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Fear cricket agents like the plague!

Feb 14 (Island) Warnings last week that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was ready to get tougher with notorious player agents struck a chord with those who have followed Sri Lankan cricket closely. Often, we have been left perplexed by the impunity player agents have enjoyed. It’s said, little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape. SLC has felt that there needs to be something done as regards to player agents, albeit belatedly, and those who have taken up this crusade need to be more..

First ever Baltic Tiger delegation in town

Feb 14 (FT) A nine-member delegation from Estonia described as the Baltic Tiger due to its rapid economic growth and also considered the ‘bridge between Europe and Russia’, arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday, to explore opportunities in the country. Welcoming the first ever official delegation from Estonia to Sri Lanka which is a high profile team, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said, “We believe that this visit is not only a major development in trade cooperation, but is a historical bilateral more..

Three-way tussle for CEB Chairmanship?

Feb 14 (Island) Who will be appointed as the next chairman of the CEB, is the question that seems to be troubling most top-level employees of the Board. There are three contenders, all former high ranking officers of the CEB, in the running for the post, despite claims by various quarters that none of them are suitable for the top post, Board insiders said. They said former General Manager of the Board, Badra Jayaweera, who was the more..

Road to Somawathiya closed

Feb 14 (CT) The road leading to historic Somawathiya Chaithya was closed from yesterday due to heavy floods, Polonnaruwa District Secretary, Nimal Abeyratne said. He added all the lakes in the district are overflowing due to the heavy rains prevailing in the area. He made a request to the pilgrims not to visit Somawathiya sacred area until the inclement weather conditions cease. The sources said all 10 sluice gates of the Parakrama Samudraya have been opened by 1.5 feet more..

'Refinery workers threatened by diseases'

Feb 14 (CT) The unhealthy conditions prevailing at the refineries are causing various diseases such as cancer, respiratory and cardiac illnesses among workers, the employees of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) said. Sri Lanka Independent Workers’ Union (SLIWU) branch of the CPC said today every consideration for the wellbeing of their employees is expected of Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. SLIWU Chairman Bandula Saman Kumara said, “There are many more..

LPBOA threatens to sue NTC

Feb 14 (CT) The Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) threatened to take legal action against the National Transport Commission (NTC) for making arbitrary statements regarding bus fare hikes without considering the views of the bus owners. LPBOA President, Gemunu Wijeratne said according to the National Bus Fare Policy, the NTC cannot take decisions about bus fare amendment without considering the more..

Aitken Spence travel booking system hacked: CID arrests ex-employee

Feb 14 (Island) Aitken Spence has tightened security measures after a competitor allegedly hacked the Aitken Spence Travels online booking system. An investigation, conducted by the CID, had led to the arrest of a one-time senior employee of the travel section. Sources said that the suspect had been a former operations chief in the Maldives. Responding to a query, sources said that the CID had initiated the probe on a complaint received from Aitken Spence IT Division officials more..

CAA raids coconut oil selling centres in Pettah

Feb 14 (DN) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) officials yesterday raided coconut oil selling centres in Pettah to investigate the complaint that coconut oil was mixed with palm oil by the sellers as the price of palm oil was significantly low in the market. The CAA officials collected the samples from all selling centres and directed them to the laboratory of the Coconut Development Authority to verify whether the consumer protection laws of the country are violated. "If found guilty, stern action will be more..

Environmentalists readying for legal battle to stop construction

Feb 14 (Island) Leading environmental organizations are now in the process of filing a writ application seeking an order to prevent the Wildlife Department, RDA and others from continuing with the construction of a road through the Maduru Oya National Park. The Environment Foundation Limited, Wildlife Nature Protection Society, Environment Conservation Trust (ECT) and other environmental groups have already more..

SriLankan Holidays launches International travel insurance with AIG

Feb 14 (Island) SriLankan Holidays announced the launch of a Travel Insurance policy, which is the latest addition to its long list of value added services. At present, SriLankan Holidays Packages are inclusive of the cost of air tickets, hotel accommodation, airport transfers and excursions, tickets for concerts & exhibitions and Visas. In the future, we look forward to introducing many more value additions to these Holiday Packages. Exclusively designed to provide the utmost more..

