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Sri Lanka denies firing at Indian fishermen

Jan 14 (HT) Sri Lanka flatly denied that its navy had fired at on three Indian fishermen at sea near the Tamil Nadu coast, leading to the death of one on Wednesday evening. But the swiftness with which the High Commission of India in Colombo took the matter up with the Lankan ministry of external affairs forced the authorities in Colombo to refer the matter to defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Sri Lankan naval chief's office for further clarity. more..

Ancient safe empty

Jan 14 (NN) A 106-year-old safe found in an old building at the Colombo National Hospital premises during a cleaning up operation in November last year was opened today by the authorities on the instructions of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena but it was found to be empty. National hospital director Dr. Hector Weerasinghe told News that only one safe was open today and the remaining two will be open on the instructions of the Minister by engineers soon. more..

Sri Lanka deploys troops for flood relief operations

Jan 14 (CNN) Thousands of Sri Lankan troops have launched a massive operation to rescue nearly a million people affected by floods in the central, north and eastern provinces. The flooding has killed at least 13 people. More than 28,000 troops, backed by transport helicopters and navy boats, are rescuing flood victims and delivering food. It is the biggest troops operation since the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels more..

Motion on Athaullah

Jan 14 (NN) The United National Party handed over a no confidence motion against Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister A.L.M. Athaullah over his failure to hold local council elections in all the districts. UNP MP John Amaratunga said that the no confidence motion was handed over to parliament today calling for action against the government minister who had recently decided to postpone holding elections in areas where the World Cup will be held. more..

Sri Lanka can loosen monetary policy amid fiscal tightening: economist

Jan 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka could loosen monetary policy if it is balanced by tightening fiscal policy to manage inflation, a senior World Bank economist said South Asian nations struggled with large deficits and high inflation from past loose policy. "Aggregate demand can be sustained by tightening fiscal policy and loosening monetary policy," World Bank senior economist Andrew Burns said. Sri Lanka budget deficit is expected to have fallen to 8.0 percent of more..

Sri Lanka prepares for flood-borne diseases

Jan 14 (AP) Sri Lanka is hospitalizing pregnant women and young children to shield them from waterborne diseases in districts where floods have brought sewage into the streets, a health official said Thursday. Days of heavy rain have triggered widespread floods and mudslides, mainly in the island's Eastern Province. Five more deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the toll to 23, Pradeep Kodippili of the Disaster Management Center said. more..

Govt.: Over Rs. 130Mn spent on flood relief

Jan 14 (SL) The government has today (13) said Rs. 138 million has been spent to provide relief to the persons affected by heavy rains and floods. Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told a meeting in Ampara this morning that the government was doing everything possible to provide relief to the persons affected by floods. He has added that the current situation in the country is second only to the tsunami devastation faced by the country in 2004. more..

Sri Lanka flood death toll rises to 23, crop risk grows

Jan 14 (Reuters) The death toll from flooding across a third of Sri Lanka rose to 23 people on Thursday, and another 100,000 people were forced from their homes as heavy monsoon rains lashed the island and threatened food supplies. The Agricultural Ministry said at least 21 percent of Sri Lanka's staple rice crop had been destroyed, raising concerns over supply shocks and higher food inflation just as the central bank lowered lending rates to spur growth. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.01.2011

When politicians interfere, Principals take bribes: Grero

Jan 14 (NF) When politicians interfere in the selection process of students to schools, principals and politically influential people begin to take bribes, says MP Mohan Lal Grero. Grero made these observations addressing a media briefing in Colombo convened by the United National Party (UNP). “There should be a great amount of fairness and transparency when selecting students for schools, especially schools which are considered popular. more..

Power minister says consumers must bear CEB losses

Jan 14 (Island) The power sector is crucial for economic development. Losses in the power sector would lead to a financial crisis in the country and the public would have to suffer. Therefore consumers have to bear the losses of CEB, says Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. "We are a service oriented institution. We don’t want to gain commercially but at the same time we don’t want to run at a loss. Somebody has to bear the loss," more..

