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Wikileaks: US warning on SL–Iran relations

Feb 2 (DM) Wikileaks today revealed a diplomatic warning given by the United States to Sri Lanka over its close relations with Iran. The cables reveal conversations between the US embassy officials and Central Bank governor Ajith Nivad Cabraal and the then foreign secretary Palitha Kohona. The Ambassador and DCM told the Governor of the Central Bank and the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively, that Sri Lanka should be cautious about deepening its trade relationship with Iran, more..

Books and boycotts in Galle

Feb 3 (Dawn) IN the hierarchy of protests, the easiest one is the boycott: it requires you to do nothing at all, and leaves you with an easy conscience. All you need to do is not go somewhere, or refuse to buy something. Thus, the appeal to boycott the fifth Galle Literary Festival (January 27-30) launched by the Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) was an easy one for a few writers to fall into line with. The logic underlying this appeal – signed by some very respected writers, more..

Sri Lanka to suspend migration to Egypt

Feb 3 (BBC) Over two thousand Sri Lankans living in Cairo are not adversely affected by the present political turmoil say the authorities. The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) says it is trying to ensure safe passage for Sri Lankan expatriates in Egypt. "We are trying to secure a safe return for the expatriates, and the ministry has decided to stop Sri Lankans migrating to Egypt given its current unrest," SLFEB additional general manager N.K. Ruhunage had told more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 02.02.2011

Four dead, more affected in fresh floods

Feb 3 (NN) Four people have been killed and over 3000 displaced in fresh floods and landslides throughout the island, the Disaster Management Center said this evening. Of those killed two were from Ampara, one from Vavuniya and one from Badulla. The dead include a child who drowned on Monday, the Disaster Management Center said. Meanwhile an emergency disaster situation has been declared in the Matale district owing to the heavy rain, officials in the area were quoted as saying. more..

Pak-Sri Lanka strategic partnership to benefit both countries

Feb 3 (APP) Air Chief Marshall Jayalath Weerakkody, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner on Wednesday said that the strategic partnership with Pakistan would benefit mutual advantage of both the nations.In a meeting with Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Speaker National Assembly in Parliament House on Wednesday he said that Sri Lankan government wants to take Pak-Sri Lankan relationship to “new heights”, encompassing a multi-sectoral engagement. more..

Teams hope for respite from rain

Feb 3 (CI) The spectre of rain looms large on the ongoing ODI series even though it had been rescheduled to the new year to avoid exactly that. The spate of inconclusive contests continued with the first ODI being abandoned due to rain at the SSC but not without the visitors again making a strong impression. West Indies had not played an ODI since the home series against South Africa in May and June last year but two of their players, more..

'Rising oil prices Sri Lanka's only economic risk'

Feb 3 (Reuters) Rising oil prices present the only threat to Sri Lanka's targeted economic growth of 8.5 percent this year, but inflation should remain steady between 4 percent and 6 percent, the central bank said on Wednesday. The Indian Ocean nation's $50 billion economy rebounded sharply in 2010, growing an estimated 8.0 percent with economic life blooming after the end of a three-decade separatist war in May 2009. more..

Registration for rice mill owners compulsory

Feb 3 (DM) For the first time in country registration with the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) will be made compulsory for all rice mill owners, Minister of Trade Johnston Fernando said. “Many of the rice mill owners create an artificial shortage, hoarding buffer stocks to make unreasonable profits,” Minister Fernando said. According to him the rice mill owners buy at the lowest prices from the farmers and they hoard these stocks with the intention of making super natural profits. more..

Clinton backs 'just, democratic' Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (AFP) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has voiced hope for a "just and democratic" Sri Lanka as she offered congratulations ahead of the war-torn island's Independence Day on Friday. Clinton said in a statement on Wednesday that the United States and Sri Lanka have historically enjoyed "a strong relationship based on mutual interests and a shared commitment to the ideals of democratic governance." more..

