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Vigorous campaign to promote Ceylon Tea in the US

Sept 27 (GDI) Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tea Board has launched a vigorous campaign to promote Ceylon Tea in the United States. The focus of the campaign is to strategically and effectively position Ceylon Tea in the US market, which is currently experiencing a notable increase of tea consumption. The Ceylon Tea campaign was launched in conjunction with the more..

First Dhamma School in Jaffna to foster harmony

Sept 27 (DN) The first Dhamma School in Jaffna will be opened on Sept 30 to revive Buddhism in the North which suffered neglect under three decades of LTTE terrorism. The Tamil Buddhist Association will conduct the Dhamma School programme in Jaffna. It is hoped the move will lay the foundation to promote religious harmony between all ethnic groups in the Northern Province, Tamil Buddhist Association president more..

Sri Lanka embassy in Tokyo promotes tourism

Sept 27 (DN) The Sri Lankan embassy in Tokyo organized a high profile “Sri Lanka Promotional Seminar” consisting of over 150 officials and personnel engaged in the spheres of tourism and travel trade, leaders of corporates and industry of Japan, senior bureaucrats and technocrats of the Japanese government and other invitees. The seminar was held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and was graced by more..

UNP demands 1.5% increase in education allocation

Sept 27 (Island) Amidst street protests by university lecturers, the UNP called for a road map on education. It demanded that allocations for education be increased immediately to three percent of the GDP and then to six percent in the forthcoming budget. Eran Wickremeratne, UNP National List MP, said after participating in the demonstration organised by the FUTA, said that the current 2% of GDP allocation for education was more..

Sri Lanka to purchase Chinese buses despite protests

Sept 27 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is continuing discussions with China to purchase 3,000 new buses despite protests by private bus operators in the country, a minister said on Thursday. Minister of Transport Kumar Welgama said that discussions are continuing with Chinese companies but a final decision has not yet been reached. "We are looking at purchasing these buses but we are still having discussions," the minister said. more..

HSBC SL offers VSS for employees

Sept 27 (DM) Sri Lanka’s HSBC Bank is offering a Voluntary Separations Scheme (VSS) for its workforce as the bank plans to implement a global programme to align with its international structure. In response to our inquiry, an HSBC Sri Lanka spokesperson confirmed to us on email that the bank has offered a Voluntary Separation Scheme for its staff. He also said that the whole of the HSBC group is going through a global programme that is aimed at improving efficiency, increasing more..

NCP hospitals short of specialists to treat kidney patients

Sept 27 (Island) Hospitals in the North-Central Province (NCP) were experiencing a shortage of specialised doctors, nursing staff and other health facilities to deal with the chronic kidney disease, Prof. Ravindra Fernando, of the Faculty of Medicine, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department, said. He said: "Most of the patients come from the rural areas, and they come for treatment only when the disease is in the chronic stage, when more..

SC petitioned over Medical faculty intake

Sept 27 (Island) A group of students who sat the GCE A/L Exam in August 2011, has complained to the Supreme Court that the decision of the UGC to admit students to medical faculties on a proportional basis, pertaining to different districts, spoilt their chance of entering the Medical Faculty. They have said that had the admissions been effected on merit and according to the Z-scores, the petitioners would have been among those admitted to medical faculties. more..

'Magistrate Judeson permitted July 18 demonstrations in Mannar'

Sept 27 (Island) Mannar Magistrate Anthonypillai Judeson, the complainant in the case against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, had on the morning of July 18 permitted the demonstrations that took place that day, close to the courthouse, as long as they were peaceful and to disperse them if there was any breach of the peace. The demonstration had accordingly gone on from about 9 to 12 noon peacefully. more..

Sri Lanka Aviva Insurance unit sold to AIA group

Sept 27 (LBO) Control of Sri Lanka's Aviva NDB Insurance is being bought by AIA Group, for 109 million US dollars, with Aviva and with joint venture partner, Colombo based NDB group, exiting. Aviva said 58.44% of Aviva NDB Holdings Lanka Limited, an unlisted firm will be sold to American International Assurance Company, Limited, a subsidiary of AIA Group Limited. The firm effectively controls about 51% of Aviva NDB Insurance, more..

