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Sri Lanka bourse down on Libya turmoil, forced-selling

Mar 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market closed weaker on Monday on concern over rising oil prices and export reductions due to the turmoil as Western powers launched air strikes on Libya. The island's main share index closed 0.4 percent or 28.61 points weaker at 7,156.33. It hit a record closing high of 7,811.82 on Feb 14. Sri Lanka imports all its crude oil, so the crises in Libya and the Middle East mean the island nation's booming post-war economy could more..

'EU defeated' in Tuna Commission

Mar 22 (BBC) The Sri Lankan fisheries minister says that the EU and other major fishing countries were recently dealt a blow as they attempted to increase fishing quota in the Indian ocean. Minister Rajitha Senarathne said that the EU, Japan, South Korea and other industrial fishing nations are responsible for destroying the tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean. “Using helicopters and satellite technology and industrial purse nets not only they more..

PM gave LTTE life -JHU

Mar 22 (NN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) today accused Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne of feeding the LTTE by making baseless claims in Parliament recently. JHU National organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told News that the statement by the Prime Minister had given hope for the militarily defeated LTTE. The Prime Minister had told Parliament recently that the LTTE was having three training camps in Tamil Nadu and may target VIPs in India and Sri Lanka. more..

Special operation to nab fake doctors

Mar 22 (AD) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has advised authorities to implement a special process in order to apprehend individual that deceive people by posing as doctors or as involved in the medical profession. Information has been revealed that there are around 7,000 fake doctors within the country, states the Ministry of Health and explains that, often the situation of patients worsen due to receiving treatment from such false medics. more..

Bash heads on a rock instead of coconuts, Mervyn advises

Mar 22 (AD) All opposition candidates who lost the election should go bang their heads on a rock instead of bashing coconuts at temples, says Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva. If Ranil Wickramasinghe along with the United National Party starts bashing coconuts throughout 19 years, coconuts will have to be imported within those 19 years, he expressed during a function held at Kiribathgoda today (March 21). more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 21.03.2011

Living in clover

Mar 22 (LG) Many may sing hosannas to the gods following a little celebrated local government poll in which the ruling party claimed a victory which was hailed by their supporters and media propagandists in familiarly superlative if now slightly wearying terms. But surely did an election claim such little interest among the general public in recent times as did this one? This time around too, we had Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake, (besides quite amusingly more..

On CEB debt and governance at risk

Mar 22 (LG) Recently the Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka claimed that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had cleared the decks of its accumulated losses over the years and turned up 2010 with profits.Hard to believe but it’s a fact – all because the Treasury bore the losses between 2000 to 2009 of Rs 116.9 billion which included dues owed to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). Ranawaka’s March 10 statement drew a following-day response from more..

Mass of harmony & brotherhood held at St. Anthony’s church in Kachchathivu

Mar 22 (Cimic) The isolated and beautiful isle of Kachachathivu, located many kilometers away from mainland in the Indian Ocean was congested with pilgrims on Sunday when St. Anthony’s Church there held the annual mass. Vicar General Jaffna Rev. Fr. Dr. Thomas Soundranayagam conducted the mass. Approximately 1200 local Catholics from different parts of the country participated in this annual festival. more..

The Western atteMpts of mis-'guiding' democracy home

Mar 22 (DM) Independent of their intentions and justification, the recent temptation for prominent and/or vocal sections of the political Opposition to liken post-war Sri Lanka to even more contemporary Egypt or Tunisia, Bahrain or Libya is fraught with consequences that they might not be able to dictate or control. Such loose talk, if at all, can only facilitate a process that would instead take their current initiative, if any, out of the hand of more..

Is an election a ‘village tank’ to monitors and ‘others’?

Mar 22 (DM) There’s an old joke about NGO operations in Sri Lanka. NGOs are said to send identical project proposals to several donor agencies. For example, money would be solicited to rehabilitate a village tank (weva). If more than one donor agrees to support the project, the particular NGO would not rehabilitate more than a single weva but would submit the identical final project report to each donor. Some NGOs, the joke goes, would ‘rob’ the work of another more..

