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Rs. 17.5 mn to equip police riot squad

Jan 23 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that the govt had allocated Rs 17.3 million to purchase tear gas, ammunition and equipment, gas masks, helmets, shields, rubber bullets and batons for the riot squads of the police in 2012. Due tender procedures had been followed to purchase 3,300 tear gas grenades, 1,400 tear gas canisters, 1,000 gas masks, 2,500 helmets, 1,000 shields and 2,500 rubber batons, he said adding that a part of the stock had been imported. more..

Bharatha’s driver recants

Jan 23 (DM) The Attorney General today informed the Colombo Magistrate that Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s driver who was a prime witness in the Mulleriyawa shooting has now changed his stance stating in an affidavit that the earlier statement was made under undue ‘influence’ by various parties to the case. Senior State Counsel Madhawa Tennakoon revealed this to Colombo Additional Magistrate during the magisterial more..

SLBFE nabs several women with forged employment documents

Jan 23 (DN) Sri Lanka Bureau of Foriegn Employment (SLBFE) sleuths yesterday nabbed several women, including an underaged girl who tried to migrate for foreign employment, with the aid of forged documents. In two separate incidents, sleuths nabbed four females at the Katunayake airport who had forged SLBFE emblems in their passports. All four were trying to leave for Saudi Arabia for employment as domestic aides. The SLBFE uses a special stamp on the more..

DAP queried over fund for Sri Lankan war victims

Jan 23 (TS) DAP should explain the discrepancies in the amount collected under its Sri Lanka War Victims’ Fund, which have cast doubts among their supporters, said former Selangor DAP auditor Tan Tuan Tat. He claimed that documents on the fund had revealed the discrepancies, adding that these were posted “anonymously” to him. The documents, he said, showed that DAP had held a donation drive in 2009 to assist Tamils in then war-torn Sri Lanka via British-based organisation Mercy Mission, more..

Ensure equality, dignity for Tamils, India tells Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (IANS) India has asked Sri Lanka to continue dialogue with the Tamil community to ensure a future for them that is marked by "equality, dignity and justice", and also expressed hope for early progress on "meaningful devolution" of powers to Tamil majority areas. Addressing a joint media conference with visiting Minister G.L. Peiris, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also emphasized on the safety of fishermen of both countries. more..

Sri Lanka alive to Indian concerns at allocating oil blocks

Jan 23 (Hindu) India has asked Sri Lanka to keep its sensitivities in mind while allocating oil blocks in the waters that separate the two countries. India considers the location too sensitive for the blocks to be allocated to any overseas company and at Tuesday’s Joint Commission meeting here, it received a positive response from the Sri Lankan side, according to official sources. With the conflict in northern Sri Lanka over, Colombo has been toying with the idea of opening the more..

'Situation in northern Lanka has improved'

Jan 23 (PTI) Situation in northern Sri Lanka, which bore the brunt of decade-long war, has improved, its Foreign Minister GL Peiris said while asking "cynics" not to be guided by propaganda. He also said that the Sri Lankan govt is ready to form an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee to discuss issues faced by ethnic Tamils and asked TNA to join the process as soon as possible. "Those who are objective and fair minded and open, as opposed to those who have made up their minds, more..

JVP demands probe into Matale mass grave

Jan 23 (Island) The JVP yesterday called for a high level probe into the Matale mass grave, from which 79 human skulls and the skeletal remains of 78 persons, believed to have been killed during the second JVP uprising in the late 1980s, were unearthed. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that according to his information there were many more mass graves containing remains of JVP activists and other youth in several parts of the country. more..

Editorial: When money cannot bring the dead back to life

Jan 23 (DM) When it comes to Sri Lanka, not all those who board planes go on joy rides. There are those who cross the seas in search of employment. As much as wanderlust compels one to venture out of one's egg shell comfort, poverty too pushes individuals towards wide open doors; whether they lead to heaven or hell is entirely another matter. Despite the rosy picture painted by the foreign employment agencies and the govt that boasts of “our women” who earn foreign currency more..

