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US envoy’s visit to Sri Lanka delayed

Jan 13 (DM) The diplomatic-row between the US and India has delayed the planned visit of US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal to Sri Lanka this month, it is learnt. Earlier, she was supposed to come to Sri Lanka after a visit to India. However, the diplomat spat between India and the US, triggered by the arrest of Indian Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade, had delayed her visit to India. more..

Real estate investment opportunities in SL

Jan 13 (MS) With the steady growth of the IT/ITeS sector in Sri Lanka, the demand for large office spaces of 15,000-100,000 square feet presents a very promising scenario for commercial space investors. Colombo is the prime hotspot for such investment opportunities. Since cost is a concern in this segment, the demand is skewed towards the more cost-effective suburban locations of Colombo, such as Welisara in the north, Rajagiriya in the east and Ratmalana–Moratuwa in the south. more..

What and how should Central Banks talk?

Jan 13 (CT) Public authorities normally tend to communicate their accomplishments by reporting to the public the number of actions, known as outputs produced, they have taken during a given period. For instance, a municipality may report the number of trees it may have planted along a street without bothering to count the number that is still growing after one year. Economists do not consider this as a suitable criterion to assess the performance of any public policy action. more..

'Your ignorance of food quality may kill you'

Jan 13 (CT) When eating out, or purchasing fruits or other products, it is best not to know how the food is prepared or what has been done to it wnroute to the market. But, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) insists this ignorance may just kill you. This conclusion was reached after a sensational year (2013) of raids into large scale operations, where fraudulent traders stocked and resold date-expired food and cosmetics to the market. more..

Sri Lanka stocks up 0.5%

Jan 13 (LBO) Stocks rose 0.55% with tobacco and insurance firms gaining amid net foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 33.25 points higher at 6,116.39, up 0.55%. The S&P SL20 closed 9.48 points higher at 3,393.99, up 0.28%. Turnover was 1.37 billion rupees, down from 1.38 billion rupees last Friday, with stocks of 68 firms closing in the red against 127 gainers. HNB closed 90 cents lower at 154.10 rupees with four off market transactions of 346.75 million rupees contributing to more..

Sri Lanka credit to business up in November 2013

Jan 13 (LBO) Credit to business and personal customers rose 22.3 billion rupees in Nov 2013 to 2,519 billion rupees, up 7.3% from a year earlier, while loans to the state fell. Credit to state enterprises fell 18.8 billion rupees to 308.0 billion rupees, and credit to the central govt fell 3.5 billion rupees to 1,325 billion rupees. Credit to the govt was still up 25.6% to 1,325.5 billion rupees, and credit to state enterprises were up 18% in November 2013 from a year earlier. more..

SB reverses reason: Reducing of the duration of AHS degree

Jan 13 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayaka admitted that his decision to reduce the four-year Allied Health Sciences (AHS) degree programme to three years had been made under pressure from the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GEOF). Minister told a public meeting that the GEOF had opposed the four-year degree and did not allow AHS students to do clinical practices at respective teaching hospitals. more..

Turtle flesh racket in Negombo busted

Jan 13 (CT) The Anti-Vice Squad of Walaana yesterday raided an illegal outlet which sold turtle-meat to tourist hotels in the Negombo area. The raid, carried out around dawn yesterday (13), resulted in the Anti-Vice Squad taking six turtles into custody, including two which had been slaughtered. Police investigations revealed that the turtles were transported by boat and once brought to shore, were stored at the dealer’s residence. The turtles found there weighed approximately 15kgs. more..

Woman caught with heroin, husband at large

Jan 13 (Island) Officers of the Special Anti Vice Squad of the Mount Lavinia Police raided a drug den and nabbed a woman with heroin worth around Rs. 200,000 yesterday at the fourth gate of the Ratmalana railway workshop. The retail seller was popularly known as Anoma Aunty, police said adding that they had sent a decoy following a tip-off that a woman was selling sachets of heroin. Under interrogation, the woman told the police that she had been caught by police on two previous more..

In Sri Lanka, Muslims replacing Tamils as perceived enemy

Jan 13 (TS) Cellphone cameras captured the ugly scene: Muslims being chased through the streets by maddened Buddhists. The vandals had just attacked a mosque in the Grandpass neighbourhood on the capital’s outskirts, falling upon Muslims at Friday prayers, smashing windows, then pursuing the worshippers with clubs, hurling stones. At least five people were hospitalized. That was in early August and stirred anew religious more..

