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Sri Lanka News Debrief - 12.12.2011

Huntsman in sustainability partnership with Sri Lankan textiles

Dec 12 (KI) Huntsman Textile Effects (TE) and Sri Lanka's MAS Holdings recently held a joint seminar that aims to address the tough challenges the textiles industry is facing in meeting stricter regulations that govern both sustainable and environmental business practice. Besides advocating and encouraging greater economic and environmental sustainability, the ‘Partnership Towards Sustainability' seminar held on 18 November at Taj Samudra, Colombo, more..

President intervenes on Natha devale dispute

Dec 12 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapakse, has directed the Director General of Buddhist Affairs to take immediate steps to inform the Judiciary of the true position of the property at Natha Devale, according to the Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa. Mr. Kobbekaduwa had earlier apprised the President on an order placed by the Gangawata Korale Divisional Secretary T. Bandara Tennakoon on a fifty perch land within the Sacred Area of Kandy. more..

'Karu should inform UNP leader first'

Dec 12 (DM) UNP Deputy Secretary Jayalath Jayewardene said today that the party’s Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya should at the next working committee meeting on Sunday, officially notify party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of Mr. Jayasuriya’s intention to contest for the post of leader. “The party leader has not been officially notified as yet. Whoever who wants to contest for the leadership should do so on December 18,” Dr. Jayewardene said. more..

WikiLeaks: Moragoda made a startling proposal to US against NAM

Dec 12 (CT) “More recently, Minister Moragoda made a startling proposal to U.S. officials. In discussions in Washington, Moragoda stated that the GSL was interested in forming some sort of group that would counter the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) block of countries.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” analyses the Sri Lanka’s pro–US foreign policy under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Roads in Colombo closed for ‘knight riding’

Dec 12 (LT) The roads around Fort Police headquarters will be closed from 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. on the 16th and 17th to due to motor races to be held. ‘This kind of Drag Racing' which is called 'Street Racing' is totally banned in many countries but held in Sri Lanka with the blessings of law enforcement authorities and the govt. It is a well known fact that some VVIPs and their sons have got down most expensive cars in the world, some worth over Rs.100 million and more..

Shopkeeper murder: Brothers jailed for Kingstanding stabbing

Dec 12 (Mirror) Four men who brutally murdered a shopkeeper while his children watched on CCTV have been jailed for life. Suppiah Tharmaseelan, 48, died after being stabbed, punched, kicked and eventually chased out of his own store in November 27 last year. Twins Ian and John Meenan, Anthony Bayliss and his half-brother Liam Ryan were given minimum terms of between 20 and 27 years for killing the father-of-four. more..

Rizana age fabricators to High court

Dec 12 (SM) Three suspects who are arrested under the charges of fabricating papers to conceal the true age of Rizana Nefeek have been produced before the Colombo High Court today (Dec. 12). This is the first instance which the three suspects have been produced before the Colombo High Court. Speaking before the court, the defence counsel requested bail for the three suspects. Colombo High Court judge Sunil Rajapakse said that the request will be considered on Dec. 16. more..

Hicorp case objections deferred until Jan 20

Dec 12 (DM) The Colombo High Court Judge today postponed the order on the preliminary objections taken by the defence in the Hicorp case against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka for January 20, claiming that the material in the indictment in the High Court was similar to that in the second Court Martial trial in which Sarath Fonseka was sentenced and thus no action could be instituted twice against an accused on the same charges. At the onset of the case Defence Counsel more..

'Integrity levels must improve all-round'

Dec 12 (DM) Top retired diplomat Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala said that political stability and miraculous economic development would not result over the achievement of a military victory over the ruthless terrorism of the LTTE. “The victory should be consolidated through political solutions, genuine reconciliation, an investment friendly environment and state reform,” he said. Dr. Dhanapala said that good governance was not rushing the secretly drafted legislation more..

