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SL gilt-backed yields drop ahead of auction

Jan 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's secondary market gilt-backed yields have dropped sharply ahead of a Treasuries auction Wednesday and the arrival of proceeds of a sovereign bond next week, dealers said. Three month gilt-backed repurchase deals were quoted at 7.00/7.20 percent levels compared to a 7.42% weighted average yield at last week's Treasuries auction. One year rates were quoted around 7.40/50 percent against 7.95% last week at the auction. more..

Second largest SAARC partner hungry for more Lankan exports, FTA trade

Jan 9 (Island) Sri Lanka’s second largest trade partner in SAARC is hungry for more Lankan exports in the coming year-while also closely looking at Sri Lanka’s sugar sector for entry! "Pakistan’s new GSP with EU is an opportunity for Sri Lankan exporters and they can do more things. In fact, we should jointly explore whatever is possible within the rules and regulations of these new developments!" stressed an upbeat Major Genenral Qasim Qureshi (Pakistan High Commissioner to SL) more..

Nine used vehicles brought in container as sewing machines

Jan 9 (Island) Customs CID yesterday detected nine disassembled used vehicles worth Rs. 15 million in a 40-foot container that arrived in the country on Dec 12, 2013 from Japan. Additional Director General of Customs, Thilak Perera, who visited the Gray Line 2 Container Yard at Grandpass, when the container was opened, told media that one of the customs officers at the Port, who felt suspicious more..

Rs. one bn saved in Health Ministry austerity drive

Jan 9 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that by adopting an austerity drive the Health Ministry could save Rs. 1 billion in 2013. The budget allocation for 2013 was Rs. 125 billion. Around 95 per cent of the allocation was granted by the Treasury. He pointed out that he had instructed Health Ministry officials not to book any 5-star hotels for seminars, workshops, media conferences and the like and to use only govt-owned auditoriums for such purposes. more..

SLPA records highest-ever container throughput in 2013

Jan 9 (FT) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said it has recorded a growth of 12.3% TEUs in transhipment operations during last year compared to the same period of 2012. Against 1,584,985 TEUs handled in this regard in 2012, SLPA has handled a total transhipment volume of 1,779,882 TEUs in 2013. SLPA has also shown a 1.8% growth in domestic operations in 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Against a total of 2,316,849 TEUs handled by SLPA in 2012, more..

PM ready to apologize?

Jan 9 (CT) PM D.M. Jayaratne, promised to issue a public apology to the Maha Sangha for referring to them as cheewaradhari, at a public meeting in Gampola recently. As the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, Jayaratne issued a letter to convey this message, in an attempt to appease the monks from the Sihala Ravaya organization who had staged a protest outside his office on Flower Road, yesterday. more..

President Rajapaksa arrives in Israel

Jan 9 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his entourage arrived in Jerusalem in Israel this morning on 08 January as the final leg of the three nation Middle East official visit. President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa were warmly welcomed by Israeli and Sri Lankan children as they arrived in Jerusalem. Sri Lankan Head of State arrived in Jerusalem from Bethlehem. The President is scheduled to hold bilateral discussions today with the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. more..

Muttur girl missing in Saudi for 16 years

Jan 9 (CT) A family in Muttur claims their daughter, Rizwana Maapilai, who left for Saudi Arabia 16 years ago at the age of 14, has not returned and her mother, Paridha Umma, is still waiting for her. Paridha Umma told Ceylon Today, her daughter Rizwana, born on 30 March 1981, a resident of 58th milepost, Thoppur, Muttur, left for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 4 July 1996, using a fake name; Sayed Mohammed Masoodha, and a forged passport; L 0992892. more..

SLASS drawn into northern imbroglio

Jan 9 (FT) The over 2,000 strong Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association (SLASS) has strongly called for its members to be allowed to function “with peace of mind”. In a press statement issued yesterday, SLASS has requested all stakeholders in provincial administrations – including political – to ‘behave’. “As you are well aware, in our official capacity we are bound to follow all relevant applicable rules and regulations more..

