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Low cost tractors from Sri Lanka

Nov 9 (TS) A Sri Lankan company has shipped 40 tractors into the country, which are designed to cost less but help farmers get optimal crop production. His Majesty King Mswati III was presented with one of the tractors by the company, which has already opened a manufacturing and assembly factory in Swaziland. The project by the EDNA Group is one of the fruits of His Majesty’s recent visit to Sri Lanka. Their local branch is situated at the Matsapha Industrial Site. more..

Leadership training programme postponed

Nov 9 (CT) Leadership training for university undergraduates, which was due to begin mid-Nov, has been postponed to Dec, Higher Education Ministry said. However, Higher Education Ministry Secretary, Dr. Sunil Navarathne, said though the training programme will begin in Dec, a date has not been decided as yet. Media Spokesperson of the ministry said discussions are still being conducted amongst the ministry authorities to finalize more..

SriLankan sponsored IATA Global Aviation Human Capital Summit next week

Nov 9 (DN) SriLankan Airlines sponsored second International Air Transport Association (IATA) Global Human Capital Summit, ‘Talent for Tomorrow,’ is scheduled to take place on November 13 and 14, at the Hilton Colombo. The two-day symposium will draw the best in global aviation to share and discuss a number of current and significant topics related to the sector. Launched last year, the summit is on its way to becoming an annual event, making it the foremost gathering of more..

Why the increase in Sri Lankan asylum seekers?

Nov 9 (SBS) Sri Lanka, a country of 20 million, has had democratic institutions and practices since 1931, when universal suffrage (including for women) was granted by the British. Sri Lanka was a poor country, but well-educated and with a range of social services and subsidies which reached the majority rural population. Power changed hands peacefully. Today, there are many disturbing political issues which did not exist 40 years ago. These include the chaos and destruction more..

'Committed to reduce smoking'

Nov 9 (DM) The Health Ministry said today that the govt suffered a staggering loss of Rs.4 billion each year due to non-communicable diseases caused due to smoking and said the ministry was committed to reduce the habit of smoking. The tobacco industry filed action against Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena in the Court of Appeal on Nov 2 requesting an order to prevent the implementation of pictorial warnings on more..

Dr. JJ revived after cardiac arrest

Nov 9 (Island) UNP Deputy General Secretary and parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana suffered a heart attack around noon yesterday and was admitted to the Sri Jayewardenepura hospital, where he was revived after he gone into cardiac arrest. Hospital sources said he was recovering after a stent was installed into one of his coronary arteries by consultant cardiologist Dr. Mrs. Neomali Amarasena. She was assisted by anaesthetist Dr. Mrs. P. Palihawadana. Dr. Jayawardana, more..

Sri Lanka gives tax breaks for renewable energy

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka has cut taxes on renewable energy equipment and given accelerated depreciation allowances for renewable energy investments and given tax holiday for wood based energy crops. President presenting a budget for 2013 said Sri Lanka wanted to reduce imported petroleum use and promote renewable energy. "In this background, it is necessary to encourage the exploration of remaining hydro potentials, solar and other renewable energy sources," more..

Mahinda offers olive branch to Opposition to work together in national interest

Nov 9 (FT) President Rajapaksa used the 2013 Budget presentation to offer an olive branch to the vocal Opposition to work together on national political and social issues and to create a poverty-free Sri Lanka by 2015. “Both in the Opposition and in Govt have demonstrated that we can work together in the national interest. With the maturity gained through longstanding political experiences, influenced by traditional more..

'CJ’s defence of financial dealings does not hold water'

Nov 9 (DN) Legal experts yesterday immediately reacting to a letter dispatched by Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake regarding the financial improprieties cited in the impeachment motion, say that these defences are untenable. For example she states (through her lawyers) that she banked with the National Development Bank (NBD) since 2010. The letter states: ‘Our Client has declared all operative accounts that have assets in her declaration of assets and liabilities. more..

Tissainayagam named Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

Nov 9 (PR) The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is pleased to announce its Fall 2012 cohort of Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows. In residence are leading practitioners, journalists, and scholars from Argentina, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, the United States, Yemen, and Zambia. The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program seeks to increase the knowledge, enrich the skills, broaden the perspectives, and boost the morale of some of the world's most creative and courageous more..

