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'Govt. has not paid foreign banks over hedging deal'

Nov 7 (AD) The government of Sri Lanka has not paid any losses to any foreign banks or companies with regards to the hedging deal, the Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha stated. He also said that the Attorney General’s department is currently working on overturning the recent decision given against the Sri Lankan government with regards to a US $60 million case with Deutsche Bank. more..

UN helps resolve land issues in Sri Lanka's north

Nov 7 (Xinhua) The United Nations (UN) has come forward to address land issues faced by Sri Lanka's war displaced people who have been resettled, a UN agency in Colombo said. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said fresh challenges have emerged as people continue to return home and it is working with local authorities and partners to support sustainable returns by addressing some of the problems, including housing, land and property. more..

Secretary Defence inspects Abimansala-2 progress

Nov 7 (GDI) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapksa, made a surprise visit to the project site of "Abimansala-2" at Wilpitawatta, Kamburupitiya on Tuesday and saw for himself how Army Engineers and Soldiers were giving the final touches to the mammoth construction, just three days ahead of its auspicious opening by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The 'Abimansala-2' established in line with the more..

Eleven Tests involving Sri Lanka cancelled, postponed in 18 months

Nov 7 (Island) It has now emerged that since May last year, a total of 11 Test matches that Sri Lanka were scheduled to take part in were either cancelled or postponed, most of them at the insistence of under fire Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). The three match Test series involving Sri Lanka and South Africa is the latest series to suffer that fate as SLC postponed the series to allow the highly criticized Sri Lanka Premier League tournament to take place. Earlier this year, a scheduled three match Test more..

WikiLeaks: ‘We are losing credibility on terrorism financing issues with the GovSL’

Nov 7 (CT) “We are losing credibility on terrorism financing issues with the GSL, which takes our GWOT-related financial concerns very seriously. As we suggested a year ago, there needs to be an interagency USG look into possible LTTE fundraising in the US. A review of TRO/USA records and procedures might be the place to start. We realize there may be USG investigative efforts underway of which Embassy Colombo is more..

'TNA not divulging the truth on North development'

Nov 7 (GDI) Minister Douglas Devananda said that the TNA was lying both at the Parliament and in foreign countries without divulging the truth about the mass scale development activities carried out by the Govt in the Northern Region. Addressing the Media Personnel at a ceremony held to mark the opening of the new building for the Valikamam East Pradeshiya Sabha which also houses an Ayurvedic Dispensary and a Library, constructed at a cost of Rs.26 million, the Minister further said that more..

Mullikulam refugees appeal to Card Ranjith to help them go home

Nov 7 (AN) Refugees from Mullikulam (Mannar District) are hopeful and confident that the Archbishop Card Malcolm Ranjith and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa will help with their resettlement when they visit their Internally Displaced People camp. Expelled from their native village in 2007, the 212 Tamil Catholic families were relocated in Marichchikattu Jungle. "The cardinal is a great pillar of the Church," people said. "He can understand our pain. more..

'Though Govt. undecided, we want 13A repealed'

Nov 7 (DM) NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa said though the govt has not reached a decision on the13th Amendment, his party wanted it repealed. He was responding to a question asked by a journalist that Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had said the govt had not taken a decision on the 13th Amendment. “We want the 13th amendment to be repealed. We want to express our stance and to urge the more..

German Ministry delegation visits Jaffna

Nov 7 (GDI) In the wake of different rumours spread by interested parties on security and day-to-day life in Jaffna, a delegation from German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation, during their visit to Jaffna, met senior officers of Security Forces Jaffna (SF-J) to get an update on the present situation in Jaffna on Monday, November 5th evening. The delegation headed by Head of Division from South-Asia Federal Ministry for Development Cooperation Dr. Thomas Helfen comprised more..

Dilshan undimmed by advancing years

Nov 7 (CI) At some stage in a cricketer's career, age, not opposition, becomes the greatest obstacle to success. As the grey hairs bloom one by one, time begins to erode the faculties that served batsmen in their youth; the reflexes, the power in their shoulders, the fleet of foot. Bowlers often have their decline laid out unmistakably - even empirically. The lighter hauls correlate with less generous assessments on the speed gun, or a reduction in revolutions and turn. more..

