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Not easy to prevent mushrooming unauthorised finance units : CB

Apr 15 (ST) Preventing the mushrooming of unauthorized finance businesses (UFBs or bogus finance companies) is difficult, let alone completely eliminating these units, considering the complexity of their operations, says the Central Bank. Discussing this kind of business operation, the CB says eliminating UFBs is further complicated by the fact that a segment of the ‘public voraciously pursues high gains, even though they know the potential adverse consequences of their decisions’. more..

Sri Lankans being detained in Dammam

Apr 15 (NF) Around 70 Sri Lanka who have been arrested by the Saudi Arabian Police are being detained at the 91 camps in Dammam. These Sri Lankans have been arrested for remaining in Saudi Arabia illegally, without visas. The Sri Lankan detainees at the 91 camps said that they are greatly inconvenienced due to the lack of facilities at the camp. They added that though they informed the Sri Lanka Embassy in Saudi Arabia about thier inconveniences, they are yet to receive a more..

Sri Lanka faces U.S. aid cut

Apr 15 (PTI) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a 20% cut in the American aid to Colombo, a move reflecting the unease in their ties over issues related to human rights, reconstruction and political integration in Sri Lanka after the end of the civil war. It is believed to be the highest drop for any South Asian country in Mr. Kerry’s budgetary proposals, which was sent to the Congress last week for its approval. more..

Her Majesty’s … to a ‘sovereign state’ through the Jaws of a Coup

Apr 16 (NS) The story so far… A group of Military and Police officers along with one civilian high ranking public officer attempted to overthrow the democratically elected govt of Mrs Sirimavo Dias Bandaranike, the world’s first Woman Prime Minister, in a coup conspiracy and set up a military ‘Junta’; an attempt, as some analysts saw, ‘to safeguard their eroding status, loss of power and position, caused by transition of power in ‘56 from a minority ‘Brown Sahib’ elite to the common more..

Sri Lanka’s racism juggernaut and the war against it

Apr 16 (GV) Sri Lankan society is being divided and systematically targeted as the racism juggernaut continues to gain momentum around the country. Minorities face growing persecution with nationalist groups sprouting up and feeding on the insecurities and economic decline of the nation. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was the first organised group to rise up and openly target minorities, namely the Muslims and Evangelicals. As their racist and unopposed crusades continue other more radical groups more..

Parappakandal minefield now a fertile land

Apr 16 (SO) A few years ago, Parappakandal was a strategic point for the Sri Lanka Army during the Mannar liberation. For many weeks the name of this largely unknown village was repeated in news, features and defence columns of all print and electronic media. Parappakandal, a part of the vast terrain popularly known as the Mannar ‘Rice Bowl’ watered by the Giant’s Tank was covered with abandoned paddy fields. more..

The content and quality of economic growth

Apr 16 (ST) The Central Bank Annual Report for 2012 describes last year’s economic performance as a healthy growth. The Central Bank Governor said: “The stage is set for a high growth trajectory over the next few years. That is why Sri Lanka is targeting an ambitious medium-term macroeconomic framework.” Does the economic performance of last year substantiate these assertions? Last year’s economic growth of 6.2% could be described as a reasonable growth performance owing to more..

Anti-BBS vigil: A critique of the critique

Apr 16 (CT) I wasn’t at the vigil because I don’t do vigils and if I were to make an exception it would be for an anti-BBS/SR demonstration spearheaded by the Left (in our case that would be the JVP and FSP), as are most anti-racist demonstrations all over the world. That is in fact the friendly advice I’d give the organizers of the laudable demonstration. As a founder member, as an undergraduate in the late 1970s, of the Movement for Inter-Racial Justice and Equality (MIRJE) that more..

Amending speed laws; a long-felt need

Apr 16 (SO) A good network of motorways and a sound transportation system is essential for a country to develop and for the economy to flourish. For a better operation of logistics and for a good flow of traffic, this is important. Congested traffic incurs a loss in millions of rupees plus invaluable time which could directly affect the smooth flow of a system. Although heavy traffic on roads is not an uncommon sight in more..