Prevention of White Collar Crimes in Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the dreadful suffering of Sri Lankans due to the fraudulent activities of persons masquerading as great philanthropists thereby building public trust and then embezzling the monies deposited in the companies established by such swindlers or conmen who pose as employment agents and abandoning the employment seekers in foreign lands after defrauding all their savings more..

A Nation in Denial

Dec 13 (SL) The other day, I heard an intelligent and decent human being say that the head of this country was surrounded by crooks and charlatans and therein lay the entire problem for the Sri Lankan nation. This pronouncement sought to place the blame for the colossal corruption that covers the land from coast to coast entirely outside the control of an all-powerful President. Given the fact that Sri Lanka’s constitution, up to and including the now-(in)famous 18th Amendment, more..

A/L Technology stream proposed from next year

Dec 13 (SO) The GCE A/L curriculum is to undergo a key change filling a void that has existed for years. A new stream of technological subjects will be introduced to the A/L syllabus shortly. Among others, the proposal is aimed at producing the large number of middle level technicians the country will be needing to shoulder its construction and economic boom projected in the post war phase. more..

‘Soul-representative’, not ‘sole representative’?

Dec 13 (DM) The Govt and the TNA have not served their collective cause well. The former now claims that the negotiations team represented only the SLFP leader of the ruling UPFA coalition. The TNA on the other hand continues to indicate that it represented all Tamil-speaking people, and would want this established and officially acknowledged by the Government before they join the PSC process. The Govt may have added to the Tamils’ suspicions through universal initiatives for more..

LH Plantations (Pvt) Ltd. survived a harsh business environment

Dec 13 (DM) We congratulate those concerned for successfully continuing with the transformation of the company which we believe was initiated by us. We wish to assert that our term as Managing Agent of Kurunegala Plantations Ltd, unlike the post 2004 period, was beset with problems created by the then Govt, Mrs. CBM. There was always the threat of the company in the State and, for the most part, we had to contend with a hostile and unco-operative Board of Directors of KPL. more..

'No school will be closed'

Dec 13 (SO) Minister Bandula Gunawardena said the number of small schools is growing at an alarming rate due to the competition by parents for a handful of popular schools in the country. He said that despite this disturbing trend the Education Ministry will not resort to closure of the schools, but instead a national program is to get off the ground in January next year to develop 5000 primary and 1,000 secondary schools islandwide as a pragmatic means to more..

December 10th: 63rd anniversary of universal declaration of human rights

Dec 13 (TC) The Tamil Centre for Human Rights – TCHR/CTDH, in association with other Human Rights organisations, Institutions, Human rights defenders and with many others around the world celebrates today the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -UDHR. The UDHR contains thirty articles. Articles 1 and 2 outline the philosophical claim of the UDHR and emphasise that human beings are born free in equal dignity and are entitled to all rights and more..

President Rajapaksa makes convicted criminal Iniya Barathy a ‘Deshamanya’

Dec 13 (TC) It was an explosive revelation by any yardstick. The former Questioned Documents Examiner of the Elections Department had determined that the 62 ballot papers found abandoned near the Ratnapura technical college (and marked for common oppositional candidate Sarath Fonseka) were authentic and not photocopies. In most countries the revelation would have caused a furore. The govt would have been on the defensive, casting around for excuses while more..

'Tamil politicians to be blamed for missing opportunities'

Dec 13 (NS) The Tamil politicians have been responsible for missing the opportunities to find a permanent solution to the ethnic question in the post Indo-Lanka Accord period, says Minister Douglas Devananda. He said a solution could not be found by talking to the TNA alone, adding that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) would be a perfect platform for all parties to express their views. more..

Editorial: Cart before horse on E01

Dec 13 (Island) Having opened the southern expressway (E01) with pomp and pageantry last month, the govt is now desperately trying to find ways and means of dealing with speed-fiends who, unless kept in check, will turn that road into a highway of death. The traffic police are reported to be planning to acquire state-of-the -art laser guns to detect vehicles that exceed the prescribed speed limits. Unlike the electronic equipment currently in use, the new laser guns are said to be capable of producing detailed printouts, more..