Hambantota project eyed by India's Krrish group

Sept 27 (LBO) India's Krrish group, which has interests in alcohol and real estate is planning a second 100 million US dollar project in Sri Lanka's south, an official said at the launch of a 460 million dollar mixed development in Colombo. Krrish, which has interests in alcohol and real estate launched a 'Krrish Square' 4-tower project involving a luxury hotel, apartments, malls and office space, on land leased for 99-years from UDA. more..

Sri Lanka gets ADB help to cut power system losses, start solar trials

Sept 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka will get 130 million US dollars in Asian Development Bank financing to cut losses in the power grid, expand supply to former war zones and for pilot rooftop solar panel installations. The regional lender said the financing will help the govt reach its target of cutting system losses to 12% by 2020 from 14% in 2009. The work will include new transmission and more..

Rupee gains on bank, exporter dollar sales

Sept 27 (Reuters) The rupee strengthened on Thursday as banks sold dollars on stock related inflows, dealers said. The rupee closed 1.1% firmer at 129.40/70 to the dollar compared with Wednesday's close of 130.90/131.00. "The rupee stretched on heavy equity market inflows and we have seen exporters selling following the banks selling," said a currency dealer asking not to be identified. The rupee has strengthened 2.1% so far this month but it has depreciated 14% more..

SL Army volunteer force holds inter regiment athletics c'ship

Sept 27 (GDI) Inter Regiment Athletics Championship - 2012 of Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF) at Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium drew to a close Wednesday (26) afternoon on a grand scale. The ceremonial closing of the championship tournament kicked off soon after the arrival of the Chief Guest Major General A.W.J.C De Silva, Commandant, SLAVF. The welcome speech, delivered by more..

Sri Lanka GDP growth forecast cut to 6.8% as exports fall

Sept 27 (BN) Sri Lanka lowered its forecast for economic expansion this year as higher interest rates curb spending at home and faltering global growth hurts exports. Gross domestic product is set to rise 6.8 per cent in 2012, compared with an earlier estimate of 7.2%, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said by telephone from Colombo on Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka's Sept inflation rate seen falling to 9.2 pct y/y

Sept 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's annual headline inflation may have eased to 9.2% in Sept, continuing a slowing since July's near-record high, as food prices were seen rising at a reduced pace despite an extended drought. Annual inflation in the consumer price index is expected to have been a 4-month low, a poll of 11 analysts showed ahead of the Sept number, due to be released on Friday. Aggravated by drought and a weak rupee, more..

Dubai racket: Fake names were used to traffic women

Sept 27 (ENS) The Crime Branch Organised Crime Wing (OCW) has got further details on the people involved in the sex racket operation in Dubai, wherein women are being transported from India and Sri Lanka. The Crime Branch has learnt that the racketeers and the women were given fake names so that security agencies do not arrest them. The suspects Leena, the racket kingpin hailing from Wadakkancherry, and Basheer, more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 26.09.2012

A new Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Mirijjavila

Sept 27 (GDI) On a proposal made by minister Basil Rajapaksa, Cabinet approval has been granted to establish a new Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Mirijjavila. This Export Processing Zone will consist of 228 hectares of govt land released by Government Agencies in the Hambantota District. The expenditure for the establishment of the EPZ is estimated at Rs.2.2 billion and the BOI will recover the cost as lease rental of individual blocks to more..

MR says TNA can join the UPFA

Sept 27 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the door is open even for the TNA to join the UPFA. Speaking to newspaper Editors at a breakfast meeting today, the President said that his main aim is to form a united Sri Lanka. He says he wants to develop the country and is not interested in taking political revenge on anyone. The President said that he has always maintained that any political party can join the UPFA and that offer stands even for the TNA. more..

India dismisses reports about its missiles targeting Sri Lanka

Sept 27 (PTI) India today dismissed reports that its missiles targeted strategic Sri Lankan locations, calling them “completely baseless and fabricated.” In a statement, the Indian High Commission here said that India has a longstanding indigenous missile development programme, which is defensive in nature and not directed against any country. “Speculation on such sensitive more..