'Sports cars for playboys, taxes for the poor'

Nov 9 (Island) Since the Budget presented by President Rajapaksa yesterday has no tangible proposals to reduce the high Cost of Living,the UNP will be voting against it,Chief Opposition Whip, John Ameratunga said. He said that the 2013 budget had failed to address the unprecedented percentage rise in the prices of essential goods and services ,which was the most important issue as far as the poor were concerned. more..

JVP says no relief for masses

Nov 9 (Island) People struggling to make ends meet hadn’t received any relief through the UPFA govt’s budget for 2013, the National Trade Union Centre affiliated to the JVP said yesterday. JVP trade union leader Lal Kantha alleged that the corrupt Rajapaksa regime had squandered billions of rupees of taxpayers’ money and engaged in mega corrupt deals. The Mihin Air and Hedging transactions had cost the country dear, Lal Kantha said. The failure on the part of the govt to provide more..

NZ Radio Sport pulls out of SL Tests over high costs

Nov 9 (CI) New Zealand's Radio Sport will not be broadcasting live commentary from the ground for New Zealand's two Tests in Sri Lanka after the radio station failed to come to an agreement over the cost of broadcasting rights with Ten Sports*, the broadcaster. Terming the deal as "expensive," Dallas Gurney, the radio's general manager of talk, said the price asked wasn't cost-effective for the network. NZC chief executive David White said the money being asked was "way above anything more..

President Rajapaksa presented the Budget Report- 2013 to the parliament

Nov 9 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance presented the Budget Report for the year 2013 in parliament today on 08 November. This is Sri Lanka's 66th Budget and the 8th Budget presented by President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance & Planning, since assuming duties as President in 2005. Today parliament met at 12.50 pm presided by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. After the presentation of more..

Editorial: Where the womb becomes the tomb

Nov 9 (DM) Nov. 11 has been declared as the Day of the Unborn Child. Behind this theme are some horrifying figures. Though abortion in Sri Lanka is still illegal, investigations have revealed that at last 700 abortions take place daily. That means more than 20,000 a month and a terrifying 250,000 a year. It is a massacre of the innocents or the voiceless and helpless child. Recently sections of the Govt have proposed legislation to legalise abortion in a limited way. more..

Justice must be seen to be done

Nov 9 (CT) The Govt has tabled a motion in Parliament to impeach the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake that sets out 14 charges against her, including some relating to her personal finances. Govt spokesmen have assured that the motion is not motivated by any displeasure caused by such judgments and that it is based on alleged acts of misconduct by the Chief Justice. However, it is significant that the Supreme Court has recently given several judgments against the State more..

Red light blinks at the CEB

Nov 9 (SL) Losses amounting to Rs. 40 billion plus so far this year have triggered a red light for the CEB calling for an immediate intervention to salvage the cash strapped institution from falling further into an abyss. While the govt blames the delay in implementing the energy policy for the massive losses recorded by the CEB, opposition parliamentarians and sometimes even governing party members have claimed that the inability more..

A jumbo task gets underway

Nov 9 (ST) N. Piyasena, a 57 year old, farmer from Galegama area at Medawachchiya, Anuradhapura, is the latest victim in the ever-intensifying human-elephant conflict. Mr. Piyasena was attacked by an elephant on Tuesday night while he was heading to a funeral house. A father of two, he had left home around 11 p.m. saying he would be staying overnight at the funeral house. However, next morning the villagers found his lifeless more..

SL v NZ: Rookie spinner in Sri Lanka test squad

Nov 9 (CI) Tharindu Kaushal, a 19-year old offspinner, has been named in Sri Lanka's squad for the two Tests against New Zealand, while left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara returns to the side after missing two Tests against Pakistan due to a shoulder injury. Fast bowlers Dhammika Prasad and Shaminda Eranga were also picked in the 15-man squad, displacing Thisara Perera and Nuwan Pradeep. more..

Sri Lanka expects strong revenues, record domestic borrowings in 2013

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expecting to grow revenues by an optimistic 19.2% to 1.25 trillion rupees cut foreign borrowings by 55% and ratchet up domestic borrowings by a record 64% to 421 billion rupees, a budget for 2013 shows. In 2013, Sri Lanka is expecting to run a budget deficit of 507.4 billion rupees or 5.8% of an estimated 8.7 trillion rupee gross domestic product, down in terms from a provisional deficit of 6.2% of GDP more..

