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Rupee depreciation swelled public debt by Rs. 278 b

Jan 3 (FT) Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal yesterday revealed that depreciation of the rupee last year bloated the country’s public debt stock by a staggering Rs. 278 billion. He noted that for the full year on a net basis the rupee depreciated by about 10%, but since June 2012 the currency had appreciated by 5.3%. The latter helped to reduce the value of public debt by Rs. 158 billion. Cabraal also said that the depreciation-led spike in debt stock will see debt to GDP ratio moving back to more..

Petition filed asking Appeal Court to dismiss CJ’s writ application

Jan 3 (Island) An intervention petition was filed by Don Chandrasena Weerasekera of Kiribathgoda yesterday, requesting the Court of Appeal to dismiss the Writ Application filed by CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake against the PSC which probed impeachment charges against her and issued a report. The intervenient petitioner has stated that Article 140 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka does not empower more..

Govt to spend Rs 3,000 m on school midday meal

Jan 3 (DN) The govt allocated Rs 3,000 million to provide the school midday meal for 2013, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. “A balanced meal is provided by the government aimed at improving the health nutrition state of schoolchildren. The midday meal will be provided to 1,014,901 schoolchildren from grade one to five in 7,625 schools countrywide. The official ceremony to mark the free distribution of the midday meal this year will be held at Makumaiyambal Vidyalaya, Trincomalee more..

Fmr. Akuressa PS Chairman rape trial begins on Jan 9

Jan 3 (DM) The trial against former Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman who was indicted for raping an underage girl at his own guest house is to begin on January 9 before Matara High Court. The Attorney General has indicted Saruwa Liyanage Sunil (48), PS Chairman from the ruling UPFA party for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in May 2011. The Woman and Child Protection Bureau of the Matara Police conducted the investigation and took the accused into custody following more..

Implement Teacher Transfer Policy

Jan 3 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) threatened to take legal action against the Education Ministry next week, if the National Teacher Transfer Policy is not implemented immediately. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin said teacher transfers are taking place with irregularities and in complete violation of the National Teacher Transfer Policy. "The govt said they will transfer the teachers, who have more..

‘One Sri Lankan nation’ - Namal

Jan 3 (DN) MP and Tharunyata Hetak Organization chairman Namal Rajapaksa yesterday said that youth should not feel constrained to forge links with their counterparts in other communities. “Whether it is access to education, livelihood or any other matter, involved with day to day life no youth should feel that they are being discriminated”, he added. MP Namal Rajapaksa was delivering the key note address at the national conference on the role of youth in reconciliation, organized by the more..

Politicians must reject kickbacks - Welgama

Jan 3 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama says politicians must not get involved in govt contract and reject commissions offered by those handling projects under their purview. Such unethical practices lead to bribery and corruption which had to be wiped out root and branch in the public interest, he says. Speaking at the launching of the construction of a new Divisional Secretariat for Matugama recently Minister Welgama said that the people of the Matugama area had more..

Australia, Sri Lanka remember Tony Greig

Jan 3 (AFP) Australian and Sri Lankan players paid their respects to Tony Greig in a moving farewell to the former England captain before start of play in the third Test on Thursday. A minute's silence was observed by players and fans in honour of Greig, who died at the weekend aged 66 from a heart attack while battling lung cancer. A trademark Greig sunhat was placed symbolically on top of the stumps at the SCG before more..

Sri Lanka to issue coin series to depict districts

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka will issue coins with a face of 10 rupees to depict each district in the country in 2013, the Central Bank has said in a road map for monetary policy. Sri Lanka has 22 administrative districts. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal also said Wednesday a program will be launched to put coins that are tied up in piggy-banks and tills in temples and churches back into circulation. Unlike inflationary paper money, the metal in coins sometimes costs more than its face value. more..

Nature’s Secret factory employees revolt against management

Jan 3 (Island) Two Police constables were injured and hospitalised yesterday, when a group of employees of the Nature’s Secret factory, at Horana, pelted stones at them following a demonstration by the employees against their management. Around 100 employees were demonsreating against their management and becoming unruly outside the factory premises. When the Police arrived and attempted to sort out the issue, they were attacked with stones, SSP Prishantha Jayakody said more..

