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Colombo-providing fitting climax towards promising future

Dec 16 (MoD) Anyone who visits Colombo, no doubt, can witness workers are busy making on road sides, pavements, gardens etc, to give Colombo a much needed facelift. Many places in the city including President's Square, Colombo Fort area, Independence Square, Marine Drive, Fort Railway station, Pettah private bus stand, Kolpetty to Ayurveda junction area, Slave Island etc. are now being improved under the urban development project by the UDA. more..

Huge losses in public enterprises burden finances

Dec 16 (BL) Losses in public enterprises have been a burden on the country's public finances for a long time. They have grown rather than diminished. There is every prospect that these losses would grow as the government undertakes more business enterprises. Such losses of public enterprises have to be financed from the budget. Transfers to state-owned enterprises constitute a huge amount of government expenditure and is one of the reasons for the continuing fiscal deficits. more..

What is the goal of western policy towards Tamils of Sri Lanka?

Dec 16 (TC) The Minister of External Affairs Prof GL Peiris usually gives no reason to be described as ‘irate’. That however, was the newspaper description of his uncharacteristically sharp remonstration, urging Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe not to ‘outsource’ the role of the Opposition to the international/diplomatic community. The MEA website carries the story: “Prof. Peiris lambasted Wickremesinghe for taking all domestic issues before more..

$ 85 m boost from Germany and UK for post-war rebuilding, growth

Dec 16 (FT) Over US$ 85 million is being given by Germany and UK for post-war reconstruction and livelihood creation to spur growth. UK is funding 141 bridges in Sri Lanka at a cost of US$ 69.7 million after obtaining Cabinet approval. Cabinet has approved a project for the construction of 141 single and two lane steel bridges throughout the country with financial assistance from the UK, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told media. more..

Four insiders among the dozen vying for SEC DG post

Dec 16 (FT) Four senior executives are among the dozen who are vying for the top but tough post of Director General at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The deadline for applications closed on 5 December, and the DG post judging by the number of CVs received remains a favourite despite short span as well as controversial exits by many predecessors. Among SEC staff who have applied are Director Investigations Dhammika Perera, Director Surveillance Chandu Epitawala, more..

FDIs top US$ 1bn this year, hotel projects US$ 1.86bn

Dec 16 (Island) Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeyawardane says foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have improved this year, reaching US$ 1.07 billion up to December 2011 and the government expects more than US$ 1.75 billion in FDIs next year. He said the US$ 1.07 billion inflow during the first eleven months of this year was a record high. Up to December 2011, The Board of Investment (BOI) had approved 131 projects including expansions and signed 138 agreements. more..

Sri Lanka pin hopes on Fernando

Dec 16 (CI) Nine years ago, on this very ground, Dilhara Fernando almost bowled Sri Lanka to victory over South Africa. The visitors set South Africa a small target of 121, yet had them seven down when victory came. Four of the seven sticks belonged to Fernando. This time, with his side being shot out cheaply on the first day at Centurion, a repeat of such a finish is a pipe dream but with Fernando on form the visitors still have belief. more..

'Educational reforms should be implemented without delay'

Dec 16 (DN) Educational reforms introduced by the govt should be implemented without delay as students have been subjected to mental trauma as a result of the flaws found in the present educational set up, said Parliamentary Coordinating Secretary to the President Kumarasiri Hettige. He said so participating as the chief guest in the ceremony held recently at Homagama Maha Vidyalaya to distribute English- Sinhala dictionaries to students who were successful in the more..

Lankan worker in Romania assaulted

Dec 16 (DN) A Sri Lankan expatriate worker employed in Romania, who has been subjected to an alleged assault at his workplace is receiving treatment at the Chilaw hospital after being transferred from Anamaduwa hospital. Samantha Srimal Ratnayake, 38, of Anamaduwa who had been employed as a building supervisor in a construction firm in the city called "Yas" claims that he was severely beaten up by his employers over a salary issue and deported to Sri Lanka. He had been employed in Cyprus and more..

Ranawaka vows to resign if Opp proves power cut charges

Dec 16 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawake vowed in Parliament that he would resign from his portfolio immediately if the opposition could prove that there had been power cuts after July this year. Participating in the third reading stage debate on the budget proposals, under the votes of the Ministry of Power and Energy, the minister said that the country had not experienced a single power cut since July. more..