Sri Lanka military opens more hotels, creates resort brand

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's army has opened its third resort hotel and also created a brand as part of efforts to add more rooms to cater to an influx of tourists and promote soldier welfare. Army chief Jagath Jayasuriya said the army, which opened its first resort to provide rest and recuperation to soldiers fighting an insurgency, was looking to expand and diversity its hotel assets. "Our vision is to make the 'Laya' brand one of the more..

President proposes change in provincial council system

Nov 9 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, delivering the 66th budget yesterday, stressed the need for a change in the provincial council system. He said: "A change in the prevailing Provincial Council System is necessary to make devolution more meaningful to our people. Devolution should not be political reform that will lead us to separation but instead it should be one that unifies all of us." Devolution should not more..

Sri Lanka’s long road to reconciliation

Nov 9 (IRIN) Genzia Mary, 10, is fascinated by the buses arriving in northern Sri Lanka, their jovial travellers singing in a language that, until two years ago, was completely foreign to her. Mary lives in Kilinochchi District, part of the country’s northern former war zone popularly known as “the Vanni”. Thousands of southerners, mostly from the majority Sinhala ethnic group, come to visit war attractions as well as a well-known Buddhist temple north of the Vanni. more..

Dons, docs studying the budget

Nov 9 (Island) University teachers, who sought a pay hike from the budget, yesterday said they could not comment on the academic allowance increment, proposed by President Rajapaksa, until they study it at length. President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that President Rajapaksa had promised an increment in the allowance for university teachers, doctors and judges within affordable limits. more..

Former LTTE commander killed in Paris

Nov 9 (CG) Nadarajah Mathinthiran alias Parithi, an ex-LTTE commander who had left the movement in the early 90Œs and later coordinated Tamil organisational political activities in France since 2003, was killed last evening outside the office of the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC) in Paris, the Tamil Nwt website quoted news sources in France as saying. The website meanwhile said that people close to the 49-year-old organiser, who was also known as Reagon, blamed the more..

Arjuna resigns from SF’s party

Nov 9 (DM) Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga has resigned from the Democratic Party, led by Sarath Fonseka today. Meanwhile Tiran Alles also confirmed that he tendered his resignation as the secretary of the party in September. Speaking to Daily Mirror online MP Arjuna Ranathunga who was the Deputy Leader of the party said that he will continue to be a member of the Democratic National Alliance- and function as an MP of the party. more..

Impeachment: Yes. Arbitrary Impeachment: No.

Nov 9 (CT) I advise govts on infrastructure regulation. In the interest of effective regulation that is shielded from govt interference and manipulation by regulated companies, especially those that are still controlled by govt, it is commonplace to establish statutory safeguards to ensure regulatory independence. In the process, some legislative designers weaken the procedures for ensuring accountability by the regulatory agencies. For example, it was found in more..

To be or not to be Sri Lankan? … That is the question!

Nov 9 (CT) How do I define my identity? At first glance, the answer would be simple and clear: I am a French citizen with Sri Lankan origins. This would be enough for any administrative paperwork. But in daily life, the reality is quite different depending on the situations that we are facing. The first question would be: Am I French or Sri Lankan? I was born in France, I studied in France, I live and work in France. So what could be more natural than to feel French? more..

'Public trial will further damage judiciary'

Nov 9 (DM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, while saying he was strongly opposed to the charges contained in the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake being made public, said the Select Committee should not be given judicial powers because the exercise was purely of a disciplinary nature relating to a contract of employment. “Both the charges and the response have been made public and more..

Stocks at 3 week high on budget hopes

Nov 9 (Reuters) Stocks edged up to a three-week high on Friday, a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced plans to boost the capital market by encouraging new listings of shares and debentures through tax exemptions, brokers said. Under the budget, presented on Thursday, the government also aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 5.8% of GDP in 2013, while attaining 7.5% economic growth next year. The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index rose 0.15%, more..

