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Perspectives on the economy

Jan 3 (ST) At the dawn of the New Year expectations of rapid economic growth are high. Post war peaceful conditions, the expected growth of about 8 per cent last year, a budget that ushered in a more friendly investment climate, the high foreign reserves of nearly US$ 7 billion, recent promise of World Bank assistance for reconstruction and the boom in tourism are foremost reasons for this expectation. These conditions provide an environment for the pursuance of more..

Ratnasiri expressed the view of 70 govt. MPs

Jan 3 (NF) What former prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake said the other day about the government is the view of about 70 government parliamentarians, said Ravi Jayawardena, UNP organiser of the Horana electorate. He expressed this view at a meeting to open the main UNP office in Horana yesterday. “The veteran politician and former prime minister is a person of stature. He says the government has no plan, and some ministers don't even have chairs. more..

'We will sack Sabaragamuwa IUSF president'

Jan 3 (NF) We will sack the president of the IUSF Chairman of the Sabaragamuwa University, said minister S.B. Dissanayake today. Speaking to Newsfirst on the student unrest at the Sabaragamuwa University, S. B. said the IUSF and the JVP was directly responsible for the unrest and added that the situation would be brought under control and the university would be opened in a few days. more..

Expat acquitted in Srilankan maid rape

Jan 3 (AT) The Criminal Court acquitted a resident accused of sexually assaulting his Sri Lankan housemaid. The case file indicates the maid was hired from a domestic recruitment agency, and the suspect had gone with his wife to buy clothing and asked the maid to wear them. The housemaid claimed she refused to put the clothes on, and she went into her room but the man followed her into the room, tore her clothes and raped her. more..

'We expect more help from India to develop Tamil areas'

Jan 3 (PTI) A Sri Lankan minister today said the country expected more help from India to develop war-ravaged areas in northern Lanka, dominated by minority Tamils. "The nation expects more help from India for developing the Tamil areas. A cordial atmosphere now prevails in relations between Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (M Karunanidhi), Indian Prime Minister (Dr Manmohan Singh) and Sri Lankan President (Mahinda Rajapakse). more..

Govt takes over economic centers

Jan 3 (NN) The government has decided to acquire all the economic centers operating in the country in order to ensure proper management and stable prices. Minister Johnston Fernando, following a visit to the Dambulla economic center, said that an Executive Director has been appointed to oversee the operations of the economic centers. At present five dedicated economic centers are operating in Embilipitiya, Meegoda, Keppatipola, Dambulla, and more..

Prelates to decide whether monks should stand when national anthem is played

Jan 3 (Island) Mahanayake theras will shortly decide whether Buddhist monks should stand up when the national anthem is sung. Anunayake Thera of Malwatte Chapter Dr. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Thero on Sunday suggested that there be consensus among the Manahanayke Thero of all sects on that issue. The Ven thero emphasized the need to resolve it urgently. Ven. Vijithasiri thera was responding to a query by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne at a meeting in Kandy. more..

Six pregnant women hospitalilsed

Jan 3 (DM) At least six pregnant women were hospitalized on Saturday two days after receiving the A/H1N1 vaccination at the Dambulla Hospital. Relatives of the victims had charged that doctors had given expired A/H1N1 vaccination to these pregnant women. However, officials of the Dambulla Medical Superintendent Office had told the relatives that they had not given any expired vaccination to them. Dr. Iqbal said that they had not given any outdated vaccines but more..

'Govt. scheming to sabotage UNP reforms'

Jan 3 (NF) The government is scheming to sabotage the reforms brought about in the United National Party (UNP) and the holding of local government polls is also a move towards that direction, says UNP parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera. Dayasiri was addressing a function held to open the new office of parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa at Polhengoda last morning and also to invoke blessings on the people and the country. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom ups broadband speeds, cuts rates

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has increased bandwidth speeds and data volumes for broadband customers and reduced charges from January 01, 2011, a statement said. The firm, a former government monopoly which is now the dominant fixed line operator, said there will be an automatic 100 percent bandwidth upgrade for its existing ‘Entrée’ broadband customers who will now enjoy speeds up to 1Mbps. more..

Stranded fishermen to be rescued soon

Jan 3 (DN) Four Sri Lankan fishermen detected in the Indonesian waters Friday, after going missing since November 23, are expected to be rescued shortly. The boat Sankara Putha - 2 was found in Indonesian waters by a fisheries trawler belonging to Taiwan Friday. All four on board are reported to be safe and well. A Fisheries Ministry official yesterday expressed confidence that the four would be rescued within the next 48 hours. more..

IGP writes on the LTTE's rise and fall

Jan 3 (Hindu) Sri Lanka's top police officer's version of the rise and the fall of one of the world's most feared terror groups, the LTTE, was released at a function here on Sunday. “In the 21st century, Sri Lanka is the only country in the world to root out terrorism,” said IGP Mahinda Balasuriya. “Sri Lanka sent a very clear message to the world on how to defeat terrorism through humanitarian operations,” he added. more..