Iranian nabbed with Rs 206 mn worth dope

Jan 3 (Island) Two officers of the Customs Narcotic Division on Tuesday evening thwarted an attempt by a 28-year-old Iranian national to smuggle in two kilos of Methamphetamine into the country at the BIA. The contraband meticulously hidden in the bottom lining of his travelling bag is worth around Rs. 206 million. It also could be used as a chemical to manufacture various kinds of what are termed speed more..

Lankan charged with cheating Saudi Arabian

Jan 3 (DM) A Sri Lankan job agent, who was produced in Court on charges of having defrauded a Saudi Arabian of Rs.3.2 million on the promise he would find him 11 housemaids, was ordered to be remanded till January 9 by Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne. The Colombo Fraud Investigations Bureau (CFIB) carried out its investigations on the basis of a complaint made by the Saudi Arabian who alleged that he had paid US$33,000 to the job agent. more..

Govt. to take up issue of low quality drugs with India

Jan 3 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday instructed the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Director Dr. Hemantha Beneragama to issue circulars to all hospitals and the private pharmacies calling for the withdrawal of the antibiotic, Cloxicicilan after some of the antibiotic phials were found contaminated at the Colombo South Teaching hospital last week. Health sector trade unions say pieces of glass have been detected in them. Minister Sirisena said that if a more..

Over 40,000 Jaffna graduates provided with employment

Jan 3 (DN) The govt provided employment to over 40,000 graduates last year helping to end graduate unemployment, said Minister Douglas Devananda. He said so participating as chief guest at a ceremony to mark the assigning of newly appointed graduates to state institutions at Veerasinghem Hall, Jaffna recenlty. Appointments were given to 2,341 trainee graduates from the Jaffna district and assigned them more..

UNP, Govt. PSC members won’t answer Appeal Court summons

Jan 3 (Island) While the two UNP and seven govt members, in the PSC, that inquired into allegations against the Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, have decided not to answer summons by the Court of Appeal in the writ application filed against them by the CJ, the TNA and JVP members said they will be attending Court today. Lakshman Kiriella MP, who along with Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga, was one of two UNP members in the PSC, said that on a decision taken by Opposition leader more..

Moratuwa University partially closed following clash

Jan 3 (Island) The Moratuwa University Engineering Faculty and Institute of Technology have been closed indefinitely following a clash between two student factions on Tuesday night. The university premises and hostels have been declared out of bounds for students attached to the Engineering faculty and Technology Institute to prevent further clashes. Eight students of the Engineering faculty and one National Diploma in Technology (NDT) student were hospitalized after the clash more..

Sri Lanka aims at inflation of 7.0-pct in 2013

Jan 3 (LBO) Central Bank aims to inflate the economy by about 7.0% in 2012 based on a monetary targeting framework where money supply and credit growth is taken into account. Delivering a monetary policy roadmap for 2013 Governor Nivard Cabraal said the Central Bank was will continue to aim for mid single digits inflation over the medium term. In 2012 the central bank's record of generating mid single digits inflation was thrown off track more..

JVP blasts UNP for dodging Court

Jan 3 (Island) The JVP yesterday said their member in the Parliamentary Select Committee, which probed allegations against CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Vijitha Herath would appear before the Court of Appeal today although the UPFA and UNP members would not do so. Addressing a media briefing, at the party head office in Pelawatta, JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake accused the UNP of supporting the govt’s agenda by not appearing in Court. more..

CJ impeachment: UNP, JVP sing different tune now – Govt.

Jan 3 (Island) SLFP heavyweight Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday said that those critical of the impeachment process, targeting CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, had been campaigning both in and outside parliament against the CJ and her husband Pradeep Kariyawasam over the infamous NSB-TFC transaction, revealed by a UNP MPt. The minister was referring to statements attributed to UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva. Alahapperuma was addressing the media at the Mahaweli Center. more..

