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Sri Lanka owe Jayawardene a send-off

Jan 2 (CI) Geoff Marsh had a brief but unhindered view into the workings of the Sri Lanka side, but after his sacking said it didn't take a head coach's insight to know everything there was know about the captaincy. "Every country needs to have its best captain," he began, "and the best captain in Sri Lanka is Mahela Jayawardene. I think everyone knows that." Jayawardene is not the best player in Sri Lanka's ranks by some distance, more..

Judging the judges

Jan 2 (Island) Though the so-called impeachment imbroglio is presented as a case of a tussle between the Parliament and the Judiciary for supremacy it is not so. If it was such then it would have been arisen in 1984 itself when there was an attempt to impeach Neville Samarakoon. Nor were there any such problems in the case of Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva as he realized there was no provision for the Judiciary to challenge the supremacy of Parliament. The then Speaker Anura Bandaranaike’s more..

'Western countries pressurising Sri Lanka - a clear case of interference'

Jan 2 (SO) The Christmas holiday season kept most politicians away from their normal day-to-day public schedules last week. However, with the dawn of 2013 they will swing back to action. The ongoing festive season did not permit most of the senior hands in the UNP to relax as they anticipated several drastic decisions by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. 'Armed' with a straight six-year term as the party leader, Ranil is determined to discipline party seniors to put the Siri Kotha more..

Harsha alleges CB’s 2012 roadmap was 'directionless, off track'

Jan 2 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva alleged that the Central Bank’s 2012 Roadmap was “directionless and off track” and hoped for a more realistic 2013 version to be unveiled today. Last year, reacting to the ‘Monetary Policy Road Map for 2012’ unveiled by Governor Nivard Cabraal on 3 Jan 2012, Dr. de Silva recalled that he said on behalf of the UNP that it was a “nauseatingly one-sided propaganda attempt”. “My criticism was more..

Editorial: Crooks profiting from ‘emerging miracle’

Jan 2 (Island) The Board of Investment (BoI) website has a catchy slogan: 'Profit from Asia's emerging miracle'. Among those who have already profited are some international crooks. We reported yesterday that several foreign companies which launched BoI projects with funds borrowed from the state banks had run away. The banks had lost billions of rupees and thousands of workers their jobs as a result, our report said. The employees of one of the companies closed down without more..

BOC has lent Rs. 140 b for post-war livelihood in north and east

Jan 2 (FT) The Bank of Ceylon has lent a staggering Rs. 140 billion since the end of the war in May 2009 to boost livelihoods in the north and east. BOC Chairman Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe revealed industry giant BOC’s support for the revival of north and east in response to a question posed by journalist yesterday. He said BOC support has been towards livelihood development covering agriculture, dairy, fisheries, and trade, as well as housing and construction. Wickramasinghe also said that more..

Aiyoo Cricket!

Jan 2 (Island) Cricket is more than just a sport for Sri Lankans. In India and Pakistan you find passionate fans, but most of them aren’t knowledgeable. In England and Australia you find knowledgeable fans, but perhaps they lack passion. Where you find fans with both passion and knowledge is in places like Sri Lanka and the West Indies. During Sri Lanka’s current tour of Australia, the fans at home have been more..

Shoplifting gang, phone thief arrested

Jan 2 (Island) The Police on Sunday arrested a mobile phone thief and on Monday an eight-member gang of shoplifters. The mobile phone thief, arrested on Sunday, was found in possession of 43 phones stolen from women bus commuters. A heroin addict, the thief had on a daily basis stolen the phones between Nugegoda and Kottawa. He was arrested by the Maharagama police and produced before the Gangodawila Magistrate who remanded him till today. Meanwhile, on Monday, the more..

Killing of teacher wife, two children: Suspect re-remanded

Jan 2 (Island) The suspect in the killing of his teacher wife and two young children and setting their bodies ablaze, was re-remanded till January 7 by Mt. Lavinia Magistrate yesterday. When the suspect, Wijemuni de Silva, was produced in Court from the Magazine remand prison, no lawyer appeared on his behalf. Constables Priyankara and Bandara submitted to Court three laptops, three cell phones and two dongles used by the suspect and two cell phones used by his lover. more..

