathna under the theme “Harmony through equanimity” from June 1 to 7. He declared the Poson Week addresing the Poson Ceremony Committee at the Anuradhapura Secretariat Office. It is expected that around 100, 000 devotees will observe Sil at the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and Mihintale sacred sites. The All Ceylon Sila Bhawana Association will hold a Sil programme at the more..

No land for Muslims says Rishard

May 25 (CG) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen says most Muslims displaced by the war are unable to go back to their original land in the north. Speaking at a media briefing in Colombo today, the Minister said that several Muslims who were displaced from the north during the war are still living in temporary camps or houses. He said that after the war ended some of those who had attempted to go back to their original land in th north found it being occupied by others. more..

South Asian Mobile Conference 2012 in Sri Lanka

May 25 (GDI) Sri Lanka will be the venue for the third South Asian Mobile Conference which will be held at the Cinnamon Gardens Hotel in Colombo on 30th May. The conference will be the biggest of its kind in the region bringing together developers of next generation mobile content and applications, visionaries, researchers, academics, investors, policy makers and civil society activists and creating awareness on policies affecting Mobile more..

Arrested for possessing forged notes

May 25 (CT) Two individuals who were found in possession of 48 thousand rupee counterfeit currency notes were arrested by the Kahawatte Police, today. The two suspects who are believed to be residents of Badulla were handed over to the police by a group of people following suspicion that arose after the suspects had purchased a prepaid mobile phone card from a shop. The group of people had then followed the suspects to their residence and more..

Eating cashew fruit leads to murder

May 25 (CT) An individual in the Mahawa area has been murdered for eating a cashew fruit from a tree which belongs to another person. Investigations carried out by the Police have revealed that an argument between the security guard of the land with cashew trees and two individuals who had eaten cashew has led to this murder. The two people, father and son had eaten cashews when they had come in search of their cow that had run astray, and the security guard who had been on more..

LLRC to be basis for PSC talks

May 25 (CT) Discussions at the Parliamentary Select Committee will be based on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report and its key recommendations, according to the action plan presented by the Sri Lankan Govt delegation to the US State Department, Ceylon Today learns. The Govt of Sri Lanka has proposed that 33 main recommendations in the LLRC report will be discussed and debated at a Parliamentary Select Committee. more..

'No tax relief to individual vehicle importers'

May 25 (DM) Finance Ministry secretary P B Jayasundera said that there was no possibility of granting tax relief to those who had imported vehicles individually. As and when a tax is imposed on an imported item, it continues to be implemented generally, and it would not be possible to adopt a different method of application of the same tax to another sector, he said. He said that once the tax was imposed no reduction was possible but that there might be options to more..

Sri Lanka shares at 22-month low on SEC rule, econ woes

May 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market fell to a near 22-month closing low on Friday with many investors awaiting clarification on a new rule from the island nation's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) amid economic and political worries. The main share index fell 0.19 percent, or 9.45 points, to 5,009.67, its lowest close since Aug. 9, 2010. The bourse extended losses for the fifth straight session in thin trade, ending the week 4.1 percent down. more..

10yr tax holiday for LIOC

May 25 (DM) Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC), which began operations in 2003 has secured a tax amnesty for ten years through an international arbitration panel, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane told Parliament today. He was responding to JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who asked why the LIOC had been exempted from paying tax. “All the other business ventures are required to pay various forms of taxes to the state. more..

UN faces funding shortfall for Sri Lanka humanitarian work

May 25 (LBO) United Nation’s effort to raise 147 million dollars to fund humanitarian assistance in the former conflict-hit northern region this year, is facing a severe funding shortfall, official data showed Friday. As of May 18, only 13 percent or 18.7 million dollars have come through, the United Nations office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs said. The report did not give a reason for the funding gap, but said the monies are used for resettlement, demining, more..

Another brand new A320 joins the national carrier

May 25 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines acquiring a new Airbus A320 last month, expands its fleet to 23 aircrafts. The national carrier's fleet now consists of eight medium - range A320's, seven twin-engined wide-body A330's, and six long-haul A 340's, and two De Havilland Twin Otter floatplanes for domestic services. The new aircraft has a seating configuration of 20 Business Class seats and 120 Economy Class seats, and is equipped with sophisticated Inflight Entertainment more..

Govt won't restore SF's civic rights

May 25 (DM) Despite requests by the opposition and civil society organisations, the govt said yesterday they would not restore either civic rights or stripped military ranks encoding the title ‘General’ of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka at any cost. The govt said that Mr. Fonseka lost his ranks following a Court Martial ruling. Cabinet spokesman, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana at the weekly cabinet briefing at the Information Department more..

Prasanna Jayawardena, Welagedara upgraded in central contracts

May 25 (PTI) Wicketkeeper-batsman Prasanna Jayawardene and left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welagedara have been upgraded in the central contract categories, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said on Friday. Jayawardene has been promoted to category 2 from 3, while Welagedara is promoted to 4 from 5. The chairman of selectors, Asantha de Mel was consulted before the promotions were made, the SLC said. In the categories released earlier this month, Jayawardena was the sole more..

CSIS tip led to bust of alleged human smuggling ring

May 25 (NP) After six Sri Lankan men arrived in the African nation of Ghana to crew a large fishing vessel, they realized they were being watched. The revelation caused them to flee north by land, from Ghana’s largest port, towards the border with Burkina Faso, an area known for its crocodiles. There they were arrested and accused of plotting to fill that fishing boat with Sri Lankan migrants currently stranded in neighbouring Togo, and help them complete their haggard, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 25.05.2012

‘Glass of milk’ programme staled

May 25 (LT) The programme to give a glass of milk to school children in Nuwaraeliya District has been abandoned say reports. The programme commenced with the mediation of the President and approval from the cabinet on the 14th. The dairy farmers say they have to incur massive losses when giving milk for govt approved prices and also the money for the milk made available is not paid on time either. The programme to make available a glass of milk to school children was supervised by more..

Minister’s henchman shot dead

May 25 (LT) A very close associate of Minister of Johnston Fernando has been shot dead. The victim had been talking with his wife at his residence on the 23rd evening when the armed assassin under the cover of darkness had shot him and fled. The victim, 36 year old Sumith Kumarasinghe alias Amila was a father of two. He worked as the manager of the liquor shop belonging to Minister Johnston Fernando at Mawathagama. He had also been engaged in several businesses including more..

UNP ready to send list of nominees to PSC

May 25 (DM) UNP informed Parliament yesterday that it is ready to send its nominees to the Parliamentary Select Committee that is to be appointed to find a political solution to the national issue. Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said his party is ready to send its list of nominees to the select committee if the government had agreed to its agenda where the bilateral talks with the govt and TNA and more..