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Reserves down US$ 46mn

Oct 26 (Island) The Central Bank yesterday said gross official reserves reached US$ 7,053 million as at end August, down from US$ 7,099 million the previous month. Inflows to the govt had increased 35.7% to US$ 4,263.2 million during January-August 2012 from US$ 3,141 million a year earlier, an increase of US$ 1,122.2 million during the eight month period. Inflows into govt securities amounted to US$ 1,867.4 million, up 141.3%, more..

19 Muslim Fishermen were granted bail

Oct 26 (AT) The Muslim fishermen are all victims of the LTTE and they have suffered a lot and even in their rehabilitation they have suffered a lot. Instead of punishing them we must help them in their rehabilitation said Mannar Additional R.S.A. Dissanayake while granting bail to 19 fishermen. The suspects were charged with others for holding a demonstration on 16th July 2012, in the Mannar Bazaar, close to the Magistrate Court protesting against Magistrate Judeson. more..

'Thillekeratne’s appointment as JSC Secy. violated Constitution'

Oct 26 (Island) The appointment of Manjula Thillkaratne, as the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission, was done in violation of the Constitution, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said in Parliament yesterday. "The person appointed was 30th on the seniority list. What is his special qualification to hold the post?" the Minister said, during an adjournment debate in Parliament. Minister Peiris, who tabled the seniority list more..

'Govt. giving poor man’s land to private sector'

Oct 26 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader and MP Sajith Premadasa alleged that over the last four years, the SLFP-led ruling coalition had handed over 26,600 hectares of land for various private projects at the expense of the farming community. He warned of dire consequences unless the entire Opposition and civil society organisations got together to thwart UPFA plans to vest more..

New projects for fisheries sector

Oct 26 (Island) With the aim of increasing the export income of the country’s fisheries sector, the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has taken steps to introduce new projects. According to the Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the pilot projects of clam farming, sea cucumber farming, aquaculture farming and sea plant farming have commenced and arrangements are being made to introduce those projects to fisheries industrialists countrywide, more..

Avani opens second resort after Rs. 550 million facelift

Oct 26 (Island) Serendib Leisure Management in partnership with Minor Hotel Group, announced the opening of the second Avani resort – Avani Kalutara Resort, on Sri Lanka’s south west coast. Formerly known as Kani Lanka Resort and Spa, the resort has reopened after a significant renovation and refurbishment representing a Rs. 550 million investment. Located south of Colombo, approximately a one hour drive from more..

Illegal constructions cause reservoir siltation

Oct 26 (SL) Illegal constructions by encroachers in the Detagamuwa tank reserve in Kataragama have resulted in reservoir siltation. The situation has worsened since the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) has allowed gem miners to sift for gemstones along the tank. Detagamuwa tank which supplies water for paddy cultivation in Kataragama is in the verge of siltation as the Irrigation Department and the Kataragama more..

Kidney disease spreads tentacles

Oct 26 (LB) The increasing incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) which ravaged people in the Anuradhapura district has now started to affect the people of the Uva and Southern Provinces as well due to the excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer.Farmers in the Uva Province use pesticides and chemical fertilizer for banana plantations, sugarcane and vegitable cultivations. Following extensive more..

High chicken prices force consumers to depend more on eggs and fish

Oct 26 (ST) The recent hike by Rs.30 of a kilo of chicken has ruffled quite a few feathers particularly of housewives and these engaged in the food business. According to the data from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) the consumption of meat among the people in the country is 11,000 metric tons per month and the demand for chicken has been rising rapidly more..

‘A candidate needs Rs. 50 mn to enter Parliament’

Oct 26 (Island) Under the current electoral system, a candidate needed at least Rs. 50 million to successfully contest parliamentary elections, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said. He said people should not judge others by their appearance as all politicians were not paragons of virtue. A person elected to Parliament for six years was entitled to a duty free vehicle permit but only a few politicians made use of that facility as more..

