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Sri Lanka stocks plunge 0.9%

Feb 24 (LBO) Stocks plunge 0.91% Monday continuing the downward trend with losses in the tobacco and diversified stocks. All Share Price Index closed 54.23 points lower at 5,883.05, down 0.91%. The S&P SL20 closed 29.82 points lower at 3,208.00, down 0.92%. Turnover was 499.40 million rupees, down from 1.07 billion rupees last Friday, with stocks of 116 firms closing in the red against 53 gainers. Index heavy JKH topped the turnover list with 154.25 million rupees of market more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Average income of a SL: When numbers gathered from top and bottom do not tally!

Feb 24 (CT) The Preliminary Report of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey, abbreviated as HIES, for 2012/13 has just been released by Department of Census and Statistics or DCS (available here ). Without doubt, the survey report carries a wealth of information on the socio-economic conditions of the Sri Lankans at this juncture of their history. It supplies feed-material for researchers, analysts, policymakers, commentators and even marketers. more..

Sri Lanka rupee falls to near 3-month low

Feb 24 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee ended near a three-month low on Monday due to importer dollar demand, with the market expecting continued downward pressure ahead of festival import demand in April, dealers said. The spot rupee closed at 131.00/10 per dollar, its lowest since Dec 3, and weaker from Friday's close of 130.95/131.00. "There was importer dollar demand. A state bank sold dollars at 131.05 to select banks," a dealer said, asking not to be named. more..

Sri Lanka, India most successful

Feb 24 (CI) Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the teams that start their Asia Cup campaign on the back of some recent success. While defending champions Pakistan rode on a rare high in their batting performances to win their last ODI series with a game to spare against Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka themselves are coming off a 3-0 drubbing of the hosts, Bangladesh. They will also have the added advantage of being the most accustomed more..

Chief opposition whip wants CCTV cameras to prevent jilmaat

Feb 24 (Island) UNP MP John Amaratunge has requested the Elections Commissioner to install CCTV cameras at counting centres during the forthcoming PC elections to prevent malpractices. He said that irregularities which could occur while counting preferential votes could be curbed if such cameras were installed. "The preferential votes have been rigged at elections in the past," he said, adding that there would be fewer complaints if technology was used. more..

Vijaya College principal arrested for taking bribe

Feb 24 (AD) The principal of Vijaya College Matale has been arrested today for allegedly soliciting a bribe of Rs 150,000 in order to admit a Grade 2 student into the school, the Bribery Commission said. The suspect, who was arrested officials while accepting the bribe, will be produced at the Matara Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, a spokesman for the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption said. Earlier today, officials of the Bribery Commissions arrested more..

Man hurt as masked knifemen rob store

Feb 24 (OM) A NEWSAGENT was last night in hospital after armed robbers targeted his Littlemore store. Two masked men wielding a knife and a hammer threatened Vijaya Karunaratne, known locally as Karu, who runs Littlemore News. Police said the shopkeeper, who is also a Littlemore Parish councillor, suffered arm and knee injuries during the robbery which ended with the thieves fleeing on bikes along Cowley Road at more..

UNP govt. blamed for shortage of Rosa Kekulu

Feb 24 (Island) The cheap variety of rice known as Rosa Kekulu sold at Rs. 48 per kg is not freely available at Sathosa outlets as only limited quantities were milled at the Sathosa Complexes at Pannagama in Hambantota and Hingurakgoda. Nipun Ekanayake Media Secretary to Minister Johnston Fernando said that both mills had been shut down by the UNP govt 12 years ago and re-opened for milling purposes by Sathosa in 2012. He said that what was produced was more..

Acting CJ assures Law students

Feb 24 (CG) Acting Chief Justice Shirani Tillakawardena has given an assurance to a group of students who failed to obtain entrance to the Law College, that she will look into their concerns. One student, Chandima Amarasinge, had climbed onto the roof of the Sri Lanka Law College and protested today while a few others protested near the gate. The students were protesting the decision to admit only a few students this year which resulted in many being deprived of an opportunity to more..

