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Sri Lanka toughens penalties under new finance company law

Jan 1 (LBO) A new finance company law that is to be introduced in Sri Lanka will provide for tougher penalties against illegal deposit taking and give regulators wider powers to probe abuses, a statement said. The new law will repeal the existing No 78 finance company act of 1988 which was seen as inadequate to deal with abuses that occurred in recent years where unlicensed deposit taking institutions duped unsuspecting savers with high interest rates. more..

Sri Lanka gets US food aid for refugees

Jan 1 (LBO) The United States has given Sri Lanka 5.5 million US dollars worth of emergency food aid to support the return of refugees displaced by the ethnic war in the north, a statement said. The donation by the USAID consisted of 6,740 metric tonnes of wheat flour, pulses and vegetable oil. It will support the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to meet the essential food needs of 300,000 people displaced by the war which ended in May 2009. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 31.12.2010

Inmates' food "smuggled out"

Jan 1 (BBC) Food and other items given to the displaced people living in the government run refugee camps in northern Sri Lanka are being smuggled out in the night, say inmates. They say they receive less than stipulated monthly rations as a result. A local MP, Siva Sakthi Anandan, told BBC Tamil that he has received complaints regarding the misappropriation of aid. He says items such as school bags, caps, shoes meant for the use of orphaned students are smuggled out and more..

'Fear still prevails' in Jaffna

Jan 1 (BBC) Reports from the main city of northern Sri Lanka, Jaffna, say people there are living in fear because of a current series of killings, abductions and robberies. Among those killed by unidentified assailants within the past three weeks were a Hindu priest and an education official. The army, which has a heavy presence there, has expressed some concern while saying it is nothing really out of the ordinary. more..

Sri Lanka to scrap visa on arrival

Jan 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka has revived plans to scrap the visa on arrival for foreigners, except Maldivians and Singaporeans, and will launch an on-line visa application system, officials said Friday. The government was to discontinue granting landing permits from October 1, but the scheme was put on hold following objections from the tourism industry. However, the authorities will now implement the system soon, officials said. more..

Errant drivers on cam

Jan 1 (NN) Over 300 errant drivers have been captured by the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) camera security network activated in Colombo on Wednesday, the CCTV department said. According to the department most drivers were seen to have violated road rules including instances of passenger buses idling at bus stands in the City, obstructing traffic, jumping the red light, changing lanes in violation of the rules and driving on the pavement. more..

Sri Lanka’s inflation rate held near a one-year high in December

Jan 1 (BN) Sri Lanka’s inflation rate held near a one-year high in December, adding pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates. Consumer prices in the capital, Colombo, rose 6.9 percent from a year earlier after a 7 percent gain in November, the statistics department said on its website today. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said Dec. 14 it will take “appropriate” steps to check any “build up of demand pressures.” more..

Sri Lanka bourse performs Asia's best in 2010

Jan 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market edged up 0.3 per cent on Friday to end the year as Asia's best performer for second year in a row hinging on post-war economic optimism, while the rupee closed flat on thin volumes of trade. The island's main share index rose 21.74 points to 6,635.87. It has fallen 7.9 per cent since it hit an all-time high of 7,207.75 on Oct. 4 on year-end settlements, profit taking, and liquidity shortage. more..

New Year Wish List 2011

Jan 1 (LG) We hope that wishing for a happy new year in Sri Lanka is not just mere wishful thinking. We wish: 1. That Rizana Nafeek, facing a death sentence in Saudi Arabia, will be released as soon as possible. This wish can become true only if the Sri Lankan government makes all the diplomatic efforts to seek pardon from His Royal Highness, the King of Saudi Arabia, and the family of the deceased child. The coming months will be for her crucial months, deciding her fate either way. more..

Nallur Kanthaswamy temple

Jan 1 (LG) The article in the daily newspaper based in Colombo has suggests that the Nallur Kanthaswamy Temple was built by Senpaka Peruumal (corrupted as Sapu Mal Kumaraya in Sinhala) of Keralam descent, and an adopted son of Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte. (Sinhala name of Senpaka Poo is Sapu Mal) According to Chinese records, Parakrama Bahu was of Chola descent as much as his predecessor Bhuvaneka Bahu VI.. Kotte collapsed after the strong rule of Parakrama Bahu VI. more..