The BBS ‘Buddhists’, ‘Nightclub Buddhists’ and the ‘Vigil’ that I saw

Apr 16 (CT) Those who participated or wanted to participate in the candle-light vigil organized by a set of people calling themselves ‘Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’, those who witnessed what happened or part of what happened, those who saw images and footage, and others who generally comment on issues such as religious tolerance, democracy, human rights etc, will no doubt articulate their respective versions. This is mine, but to illustrate the point of multiple narrative/ more..

Relief for casinos while life is a gamble for the people

Apr 16 (ST) As Parliament sessions ended for the New Year holidays, nearly-approved legislation by the House, gave little by way of relief to the general public. In fact, the 15 Finance Bills passed last week, which were to give effect to the Budget proposals introduced last November, only meant that people would have to pay more for services such as legal fees for marriage registration, as well as some additional taxes for various sectors. However, Deputy Finance Minister more..

With Prasanna Wickramasuriya

Villagers assault ex-Deputy Minister following accident

Apr 16 (DN) Former Deputy Minister M Sachithanandan was set upon by angry villagers after the vehicle he was travelling, collided with a motorcycle injuring four members of the same family, near the 13th mile post on the Ella-Wellawaya road on New Year's day. The mother, father, son and the daughter were injured and hospitalised. A tense situation arose following the incident. The seven-year-old daughter's leg was injured and the condition of the father, more..

United by culture and dharma

Apr 16 (DH) Did you know that Sanghamitra – Emperor Ashoka’s daughter had carried a cutting of the Bodhi tree to Sri Lanka in 3rd century BC? The tree was planted at the Anuradhapura district of Lanka then. Later, when the original tree in Gaya died, a cutting of the Lankan tree was brought back and planted here. This and several such gems on Buddhism in Sri Lanka are on offer at a photo exhibition in the Capital. World-renowned archival conservationist photographer Benoy K Behl is more..

Amusing name boards on Lankan streets

Apr 16 (ST) In recent times Colombo has experienced an increase in the use of unusual and sometimes bizarre name boards in its retail and restaurant outlets, as a marketing tool to enhance customer attention. A striking example is the ‘Al-Jazeera Arabic Restaurant’, a tiny food outlet in the corner of Deen’s Road, Maradana taken from the name of the Qatari media giant Al Jazeera broadcasting. ‘Al Jazeera’s’ Maradana more..

Extend retirement period in Sri Lanka, says CB

Apr 16 (ST) Sri Lanka, to reap the benefits of the long lasting second demographic dividend (ageing population), should adopt appropriate policy options such as altering retirement benefits to increase the number of years of work. These options should also include legal provisions and cultural changes to discourage age discrimination, and continuous human capital development to encourage the adopting of necessary skills to suit the needs of a transforming economy, more..

Times are changing in Sri Lanka’s once, harsh plantation sector

Apr 16 (ST) Times are changing in Sri Lanka’s once, harsh plantation sector with children of several plantation workers in local universities, studying law, management and arts. A few have also passed out as medical doctors. Much of this change has come with the creation of the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) and its focus on social and human development, using a rights-based approach. In the past women workers with new-borns carried their baby to work in the fields, more..

Stage set for secret-ballot SLC polls

Apr 16 (ST) Come Tuesday, in spite of the two main positions being already decided – uncontested — there will be 38 others from the Thilanga Sumathipala and Jayantha Dharmadasa camps vying for twenty five posts at Sri Lanka Cricket elections, which will take place at the BMICH from 10.30 a.m. onwards. Initially the contestants to the post of president were Upali Dharmadasa, Thilanga Sumathipala and a third candidate more..

'Lanka, India bond unbreakable'

Apr 16 (DN) Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai inaugurating an exhibition of photographs titled Buddhist Heritage of Sri Lanka: a shared culture with India at the India International Centre in New Delhi last week, quoting from a speech made by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during a visit to Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, in 1950, said the bond of Buddha and all that it conveys is a bond between India and Sri Lanka which nothing can break. Elaborating on the shared culture of more..

Over 4,000 rate fever cases in past three months

Apr 16 (DN) Over 4,000 rat fever (Leptospirosis) cases have been reported from all parts of the country during the past three months, a Health Ministry spokesman said. He said Kurunegala and Anuradhapura are the most affected areas. “Rat fever is spreading rapidly in flood-affected areas in the country. The flood water carry the bacteria all over the country. Farmers, persons who clean drains and workers in mines, marshy lands and canals and those who swim or play in more..

