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Withdrawal of US$ 324 Mn. case against SCB: Pressure or corruption, asks Ravi K

June 28 (Island) The UNP questioned as to why the Central Bank had withdrawn a US$ 324 million case against the Standard Chartered Bank for alleged exchange control regulation violations. Was it due to pressure applied on the Central Bank by a higher up or was corruption the reason, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake queried. The allegation of US$ 324 million being smuggled out of the country was a serious more..

Ratmalana Station inoperative on 27th morning

June 28 (CT) Sources from the Railway Department said they need as much as 400 Station Masters to man the railway stations across the country, and urged the authorities to recruit that number of officers to oversee operations at railway stations. "Due to the shortage of staff, the present station masters are continuing to work at a stretch for 10 to 12 days without a break," trade union sources pointed out. As a result of the shortage of Station Masters, work at the more..

HSBC sees policy rates increasing, favourable growth

June 28 (Island) Global banking giant HSBC has forecast a 6.7% economic growth rate for Sri Lanka this year and 7.4% for 2014. The Central Bank’s projection for this year is 7.5%. "Sri Lanka is striking the right balance. Economic growth outlook is favourable at 6.7% this year and 7.4% in 2014 although there are downside risks to growth forecasts. Structural reforms are crucial and policy focus must be maintained," Leif Eskesen, HSBC Global Research Chief Economist for more..

Strange order from CEB top not to run hydro turbines continuously

June 28 (Island) A highly suspicious order had gone out from the CEB top management, to some of its hydro generating units in recent days, not to run their turbines round-the clock, at a time when the country’s reservoirs were overflowing allowing the generation of maximum low cost hydro power. The strange order not to run hydro turbines each day for three to four hours has raised many an eyebrow in most quarters of the Board and more..

No bus fare hike on 1 July

June 28 (CT) The annual revision of bus fares will not come into effect on 1 July as the proposal to revise the fares had been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance for its observations, the National Transport Commission (NTC), said. NTC Chairman, Roshan Gunawardane said they proposed a fare hike of 6.2%, which the bus owners say is insufficient. He added the fares would, however, increase within the first two weeks of July, consequent to the Ministry of Finance more..

TNA ready to resume talks with Govt.

June 28 (CT) Leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, in a second round meeting with the South African delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ibrahim, has said the TNA is prepared to engage in talks with the govt, but the Alliance is cautious that it should not be deceived by the govt's manipulations. The South African delegation met the TNA leadership on Wednesday in Colombo, where discussions had taken place between the two sides on the possibility of resuming talks more..

Justice Sri Lankan style: Teacher ‘kneeler’ granted bail

June 28 (CT) Disgraced North-Western Provincial Councillor, Ananda Sarath Kumara, who was in remand custody for allegedly forcing a female school teacher to kneel down before him, was yesterday released on bail, amidst jubilations by his supporters and protests by school teachers and principals. After the former Provincial Councillor was granted bail by the Puttalam Magistrate, about 200 school teachers held a protest march from more..

Sri Lankan man says he hasn't eaten in five years

June 28 (OV) A man from Sri Lanka is claiming that he has survived off of nothing but air for the past five years, being a Breatharian. Kirby de Lanerolle said he has not eaten anything during those five years, and has only breathed, absorbed light and felt wind and the "vibrations of God." But many experts disagree with his claims, as it is widely believed that you can only live without food for a maximum of two months. Lanerolle said he is in good health and feels younger, and also believes that being a more..

'Wait before you judge Sri Lanka': Commonwealth Secretary-General

June 28 (ET) Sir, Sri Lanka still has much to do to implement its post-conflict LLRC report (“A Sri Lanka summit discredits the Commonwealth”, Gideon Rachman, June 25). This is a homegrown roadmap for achieving a multi-ethnic nation at peace with itself. The question for the international community is whether to criticise lack of progress from afar in implementing that report or to offer and to make a practical difference. The Commonwealth has opted for the latter, and the Sri Lankan govt more..

SLMC members suspended for backing move to dilute 13-A

June 28 (Island) A simmering dispute between the SLFP and the SLMC over the move to dilute the 13th Amendment to the Constitution has taken a new turn with the SLMC suspending two members of the North Western Provincial Council (NWPC) for throwing their weight behind the govt. Rizvi Javaharsha and Abdeen Eheiya, who represented the Kurunegala and Puttalam Districts, respectively, had voted for doing away with more..