BCB acts to calm Sri Lanka safety doubts

Jan 9 (CI) The Bangladesh Cricket Board could make several concessions, including changing venues, to ensure Sri Lanka's tour of the country goes ahead as scheduled later this month despite security concerns. Senior officials of the two boards are due to meet on the sidelines of the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai on January 9, and one of the proposals that could be made by Bangladesh is to stage all the matches in Dhaka. Sources within the BCB suggest the more..

Monk injured in clash with police

Jan 9 (CT) A monk, who is a member of the Sihala Ravaya organization sustained injuries following a clash with the police outside PM D.M. Jayaratne's Office, yesterday. The monk was part of a small group of demonstrators who were demanding the Prime Minister's immediate removal as the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, over his recent alleged involvement in the heroin shipment scandal. Following protest chants, the agitation took a violent turn when a clash more..

Monks wreak havoc, obtain apology from Prime Minister

Jan 9 (Island) Flower Road in Colombo 7 was closed temporarily yesterday due to a protest organised by the ‘Sihala Ravaya’ organisation demanding the resignation of PM D. M. Jayaratne and a public apology from him over accusing a respected member of the Maha Sangha as ‘Cheewaradariya’ at a public meeting in Gampola recently. A tense situation arose near the Prime Minister’s office in the Flower Road when more..

Ethiad and Oman Air to use Mattala as alternative airport

Jan 9 (DN) Two international airlines, Ethiad and Oman Air has included Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) as their alternative airport in Sri Lanka. This move would help the two airlines to save a large fuel bill since they do not have to carry additional aviation fuel to be used to find an alternative airport in case of an emergency landing. An official from Airport and Aviation Services said that more airlines have requested for this 'technical document' facility. more..

SL’s remittance inflow to moderate with fresh demand for services sector

Jan 9 (DM) Sri Lanka expects a moderation in the growth of remittance inflows in the future, owing to structural changes that are expected to take place in the economy. According to Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the growth of services related economy (BPO/KPO/tourism and port) would lead to a fresh demand for overseas employment. The Central Bank IT/BPO sector including KPOs and the transportation sector are both estimated to surpass US $ 1 billion each by 2016. more..

New Democrat MP trying to embarrass us: Sri Lanka high commission

Jan 9 (VS) Sri Lanka's official representatives in Canada are accusing a New Democrat MP of attempting to embarrass the Asian country's govt by claiming she faced political intimidation during a visit there. Earlier this month, Rathika Sitsabaiesan said in a brief statement she was warned by Sri Lankan officials during her private visit that she could be arrested and deported. At the time, fellow New Democrat MP more..

Students asked to buy external publications

Jan 9 (CT) In addition to the plethora of issues pertaining to finances as well as other difficulties faced by parents who have school-going children, activists claim that life has been made more difficult as schools have instructed students to purchase a number of external publications. Public schools are supposed to provide free education, which includes free tutoring, space in which to study, and text books. However, schools have been extracting funds from parents under various pretexts, more..

Fonseka denies killing Lasantha

Jan 9 (CG) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has denied allegations he was involved in the murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga. Fonseka claimed that the murder was however carried out by a group operating with the blessings of President Rajapaksa. He was responding to a comment made by Lasantha’s brother Lal Wickremetunga that the President had told him on at least three occasions that it was Fonseka who had carried out the murder. more..

President Rajapaksa holds bilateral discussions with Israeli PM Netanyahu

Jan 9 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu held bilateral discussions at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Israel on Wednesday. President Rajapaksa arrived in Jerusalem this morning together with First Lady for two days as the final destination on his Middle East official visit. The bi-lateral discussions mainly focused on the areas of agriculture, IT, water management, more..

EDEX Expo 2014 to feature 300 stalls this year

Jan 9 (DN) The country's largest education exhibition and job fair, EDEX Expo 2014, is scheduled to take place on Jan 17 to 19 at the BMICH and on Jan 24 and 25 at the Kandy City Centre (KCC), for the eleventh consecutive time. Exemplifying another significant approach this year, the event will concurrently hold a Job Fair with the concept of bringing about that much needed boost in filling the gap between what today's' youth harness in terms of education and more..