Belarus, Sri Lanka to intensify political dialogue

Feb 14 (BelTA) Ways of intensifying the political dialogue, development of bilateral relations and strengthening of mutually beneficial cooperation were discussed at the meeting between Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Russia Igor Petrishenko and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to Russia and Belarus on concurrent Udayanga Weeratunga in Moscow on 12 February, BelTA learnt from the press service of the more..

Tourism and remittances top US $ 7bn in 2012

Feb 14 (DM) In 2012, earnings from tourism and remittances reached a record high of US $ 1,039 million and US $ 5,985.3 million respectively reducing the current account deficit of the Balance of Payment (BoP) substantially, according to the data released by the Central Bank. As a result, the Central Bank expects to reduce the current account deficit of the BoP to US $ 3.3 billion or 5.5% of GDP in 2012 from 7.8% in 2011. more..

JVP launches awareness campaign

Feb 14 (CT) An islandwide campaign to create public awareness on the present government's 'imperialistic' policies was launched by the JVP last week. National Organizer, Socialist Youth Front, Bimal Ratnayaka said, the JVP leaders, along with provincial leaders, will campaign by conducting a house-to-house campaign and address pocket meetings in every district, including the North and East during the weekends of this month. "There were series of pocket meetings last weekend. more..

'TNA following beaten track of LTTE'

Feb 14 (DN) TNA leaders are following in the footsteps of the LTTE in spreading falsehoods about the country. They travel from India to Geneva to concoct stories against the country, Minister Douglas Devananda said. The minister said LTTE leaders were also in the habit of traveling in many countries and cities including Oslo and propagating falsehoods. “They preferred to tarnish the country’s image through fabricated accounts than solving their problems within the country,” more..

Norochcholai coal plant to be transferred to Chinese company

Feb 14 (DM) Discussions are underway to transfer the Norochcholai coal power plant to the Chinese company in lieu of the massive US $ 1350 million loan obtained from that country to construct the project. The project was carried out by China’s C.M.C.R. Company and according to sources the CEB had put forward two alternatives to cover up the rising electricity generation cost to increase energy prices more..

New CJ listed to hear appeal against Shirani B’s Appeals Court verdict

Feb 14 (FT) Chief Justice Mohan Pieris is listed on the bench to hear an appeal filed to overturn a Writ issued by the Court of Appeal quashing the PSC report in favour of his predecessor Shirani Bandaranayake who was sacked from office in January. The appeal is listed to be taken up before Chief Justice Pieris and Justices P.A. Ratnayake and K. Sripavan today when it is taken up for support before the Supreme Court. The appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court by more..

Sri Lanka economy will be stable with cost-based energy prices: IMF

Feb 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy will be stable and more domestic resources will be available for high value spending if energy prices are adjusted to match import costs, the IMF had said. "Step number could be to adjust prices closer to cost-recovery, if not have cost recovery," IMF mission chief to Sri Lanka John Nelmes said. "And then the second step would be a price adjustment mechanism. One might envisage that this would take place over the course of the year." more..

'President tells people of North: We ended fear'

Feb 14 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the people in the North and South were bestowed with the greatest gift of freedom by the govt after three decades of conflict. The govt is taking every possible effort to provide what is required for the people, he said. The President stressed the govt ensured the people’s right to live in the country free from fear and intimidation. He said a peaceful more..

Editroial: Do our rulers suffer from cognitive dissonances

Feb 14 (DM) There is a fox in one of the stories in Aesop’s fables who craves for some real sweet grapes. But they are beyond his reach and suddenly, the sweet grapes become real sour to the fox. According to modern psychology, the mental state the fox in Aesop’s story underwent is called cognitive dissonance. This anecdote of the fox and the sour grapes is now relevant to Sri Lanka more than ever. When we look at the events that unfolded during the last few years, we cannot but more..

A third republican constitution for SL?