Editorial : Food for thought on nutrition

June 28 (DM) The crisis over imported milk powder allegedly containing harmful agro-chemicals appears to have been taken away from the boiling pot with highly-publicised claims that there was no contamination. Whether it was a case of crying over spilt milk or the milk of human kindness we do not know, though most people-friendly nutritionists insist that whatever is processed or super-processed loses most of its nutritional value. Sri Lanka spends hundreds of millions of dollars more..

Swimming against the tide on 13A

June 28 (DM) As President Rajapaksa grapples with divisions in his Cabinet over the 13 th Amendment to the Constitution, several ministers this week voiced their opposition against repealing the amendment. Among them was Minister Rajitha Senaratne. Senaratne joined ministers Tissa Vitarana, D.E.W. Gunasekera, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Reginald Cooray and Chandrasiri Gajadheera in publicly taking a stand against withdrawing the 13th Amendment and is arguably the most more..

At cross purposes: The legality of conversion

June 28 (SL) This week saw tensions rising across the island with several clashes between religious groups. Perhaps one of the most striking incidents, though, occurred last Sunday (16) when members of the Ravana Balaya rounded up a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mulleriyawa. What was interesting was that members of the Ravana Balaya acted as a sort of unofficial police force, while the police cooperated and more..

World Bank project to reduce malnutrition among IDPs in Sri Lanka

June 28 (OW) According to a World Bank report, the project is making satisfactory progress in reducing malnutrition among the internally displaced people in the island country. A project funded by the World Bank to assist the govt to reduce malnutrition among the internally displaced persons in the North is continuing to make satisfactory progress, a World Bank report said. The project Local Level Nutrition Interventions for, more..

Mervyn’s supporters curse Leader

June 28 (SL) Supporters of Minister Mervyn Silva broke coconuts at the Muneshwaram Temple in Chilaw today and cursed The Sunday Leader newspaper. They cursed the owner of the publication as well as the Chief Editor and a reporter who had written an article on the Minister and his son recently. In cursing the newspaper, the supporters of the Minister called on the Gods to pour their wrath against the publication. more..

Eye clinic in Delft a boon to residents

June 28 (CT) At the request of the Northern Regional Commander of Navy, Rear Admiral Shirantha Udawatte, an Eye Clinic was held on Poson Poya Day (23) in Delft. It was sponsored by one of Sri Lanka's foremost conglomerates as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and a large number of civilians from Delft attended the clinic to seek treatment for various eye ailments. Ven. Navathagala Padumaketti Thera and more..

Sri Lanka in drive to boost tourism in Passekudaah Bay

June 28 (BBC) After a decades-long civil war the Sri Lankan govt is aiming to develop its tourism industry as its economy expands. Because of its pristine beaches and an extraordinarily calm sea, the govt has designated Passekudah Bay as a special tourism development zone. The govt has allocated leases for luxury hotels to build 800 hotel rooms as part of a drive to bring 2.5 million tourists by 2016. But some critics more..

'Casino king Packer does not need licence to do business in SL'

June 28 (Island) No Casino in Sri Lanka had ever been issued a licence and therefore there was no way that something that was not in existence could be transferred to the Australian Casino King James Packer, the UNP said. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the Rajapaksa govt had hoodwinked the Mahanayakes, other religious leaders and the general public by claiming that no new Casino licences would be issued, more..

Principal couldn’t stomach student winning

June 28 (Island) A 15-year-old boy, studying in grade 11 of the Dodangoda Navodya School, was admitted to the Nagoda hospital in Kalutara as he had been caned by the school Principal for accepting a cash award of Rs. 15,000 from Minister Kumara Welgama, for having won a Poson pandal contest. The victim student, Ishara Jayalath, had applied for the Poson Pandal Contest held in Dodangoda, through the school. more..

Pillaiyan vows to protect 13A

June 28 (CT) Former Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) and Presidential Adviser on Eastern Provincial Affairs, S Chandrakanthan, alias Pillaiyan, said his Party, the TMVP, would even join hands with the TNA to protect the 13th Amendment. Chandrakanthan, speaking at a cultural event in Koralaippattu in Batticaloa, on Tuesday, said moves to dilute the 13th Amendment to the Constitution could not be allowed. more..