Tsunami, Earthquake and Radiation fears force Lankans to leave Japan

Mar 22 (SL) Nine days after the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, rescue operations are still underway. The danger has not passed as officials have warned of the possibility of further earthquakes; however, they have assured the public that they will not be as damaging as the one that occurred on Friday, March 11. The greatest danger that is facing all those in Japan is the very real possibility of a meltdown of the Fukushima more..

World disability day: Moving scenes at Kilinochchi

Mar 22 (LG) Tuesday March 15, the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) launched its Wanni Branch of the Holistic Healing Centre at Kandy Road, Kilinochchi doubling this event appropriately with the World Disability Day. Its head office is situated at Green Memorial Hospital, Manipay. There were emotions-stirring scenes as hundreds of war-ravaged people who have suffered enormously gathered at the JDCSI Church premises under a specially constructed pandal more..

Making the government’s victory more meaningful

Mar 22 (LG) The extent of the govt’s victory at the recently concluded local government elections would have surprised even its supporters. Prior to the elections there were voices even within the govt leadership expressing their concerns about easing the economic burden on the masses of people. As a result there were anxieties about erosion in the government’s support base. The inability of the government to even fulfil its promises of a salary more..

Local gem industry feels effect of Japan nuclear calamity

Mar 22 (BL) Gold prices have shot up drastically sending stocks crashing with prices of all commodities going up, particularly in the agricultural sector, and a huge uncertainty in the market in the wake of the earthquake in Japan, the worst in recent times and with it the nuclear leak at Japan’s nuclear power plant, and in Sri Lanka it was likely it have a heavy impact on the market; affecting both investors and consumers equally badly, according to more..

Monkeys again (and again!)

Mar 22 (SL) It’s been a significant time since I referred to our simian competitors for survival. However, recent events leave me little choice but to go back to that well again. This particular outburst is provoked by a phone call the Saturday of last weekend from my friendly Grama Niladhari, no longer a Grama Sevaka. We enjoy a very cordial relationship with this individual despite the fact that he thinks the sun shines out of the south end of the current govt when more..

The cold comfort of science

Mar 22 (SL) Science has all the elements of a good creation and destruction myth. It is awesome, and it does come with pictures. Still, for most people it does not spiritually satisfy. Even most scientists. Go to a hospital and you’ll see very few people clutching the Origin Of Species. Why? Why does science not comfort? I’d say it’s because the science we know does not accurately describe reality. What it accurately describes are illusions. The order of more..

Sri Lanka tea exporters give three million tea bags to Japan

Mar 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea exporters have given three million tea bags to the people hit by a tsunami and earthquake in Japan. Chairman of Sri Lanka's tea exporter's association Jayantha Keragala had handed over the tea to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be sent to Japan, a statement from the president's office said. Sri Lanka has earlier sent a rescue team and a million US dollars to Japan. more..

Editorial: Of those polls postmortems

Mar 22 (Island) Various interpretations are being attempted in some quarters of last week's LG polls results. The Opposition has, true to form, sought to cover up its failure by saying that the elections were flawed. While there is some truth in that claim, the fact remains that even if an absolutely free and fair election were to be held, the Opposition still would not be able to turn the tables on the UPFA in the foreseeable future, given its problems of gargantuan more..

Editorial: Religious unity for poverty eradication

Mar 22 (DM) The Rajapaksa regime, ecstatic in the afterglow of a hat-trick of resounding national election victories, has repeatedly promised that poverty alleviation or eradication would be one of the primary goals of its mega development plans for Sri Lanka. The regime also claims it is not just a promise-making regime but a promise-keeping administration citing the eradication of terrorism as one of the major promises fulfilled. more..

Laxapana to be overhauled, Samanalawewa leaks to be fixed

Mar 22 (NS) Minister Champika Ranawaka, who openly mooted nuclear power for the country’s future development in the recent past, concedes that people are now reluctant to proceed with nuclear plants, but he insists on us going ahead with other peaceful uses of nuclear technology, especially in our industry. He also sees a future in reactors to be run on thorium which is abundantly found in Sri Lanka as its residue carries no radiation. more..