Taj Samudra trains Commandos in hospitality trade

Jan 1 (MoD) Eleven army commandos who successfully completed a three - months training on culinary and food & beverage trades conducted by Hotel Taj Samudra , Colombo, yesterday (Dec 30) received their certificates from Taj General Manager Mr. Rohit Khosla. The leading five-star hotel initiated the program on a request from Sri Lanka Army Commando regiment to add professionalism to their staff handling ceremonial functions. more..

Northern bound Yal Devi to reach Omanthai

Jan 1 (MoD) The Yal Devi train which is now plying between Colombo and Thandikulam via Vavuniya on the peace path to the North is prepared to reach Omanthai from next month. The extension of the rail track beyond Vavuniya and the rebuilding of stations are now in progress incurring a huge expenditure. Accordingly, to reach Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, 159 kilometres of the rail track had to be rebuilt from Vavuniya. It includes 16 railway stations, 12 sub stations and 85 bridges. more..

Jaffna marred with killings, abductions on New Year eve

Jan 1 (TN) Armed men who entered the house of a 28-year-old youth who had displaced from Vanni to Vadamaraadchi recently shot him causing serious injuries Friday night. The victim, Nadarasa Ketheeswaran, a worker at the post office in Point Pedro, succumbed to his injuries after being transferred from Manthikai hospital to Jaffna Teaching Hospital for further treatment. The shooting took place while the victim was residing with relatives in Kudaththanai East of more..

So close to Colombo..Deer roam free, but for how long?

Jan 1 (NF) Every animal has a right to live on this planet. But as man changes the environment around him to suit his needs, this has had an impact on the very survival of animals. This is why both humans and animals must abide by boundaries. This herd of spotted deer has been freely roaming around the suburbs of Colombo for several years. The reason we wont reveal the location is to ensure their safety. more..

Rahul Gandhi, the UN and US Express Concern regarding Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (DM) India and the US helped us fight our war on terror, through crucial political support and intelligence sharing. From mid 2006 to May 2009, Indian intelligence information was essential for our Navy to intercept and sink the LTTE resupply vessels, while political support and nod of ascent was necessary for all the weapons supplies we received from Israel and Pakistan, two significant US military aid recipients. more..

Ratnasiri Wickremanayake’s woes and those of ours

Jan 1 (DM) Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, one of the ten Senior Ministers appointed soon after President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed duties for his second term, had spoken out on the woes of his lot, the Senior Ministers. The other hapless former strongmen might have thanked him. He had said at a public meeting in Ingiriya on Monday that some ministers do not have a place to stay or an office to work in or a secretary and a staff to work with although it is more..

Reconciling Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (GV) Due to Sri Lanka’s geographically strategic location coupled with its natural and economic resources the absence of war will give us a chance to move in the direction of a vibrant South Asian economy based on a fiscal program concentrating on exports, tourism, self sufficiency and Post War infrastructural development. However, this cannot be achieved by one section of Sri Lankan citizens alone and more..

Happy Christmas & New Year Umbatai Mattai

Jan 1 (LG) A happy Christmas and a merry new year it will be for those in the magic circle who will be driven to plush hotels in their brand new ‘chariots’ bought recently at around Rs. 15 million or more – duty free. They will dance till dawn to eat kiribath and lunumiris and wash it down with champagne – Dom Perignon preferably. They are doing this for their country. (An Economics expert says: There was no financial liquidity and money was not flowing into the Treasury, more..

Six Sri Lankans for ICC dream ODI team

Jan 1 (LB) Six Sri Lankans: Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan are among nominated players to be voted to be in the ‘Greatest ODI Team Of All Time’. To mark 40 years of One Day International (ODI) cricket, the ICC announced the on-line poll for cricket fans to vote for their ODI dream team. “To mark the 40th anniversary of One-Day International cricket, more..