Pakistani Army Chief arrives in Sri Lanka

June 28 (SLA) Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, the four-star General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart, arrived in Sri Lanka Thursday afternoon, to grace as Chief Guest at Diyatalawa Sri Lanka Military Academy Passing out Parade on Saturday. A ceremonial reception, coloured by traditional dancers, greeted the visiting Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Parvez Kayani, more..

Up to President to remove us – Hasan Ali

June 28 (CT) The SLMC, one of the constituent parties of the UPFA, will not pull out from the Alliance or the govt, despite it not being appointed to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to make amendments to the 13th Amendment. "We will not be leaving the Alliance or the govt, despite not being appointed to the PSC; it is up to President Rajapaksa and the govt to sack us," SLMC General Secretary, Hasan Ali, more..

Stocks close up 0.1%, trading hit by technical glitch

June 28 (LBO) Stocks closed up 0.16% on Friday, with diversified and consumer companies showing gains, brokers said in shortened trading day hit by technical glitches at the exchange. The All Share Index closed 09.65 points higher at 6,121.01 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 05.26 points higher at 3,431.74 up 0.15%. Turnover was 265 million rupees down from 1.3 billion a day earlier. Trading started after 1300 hours in the afternoon, but closed at the standard 1430 hour. more..

Twosome game? Ranil playing statesman role, Mahinda planning snap election

June 28 (CT) In last week’s Sunday Island, Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the Opposition, took centre page to make the case for what he has called the UNPs’ “constitutional formulation”. The paper generously gave him double exposure by carrying as its lead story, in addition to the centre page article, Mr. Wickremasinghe’s speech before a ‘People’s Assembly’ gathering at the JR Jayewardene Centre. He told the Assembly to “forget about toppling the govt” and work on more..

Sri Lanka says improving economic statistics

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka is improving methods of compiling economic statistics but it was 'grossly groundless' to suggest that inflation is understated and gross domestic product overstated, the Central Bank said. There have also been questions raised over fiscal data, including moves by several spending agencies to borrow direct from the banking system. The Central Bank said in a statement responding to a flurry of more..

Editorial : Install those gates now

June 28 (CT) We seem to be having Yogi Berra moments very frequently these days, especially when it comes to disaster, both natural and manmade. Failure on the part of various ministries and departments tasked with the welfare of the public seems to be creating déjà vu moment, compelling the 'We told you so' refrain. Exactly two months ago this day, our editorial invited the urgent and immediate attention of the govt in general and the Minister of Transport in particular, more..

Air Force fight another forest fire

June 28 (Island) The Sri Lanka Air Force yesterday deployed a Bell 212 helicopter from Hingurakgoda, equipped with Bambi bucket, to control a forest fire in the Hikkagala forest reserve in the Maduru Oya area, SLAF Spokesman said. He said that they released the helicopter with airmen on a request from the DMC. The DMC sought the assistance of the SLAF to douse the major forest fire which broke out in the Hikkagala forest reserve located towards the northeast of Maduruoya Tank, more..

Sri Lanka army seeks training in Pakistan

June 28 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan army has sought more training opportunities for Sri Lankan officers in Pakistan, in addition to ongoing training programs. This was discussed when visiting Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met his Sri Lankan counterpart, General Jagath Jayasuriya. Discussions between both army chiefs centered largely on military matters of mutual and training interest and possibilities for further enhancing more..

NWP Fisheries Ministry donates life vests

June 28 (Island) Following a govt Fisheries Ministry directive making it mandatory for all fishermen to wear life jackets when going out to sea, after nearly 60 fishermen died in recent gale force winds recently, the North Western Provincial Council Fisheries Ministry has begun donating life jackets to poor fishermen. Fisheries, Road Development, Electricity, Housing and Construction Minister of the North Western Province Sanath Nishantha Perera said that his ministry was providing more..

Three Ukrainians in police net

June 28 (DM) Three Ukranians who were in possession of 14 credit cards and Rs. 900,000 were arrested this afternoon in Katukurunda, Kalutara. One of the suspects had initially visited the Bank of Ceylon branch in Katukurunda and had stayed within the premises for an extended time which prompted suspicion. When security officers at the bank attempted to question the suspect he had fled the bank premises. The security officers chased the suspect and a traffic policemen on more..