Samurai sword killer flees hospital

Feb 3 (TL) Police are searching for a psychiatric patient who killed a woman in a church with a samurai sword and has subsequently run away during an excursion from a Baden-Württemberg hospital, media reported Wednesday. Ranjithakumar Vallipuram, now 30, killed one woman and seriously injured three other worshippers in 2005 during a rampage with a samurai sword and a knife at the Christ Church Zuffenhausen, on the northern outskirts of Stuttgart. more..

Chilaw tense again

Feb 3 (NN) A tense situation developed in Chilaw once again today over a rift between traders at the Chilaw fish market and a ransom gang operating in the area. Police said that the gang had abducted one trader last night and assaulted him before he was set free. The police said that four suspects including an army deserter were arrested over the incident this afternoon while a shotgun was also recovered. Mid last month a clash had erupted between fishermen at more..

It’s the right time to go

Feb 3 (LM) Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan is eyeing a fairy-tale finish to his magnificent career at this month’s One Day World Cup. The wizard off-spinner announced in January that the 10th edition of the quadrennial competition, to be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from 19 February, would mark his final international appearance. Muralitharan, 39, is the highest wicket taker in Tests and One Day cricket and played a key role in more..

Police vs. Police

Feb 3 (LG) Mr. P G W G Jayarathna,a Police Constable (PC), was tortured by an Inspector of Police which resulted in the perforation of his ear drum. PC Jayarathna was assaulted by Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Alwis the OIC of Zone-14 of Vavuniyava District on 2 May 2009. Though the victim officer complained to all higher authorities of the police department, IP Nishantha was promoted to the position of Assistant to the Senior DIG of Sabaragamuwa and Uva. more..

Lessons to learn from the court martial judgments

Feb 3 (LG) Sri Lanka’s rich and middle classes are coming to a rude awakening about the nature of the 1978 Constitution and the role of courts under this constitution. For decades, constitutional “experts” claimed that under this constitution the separation of powers principle is recognized, despite the fact that the executive president had placed himself outside the jurisdiction of courts. That the separation of powers and the independence of judiciary were not more..

Proper Solution to Colombo floods

Feb 3 (MoD) Colombo city is under water when there is a heavy rain. We have experienced this many times during the past few years. The Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LRDC) has started a new project to avoid the situation completely. Under this project 10 new tanks are built in and around Colombo to absorb the flood water. The project which consists with two phases, will cost over Rs 400 million. more..

Reply: Separation of Powers

Feb 3 (LG) I refer to your article published in today’s Sri Lanka Guardian. I am particularly interested in the values of Separation of Powers between the Executive Government and the Judiciary. You state ‘The rich and sections of the middle class who supported the 1978 Constitution are now learning that they cannot have their cake and eat it too. It is either executive presidency or judicial independence, but not both.” To me, Separation of Powers is needed between more..

What really happened when President Rajapaksa went to the USA?

Feb 3 (TC) Sri Lanka (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sudden tour of the United States was shrouded in mystery. Though speculations were rife, the aims and objectives of the tour are still a secret. The secrecy notwithstanding, the outcome of it was the US based pro Tamil Tiger activist group ‘Tamils against genocide’ filing a lawsuit against Mahinda for war crime charges. In 2009 October, when the former chief of defense staff of SL, Sarath Fonseka visited the US and more..

'Some NGOs use events like GLF to spoil country’s image'

Feb 3 (LB) It’s a fact that there is a diaspora that is against us and there are a few other groups that manipulate the diaspora for their advantage. These people are against the development of the country and are worried that if things return to normal, they would lose various economic benefits that they are enjoying, Deputy Minister for External Affairs Neomal Perera said in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS. more..

Rajapaksa Presidency has distressing similarities with early days of Ben ALi and Mubarak regimes

Feb 3 (TC) President Ben Ali of Tunisia’s thirty year rule ended late last month, when popular unrest and street protests in that once calm and seemingly idyllic country erupted across the country and brought an unforeseen and abrupt end to a long rule that had provided stability and initially rising prosperity to Tunisia. However the social compact in Tunisia was seemingly to trade rising economic growth for political freedoms and more..