Feb 14 (DM) Mahinda Chinthana-Towards a new Sri Lanka —Victory for Sri Lanka the policy statement issued before the Presidential election of 2005 stated thus: ‘With the consensus of all, I expect to present a Constitution that will propose the abolition of the Executive Presidency and to provide solutions to other issues confronting the country. In the interim I propose to present a constitutional amendment through which the Executive President will be made answerable to the Parliament by virtue of more..

Theatre Shifts To Geneva

Feb 14 (SL) Elmore Perera has described how the President claimed that he did not appoint his ‘good friend’ and then senior-most justice Shirani Bandaranayake as CJ when he made Nihal Jayasinghe CJ because Ranil Wickremasinghe had misdirected him by saying that 25 years of judicial service was required. Rajapaksa then asked Lalith Weeratunga to produce Ranil’s document and after Weeratunga vigorously checked his files more..

Cancer on the rise in Sri Lanka

Feb 14 (ST) Two years ago, she was watching television when she felt a “blister” on her right breast. It was a tiny lump, not even half an inch, that hurt just a bit when pressed, kind of “like a pimple.” She immediately consulted her doctor and following some tests, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to undergo a mastectomy, surgical removal of the cancerous breast. She was shocked, but nevertheless considered herself lucky more..

'There is no persecution in Sri Lanka'

Feb 14 (DM) Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera spoke to the Daily Mirror on the upcoming Commonwealth Business Forum, the Rizana Nafeek case and the handing of the Geneva sessions. He also commented on the accusation by foreign govts that the people-smuggling emanating from Sri Lanka was due to an environment that did not offer equal opportunities. Q. You were one of the primary individuals involved in the more..

JVP celebrates Valentine’s Day

Feb 14 (DM) The Marxist revolutionary JVP adding a twist to the political culture of Sri Lanka said they would be celebrating Valentines Day today at the Galle Face Green, creating history in leftist party politics. JVP member Bimal Rathnayake said that Valentines Day was not just a day to sell commercial goods but a day to discuss the true social problems the youth were forced to face regarding love and romance and to more..

UNP postpones appointing three Dy. leaders amidst protests

Feb 14 (Island) Amidst protests by some senior UNPers, the appointment of three deputy leaders, which was scheduled to take place at today’s party Working Committe meeting, has been postponed. UNP Chairman, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, Assistant Leader Joseph Michael Perera and General Secretary Tissa Attanayake had met UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday and objected to his plans to create a second more..

41,000 light vehicles enter Colombo every morning

Feb 14 (DM) Police Headquarters said that 41,000 light vehicles entered Colombo on Tuesday, when they conducted a census on all light vehicles entering the Colombo city to find ways of reducing traffic in the city. The process also caused heavy traffic congestions in most areas in Colombo and its suburbs as survey forms were given to owners of light vehicles. The census was conducted on Tuesday from 6am to 9am. more..

Colombo needs the pied piper

Feb 14 (DM) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is to speed up its Rat Control Program (RCP) in the city due to the noticeable increase in the number of rodents that have made some market places in the city their home. The municipality stated that the RCP which had been established 15 years ago had received additional manpower last December, after a sharp increase in the number rodents were reported within more..

Mathews takes over as Sri Lanka captain

Feb 14 (CI) Angelo Mathews will take over as Test and ODI captain from Mahela Jayawardene for the home Test series against Bangladesh. Dinesh Chandimal will be Mathews' deputy but will lead the national side in the Twenty20 format. Lasith Malinga has been named Sri Lanka's T20 vice-captain. The appointments are for a period of 11 months. Jayawardene was expected to step down from captaincy after the tour of more..

Sri Lanka says against internationalization of reconciliation process

Feb 14 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt is against the internationalization of the post-war reconciliation process in the country, a govt statement said. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN Palitha Kohona said that Sri Lanka must have the time and space to complete the reconciliation process that has already seen tremendous progress. "Sri Lanka will continue to take all necessary measures to heal the more..