Why doesn’t Sri Lanka have a Right to Information Act?

Jan 13 (CT) Why is it that there is no Right to Information Act in Sri Lanka; and why is it that those who are in power are averse to having such an Act? The right to information is one of the main characteristics of democracy; and in a participatory democracy, the people who elect a govt to power have a right to know what is going on in the govt. They also have a right to know how they are being governed. So, what is preventing us from having a Right to Information Act? more..

Four steps to secure lasting peace in SL

Jan 13 (CNN) “While building the nation, we have set aside all differences and divisions. As a result there is today a new political and development culture before the country,” Sri Lanka’s media reported President Mahinda Rajapaksa as saying in his New Year’s message. “Further consolidating this, we must forge ahead in the New Year. Having won freedom and peace for the people, we are committed to give them progress and happiness, too.” The question many Tamils are more..

'Sri Lanka link to Goa gold smuggling'

Jan 13 (IANS) Smuggling of gold into Goa appears to have a Sri Lanka connection, Goa Customs Commissioner V.P.C. Rao says adding that in recent times, non-resident Indians have been used to legally carry gold in small quantities. He said that in three of 17 cases involving gold being smuggled into the state via the Dabolim airport, Sri Lankan nationals were involved. "We have not studied it (the trend) yet, but more..

Claim that 10,000 nurses have been recruited is a canard

Jan 13 (LT) Govt’s claim that 10,000 have been recruited for health services in 2013 is a blatant lie and even those who have been selected as nurses would be trained later this year says the President of All Ceylon Health Services Union Gamini Kumarasinghe. He said only 2000 nurses and 1000 for supplementary services have been recruited and 2000 nurses who were recruited three years ago have been made permanent. As such, the govt’s claim that 10,000 have been recruited for more..

Minister Nimal on tackling local and foreign conspiracies

Jan 13 (Island) Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva last week cautioned that an international conspiracy had been launched by the Tamil diaspora and US Ambassador–at-large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp. The purpose of the polls in the Western and Southern provinces was to defeat the anti-government conspiracy launched by some organisations, he said at a provincial council election meeting held at Neluwa recently. more..

A rival Tamil coalition to take on TNA

Jan 13 (DM) Moves are afoot by several Tamil political parties in the North to form another Tamil coalition as an alternative to the TNA led by ITAK leader R. Sampanthan. A discussion on the matter was held on Saturday at the Erovil Conference Hall in Jaffna with the participation of representatives of EPDP, TULF, EPRLF (Varadhar Wing) and Sri TELO. Sources said that Minister Douglas Devananda who is also the leader more..

Sri Lanka win may be warning for England

Jan 13 (KP) Cricket fans may imagine spending a day enjoying corporate hospitality at one of the England against India Tests this summer will be a great experience - but there is no reason to underestimate Sri Lanka, who will be playing Tests at Lord's and Headingley in June. The islanders may not have Muralitharan in their ranks these days, nor a seam attack featuring the skilful Chaminda Vaas and the unorthodox but speedy Lasith Malinga, but they evidently had enough in their bowling more..

Health Secy flayed for failing to fill 70 vacancies

Jan 13 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and its rival the Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) fault the Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilake for his failure to fill about 70 medical administrators’ vacancies. The GMOF has written to Health Minister to remove Dr. Jayathilaka from the post due to his alleged failure to run the Ministry properly. GMOA General Committee member Dr. Navin de Soysa alleged that premier hospitals such as Maharagama Cancer more..

TN fishermen forum holds talks with Sri Lanka official

Jan 13 (Hindu) Representatives of a fishermen’s association in Tamil Nadu on Monday met a senior Sri Lankan official here, taking up with him the release of Indian fishermen arrested by the island navy. Representatives of the National Fishworkers’ Forum met A. Sabarullah Khan, Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Southern India here and held discussions for around 90 minutes. Forum chairperson M. Elango said more..