Recipe for revolution

Feb 3 (SL) Tunisia is proof that revolutions can happen. Egypt is proof that they can spread. Throughout the Arab world, aging dictatorships are being challenged by young people simply marching in the streets. Shocking to many observers, they seem to be succeeding. The question is how, and why. It takes young men to fight wars, and it also takes young people to stage revolutions. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Sri Lanka had a mass of young people that launched not one but multiple insurrections. more..

Viru Diyani to build apparel capacity

Feb 3 (FT) In a bid to expand its capacity, the apparel industry is launching a new image building campaign at the cost of Rs. 55 million to attract more employees and create awareness of economic contribution. The campaign, titled ‘Viru Diyani,’ will be launched on Independence Day and will continue for a full year. During that time a road show will kick off from Buttala, in the Moneragala District, at ‘Dayata Kirula,’ more..

Editorial: When they can’t beat him …

Feb 3 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a brief interaction with the press on the sidelines of a ceremony to unveil the Hambantota Commonwealth Games 2018 bid the other day at Temple Trees, scotched off rumours about his health. Asked why he had not kept the country informed of his movements, he said he had been wary of giving Tiger backers in the US advance notice of his visit! He also indicated that he was as healthy as a horse—glad tidings for more..

Editorial: Act now

Feb 3 (DM) Earth is getting hotter, literarily. And in the process it is getting colder and colder with floods and storm everywhere across the globe. The climate change and global warming are no longer a future event removed from our day-to-day lives anymore. The inconvenient truth is that it is here, now and to stay. The second attack of floods and rain has come even before the distribution of the relief measures for the previous floods have come to an end. more..

Narambamu showcases rich diversity

Feb 3 (SO) They say a picture speaks a thousand words. A good photograph is able to accurately portray a person's sorrow, happiness, enthusiasm, fear, shame and other feelings. Photographs can capture not only such emotions, but also rare occurrences, historical events and important locations of scenic beauty. This makes the camera unique and no amount of developments in the area of electronics can replace photography. more..

Tax eaters, taxpayers and wealth creators

Feb 3 (FT) In any open, free economy operating within a democratic political framework, three fundamental types of economic human beings can be discerned, at work and play, defined and identified. They are tax eaters, taxpayers and wealth creators. These are not exclusive categories, a tax eater also may pay some taxes, and a wealth creator will pay some taxes, and also eat some taxes, in the guise of subsidies provided to his enterprise, for example. more..

Hambantota port project tender and violating NPA guidelines

Feb 3 (SL) When the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) gives contracts to the Chinese without calling for tenders, it goes against the accepted norms of transparency and good governance. By withholding the use of National Procurement Agency (NPA) Guidelines recommended by President Rajapaksa on January 27, 2006, the government creates a high level of corruption by procuring these multi million dollar “publicly funded” contracts without proper tender procedures. more..

Kaffirs record their debut album

Feb 3 (ST) The distinct music of the ‘Kaffirs’, the descendants of the African origin, who were brought to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese in the 1500s is slowly gaining popularity in the country through exposure they have gained by public performances in Colombo as well as at hugely attended events such as the ‘Deyata Kirula’ annual exhibition during the past years. Now for the first time, their unique blend of music sung in a language which is more..

Sri Lanka Union Bank in IPO

Feb 3 (LBO) The Colombo Stock Exchange has approved a public share offer by Sri Lanka's Union Bank to raise 375 million rupees by issuing 15 million ordinary shares at 25 rupees each, a statement said. CSE has approved in principal the application for listing on the main board of the bourse. The IPO opens on February 24 with the prospectus available on February 10. In December 2010, a Union Bank rights issue of 10 million shares at 25 rupees each to existing shareholders more..