Sri Lanka consumer prices up 6.8% in June

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka consumer prices rose 6.8% in the 12-months to June 2013, slowing from 7.3% in May, but prices rose 1.3% during the month, data from the state statistics office showed. The annual rate fall came from a so-called statistical base effect as last June's inflation also rose 1.9%. In May there was a sharp 2.3% increase in the widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index. In June the food and non-alcoholic beverages more..

WI A bowlers set up series win

June 28 (CI) The pace of Shannon Gabriel and the offspin of Shane Shillingford, both operating with new balls, spearheaded West Indies A's defence of a modest total in Grenada and secured a 2-1 series victory against Sri Lanka A by a 67-run margin. Defending 196, Gabriel and Shillingford bowled economically and incisively. Shillingford struck first, in the fourth over, and Gabriel dismissed two Sri Lanka A batsmen in the space of four balls in the seventh. By the 14th over, more..

Bogus Cyprus job agent remanded

June 28 (Island) The Special Investigations Unit of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) arrested a person at Ihala Pethiligoda, in the Puttalam District, early this week for allegedly collecting money from unsuspecting people on the promise of providing them with jobs in Cyprus. Acting on a tip off, SLFEB sleuths arrested the suspect on Monday. He was produced before the Puttalam Magistrate through the Kotakadeniya Police and remanded till July 02. more..

Video: President Rajapaksa himself for 13A

June 28 (DM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said President Rajapaksa was an experienced and veteran politician and he would not act against the 13th Amendment, if he was to take a decision on his own. “I do not think the President would act against the 13th Amendment, if he is to take a decision on his own. He has been taken hostage by extremist groups led by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. What we should do is not to more..

Police Advisory, Civil Defence Committees to be set up

June 28 (DN) Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa directed the IGP to set up Police Advisory Committees and Civil Defence Committees covering each and every Police Station with immediate effect. This was disclosed by IGP N. K. Ilangakoon when he presided over a ceremony to felicitate and grant cash rewards to a batch of 262 Police personnel who rendered heroic services in arresting criminals and busting crimes, and 18 civilian informants who more..

IGP rewards cops, civilians for proving mettle

June 28 (Island) Policemen and civilians who helped battle crime were yesterday rewarded by the IGP N. K. Illangakoon. A total of 232 persons (227 policemen and 5 civilians) received awards. The biggest award, Rs 800,000 went to Chief Inspector Dilruk Perera of the CID who apprehended and prosecuted Vidanage Samantha Kumara, aka ‘Welle Suda’, the notorious drug dealer from Gampola. Five young men, who had thwarted an attempt by two burglars to break into an ATM more..

Video: British tourist murder suspects threatened witnesses:CID

June 28 (DM) The CID informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court today that the case of the murder of British tourist Kuram Shaikh was transferred to Colombo due to the suspects allegedly threatening witnesses. The case which was initially heard at the Tangalle Magistrate’s court was taken up in Colombo today after the Attorney General’s department requested the transfer on special grounds. more..

Concerns ‘overdone’ as Fed fears not to significantly impact Sri Lanka

June 28 (Island) Global concerns over the US tapering down its stimulus programme which has seen the Sri Lankan rupee weaken sharply as foreign investors exit from their Treasury bond holdings to short term Treasury bills was a little bit overdone and would not significantly impact Sri Lanka, a top economist said. Leif Eskesen, HSBC Global Research Chief Economist for India and ASEAN, addressing a breakfast meeting for top clients of HSBC Sri Lanka in Colombo more..

More Sri Lankans returned by Australia

June 28 (CG) A further 22 Sri Lankan irregular maritime arrivals have been returned to Colombo after failing to meet Australia’s international obligations, the Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor, said today. The group departed Christmas Island on Thursday. Their return takes the number of Sri Lankans sent home to 1270 – 1057 of them involuntarily since August last year. O’Connor said returning the group to Sri Lankans sends a powerful message. more..

Tanzania to support Sri Lanka

June 28 (CG) Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has said his country will back Sri Lanka at many international fora, the President’s office said today. President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is now on a state visit to Tanzania held bilateral discussions with his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete at the State House in Tanzania yesterday. During the lengthy discussions, the two leaders focused attention on several areas of more..