Move to halt cancellation of chairmanships in LG bodies

Jan 9 (CT) The Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils has put forward a Special Provisions Bill with new amendments, to repeal the sentence and clause in the Local Authority (Special Provisions) Act, which allows for the cancellation of the Chairmanships of Chairmen of Local Governmental institutions whose budgets have been defeated twice, to the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers for Cabinet approval. The new Bill proposes that provisions be made to amend the existing more..

TISL wants Parliament to probe national socioeconomic data

Jan 9 (CT) Transparency International SL (TISL), the national chapter of the global anti-corruption movement, has requested Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and all the party leaders to take immediate action to appoint a PSC to investigate allegations against the accuracy and genuineness of national socioeconomic data released by the two official agencies of the govt, Department of Census and Statistics and the Central Bank. more..

Prevent children from falling prey to porn sites!

Jan 9 (DM) Their name is Tomorrow. They are the future. They are the world, they are the children, and they are the ones who will make a better tomorrow. But on Tuesday, as the world marked the Day of Prevention of Cruelty to Children, it was horrifying to see how avenues for the corruption of innocent minds of children had reached their worst ever proportions in a multitude of ways. In earlier times and generations, we regularly heard of cruelty or abuse of children by criminal or paedophile more..

Exporting knowledge would bring greater gains

Jan 9 (DM) Sri Lanka’s total remittance in 2013 from abroad is expected to be in excess of $ 6.5 billion and the CB road map estimates that remittances would increase to U$D 9 Billion (9% of the GDP) by 2016 and $10 Billion by 2017. One of the reasons attributed to this increase and projected increase is due to the increase in the skilled and professional labour migration, 28% in 2013 and the movement of labour into new markets like South Korea. Many of our young unskilled people want to more..

Jolly-good fellowship overshadows issues knocking the door

Jan 9 (DM) With the general observance that there is a link between the spread of non-communicable diseases and the dietary habits of people, there is increased focus today on the importance of consuming more and more organic food items. The issue was a matter of discussion even at the last Cabinet meeting conducted by President Rajapaksa last Friday. President stressed the need for having organic farming more..

Sri Lanka and the Philippines discuss Colombo Process and Abu Dhabi Dialogue

Jan 9 (IL) Minister Dilan Perera met with his counterpart, Secretary Labour and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz of the Philippines on Monday 6 January in Manila. The areas for collaboration discussed at the meeting included pre-departure orientation, qualification recognition process, comprehensive information orientation programmes and recruitment standards. Minister Perera and Secretary Dimapilis-Baldoz met more..

Alarmed mothers scan shelves for elusive milk powder

Jan 9 (ST) Champa, a private sector employee from Borelesgamuwa, frantically looks along the empty counters that were once filled with packets of powdered milk. Her 5-year-old daughter Dakshi loves her daily glass of warm milk but Champa doubts whether she would find any milk powder in the market today. “We have been going to many shops searching for milk powder. Supermarkets only have non-fat milk powder. more..

Sri Lankans fear heart disease and diabetes most

Jan 9 (FT) Sri Lankan adults worry about their health and the two most dreaded illnesses are heart disease and diabetes. According to statistics that emerged from Sri Lanka in a survey in the Asian region conducted by the life insurance giant AIA Group, 54% claimed they are concerned about getting heart disease while for 46%, diabetes was the dreaded illness. Surprisingly, cancer came third, with 34% claiming concern. more..

Results of census in 4 weeks

Jan 9 (CT) Director General (DG) of the Department of Census and Statistics, D.C.A. Gunawardena, revealed that the first draft of the islandwide census on those who had died, disappeared, those who had been injured, and the loss of property from 1982, would be released soon. DG said the LLRC had requested that the results of the census on all the deaths, those who had disappeared, those injured, and more..

Countdown To Geneva

Jan 9 (SL) The year 2014 will without a doubt be a decisive year for Sri Lanka particularly on the human rights issue with the UNRC set to discuss Sri Lanka when it meets in Geneva in March. The buildup to the Geneva meeting has gathered momentum with the TNA saying it will gather support for an international investigation into some of the incidents alleged to have taken place during the final stages of the war. more..

UNP to focus on elections, ignore dissidents

Jan 9 (Island) The first meeting of the UNP Working Committee (WC) for this year was held yesterday at Sirikotha with the consensus being that the focus should be on winning provincial and national elections expected to be held this year and not on petty issues such as sorting out positions. Informed sources said that a conspicuous absentee was Sajith Premadasa. However, Thaltha Athukorale, who along with Sajith declined to accept more..

