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Fitch to be fixed?

Dec 30 (FT) Rating agency Fitch is under fire for some of its judgments and the latest to join the chorus is Hayleys Plc. Seemingly disturbed by the downgrade from AA- to A+ with a negative outlook by Fitch, Hayleys has fired a letter expressing its reservations. The highly-respected diversified blue chip is said to be perturbed by the lack of transparency on the part of Fitch in its rating rationale and the alleged failure to reveal more..

Treasury Secy. calls for flexible exchange rate

Dec 30 (Island) Continuing to defy the Central Bank’s policy direction, Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera has said the country needs a flexible exchange rate regime and tighter monetary policy to curb cheap imports that are putting pressure on the country’s balance of payments. Reuters newswire services reported these comments yesterday which indicated the rift between the Treasury and the Central Bank on macroeconomic policy. Last week, more..

Mid-80s proposal was for EPF to be independent of the Central Bank

Dec 30 (ST) The current dispute over the use of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) to invest in the Colombo stock market would never have been taken place if a proposal on EPF investments was approved in the mid-1980s. According to retired Treasury officials, when Ronnie de Mel was Finance Minister and Dr. W.M. Tillekeratne, Treasury Secretary, there was a proposal by the Treasury to allocate 5 % of the EPF funds into stocks to get more..

A win to savour for Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (CI) The most endearing moment of Sri Lanka's historic first win in South Africa will be one that took place seconds after Rangana Herath was asked his first question in the post-match press conference. He took nine wickets to earn the man of the match award and spun Sri Lanka to their first Test victory since Muttiah Muralitharan retired 16 months ago. The question was how he felt about his role in Sri Lanka's victory. more..

TCS should stop criticizing TNA – DPF

Dec 30 (Island) The group known as the Tamil Civil Society (TCS), a team of Tamil intellectuals, must stop criticizing the TNA, which has been accepted by the international community, to continue discussions with the government to find a just political solution to the problems facing the Tamil community, Secretary General of the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) Dr. Kumar Guruparan said. He said that the voters of the Northern and the Eastern Provinces confirmed that the more..

HRC wants death sentence abolished

Dec 30 (Island) The Human Rights Commission (HRC) intends to propose to the government that the death penalty be abolished and a prison sentence imposed in its stead. The HRC is in the process of collecting data on prisoners in death row. "Nearly 70 per cent of the data collection process is completed," Secretary of the HRC Nimal Punchihewa said. The commission plans to present its recommendations to the government early next year. However, Secretary to the Ministry of more..

Luxury bus service on Southern Expressway

Dec 30 (DN) Arrangements have been put in place to commence a luxury bus service on the Southern Expressway from the first week of January next year. Four 48 seater buses from the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the National Transport Commission will be provided during the initial stage. Buses will ply from Kottawa to Galle and Galle to Kottawa. SLTB chairman M D Bandusena said that buses of high standard had been purchased by the SLTB from Lanka Ashok Leyland more..

Eastern farmers complain of cattle killings

Dec 30 (BBC) Dairy farmers in Vellaweli in the Amparai - Batticaloa district border complain of harassment to their livelyhood. The farmers say that people in the bordering villagers have grabbed some of their graze lands for cultivation. "As a result, when cattle reach the areas which used to be graze land, the villagers catch them and ask for ransom money to release them", farmer Dharmalingam Vilvaerrajah said. According to farmers, these villagers have cultivated more..

Petition filed calling Northern Commander in court

Dec 30 (BBC) The Appeal Court of Sri Lanka has accepted a petition filed by the parents of two activists of 'Jana Aragalaya '(People's Struggle), Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan. The parents of the two activists, in their petition, have petetioned to the appeal court to order the army commander in Jaffna to produce the two activists before the court. The court having accepted the petition ordered court registrar to fix dates for public hearing. more..

Stand for justice

Dec 30 (FT) The results of repeatedly ignoring law and order by allowing politicians to commit wrongful acts in an environment of impunity has finally come home to roost. Unfortunately, it is the tourism industry that will suffer the most from this. After surviving three decades of conflict, where the industry was all but wiped out, it deservedly became one of the first sectors to rebound into profits after the end of the war. The Govt was quick to get into the act and more..