Let Rizana’s execution be a lesson

Jan 23 (DM) Rizana Nafeek’s story came to a tragic end with her execution last week. The incident that received a massive media attention is a conspicuous reflection of the social, economic and political tragedy the Sri Lankan society has been dragged into. This is not the first time a Sri Lankan woman who had gone for employment abroad has been sentenced to death. Even thought, the incident could easily be defined as another instance of punishment for the crime of murder, Rizana’s more..

Armed only with dreams of a better life, they soon wake up to a nightmare

Jan 23 (ST) “Keep your mouth shut if you don’t want to end up like Rizana,” Dharmawathie was threatened when she reported horrible abuse by her employer to a Sri Lankan official representative there. The mother of three from Galle went to Bahrain as a housemaid expecting to wash and clean as her Colombo agent had promised. Dharmawathie ended up in a household with 10 members, doing more..

North: Rebuilding not the only solution

Jan 23 (SL) While the government publicly says that normalcy has returned to the north after four years of war, the actual ground situation seems to reflect the very opposite, at least to some extent according to Tamil political parties. The biggest issue is the military presence. While Tamil political parties still claim the army is involved in civil administration in the north the army insists such claims are baseless. However what more..

Allocation riddle!

Jan 23 (DM) Budgetary allocations for Sri Lanka’s education sector fall short by approximately Rs.14.2 billion when compared to allocations presented in the Budget Speech by President Rajapaksa, Verité Research, a private research firm, which provides strategic analysis for corporate and govt institutions in Asia said in a report. In Section 36.8 of his speech, President delivered assurances that the govt would continue to maintain more..

Ex-CPC Secy, manager granted bail

Jan 23 (Island) Former Petroleum Ministry Secretary Titus Jayawardena and former Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Commercial Manager Uditha Doloswela were yesterday enlarged on personal bail of one million rupees each by Colombo Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli. They were charged in Court by the Bribery Commission over the import of a consignment of low quality petrol in June 2011. The Commission to more..

'Removal of CJ Bandaranayake won’t be enough'

Jan 23 (Island) A govt, which went to the extent of impeaching CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake over allegations of misconduct and corruption couldn’t turn a blind eye to waste, corruption and irregularities in the public and private sector, SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe said. He said that the government should now go flat-out against those involved in corruption. The govt should investigate those exposed by more..

Industrialists complain of poor power supply in Colombo suburbs

Jan 23 (Island) Amidst the govt’s promise to provide an uninterrupted power supply to the northern part of the country, several industrial areas in Colombo’s suburbs are frequently experiencing an irregular power supply during day time. A cross section of residents told The Island that they experienced low voltage during day time and frequent power outages since last month. The industrialists who were not happy with more..

Sri Lanka lawyers to boycott chief justice ceremony

Jan 23 (BBC) The main association of lawyers in Sri Lanka has said it will boycott the inauguration of the govt's newly appointed chief justice. Mohan Peiris has already been sworn in but the official ceremony is due to take place on Wednesday. His predecessor, Shirani Bandaranayake, was removed from the post two days after being impeached over allegations of financial and official misconduct. more..

'Govt. whipping up communalism in run up to Presidential Election'

Jan 23 (Island) With the war victory impact fast receding amidst an unprecedented crime wave and rising cost of living, the govt was whipping up communalism to ensure it did not lose the next Presidential Election, which was most likely to be held late next year, an opposition legislator charged. Senior Vice President of the UNP, Kabir Hashim had, at Monday’s crucial UNP Working Committee Meeting, which elected more..

Cobra girl attacked

Jan 23 (CG) Nirosha Wimalaratne, also known as the ‘Cobra girl’ or ‘Snake girl’ has been attacked in Welampitiya. According to the police she was attacked last night and is now receiving treatment at the Colombo national hospital. The police said that they believe she had been attacked by a man she had been hanging around with last night. Following information received by the police last night a team was more..

'Technical': New subject stream for A/Ls

Jan 23 (DM) The Education and the Higher Education Ministries in a collaborative effort towards battling the escalating unemployment rates among graduates and to open up more opportunities for higher education have introduced a new technology subject stream for the A/Ls that is available with effect from this year. Education Minister Bandula Gunwardena said, “The technology subject stream will open up avenues more..