'Bankrupt Central Bank breaking tills'

Jan 9 (DM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said the Central Bank’s plan to bring down the Sri Lankan coins that are in tills at sacred places like in India showed how bankrupt the Central Bank is. “The Central Bank Governor has said he hopes to bring down the Sri Lankan coins found in tills at places of worship in India. He has said about 10 to 15 tonnes of coins have been dropped into the tills by the SL pilgrims. more..

Halal certificate not compulsory

Jan 9 (CG) The Halal compliance certification will not be compulsory and was established to cater to a national need, the newly formed Halal company said today. The Halal certification for Sri Lankan industries will now be issued by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Ltd., (HAC) effective from January 1st. Company is set up under the SL Companies Act No 7 of 2007, and has accreditation in 27 countries as of now. more..

'Indo-Lanka accord should be respected'

Jan 9 (CG) The Indian Government wants the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement respected and the 13th amendment to the constitution fully implemented. In an interview with Khabar South Asia in New Delhi, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that India was assured that through the 13th amendment, Tamils and other communities in Sri Lanka will have the right to live with dignity and honour. more..

Hang them or sentence them to life

Jan 9 (CT) 33 condemned prisoners at the Bogambara Prison went on a three-day death fast last week, demanding they either be hanged as per the sentence passed by Court, or released. If the demand was dramatic, so was the venue they chose to make known their demand – the rooftop of the Bogambara Prison. However, negotiations to get the prisoners off the roof took the now predictable course, requiring an assurance by MP Namal Rajapaksa, the First Son of Sri Lanka, more..

A SL truth and reconciliation commission?

Jan 9 (CT) One of the completely unexpected outcomes of the recently concluded Colombo Commonwealth Summit was the ignition of a dialogue on the setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Sri Lanka. The source of this idea is the visit of South African President Jacob Zuma to Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Summit in November 2013. Some suggest President Zuma mooted the idea. This is possible, because South Africa has been more..

Sepala Ekanayaka: The simple guy who hijacked a 747

Jan 9 (DM) For the love of his son and wife, without a second thought he hijacked an airplane, creating history by being the first Sri Lankan to do so in 1982. Sepala Ekanayaka, who would be turning 65 years soon, broke his silence after three decades. In an interview with , he recalled the fateful incident 32 years ago and revealed some hitherto unknown facts. Q: Let’s start with your childhood. Tell us about your family more..

GMOA to seek probe against PSC Additional Secretary

Jan 9 (Island) The GMOA vowed to request the Secretary of the Public Administration Ministry to conduct an immediate inquiry against the Additional Secretary of the Public Service Commission (PSC) for deliberately delaying the issuance of the gazette notification of the doctors’ service minute. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that in accordance with the 2006 No 6 Circular issued by the Public Administration Ministry, the PSC should have approved and gazetted the more..

Health workers in two-hour protest

Jan 9 (Island) Nurses, professions supplementary to medicine (PSM) and paramedics staged a two hour protest yesterday afternoon demanding that the Health Ministry grant several of their demands, including rectification of discrepancies in several allowances. Joint Convener of the Joint Council of Nursing, Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JC-NPSMP), Saman Jayasekara said that over 2000 health workers of the nursing PSM and paramedics participated in the march more..

'Inflated economy would get deflated soon'

Jan 9 (LT) The economy that has been presented by the Rajapaksa govt to the people of this country is an inflated economy and it would definitely beak down soon says JVP MP Anura Dissanayaka. Govt puts forward fake data to display a development myth but masses have not been able to partake of the returns of the economy. Long term economic programmes along with an agenda to develop human resources should more..

Useful solution to fish waste

Jan 9 (Island) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has launched a special project to produce compost fertiliser and fish meal from fish waste at the Peliyagoda Fish Market. Peliyagoda Fish Market had been producing three tonnes of fish waste per day and around one tonne of fish waste would be used for producing fish meal and another one tonne for compost fertiliser. The project estimated to cost Rs. 17 million is being undertaken by Agri Star Compost. more..