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Sri Lanka spice theft seen as organized crime

Nov 13 (LBO) Theft on spice plantations in Sri Lanka has become a major problem and amounts to 'organised robbery', Sarada de Silva, head of a Sri Lankan grouping representing the spice industry said. It is a major drawback for smallholders and growers to increase their cultivation and production. De Silva called for tougher law enforcement and stiffer penalties which are now only 500 rupees for theft of spices which fetch 1,000 - 2,000 rupees a kilo. more..

Estate workers poised to strike

Nov 13 (LB) Leaders attached to the Lanka Estate Workers Union (LEWU) say that 18,500 workers attached to the tea, rubber and coconut industries are currently in grave danger of losing their employment. LEWU president, Dhammika Jayawardena said that there are severe salary anomalies with regard to these workers, citing the fact that the salaries of estate workers have increased since they received a pay hike last April from Rs405 to Rs515, -- whereas clerks, more..

TNA wants Tamil DS for Mannar

Nov 13 (NS) The TNA has protested the appointment of a Sinhala officer as Mannar District Secretary. The TNA has said Mannar which has an almost 100 per cent Tamil population needs a Tamil speaking person as District Secretary and only such person could understand the aspirations of the Tamil speaking people. It said by appointing a non Tamil officer the shortcomings in the district and the aspirations of its population could not reach the Govt directly. more..

CWG bid and cricket debt 'not linked'

Nov 13 (BBC) Australia’s Gold Coast winning the bid to host 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) is not a blow for rival Sri Lanka, says the bid’s top official. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the co-chairman of Hambantota 2018 bid said Sri Lanka winning 27 votes out of 70 votes on Friday evening was itself an achievement. He also denied any link between the recent doping scandals, serious debts facing country’s cricket board and Gold Coast being granted the bid. more..

TNA-Government dialogue restarts on Nov. 16

Nov 13 (NS) Following their return to the country on Thursday the TNA delegation headed by its leader R. Sampanthan would hold the next round of talks with the Govt on Wednesday 16. A TNA delegation comprising of its leader Sampanthan, General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah and spokesman Suresh Premachandran would form the TNA delegation at the talks with the Govt. Ministers Prof. G.L. Peiris, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Dinesh Gunawardena would comprise the govt delegation. more..

GMOA seeks health ministry intervention

Nov 13 (SL) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has sought Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s intervention to find schools for the children whose parents are working in the peripheries. Dr. Saman Abeywardena of the GMOA said that six children whose parents are working in periphery hospitals are waiting to get schools in Colombo although 11 months have elapsed in the year. “The general procedure is to send letters to the Education Ministry Secretary through more..

Pvt bus operators threaten strike action from Monday night

Nov 13 (ST) Private bus operators have decided to pull out from services from Monday midnight if the govt does not give them concessions, in the wake of the recent fuel price hike. Gemunu Wijeratne, president of the PBOA, said that the govt was providing a fuel subsidy for state-run buses, and should in all fairness consider a sizeable subsidy for the private bus service. He said that they were expecting other bus operators to join the strike action. more..

The impact of Casinos and Gambling on Sri Lankan society

Nov 14 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the cancer of casinos and gambling which is invading Sri Lankan society which aspires to be free of such disastrous practices. David Detzer, an American journalist, after visiting Havana in the 1950s wrote thus: ‘Batista established lasting relationships with organized crime, notably with American mobsters Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, and under his rule more..

SAARC: Problems of the giant among the seven dwarfs

Nov 14 (SL) The Indian navy threw a security cordon around the tiny island of Addu in the Maldives early in the week in preparation for the 17th SAARC Summit and Indian aircraft provided air cover. Whether it was an Indian naval power projection or security against Somali pirates roaming the Indian Ocean or both is hard to say but the eight nation member talk shop continued its two day deliberations undisturbed. The only significant news reported by the international media was more..

'Create a country covered with trees'

Nov 14 (SO) A new green belt is to be created marking the anniversary of Deyata Sevana the National Tree Planting program. Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa calls upon citizens to participate in the program by planting a tree in their home gardens to create a Sri Lanka covered in greenery. "Sri Lanka is in a good position, regarding sustainable development which complies with environment security," said Minister Yapa in a discussion with more..