Teachers to decide on strike tomorrow

Nov 7 (CT) Teachers’ Unions will decide tomorrow whether to abstain from duties and compel schools to shut down as part of their trade union action against the govt. The teachers have a list of demands including higher basic salaries, implementation of teacher transfer schemes and teachers’ promotions. School teachers, including principals, launched a protest march on 24 October, from Rajagiriya to the Education Ministry as more..

Sri Lanka stocks close 0.26% higher

Nov 7 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.26% higher Wednesday on gains made in banking counters, brokers said. The Colombo All Share Index closed 14.28 points higher at 5,570.87 up 0.26% and the S & P SL 20 Index closed 9.89 points higher at 3022.87 up 0.33%. The day's turnover was 250 million rupees. Top contributors to turnover were HNB (NV) with 50 million rupees, Commercial Bank with 28 million rupees and Asiri with 21 million rupees. Aitken Spence Holdings PLC gained more..

'Qualified principals have been neglected'

Nov 7 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) strongly condemned appointing acting principals as permanent principals in schools in the Western Province. Issuing a media statement, CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said that acting principals are being given permanent placements on a regular basis in the Western Province though there are a number of suitably qualified principals to fill in the vacancies. “As a result of appointing unsuitable candidates, the qualified individuals more..

Sri Lanka honours war-time investors

Nov 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to recognize foreign companies which invested in the island during the height of two rebellions by leftwing youth and Tamil Tiger separatists that almost wrecked the economy. The 'Global Commerce Excellence Awards 2012' will recognize 150 international companies for their contribution to the national economy during the 1985-2009 period, a statement said. It follows a similar awards more..

Increase salaries by Rs.13442.50 – Working masses take to the streets

Nov 7 (LT) Agitations demanding a salary increase of Rs.13442.50 to compensate for the spiraling cost of living are being held in work sites states National Trade Union Center (NTUC). The employees of Kalubowila Hospital held an agitation opposite the hospital on the 4th and the 5th. Agitations were also held in Gampaha and Ratmalana towns yesterday. The convener of the NTUC Samantha Koralearachchi said the agitations are being held at work sites at present as a part of more..

Three wheeler driver disappointed his deed not recognised

Nov 7 (Island) A civic conscious trishaw driver, Chaminda Soysa, who went out of his way to assist the Police to apprehend two Rumanian nationals, who fraudulently withdrew Rs. 2.4 mn from the automated teller machines (ATM) of the Commercial Bank at Colpetty, Ratmalana and Dehiwala on Friday night, said that he was disappointed that his good deed had not been recognised by the IGP or the bank. He said that despite informing 119 and speaking to police personnel from the Mount more..

Navi Pillay to visit SL in January

Nov 7 (DM) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay had said that she would head a team to Sri Lanka in January next year to look into the alleged war crime charges, the PTI reported quoting a statement issued by the India’s DMK party. Pillay had informed this, when a two-member delegation of DMK led by its Treasurer M K Stalin met her in Geneva on Monday. Stalin, accompanied by DMK Parliamentary Party more..

Lanka’s internet and email subscribers grow

Nov 7 (DM) The number of internet and email subscribers in Sri Lanka increased by 77.3% Year-on-Year during the second quarter of this year reaching approximately 1.15 million subscribers according to the latest economic indicators report from the Central Bank. The number of cellular phones in the country also saw a minor 6% increase reaching a figure of 19.27 million during the half. Meanwhile, fixed line telephones decreased by 3.5% to reach 3.43 million phones during the same more..

Surprise visits to police stations

Nov 7 (CT) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has decided to expedite the process of conducting visits to police stations without giving prior notice in order to investigate allegations of arbitrary arrests and detentions by the police. The Commissioner, HRC, Prathibha Mahanama mentioned that a telephone number has already been introduced to accept complaints round the clock and an investigation officer has also been detailed to undertake such complaints. more..

Detention Bill unconstitutional : SC

Nov 7 (DM) The Supreme Court has determined that Clause 8 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Bill that seeks to detain a person for 48 hours after being arrested without a warrant is inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore it has to be approved in Parliament by a two-third majority. The determination was announced in Parliament by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. The constitutionality of the Bill more..

