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Mixed aroma over 2013 tea crop

June 11 (FT) Upturn in Sri Lanka’s, as well as global, tea crop has evoked mixed sentiments over the industry’s fortunes with some taking heart from a likely record output whilst others expressed that it could hurt prices. With positive growth in tea crop witnessed in the first four months this year, top tea industry analysts predict that Sri Lanka would see a record year in tea production for 2013. While the tea production for April 2013 more..

Market wary of CB forcing interest rates down

June 11 (Island) The money market warns against forcing a reduction in interest rates in an environment of volatility with short term cycles of booms and busts caused by policy inconsistency making it difficult for the country’s lending institutions to reduce margins between lending rates and inflation. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal last week said directives would soon be issued to bring down bank interest rates in line with inflation. "The margin between interest rates more..

Ministry moots to select best private bus driver

June 11 (DN) The Private Transport Services Ministry plans to select the best private bus driver of the year and to felicitate him with the aim of improving the country's private bus transport service. Private Transport Services Minister C B Ratnayake made this proposal participating at a meeting to discuss private bus owners' problems. The minister said parallel to this, the best driver of each province will also be selected and their services appreciated at provincial level. more..

'138 undergrads suspended in one week'

June 11 (CT) More than 138 undergraduates have been suspended within a period of one week in a 'mass-scale' attempt at student suppression by the Higher Education Ministry, the Socialist Students' Union (SSU), alleged yesterday. SSU National Organizer, Nalinda Jayatissa, said to date, over 250 undergraduates have been suspended, and six student unions have been disbanded and banned in universities, more..

Match 5: South Africa beat Pakistan

June 11 (CI) A taxi driver in Birmingham has bought a ticket to watch Pakistan every time they played in the city for the last 30 years, except this time. He simply did not have the confidence in their batting to bother. It turns out he was right. South Africa lived to fight another day in the Champions Trophy as their bowlers, woeful against India but wolfish against an fragile line-up, defended a barely-par total. In the absence of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe led the pack with maturity more..

GMOA to take disciplinary action against Matara hospital directress

June 11 (Island) GMOA Committee Member Dr. Nath Wijesooriya yesterday said the GMOA would take disciplinary action against Matara Hospital Directress Dr. Mrs. Samanthi Samarakoon for criticising the GMOA. A few days ago, Dr. Mrs Samarakoon had made a statement to the media that the GMOA approach to the doctors’ welfare left much to be desired. He pointed out that as a GMOA member Dr. Mrs. Samarakoon should not make such a statement. She was supposed to more..

Met. Dept. managing with colonial era facilities

June 11 (Island) The Meteorology Department accused of its failure to issue early bad weather warnings was faced with shortcomings on all fronts––physical, scientific and human resources, a top official said. An official attached to the department said except for a part of one section, the entire department functioned in a building which was more than 100 years old. It was used as a hospital during colonial times. more..

From recrimination to reconciliation: the path to peace in Sri Lanka

June 11 (TC) Sri Lanka is at a crossroads. After the end of a long civil war, the country has an historic opportunity to draw on its strengths and riches to create a unified, prosperous and just society. But it is also faced with complex problems, mostly arising from its recent history. In Australia, we only see the influx of Sri Lankan refugees. But this is merely a symptom, hinting at the larger problem of post-war reconciliation at home. Sri Lanka is beginning to exorcise its ghosts, but Australia and the more..

Govt. moves to restore 30 tanks in addition to Uma Oya project

June 11 (Island) Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday said that in addition to the Uma-Oya Project, around 30 tanks such as the Welimada, Uva-Paranagama and Hali-ela would be rehabilitated shortly. He pointed out that apart from the main project, the rehabilitation work would be carried out in the respective ‘Wewas’ to retain more water. Those projects would ensure water resources even during the dry season. more..

DIG Vaas Gunawardena arrested

June 11 (CG) DIG Vaas Gunawardena has been arrested over the murder of a businessman from Bambalapitiya. The DIG was arrested by the CID after he was extensively questioned this evening over the incident. A police Sub Inspector (SI) and two other policemen were arrested last week over the same murder. The CID has also questioned DIG Vass Gunawardena last week over the incident. Mohammed Shyam, 35, a businessman more..