A-L results show 142,000 eligible for university

Dec 30 (DN) Of the 239,624 students who sat the A/L Exam 142,000 are eligible to enter universities. The examination was held under two curriculums new and old. 203,823 school candidates and 35,801 private candidates numbering 239,624 sat for the examination. Of this total of 239,624 students 142,000 have got through all three subjects while 23,233 have failed all three subjects. Accordingly, the pass rate of all three subjects is 60 percent. more..

Cyclone ‘Thane’ moves away

Dec 30 (DN) The cyclonic storm Thane had moved away from Sri Lanka. it would most probably enter the Indian east coast today, meteorologist D A Jayasingharachchi said. He said that the cyclone over the Bay of Bengal was located about 350 kms Northeast of Jaffna by noon yesterday. It was about 300 kms from Chennai and was moving with an average speed of about 15 to 20 km per hour. He observed that it was likely to move westwards from its eye towards the Indian east coast. more..

Connections | December 26, 2011

St. Petersburg IUSF not authorised to confer degrees

Dec 30 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Moscow says that Russian authorities have informed it that the International University of Fundamental Studies (IUFS) at St. Petersburg, Russia, does not have the authority to confer academic degrees or academic ranks. Russian authorities have also informed that the degrees of M.Sc, Ph.D, D.Sc, Grand Ph.D etc., awarded by the IUFS of St. Petersburg, are not included in the Joint Registry of Academic Degrees and titles approved more..

Fish trader found dead after being abducted

Dec 30 (DM) A fish trader was found dead last night in Thotalanga after he was abducted by an unknown group in Modara on Wednesday, the police said. His body was found at around 8.30pm in an area close to the Thotalanga town by the residents of the area. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that the victim was abducted when he was driving his trishaw. He was identified as Rajendran Muralitharan (36). The suspects had abducted him at S.B. Fernando Mawatha in Modara. more..

Minuwangoda UPFA urban councillor found dead

Dec 30 (DM) The body of a Minuwangoda UPFA urban councillor, Dinesh Chandrasiri Silva was found under a bridge in the Diyagampola area in Kotadeniyawa last night. According to the police his death remains mysterious. Police have received information that his killing was planned and his body was placed under the bridge after killing him at another place in the area to cover up for it as being a death caused due to an accident. more..

Sri Lanka shippers likely to see low freight rates

Dec 30 (LBO) Stiff competition among major container shipping lines that has cut freight rates is likely to continue next year, helping Sri Lankan shippers facing a slowdown in demand in key markets, trade officials said. The rate war on the Asia-Europe trades that has badly hit shipping lines this year could worsen in 2012 with a flood of new tonnage expected, according to a new report by industry analyst Alphaliner. New capacity sharing deals struck between major lines and more..

Sirisena threatens to sack guilty parties

Dec 30 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena has warned officials of the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) and the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) that he would send those responsible for irregularities home following a dilemma over surgical gloves. The Spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that hospitals had been faced with a lack of surgical gloves during the year as the MSD and SPC claimed they "forgot to call for tenders for the consignment for 2011" more..

'Bill will be shown to Wimal'

Dec 30 (CT) The draft Higher Education Quality Assurance Accreditation and Quality Framework bill will definitely be shown to Minister Wimal Weerawansa before it is presented to the Parliament and the Cabinet, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He also strongly agreed that the bill should first be presented to UPFA members and its affiliated parties before it is presented to the Parliament and that refusing to do so is by all means unacceptable. more..

'Midcap' stock index revised

Dec 30 (LBO) The Merchant Bank has revised its MBSL Midcap Index which measures the price movements of medium size listed companies, replacing 12 stocks with new companies for the year 2012. The additions are Asian Alliance Finance, Seylan Bank, Singer Finance, Union Bank, HVA Foods, Expo Lanka Holdings, Richard Pieris and Company, Browns Investments, The Lanka Hospital Corporation, Nawaloka Hospital, PC House, Environmental Resources Investments, Ceylon Grain Elevators and more..