Cinnamon export earnings to target $1bn by 2020

Oct 26 (DM) Sri Lanka's sole export market monopoly commodity, cinnamon, aspires to generate value added export earnings of US$ 1 billion by 2020, The Spice Council (TSC) Chairman Sarada De Silva stated. “Ceylon Cinnamon that has roots dating back to 1500 B.C., is a key underutilized potential that can facilitate export revenue earnings in the years to come,” UNIDO Regional Director Ayumi more..

Beware of waterborne diseases, Colombo residents warned

Oct 26 (Island) Residents of Colombo and other rain hit areas have been warned to adopt precautionary measures against the spread waterborne diseases. Chief Medical Officer of the Colombo Municipal Council Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, requested the public to keep away from flooded areas. Since there was a large rat population in the city, people could more..

Political third umpire to decide cricket’s future

Oct 26 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials and representatives of the country’s cricket clubs meet with the Sports Minister today in a crucial meeting which will decide the future of Sri Lanka’s cricket, but it will directly contravene ICC’s moves to rid the sport of politics. ICC has already introduced laws aimed at ridding the game from the political cancer that has crippled the game more..

India, Lanka to further defence cooperation

Oct 26 (PTI) Against the backdrop of protests in Tamil Nadu against training to Lankan defence personnel, India and Sri Lanka today held discussions on furthering their defence cooperation. Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is in India on the invitation of National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, called on Defence Minister A K Antony, Defence Ministry officials said here. more..

Keheliya to US: Compensate us

Oct 26 (DM) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the US must come up with a scheme to avoid harming friendly countries by its embargo on Iran -- or compensate them. CPC managing director L.T.Susantha de Silva said that the US embargo on Sri Lanka’s main crude oil supplier Iran had taken its toll on Sri Lanka’s fuel sector, and hectic negotiations had already been started with other sources to fill the void more..

Harassment of Sex workers will be probed:SL

Oct 26 (DM) With reference to the United Nations report that sex workers in Sri Lanka were often the target of police or military harassment,the Govt said today said the allegations would be looked into and necessary action taken. “Overall these allegations will be looked into. Sometimes these allegations are baseless, however we as the govt won’t be setting it aside more..

Editorial: Reconciliation - The way to revival

Oct 26 (DM) More than three years after the war ended, the efforts of the Rajapaksa govt to bring about reconciliation or peace with justice appear to be in a muddle. At least three hardline parties in the ruling UPFA are calling for the repeal of the 13th Amendment, which moderates and independent analysts see as the basic foundation for power devolution. Senior Minister Tissa Vitharana who headed the All Party Representative Committee said the hardliners were giving ammunition more..

Sri Lanka stocks close lower 0.46%

Oct 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks closed down 0.46% Friday with most high cap banking & financial stocks closing lower. The Colombo All Share Index closed at 5,550.88 down 25.84 points and the S & P SL 20 Index closed 12.24 points lower at 2997.35 down 0.41%. The day's turnover was 314 million rupees. Top contributors to turnover were Ceylon Leather with 164 million rupees, JKH with 19 million rupees and HNB (NV) with 13 million rupees. Aitken Spence Holdings PLC closed flat at 126.00 rupees. more..

On the threshold of budget 2013

Oct 26 (DM) The 2013 budget period is around the corner, with two setbacks for the govt in terms of legislative work in Parliament. As things stand today, it looks impossible for the govt to enact two pieces of legislations before the end of this year. Divineguma Bill and the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill that seeks to give permanent powers for the police to hold arrested persons in custody for 48 hours, are the two more..

Many are striving but only one will be chosen

Oct 26 (CT) About two months ago I mooted the concept of a Single-Issue (SI) challenge and the need for a SI candidate committed to abolishing the Executive Presidency (EP) forthwith upon winning the next presidential elections. The idea has gained momentum, won the attention of a diversity of political formations and stirred some individual ambitions. Every opposition party, even the UNP, has been smoked out into the open and been compelled to pronounce opposition more..

The myth of blanket immunity of the President

Oct 26 (CT) Article 3 of the much maligned 1978 Constitution unambiguously sets out that “In the Republic of Sri Lanka Sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of Govt, fundamental rights and the franchise”. Article 4 clearly defines how the Sovereign People shall exercise and “enjoy” their inalienable Sovereignty through its creatures – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Vested with more..

