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Colombo hosting CHOGM: India to play determining role

Feb 10 (Island) India will a play a crucial role in determining whether CHOGM will be held in Sri Lanka this year or not, according to political observers in London. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma left for India last Tuesday to seek the country’s views on this matter, they noted. Refusing a visa for former Indian Chief Justice J.S. Verma would not help Sri Lanka’s cause, the observers said. more..

Maithree & Shiral deny plans to join government

Feb 10 (Island) Amidst speculation that three UNP Provincial Councillors are to cross over to the govt, Southern Provincial Councillor Maithree Gunaratne said that there was no basis for him and Shiral Lakthillake to be included in the list. He said that neither he nor Lakthillake, who was a member of the Western Provincial Council intended to leave the UNP. Nor had they discussed the possibility with anyone in the Rajapaksa regime. Asked, about speculation that Western Provincial more..

Gold digging Lieutenant Colonel arrested

Feb 10 (SL) Four persons, including a lieutenant colonel attached to the Security Force Head Quarters (East), who attempted to dig up an area in Mullaitivu, Vellamullivaikkal while searching for gold that was said to have been buried by the LTTE, had been taken into custody by the Military Police last week. Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the officer and three others were arrested for having violated orders to stop their vehicle at a check point. more..

Govt seeks fresh $ 1.5 Billion from IMF

Feb 10 (NS) Govt is exploring the possibility of obtaining a whopping USD 1.5 billion loan facility from the IMF, highly placed govt sources told ‘The Nation’.“If the ongoing discussions bear fruit, Sri Lanka will receive the approval for the fresh $ 1.5 billion loan facility before the end of this year,” a senior official of the Central Bank said. The fresh loan, he said, will be provided to Sri Lanka by the IMF through the Central Bank. more..

Businesses with Lanka links jittery after attacks

Feb 10 (TOI) Repeated attacks on Sri Lankan establishments in Chennai have created a climate of insecurity for banks, airlines and other businesses which have ties, however tenuous, with the island nation. And in most cases, it is Indian Tamils employed in these establishments bear the brunt of the hostility, which manifests itself in the form of heckling, gheraos and stone-throwing by Tamil nationalist groups. Following protests against President Rajapaksa's visit to India, more..

C’wealth: Peiris on mission to win over Dhaka

Feb 10 (ST) Minister G. L. Peiris will fly to Dhaka on Wednesday in what is seen as a crucial mission to avert a Commonwealth stricture on Sri Lanka. Bangladesh is the current chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which is meeting in April to discuss among other matters Sri Lanka’s alleged failure to abide by the Latimer House Principles on judicial independence. South Asian diplomatic sources said Bangladesh had already come under tremendous pressure more..

Mattala gets priority over BIA

Feb 10 (ST) The Govt will adopt an open skies policy allowing international carriers to operate freely at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said. Open skies policy is a concept where free market conditions are created for commercial aviation. It provides access to international carriers to operate freely without restrictions. “This is a move to attract more..

Inaction on CJs

Feb 10 (CT) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) is yet to reach a decision on the complaints put forward against CJ Mohan Peiris and impeached CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Chairman of the Commission, Jagath Balapatabendi, said. A former Supreme Court Judge, Balapatabendi, said the report of the Investigation Unit, which had made inquiries into the complaints against former Chief Justice Bandaranayake, had not been more..

Visit my country to know the truth, says Rajapaksa

Feb 10 (Hindu) Unable to conceal his displeasure at the widespread protests against his visit, President Rajapaksa said on Saturday that in a democratic country like India everyone had a right to protest. In a brief interaction with journalists, Mr. Rajapaksa said anyone was free to visit his country for a firsthand assessment of the conditions and see what constituted the truth, making an indirect reference to the allegation that he had masterminded the “genocide” of the Tamils and his govt more..

Iran-style economic crisis: C’wealth summit in balance

Feb 10 (ST) Media should know basics to use more than one source for a story. Big problem in Sri Lankan media. That gratuitous advice in the form of a tweet came from the Director (International Media) of the Sri Lanka President’s office. There is little doubt about the wisdom of what she says. Those elements of journalism are taught to those who aspire to be hard-nosed newspersons. However, is that a big problem for the more..