Bankers in hot water over approving loans without security

Jan 2 (Island) Minister Gamini Lokuge said that the govt was keeping a close tab on bank officials who approved massive loans to errant foreign businessmen who had since fled the country without settling them. Defaulters obtained loans for garment factories in the Investment Promotion Zones. At least ten foreigners who started garment factories in the country have fled without paying back the loans to the tune of more..

SL committee for solidarity with Palestine congratulates Palestinians

Jan 2 (Island) The Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine has congratulated the people of Palestine on their success in winning Observer Status at the UN on Nov. 29, 2012 after a long struggle of 65 years. This is the first step in achieving Full Membership in the near future, it notes. The following is the statement issued by the Committee for Solidarity with Palestine: "The organisation takes great pleasure in thanking all the states that voted in favour of the UN more..

Public friendly service, development go hand in hand, says WDJ

Jan 2 (DN) Providing a public friendly service is important to make the country's development progress faster, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W D J Seneviratne said. He was addressing the opening ceremony of the 281st Sathosa outlet in Ratnapura recently. "There are anomalies in prices of commodities due to the items not having a stable price and prices not been controlled," the minister said. He said Sathosa provides essential items to consumers at more..

Sri Lanka in fresh bid to save Rizana Nafeek

Jan 2 (DN) In a fresh bid to rescue Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek sentenced to death, the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister appealed to his Saudi counterpart to grant her pardon on humanitarian grounds. The appeal was made by External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris to Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal through the Saudi mission in Colombo. The appeal, handed to the Saudi embassy in Colombo, more..

New school term begins today

Jan 2 (CT) The new school term for the year 2013 will being today, the Ministry of Education said. However, schools which are serving as O/L exam evaluation centres will re-open on 10 Jan, after the papers are marked. The Education Ministry stated the first phase of the evaluation activities began last Sunday and will continue up to next Tuesday. Following the completion of evaluation activities, 78 schools which are being used as evaluation centres will begin their first term next week. more..

Railway employees to strike from 9 Jan

Jan 2 (CT) Railway employees are to engage in a 48- hour country-wide token strike from 9 January, if they do not receive a positive response from the govt regarding their salary issues. Convener of the Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA), Janaka Fernando, said they are hoping to have a special discussion with President's Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, during the week in order to resolve their grievances especially with regard to increments. He also said Minister of more..

New Year burdens

Jan 2 (CT) The year 2013 dawned heaping both expected and unexpected burdens on the general public, with the cost of a number of services and goods going up by a huge percentage. Among the unexpected burdens was the jacking up of cremation charges by Rs 2,000, causing the cost of dying to be as high as the cost of living. Several establishments have begun charging even a higher amount for the cremation procedure more..

Flood victims begin to return home

Jan 2 (KT) Over 40,000 flood victims who lost their homes in the worst floods in eight years, began leaving their temporary shelters in schools, temples and other public places in Sri Lanka. In the past 18 days, more than 400,000 people were affected by torrential rains, floods and landslides in half of Lanka. Twenty people were killed in floods and landslides and seven missing. With the rains finally ceasing, flood victims are beginning to make their way back home. “The weather is finally more..

‘Lanka could be promoted as IT hub’

Jan 2 (DN) Sri Lanka could be promoted as an IT hub in the region because of its skilled work force and English educated population, IFS Vice President South Asia, Jayantha De Silva said. “Since the country situation is conducive to do business, the govt is now in the process of promoting IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BOP). Becuasae it has a lot of potential to become a hub in the region and also to become a US $ one billion industry in the future,” De Silva who is also the more..

'PSC Report on CJ: We will abide by President’s ruling'

Jan 2 (Island) A govt member of the PSC, that inquired into allegations pertaining to the official and personal conduct of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, said that they would abide by whatever decision President Mahinda Rajapaksa took. Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera said that there was a great deal of speculation regarding the prorogation of Parliament, but as far as he was aware no such decision had been taken. more..

Two more spectacles manufacturing factories coming up

Jan 2 (DN) The Health Ministry will establish two new spectacles manufacturing factories affiliated to the Jaffna and Karapitiya Teaching Hospitals, Dr Palitha Maheepala said. Two spectacles manufacturing factories affiliated to the Colombo National Eye Hospital and Kandy Teaching Hospitals, are already operating. Around 34,000 spectacles have been manufactured here and distributed among people from low income families who are visually impaired, he said. more..