Probe EPF fraud as well - UNP

Oct 26 (DM) The UNP today commended the Bribery Commission for its courage in initiating action against former National Savings Bank Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam over the NSB-The Finance Company deal. The UNP also urged the authorities to take relevant action against those who manipulated the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) as well. Economist Harsha De Silva said the authorities should look into the entire gamut of fraudulent transactions. more..

Defence secretary initiates communal campaign over 13th amendment

Oct 26 (wsws) Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse last week called on the govt to repeal the 13th amendment to the constitution, which was adopted in 1987 as part of the Indo-Lanka Accord and provided for devolution of powers to provincial councils. The 13th amendment has always been a target for Sinhala communalists, who claim that the establishment of a council for the merged northern and eastern provinces was tantamount to conceding a separate state for the Tamil minority. more..

Still counting the dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka's hidden war

Oct 26 (Guardian) In the bloodbath that ended the 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009, tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives in a few terrible months. The world's politicians looked the other way. Some govts even praised Sri Lanka for its "victory over the terrorists", in reference to the defeat of the rebel Tamil Tigers. The UNHRC passed a remarkable resolution that praised the Sri Lankan govt's "commitment to promotion and more..

Indians largest chunk of tourists to Sri Lanka

Oct 26 (Hindu) Indian tourists far outnumber those from other countries visiting Sri Lanka. This has again been confirmed after the September 2012 numbers were compiled and put out by the Sri Lanka Tourism. In September this year, a total of 71, 111 tourists visited Sri Lanka. Of this, 13,888 (19.5%) were Indians. The next largest group, country-wise, was from the United Kingdom, 8,586. While the overall number of tourist more..

New club cricket tournament structure

Oct 26 (CG) Several senior Members of the Executive Committee together with the officials of the cricket committee and Tournament committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) along with the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports met at the cricket board head office together with the representatives of cricket clubs to discuss the new tournament structure which was formulated for the new season, the SLC media unit said today. The meeting began with a brief description by Greham Labroy more..

Health Ministry to probe woman’s death by wrong medication

Oct 26 (AD) The Ministry of Health has launched investigations on an incident where a 62 year old woman from Horana died after receiving the wrong medication from a private pharmacy. The Police Department is carrying out separate investigations while the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority to conduct investigations on this matter. Accordingly the authority’s Food more..

U.S. Coast Guard support for Sri Lanka

Oct 26 (CT) US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison addressed the closing ceremony of the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program in Trincomalee. This initiative was developed to strengthen bilateral efforts to promote greater maritime security and featured four US Coast Guard trainers and 14 Sri Lankan Coast Guard officers and 10 enlisted trainees. “The EXBS program is the United States Govt's premier more..

The 2012 World Food Prize goes to the struggle of the Sri Lankan fishermen

Oct 26 (AN) The National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) has received the 2012World Food Prize. The honor is symbolic in nature, and is awarded to individuals or organizations that have distinguished themselves for their commitment to food sovereignty. The Committee recognized the NAFSO's efforts and fight side by side with small-scale fishermen in Sri Lanka and its ability to bring to the attention of an international audience to more..

Norway temporally suspends work permits to SL

Oct 26 (DM) While advising against private agents charging fees for assistance with visa applications to Norway, the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo said that it had decided that no more work permits would be granted for the time beingfrom certain countries including Sri Lanka. Issuing a statement, Deputy Chief of Mission Jon Otto Brodholt said that many of these agents, who charge exuberant fees for their services, give incorrect and misleading more..

U.S. sanctions on Iran costs Sri Lanka $1.2 billion

Oct 26 (TT) The Sri Lankan Govt has had to spend an additional sum of $ 1. 2 billion to import crude and refined oil into the country due to the U.S. sponsored sanctions against Iranian oil exports, Minister Susil Premajayanth told Parliament. He said that by October last year the govt had spent U.S. $ 3.8 billion on oil imports but this amount had reached U.S. $ 5 billion by now. The Minister more..

