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Period of Schooling: Isn’t it too Long?

Oct 11 (Island) The importance of school education is a subject that has been discussed for centuries. It is understood that school education expects to encompass discipline, social living, group work, and also expects to build self- confidence of a youngster at a very early age. It also must give him/her a first exposure to knowledge and applications, of the subjects taught, and should prepare the student for Higher level education. School education is the Launching Pad for one’s goals and actions more..

Need for additional spending in undisputed, priority the key

Oct 11 (ST) The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA), among its demands, proposes that the Govt should adopt a policy to annually spend an amount equivalent to 6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Minister of Higher Education has rejected this demand reiterating that the govt revenue is insufficient to bear such expenditure. The writer intends to explain the magic figure of ’6 per cent’ and to explore the ways to raise additional funds to meet this demand. more..

Minor relapse: CB net seller of dollars after a month as net buyer

Oct 11 (Island) After being a net buyer of US dollars from the country’s foreign exchange market at a given month for the first time this year, the Central Bank once again became a net seller, latest data released by the bank showed. For the first time in nearly a year, the Central Bank became a net buyer of dollars for a given month when it purchased US$ 325 million from the foreign exchange market in June. more..

Japanese investments in Govt. bonds via New World Securities top Rs. 6.5 b

Oct 11 (FT) Japanese investments in Sri Lankan Govt bonds via New World Securities Ltd. have topped the Rs. 6.5 billion mark, with the latter confirming more inflows being likely given strong appetite from the Land of the Rising Sun. Relatively a new entrant but powered by experienced industry professionals, New World Securities, which is a trading member of the CSE, had by late June attracted over Rs. 2 billion worth of Japanese investments in to Lankan Govt bonds. more..

Concessions in Budget a challenge: PB

Oct 11 (FT) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B Jayasundera yesterday stressed that energy expenditure as well as the ongoing global downturn would limit concessions given by the Budget to the masses. He noted that considering these constraints the Govt would have to make strong adjustments in the economy to sustain its achieved targets and expedite growth. With regard to the country’s unfavourable weather and its impact on agriculture in many areas in the country, more..

Govt. evades Greek Bond issue in Parliament

Oct 11 (FT) Sub judice was used in Parliament yesterday to adjourn the House prematurely without allowing opposition MP Dr. Harsha de Silva to open the adjournment debate on the controversial Greek Bond transaction. Having listened to a few members from both sides, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa allowed the Govt to take refuge behind sub judice highlighting a petition, which is pending leave to proceed by the Supreme Court. more..

Sajith proposes, Ranil disposes

Oct 11 (CT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had reacted strongly to a suggestion by Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, about the party spearheading protests against the intimidation of the Judiciary, fiercely rebuffing it as something the party should not get involved in. He had also criticized the judiciary as being highly politicized at present and deemed it guilty of greatly contributing to the destruction of the UNP. The verbal spurt had taken place at the more..

Land earmarked for Kelaniya University Eng Faculty

Oct 11 (DN) The Gampaha District Coordinating Committee has approved the release of a nine acre plot in Makola to the Kelaniya University for the setting up of its Engineering Faculty. Minister Basil Rajapaksa disclosed this at a meeting of the District Coordinating Committee at the Gampaha Kachcheri recently. Minister Rajapaksa said the Deyata Sevana Tree Planting Campaign would be launched next month. He said the mere planting of trees would not suffice and continued more..

Trafficking racket: Sri Lankan held

Oct 11 (TOI) A trafficking racket was busted with the arrest of a 42-year-old Sri Lankan national on Tuesday. The man had allegedly duped several youth on the pretext on getting them jobs in Malaysia. The man, Dissa Nayak alias Tushar, was caught from Paharganj when he came to the area to collect money from a woman. "The man used to charge anything between Rs1-2 lakh from every youth. He belongs to Yakwila in the northwest province of Sri Lanka and was staying in more..