New Navy Commander assumes duties

Sept 27 (GDI) Eastern Commander Rear Admiral Jayanath Colombage assumed duties as the eighteenth Commander of the Navy at Navy Headquarters in Colombo a short while ago. Until yesterday, he served as the Commander Eastern Naval Area at the historical Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. He has achieved many firsts in his distinguished, decorative and unblemished Naval career of 34 years. He has been conferred with two Masters Degrees - Master of Science in more..

Govt expenditure for 2013 Rs. 2520 billion

Sept 27 (CG) The estimated Govt expenditure for 2013 is Rs. 2520 billion. The economic growth will be maintained at 7% and the annual inflation rate contained at 7%. Cabinet approval was granted for the Appropriation Bill for the Financial Year 2013 submitted by the President as Minister of Finance and planning to be submitted, after publishing it in the Government gazette. In the preparation of this Bill, the President and the General Treasury had consulted each line Ministry and more..

T20: Sri Lanka beat NZ via Super Over

Sept 27 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had scored 76 off 53 in regulation time, set himself under the ball at long-off, turning side ways to make sure he knew where the boundary cushions were - they were six inches from his toenails - took the catch after the ball had passed his body, and had almost entered the air space past the boundary. Had he missed that, this Martin Guptill hit off Lasith Malinga would have left them needing two off more..

Medical services in Galle crippled

Sept 27 (DM) Medical services in Galle, Karapitiya and Mahamodera have come to a complete standstill after the Doctors launched a token strike as a result of the Galle Mayor allegedly threatening the Doctors in Galle. GMOA media spokesman Dr. Navin De Soysa said the trade union action was a success. “All Doctors except those working in the emergency units have joined the strike,” he said. The Galle District Senior DIG and HQI held a meeting with the GMOA and have stated that more..

Not possible to develop the Colombo city by forgetting the poor, says Wimal

Sept 27 (NF) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says that the Colombo city cannot be developed by disregarding the low income earners in the city. He made this observation while addressing a function organised to recognise community leaders, yesterday. The function was organised in lieu of the World Habitat Day. 1,200 community leaders in Colombo were recognised at this function. "The Colombo city is not like it used to be. more..

President says no pressure on judiciary

Sept 27 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says there is no pressure on the judiciary from the govt. Speaking to local media heads today he said that if the judiciary is not independent the people will lose faith in it. He said that as President he does not even exert pressure on the police so there is no need for him to get involved with the judiciary. The President said he had invited the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) more..

Grade Five Scholarship Exam: Tears and success of special students

Sept 27 (NF) Idioms like "No sacrifice - no victory" and "Fortune favours the brave" are thrown around quite casually. But we came across a girl who despite losing both hands and a foot to a cruel twist of fate, provides deeper meaning to such idioms. Rashmi Gunawardena who was born without both hands and a foot, uses her one remaining complete limb, to carry out all tasks. Her missing limbs have not proved to be an obstacle to more..

Video: IUSF members killed

Sept 27 (DM) The two students who were found dead this morning in Gampaha were key members of the Inter University Students’ Federation, the student body said. IUSF convenor Sanjeewa Bandara said that the IUSF has serious concerns about the manner in which the accident had allegedly taken place. “We have serious doubts about how this accident took place, the students were active members of the Kelaniya and Ruhunu universities and were on their way to collect handouts for for the protest march” he said. more..

Sri Lankan Youth Celebrate International Day of Peace through Song, Dance and Sport

Sept 27 (USE) U.S. Ambassador Michele J. Sison joined over 700 school children and local communities in Nedunkerny, Vavuniya last week to celebrate International Day of Peace. Youth across Sri Lanka from all different ethnic backgrounds spent months preparing for this day by participating in awareness workshops, camps, cultural programs and sports competitions that explored and discussed issues related more..

Abolish the thirteenth amendment

Sept 28 (Island) Divineguma bill should have opened the eyes of not only the govt MPs but also of the others. The Supreme Court has decided that the Provincial Councils should approve the Bill before it is presented to Parliament. Some may argue that power would be concentrated in the hands of one individual if the bill becomes law. However, if there had been no Thirteenth Amendment, the Bill would not have been inconsistent with the Constitution. The Divineguma Bill, even if it seeks to more..