Sri Lanka sovereign to skip dollar bonds this year

Apr 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will not issue bonds in the dollar market this year after it printed its fifth such deal last year since first visiting the market in 2007. “It has already been decided that the Sovereign will not come to the market this year, so that sufficient space is provided to the corporates of Sri Lanka to come into the market without competition from the sovereign,” Sri Lanka’s central bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told more..

NfR condemns attack

Apr 16 (CT) Networking for Rights (NfR), a network for media freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka condemns in the strongest terms the dastardly armed and arson attack on the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna. This is a yet another major blow to the independent newspaper culture in Jaffna and freedom of expression of rights in Sri Lanka. According to NfR sources in Jaffna around 4:30 a.m. shooting randomly, three armed men had forced their way in to the Uthayan office, Jaffna. more..

Cultivators lament drastic drop in prices

Apr 16 (CT) Farmers in Panduwasnuwara said the price of vegetables has come down drastically, and they are facing losses as a result. A long-time vegetable cultivator, B.M. Jayatileka said: "The prices of vegetables had dropped to an unprecedented level, and vegetables such as long beans, cucumber and brinjals fetch next to nothing. We had to throw away several bags of cucumber that could not be sold at the weekly fair in Hettipola, last week. Our ancestors were also more..

With fiscal and regulatory support in place SEC tells brokers to deliver on numbers

Apr 16 (FT) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week told stock brokers to start delivering on the broader goal of increasing the investor base given the fact that the capital market has received unprecedented fiscal and regulatory support. The request was made by SEC Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa when he chaired a meeting with all licensed stock brokers as part of the more..

'BA’s entry A strong message of confidence in Sri Lanka'

Apr 16 (FT) Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK Dr. Chris Nonis said that the fact that British Airways, the UK’s national carrier and third largest airline in Europe, has taken the decision to resume flights to Sri Lanka is an excellent index of their substantial confidence in Sri Lanka and its future growth potential. British Airways suspended its flights to Sri Lanka in the late 1990s due to security reasons and resumes flights to Sri Lanka after a 15-year absence in the island, and more..

Sri Lanka at Kenyan President’s installation

Apr 16 (FT) Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera and Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation Gitanjana Gunawardena represented President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the swearing-in of Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President-elect. Kenyatta is the son of the founding father and the first President of the nation. Vice President William Ruto also took oaths on this occasion. When the two Deputy Ministers met the President of Kenya at the State house, he extended an open invitation to more..

Three VAT scam suspects get RI

Apr 16 (DN) Colombo High Court Judge imposed a fine of Rs 101.05 million and a 33 month term of rigorous imprisonment on three suspects who pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them in connection with the VAT scam. The sentence would be pronounced on three others who pleaded guilty to the charges during the course of the month. Six suspects, out of the 14, involved in the alleged fraud who were in remand prison more..

Security camera helps nab paddy thieves

Apr 16 (CT) The decision by a mill owner to install a security camera paid rich dividends recently, as it enable the Tissamaharama Police to nab the thieves who had been stealing paddy from the mill over a period of time. The owner of the paddy mill in Polgahawelena, Tissamaharama, had found that paddy bagged for transport were being robbed by some persons, almost every day. He had adopted various methods to catch the thieves but had failed. He had thereafter bought a security camera more..

Southern Expressway toll bonanza

Apr 16 (DN) The Southern Expressway toll revenue topped Rs 5.1 million plus on Avurudhu Day, its highest ever earnings recorded on a single day. The earnings are for the period from 7 a.m. on April 14 to 7 a.m. on April 15. According to authorities around 18,500 vehicles had used the expressway during the said time. Even a severe congestion had been reported at times due to heavy vehicular traffic, especially at the Pinnaduwa entryxit point. Additional entryxit doors too were opened to lessen more..

Police start tracking tourists in Sri Lanka

Apr 16 (AFP) Police have begun keeping track of foreign tourists to "ensure their own safety", officials announced on Monday. Hotels and guest houses have been told to submit weekly reports of their foreign guests as part of a new security plan for tourists, police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena said. "Tourists are important to our economy. This is to ensure their own safety," Siriwardena told AFP. more..

