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China lends $1.86b infrastructure loan to Sri Lanka

June 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka said on Thursday China has agreed to financially assist it with US$1.5 billion (S$1.86 billion) for several infrastructure projects within next three years. 'China Development Bank Corporation has agreed to provide financial assistance in a sum of US$1.5 billion within three years for construction of roads, bridges, water supply and irrigation schemes and power,' the government said in a statement. more..

SAARC Secretary General meets Minister Peiris

June 24 (DN) The new Secretary General of SAARC, Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed, paid a courtesy call on External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris. Secretary General, Fathimath Saeed, was appointed in March and is the first female and the second Maldivian national to assume the office of Secretary General of SAARC. This is her first official visit to Sri Lanka as SAARC Secretary General. The Secretary General and the minister had comprehensive discussions on a number of issues more..

Writ against Varsity Heads of Dept. withdrawn

June 24 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday permitted the petitioner undergraduate student to withdraw his Writ Application against the purported resignation of persons claiming to be Heads of Department of the Peradeniya University. The Petitioner moved to withdraw his Writ application after Counsel for the Respondents brought to the notice of Court that several Heads of Department referred to in the caption of the Writ Application had been incorrectly named and more..

SAARC General Secretary calls on President Rajapaksa

June 24 (IL) The newly-appointed Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Ms. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed of Maldives paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (23). Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L Peiris, Foreign Secretary Karunaratne Amunugama, Director General of President's Media and spokesman Bandula Jayasekera and Senior Officials of the Ministry and the SAARC were also present. more..

CEB unions threaten to flex muscles over salary issue

June 24 (Island) Trade Unions of the Ceylon Electricity Board yesterday said that they were confident that the newly appointed Board of Directors would take steps to settle their salary arrears without further delay. A senior trade unionist said that they had already informed the Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka of this issue. "Minister Ranawaka assured us that he would look into the matter in June. However, there was no response, and more..

Malaysia massacre Sri Lanka to make semis

June 24 (NST) Malaysia whipped Sri Lanka 14-0 to top Group B and qualify for the semi-finals of the Asian Hockey Federation Under-18 Cup in Singapore yesterday. The national players will meet Singapore for a place in the final, while South Korea will play Pakistan in the other last four match, Malaysia, who drew 2-2 with South Korea, ended tied on seven points but topped the table on a better goal average after yesterday's match. However, Under-18 coach K. Gobinathan is not more..

Boston Lanka News: June 23, 2011

UN dodges Sri Lanka claim on killing fields, Ban hasn't seen, silent on Prageeth

June 24 (ICP) While Sri Lanka has yet to even respond to the UN on its Panel of Experts report on war crimes, the country's Mission to the UN has put out a response to the recent film “Killing Fields," entitled "Still trying to corner Sri Lanka." On June 23, ICP asked for the UN's reply: Inner City Press: There has been a response now by the Sri Lankan Mission to the Killing Fields film.. it talks about the scene where Tamil civilians were seen pleading with more..

Govt always ensures media freedom - Minister Yapa

June 24 (DN) The government as a policy always acts to ensure media freedom in the country, said acting Cabinet spokesman and Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Information Department yesterday, he said that the government will continue to protect media freedom. He pointed out that Sri Lanka has not imposed any orders of censorship and media freedom flourishes within the country. more..

'Govt is committed to protect both war heroes and farmers who render national service'

June 24 (IL) The duty of the Govt is to protect both war heroes who liberated the country from terrorism and participated in the humanitarian operation as well as the farmers who provide food to the nation. The country was liberated and the people are allowed to live without any fear and suspicion and also enjoy newly found freedom throughout the country after many decades. When all communities are prepared to march forward in unity, attempts are more..

Arsenic in pesticides: Acid test for minister

June 24 (DM) Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane said yesterday he was still trying to find some form of consensus among experts regarding a common scientific experiment to determine whether pesticides used in Sri Lanka were contaminated with arsenic. He told parliament that university academics who were experts in this field were giving their individual opinions based on their research. “Whenever there are different views on such matters, there should be a more..

Presidential action cannot be challenged in Court - Counsel

June 24 (Island) Petitioner Gen. Fonseka was seeking a writ to quash an act of the President but his sentence and conviction by a military court had been confirmed by the President, who had absolute legal immunity under Article 35(1) of the Constitution, Counsel S. L. Gunesekera told the Court of Appeal yesterday. Gunasekera was appearing for the members of the court martial II made respondents in a writ application filed by Gen. Fonseka challenging his conviction and sentence. more..

'The never privatize govt has privatized the best 20 acres of Sri Lanka even without a tender'

June 24 (Island) UNP MP Harsha de Silva lashed out at the government over the sale of 20 acres to two international buyers outside tender procedures. The MP alleges that the UPFA has privatized the best 20 acres of Sri Lanka even without a tender. The following is his full statement: The Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene revealed in Parliament that 20 acres of land opposite the Galle Face green has been privatized. more..