Cabinet decisions

Jan 14 (GDI) Establishment of National School of Business Management: • The National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) is a self financing institute providing education, training and consultancy services for the public and private sectors in Sri Lanka. • The NIBM, which was granted Degree Awarding Status by the University Grants Commission in 2009, presently trains more than 10,000 students annually. more..

Destroying your enemy

Jan 14 (LG) ‘Nahi Verena Verani’- 'Hatred ceases not by hatred but by love' the words of Lord Buddha echoed at the assembly of Nations gathered to decide the future of the wartime enemy Japan after the end of World War II. It was in San Francisco on 6th September 1951. The words were uttered by HE J R Jayewardene, then Minister of Finance and representative of the Government of Ceylon. Although the words are well known, often taught in schools and highlighted during more..

Quo Vadis Mr. President?

Jan 14 (LG) The government should realize that we may be sitting on a powder-keg. One need not be a pessimist to say that dark clouds are gathering, with the soaring cost of living, the rising price of oil, thousands being unemployed, the JVP controlling the Unions and formenting trouble, many marginalized people unable to feed their families, thousands of deserters who know how to use weapons (and some of them in fact having weapons and engaging in murders and more..

Wish to be a foster parent ?

Jan 14 (Cimic) Jaffna, the island’s northern peninsula, apart from its previous basic role as a rich source of agriculture and fishery products, served as a centre of knowledge in the country and was instrumental in producing intellectuals and professionals needed for the national development for many decades. Their names appeared atop in the list of veterans, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, education, administration and accounting etc. more..

Terror in Jaffna: smothering politics and economic revival

Jan 14 (LG) The all-pervasive climate of terror being engineered in the Jaffna peninsula is intended to stifle the revival of Tamil political and economic activity there. The brutal killings, abductions, ‘disappearances’ and intimidation are not random or manifestations of ‘lawlessness’, but a deliberate campaign of targeted violence with specific political and economic goals. The two categories of people targeted in the recent spate attacks are more..

Ensuring insecurity and instability in Tamil areas

Jan 14 (LG) Disappearances and extrajudicial killings of Tamils are once again on the rise in Sri Lanka. In Jaffna a simmering terror campaign by government-backed paramilitaries has escalated with several people going missing and the bodies of others, bearing horrific wounds, being dumped in public spaces. The victims include business people and prominent members of the community. And it is no coincidence this is happening amidst international efforts, more..

2,000 years ago when the big wave hit Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (ST) The sea rolled into the land in the morning of December 26, 2004, spreading death and destruction of a massive scale, never heard or experienced before in Sri Lanka. An estimated 31,000 were killed, 8,000 went missing and nearly one million persons were rendered destitute or were displaced. The damage to property ran into billions of rupees. Over 2,000 years ago, according to recorded history, similar tidal waves appear to have hit more..

Get the best out of the Economy now that the menace of terrorism is over

Jan 14 (DM) 2010, the first full year without the menace of terrorism saw the country posting an impressive +7.5% economic growth. In 2011 the country could achieve even more growth, there by deliver more jobs and greater income, if we can work on the political reconciliation in the North and East, have greater democracy and also improve our foreign relations with the West, which is currently in a terrible state. The issue we have in Sri Lanka today is very few more..

With friends like Norway who needs enemies?

Jan 14 (LB) Europe has two major anti-Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate bases headed by - .a). Fr. S. J. (I’m-a-Tamil-first-and-a-Christian-later) Emmanuel, President of the Global Tamil Forum, located in Germany with links to UK and b). Perinpanayagam Sivaparan (better known as Nediyawan, “the Tall Man”) who runs the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC) in Norway. Wikipedia records that “TCC handles millions of Norwegian krone stolen from diaspora Tamils, and procured more..