Editorial : A Party of non-representatives

Jan 23 (CT) On Monday, the Working Committee of the UNP met to finalize its 'selection' of Office Bearers. After getting himself elected to the Leadership of the Party and extending his tenure for six years, Ranil Wickremesinghe summoned the main policy making body of the Party to nominate the key office-bearers who are expected to help him navigate a problem-ridden political entity that has been embroiled in a self-made destruction course. The UNP is today a political party more..

Central Banks should “Never Say Never”

Jan 23 (CT) The reputed economist and Central Bank’s Deputy Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe, in a public lecture delivered last week at the Central Bank under the theme “The Role of Central Banks in Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability” is reported to have concluded his presentation quoting Stanley Fischer, presently Governor of the Bank of Israel and formerly the Deputy Managing Director of IMF and Professor of Economics at the MIT. Weerasinghe has quoted the ten lessons more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.01.2013

UNP backs stronger economic links with India

Jan 23 (LBO) e UNP said it welcomed a move to start talks on a special economic partnership with India after an earlier deal was put on the backburner due to nationalism. "We welcome the news that Sri Lanka and India have decided to begin discussions to develop a framework for a special economic partnership between the two countries," legislator Harsha de Silva said in a statement. A joint statement by India and Sri Lanka said Tuesday that talks will begin between more..

Anglican Bishop says rule of law has completely collapsed

Jan 23 (CG) The Anglican Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey, in a strongly worded letter to his diocese, has said that over the past few days there has been a complete collapse of democracy in Sri Lanka. In his letter the Bishop says Sri Lanka no longer appears to be a constitutional democracy after the Executive and Legislator disregarded the Constitution despite repeated warnings by the Church and other religious organisations as well as civil society. more..

Hughes hundred ensures Australia draw series

Jan 23 (CI) On debut, Phillip Hughes scored a century to give Australia a 1-0 lead in this series. In the final game, he made another hundred to save Australia from series defeat and salvage a 2-2 result. Set 248 to win the game and the five-match contest, Sri Lanka struggled early, staged a plucky fightback led by Angelo Mathews, and ultimately fell short as Australia's bowlers backed up the fine work of Hughes, whose unbeaten 138 was more..

Sri Lanka China venture to make specialty tea

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Elpitiya Plantations Plc has formed a joint venture with China's Yunnan Dianhong Group to produce 'Chinese Specialty Tea' for export, the island's investment promotion agency said. "This high quality Chinese Specialty Tea is expected to cater to the high end market segment in Greater China," BOI said in a statement. "The project will pave the way for more foreign investment of this nature to the country with modern technology & machinery, which will expose more more..

Stocks close up 0.2%, rupee weaker

Jan 23 (LBO) Stocks closed up 0.2% Wednesday with banking sector stocks seeing interest, while the rupee weakened in forex markets, brokers and dealers said. The Colombo All Share Index rose 0.22% to close at 5,883.66 points up 12.73 points and the S&P SL 20 Index rose 7.23 point to close at 3,191.80 points up 0.23%. Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees. Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 104.10 rupees down 10 cents with a 5.1 million share off-market deal also contributing. more..

Garbage piles up in Colombo’s suburbs

Jan 23 (Island) As the Local Councils in Colombo’s suburbs have failed to collect the garbage of their ratepayers, hundreds of thousands of people are at the mercy of their councils to dispose tons of their garbage that accumulates daily. Ratepayers of the Kotte, Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia, Moratuwa, Kaduwela Municipal Councils and the Maharagama Urban Council are among those affected by the delays in garbage collection more..

Sri Lankan illegal migrants returned by Australia

Jan 23 (Xinhua) Nearly a 1000 Sri Lankans that attempted to illegally migrant to Australia have been returned home, a statement released by the Australian High Commission said here on Wednesday. The recent return of 13 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who voluntarily flew home to Colombo brings the total number of returned Sri Lankans to almost 1000 since August last year, the statement observed. A total of 942 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have returned, both more..