External Affairs Ministry skypes with Sri Lankan missions abroad

Jan 2 (FT) The External Affairs Ministry has launched a new program that establishes video communication links between the Ministry's consular division and Sri Lankan missions and expatriates abroad. Launching the new program President Rajapaksa spoke with several Sri Lankan embassies via Skype at Temple Trees yesterday. President spoke with several Sri Lankan ambassadors and obtained updates on matters pertaining to Sri Lankan citizens in those countries. more..

UNP, JVP slam Govt. over Rs. 26 bn Deyata Kirula boru show

Jan 2 (Island) The UNP and the JVP yesterday slammed the govt for the proposed Deyata Kirula exhibition which, the said, would gobble up Rs. 26.5 billion. They described it as a boru show meant to boost the image and ego of President Rajapaksa. However, Chairman of the Deyata Kirula Exhibition Committee and Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, asked for comment, said that the total project cost of Rs. 60 billion more..

Harsha on The Island report

Jan 2 (Island) Apropos Monday’s main news item captioned ‘CJ should have resigned over husband’s role in NSB-TFC deal – UNP’, Harsha de Silva, MP has sent us the following clarification: While I have no issue with the content of the story except for one sentence. I feel the caption is misleading. The caption is linked to the said one sentence:"UNP MP de Silva reiterated that as a proper investigation into the NSB-TFC deal wasn’t possible due to Kariyawasam’s wife being the CJ, he felt more..

Tamils plan to protest at SCG Test

Jan 2 (MSN) Tamil protesters and their supporters plan rally outside the Sydney Cricket Ground, calling for the Sri Lankan cricket team to be barred from world competition. The Boycott Sri Lankan Cricket Campaign (BSLCC) expects protesters to converge at 9.30am (AEDT) on Thursday, the first day of the third Test between Australia and Sri Lanka. The Tamil Youth Organisation said in a statement on Wednesday the protest was to highlight the persecution of Tamils by the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Govt. to apply curbs on housemaid jobs

Jan 2 (DN) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) aims to reduce females migrating for overseas jobs as domestic aides by 80-90 per cent by 2020. “We do not approve females going for overseas work as domestic aides. However, we cannot put a full stop to it immediately. Therefore, we have launched a number of programmes to upgrade their skills and find more gainful employment in specialized vocations,” more..

Gondola riding Ranil returns

Jan 2 (CT) Opposition and UNP Leader, Ranil Wikcremesinghe, who opted to ride a gondola in Venice, while floods and landslides wreaked havoc in the country affecting over 400,000 people, is expected to return to Sri Lanka today. Wickremesinghe's visit to Italy and his antics in Venice have drawn heavy flak from several quarters, including his own party men, who claim his gondola ride in Venice while Sri Lanka was drowning, was akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burnt. more..

China readies draft law for exploration of Indian Ocean

Jan 2 (TOI) China is working on a draft for a law on international seabed exploration that would enable it to explore mineral and other deep sea resources in the Indian Ocean and other seas far from its shores. The move is likely to worry New Delhi that keeps a close watch on China's strategic moves in the Indian Ocean with the help of countries like Sri Lanka. Colombo recently supported increased Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean saying China needed to protect its sea trade routes. more..

Substandard petrol: Foreign supplier to compensate CPC

Jan 2 (Island) Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) will compensate the cash-strapped Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) for payments it had made to vehicles and fuel pumps damaged due to low quality petrol supplied by the Singapore unit of the Dubai-based company two years ago. The ENOC and CPC have recently reached an agreement on a compensation package. Minister Susil Premjayantha said that payments more..

Editorial: Save democracy

Jan 2 (DM) The Court of Appeal will hold a crucial session tomorrow on the petition filed by CJ Shirani Bandaranayake challenging the findings of the PSC which probed the charges in the impeachment motion against her. The Court has issued notice on the Speaker, the members of the PSC and the Secretary General of Parliament. Reports indicate that the Speaker, the seven Govt members of the PSC and the Secretary General are likely to ignore the notice issued by the Appeal Court more..

Where do we go from here?