Another review on Salaries and Allowances of University Lecturers

Nov 9 (GDI) Minister S.B.Dissanayake said that another review on Salaries and Allowances of University Lecturers will be made and continued discussions will be held in this connection. He made these in response to a question raised by the MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament today. Responding to a question about the leadership training to University students the Minister said that 16924 students have been provided with this training under two stages. more..

Editor seeks political refuge abroad

Nov 9 (SMH) The Sri Lankan newspaper editor told by a govt official she would be killed - but who was denied protection in Australia - has fled Colombo for political asylum in another country. Frederica Jansz was told by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the brother of the country's President, that if they were at a function together "I will tell people this is the editor of the Sunday Leader and 90% there will show that they hate you … they will kill you". more..

Currency smuggler nabbed at BIA

Nov 9 (Island) Customs officials, at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday thwarted an attempt by a Singaporean national to smuggle out foreign currency to the value of Rs. 3 million. Customs sources said Superintendent of Customs S. P. S. Senanayake had, on suspicion, checked the 25-year-old suspect’s laptop computer case when he was about to board a fight to Singapore and discovered the foreign currency––25,000 Singapore dollars and USD 2,500. more..

SI sentenced to death

Nov 9 (Island) Batticaloa High Court Judge Nanaku Sivapatha Sundarm yesterday handed down death sentence to Sub Inspector of police Suminda Bandara, who was found guilty of killing two of his colleagues. SI Bandara was arrested by the Batticaloa Police and charged with shooting to death Sub-Inspectors Sugath Prasanna Subasinghe and Mudiyanselage Rohana Ekanayake at the Batticaloa Railway Station Police Post on May 19, 2002. Attorney-at-Law Perinpan Premnath more..

Sri Lanka chamber backs budget targets, calls for rule of law

Nov 9 (LBO) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it was encouraged by govt plans to cut the budget deficit which will help create a stable economy which will allow economic targets to be achieved. "Prudent monetary policies and the maintenance of fiscal discipline are required if the medium term macro targets announced are to be met and will play a key role if the real benefits of the progressive budgets since 2010 are to be realized," more..

DDG fears foul play in appointment of Health Services DG

Nov 9 (Island) Deputy Director General (Planning) Dr. Wimal Jayantha, who is one of the short-listed candidates for the post of Director General of Health Services, has appealed to the Human Rights Commission requesting it to ensure that a junior administrator is not appointed to the high post. The candidates were interviewed at the Finance Ministry on Nov. 2, by an interview board headed by Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Health Ministry more..

Dilshan to miss final ODIs with injury

Nov 9 (C365) Sri Lanka will be without opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan for their final two ODIs against New Zealand after the veteran picked up a back injury in training ahead of the third game. Dilshan batted through the injury in that game, scoring a century to lead his side to a seven-wicket win and a 2-0 series lead, but he will now be rested and probably replaced by Dinesh Chandimal. Team manager Charith Senanayake said: "Dilshan strained his lower back during more..

'Sri Lanka still volatile despite end of war'

Nov 9 (Age) The chief rights advocate for the United Nations has expressed alarm at a new push by Australian immigration authorities to immediately reject a number of Sri Lankan asylum seekers. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is in Bali for a democracy summit, also attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Ms Pillay said she had heard numerous concerns that asylum seekers could languish indefinitely on Nauru more..

Sri Lanka clarifies on impeachment move against CJ

Nov 9 (Hindu) Clarifying for the first time on what led the Sri Lankan Parliament to move a motion of impeachment against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayeke, a senior aide of the President said that it was her husband’s “dealings” and various other improprieties that forced the hand of the govt. A group of ‘young backbenchers’ in Parliament had brought to the notice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa a few acts of the Chief Justice “some time back.” Only when the number of acts more..

Lankan taxi driver sentenced for passenger assault

Nov 9 (ABC) A Sri Lankan student will spend at least 18 months behind bars for sexually assaulting a passenger while he was working as a taxi driver in Perth. Sumudu Rangana Bamunu Arachchige pleaded guilty to three charges of molesting the 34 year old woman after picking her up in Mount Hawthorn in July. The District Court was told the woman was affected by alcohol and after falling asleep, awoke to find the 28 year old abusing her. Bamunu Arachchige was sentenced to more..