Sritharan MP's office for the second time searched by TID

Jan 23 (OU) MP Sivaganam Sritharan's Kilinochchi office was searched for the second time yesterday by the Terrorism Prevention unit. During the search operation a computer which was in his officer was taken away. Yesterday at about 9.30 a.m, the personnel from the Terrorism Prevention unit visited Sritharan's office and were searching the area for an hour. Sritharan's Personnel Assistant Ponnambalam Lakshmikanthan was arrested by Terrorism Prevention unit at the Kattunayake airport more..

Detention extension Bill first step to dictatorship - UNP

Jan 23 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga told Parliament that the govt’s aim of getting the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Bill passed was just only the first step in a long journey towards a fully dictatorial regime. Commencing the debate on the Bill from the Opposition ranks, he said that the govt’s move was similar to that of what Felix Dias Bandaranayake did a long time ago to bring all the political more..

WP students shun midwifery: CMC worst affected

Jan 23 (Island) The Govt Midwifery Service Association (GMSA) complained that the reluctance of students in the Western Province to take up midwifery as a career had led to the dearth of midwives in the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (PHD CMC). Chief Assistant Secretary of the GMSA Devika Kodituwakku said students qualifying with three subjects in the science stream at the GCE A/L exam could apply for midwifery training. more..

Karaoke Wasantha granted bail

Jan 23 (DM) Surendra Wasantha Perera alias Karaoke Wasantha, who owns several Karaoke bars in Colombo, was arrested on charges of threatening the police and pretending to be a close relative of a prominent politician. He was later released on bail. Police also arrested five others in connection with this incident. The suspects were produced in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court. Investigations had revealed that on January 13, while the police on traffic duty at Orugodawatta and Borella, more..

Protest against Lankan official in Malaysia

Jan 23 (FMT) Tempers flared and the Sri Lankan national flag was ripped to pieces by a group of angry protesters this morning who demanded an apology from the deputy high commissioner who had apparently insulted Malaysia. Armed with placards, the protesters, who gathered outside the high commission here, claimed that on Dec 27, Sunil Vikramesing had chased a group of protesters from the commission’s more..

Police still clueless about where ammo came from

Jan 23 (Island) In the wake of the recovery of 3,007 rounds of Multi-Purpose Machine Gun (MPMG) and 959 rounds of T-56 ammunition from near the small bridge at the Mahakanadarawa tank, police remain clueless from where these came or who had dumped them in the tank. When police spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody was contacted, with much difficulty, he said, "Police need to investigate and have completed the recovery process that commenced Monday. Asked whether they more..

Monetary policy not aligned with SME sector needs: Report

Jan 23 (DM) The lack of a clear definition as to what constitutes a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) in Sri Lanka may be working to the benefit of larger enterprises seeking tax concessions, according to private research firm, Verite Research. Previous criteria used to determine whether an enterprise fits into the SME category included the number of employees, where organizations with up-to 149 employees were considered medium scale enterprises, whilst the Task Force for more..

Sumanthiran calls on Hakeem to resign

Jan 23 (CT) TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran told Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem to resign from his post if he cannot ensure justice to those detained, and if he is not allowed to carry out his duties efficiently, then he should hand over his post to someone else who might do the job better. The TNA MP made this comment during the second reading of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provision) Bill in Parliament, more..

Media blackout for ceremonial sitting

Jan 23 (DM) All local and international media were prevented from entering the Supreme Court complex and not allowed to cover the ceremonial sitting to welcome CJ Mohan Peiris, who was appointed to the post under controversial circumstances. Reportedly only state media personnel were permitted to enter the complex. The ceremonial sitting began at 10 a.m. in the presence of lawyers, judges and other dignitaries. However, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) more..

Friday Forum on the right to personal security

Jan 23 (SM) The Friday Forum, a group of concerned citizens, says it is gravely concerned about the security and well being of persons who have taken positions regarding the impeachment contrary to that of the govt, and continue to do so. These comprise judges and other state officials, lawyers, various civil society groups and individuals, it says in a statement. The right to hold and to peaceably express different opinions, and to act lawfully in furtherance of them, more..