IFC invests US$ 75m in ComBank

Feb 10 (NS) International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, last week announced that it is investing US$75 million (approximately Rs 9.6 billion) in Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, through a fund managed by its Asset Management Company (AMC), to expand Commercial Bank’s operations and increase access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This investment through the AMC-managed IFC Capitalization Fund will qualify as more..

SriLankan to replace old aircraft, says CEO

Feb 10 (ST) National carrier, SriLankan Airlines will look at replacing some of its ageing long range aircraft with a modern fleet, the carrier’s Managing Director Kapila Chandrasena said on Thursday. Addressing the media to announce a partnership with the Amadeus Altea IT suite, adding new and improved technology to provide seamless service throughout its network, the CEO explained that they would be taking a decision on replacing their fleet in the future. He pointed out that within the more..

No ethnic bias

Feb 10 (CT) Earlier this month, MPs of the TNA had alleged a pro-Muslim bias in the selection of beneficiaries for the India-funded housing project meant for IDPs in the war-affected District of Vavuniya. Demonstrators led by TNA MPs did not blame India for the distortion. The accusing finger was pointed at Rishad Bathiutheen, the influential Minister of Commerce and MP for Wanni District. The charge was that he had manipulated more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Feb 10 (ST) It was dawn when Mahinda Illeperuma, a one-time journalist, walked into a room in Temple Trees where President Mahinda Rajapaksa was going through his routine exercises. He had wanted to obtain the President’s thoughts to formulate his speech for last Monday’s 65th anniversary of Independence. He was somewhat surprised to see him with head on the ground, legs up and the hands on the floor. more..

Extra police patrols at night to ensure women’s safety

Feb 10 (ST) The recent rape of a woman by a gang of three-wheel drivers in a Colombo suburb has prompted calls for preventive action, including the deployment of police patrol teams at night, adequate street lighting, and the regulating and monitoring of three-wheelers. A request will be made for extra police teams to patrol roads and by-lanes used by factory workers and other working women going home after work. more..

Big foreign university to be set up in Mirigama

Feb 10 (ST) A 120-acre land at the Mirigama Export Processing Zone has been leased out to establish a branch campus of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). The 99-year-lease agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) was signed recently after approval was obtained from the Ministry of Higher Education. The total investment of the project is to be around US$ 100 million (around Rs.12 billion). more..

Indian official’s house ransacked in Jaffna

Feb 10 (Hindu) The house of an Indian Consulate official in Jaffna was ransacked on Friday, a day after miscreants stormed the Bank of Ceylon building in Chennai. Officials confirmed the attack and told The Hindu that a formal protest has been lodged. Ironically, Indian High Commission here lodged the protest soon after the Sri Lankan Demarche over the attack on the Bank of Ceylon. The Jaffna Consulate officials are under the more..

Govt Objects To Pillay’s Report

Feb 10 (SL) The govt has objected to the draft report on Sri Lanka prepared by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay which is to be submitted at the February-March session of the UNHRC. According to govt sources the report has been seen as biased and unfair. The report focuses on the engagement of UN mechanisms in support of the accountability and reconciliation processes in Sri Lanka. more..

Law College skirts exam issues

Feb 10 (NS) A section of the legal community has alleged that the Law College had not addressed core issues pertaining to the law entrance examinations held last year. They pointed out that the faculty had omitted translation errors that cost several students their place at Law College. “The Faculty should have given the marks lost due to translation errors to the students instead of bringing down the cut-off marks”, more..

Blood ivory is not for temples

Feb 10 (CT) A group of environmentalists have requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene and immediately stop the release of the tusks confiscated by the Customs Department to various temples in the country. Activists raised this matter at a media conference on Wednesday. It is learnt the tusks which were in the custody of the Sri Lanka Customs were removed to another location recently in preparation of more..

Cyber-attacks continue, state documents vulnerable

Feb 10 (ST) A series of cyber-attacks on govt sites are making official documents and other information vulnerable, computer experts warned. Upto now about 50 official websites have been hacked with the latest being the website of the LLRC. It comes just weeks ahead of the UNHRC sessions that begin in Geneva on Feb 25. Sri Lanka’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) Chief Security Engineer more..