Man of Pakistani origin makes waves as Tamil poet

Dec 30 (Dawn) Abdul Karim Abdul Razak is an oddity. This Urdu-speaking Memon Muslim from what is now Pakistan, is a leading light in Tamil literary circles in Sri Lanka as a poet and writer! Tall and fair with a stubble and betel stained teeth, Razak is every inch a Memon, who no one would associate with Tamil poetry at first glance. But he has managed to break into a literary circle which has been the close preserve of ethnic Tamils and indigenous Sri Lankan Muslims whose more..

Electricity tariff hike depends on Treasury response

Dec 30 (Island) The Public Utility Commission of Sri Lanka will submit, by January 01, its proposals regarding the increase of electricity tariffs. ‘The Island’ learns that the Commission’s Chairman Dr. Jayatissa de Costa and the committee members are awaiting the written response of the Treasury regarding its readiness to bear any loss incurred by the Ceylon Electricity Board as a result of maintaining current tariff rates. more..

Sri Lankan found dead in Chennai-bound train

Dec 30 (IANS) A Sri Lankan national was Thursday found dead in a Chennai-bound train at a Bhopal railway station, officials said Thursday. Varnakula Fernando boarded the Tamil Nadu Express at Mathura and was travelling in a sleeper coach. 'We found Fernando dead inside the train. There were no marks on his body of being hit or attacked,' officer in-charge of the Government Railway Police at Bhopal station Kailash Chander said.

More information unearthed in investigations into the murder of the Britisher

Dec 30 (LT) The police officers carrying out investigations regarding the murder of the British national committed at a tourist resort at Tangalle have come across details regarding a ransom clique that has close connections with the govt. A heap of information has been unearthed regarding many individuals connected with the govt who have food and liquor from hotels in the area using their political might not to pay for what they consume and also collect ransom. more..

Presidential Comm. to probe GCE (A/L) results mess up

Dec 30 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa would appoint a committee to probe the District ranking mess up of the GCE (A/L) exam results 2011, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He said that the committee would include three university Vice Chancellors and a retired judge. The proposed committee would also make recommendations to amend the Examinations Act of 1968, he said. "There are several things in the existing Act that need to be amended," more..

‘A/L results fiasco, a deliberate ‘planned game’ by govt.’

Dec 30 (SM) NFF politburo member Piyasiri Wijenayake levels the finger at the government for the muddle up in the GCE Advanced Level examination results, describing it as a deliberate ‘planned game’ intended against the state-run universities. The ultimate aim of this conspiracy is to press for the establishment of private universities in the country, he told the media at a media briefing at the NFF headquarters in Battaramulla yesterday (Dec. 29). more..

TNA call for debate regarding A/L results

Dec 30 (DM) The TNA today called for an immediate parliament debate regarding the current status of the A/L results. TNA MP Suresh Premachandra said that the representative have to be appraised immediately about the current situation. “The government again showed its incompetence in not being able to give in proper results to the students of this country. This isn’t the first time syllabuses have been changed but we never encountered a problem such as this. more..

Opposition to 'Private University Bill' gathers momentum

Dec 30 (CT) The JVP and the JHU joined the NFF in vehemently opposing the Private University Bill (PUB), scheduled to be presented in Parliament shortly. However, the UNP have extended its support to the Bill. Earlier, NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa said a strong letter of warning to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, stating that he would be force to take an independent decision if the Bill is implemented. more..

President vows to develop Kandy into beauty spot

Dec 30 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya that he was interested in the development of the Sacred City of Kandy and would make it an attractive beauty spot for the foreign tourists and local residents. President Rajapaksa told the prelates that the environs of the Kandy Lake needed a thorough clean up and the city streets needed renovation to allow a free flow of vehicular traffic. more..

Court rejects JVP dissidents’ petition

Dec 30 (AD) The Colombo District Court today rejected a petition filed by JVP dissidents seeking an injunction order preventing holding of the JVP convention on January 1 in Hambantota. The complaint had been made by by MP Ajith Kumara and G. Kularatne of the Movement for People’s Struggle who claim that holding the convention is against the law and that it has not received the approval of the JVP Central Working Committee. more..