No conclusion reached yet on arsenic link to kidney failure – Minister

June 24 (Island) Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament on Thursday that the government still could not get the consent and agreement of relevant scholars to conduct a formal scientific investigation, to ascertain whether there was any link between chronic kidney failure and arsenic traces in pesticides. Responding to a series of queries raised by DNA group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Minister Abeywardena said that academics of more..

Wildlife dept to generate Rs. 2 ½ mn this year

June 24 (Island) Minister S. M. Chandrasena says the Wildlife Department will take steps to attract more tourists, both foreign and locals to the national parks in the country. "We are already on an ambitious programme to upgrade the major national parks. Thus, we are confident we could generate a better income starting from this year, he said. He expressed confidence that the Department could generate an income of Rs. 2.5 million at the end of this year. more..

Dutch police to share probe report with SL

June 24 (DM) The Dutch Embassy in Colombo said yesterday the information gathered from the ongoing investigations including material on interviews with former LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan and other former LTTE cadres would be shared with the Sri Lankan government. Embassy spokesman Jaco Beerends said the interviews were being conducted with permission from the Sri Lankan government. more..

Court calls for Fonseka’s medical report

June 24 (DM) The white flag case Trial-at-Bar Judges yesterday ordered Welikada Prisons Superintendent to submit to court on July 4, the medical report issued by Doctor Vajira Tennakoon after he examined former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Judges Deepali Wijesundera (President) and M.Z. Razeen made this order after considering the submissions made by Senior Defense Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty. more..

Sri Lanka secures $2.5 bln in port investments

June 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has secured around $2.5 billion in local and foreign investment for the island nation's port expansion and related infrastructure, the head of country's ports authority said on Thursday. It is Sri Lanka's largest investment since the end of a 25-year war and comes as the $50 billion economy emerges from the end of a 25-year war. "We have already secured around $2.5 billion (of) investment," more..

No records to prove leopard skin trade in Sri Lanka

June 24 (Island) A leading researcher and taxonomist says there are no records to prove that the recent killings of leopards has any connection with the leopard skin trade in the country. Researcher Kelum Manamendra-arachchi said that villagers were conversant with the importance of the country’s top predator and the conservation laws. "Thus, it is no easy task for anyone to deal in the leopard skin trade." more..

Bus fares up from July 1

June 24 (DM) Bus fares will increase by 7.6% and the minimum bus fare will rise from Rs.6 to Rs.7 on July 1, the Private Transport Services Ministry said yesterday. Luxury bus fares will be double the normal fare. Minister C.B Ratnayake said that the decision was made after a month long series of discussions with transport officials and bus operator’s unions. He said many of the unions had agreed to the new bus fares, but not all. more..

Water board hit by leaks

June 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state water supply agency is unable to get revenue for one third of its production and the control of "excessive leakages" will improve productivity and allow it to repay loans. Last year National Water Supply and Drainage Board had written down assets by 12.6 billion rupees, making a 14.6 billion rupee loss for the year, indicating that its earlier method of accounting for capital spending was not accurate, more..

FTZ girls: Lives of worms turned...

June 24 (LB) Our perception of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) worker has undergone a great transformation since May 30. Most of us considered FTZ workers as village lads and lasses who read cheap romance novels, watch mind numbing mega tele-dramas, wear gode (unfashionable) clothing and get pregnant because they do not have a clue about birth control. But that was before the protests at the Katunayake FTZ demanding the removal of more..

Special ID for Veddahs

June 24 (Island) The government, in a move to uplift the lives of the Adhivasi (Veddah tribe) community, has decided to issue them with special identity cards so that they could go into jungles and engage in their traditional methods of seeking for food, honey, yams and firewood without violating the Wild Life laws of the country, Director General of Wild life Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja said yesterday. more..

Lenient sentences in child abuse cases

June 24 (DM) Several human rights and women’s organizations yesterday expressed shock and concern on a dangerous trend since of late to impose lenient jail terms and suspended sentences for persons convicted in cases of sexual abuse, rape and child molestation. A study carried out by LHRD, has found that since 2008 there had been a trend in imposing suspended sentences in cases of rape and child molestation. more..

Ranil alleges govt. moving towards dictatorship

June 24 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday alleged that the UPFA govt was rapidly moving towards what he called a dictatorial rule. Addressing the media, the Opposition Leader said that the country was heading towards a dangerous situation due to the readiness on the part of the government to act outside democratic traditions. The UNP leader warned of an unprecedented crisis if the government didn’t change course. more..

Fishermen held in Lanka to be released in 2 days: TN govt

Jun 25 (PTI) The 23 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on June 20, will be released in two days, the state govt today said. "The Centre has informed that the Sri Lankan govt had assured that the arrested fishermen will be released in two days," a state government release said here. It said that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting his intervention in securing the release of the fishermen and more..