Sri Lanka's tax-take weakens amid slowdown, exemptions: IMF

Feb 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tax revenues had fallen below target in 2012 amid an economic slowdown, declining imports and tax exemptions, the International Monetary Fund said. The IMF said Sri Lanka's value added tax (VAT) regime is yielding less taxes than it should at current rates in force. "Strengthening the administration of the VAT is a very important reform," IMF mission chief to Sri Lanka John Nelmes said. more..

Editorial: New challenges for a new Pope

Feb 14 (CT) In what truly qualified as 'breaking news', as opposed to the bits and pieces of pedestrian blah that gets flashed as 'hot news', Pope Benedict XVI dropped a bombshell on the world on Monday, with the announcement that he would be resigning from his position as the head of the Catholic Church at the end of this month. The 85-year-old pontiff cited poor health as the reason for the decision. To say that many around the world were shocked by the announcement would more..

Sri Lanka as a breakout nation

Feb 14 (CT) The latest development tagline added to Sri Lanka is that it can be the next “Breakout Nation”. The Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal is reported to have first expressed this view when he addressed the best annual reports awards ceremony organised by the Smart Media in Colombo in August 2012. Later this was reconfirmed by him with a slight modification when he presented the Central Bank’s Road Map for 2013 in January 2013. In his first address, the Governor had been more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 14.02.2013

Mercury medical apparatus ordered out

Feb 14 (Island) In keeping with the recent Minamata Convention as regards international mercury standards, the Health Ministry has decided to gradually stop the use of mercury thermometers, blood pressure apparatus (sphygmanometers) in all hospitals. The Health Ministry said yesterday that the Environment and Professional Health unit of the Health Ministry had initiated a programme to reduce the use of mercury containing medical apparatus. The Health Secretary had issued more..

Stocks ends weaker, turnover down, after IMF warning

Feb 14 (Reuters) Stocks fell for a third straight session on Thursday to a one-week low and turnover also fell a day after the IMF warned of slower growth, high inflation, and lower tax revenue risks. The main share index fell 0.03%, or 1.73 points, to end at 5,825.29, its lowest since Feb 7. "Investors are worried about the IMF statement," a stockbroker said. "The market is down on low liquidity. Investors are staying away awaiting for direction with high interest rates." more..

Female journalists walk on eggshells in Sri Lanka

Feb 14 (IPS) The year was 1998 and porters at the wholesale vegetable market in Colombo had gone on strike, virtually suspending vegetable distribution in the city and its suburbs. A national news channel, Maharaja Television, had dispatched a crew of reporters to cover the porters’ union general meeting; the atmosphere was charged and tension was palpable. “Suddenly,” recalled a female journalist who was just a young cub reporter more..

Throwball series against Pakistan in March

Feb 14 (TN) Sri Lanka’s men throwball team will land here on March 26 to play a two-match series against Pakistan, it was learnt on Wednesday. Pakistan Throwball Federation’s (PTF) president Captain (retd) Muhammad Tahir Naveed told a press conference here at his office on Wednesday that the matches would be held on March 27 and 28. A beach match will be organised on March 30. The Dow University of Health Sciences, Ojha Camps, Habib Public School and PSB Coaching more..

Sarana promises magic at CPC

Feb 14 (Island) Petroleum Industries Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena said yesterday that he would make the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation (CPC) a profit making venture, within three years, with the support of new Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Gunawardena said that if the CPC employees worked to their maximum, the day would not be far when the CPC would be a profitable institution. Addressing the special function held at the CPC head office, to welcome him, more..

Police & political authority at Monaragala collide

Feb 14 (LT) A conflict between police and Monaragala political authority has developed as attempts are being made by the police to implement the law to the letter and prevent any illegal activities. The political authority in Monaragala District from the ministers to divisional politicians of the ruling UPFA demands that the DIG in charge of the area should be transferred. The conflict that had existed for some time has come to a climax more..

Lanka accuses North Korea of violating UN resolution

Feb 14 (CG) The Sri Lankan govt today raised concerns over the nuclear tests conducted by the Demoratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday. The External Affairs Ministry said that through this act, DPRK had once again violated the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 (2009). “Sri Lanka calls on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from any action which could compromise peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the progress more..