Pakistan big onions arrive today

Jan 3 (DN) Minister Johnston Fernando said that the first consignment of big onions from Pakistan will arrive in the island today. “Around 150 containers carrying big onions will arrive in the country today,” he said. Fernando said that steps would be taken to distribute the big onion stocks to the private sector as well. “We hope to distribute these stocks not only to Lak Sathosa outlets but even to the private sector to prevent the price of big onions from escalating,” more..

Suspect swallows heroin, dies

Jan 3 (DM) Forty five packets of heroin had been found stuck in the throat of a suspect drug dealer who had died from swallowing heroin inside the Welikada police. This had been revealed during the inquiry into the death of the suspect conducted at the judicial medical office. The post mortem had been conducted by Judicial Medical Officer U. Mayodaran. The suspect had been identified as K. Chaminda Kodippili (41) alias Kudu Chaminda, a father of two and more..

First comprehensive census in Lanka in 3 decades

Jan 3 (PTI) Sri Lanka is set to conduct a comprehensive census covering the entire country for the first time in thirty years following the end of the bloody ethnic conflict, officials said on Sunday. Due to the civil war that lasted over three decades, conducting of a national census covering the entire country was not possible, officials of the census and statistics department said. more..

Flood relief hits Rs. 300 mn

Jan 3 (DM) The total amount of funds spent for providing relief for the flood victims in the year 2010 had exceeded Rs 300 million while the Ministry of Disaster Management is slated to spend Rs. 200 million for the victims of present flood conditions. Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Amaraweera said, a sum of Rs 200 had been allocated for the building houses which were destroyed due to the adverse weather condition prevailing in the country. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 3 (ST) Thank god there were no photographers around. Otherwise there would have been much embarrassment, remarked Health Minister, Maithripala Sirisena, during his first official visit to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Borella. He had got into a lift to travel to the ninth floor. However, instead the lift carried him up and down, much to the embarrassment of his officials and hospital staff. Mr. Sirisena's bodyguards found a way out. They brought the Minister to the eighth floor. more..

Sri Lanka rupee strength helps rein in inflation: CB

Jan 3 (LBO) The strengthening of the Sri Lanka rupee helped rein in inflation which was kept at a mid-single digit level in 2010, the central bank said in a statement. The Sri Lankan rupee appreciated by about 1.7 per cent against the US dollar on average in 2010 and is now around 112 to the greenback. However exporters have been complaining that the strength of the rupee has been eroding their competitiveness in overseas markets. more..

Malaysian human smuggler arrested

Jan 3 (DM) The CID arrested a Malaysian human smuggler who ran a human smuggling ring in Sri Lanka, at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday. The suspect who used illegal means to smuggle people abroad was arrested by the CID after an investigation was carried out regarding his human smuggling rackets. Police have been receiving information about the activities of the suspect who ran the ring with a help of several local associates. more..

Anuradhapura budget defeated for second time

Jan 3 (AD) The Anuradhapura Municipal Council budget was defeated for the second time today. It has been reported that a Municipal Council member belonging to the government party had also voted against the budget resulting in the defeat. It was revealed that there had been seven votes against the budget including the vote of UPFA member Anuruddhika Dissanayake. Three UNP members and three from the JVP had also voted against while six government MC members voted for. more..

LG polls under PR system: CaFFE lashes out at govt

Jan 3 (Island) The CaFFE states that the government decision to conduct the coming Local Authorities Election under Proportional Representation (PR) when all major political movements have agreed to First Past the Post system will lead to a stagnation of representative democracy. "The Sri Lankan government will dissolve all Local Government Institutions next week in preparation for holding local polls in March 2011. more..

'National anthem: to avoid problems play only the music'

Jan 3 (DM) The Anunayaka of the Malwatta Chapter the venerable Niyangoda Vijithasiri thera has said that if the language in which the national anthem is sung is likely to cause a problem on any occasion, it would be advisable to play only the music on that occasion. The thera made these observations when Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne called on him. He pointed out other matters related to the national anthem. more..

TNA to meet Government for positive political solution

Jan 3 (DM) The TNA said yesterday they look forward to meeting the government this month to discuss the contours of a political solution. TNA Spokesman MP Suresh Premachandran told the Daily Mirror there are positive signals from the government in this respect. “We hope the government will engage us in this regard. We are looking forward to it,” he said. more..

Nawa Sihala Urumaya leader Sarath Manamendra arrested

Jan 3 (NN) The Leader of ‘Nawa Sihala Urumaya’ Sarath Manamendra was arrested over charges he threatened a three wheel driver and another person using a pistol late last night. The incident happened when Manamendra was returning home in the three wheel taxi late last night. When the three wheel driver stopped the vehicle and attempted to pick another passenger while Manamendra was also in it he objected. more..

Tamil ship's crew members face hearings

Jan 3 (TS) Four crew members of the MV Sun Sea that arrived off the coast of B.C. last summer are alleged to be Tamil Tigers operatives who helped organize the high-seas smuggling trip, federal officials say. Hearings to determine if the four can stay here have been requested by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), which alleges the men pose a threat to national security. more..