Political prisoner alleges abuse by prision guard to make false confession

Dec 16 (TN) Navaneethan, a guard in Batticaloa Prison, who allegedly receives instructions from Deputy Minister Vinayamoorthy Muralitharan, has been threatening a political detainee at the prison to to give a confession saying that he shot and killed Satchi master inside the prison on 15 July 2004. The victimised political detainee, Gunaseelan, made a complaint Wednesday when he was present in front of the Batticaloa Magistrate. The Magistrate directed the officer in charge of more..

Drug traffic destroys future of Tamil students in Jaffna

Dec 16 (TN) Religious leaders and civil society groups have joined hands to work against Colombo's planned distribution of drugs among Tamil youth in Jaffna. It has been revealed in a recent survey that around 28 students of both sexes in a leading mixed school in the peninsula were engaged in distributing drugs. The shocking information came to light following the detection of a student who was responsible for the distribution of drugs, and that led to the more..

Sri Lanka's Pachyderm paradise

Dec 16 (National) At dusk, the giants came, crashing through the jungle. But, as always, the cooks and waiters were ready for them, with saucepans and whistles. After a brief exchange of trumping and hooting, there was a splintering of trees, the beasts fell back and the lodge fell silent. "Elephants," said the cook. "They know the game." Across central Sri Lanka, similar scenes are played out each night. During our two weeks, almost everywhere we went more..

Feds need to back up claims on human smuggling: critics

Dec 16 (VS) Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he recently received information that validates the government's assertions that a migrant vessel intercepted in Indonesian waters this summer may have been bound for Canadian shores. "Just as recently as last week, I was meeting with my Australian counterpart in Geneva and he said it was the Australian view that the (MV) Alicia was headed for Canada," Kenney said in an interview. "That seems to be a fairly widespread view." more..

Hakeem gets WTC floor for grandiose project

Dec 16 (Island) The Justice Ministry will receive a part of an eight acre block of land at Aluthkade, formerly belonging to BCC Lanka Ltd., to build a modern court complex. The land, estimated to be valued at Rs. 3 bn is now managed by the recently formed State Resources and Enterprise Management Company. Authoritative sources said that of the 14 acres owned by BCC Lanka Ltd. businessman Daya Gamage’s wife, UNP MP Anoma Gamage, had purchased two acres for Rs. 200 mn more..

Namal takes oaths as Attorney-at-Law

Dec 16 (DN) MP Namal Rajapaksa yesterday took oaths as an Attorney-at-Law before a three judge Supreme Court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dr. Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice Suresh Chandra. Namal’s parents President Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, his two brothers Yoshitha and Rohitha, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Cabinet Ministers, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa more..

Manning Market limps back to normal

Dec 16 (Island) With another grace period of one month given to transporters of vegetables and fruits to abide by the new law which has made the use of plastic crates mandatory, the Manning Market showed signs of recovery yesterday. However only about 50 lorries arrived there. A peaceful atmosphere prevailed at this important wholesale market yesterday. A spokesman for the Ministry of Trade said that vegetables were being supplied to the 13 economic centres, more..

Sri Lanka Palestine Solidarity Paying Dividends

Dec 16 (AT) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the youngest member of the 1970 Parliament spoke about the Palestinian Struggle in his first speech he would not have even dreamt of being identified as the best Sri Lankan friend of the Islamic world. Influenced by the pro Arab stance of the center left politicians of Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa was no stranger to the Middle East political struggles. Sri Lanka was a founder member of Non Aligned Movement that supported the more..

Nelum Pokuna - From China with Love

Dec 16 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday opened the country's first state-of the-artPerforming Arts Theatre - the Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre gifted by the People's Republic of China. The Rs 3,600 million theatre is poised to be a catalyst for a revival of the arts in the region and bring renewed vitality to take Performing Arts to greater heights. The opening of the theatre symbolized the centuries old friendship more..