Cottage Industry Exhibition commences tomorrow

Jun 25 (GDI) An exhibition to introduce cottage industry participation options in the Divi Neguma Programme will be held at Homagama Madyama Maha Vidyalaya in Sri Lanka on the 25th and 26th of this month. This exhibition is jointly organized by 5 Ministries under the aegis of the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development. The other Ministries participating in the exhibition are Ministries of Industries and Commerce, Technology and Research, more..

Sri Lanka shakeup after England tour

Jun 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricket administration is set for a major overhaul amid allegations of massive corruption and mismanagement, a sports ministry official said on Friday. The authorities will name a new management team for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), after the current tour of England ends in early July, the official said. "The minister intends to make changes at Sri Lanka Cricket as soon as the national team returns from England," more..

Jaffna Railway Station Reconstruction to commence .

Jun 25 (GDI) Steps have been taken to reconstruct the largest railway station of the Northern railway line in Sri Lanka, the Jaffna Railway Station at a cost of Rs. 89 Million. The work will be carried out by the “Uthuru Mithuru Programme” with funds provided by the Bank of Ceylon. An MoU in this regard was signed this week between Bank of Ceylon and the Railway Dept. The Northern railway line is the main link for building economic and social reconciliation between the people of North and South. more..

Sri Lanka economic forum to fast track investment, growth

Jun 25 (LBO) An economic forum next month organized by Sri Lanka's largest business chamber hopes to come up with initiatives to boost actual investments and growth after the end of a 30-year war, officials said. The 'Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2011' brings together representatives from the state, business, academics and research institutes July 04. Anura Ekanayake chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said the key points emerging from the forum will be used by more..

India and Sri Lanka after the LTTE

Jun 25 (ICG) India has long been the country with the greatest influence over Sri Lanka but its policies to encourage the government there towards a sustainable peace are not working. Despite India’s active engagement and unprecedented financial assistance, the Sri Lankan govt has failed to make progress on pressing post-war challenges. Govt actions and the growing political power of the military are instead generating new grievances that more..

We didn't take the easy way out

Jun 25 (CI) Rain rather ruined the Test series in the end, but I still believe - in spite of the disappointment of what happened in Cardiff - that we actually had a pretty good series and made some important strides as a team. We always knew when we came to England that it was going to be a tough challenge. Playing England in their own conditions is always hard to do, but especially so for us since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan. We no longer have a player with more..

Speaker orders probe

Jun 25 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa today ordered Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulgoda to conduct inquiries into the complaint that an official of the parliamentary staff had been assigned to do some administrative work of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The matter was raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, who rose on a point of order, charged that the Secretary General had instructed the parliamentary staff including more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 24.06.2011

FICA has approved Sri Lanka Premier League player contracts: May

June 25 (YC) Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) Chief Executive Tim May has confirmed that FICA had negotiated the terms and conditions of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) player contracts with Somerset Entertainment Ventures, the commercial rights' holders of the event. "In December 2010, FICA engaged in discussions with SEV regarding the construction of the Player Contracts for the SLPL commencing July 2011. more..

Private bus owners reject govnt's fare hike

June 25 (NN) The Lanka Private Bus Operators Association (LPBOA) is to go to court next week over the failure by the authorities to agree for a higher bus fare hike. LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratne said that the case will be filed against the National Transport Commission to seek compensation to recover the losses incurred by private bus operators. He said that while the govt has agreed for a 7.6 percent overall bus fare hike from next month bus operators were demanding for a 15 percent fare hike. more..

'Charge Rs.20 from OPD patients'

June 25 (DM) A govt medical officer yesterday suggested charging Rs.20 from patients for treatment at the Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) at state hospitals to contain drug wastage and un-necessary treatment notwithstanding the government’s free health policy. Commenting on the perennial heavy congestions at the OPD of the Colombo National Hospital and other general hospitals, the doctor said one of the main reasons for more..

Protest in Kilinochchi to find disappeared persons

June 25 (LT) The protest campaign held in Kilinochchi demanding government to find disappeared persons was successful even though the military personnel attempted to obstruct it occasionally, said steering committee member of 'Api Sri Lankikayo' organisation Udul Premaratna. The protest which was held in Kilinochchi town under the patronage of Api Sri Lankikayo organisation was said to be attended by large number of family members of those who disappeared. more..

Shares recover from lows; concerns remain

June 25 (Reuters) Stocks rebounded on Friday from a five-and-half month closing low, snapping a four-session fall on gaining telecom and diversified shares, but concerns over margin calls that forced selling and low liquidity remained. Main share index edged up 0.3 percent or 20.88 points, to 6,892.56, from its lowest since January 6, Reuters data showed. It had shed about 7 percent in June alone and 2.2 percent this week, but is up 3.87 percent so far this year. more..

'Don’t make light of farmers’ lives'

June 25 (LT) A team of local and foreign experts should be appointed to carry out tests to find whether arsenic is dissolved in waters in North Central area in the island says the JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said the govt should get directly involved in carrying out these tests. In his statement Mr. Dissanayake said, “A test regarding the kidney disease that is fast spreading in the North Central area in the island was carried out recently by a team more..