'Next parliament will act on Lanka issue'

Apr 16 (Hindu) The next parliament will pass a resolution pressing the Sri Lankan govt for a referendum, said MDMK general secretary Vaiko. Talking to press persons at Batlagundu near here on Monday, he said that the Central government could no longer push the Sri Lanka issue to the backburner as it had become a people’s movement. “The present parliament will not do it because its days are numbered. But the next parliament will pass the resolution,” Mr. Vaiko said. more..

Sri Lanka in the crosshair

Apr 16 (TN) With DMK President M. Karunanidhi’s decision to quit both the Union Cabinet and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the political environment in India has taken another turn. The anti-Sri Lanka sentiment has grown stronger. He has argued that continuing in the govt and the alliance would do great harm to the Sri Lankan Tamils. Of late, the Sri Lankans visiting or staying in India have been harassed, assaulted and booed, especially in southern India. more..

'Govt. planning to reduce No. of schools'

Apr 16 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) accused the govt of planning to reduce the number of schools to 6,000 from the current 9,662, as part of the 1,000 Schools Development Project. CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin alleged that Education Minister, Bandula Gunawardena, is focusing on developing only the schools selected for the 1,000 Schools Development Project and the 5,000 primary schools, which more..

Second armed attack on Tamil newspaper in 10 days

Apr 16 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders and its partner organization, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), firmly condemn a pre-dawn armed attack on the Tamil-language daily Uthayan’s headquarters in the northern city of Jaffna on 13 April, just 10 days after a similar attack on Uthayan’s distribution office in the town of Kilinochchi. In the 13 April attack, three gunmen threatened Uthayan security guards and staff members and forced their way into the printing department, more..

The rise of red-robed Islamaphobia in Sri Lanka

Apr 16 (NI) A year ago this week, on 20 April 2012, a 2,000-strong mob led by Buddhists monks stormed a mosque in Dambulla, central Sri Lanka, during Friday Prayers. They damaged both the building and property within it, including religious artefacts and texts. The Mosque had already been fire-bombed the previous evening. The mob claimed that the Mosque was situated within a sacred Buddhist area and had been constructed illegally. The reality was that the Mosque, a small, more..

The 2012 foreign & commonwealth office report on Sri Lanka

Apr 16 (FCO) The human rights situation in Sri Lanka in 2012 remained of serious concern, with a number of negative developments, including with regard to freedom of expression and media and judicial independence. Further progress was made on reintegration of ex-combatants and resettlement of IDPs. There continued to be reports of further abductions and disappearances, although the number reduced from spring 2012 more..

'Trincomalee has potential to be a developed district'

Apr 16 (DN) Trincomalee has the potential to be among the developed districts in the country, using its dynamic and vibrant natural resources and manpower, Trincomalee District Secretary Major General T.T.R. de Silva said. He was making a presentation on the district's development after the war at an awareness programme and a workshop for provincial journalists in the Trincomalee district organised by the Govt Information Department. It was held at the Trincomalee District more..

Sri Lanka holds rates to spur economic growth, cool inflation

Apr 16 (BN) Sri Lanka left interest rates unchanged for a fourth month to support economic growth and contain inflation. The Central Bank its reverse repurchase rate at 9.5% and the repurchase rate at 7.5%, it said in a statement. Six of eight economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted no change. Two forecast a 0.25% reduction in both benchmarks. Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal joins Asian counterparts such as Pakistan in holding rates to aid domestic spending, as Europe’s debt crisis more..

National Oil Anointing Ceremony under the patronage of President Rajapaksa

Apr 16 (IL) The traditional Oil Anointing State Ceremony for the Sinhala and Hindu New Year was held at the Katharagama Kirivehera Rajamaha Vihara premises under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Chief Incumbent of the Viharaya and Chief Sangha Nayake of Magampattuwa, Venerable Dr Aluthwewa Soratha Nayaka Thero this morning (15). The President performed the oil anointing ritual more..

Some private hospitals like five star hotels

Apr 16 (DM) Although the budgetary allocation for health is relatively low in terms of the GDP, it is still quite a large amount with the allocation for this year being Rs. 125 billion. The public health service has about 15,000 doctors, 29,000 nurses, tens of thousand of other Para-medical personnel and minor staff. We have about 700 public hospitals, more than 400 public medical clinics. It is a gigantic structure, and the overall service needs to be appreciated, though there are many faults and failings and more..