Identifying the enemy in time

Jan 14 (NS) As the number of cumulative cases of AH1N1 mounts towards the 500 mark with 25 deaths since the Second Wave of the Pandemic Influenza re-surfaced in late September this year, the country’s premier research institute for AH1N1, the Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka (MRI) has been swamped by a deluge of samples of suspected patients sent by hospitals to confirm if they have the disease or not. more..

Discipline, courtesy and discretion

Jan 14 (DM) The attempts made and action taken by the law enforcement agencies to instill discipline on the road is certainly noteworthy. Cameras have been placed at traffic lights and the publicity given to the activities of the policing of city areas are certainly to be admired by many of us especially those who have victims of the unruliness, indiscipline and road rage exhibited by many road users, pedestrian and drivers of vehicles. more..

Rising Inflation and a UNP Leadership Challenge

Jan 14 (DM) That good economics is good politics is a truth, which most politicians realize and President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the ruling UPFA are no exception in this regard. Accordingly it must be of concern to the government that the cost of essential goods and hence the cost of living has been rapidly increasing in the past several months. That these price rises in the economy are occurring at a time when the Central Bank assures us that inflation is coming more..

Racket in badminton: Who’s responsible?

Jan 14 (LB) The game of badminton (and its administration) has been in news for the past couple of months for all the wrong reasons. There were reports alleging that the Schools Badminton Association collected money from school players for a foreign tour when an Education Ministry circular has banned such practice. Amidst allegations of misadministration, Sri Lanka Badminton Association banned the country’s star player Niluka Karunaratne for more..

SL military stops resettlement by Douglas Devananda in Ariyaalai East

Jan 14 (TN) The much publicised resettlement effort by SL minister Douglas Devananda in the Poompukaar locality of Ariyaalai East was stopped by SL military Thursday. Hundreds of families that accompanied Mr. Douglas Devananda with much anticipation to resettle in their houses and lands from where they were uprooted 15 years ago were disappointed. Meanwhile, on resettlement in the ‘HSZ of Valikaamam, the SL minister told people who were more..

Further oppression expected as SL Army takes over islands off Jaffna from SL Navy

Jan 14 (TN) The Sri Lanka Army occupying Jaffna will take over the islands off Jaffna from the occupying SL Navy, an Army spokesman announced in Jaffna Thursday. Since 1990s the control of the islands off the Jaffna Peninsula was vested with the occupying Navy of colonial Sri Lanka. Extensive new bases are now being built for the army next to the establishments of the SL Navy in the islands. Fear engulfs the people of the islands as the Army is insisting on more..

CEB cost cutting: Alternatives ignored

Jan 14 (LB) Ceylon Electricity Board is likely to incur a Rs.25 billion loss this year as the total cost of electricity for 2011 will be around Rs.159 billion when the revenue of the year will be Rs.134 billion, the Ministry of Power and Energy has estimated. As per the capacity of electricity generation in this country, over 40 percent of the demand countrywide has up to now been met through the generation of more..

Minister tells UNP, JVP: Don't make baseless allegations

Jan 14 (DN) Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday challenged UNP and JVP members to point out if there were any welfare centers where flood victims haven't been provided food and other relief. Addressing a press conference at the Disaster Management Ministry auditorium yesterday, the Minister said that unlike other political parties this was the first media briefing held by the ministry in connection with this unfavourable weather condition. more..

'Handbook shortage has hit students hard'

Jan 14 (DM) An acute shortage of university admission handbooks issued by the UGC had left many students expecting to enter a university this year in the lurch, the IUSF said. He said that they had been told that these handbooks had gone out of stock and could not be found with any agent in either the Western or Southern Provinces. According to him, these agents had informed the UGC regarding the shortage of handbooks on numerous occasions but had not received any response. more..