Archaeological sites islandwide plundered for priceless artefacts

Feb 10 (ST) The voice at the end of Inspector Rohana Chaminda’s line was agitated. There were “men in ties” scoping out his temple, it said. Could the police please come and see what this was about? It was the Chief Incumbent of the Kanabisawaramaya Temple in Wellawaya, calling on Wednesday. He was suspicious, because this was the third time in recent weeks that such a group was visiting. Their pretexts seemed hollow and more..

Wildlife officers identified

Feb 10 (SO) Seven Wildlife Department officials who allegedly abducted and assaulted two police constables from the Walana Vice Squad and two civilian police informants, a fortnight ago while raiding a ganja plantation at Udawalawa surrendered to the Wellawaya Magistrate’s Court for an identification parade on Thursday. Thereafter, they went into hiding in the Udawalawa jungle after releasing the suspects. All seven suspects involved in the assault and the abduction were more..

Making music on the sidelines

Feb 10 (CI) Matches involving hosts India in the Women’s World Cup drew crowds of around 2,000 to the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The turnout has been about a tenth of that figure for non-India matches. On a Sunday morning, with Australia playing Sri Lanka, the upper tier of North Stand saw two groups of schoolchildren, a family or two, a handful of men, and a Sri Lankan band. The drum beats and tunes emerging from a corner of the stand sounded distinctly Sri Lankan and more..

Australia crush Sri Lanka to reach World Cup Final

Feb 10 (CI) Australia entered the Women's World Cup final with their fifth successive win in the tournament, completing a nine-wicket demolition of Sri Lanka with 27.4 overs to spare. Jodie Fields asked Sri Lanka to bat in the morning, and set attacking fields for her bowlers throughout. All six bowlers responded with wickets, the offspinner Erin Osborne returning remarkable figures of 10-6-9-3 after seamer Julie more..

Govt’s decision to deploy Security Forces in development commended

Feb 10 (SO) Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that the Govt’s decision to deploy the Security Forces in national development was good. Commenting on the contribution by the Sri Lanka Army to save Rs. 1,500 million last year for labour in health, education, sports and urban development projects, he said this was one of the positive developments in the country where the Security Forces had been deployed in national development under the leadership of Defence Secretary more..

Plans afoot to sell electricity sector to foreigners

Feb 10 (LT) Measures are being taken to sell generating and distribution of electricity to foreign companies on the pretext of re-structuring Ceylon Electricity Board point out trade unions in the CEB. Accordingly, after April this year Norochcholai coal power station will be handed over to China, the proposed coal power station at Sampoor will be handed over to India and generating, transmission and distribution would be re-structured to suit the new arrangement say trade unions. more..

Rumpus over 500 rejected votes at SLMC election

Feb 10 (Island) The election to three positions in the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) had run into a storm following protests over the ‘rejection’ of around 500 votes, but the official results were finally announced on Friday, two weeks after the poll. The ‘rejected’ votes were not considered notwithstanding the objections, but the results proved to be historic with the three victorious candidates polling the highest-ever more..

BOC launched Awareness Programme on Inward remittances and NRFC

Feb 10 (Island) Bank of Ceylon that possess 1011 service centers launched the customer Awareness programme on BOC NRFC products and the Inward remittances on the 6th of January 2013 at Bodhimalu Viharasthanaya with the participation of about 300 family members of migrant workers in Uragasmanhandiya, Nawadagala, Anuradhagama, Kailaththa, Hipankanda, Welipitadivuthura, and Siripura Grama Niladhari Vasam coming under the Karandeniya Divisional Secretary. more..

Sri Lanka rejects 5,000 tonnes of diesel from IOC

Feb 10 (PTI) Sri Lanka has rejected a ship load of 5,000 tonnes of diesel from Indian Oil Company, saying the fuel is of poor quality. Officials of the State-owned Ceylon Petroleum Storage Ltd (CPSTL) said routine laboratory tests conducted by them have revealed that the cargo was of sub-quality. Indian Oil Company’s Lanka chief Subod Dakwale said the shipment in question had came from Singapore. “The sample tests proved they did not match the expected quality levels. more..