Colombo fails to provide relief to Batticaloa flood victims

Jan 1 (TN) Flood victims in Batticaloa have complained that they have not received proper relief assistance for the last four days, Batticaloa District Parliamentarian P.Selvarasa told media Thursday. All the fourteen DS divisions in the Batticaloa district are under flood water and the number of affected persons has risen to 335,000. Some of the victims have sought refuge in 57 welfare centres. more..

Editorial: Walking in the Light this New Year

Jan 1 (DM) Today we celebrate the dawn of a New Year. As the light of morning shines upon the nation it is important to take stock of the past year and look forward with hope towards the new one. Light and darkness are ancient themes used by the sages through the centuries to describe the good and the bad of life. On a day as significant as the first day of the calendar year it is imperative to shine a light on our lives and the events that are happening around us. more..

Editorial: Why despise 'Ceylon'?

Jan 1 (Island) The government has, in yet another outburst of frenzied patriotism, sought to rid the country of the vestiges of her colonial past by replacing the word, 'Ceylon' in the names of State institutions with 'Sri Lanka'. On the face of it, this move may seem long overdue as over six decades have elapsed since Independence. But, does this kind of name change serve any purpose? A State institution, by any other name, would remain as inefficient, more..

Sri Lanka toughens penalties under new finance company law

Jan 1 (LBO) A new finance company law that is to be introduced in Sri Lanka will provide for tougher penalties against illegal deposit taking and give regulators wider powers to probe abuses. The new law will repeal the existing No 78 finance company act of 1988 which was seen as inadequate to deal with abuses that occurred in recent years where unlicensed deposit taking institutions duped unsuspecting savers with more..

Parents worry loss of identity through mixed marriages

Jan 1 (UCAN) Tamil Catholic parents in Sri Lanka are concerned about the potential loss of customs and traditions when their children choose spouses of different nationalities and religions. Parents say they are worried about what will happen to their language, culture and history when their grandchildren arrive. Nicholas Saverimuththu and his wife from Jaffna are at loggerheads with their fourth son in France as he fights to marry a French girl. more..

Sex charge pastor not Catholic, says Church

Jan 1 (UCAN) A Christian pastor arrested on charges of sexually abusing displaced Tamil girls is not a Catholic as has been reported in the media, a Church spokesman says. “The Catholic Church in Mannar diocese has no connection with the sex abuse incident,” Mannar vicar general Father Victor Sosai said. “The pastor involved is a Hindu convert and belongs to a local sect,” he added, noting that evangelical churches are mushrooming in the region. more..

Govt halts sea plane project

Jan 1 (UCAN) Church people and fisherfolk in Sri Lanka have finally received some good news on the controversial sea plane project which they have been protesting against since October. The government will shift the sea plane project to a different location and invites suggestions for the alternative site, Minister Nimal Lanza announced at yesterday’s meeting with priests and fishermen representatives. more..

Captain tips Sri Lanka to win cricket World Cup

Jan 1 (IANS) Sri Lanka, who finished runners-up in the previous edition, have a good chance of winning the cricket World Cup for the second time, stylish batsman Mahela Jayawardene said. Jayawardene, who led Sri Lanka to the 2007 World Cup final in the West Indies, said the team's approach in the next edition will be to take it one match at a time. The World Cup kicks off from February 19 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. more..

'I will crack the egg mafia'

Jan 1 (NF) The Egg Mafia will be cracked and the government will import eggs until the price of an egg is brought down to 12 rupees, says minister Johnston Fernando. Addressing a media briefing in Colombo today, Johnston said that all 20 million eggs imported from India have been issued to the market. “Another five million eggs will arrive in the island on Monday. At present the price has gone down in the wholesale market by only 50 cents an egg, from Rs. 14.50 to Rs. 14. more..

Lanka seek 500,000 flu vaccins

Jan 1 (BBC) Sri Lankan health authorities say that they have requested 500,000 doses of swine flu injections from World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO is working onto send the requested doses to continue immunisation drive, Dr Paba Palihawadana, director of health ministry’s epidemiology unit said. An immunisation drive has been launched for high-risk groups, including pregnant women, health-care workers and those already suffering from chronic illnesses. more..