Electrical engineers launch work to rule

June 11 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) instructed its members, particularly those serving at the first coal-fired power plant in Norochcholai, not to work extra hours as a mark of protest against the CEB’s refusal to remove the plant manager. Despite frequent requests, the CEB management had failed to take action against the Deputy General Manager at the Norochcholai plant, an electrical engineer there said. The Island learns that they would not reverse their more..

CID ordered to submit recovered Museum artifacts

June 11 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered the CID to submit in Court, the valuable archaeological artifacts that were stolen from the National Museum, as to date, the police had not done so. Even though the police had reported the discovery of a number of valuable items that had been stolen, after they had gleaned information from the suspects, none of the items so discovered had been submitted in Court. The artifacts had been stolen as far back as 17 March 2012, and investigations in this regard more..

AG's Office burgled: Documents related to cases of corruption stolen

June 11 (CT) The office of the Auditor General (AG), housed at the premises of the Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation (SLSPC), had been burgled in broad daylight last Friday, and valuable documents pertaining to ongoing investigations of cases in which millions of rupees had been misappropriated, stolen. The office is located on Adhipathy Street, Fort, Colombo. Superintendent of Audit, S.M. Samarasinghe, who is in charge more..

Lecturers at J'pura Uni refrain from conducting classes

June 11 (CT) Lecturers of the Medical Faculty of the Jayewardenepura University are refraining from conducting lectures and classes for medical students, to express their displeasure over a protest conducted by the Medical Faculty undergraduates last week. The Medical Faculty Students' Action Committee (MFSAC) said the academics of the Medical Faculty and teaching hospitals affiliated to the Jayewardenepura University had stopped their academic activities last Saturday. more..

'Fisheries ministry did not receive any weather warning'

June 11 (DN) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratna yesterday said it does not issue weather reports to the media on behalf of the Meteorology Department. The Deputy Minister said this on being asked if it was due to not apprising the public of the stormy weather conditions predicted by the Meteorology Department to the Fisheries Ministry that some fishermen had set sail to sea last Friday and lost their lives due to cyclonic weather. more..

'No war memorial ban for Sri Lanka'

June 11 (HS) The Coalition Govt has refused to bow to demands from human rights groups to bar Sri Lanka from an event in Glasgow to commemorate the First World War. Campaigners including Amnesty Scotland had said the country should not be invited because of its appalling human rights record. The Govt will mark the centenary of the war after next year's Commonwealth Games with a special service in Glasgow Cathedral more..

WFFP concerned over fishermen deaths

June 11 (CG) Secretary of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP), Mohammed Ali Shah has expressed concerns over the death of several fishermen in Sri Lanka. Shah, who is also chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), on behalf of the communities in Pakistan expressed solidarity with the Sri Lankan fishermen. In a statement issued from the WFFP Secretariat in Karachi, Shah appealed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, DG, Metrological Department, more..

Cancer on the increase in the North

June 11 (CT) Post-war, there has been an increase in the number of cancer patients in the Northern Province, according to authorities at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital. Informed sources said a significant number of cancer patients are transferred to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital from the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts for treatment on a regular basis and that the numbers show a marked increase when compared to the pre-war days. Sources also said, prior to the war, the number of more..

'13A was forced on country'

June 11 (DN) The then govt was so much under pressure that it accepted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution without calling for a referendum in the face of a threat of invasion, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said yesterday. He added that public discussion is brewing on the 13th Amendment and many secrets with regard to the introduction of the Provincial Council system are coming to light. more..

Editorial: Imposition of ethics can only denote vague boundaries to journalists

June 11 (DM) One would wonder as to how the media, especially the State media, could criticise the US and the Western countries for their double standards in dealing with human rights in various countries, once the proposed State - sponsored code of ethics for journalists which stipulates against publications which “contain criticism affecting foreign relations” comes into force. Also it is not clear as to what would be the remedy, in the event the media goes ahead with such criticisms even after more..