South Africa confirm two-Test tour to SL

Feb 24 (CI) CSA and SLC have brought South Africa's postponed Test tour of Sri Lanka forward by one year, but replaced one Test with ODIs. South Africa will play two Tests and three ODIs in Sri Lanka in July, a CSA release confirmed, but the original schedule had specified three Tests, in addition to the five ODIs and three Twenty20s that have already been played last year. SLC had requested the Tests be moved to 2015, more..

Skull, bones found in fertilizer bag

Feb 24 (Island) Kandy Menikhinna police on Sunday have recovered a fertilizer bag containing a human skull and some bones at the bed of the Pitawala tank near Walala. The human remains believed to be old are said to have been dumped there by some unidentified persons. Menikhinna police took into their custody the skull and bones in the bag. It is suspected that the remains were used by charmers for black magic as there are many exorcists in the Menikhinna area. more..

Punish war criminals says TNA

Feb 24 (CG) The TNA says war criminals must be punished for there to be real reconciliation in Sri Lanka following the end of the war. A Tamil media report quoted TNA leader R. Sampanthan as saying that the Govt must put forward a final political solution acceptable to all communities. He says the solution should include reconciliation which ensures the perpetrators of war crimes are punished. The TNA leader noted that the Govt had embarked on a visit to South Africa to discuss more..

'Reconsider decision to release Rajiv assassins'

Feb 24 (TOI) Union minister of state for PM's office V Narayanasamy on Sunday asked the TN govt to reconsider its decision to release three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Narayanasamy termed the TN govt's decision as 'arbitrary.' The Union minister said he was shocked at the decision which, according to him, was totally unacceptable. He regretted that the decision would set a bad precedent. more..

Quality education afforded paying rich dividends – President

Feb 24 (DN) President Rajapaksa yesterday observed that his govt’s efforts to ensure equitable facilities and opportunities for all in education, irrespective of differences, were paying rich dividends. He said as a result, today all people have realised the value of education, irrespective of their ethnic, religious backgrounds or the area in which they reside. The President noted that today parents were keen to provide their children with quality education as they know this will more..

Mafia gobbles down CEB money

Feb 24 (LT) The mafia that is active in CEB is gobbling billions of public money say its officials. This was revealed to by officials of the CEB regarding renting out vehicles to the CEB and buying electricity from private power houses. Rs.750 million is spent for renting out 802 vehicles on conditions to pay rates of Rs.80,000 for 2000 kilometers and Rs.90,000 for 3000 kilometers. Most of the vehicles that have been rented out are owned by associates of a few senior officials more..

School appliances for war hero children

Feb 24 (MoD) Schoolchildren of war heroes in Kurunegala, Puttalam and Kegalle districts were donated with School appliances at a function held at Deyata Kirula MoD site premises in Kuliyapitiya today (23). The event was organized by the Armed Forces and Police welfare Division established under Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. The division was initially established in 2007 in order fulfill welfare necessities of the war heroes more..

Minister Champika says UNHRC toothless

Feb 24 (Island) A motion against Sri Lanka on alleged human rights violations would be moved in Geneva on March 3, but the UNHRC would not be able to take action against Sri Lanka without the sanction of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly as the HRC did not have executive power, Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday. He said only five countries had the Security Council veto powers and China and Russia were among them. more..

TNA backs Ganeshan’s candidates

Feb 24 (Island) The TNA decided on Saturday to support Mano Ganeshan’s DPF candidates contesting the Colombo and Gampaha Districts at the March 29 WPC elections, the DPF Deputy Leader disclosed. Dr. Kumar Guruparan said the TNA had also decided to meet the envoys the UNHRC representatives in Colombo in attempts to persuade them to support the US resolution against Sri Lanka at next month’s UNHRC sessions in Geneva and appointed a special committee more..

Amnesty urges India to revoke ban on Sri Lankan war documentary

Feb 24 (Hindu) Amnesty International India on Monday urged the Central Board of Film Certification and the Govt to "swiftly remove the ban" on the film `No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ – a documentary on the last phase of the war between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE in early 2009. Questioning the CBFC decision, Amnesty in a statement said the refusal of certification for the theatre release of the film was an attack more..