'Govt. won’t reverse CJ impeachment process'

Jan 3 (Island) The Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday said that the govt would not, under any circumstances, reverse the impeachment process aimed at removing Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. He said that the govt was not overtly worried about criticism of the ongoing impeachment process by a section of the international community which he said was hostile to Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: What doesn’t make us Indians

Jan 3 (DM) The gang rape of the Indian medical student pulled hundreds and thousands of angry people to the capital, urging the government to introduce the death penalty for the rapists. In contrast, Sri Lanka has been witnessing many types of crimes and abuses against women and children, even in places where the highest form of security is supposed to prevail, which include public places and the highest echelon of the country’s law-making—the Parliament. more..

From reconciliation to impeachment: From citizen to subject?

Jan 3 (DM) As we moved into 2012, the buzz- word was reconciliation and with it the acronym - understood by too few of our fellow citizens- was LLRC. The LLRC Report had been presented to the President who in turn had sent it to Parliament. There was some hope that since the Commission had been set up by the President, that he would accept its recommendations in full and get on with the task of implementation. After all this was the Commission he and his govt had more..

Dept. of wildlife conservation or destruction?

Jan 3 (SL) Where does the money that generates through the country’s National Parks go? This is a question that has arisen not only amongst the wildlife employees but also amongst the general public as well. Questions have been raised as to why the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), which earns millions of money from the sale of entrance tickets to national parks, does not have enough vehicles and more..

Dy. Speaker says don’t respond to CA notice

Jan 3 (DM) Parliament will take action against members of the Parliamentary Select Committee that probed the charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake if they appear before the Court of Appeal to give evidence in the case, said Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody yesterday. JVP MP Vijitha Herath and TNA leader R. Sampanthan have announced that they will appear before court today. more..

SL v AUS 3nd Test: Thirimanne pushes Sri Lanka to 294

Jan 3 (CI) Six days ago, while the Sri Lankans were capitulating to lose the Boxing Day Test, Lahiru Thirimanne was back home in Sri Lanka enjoying a day off in between one-day commitments for Ragama. He must have been as surprised as anyone to find himself batting on the opening day of a Test match at the SCG less than a week later. Thirimanne acclimatised to his new role quickly and although he narrowly missed out on a maiden more..

Sri Lanka 12th highest source country of asylum seekers: UNHCR

Jan 3 (ST) Sri Lanka ranked 12th highest source country of asylum-seekers who claimed refuge in 44 industrialised countries last year, reports the UNHCR. It also reveals that more Sri Lankans were now seeking asylum abroad than the number of Sri Lankan refugees who were returning home voluntarily. There were 8,521 fresh asylum applications from Sri Lanka last year, said the ‘UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for more..

UK undecided on CHOGM 2013

Jan 3 (CG) The British govt is undecided on attending the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka later this year. The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin quoted the British Foreign Ministry as saying last month that it was too early to say if Britain will attend the summit and at what level it will be represented. Rankin meanwhile quoted the British Foreign Ministry as saying that Britain more..

No international market for SL rice – govt.

Jan 3 (Island) Rice export was not possible as there was no international demand for Sri Lankan ordinary rice varieties, Agriculture Ministry Secretary Wijerathne Sakalasooriya said. He noted that the quality of milled rice produced in Sri Lanka was lower than that of average quality rice traded as mass exports. "Other competing countries offer better quality rice of preferred varieties at the same price," he said. more..

'Parliament need not be attributed a pseudo legitimacy'

Jan 3 (LT) The govt followed a process of attributing pseudo legitimacy to the Parliament but pursued the judiciary and the Chief Justice to hunt them down. There is a question regarding the supremacy of the Parliament. The concept of ‘Parliament’ could be supreme. However, what is the supremacy in the present parliament in the country? How was the 2/3rd majority of this Parliament manipulated? The present power has more..

Sri Lanka to have 'Goldilocks' reserves, IMF deal talks ahead

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka will not accumulate too much foreign reserves, but will maintain an amount that is comfortable for the economy and a deal with the IMF is also on the cards, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka would have collected with about 6.8 billion US dollars of foreign reserves by the end of 2012 which is equal to about 4.4 months of imports, estimates by the Central Bank showed. more..