Romance of personal and political in contemporary art in Sri Lanka

Oct 26 (CT) As to why art is created, there could possibly be an inexorable series of answers. Some could be mystical-conjectural alluding to the relation between artistic creativity and the divine; some other could refer to the political economy of imagination, creation and consumption. In addition to this, there has been already an unresolved tension between ‘art for the world’ and ‘art for the sake of art’; and indeed it is also possible to say today that more..

New drama staged by the govt

Oct 26 (LT) Inside the govt and outside it the much talked about topic at present is the 13th amendment. A few days ago Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had said that the country did not need the 13th amendment. He had said it should be revoked. Meanwhile, Minister Wimal Weerawansa recently said there is an attempt to divide the country using the Constitution and all patriotic forces should unite against this attempt. He said despite holding a cabinet portfolio he would fight to more..

Pirate's second bid for asylum

Oct 26 (TA) One of 10 asylum-seekers suspected to be heading for Australia on a fishing trawler they violently hijacked off Sri Lanka had voluntarily flown back from Australia last month on the promise of a $3300 govt resettlement package he was later denied. The Weekend Australian has learned that K. Ranjith Nishantha, 39, was among a group of 18 mostly Sinhalese Sri Lankan men who chose to return to Colombo late last month after being informed by Australian immigration more..

'Innocent children suffering from malnutrition; govt. showing profits'

Oct 26 (NF) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake questioned about the profits and losses of Milco in Parliament on Thursday. The profit was 104.2 million, in 2009 it was 332.1 million, in 2010 it was 300.7 million. In 2011 the profit was 83.1 million. Today when innocent children are suffering from malnutrition, and the govt shows massive profits being made by Milco, and when a 400 gramme packet of milk powder is being sold for between Rs.285 and Rs.290. Please explain to this more..

Mobitel lauded for Engineering Excellence at IESL Awards 2012

Oct 26 (DM) For the third consecutive year, Sri Lanka’s National Mobile Service Provider, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel won the coveted ‘Excellence in Engineering’ award, under the category ‘Infrastructure – Service Sector: Large” at the Annual Engineering Excellence Awards 2012 presented by the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL). The awards are held to encourage and celebrate the excellence in the science and the practice of engineering by rewarding the best more..

Criticism won't affect me, says Angelo Mathews ahaed of T20

Oct 26 (AP) Angelo Mathews says criticism of his batting from Sri Lanka's chief selector won't affect him as he prepares to lead the side against New Zealand in a one-off Twenty20 next Tuesday. Mathews said on Friday that it's only chief selector Ashantha de Mel's personal opinion that the allrounder has lost his power shots and has been reduced to reverse and paddle sweeps to score runs. Mathews was bowled more..

Colombo’s poor kissed boxer Luxman’s shadow as he passed

Oct 27 (LB) Here is former pugilist K.A.D. Luxman alias “Navy Knock-out Man” who at the age of 24 in 1980, and in his prime, disappeared from the boxing landscape. Today, when Luxman (56), walks the streets of Colombo, he gives the impression of a once strong man, now passive. Yet, sadly few recognize Luxman as the once ferocious hit man boxer. Luxman was a Feather Weight 57 kg, the National Champion from 1974 to 1980 besides the many laurels he won overseas. more..

‘Article 19’ is at the base of the INGO conspiracy

Oct 27 (LB) Economic development is the general improvement of a population’s standard of living by satisfying its basic needs. A necessary precondition for development is consciousness about the realities that must be promoted, meaning in effect, that a society needs to grow mentally before it can develop materially: Development of a country begins with the evolution of its intellect, a process that begins with knowledge of reality. The problem which countries like Sri Lanka are more..

Kahatagaha Mines in remarkable turnaround

Oct 27 (SO) Sri Lanka has several govt institutions that are in the red and are totally dependent on the Treasury for their survival. For the Govt which provides free healthcare and education, a fertiliser subsidy, Samurdhi and many other handouts to the public, maintaining these institutions is a major problem. The irony with regard to some of these loss-making institutions is that they were, at one time, running at profits and only have more..