CID ordered to find Mangala's missing whiskey

Feb 24 (SM) IGP has instructed the CID to probe into the incident where seven whiskey bottles of UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera had gone missing from his residence. This was revealed after Panadura Magistrate courts today took up the case filed on this regard. The case pertained to the incident where a suspect, who has been arrested on this theft was produced before court and released on bail. The arrest was made after a employee of MP Samaraweera lodged a complaint with more..

NWDB blocks estuaries to prevent seawater entering main rivers

Feb 24 (Island) National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has taken steps to prevent seawater entering rivers by using sand bags as barriers. However, NWSDB Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that tests had indicated that there was no mix of sea water in the drinking water though residents in the outskirts of Colombo claimed their drinking water tasted salty. He said the NWSB had adopted necessary measures to avert a shortage of drinking water by making use of water more..

Govt. rules out culling Animals, to control foot-and-mouth disease

Feb 24 (CT) Despite the threat of the foot-and-mouth disease spreading in five districts — Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Trincomalee, Ampara and Vavuniya, no animal will be culled to control the disease, the Department of Animal Production and Health said. Acting Director General of the Dept, Dr. Gamini Ratnayake, said in SL animals are not killed to control foot-and-mouth disease, instead, they are vaccinated. more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Feb 25 (NS) JHU’s Udaya Gammanpila, who is also the ruling coalitions leader for the Colombo District in the forthcoming PC elections has asked supporters to contribute Rs. 100 each towards the campaign. It is strange that no one has thought of undercutting the politician in these times of savage competition and price wars. Someone can say ‘Udaya is asking for a lot but I on the other hand, request just 50 bucks’. Someone else can say ‘20 and no more’. It can get very creative too. more..

Sri Lanka braces for a drinking water crisis

Feb 25 (NS) One of the severest droughts that has been converging on many parts of the country has sucked soils dry, and sharply reduced the water levels at reservoirs prompting the government to brace not just for blackouts, but a bleak drinking water scarcity. “The ongoing dry spell will put many provinces at an acute risk of running out of drinking water by mid- March unless we receive sufficient rainfall which is highly unlikely,” said Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. more..

Sri Lanka delegation meets President Zuma and top TRC negotiators

Feb 25 (NSO) The hi-profile official delegation that left for South Africa last Thursday and will report to President Rajapaksa on how the South African model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can be adopted in Sri Lanka to strengthen its reconciliation process, External Affairs Ministry Additional Secretary, Rodney Perera said. Team led by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and included Ministers Douglas Devananda, more..

Genuine affection: Let's not isolate Sri Lanka in the democratic progress

Feb 25 (CT) The last few weeks were momentous for corruption fighters in South Asia. There was hardly a dull moment. India's Common Man's Party's (AAP) bold decisions to give up power for good governance made headlines in international media. Its genuineness was a subject for many political debates in the heat of the upcoming elections. During times of election, our politicians are not ashamed to seek re-election despite their previous election pledges that had not been delivered more..

The JVP’s new outlook

Feb 25 (CT) I reject both Marxism and the hate politics propagated by it. However, I admire the JVP, despite its hate politics because of its several positive features. The JVP cadres are usually honest and have dedicated their life for the political cause. Hence, I do not want the JVP to face the same fate of the Dinosaurs, which failed to adapt to the changing environment. That is why I wrote a series of articles in 2010 titled 'What happened to the JVP?' In those articles, I analyzed more..

Is NCPA responsible for Venusha's death?

Feb 25 (CT) With the principal of Sir John Kotelawala Vidyalaya in Kurunegala, Saman Indraratne, having been transferred to the Zonal Education Office in Kurunegala, the question still remains as to who is really responsible for the death of Venusha Bandara, who committed suicide over a photograph posted on Facebook. Her relatives and friends blame the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) for her death, more..

Nationalism, the past and the present: The case of Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (CT) The ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has aroused interest in both the reasons for the breakdown of its polity and the roots of Tamil and Sinhala identities. The resurgence of nationalism in Eastern Europe will encourage studies in the broader implications of the Sri Lankan data for social science theory. As a result of the excesses of the Nazi upsurge, Western scholars have tended to regard nationalism as retrograde and potentially patho­logical or reprehensibly atavistic. more..