27 universities at Australian Education Excellence Showcase

Feb 3 (Island) The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) with the support of Australian High Commission and partners is scheduled to stage the "Australian Education Excellence Showcase 2011" in Colombo on March 1 to 2, at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel. Twenty seven Australian universities and vocational institutions will be participating, to showcase education excellence to Sri Lankan students wishing to pursue further education in Australia, more..

Disciplinary action against errant school principals

Feb 3 (NF) Disciplinary action will be taken against school principals who obtain or accept money or any other such aid when admitting children into Grade One, against the circulars released by the secretary to the ministry of education, says Prassana Ranatunga, Chief Minister of the WP. He notes that constant complaints relating to the breach of the said circulars by school principals are received by the provincial ministry of education. more..

MEP snubs PR system

Feb 3 (DN) The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) vehemently oppose the present Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system introduced by JR Jayewardene as it doesn't produce a genuine representation of people's will, said Party Leader Water Dinesh Gunawardena addressing the 20th national convention. It has contributed towards degrading of the franchise-the sovereignty of the people. He called for an immediate change of the present electoral system, and more..

Time for university administration to assert itself

Feb 3 (DN) In the past 50 years the university administration was in students' hands. They made every decision in relation to the education system, discipline and changes in higher education. This is the time to get these back under the university administration, Minister S B Dissanayake said. Certain politicians had made decisions without thinking about the university administration. Because of these decisions certain lecturers faced many problems and more..

Protecting underaged children from abuse

Feb 3 (SO) Parents should focus more attention on their underage children when keeping them home alone or when sending them to schools in private vehicles without the care of responsible elders, National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake said. She said the NCPA receives about 20 child abuse cases from many parts of the country everyday and majority child abuse takes place due to the negligence of parents. more..

SF’s campaign manager refused bail

Feb 3 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Mrs Deepali Wijesundera on Wednesday rejected bail application for Captain Senaka Haripriya Silva remanded on a charge of employing army deserters during the last presidential election campaign. It was the second bail application submitted by Defence Counsel Saliya Peiris on behalf of the accused, who had functioned as the Opposition presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s coordinating officer during the campaign. more..

‘Overtime syndicate controlling Postal Dept. O/T payments’

Feb 3 (Island) The Postal Department is unable to break the grip of an overtime syndicate which operates at crucial points in the postal system. Those assigned the task of sealing and opening mail bags are the main players in the overtime syndicate as they manipulate the procedures to earn overtime for themselves. Overtime payments alone has cost the Department Rs. 650 million a year, with Rs. 12 million being paid as over time in the Central Mail Exchange alone. more..

Boston Lanka News: Feb. 3, 2011

Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia joins SLAF for flood relief

Feb 3 (MoD) A consignment of aid worth Rs. 2.25 million was handed over by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation to Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Air Force Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke on 31 January, 2011. Flash floods which occurred recently severely affected several parts of the island, displacing over a million civilians. Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mr. Udayanga Weeratunga on the direction of more..

Sabaragamuwa province for tie-up with Kerala Agricultural University

Feb 3 (Hindu) Sabaragamuwa, one of Sri Lanka's nine provinces, plans to collaborate with the Kerala Agricultural University in transfer of technology and farming knowledge. Sabaragamuwa Deputy Chief Secretary Sujatha C. Pallethenna told The Hindu that details of the possible tie-up would be discussed in April when Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister were expected to visit Kerala. She is leading a 13-member delegation that has visited different parts of more..

No minimum wage structure yet for migrant Lankan workers

Feb 3 (Gulf) The Sri Lanka government has not taken any firm decision on fixing a minimum wage limit for its workers in the UAE, according to the newly-appointed chief of Sri Lankan mission in Dubai. However, a set of standards have been formulated by the authorities which stipulate unskilled workers and domestic helpers to take up jobs if they are offered a minimum Dhs850 to work in the UAE or equal remuneration in other Gulf countries. more..