PSUNU chief tells nurses not to fall prey to designing unions

Nov 7 (Island) Chief of the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU), Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera yesterday called upon all nurses to refrain from being deceived into joining protests organised by trade unions which only have their own interests in mind. He accused the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) and the All Ceylon Nurses’ Union of merely trying to seize all the glory of forcing the Ministry to annul a gazette notice issued last month. more..

India says impeaching Chief justice is an internal matter

Nov 7 (CT) Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said India would keep away from the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, when asked about the Indian govt’s position on the Sri Lankan govt plans to impeach the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, Lakbimanews reported. Mr Khurshid was responding to a question raised by a journalist, at the concluding meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for regional Cooperation ministerial meeting held in Gurgoan. more..

'Financial and administrative regulations to be revamped'

Nov 7 (DM) Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that the forthcoming budget would address the weaknesses of financial and administrative regulations that hindered speedy progress. He said the govt was contemplating drastic changes in the financial and administrative regulations (FRs and ARs), which it thought were presently impediments to economic growth. He added the budget 2013 would more..

Villagers voluntarily clean up Abimansala-2 premises

Nov 7 (GDI) Hundreds of villagers in and around new ‘Abimansala-2’ (wellness resort for dependent war heroes) complex at Wilpitawatte, Kamburupitiya, taking their own initiative and showing overwhelming support, participated in a mammoth Shramadana campaign Sunday and cleaned the entire wellness resort premises, ahead of its ceremonial opening on Nov 10. The new ‘Abimansala-2’ is to house about 50 South-based disable war heroes who are dependent for the rest of their precious lives. more..

Rajitha promises stiff punishment to Lankan poachers through new laws

Nov 7 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday promised stern legal action against Lankan fishermen and vessels which violated international law, through proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act. He said that the Amendments would be made to the existing Fisheries Act. No. 02 of 1996 to comply with the international obligations within six months. According to Dr. Senaratne the amendments includes a fine of minimum Rs. 1.5 mn and the imprisonment of up to two years and more..

'Govt will explain reasons for impeachment motion'

Nov 7 (AD) Minister Maithripala Sirisena has stated that steps will be taken to notify the public about the impeachment motion brought against the Chief Justice. The minister stated that the govt is taking measures to protect the people’s sovereignty and that the impeachment motion is a result of that move. The minister further stated that the UNP is against this move, but this motion was made possible by what they did back then to more..

'External shocks are there and don’t ignore them'

Nov 8 (CT) Professor Sisira Jayasuriya, a Sri Lankan born economist of international repute at Australia’s Monash University, in delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of the Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association or SLEA concluded recently, had an important message to Sri Lanka: External shocks are there and don’t ignore them. In laymen’s language, what he said was as follows: Countries face unexpected economic downturns from time to time more..

R. S. Wanasundera: A gentleman of integrity and conscience par excellence

Nov 8 (NS) I can still recall as fragments, the first ‘conversation’ I had with Justice Raja Sirimevan Wanasundera PC. The crux of it was that a coca cola TV advertisement (from the USA aired back in the 1980s) showed a man who looked exactly like him. I was a preschooler then. The ‘conversation’ was in the dining room of my maternal grandparents’ home at Fife Road. I can still recall my delight to have engaged him and got his attention, making that revelation to him, in the presence of more..

Growers appeal for assistance: Pineapples, a juicy delight

Nov 8 (SO) Although Nawala in Kotte became popular for pineapple cultivation during ancient times, its popularity gradually decreased with the arrival of the colonial rulers. The construction of more buildings, factories and roads during the colonial era, resulted in many pineapple cultivators at Nawala abandoning the traditional cultivation. Nawala, in close proximity to Sri Jayawardanapura, is now a thickly populated area. more..

'I silently ponder in my prayers whether we have cheated them (Tamils) again?'

Nov 8 (DBS) After the 1983 black July riots, the cream of the Tamil intelligentsia spread their wings and settled right round the globe, especially concentrating in Europe. Like all minor ethnic groups, they flocked together in towns and cities where there was a heavy concentration of their own kith and kin. Italy was the only country where the Sinhala population was larger than that of the Tamils. This was due to the fact that some of the Catholic missionaries, including the Jesuits, more..