Media code of ethics must come from within

June 11 (DM) In many countries in Asia, perhaps because there seems to be a perception that with the media taking on new forms of conveying to the public, information which may not otherwise have been available, the power of the Print and Electronic Media has increased beyond all proportions, and become a powerful weapon, undermining the security and stability of States even at times when foreign powers had introduced restrictions on the Media. There has always been a certain more..

NSB: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil!

June 11 (ST) More than a year after the share deal fiasco at the National Savings Bank (NSB), another ‘crisis’ surfaced at the bank. This time it is over a US$1 billion bond issue the bank wants to float; not for its own use, but for the state. The simple fact is that state coffers are empty and sources of funding for the Govt are fast drying up. NSB Chairman Sunil Sirisena was sacked at the behest of always-in-the-news Treasury more..

Packer’s bumper package from govt

June 11 (SL) Australian gaming tycoon James Packer’s entry to Sri Lanka has created a controversy following the govt’s move to accept the setting up of a integrated resort with gaming activities as a strategic investment project which is being offered many tax concessions. The government’s move to grant these tax exemptions to Packer’s resort and gaming project in Colombo at a time when the masses are slapped with more..

'Parliament can enact laws enforceable in any PC'

June 11 (NS) Two Cabinet papers were due to be submitted to Cabinet last week which aimed to introduce amendments to the controversial 13th Amendment to the Constitution. However, the two papers are now to be submitted next week after several ministers asked for more time to study the amendments and make their submissions. Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara was one of those who had requested more time to study the two more..

'Those who betrayed the country occupy high positions and distort history'

June 11 (LT) Those who betrayed the country occupy higher echelons of the govt and distort history says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP K.D. Lal Kanthe. He said, “Many discussions have cropped up in the political sector at present. There are discussions regarding govt’s plan to reduce exports. Interest rates for loans in banks have increased. Businessmen find it difficult to invest. Also, measures to make Sri Lanka a more..

Central Bank orders cut in credit card interest rates

June 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank has told commercial banks to cut the interest rate charged on credit card advances by 4 percentage points in a bid to reduce other lending rates, the deputy governor said on Tuesday. A central bank directive asked commercial banks to reduce rates on advances to 24% from 28% and reduce the lending rates on all other loans "so as to not exceed 24% per annum." more..

VIDEO: Wimal issues scathing attack on Treasury Secretary

June 11 (AD) Treasury Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera is a two-faced character who is playing a dictatorial role in the Finance Ministry alleged Minister Wimal Weerawansa. There are sectors in which we have progressed but the domestic goods have not been developed as fast as we expected in order to compete in international markets. He explained that the trade deficit between imports and exports has increased more..

'Many govt. MPs willing to support UNP’s new draft constitution'

June 11 (Island) Many govt MPs had endorsed the UNP’s new draft constitution as apolitical and would support it at the appropriate moment, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, MP, predicted. Rajapakshe, a member of the Committee that prepared the UNP’s constitutional formulation, said that many MPs in the ruling UPFA had commended the draft constitution for giving the voter a choice. Asked to name the MPs, he said more..

'Duplication of ministries cause of deaths at sea'

June 11 (Island) With 65 Ministers and counting, President Rajapaksa had confused and duplicated subjects to such an extent that sea and lake waters came under the purview of different Ministries, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He noted that the Fisheries, Disaster Management and the Meteorololgy Departments were blaming each other for failing to warn fishermen about the unsafe conditions prevalent in the seas more..

India seeks urgent meeting with TNA

June 11 (CG) The Indian govt has sought an urgent meeting with the TNA on the 13th Amendment to the constitution, the Uthayan newspaper owned by TNA MP E. Sarawanabavan reported. Accordingly a TNA delegation led by TNA leader R. Sampanthan will head to New Delhi next week to meet Indian PM Manmohan Singh and others in the govt. The meeting comes on the backdrop of moves by the govt to make changes to the 13th more..