Higher Education and its Disjunctures

Sept 28 (GV) The following is an interview with Professor Sasanka Perera of the South Asian University conducted by Mr. Ranjit Perera of the Social Scientists Association of Sri Lanka via Skype on 18th August 2012. Q: Cyberspace and virtual reality are intertwined in the context of today’s communication technology; this came to my mind while conducting this interview. Any thoughts on that before we get down to more serious issues? A: Well, I am hesitant to get into a more..

Royal treatment for loyal ratepayers

Sept 28 (SO) Living in a clean and well developed city may be the dream of many a citizen whatever the city they live in at present. Colombo being the most populated city in Sri Lanka the demand for facilities in Colombo is at the higher level. The authorities are committed to make that dream a reality, but it is always subjected to the condition of the rates paid by the citizen in that city. Therefore, payment of rates play a vital more..

Rules for National Wildlife Parks

Sept 28 (NS) Some wildlife enthusiasts follow a certain set of norms when visiting National Parks without being told, because they have pride in their parks and want to see them protected. Many others do not adhere to these norms because they either do not know or are not educated or seek to gain some advantage by doing so. Therefore, National and State Parks need a set of rules/ guidelines for visitors that are designed to protect the plants and animals and to help people enjoy the park. more..

Silva and Wijeratne:Violent behaviour of two vicious sons of politicians

Sept 28 (DBS) A thrill starved, gullible Colombo population was once again titillated by the violent behaviour of two vicious sons of politicians. This time the victim of their behaviour was an army major who was pistol whipped in the car park/foyer of the Hilton Colombo Residence two weeks ago. He looked a sorry sight with two big gashes on either side of his face and one on his head. The alleged assailants looked what they were, wild, addicted and pitiless purveyors of evil. more..

Vimukthi Kumaratunga and Politics: To as slippery as an eel

Sept 28 (CT) A couple of dissenting online media outlets have reported that the son of ex-President Kumaratunga is about to mark his entry into active politics. Where, one would ask. In Sri Lanka, and not in the UK, his country of residence. The clientelist, family-based political system of Sri Lanka certainly provides fertile ground for the offspring of politicians, even the lesser known from the far ends of provincialism, to enter politics more..

Sri Lanka: Travel advisory and more...

Sept 28 (DBS) It is heartening to note that after a series of incidents where visiting Sri Lankans were at the receiving end of mob attacks, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has promised that her Government would ensure the safety and security of the common man from the island-nation in the south Indian State. It was even more heartening that former Chief Minister and Opposition DMK supremo M Karunanidhi had earlier drawn the distinction between in his party’s oppositioin to more..

Monks in politics and an unwary move

Sept 28 (Island) Remember Sir John trying to disrobe political monks? No one would have expected that ravaging controversy to resonate down the decades. But there it is, with Wijedasa Rajapaksha (WR) disturbing a hornets’ nest again. If the Bhikkhus seated in the parliament are an eyesore to WR at present, so were the Bhikkhus seated in the gallery of the State Council to D. S. Senanayake. That he is not alone in his rather dramatic move just like DS in the 1940s is more..

Action plan, but no action

Sept 28 (ICG) With the UNHRC meeting again this month in Geneva, Crisis Group took the opportunity to write to council members with an update on the Sri Lankan govt’s continued failure to address its grave human rights problems. Six month’s after the HRC’s important resolution on Sri Lanka, the government still has taken no concrete action to address the host of issues noted by the council. The following briefing, shared with HRC member states, more..

On the TNA’s post-election statement

Sept 28 (CT) R. Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance, has offered the party’s reading of the recently concluded elections for the Eastern Provincial Council. As the party with the backing of the majority of Tamils, the TNA’s analysis warrants comment. The TNA claims that the elections were neither free nor fair, lists numerous illegal and corrupt practices and blames the repeal of the 17th Amendment of the Constitution for this state of affairs. There were indeed several incidents which scarred the entire process. more..