Army denies TNA allegations

Feb 10 (SL) The army has strongly denied allegations raised by the TNA that hundreds of those who had surrendered to the army at the conclusion of the Vanni battle in May 2009, were missing. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, said the army or the defence forces have not arbitrarily either arrested or carried out any acts as alleged by the TNA at the recent press conference. TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran, had accused the more..

Sri Lankan Maid, driver held for kissing

Feb 10 (AT) A Sri Lankan expatriate was arrested recently in Ishbiliya for having an adulterous relationship with a Sri Lankan woman. According to security sources, when a Kuwaiti woman saw her Sri Lankan housemaid kissing the Sri Lankan driver of her neighbor in the garden of her house in Ishbiliya, she rushed to the police station of the area to inform securitymen. Meanwhile, the housemaid ran away from the house after realizing that her sponsor caught her kissing her boyfriend and more..

An era of confused symbolisms

Feb 10 (CT) That we Sri Lankans are given to heavy symbolism is a fact that none can deny. From the obligatory lighting of an oil lamp to symbolize the illumination of the dark (although a modern electric bulb would give much more light) at almost every function including even sporting events to the politicians dress of choice, so called national dress, a sparkling white kurta top and a sarong to symbolize the purity of a life of service. This dress of the politicians is also said to represent his more..

Independence day celebrations in Geneva

Feb 10 (IL) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has called on Sri Lankans living abroad "to contribute towards moderating the negative narratives propagated against Sri Lanka – by clarifying genuine concerns and debunking the falsehoods". The Ambassador made these observations when he addressed the 35th Independence Day celebrations more..

Two new highways to be opened soon

Feb 10 (SO) The Highways Ministry is completing two new highway projects - the Katunayake Expressway and the Matara Expressway which will be open to the public in August and September this year, Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Highways Ranjith Premasiri said. He said construction work on these mega projects, now in the final stages will be inaugurated in August and September this year. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Minister of Ports and Highways more..

Suspension on ‘Vishwaroopam’ removed

Feb 10 (DM) The temporary suspension on Kamala Hassan’s controversial film ‘Vishwaroopam’ has been lifted by the Sri Lanka Public Performance Board after editing two scenes in the film. A govt official however said that the decision to lift the ban now remained with the govt. SLPPB Chairman Gamini Sumanasekera said that the Board only removed two scenes in the film without damaging the content of the film. “We have already given the green light to screen the film in Sri Lanka more..

Rift between India and CEB threatens project

Feb 10 (CG) A serious rift has reportedly cropped up between the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in India and the CEB over setting up of a 500-MW power plant in Sri Lanka, which is expected to further delay implementation of the project. Operation and maintenance costs and return on investment are among the major issues over which the two companies continue to have differences. more..

Neighbours adrift

Feb 10 (DC) It is a bit of a cliché that diplomatic outreach to India’s neighbouring countries lies through its states. There is reason for this. Economic integration of our subcontinent is unlikely to be a dramatic, top-down event. As things stand, there seems little chance of South Asian nations signing something like the Treaty of Maastricht, the 1991 agreement that created the European Union. It is more probable that localised initiatives could be the bottom-up trigger. more..

Sri Lanka set up state firms for construction

Feb 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka will set up three state companies to bid for construction projects under the road development agency, targeting contracts of less than 100 million rupees. The cabinet had approved the setting up the three companies under the RDA following a proposal of President Rajapaksa in his capacity as minister of ports and highways, the information office said. Maga Neguma Construction Equipment Company (Pvt) Limited will rent construction equipment for more..

Sri Lanka, home to new snake species

Feb 10 (ST) Today, Feb 10, marks the dawning of the Chinese New Year, and this year is the Year of the Snake. While billions of Chinese will be thinking about the Snake and its zodiacal impact on their lives over the next 12 months, environmentalists here are thinking of the snake and its survival in Sri Lanka, even as new undescribed species are making an appearance. A new study on Sri Lankan snakes has appeared in the more..