US GSP benefit expires

Jan 3 (NN) The US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) expired for several countries including Sri Lanka on December 31, 2010 as the new Congress has yet to approve its extension, US Embassy sources in Colombo said. According to Embassy sources the new US Congress which was elected in November last year did not act on renewing the US GSP to the countries enjoying its benefit including Sri Lanka and more..

JVP for a leap forward

Jan 3 (LT) At a time when the country and the Nation is practically experiencing that Mahinda Rajapakse government or generally the capitalist economic system is unable to find solutions for any issue that torment them, the JVP, to triumph over the new challenges confronted by the Motherland and the Nation, has decided to convene district conventions of the party in all districts of the island says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. more..

Panic after fresh Jaffna violence

Jan 3 (NS) A sudden increase of violence in the Jaffna peninsula has raised alarmed northern parliamentarians and civilians. The escalating violence has also prompted the TNA to call for an adjournment debate in parliament when it reconvenes this month. Jaffna district TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that gun culture prevailed in the north despite the end of war in May 2009. more..

Misguided skyrocket burns down school

Jan 3 (DM) A rocket lit to celebrate the dawn of New Year had caused the fire that damaged properties worth Rs. 5 million at Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane said. Minister Gunawardane said that this rocket had fallen into a dormitory of the primary section of the school through a window. Eventually, a mattress kept in the dormitory had caught fire. more..

Thaipongal freedom for LTTE cadres

Jan 3 (Island) Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe says more than half of combatants and support personnel of theLTTE detained at the conclusion of the war in May 2009 have been reunited with their families. He says following rehabilitation 5,586 LTTE cadres have left rehabilitation centres since the end of the war. At the beginning rehabilitation centres held 11,696 LTTE personnel. more..

Sri Lanka to test new visa scheme for three months

Jan 3 (LBO) A new online visa scheme Sri Lanka plans to introduce, replacing existing on-arrival visas, will be tested for three months before the government decides to implement it, an official said. Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of the tourism authority, said the online visa scheme where visitors can apply for and get visas through the internet will be tested as a pilot project from the end of January. more..

Debate on Senior Ministers

Jan 4 (DM) A debate would be conducted in Parliament next Friday on the subjects assigned to the Senior Ministers and their role in governance, the UNP said today. The House will meet tomorrow for the first time for the year 2011. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga told Daily Mirror that his party asked for a debate in this regard. Mr. Amaratunga said that the debate on the extension of the state of emergency would be taken up on Wednesday. more..

EFC: Five day working week for flexibility

Jan 4 (SL) The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) has said a request to switch to a five day working week for the private sector was made for employers and workers who require flexibility in their work hours. The EFC has made this statement to clarify reported about a request made by the Federation for a five day working week for the private sector. In a letter addressed to Labour and Labour Relations Gamini Lokuge, EFC Director General Ravi Peiris has said, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.01.2011

Sri Lanka Dockyard wins order for supply vessel

Jan 4 (LBO) Sri Lankan shipbuilder Colombo Dockyard has won an optional contract to build a third Multipurpose Platform Supply Vessels (MPSV) for Greatship Global Offshore Services of Singapore, a statement said. The main contract for the construction of two 78-metre MPSVs, signed in October 2010, provided for Greatship Global Offshore Services (GGOSL) to exercise an option to construct two more vessels at the same price, which the yard did not disclose. more..

Fireworks injuries down this year

Jan 4 (DN) Injuries caused by fireworks during the dawn of New Year have dropped compared to last year. Only 11 people were treated at the National Hospital for injuries from fireworks. The Director said following media campaigns during the past six years on firework related incidents, the number of accidents caused by fireworks have reduced. Meanwhile, 322 persons were treated at the National Hospital for injuries sustained due to fireworks, road accidents, quarrels and more..

Sri Lankan universities go for online courses in all three languages

Jan 4 (GDI) Sri Lankan universities are to commence online courses in all three languages enabling the expatriates Sri Lankans to study in the language of their mother tongue. All universities in the country have been instructed through a Road Map as to how they should restructure their external courses programs in future. Once this restructuring is done the universities will be able to recommence their external degree program and more..

Circular on alcoholics

Jan 4 (NN) A circular against free medical attention at State hospitals for patients with alcohol related ailments will be issued within the next two weeks, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said today. Minister said that once the circular is issued patients seeking treatment at government hospitals after consuming alcohol will have to foot the bill and will not be provided free service similar to that offered to other patients. more..

Massive ATM scam busted

Jan 4 (NN) The CID has busted a massive ATM scam and arrested two people in Mount Lavinia. CID sources told News that the two suspects together with their accomplices in Italy had managed to draw over Rs.14 million from several ATM networks in Nugegoda and Mount Lavinia. Investigations revealed that the two suspects who are residents of Galle had returned from Italy in November this year together with a Romanian couple. more..

Nearly 170 holidays

Jan 4 (NN) The public sector have over 160 holidays this year, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said today and advised his staff to make the best of the remaining working days to provide an excellent service to the public. Addressing the staff of the Presidential Secretariat marking the first working day of the public sector today Weeratunga pointed out that out of the 365 days, 122 are holidays with an additional 45 days, the President’s office said. more..