Mahinda Amaraweera to resign if found guilty

June 11 (AD) Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Amaraweera says he will resign if his ministry is faund guilty by the committee probing the recent weather disaster. The death toll from heavy monsoon rains and strong winds rose to 42 yesterday as more bodies of missing fishermen washed ashore in the island’s coast. The bodies of 42 fishermen along with one victim killed on land have been recovered while several more..

More budding docs suspended for protesting against fee paying medicos

June 11 (Island) A group of undergraduates yesterday claimed that the govt’s education privatisation process had victimized 21 medical students of the Sri Jayewardenepura University. They claimed that altogether 138 undergraduates and six student unions had been suspended at Sri Jayewardenepura, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa, Colombo and Buddhist and Pali universities, within one week. The university administration suspended 21 undergraduates of the Faculty of more..

Your Excellency, Stop Police using Kocchi Chili during interrogations

June 11 (CT) I am writing on behalf of the Asian Human Rights Commission and the reason for addressing this to you directly is because there is no other authority within Sri Lanka which can exercise any effective control over the discipline of the police and intelligence services other than yourself as the executive president of Sri Lanka. This situation is due to the manner of the exercise of command responsibility within the framework of the 1978 Constitution. In fact, on many occasions more..

JHU accuses India of interference

June 11 (Xinhua) A coalition partner of the Sri Lankan govt accused India of attempting to interfere in Sri Lanka's internal affairs. The JHU said that India was exerting pressure on the SL govt on a controversial constitutional amendment. The Sri Lankan govt is considering changing the 13th Amendment, a part of Sri Lanka's constitution which was created following an agreement reached between India and Sri Lanka in 1987. more..

A tragedy that could have been avoided

June 11 (CT) The coastal belt is reeling from a disaster that cost 44 lives, and the death toll is mounting, after the gale force winds wreaked havoc in the wee hours of Saturday. Around 30 fishermen have gone missing in the treacherous seas, and their families fear the worst. The loss of precious lives, many of whom are sole breadwinners, could have been avoided, had the information on the impending catastrophe been out on time. However, the Meteorological Department issued more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.5%

June 11 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.59% on Tuesday, following a sudden rise in the market the day earlier. The market was down due to investors taking profit and losses in the heavy index stocks CTC, LLUB and SLT, brokers said. The All Share Index closed 37.49 points lower at 6,303.79 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 11.90 points lower at 3,562.55 down 0.33%. Turnover was 751 million rupees down from 826 million day earlier. Foreigners brought 358 million rupees worth shares more..

Fast track UK visa in Sri Lanka

June 11 (CG) From 24 June, customers in Sri Lanka who apply for a UK visitor visa can request for a brand new ‘Fast Track’ visa service. For an additional fee of LKR 10,000, the Home Office will expedite the visa application and return the documents in 5 working days. Customers may request this service if they are applying for a visitor visa (excluding student visas) and have travelled without difficulty in the last five years more..

Two ministries to submit Cabinet Paper seeking Friday declared clean up day

June 11 (Island) The Health Ministry in coordination with the Public Administration Ministry will submit a Cabinet paper seeking to have every Friday allocated as a day for all Govt Ministries, departments, corporations and schools to clean up their premises, in order to prevent the spread of dengue, the Health Ministry said. Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala said that the Ministry had decided yesterday to submit a Cabinet paper seeking approval to allow all govt more..

SC reserves order on objections against AG’s appeal

June 11 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday reserved the order in respect of the preliminary objections raised on behalf of respondent MPs R. Sampanthan and Vijitha Herath, who had objected to the granting of special leave to appeal to the Attorney General against a Court of Appeal order which quashed the findings of the parliamentary select committee that probed the then CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. Respondents Sampanthan and Herath had complained that they were not more..

'People’s participation will empower Deyata Kirula'

June 11 (MEA) Minister Basil Rajapaksa has stressed the need for people’s participation in the Deyata Kirula 2014 National Development programme. The govt’s stance is that there can be no development without people’s participation. He said this yesterday while attending 10 meetings held to brief public representatives, govt officials and community leaders of 20 Divisional Secretariat areas belonging to the Ruwanwella, Yatiyanota and more..