Police wash hands off investigations on religion-based protests

Jan 13 (AD) All investigations concerning protests and demonstrations related to religion will be handed over to the Religious Affairs Ministry. SSP Ajith Rohana stated that the Ministry will be informed of this today. A protest was held yesterday by a group calling themselves the “Hela Bodhu Pawura” on Galle Road in the Hikkaduwa area against a Christian establishment. A tense situation broke out between the protesters and the Police during the demonstration. more..

Navin pledges undying love for Rajapaksa govt.

Jan 13 (Island) Journalists had faced harassment and threats under the UNP government of late President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Minister of Public Management Reforms Navin Dissanayake said. Addressing a gathering of journalists at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA), he said that his father, late UNP leader Gamani Dissanayake and late minister Lalith Athulathmudali had left the UNP in protest and founded a new party. more..

Record high tea production in 2013

Jan 13 (GDI) As a result of the subsidies the Govt introduced for tea and other crops tea production rose to 339 million kilograms in 2013 compared to 328 million kilo grams in 2012. The increased tea production has earned the country Rs. 1.6 billion, according to Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He said this at a tea small holders’ meeting held at the Morawak Korale Tea Producers Cooperative Society Hall, Kotapola on Jan 11 in connection more..

UNP expects key polls this year

Jan 13 (CG) The UNP is confident a Presidential or General election will be held this year. UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said that the inside information coming from the Govt is that Presidential or General election will definitely be held this year. He said that there are indications such an election may even be held as early as June and the UNP is preparing for such an election. Samaraweera said that while winning the upcoming Provincial polls will be the immediate focus of the party, more..

Northern CM agrees to give gifts to all Hindus in prison

Jan 13 (Island) An attempt by Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran to hand over presents only to LTTE suspects at the Welikade prison in view of tomorrow’s Thaipongal festival was thwarted by prison officers. When the Chief Minister wanted to handover presents to LTTE suspects, the prison officers have told him that it would amount to discrimination if only the Tiger suspects were considered and told him to consider all Hindus serving prison terms at the Welikade jail. more..

Filmmaker uses white vans drive home point about disappearances in Lanka

Jan 13 (TOI) "They hijack your lives... You are forced to leave behind a home of broken spirits to lament your loss; loved ones who will tirelessly look for you," said filmmaker Leena Manimekalai explaining forced disappearances during the civil war in Sri Lanka, the subject of her latest documentary, White Van Stories. The 90-minute film was screened for the first time in Chennai on Sunday and more..

Premier faces a hydra-headed trouble

Jan 14 (NS) Controversy has dogged Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne for several weeks now over the issue of a letter by one of his secretaries to the Customs Department regarding a container which was later found to contain heroin. As calls for the Premier’s resignation have escalated, there is little doubt that there is a game of political shadow boxing being played out in the public domain. In a country where ruling party politicians appear to literally get away with murder, more..

Whither media five years after Lasantha was slain?

Jan 14 (NS) Two questions have been posed by journalist Hafeel Farisz on the subject of Lasantha Wickremathunge: Has Lasantha’s journalistic panache evolved into a more vibrant and potent form of media, or have we been left still fighting to sift through the rubble after his death? What does it mean to the rule of law and the right of the public to be informed, when an editor of a national newspaper is brutally murdered a stone’s throw from a High Security Zone, more..

'UNP on gradual forward march'

Jan 14 (SO) The Provincial Council system which was introduced under J.R. Jayewardene's presidency in 1987 has taken firm root in the country although there were objections at the beginning from some major political parties. Provincial Council elections are held every four years. As elections for the Western and Southern Provinces are scheduled to be held by the end of March 2014, all major political parties are now busy choosing formidable more..

Saffron-robed enforcers and Premier stakes

Jan 14 (CT) The Geneva Season has become an annual event in the Lankan political calendar. .Every March/April a new resolution on Sri Lanka is presented at the UNHRC session. Tensions rise, tempers fray, promises and threats are made, and then it is all over. The resolution is voted on, and Lankan political-life returns to its violent, arbitrary and abusive grooves. For the next several months, the Rajapaksas rule, more or less as they like it, until it is Geneva Season again. more..

Impeachment of a CJ: Day of lightning and year of thunder

Jan 14 (CT) Jan 11, 2013 is Black day in the history of the judiciary in Sri Lanka and perhaps the darkest day for democracy. On that day, Parliament accepted the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee that inquired into the charges set out in the impeachment motion against CJ Shirani Bandaranayake and impeached the Chief Justice. It is not the adoption of the impeachment motion that was the core issue. Parliament by accepting the report of the PSC and the President by removing more..