The Prime Minister’s call will exacerbate Horizontal Inequality in Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (GV) The statement by the Prime Minister that wheat flour imports should be banned is an irresponsible statement and must be retracted. While it may be his choice to consume only rice, or he wishes more people in this country ate rice, he must be made aware that some people in Sri Lanka are totally dependent on wheat flour. The Household Income and Expenditure Survey for 2006 found that an average Tamil family in the estate sector consumed 17.4 Kg of more..

Herath the man to watch, says Elgar

Dec 13 (CI) Rangana Herath, the Sri Lanka left-arm spinner, is the bowler South Africa's batsmen will have to look out for during their upcoming three-Test series, South Africa batsman Dean Elgar has said. Elgar, who top-scored with 78 for the South African Invitation XI that played the Sri Lankans in a warm-up match in Benoni, said Herath was the most consistent bowler in an attack that lacks firepower in the pace department. more..

CSBA in a boil as two brokers quit

Dec 13 (FT) Apparently linked to recent developments, two brokers have quit the Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) with immediate effect, a move which is likely to further infest the market wounds. Long-standing broking firm CT Smith Stockbrokers and relatively new entrant IIFL Securities Ceylon Ltd. are the two who had resigned from the CSBA. IIFL Securities Ceylon Country Head Priyani Ratna Gopal had intimated that the current thinking of the CSBA did not conform to more..

Budget deficit 6% of GDP

Dec 13 (Island) The budget deficit for the first ten months of this year reached an estimated 6 percent of GDP on strong tax revenue growth, latest data released by the Central Bank showed and it remains to be seen whether the govt would be able to keep the deficit contained to 6.8 percent of GDP, the target set by the IMF, which is a difficult target according to analysts. The Central Bank showed that tax revenue had grown 15.52 percent to Rs. 590.8 billion during the first ten months more..

Nishantha Ranatunga’s re-entry to SLC should be stopped at all costs

Dec 13 (Island) It is indeed tragic that Sri Lanka Cricket has got into the financial imbroglio that it is faced today. It has caught global attention by it, even prompting the South African Test and ODI team players, to say that they wished their Lankan opponents were paid their earnings prior to the start of the tour! That was the solidarity and sympathy to the Sri Lankans, and a team they respected. more..

Gampaha as a prototype district in Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (FT) Last week I was invited by a MBA alumni group of a top university in Sri Lanka to share some thoughts on the changing landscape of Sri Lanka. Given that we see many reports of the most visible aspects of the development agenda, be it the Southern Highway, the first new hotel brand in the country Avani or the Hambantota sea port, I thought of sharing some new insights that many have not got exposed to. Taking out the Household Income and Expenditure Survey more..

Prisons Dept. opens a correctional centre at Chavakachcheri

Dec 13 (Island) The Prisons Department has opened a new correctional centre at Chavakachcheri to rehabilitate those accused of minor offences, an official of the Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation said. "Those who have been sentenced to a jail term of less than two years for minor offences would be rehabilitated there," Secretary to the Ministry A. Dissanayaka said. There are nearly 150,000 such offenders countrywide who have been rehabilitated. more..

Medical team to Pakistan: envoy thanks Lanka

Dec 13 (DN) Pakistan High Commissioner Seema Baloch thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa for making arrangements to send a special medical team to Pakistan at short notice to control the dengue outbreak reported from Punjab. Sri Lanka sent two medical teams to Pakistan on two occasions to control dengue. The Sri Lankan medical teams successfully controlled the dengue epidemic within a short period. Addressing the inauguration of the international training more..

'President Rajapaksa should get Nobel Peace Prize for eradicating terrorism'

Dec 13 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for eradicating terrorism and ushering in peace to the country, UPFA MP A.H.M. Azwer told Parliament. Participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2012, the MP said that in May 2009, the world witnessed President Mahinda Rajapaksa eradicating the menace of terrorism in all its forms. "Terrorism had plagued this resplendent isle for three decades. more..