We are fortunate to have a CJ prepared to defy the tyranny of the Executive

Nov 8 (DBS) “Sovereignty of the Sri Lankan People under the 1978 Constitution is one and indivisible. It remains with the People. It is only the exercise of certain Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers of the Sovereign People that are delegated to the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary under Article 4. Fundamental Rights and Franchise remain with the People and the Supreme Court has been constituted the guardian of such rights.” So stated Hon. Neville Samarakoon Q.C. arguably the more..

Challenging the Brahministic male chauvinism

Nov 8 (ST) Saranath, India, 1996. Hundreds of devotees, monks, nuns and photographers follow a grand procession of dancers, drummers, horses and caparisoned elephants towards the ordination platform. Kusuma Devendra (nee Gunawardene), about to undergo higher ordination, thinks back to the days of the Buddha, when Ven. Maha Prajapathi Gothami Devi and other women had only their determination to end their more..

What Octave Mirabeau said about Ceylon!

Nov 8 (CT) Octave Mirbeau’s “The Torture Garden” is undoubtedly a classic novel, but a controversial one. Different people appreciate it for different reasons. Sadistic beauty or cruelty, literary brilliance, poetic humour, powerful critique against politicians and bureaucracy are some. He was also sarcastic about scientists and intellectuals. It was once described as “the most sickening work of art in the nineteenth century.” I recently reviewed it for Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives, more..

Democracy survived, usurpers lost

Nov 8 (NS) A spate of coups occurred in African states in the 1960s and 70s, whereas they were sporadic in Asia, especially in South Eastern and South Asian countries. Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh suffered under military rule following interventions by armed forces. Sri Lanka, one of the few surviving democracies in the third world, successfully thwarted a coup attempt by a group of high ranking military and police officers, planned to take place on the night of 27 more..

The good news and the bad news

Nov 8 (CT) The good news is that there is nothing illegal about impeaching the Chief Justice. If one third of MPs sign a petition requesting it and one half approve the petition once it is presented in Parliament, the Constitution says that she has to go. That’s reassuring isn’t it? It is what the Govt has been claiming, in any case. Unfortunately, the bad news is that if Mahinda Rajapaksa can remove the Chief Justice for more..

Editorial: A double-edged scimitar

Nov 8 (Island) The govt has tabled 14 charges against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and set in motion a parliamentary process aimed at impeaching her. The warring parties have crossed the Rubicon and the stage is now set for a legislative trial, as it were, of the head of the judiciary. The allegations against the CJ are serious. However, the fact remains that they have to be substantiated and one should refrain from rushing to conclusions and watch the unfolding drama with an open mind more..

In Sri Lanka, a lot more at stake than just Test cricket

Nov 8 (IC) The SLPL aims to bring Sri Lanka’s premier 50-over tournament and first-class tournament under the SLPL brand after the restructuring of those tournaments. The three versions of the SLPL tournament (T20, first-class and 50-over) will each have its own window in Sri Lanka’s calendar. And, for the sake of the SLPL brand, all key national players must be available for the SLPL. What then becomes of international cricket and the Future Tours Programme? more..

Fiscal slippages, poor exports growth haunt economy as Budget 2013 unveils

Nov 8 (Island) As the much anticipated budget proposals for the fiscal year 2013 is unveiled in Parliament today, several underlying structural issues continue to plague the economy, preventing the country from realising its true potential for equitable, sustainable development. Economists have pointed out that fiscal indiscipline was the bane of macroeconomic stability in this country, with revenue estimates always more..

Launching pad towards knowledge hub

Nov 8 (DN) The 1,000 secondary schools development programme aimed at transforming school education in the quest towards making Sri Lanka a 'knowledge hub,' is in full swing, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. The secondary school development project is carried out under the theme 'Transforming School Education Project' (TSEP). The objective of TSEP is to increase access to quality primary and secondary education to lay the foundation for knowledge-based economic more..

Rice cream out of rice flour

Nov 8 (DN) The country has not only gained self sufficiency in rice and maize but also is exporting rice, due to the far-sighted agriculture development policies of the govt. The govt is encouraging the people to consume more rice and rice based food instead of wheat flour based products. The Anuradhapura Post Harvest Technology Institute has introduced a range of rice flour based food and beverages parallel to the boom in rice production. Anuradhapura District Secretary more..