Sri Lanka expects US$850mn from tourism in 2011

Dec 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka expects to earn 850 million US dollars from tourists in 2011 with annual arrivals expected to reach 830,000 an increase of 26 percent from a year earlier and the industry targeted a billion dollars next year, officials said. Deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abeywardene said by December 23, 819,500 tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka, higher than a 750,000 annual target for the year. more..

Cairn oil exploration most successful op in recent times

Dec 30 (DN) The Sri Lankan oil exploration process undertaken by Cairn Lanka is one of the most successful operations in recent times in the region. Sri Lanka’s dream of its own hydrocarbon reserves became true after the back to back discovery of natural gas in two wells in the Mannar basin by Cairn Lanka. Cairn Lanka is a 100 percent subsidiary of Asia’s fastest growing E&P Company. more..

UNP prepares combined opposition assault on govt.

Dec 30 (Island) The UNP, reeling under a simmering leadership dispute is now seeking support of trade unions affiliated to the JVP to push for a 45 per cent salary increase for employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). Trade unions allied to major political parties, including the SLFP would more..

Union wants nurses screened for cancer

Dec 30 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) called for cancer screening of nurses serving at the Maharagama Cancer Institute (MCI) and other cancer units established in several Teaching hospitals. GNOA president Saman Ratnapriya, in a letter to Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, said that the nurses serving at the MCI as well as those serving in the Cancer Units of of Karapitiya, Kandy, Badulla, Anuradhapura and Jaffna too were more..

Dilshan acclaims Sri Lanka's historic triumph

Dec 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka captain Tillekeratne Dilshan acclaimed "one of the great wins" after his side completed an historic 208-run victory over South Africa on the fourth day of the second Test at Kingsmead on Thursday. There were wild scenes of celebration on the pitch when Rangana Herath bowled Marchant de Lange in fading light with only nine balls remaining in the day. The team reserves and management ran on to the field to join their triumphant teammates. more..

No revision of A/L results

Dec 30 (DM) The Education Ministry said yesterday it would not review the controversial GCE A/L results despite requests and protests from various quarters. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said President Mahinda Rajapaksa was expected to appoint a fivemember committee comprising a Supreme Court Judge, three Vice Chancellors and the Attorney General to look into the blunder by the Examinations Department when preparing the district rankings. more..

‘Devolve police, land powers or scrap 13 A’

Dec 30 (Island) The UNP yesterday challenged the UPFA to abolish the 13th Amendment to the Constitution if the SLFP-led coalition felt it couldn’t be fully implemented without jeopardizing security of the State. The main opposition party said the government shouldn’t expect the TNA to drop its just demand for police and land powers in line with the Constitution. "There is no point in further discussing the issue with the TNA or any other political party. more..

Editorial: To make the world a better place

Dec 30 (DM) The year ending tomorrow has seen many a struggle of humanity, to make this world a better place to live in. Indeed, it seems embedded in the human psyche to want liberation and freedom, from oppression and bondage. A battle for freedom from corrupt dictatorial rule was seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, other Middle Eastern countries and even Russia and Wall Street. However, in some of these countries it seems to be futile and a meaningless exercise, amid more..

Stocks close down 0.3-pct

Dec 30 (LBO) Stocks closed lower Friday for the second straight day, ending a four-day rally with trades in a bank in which foreigners have been selling out propping up turnover, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.25 percent to 6,074.42, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.64 percent to 5,229.16. Turnover was 526 million rupees. Commercial Bank once again topped the day's turnover with 940,200 shares traded and closing at 100 rupees, up 10 cents. more..

'Govt. behind disciplinary inquiry against Dayasiri'

Dec 30 (SM) Deputy leader of the UNP Sajith Premadasa says there is a reasonable doubt as to whether the disciplinary inquiry against party MP Dayasiri Jayasekara has been ordered at the instigation of the govt. In a statement, Mr. Premadasa says he will not allow anyone to destroy the political career of a young MP who is in the forefront of the anti-govt struggle. Also, no allowances will be made to obliterate party activists by a UNP working committee more..