Power Ministry paid over Rs 14 mn as rent for 10 months

Dec 16 (Island) The Power and Energy Ministry had paid a sum of Rs 14,087,446.56 as rent for the building that housed it for the ten months, from January to October this year, Parliament was told yesterday. Power and Energy Deputy Minister Premalal Gunasekera said that the total cost for renting or leasing of buildings, which are not owned by the ministry, stood at Rs 16,130,644.00. He said that the square foot rate of rented or leased buildings stood at Rs 67.89 more..

Dilmah to create new luxury resort brand

Dec 16 (ST) The MJF Group which has Dilmah tea, reputed to be the largest single original pure Ceylon tea in the world, under its belt is expanding rapidly into leisure (currently the most lucrative sector) and widening its traditional tea sector base. Plans are underway to expand its exclusive Ceylon Tea Trails brand with a fifth $2.5 million bungalow, expected to be ready for winter 2013. The Group’s maiden beach resort, the $25 million Cape Weligama in the south, has commenced construction and more..

Vegetable prices skyrocket

Dec 16 (DM) Vegetable prices had risen sharply yesterday due to a severe shortage and also since lorries were yet to arrive at the main economic centres following the three day protest over the plastic crate regulations. Colombo Manning market traders said that vegetable prices had increased two or three-fold with a kilo of leaks going up to Rs.250 from Rs. 40, green chilies from Rs. 250 to Rs. 600, tomatoes from Rs.150 to 240, spring onions from Rs.70 to Rs. 200, more..

'No plans to hike power tariff'

Dec 16 (Island) The govt has not planned to revise the present price concessions given to electricity consumers using less than 90 units a month, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told Parliament. Participating in the third reading stage debate on budget proposals, under the votes of his Ministry, he said that there was no truth in ongoing rumours and some media reports that electricity tariffs would be revised and the concessions would be given only to consumers who consume more..

Motorbike of disappeared activists found

Dec 16 (BBC) The motor bicycle which both Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan travelled has been found in Jaffna. The wife of disappeared activist, Kugan Muruganathan had seen the motorcycle in Achchuveli police station when she went to enquire about the on going investigations on Thursday evening. Udul Premaratna quoting wife of Kugan Murugananthan said that Achchuveli police had told her that the police found the bicycle near Sivan Kovil in Kopai, Jaffna. more..

'UNP WC, MPs will decide on new leader'

Dec 16 (Island) The election of a new UNP leader was a matter that had to be decided on by the Working Committee and parliamentary group, senior MP Joseph Michael Perera said yesterday. When asked about his views on a letter the Mahanayake Theras of the four chapters had sent to Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday, asking him to relinquish the UNP leadership but continue as Opposition Leader, Perera said that according to his understanding more..

CEPA to be signed as soon as all stake-holders are on board: SLHC

Dec 16 (Island) The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka will be signed as soon as all the stake-holders in Sri Lanka are on board. This was stated here today by Sri Lankan high Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam while speaking at a road show organised to promote Sri Lanka Expo 2012. He said India is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner. "Negotiations are in progress on the rolling text of CEPA. We are still in the process of more..

Sri Lanka night race will help travel trade: Colombo hoteliers

Dec 16 (LBO) A night car race in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo has increased occupancy in city hotels and will help the travel trade if it is made an annual international event, hoteliers said. "An event like this will put us on the map as a happening city," Rohit Khosla, head of Taj Samudra hotel in Colombo told reporters. "We have seen an increase in booking levels. I hope in the years to come it will become an event in the calendar that people will look forward to." more..

Old war torn areas still have military ghosts

Dec 16 (LB) Past the Paranthan junction we drove towards Vishwamadu where returning civilians from the Manik Farm are struggling to restart their war battered lives from scratch. They live in squalid (tent) huts, cook in the open and are being overwhelmed by thousands of men in the uniform. Name boards, one after the other stand welcoming the travellers to this less charted part of the Wanni: more..

Taken for a macro ride by Micro cars?

Dec 16 (SL) In a shocking display of corporate bullying Micro Cars – the fast-growing Sri Lankan motor car assembly company – faces a looming macro problem. At the heart of the trouble is a broken promise and a victim who declares himself as ‘hurt and let down’ by a company whose tag line is “Our National Pride”. In a shocking display of impunity, the company that is striving to make for itself a name as ‘Our National Pride”. more..