Jan 2 (DM) Railway workers have been the indicator of dissatisfaction among the govt sector workers even before the independence. Still they act as the barometer to test the pressure in the govt sector. I attended the annual conference of the Lanka Railway Workers' Union, held at their headquarters at Ratmalana, very recently. Everyone talked about the strike action taken on Dec 7 and action programmes for the coming period. That day, thousands of Lankan commuters were more..

New unit to track down unscrupulous tourists, sex workers

Jan 2 (ST) The Immigration Department’s border control division will soon have a new unit to monitor foreign visitors engaging in illegal practices. “The move is aimed largely at a small group who violate their visa status,” the Border Control Division Chief Nihal Ranasinghe said. He said that among the illegal acts some tourists engaged in were money laundering, computer hacking, prostitution and illegal trade. more..

Concerns raised over double standards on death penalty

Jan 2 (SL) The double standards displayed by Sri Lankan govt on the issue of the death penalty internationally and locally have raised many questions. Numerous groups and organizations as well as individuals pointed out that although Sri Lanka has abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly where a motion was presented against the carrying out of the death penalty and on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary execution, more..

Appeal court takes up CJ’s writ application against PSC tomorrow

Jan 2 (Island) The writ application filed by Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake against the decision of he Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) will be called before the Court of Appeal tomorrow. The notice on the respondents is returnable next Thursday. Court issued notice on the respondents on the basis that it was a legal obligation on its part to hear both sides of an inquiry. Among the respondents are Speaker of more..

Protest campaign against military presence in universities today

Jan 2 (Island) Sri Lanka National Union of Students (SLNUS) will launch a new campaign against alleged military interference in the university premises today. SLNUS Secretary Asanka Bulegoda said that they would start the campaign by distributing leaflets at the Fort Railway Station this morning to educate the public. He said that the govt was continuing its project to militarise the universities and they would stop it at more..

'Batsmen need to take control'

Jan 2 (CI) Chief among Sri Lanka's woes after the deflating loss in Melbourne has been the form of its top order, whose torrid two-month stretch in Tests culminated in a gutless 156 and 103 at the MCG. As the final Test approaches, the batting appears just as brittle as the severely depleted pace attack. Their opponents have seemingly sensed easy prey, and opted for four seamers on a track that has traditionally more..

Another body blow for Sri Lanka in Australia

Jan 2 (AAP) Sri Lanka's miserable Australian tour has hit an incredible new low with promising fast bowler Shaminda Eranga sustaining a freak leg injury during training on the eve of the third Test in Sydney. Eranga was playing in a warm-up game of soccer with his teammates on Wednesday when he collapsed to the ground, causing an immediate end to the game. Nervous coaching staff attended to the 26-year-old while more..

Sajin applauds Harsha for speaking out on NSB-TFC deal, CJ

Jan 2 (Island) Apropos Monday’s page 1 statement attributed to UNP MP Harsha de Silva, which dealt with the alleged fraudulent transaction involving the National Savings Bank and The Finance Company, UPFA MP Sajin Vas Gunawardena has sent the following: The Island article states that "He (Harsha de Silva) was responsible for revealing the fraudulent transaction on April 29, 2012 having verified facts as more..

Govt. will eliminate underworld and drug mafia – Gotabaya

Jan 2 (DM) The government will give top priority to eliminating the underworld and the narcotics mafia in Colombo and will seek to end these social ills in the New Year, said Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Mr. Rajapaksa who was addressing the launching of the new website of the Colombo Municipal Council yesterday said the government had given top priority to ending these social ills as it was the wish of the people. more..

Policemen get 100% allowance hike

Jan 2 (Island) All police personnel will receive an enhanced allowance from now. The Police Department announced yesterday that the allowance had been increased by 100%. The increase in the allowance for police personnel comes after a lapse of 24 years. The 84,000 personnel in the Department will now receive double their monthly allowance with a constable alone receiving Rs. 5,000 more. There had not more..

BASL chief to bow out

Jan 2 (DM) Breaking away from the tradition of running for two terms, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President Wijedasa Rajapakshe has decided to step down from his post and make way for the election of another member to the post. Mr. Rajapakshe as incumbent president of the BASL – the policy making body comprising more than 11,000 lawyers in the country has decided not to continue for a second term, a practice more..