Colombo University Maths Dept gets a facelift after 179 years

Jan 14 (SO) When the Colombo city is getting greener and cleaner under the initiative of the Defence and Urban Development Ministry, city dwellers witnessed the way many buildings with architectural and historical value are being renovated and preserved maintaining their architectural and historical value. That process initiated by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development could add more and more buildings with commercial value to more..

John the Dualist: Patron saint of junket MPs

Jan 14 (ST) As govt ministers, its MPs and even its provincial members greet with glee the heaven sent news that their travels abroad at public expense will no longer face condemnation by the UNP opposition in Parliament, cast your glance this Sunday morn at the elevated figure of the newly sanctified John Amaratunga at the altar receiving their worship and glowing in their adoration as the Patron Saint of the Freebie MPs. And what’s the cause for this great rejoicing? more..

‘After the heavy rains, some wetness remains’

Jan 14 (ST) The wholly reprehensible quotation which this column borrows for the title this week comes verbatim from the November 2011 report of the LLRC. This is where it quotes the head of the govt linked EPDP when the LLRC questioned him in regard to specific allegations of enforced disappearances, extortion and extra-judicial killings leveled against the EPDP by Tamil civilians living in the North after the close of the war in 2009, (see at p174 of the LLRC report). more..

'Govt yet to address many HR issues'

Jan 14 (SL) TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah says the govt is yet to address many areas on the human rights front and therefore is not in a position to expect a favourable outcome from the UNHRC session in Geneva. “The govt is still silent on what happened to those who surrendered to the armed forces during the final stage of war. No one, except those who took them into custody, knows their whereabouts. Accountability issues have not been more..

Norochcholai:A probe needed

Jan 14 (Island) The Lakvijaya coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai is apparently jinxed. Built amidst strong protests from priests and laymen alike, it is more dysfunctional than functional. It has broken down about 30 times since its inception in 2011. Whenever the Norochcholai plant breaks down, the CEB opts for expensive diesel power generation which costs the pubic an arm and a leg. They have no alternative but to cough up more money to purchase power even when reservoirs are more..

Paradigm shift in Sri Lanka’s Mid-East policy

Jan 14 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to Israel is of crucial importance because it signals a paradigm shift in this country’s policy on the Middle East conflict. Hitherto, post-independence Sri Lanka focused strongly on conducting the best of relations with Palestine, although Sri Lanka bore no ill-will towards Israel. A sense of affinity with who was seen as the wronged party in the Middle East and ‘oil politics’ were among the key reasons for this policy direction. more..

'Anti-Tamil political groups must be ousted'

Jan 14 (CT) Q: Chief Minister of the Northern Province justice C.V. Wigneswaran has been complaining that Governor S.A Chandrasiri is not consulting him on anything and is doing everything on his own, making the massive mandate of the people of North meaningless. All the provincial Governors have the same powers, but only the Northern and Eastern Governors are behaving aggressively. more..

SC issues notice on Homagama PS

Jan 14 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday issued notice on the Pradeshiya Sabha of Homagama, its acting Secretary P.S.P. Ferungo, its vice Chairman Indika Koralage, the elections Commissioner and the General Secretary of the UPFA, Susil Pramajayantha asking them to be present in Court or be represented by a counsel on January 30, 2014. This notice is pertaining to a fundamental rights violation application filed by the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha, more..

'Today Muslims enjoy freedom to live with due recognition of their cultural identity'

Jan 14 (CT) I am glad to see the Muslim people of Sri Lanka live in peace and brotherly friendship with all other communities in keeping with the teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohamed. In this country where peace now prevails they enjoy the freedom to live with due recognition of their cultural identity, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohamed bring a message of peace, unity and co-existence to people the world over, providing a valuable basis to more..

Norway featuring in economic re-invigoration project for Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (Island) The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) in collaboration with the Norwegian embassy in Colombo is to launch a Road Map towards re-invigorating economic growth and sustainable reconciliation in Sri Lanka at the end of this year. A spokesperson for PF said that the Foundation had already launched a Policy Advisory and Advocacy Service (PAAS), targeting MPs, relevant stakeholders and other concerned citizens. more..