Gotabhaya welcomes UN decision, calls for action against LTTE rump

Jan 3 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the global community should realize that the contentious issue of child soldiers could never have been resolved if the LTTE had retained its fighting capability. The Gajaba Regiment veteran said that the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 had brought the appalling practice of the LTTE using children as cannon fodder. more..

'PSC has no legal authority to inquire allegations against CJ'

Jan 3 (AD) The Parliamentary Select Committee has no legal authority to inquire into allegations on the Chief Justice, the Appeal Court today said reading out the Supreme Court interpretation of the Sri Lankan constitution. This was stated when two petitions filed by CJ Shirani Bandaranayaka were taken up at the Appeal Court today. The Appeal court further explained that allegations against a judge could only be more..

Editorial: Be serious and keep it up

Jan 3 (CT) Secretary Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, made a thought-provoking address at the CMC on 1 Jan, outlining the tough stance he will be adopting to wipe out underworld activities and drug trafficking from the Colombo city and from the whole of Sri Lanka. It is understandable that nearly three decades of war would leave heavy scars on the social psyche of a nation. Neglected infrastructure, a questionable law and order situation more..

A new year prediction: Parliamentary elections just around the corner?

Jan 3 (CT) Under normal course of events, as anticipated earlier, what in store for Sri Lanka in 2013 were the promised elections for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in September and the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting (CHGOM) in November. Until then the country was supposed to lumber on grudgingly though as usual, perhaps making some headway here and debacle there, as it always did, amusing the disparaging critics home and the international community abroad. more..

A govt on a hot tin roof

Jan 3 (DM) It is no secret that the whole of Sri Lanka and its people consisting of Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and other communities are confronted with the worst consequences of a very serious social, economic and political crisis. The cost of living is becoming unbearable due to the increase in prices of essential consumer items. The salaries of more than 6 million state and private employees have not increased due more..

A tribute to Tony Greig

Jan 3 (CI) Australia, Sri Lanka and the match officials had another team join them for a moment's silence to honour Tony Greig after the former England captain, World Series Cricket pioneer and strident commentator died last week. Also lined up at the SCG were Greig's commentary colleagues at Channel Nine, including Bill Lawry, Ian Chappell and Richie Benaud. Joining them were members of Greig's family, while on the stumps at the Paddington end was hung his trademark more..

A Melbourne Christmas

Jan 3 (CI) December 12: Leave Hobart airport worn and weary and am comforted by how small the place feels. The town is over the other side of the river from my accommodation, but the Russian motel owner insists I have to see the city today. He moved here eight years ago, and it does not surprise me to learn that he is also an immigration agent, specialising in bringing people to Tasmania. "This is the greatest place in the world to live," he says. "If you live 15 minutes from where you work, more..

PSC member Dr Rajitha also a RS 7.5 million Golden Key depositor

Jan 3 (CT) A Minister and a member of the notorious Parliamentary Select Committee which investigated Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was also among the Golden key depositors the Colombo Telegraph can reveal today. The name sited as Dr N.H.R.H. Senaratne, NIC number 501501760 V, who deposited RS 7,500,000 is none other than Dentist and MP Rajitha Senaratne. This information has been extracted from Watawala report. more..

Herath: An underappreciated hero

Jan 3 (CI) Not enough comic books have superheroes who are old, short, pudgy with a bad marine haircut, soft round face and pants slightly too high on the waist. But they should. And if they did, they could easily use Rangana Herath as their inspiration even though bowling slow left-arm is not an obvious heroic endeavour. From a distance Herath probably looks more like a dad watching his kid play than 2012’s leading Test wicket-taker. Perhaps it’s even that that helps him. more..

Legal action against errant Sathosa officials

Jan 3 (GDI) Legal action is to be taken against Sathosa officials who are responsible for purchasing a consignment of big onions not suitable for human consumption irrespective of their positions. The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has appointed a committee to investigate into the imported big onion consignment which was found unfit for human consumption. Minister said that the law will be implemented at its maximum level against the traders who sell items more..