Sri Lanka expects to better 'Doing Business' ranking

Oct 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka expects to move up on an ease of doing business ranking compiled by World Bank group for 2013, the island's central bank which has been involved in moves to improve the ranking said. States with rulers that give more freedom for citizens to engage in economic activities by relaxing or simplifying controls and permits, improve property rights, free trade and the legal framework move forward in the ranking. more..

Colombo comes calling

Oct 11 (BP) Opportunities for Thai investors to do business in Sri Lanka are abundant as the country provides the best gateway to the India and European markets, says Poldej Worachat, the Thai ambassador to Colombo. Thai businessmen can enjoy the benefits from the free trade area agreement between Sri Lanka and India, in which more than 4,000 items qualify for tax exemptions. Sri Lanka also has a similar agreement with Pakistan which has a population of 175 million, more..

Special language hotline — 1956

Oct 11 (CT) The Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, is to introduce a special hotline in order to solve language issues from 1 November. National Languages and Social Integration Ministry Media Spokesperson, Mahendra Harischandra, said anyone who faces problems with language in State Institutions, can make their complaints through the hotline — 1956 — and the Ministry will take steps to solve the issue. more..

Petitioner wants Divi Neguma approved through referendum

Oct 11 (FT) An application was yesterday filed before the Supreme Court calling for the controversial Divi Neguma Bill to be passed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament as well as be approved by the people at a referendum. Petitioner Chamara Kaluge, who is General Secretary of the Samurdhi Development Officers’ Union, cited the Attorney General as the Respondent in terms of the Constitution. The Petitioner states the said Bill for the enactment of an Act was first more..

LRH doc finds permanent cure for rare skin disease

Oct 11 (Island) A doctor serving at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) has found a permanent cure for ‘epidermolysis bullosa’ (EB), which results in extremely fragile skin blistering for even a minor friction or trauma. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that Dr. Jayamini Seneviratne had found the cure following research he conducted painstakingly on patients suffering from EB, which was a painful disease causing the separation of the layers of more..

'Executive Presidency must end'

Oct 11 (Island) Lawlessness, corruption and crime had become the order of the day and continues to thrive with the blessings of the rulers, former Army Commander and leader of the DNA, Gen. Sarath Fonseka said yesterday. Gen. Fonseka said corruption, crime and other social problems could never be ended as long as the executive presidential system remained. The need of the hour, he said, was to form a mass movement which more..

Sajith lashes out at govt.

Oct 11 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, recently lashed out at the ruling UPFA coalition for suppressing the judiciary and those critical of the dictatorial Rajapaksa regime. The Hambantota District MP alleged that the government was targeting Manjula Thilekeratne, Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) for being critical of the regime’s interference in judicial matters, whereas the underworld thrived with the state patronage. more..

International Girl Child Day commemoration at BMICH

Oct 11 (DN) International Girl Child Day will be commemorated at the BMICH today under the patronage of First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. The commemoration ceremony will be organised by the Child Development and Women's Affairs Ministry under the theme 'You are our daughter (Oba Ape Diyaniyai)'. The International Day of the Girl Child promotes girls' rights and highlights gender inequalities, that remain between girls and boys. It is a UN observance annually held on Oct 11. more..

TNA delegation to hold talks with PM, Krishna

Oct 11 (TOI) As the deadlock in the reconciliation talks continues in Sri Lanka, a seven-member delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), led by R Sampanthan, arrived in Delhi on Wednesday at the invitation of foreign minister S M Krishna. The TNA had pulled out of talks in January after the Lankan govt came up with the proposal that further negotiations be carried out through a Parliament Select Committee (PSC). more..

53 cop transfers with immediate effect

Oct 11 (CT) A total of 53 Policemen and women, from two police divisions in Panadura, have been transferred to Colombo and surrounding areas, with immediate effect. Among those transferred are 9 sergeants, including 1 woman, 17 police constables, including 6 women attached to the Horana Police, and 8 sergeants and 18 constables, including 2 women from the Moragahahena Police. The 53 policemen and women have been transferred to areas such as more..