U.K. Tamil activist Moved by Sonia Gandhi's gesture

Mar 22 (TC) Britain's normally hard-to-please Tamil activists were, on Saturday, effusive in their praise for United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi after she reportedly told them that she shared their concern over the situation in Sri Lanka and said that the displaced Tamils should be rehabilitated and have their rights restored. “I am very, very concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. Tamils should have their rights restored. more..

Emergency certificates issued to 3,000 Lankans in Kuwait

Mar 22 (NS) Around 5,000 Sri Lankans in Kuwait had applied for Emergency Certificates (EC) from the Sri Lankan Embassy in the country. ECs had been provided to 3,000 Sri Lankans so far. The Kuwait government had declared a four-month period from March 1, for illegal immigrants to leave the country. The amnesty period would end on June 30. The External Affairs Ministry pointed out that there were an estimated 10,000 illegal Sri Lankans domiciled in Kuwait. more..

Police target Illicit radio stations

Mar 22 (ST) The CID has been called into investigate the operation of illicit radio stations, after a series of detections in various parts of the country, head of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC) Anusha Palpita told the Sunday Times yesterday. He said that six illicit radio stations have been detected and there reports that several more of them are operating in various parts of the country including in the Eastern Province. more..

Editorial: Lasting peace in Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (VoA) It has been nearly two years since the end of the conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, a separatist militant organization. "Sri Lanka has made steady progress in normalizing life for its citizens and reconciling the differences that devastated parts of the island for so many years," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, "but there is much that remains to be done." more..

Exports’ dilemma

Mar 22 (FT) Despite rebound in 2010 over a negative performance in the previous year the dangerous trend of decline in exports as a percentage of GDP since 2000 was hurled at President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday as the Govt remained wary of providing an exchange rate stimulus. The inconvenient truth of this alarming trend was laid bare by UNP MP and Economist Dr. Harsha de Silva during the Parliament Consultative Committee meeting on finance attended by more..

LG Polls: UPFA ‘battled’ UPFA for one-time LTTE stronghold in M’tivu

Mar 22 (Island) A split in the ruling coalition led to a contest between the UPFA and the govt-backed Puravesi Peramuna, for the Manthai (East) Pradeshiya Sabha in Mullaitivu district at the March 17 LG polls. Political sources said that initially the government had decided to back candidates fielded by rebel UNP MP Sri Ranga, who switched his allegiance to President Mahinda Rajapaksa following the last parliamentary polls in April 2010. more..

French business delegation visits Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (BL) The Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and the Economic Department of the French Embassy in New Delhi have taken the initiative to encourage French companies based in India to join an official and business mission in Sri Lanka. The purpose of this mission is to invite the French subsidiaries in India to explore the investment opportunities to contribute to the economic development of Sri Lanka. The French business delegation which comprises nine more..

Newly elected UPFA PS member remanded

Mar 22 (Island) Colombo Additional Magistrate Praharsha Ranasinghe yesterday remanded till April 4, newly elected UPFA member of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Sarathchandra Dias for allegedly shooting and injuring a 5-year-old daughter of fellow candidate, at the recent local government polls, Nadeesha Sampath and several others. Filing a ‘B’ report, police said the injured child was warded at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital and her condition was said to be serious. more..

'No WP Muslim schools will be closed'

Mar 22 (DM) Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana said the govt had no intention to close down any Muslim school in the Western Province. Speaking at the Educational Conference organized by the Education for Progress Foundation (EPF) held under the chairmanship of A.G.H. Ghouzul Ameen. He also said Govt authorities had not taken any steps to occupy the land of the Al-Ameen Muslim School which is situated in a High Security Zone in Colombo. more..