Military will counter Moon panel report

Dec 16 (Island) A confident Jayasuriya emphasized that the military was in the process of finalizing its response to the PoE’s allegations. The former Vanni Commander said that the UN report had contained a spate of erroneous information pertaining to the deployment of those fighting formations deployed on the Vanni east front. Sri Lanka is expected to present the report to the UN early next year. more..

Only selected veggies in plastic crates

Dec 16 (DN) “The govt has taken a policy decision to transport selected vegetables in plastic crates and there will be no change in this decision. The implementation has been postponed by one month and will be done with certain changes. President Mahinda Rajapaksa intervened within 24 hours and solved all matters related to the implementation of this policy”, Cabinet Spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Southern Harbour development project: New container terminal construction today

Dec 16 (DN) The construction of the first new container terminal under the Southern Harbour development project of the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) will commence today at the Colombo Harbour under President Mahinda Rajapaksa's patronage. "Container handling capacity will significantly increase with the construction of the new container terminal. The present annual container handling capacity of the Colombo Harbour is 4.5 million. more..

Examination Dept. asked to prepare Z score in three different ways

Dec 16 (Island) The Examination Department may be able to issue the much delayed results of the GCE (A/L) exam next Monday, Commissioner General of the Department of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe says. The UGC had requested the Examinations Department to submit results with Z score prepared separately on the basis of marks obtained by students who sat the exam under the new and old syllabuses and a common Z score for both categories. more..

St. Claire falls fade away

Dec 16 (DM) With the commencement of the filling of the Upper Kotmale reservoir last morning, the volume of water in the St. Claire waterfall which had won the hearts of many tourists and environmentalists began to diminish and was reduced to a trickle. Project director Shavindranath Fernando said that once the reservoir filled to a height of 80 metres, the waterfall would regain its former volume and appearance. more..

Cancer Hospital blamed for killing villagers

Dec 16 (Island) Waste containing radioactive particles released from the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama (Cancer Hospital) was responsible for cancers among the villagers living in its vicinity. Provincial Environment Minister Udaya Gammanpila said that of about 96 deaths that had occurred in in Godigamuwa area of Maharagama, where the hospital waste dump was situated during the last five years, 47 were due to cancer, more..

All set for Colombo night race 2011

Dec 16 (DM) All arrangements have been finalized to conduct the much spoken motor racing event the Colombo Night Races scheduled to be held today and tomorrow at the heart of the metropolis. The meet is jointly organized by the Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS) the governing body of motor racing Sri Lanka and the Federation of Motorcycle Sports in Sri Lanka (FSSL) along with the member racing clubs and Red Cherry Entertainment has more..

'Security Forces had not deliberately targeted civilians in the NFZs' - LLRC

Dec 16 (MoD) The final report of the LLRC was tabled in Parliament by Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva a short while ago. "In evaluating the Sri Lanka experience in the context of allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the Commission is satisfied that the military strategy that was adopted to secure the LTTE held areas was one that was carefully conceived, in which the protection of more..

Editorial: At what cost the 'greater good of the people?'

Dec 16 (DM) The Presidential intervention into the resolution of an issue directly affecting an already heavily burdened consumer is commendable. The entire episode of the intimidation of vegetable traders reeked corruption. The crux of the govts’ argument stands to little reason in a global scenario where any measure affecting the environment is shunned. To bring in laws actually promoting the wide and compulsory use of plastics in the manner envisaged are both more..

Sri Lanka stocks slide 0.8-pct

Dec 16 (LBO) Stocks sagged further Friday in a deepening slide that saw the main index dip below 5,900 points in thin turnover, brokers said. All Share Price Index fell 0.82 percent to 5,892.69, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.08 percent to close at 5,134.68. Turnover was a low 463 million rupees, one of the lowest in recent months. "The market remained dull and continued to descend with losses recorded in index heavy John Keells Holdings affecting the performance of more..

Contest to add files to Tamil Wikipedia gathers steam

Dec 16 (Hindu) The Tamil Wikimedia community has organised an international contest to get more photos, videos and audios related to Tamil, Tamilians and Tamil culture to the Tamil Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. The aim of the contest (themed “Eluthu mattum arivanru” or “Knowledge beyond text”) is “to increase the quality media content related to Tamil and Tamilians in Wikimedia projects, to attract non-text contributors such as more..