Key political risks to watch in Sri Lanka

Oct 11 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is under fire from the U.N. Human Rights Council, which adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution that calls on it to ensure government troops who committed war crimes during the final stages of its war against Tamil rebels are brought to justice. At home, Rajapaksa bowed to international demands in May, releasing from jail his rival and former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who immediately vowed to fight for the government's downfall. more..

PB blames Govt., dons and student leaders for crisis

Oct 11 (Island) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera yesterday blamed the govt, Vice Chancellors and student leaders of the country’s universities for the recent fiasco which saw the higher education system come to a virtual standstill for three months. The FUTA engaged in a prolonged strike over pay disputes which later turned into a battle for more resources to the country’s troubled education sector. more..

Dons strike to end after today’s joint press conference - SB

Oct 11 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake announced in Parliament yesterday that a joint press conference would be held today with university lecturers to inform the public of the agreements reached with regard to the ending of the ongoing strike by dons. He said that the university lecturers would end their strike after the press conference. Minister, responding to a special statement made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the previous day in Parliament, said that more..

Commonwealth Biz Forum to be launched today by President

Oct 11 (FT) The 13th Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) is to be launched today by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The theme of the CBF 2013 will be ‘Partnering for Wealth Creation and Social Development – The CW, Indian Ocean and SAARC’. It will highlight global economic partnerships for trade and investment, providing an opportunity to attract an important business and trading audience to Colombo, noted Commonwealth Business Council Director General Dr. Mohan Kaul. more..

UPFA won’t impeach CJ, wants early end to dispute

Oct 11 (Island) Having faulted the judiciary for not complying with the procedures, laid down in the Constitution, to be followed as regards Bills challenged in Court for their constitutionality, the SLFP said it would settle the issue with the judiciary amicably. Ministers Maithripala Sirisena, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Dallas Alahapperuma and Susil Premjayanth said that the govt wouldn’t do anything to aggravate the dispute. more..

Editorial: Into the valley of death, marched the 6%

Oct 11 (DM) Here in Sri Lanka, the ordinary citizenry is the last to know about the decisions taken by the state for the so-called welfare of the former. Even though there is nothing comforting about this enforced ignorance, people are compelled to live with it. In an era where the politicians themselves seem to be unaware of the ultimate law that governs the country, one could hardly blame the people for their political illiteracy; which leaves the more..

Today is the first-ever International Day of the Girl

Oct 11 (DM) Today is a day to celebrate the fact that it is girls who will change the world; that the empowerment of girls holds the key to development and security for families, communities and societies worldwide. It also recognises the discrimination and violence that girls disproportionately endure – and it is especially important that one of the cruellest hardships to befall girls, child marriage, should be the UN’s chosen theme for this inaugural day. more..

The broken survivors of Sri Lanka's civil war

Oct 11 (BBC) The Sri Lankan civil war - which claimed 100,000 lives - ended in 2009 when govt forces finally crushed a near-40-year-long insurgency by the Tamil Tiger rebel group. The final months were especially brutal and survivors will not easily forget what happened to them. It was not hard to spot her. The house on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, was full of plump Sri Lankan Tamils, joking loudly and overloading the table with dishes of steaming biryani for Sunday lunch. more..

Does the growth in GDP Per Capita reflect improvement in our living standards?

Oct 11 (LB) The Central Bank refers to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita in nominal terms instead of real terms ignoring the effect of inflation in increasing the growth statistic. It does something even more misleading. It converts the nominal GDP Per Capita into US dollars at the exchange rate, under the fixed rate regime which it followed up to February 2012, in retrospect, which was overvalued by 20%. more..

Kitu Kidogo is all the rage

Oct 11 (SL) The economy they say is booming or is in gloom. It rather depends who you listen to. If it is that Eisenhower Fellow, Dr Harsha De Silva, we are living in a rather fairytale land where pumping and dumping is all the rage. Conversely if we take the official statistics and we hear out the mandarins at Treasury and Central Bankers, Sri Lanka is nothing short of a miracle in the making. I almost said a small miracle but that’s a strange phenomenon. more..