SL prime target of artifact smugglers

Mar 22 (DN) The lack of regulations to enforce the Cultural Property Act has made Sri Lanka a prime target of antiques and artifact smugglers. Sri Lanka Customs’ Bio Diversity Cultural and National Heritage Department Deputy Director Samantha Gunasekera said many foreign antique thieves have got away with thefts in Sri Lanka owing to the laxity of regulations for implementing the Cultural Act of 1998. Rare collections of specimens of fauna and flora have more..

New elephant orphanage in Ulankulama

Mar 22 (DN) Wildlife Department Director General Chandrawansa Pathirage, said that a new interim elephant orphanage was being constructed at Ulankulama in the North Central Province. The proposed elephant orphanage would be constructed under the guidance of Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister S M Chandrasena. He further said that Minister S M Chandrasena had participated in an observation tour to inspect the proposed site of the orphanage recently. more..

Lankan cases studied

Mar 22 (NN) During its 93rd session, which took place in Mexico City from 15-18 March 2011, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances examined cases from some countries including Sri Lanka, the UN said today. According to a UN release today the UN Working Group examines 11 reported cases of enforced disappearances under its urgent action procedure, as well as information on 190 cases, more..

Havelock City says 25% apartments taken within a month

Mar 22 (Island) Havelock City launched the sale of its phase 2 residential apartments in early February this year, following the success of the phase 1 apartments which are already in occupation. "Sales of apartments have been very encouraging and we have already sold 25 percent of the apartments," said Nirupa Peiris, Senior Sales Manager of Havelock City. The current economic boom and political stability in the country has helped in interest shown towards more..

Four suspect treasure hunters nabbed

Mar 22 (DM) Kandy Additional Magistrate Ms. Thanuja Jayatunge remanded four suspects of a gang allegedly engaged in ‘Treasure hunting' in a land area of six hundred acres at Dunuwille in the Alawatugoda police area. The land belongs to the historic Degadoruwa Raja Maha Vihare. There is a foot print on the rock on the land, which had been identified by the gang over the years, which is suspected to be the mark of a Treasure within the land and this is more..

'Raw deal' irks Sri Lankan locals

Mar 22 (TOI) Sri Lankan locals have one serious question for the International Cricket Council. If India is the top ranked team in this tournament and therefore gets to play all its matches at home, then is it not fair that if Sri Lanka qualify instead, they should play the final in Colombo? That won't happen, probably because of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's clout. But the locals are right. more..

Decline in global nuclear power generation heightens inflation risk for Lanka

Mar 22 (Island) A senior economist says Japan’s crisis involving its nuclear power plants is bound to increase global demand for oil and coal as nations hesitate to expand nuclear power production, raising the risk of global energy dealers driving up prices through speculative derivative trades. For Sri Lanka, this brings the phantom menace of rising inflation. "Sri Lanka has always been a country with high inflation in the region, together with its weak fiscal and more..

Imported food checked for radiation : Nothing to fear

Mar 22 (DN) The Health Ministry said that all food imports to Sri Lanka were tested for radiation at the entry points. “Sri Lanka does not import food from Japan on a large scale but imports food from Japan’s neighbouring countries. The Health Ministry inspects all food from those countries at the Colombo Harbour. Samples are sent to the National Atomic Energy Authority. The food is released from the Colombo Harbour only after obtaining the report from the Authority. more..

New fish market complex opens on March 26

Mar 22 (DN) The newly built state-of-the-art fish trade center at Peliyagoda will be opened under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 26, said Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne. Rs 3.8 billion had been spent on this fish trade center project. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had allocated Rs 1.9 billion from the 2008 budget and other Rs 1.9 billion had been given by the Asian Development Bank as a loan, he added. more..

Sirisena prescribes treatment for quacks

Mar 22 (Island) Over 7,000 quacks will have to go underground from today as Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has ordered a crackdown on them. Minister Sirisena ordered Director General of Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis to immediately take action against quacks. Dr. Mendis was yesterday due to issue a circular to Provincial Health Directors and Regional Directors of Health Services to commence raids on quacks and take prompt legal action against them, more..