‘No one who comes here wants to leave’

Jan 14 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa dismissed claims by the UNP that some prominent SLFPers were planning to break ranks, as baseless rumours. "I am confident that no one from either the SLFP or the UPFA will decamp,’ he said, "however I won’t try to prevent anyone from leaving or joining us." He said his government had a swing door, which opened both ways and anyone was free to either enter or exit. more..

Editorial: US on the wrong tack

Jan 14 (Island) "The editorial in 'The Island’, a paper that invariably takes a strongly anti-peace process tack, did not mention the Oslo meeting, however. (Note: 'The Island' preferred to lambaste putative plans by the government to allow a re-broadcast on a government radio channel of LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran's annual "Heroes´ Day" address on November 27.") … Most editorials portrayed the Oslo meeting as a key boost for the peace process." more..

Unblocking more of Yala soon

Jan 14 (ST) The last phase of the war forced the closure of many of our national parks, including Yala. No sooner had the military given clearance, the public was allowed to access the country's most popular National Park, but what many were unaware of was that it was only a part of the Yala wilderness that they could visit. The area opened was Block I. Now comes the news that the remaining sections of Yala National Park will also be thrown open to the public soon by the more..

Ananda Samarakoon’s birth centenary commemorates

Jan 14 (IL) The composer of the Sri Lankan National Anthem, artiste and late musician Ananda Samarakoon’s 100th birth anniversary was commemorated at Temple Trees on 13 January. President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and said that the best honour can be awarded to the creator of the National anthem is to build up the future generation loyal to the motherland. more..

Caritas volunteers assist flood victims

Jan 14 (UCAN) Caritas Sri Lanka is mobilizing volunteers after flooding rains in central and eastern regions of the nation left at least 18 people dead and 127,000 displaced. Five of the deaths occurred when a boulder dislodged by the rains demolished six houses. Another 44 people were injured. Over 900,000 have been affected while displaced people are now lodged in 502 camps. The rains also caused extensive damage to crops in several areas. Over 80,000 hectares of paddy land were destroyed. more..

Buddha’s tooth, waterfalls and temples of Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (KP) Sri Lanka was not originally on my list of destinations, as I did not expect it to be much different from India, where I’ve already been a few times. But then I was seduced by the low-cost carrier Air Arabia flying to Malaysia via Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. A dedicated fan of Asia, I didn’t hesitate and booked the tickets. If this is your first time in Asia, stay over in Colombo for at least a day feel the pulse of a big Asian city. more..

Nisam Kariyappar

Underground water:Threat to Matale

Jan 14 (DM) Underground water levels in several areas in the Matale district had risen in an unusual manner threatening the stability of houses and buildings, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) said. The emergence of springs , fissures, earth-slips and land-slides have been reported from a large number of villages in Rattota, Ukuwela, Naula, Abanganga Korale, and Yatawatte in the Divisional Secretariat areas, it said. more..

Sri Lanka to get US$500mn hotel from China aviation firm

Jan 14 (LBO) A Chinese aviation firm will build a 500 million US dollar hotel and shopping complex in the main beachfront of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, the government said. China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) will buy land in Colombo's Galle Face area to build a five star hotel and shopping complex. The proposal by minister Basil Rajapaksa has been approved by the cabinet of minister, more..

Editorial: Without inward change, externals are mere rituals

Jan 14 (DM) Is it right that the government is being pressurized to have a dress code in Sri Lanka? Recently it was stated in the media that a commission has been appointed for this task. What is happening? If what we have heard in the media is true then the Government of Sri Lanka is treading on our freedom. We do not think that it is the task of the Government to tell us what to wear and what not to wear. more..

Digital meters for electricity consumers

Jan 14 (DN) A new digital electricity meter manufactured in Sri Lanka would be introduced to electricity consumers shortly, instead of the electro-mechanical meter, Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said. The new meter, the Minister said would first be introduced to the areas where electricity was supplied by Lanka Electricity Company (LECO). LECO was currently engaged in electricity transmitting activities in the Western and the Southern coastal areas to 469,000 customers. more..