Gypsy pick pocket gangs rounded up

Jan 1 (Island) Forty pick pockets, including women, had been netted by the Maradana Police anti-pick pocket dragnet spread through the festive season. All of them were produced before Maligakande Magistrate G.L.Priyantha and remanded pending identification. Two anti-pick pocket squads had been deployed in the City since early December. The light fingered gentry and their female accomplices were using a novel modus operandi called ‘Navavadiya’, more..

Ministry issues National Guidelines on Dengue Fever Management

Jan 1 (Island) The ‘National Guidelines on Management of Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever in Adults and Children,’ were launched at the Epidemiology Unit on Thursday (Dec. 30). The spokesman for the Health Ministry said the guidelines paid special attention to recognizing symptoms and treating patients. He said a majority of patients waited till the last moment to seek medical attention from government hospitals. It was too late. more..

'Use KP’s money to grant public servants salary increase'

Jan 1 (Island) Public servants could be granted a two-year salary increase, if the government used the wealth of the LTTE’s former chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan, the UNP said. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime should stop making excuses for failing to grant the promised Rs. 2,500 salary hike to public sector employees and use KP’s money for the purpose. more..

'Stop importing eggs and we will reduce prices'

Jan 1 (DM) The cold war between the Ministry of Co-operatives and local egg traders that had started after the ministry decided to bring down eggs from India, allegedly due to a few ‘big’ traders who were said to have been dominating the egg trade jacking up the price of eggs, seemed to have subsided, with some traders requesting Trade Minister Johnston Fernando to stop importing eggs and promising to bring down the prices of locally produced eggs. more..

Lankan woman jailed for selling passport

Jan 1 (DM) A Lankan woman, who sold her passport and then reported it lost, was jailed for six months in Singapore after pleading guilty today. The woman, identified as R.S. Maddumage, 38, had sold her passport to another Sri Lankan woman along Serangoon Road for $600. Six days later on Wednesday, she was arrested when she went to report the loss of her passport to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). The court was not told how the ICA got wind of the sale. more..

National Anthem: From Namo Namo to Sri Lanka Matha

Jan 1 (DBS) A campaign is being conducted by majoritarian hawks to do away with the practice of singing the national anthem in Tamil. There are however indications that saner counsel is prevailing and that the current National anthem controversy may turn out to be a tempest in a tea cup. Controversy however is nothing new as far as the national anthem of Sri Lanka is concerned. A retrospective gaze into the evolution and growth of our national anthem shows that more..

Govt. returns Rs. 5.7bn to Distilleries for SLIC shares

Jan 1 (Island) The government has returned Rs. 5,715.9 million to a subsidiary of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC (DCSL) which was due for divesture of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd, a stock exchange filing said. DCSL in a statement to the Colombo Stock Exchange yesterday simply said the government has returned the Rs. 5,715,899,526 that was paid by DCSL subsidiary Milford Holdings Pvt. Ltd to purchase 510,178,476 shares of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation. more..

Sales volume soars at newly opened fisheries outlets

Jan 1 (Island) The recently opened Fisheries Corporation outlets had a turnover of around Rs.200,000 to Rs. 400,000 each daily, and the fish prices have been reduced by 23 per cent, says Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senartne. The Minister said when he assumed duties fish prices were very expensive and ordinary people could not afford to buy fish. But since the opening of Fisheries Corporation outlets fish magnates who monopolized the industry had lowered the prices, more..

Sri Lanka to rehabilitate beggars

Jan 1 (Xinhua) Measures are in progress to curb the beggar population in Sri Lanka by rehabilitating them to be worthy citizens, a Sri Lankan government minister said. Minister Filix Perera said a survey would be carried out soon to identify the number of beggars in the country and they will be directed to an specially designed rehabilitation center. The ministry has appointed a committee to carry out the survey which includes ministry officials as well, more..

Gajaman Nona’s house to be a museum

Jan 1 (Island) The Department of Archaeology yesterday acquired a house in Matara, used by Gajaman Nona, the legendary poetess. It was declared a place of archaeological importance. The department expects to renovate the house and stablish a museum and an information centre dedicated to the poetess. The regional office of the Department would also be set up at this location, Southern Province Assistant Director of the Department Vasanthi Alahakoon told The Island. more..