'Exhume and exhibit Keppetipola’s skull'

Dec 13 (Island) The skull of the great patriot Weera Monarawilla Keppetipola Disawe must be dug up from where it is buried at the memorial urn erected in his memory in the outer courtyard of the Kandy esplanade and conserved and exhibited to the children and future generations, an UPFA MP demanded in Parliament. UPFA MP Janaka Priyantha Bandara, participating in the third reading stage debate of the Budget 2012, under the votes of the Ministry of National Heritage, more..

Development Diaries: Dec 7, 2011

SLGA in Jaffna blamed for manipulating statistics of uprooted people from HSZ

Dec 13 (TN) The Govt Agent in Jaffna, Imelda Sugumar, has gone on record last week drastically reducing the number of uprooted persons from the High Security Zone in the district, from 66,905 persons of 14,004 families as reported by her secretariat last year, to 36,442 persons of 10,170 families. However, Ms. Sugumar admitted she had no fresh data on resettlement, but was telling reporters in Jaffna that the figures were based on December 2010 statistics. more..

Missing persons' parents stage protest in Jaffna

Dec 13 (TN) For the first time in Jaffna, kept under the iron fist of occupying SL military, parents and relatives of the missing persons, braved SL army barriers and harassment by soldiers and riot police and staged a protest in front of Jaffna Bus stand on Wold Human Rights Day seeking global attention on the plight of those reported missing since the end of Vanni war in 2009. The SL military and police blocked the organisers from Colombo, the Civil Monitoring Commttee of more..

Now, MPs computers to cost taxpayer over Rs. 50 mn

Dec 13 (Island) A new project to provide computers to all members of Parliament early next year will cost the taxpayers’ over Rs. 50 mn. The project is funded by the Information and Communication Technological Agency (ICTA), a govt agency spearheading e-Lanka projects. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said that the parliament had received Rs. 25 million to implement the first stage of the project. more..

Politicians and the navy blamed for illegal fishing

Dec 13 (BBC) Nearly two thousand fishermen from Kalpitiya peninsular protested today against the use of illegal methods of fishing. They say the use of Dynamite, and triple nets are destroying marine life and their livelihood in the region. "From what we hear, high officials of the Navy own some of the boats that use the illegal nets for many years. Politicians and the police are all corrupt. That is why it had not been stopped for over five years." one of the protesters said more..

Tax on imported potatoes reduced

Dec 13 (DN) In a bid to ensure price stability in essential commodities during the festive season, the govt reduced tax on a kilo of imported potatoes by Rs. 15 after establishing the fact that the local potato production has been released to the market completely. According to Director of the Finance and Planning Ministry, M.G. Jayathissa, the govt announced this tax reduction on potatoes after it had established that the produce of local potato farmers were released to the market completely. more..

Call to investigate Sri Lanka disappearances

Dec 13 (BBC) A human rights group has called on Sri Lanka's govt to investigate the disappearance of two activists in the northern city of Jaffna. Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan disappeared last week. They organised demonstrations on behalf of the families of missing people. Civil society activists in Sri Lanka say they fear for the lives of the men. Police in Jaffna say they have no information about the whereabouts of the two men and more..

India - Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF) invites project proposal

Dec 13 (IHC) The India - Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF) was established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the govts of India and Sri Lanka in 1998 in order to foster India - Sri Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation and to promote greater understanding between the people of the two countries. ISLF invites project proposals, which will assist to enhance bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka, more..

'President has no personal doctor'

Dec 13 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not have a personal doctor. Anyone could produce documents claiming to be the President’s personal physician since the President as the leader of the State posed for pictures with many people, he said. The President also welcomed any person who worked for the benefit of the people. Those persons posed for photographs with the President and some of they could make false claims. more..

President launches Nelum Pokuna Theatre website

Dec 13 (IL) Official website ( of the “Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) – Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre” was officially launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at an event at Temple Trees on 12 December. This was donated by the Chinese Government to cement the long standing friendship between the two countries. The five-storey building is set to be the largest performing arts theatre in Southeast Asia. more..