SF still clueless of terms, conditions of his release

Oct 11 (ST) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who was released under a Presidential pardon in May this year, said he is still clueless about the conditions under which he was released, five months after the dramatic turn of events which brought an end to his two-and-a-half-year incarceration at Welikada prison. “We have not seen a legal document still. It’s a secret document kept under wraps like an atomic bomb. more..

SLFP welcomes Ranil’s proposal to settle judicial crisis

Oct 11 (Island) Welcoming UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to appoint a special committee to examine the issues involving the executive, legislature and judiciary, the SLFP Gen. Secretary stressed that such an inquiry must be conducted by Parliament. Ranil proposed that a representative from Commonwealth or SAARC could be invited to examine the more..

'Major could defend himself at court martial'

Oct 11 (Island) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya told journalists yesterday that the major who had been assaulted at the Hilton Residence car park on September 9, could defend himself at a court martial if the latter was not satisfied with the court of inquiry findings. The army chief was answering a query what action the major could take to support his claim that he was on duty at the time of the attack. more..

Custom’s launch 24-hr Bio-diversity surveillance

Oct 11 (Island) Sri Lanka Customs has launched a 24–hour permanent surveillance on bio-diversity and archeological products at the Bandaranaike International Airport recently. Sri Lanka Custom’s Deputy Director Samantha Gunasekera, said they couldn’t start the permanent surveillance due to lack of officials, but the unit had obtained six officials in July. After two months of training, those officials have been attached to more..

Railway lands to be sold to the rich for a song - Ranil

Oct 11 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe lashed out at trade union leaders who were silent on govt moves to sell prime lands belonging to the Railway Department in Fort, to some affluent persons for a song. He said that instead of using valuable state property in a manner that would generate some income for the lowly paid workers, it was to be allocated for the construction of apartment complexes which would benefit a more..

'Sri Lanka borrowings not limited to China'

Oct 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's external financing has got diversified out of a traditional Western led donor group but the country was not just depending on China, despite such a perception building up, Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said. "Although there is a perception that we have only Chinese assistance for development, the country has got a much more diversified - much more than the 'Paris Club' kind of limited assistance," he told the alumni of Uni of more..

Preferential voting abolished for LG Elections

Oct 11 (GDI) The Local Authorities Special Provisions Bill and the Local Authorities Election Amendment Bill were passed unanimously in Parliament yesterday with amendments. Submitting the Bills Minister A.L.M. Athaulla said that with the adoption of these Bills the preferential voting system for local govt elections will be annulled. He said that a mixed voting system based on first past the post system will be introduced. more..

CPA condemns attack on Judiciary

Oct 11 (Island) The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) yesterday said that the recent attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Manjula Thilekeratne shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. "The attacks on the judiciary are the culmination of a systematic effort to intimidate and silence all critics of the government. It further demonstrates that a fundamental premise on which our democracy, indeed any democracy, is supposed to be built – the rule of law and the more..

CAA seizes fake ‘red samba’

Oct 11 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) took into custody 2,500 kilos of red samba rice, which had been artificially coloured, from various trading establishments in Dehiwala earlier this month. The traders would be prosecuted. A spokesman for the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade said that the CAA had sent 500 samples of the rice to the Govt Analyst’s Department for further examination and report. Minister Johnston Fernando had instructed more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 11.10.2012

Anti-MPMC Surgeon’s driver assaulted

Oct 11 (Island) An unidentified gang on Tuesday evening at Thimbirigasyaya, assaulted the driver of National Hospital Senior Consultant Surgeon Dr. Lalantha Ranasinghe. The doctor, who is also a member of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) was not in the vehicle at that time. Spokesman for the GMOA Dr. Naveen Zoysa said that the thugs had blocked Dr. Ranasinghe’s car, assaulted the driver and and taken away the ignition key. "Dr. Ranasinghe’s home came under a grenade more..