The appointment and dismissal of judges is the sole privilege of the executive president

Feb 25 (CT) The judgement of the Supreme Court which was given last week held that the judgement of the Court of Appeal allowing the writ of Certiorari on the parliament of Sri Lanka was wrong. The simple argument of the five judges is that the parliament of Sri Lanka, like the parliament of Great Britain enjoys supremacy of parliament which excludes the possibility of any jurisdiction being exercised by the courts over anything that it does. The issue before the court was about more..

බස්නාහිර පළාත් සභාවේ මුහුණු අලූත් වෙයිද?

New ICRC paradigm on ‘the use of force in armed conflicts’

Feb 25 (Island) Confusion on how to categorize Sri Lanka’s conflict has a direct bearing on how the issue of accountability is handled. If categorized as an Armed Conflict the scope and nature of the accountability exercise would take a certain prescribed trajectory that is defined by internationally accepted provisions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). On the other hand, if categorized as "eliminating terrorism" accountability exercise would be defined by domestic law enforcement more..

National Equity Fund the best performing unit trust in 2013

Feb 25 (FT) The flagship National Equity Fund (NEF), managed by National Asset Management Limited (NAMAL) led the unit trust industry again with outstanding performance in 2013. The NEF return of 17.1% in 2013 was the best of the 46 unit trusts in the industry according to data compiled by the Unit Trust Association of Sri Lanka. NEF outperformed the CSE All Share Price Index (ASPI) by 12.30%in 2013 and has delivered an annualised return of 15.1% since inception in 1992. more..

Lankan exporters invited to utilize Pakistan’s GSP Plus with EU

Feb 25 (DM) Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Major General Qasim Qureshi made an open invitation to Sri Lankan exporters to utilize the current GSP Plus scheme Pakistan enjoys with the European Union (EU) and expand trade between the two countries through the existing free trade agreement (FTA). “Pakistan’s new GSP plus scheme with the EU is an opportunity for Sri Lankan exporters. more..

Paradigm shift that northern CM calls for

Feb 25 (Island) Most political of the analysis at the present time revolves around the forthcoming session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The latest are the two options that the govt appears to be developing, wooing supportive countries to come up with a counter-resolution, and wooing South Africa to assist in the formulation of a truth and reconciliation process as an alternative to an international investigation into war crimes. But, there are also other important developments taking place more..

Editorial: Woodpeckers and sapsuckers

Feb 25 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, in a recent public speech, taken a swipe at his detractors. He has drawn an analogy between them and woodpeckers—of all creatures. Parrots creep into holes woodpeckers make on trees, he has said, implying that the Opposition’s hostile acts to gain traction in domestic politics help further the interests of external forces. With his government busy fighting a battle of sorts in Geneva, where another resolution is expected to be moved against Sri Lanka, more..

Dhammika’s biz empire opts for China’s Kingsoft over Microsoft!

Feb 25 (FT) If one thought SL’s seeming takeover by China is confined to mega infrastructure projects, then there is a fresh business twist with Dhammika Perera’s business empire begining to embrace office software from the land of the dragons over Microsoft. Following a thorough pre-trial study and analysis, several of businesses in which Dhammika has considerable stakes have begun to roll out Kingsoft. more..

Swarna Maloney gets in touch with some Touchwood depositors

Feb 25 (ST) 'Wanted-by-the-authorities’ Swarna Maloney, former Group Managing Director of troubled forestry firm Touchwood Holdings’, has got in touch with some distraught depositors over the last two weeks. “She called some of us from (she said) Cambodia and assured us that she will pay the due monies by months’ end,” a depositor who wished to be anonymous told the Business Times. He added that her plan is to raise money by selling Touchwood’s Plantations in Cambodia. more..

Brandix Group feted for largest blood donation of 2013

Feb 25 (Island) The National Blood Transfusion Service (NTBS) has felicitated top apparel exporter Brandix for being the largest private sector blood donor in Sri Lanka in 2013. Employees of the Group donated a record 3,621 pints of blood during a three month collection campaign last year at 28 locations, reiterating their continuing commitment to the community. This is the fourth successive year that Brandix has been recognised as the largest corporate donor of blood in Sri Lanka. more..