The pandemic will spread to Asia

Nov 14 (LB) From time to time in this column and elsewhere I have been predicting for over an year that the very survival of the Eurozone in its present form and the future of the Euro as a currency were under threat as the pandemic of the global capitalist crisis spread from America across the Atlantic and beyond. Yes, and beyond; it is true that for a while, dynamic Asia led by China and India was the beneficiary of the West’s discomfiture, and speaking with an eye on the long term, more..

Non-academic strategies for dealing with endemic political violence in our universities

Nov 14 (TC) When the history of university education in Sri Lanka in the early decades of the 21st century comes to be written, law professor Savitri Goonesekere should surely figure on a peak of resplendent courage. Having sat next to me at fortnightly meetings of the UGC for several years, Prof SG knows my favorite quote from Ernest Hemingway : “If people bring so much courage to this world, the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them” more..

'Freedom of expression must not de-generate into wild ass freedom on cyber space'

Nov 14 (TC) The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) has blocked several news websites. Local and foreign media organizations have criticized and protested the govt’s decision to block them. The US and European Union embassies too, had issued statements expressing their concerns over this decision. The media organisations have a right to condemn the attempts by the govt to suppress the freedom of expression. more..

Editorial: Remedy for our Current Account Deficit

Nov 14 (BL) According to the latest statistics released by the Central Bank our external trade position has deteriorated. For the first eight months of 2011, the cumulative earnings from exports and expenditure on imports have increased by 28.6 per cent to US dollars 6,966 million and 50.6 per cent to US dollars 12,926 million, respectively. As a result, the trade deficit stood at US dollars 5,960 million. The expansion in exports of services and increased inward workers’ more..

Editorial: Lessons unlearnt

Nov 14 (Island) Norway seems to have sought to counter a perceived attempt by Sri Lanka's LLRC to blame Oslo for the collapse of the disastrous 'peace' deal (2002-2009). Ahead of the submission of the LLRC report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Norway has released the findings by its version of a lessons learnt commission in a report titled, Pawns of peace-Evaluation of Norwegian Peace Efforts in Sri Lanka, 1997-2009. (The executive summary of the Norwegian report refers to more..

'We are aware that we cannot trust The Govt of Sri Lanka'

Nov 14 (TC) Text of a speech made by TNA leader R.Sampanthan at the Sri Iyappan Temple auditorium in Toronto on October 30, 2011. You are here in large numbers and we would like to thank you for that. In Canada, two major ethnic groups, who speak different languages have been living in different parts of the country. These are people who speak English and French languages. They have self- rule in their respective areas where they live. more..

Mahinda is making such comical political steps

Nov 14 (TC) The year 1971, was a turbulent time. Govt which swept to power claiming a socialist revolution had to face a youth rebellion led by a party claiming to be socialist! It appeared to be a belated revolt. It was meant to be an uprising against the pro imperialist UNP regime, which the youth leaders, Wijeweera and others, assumed to be a power that could not be defeated in an election. They believed that a well knit plan was there to install a dictatorship in case of an electoral defeat. more..

The greatest stumbling block to reconciliation is the TNA

Nov 14 (TC) Metric that matters most is whether TNA with whom Govt has initiated a dialogue genuinely want the reconciliation process to succeed. Or are they merely posturing together to placate foreign embassies? The Govt gains if reconciliation becomes a success unlike the TNA. But is the Govt capable of structuring and contriving a reconciliation process because of the inadequate intellectual grasp? TNA – being a demagogic ethnic party, cat’s paw until 5/19 of the LTTE and more..

Three inter-connected pre-occupations of the Rajapaksas: Extravagance, land grabbing and media-muzzling

Nov 14 (TC) Mindless-extravagance; land-grabbing; media-muzzling: the three Rajapaksa preoccupations are intimately interconnected. The Ruling Siblings need money to strengthen their power and to sustain their voracious appetite for exhibitionism, and the fastest way to make a fast-buck in a cash-strapped economy is grabbing other people’s properties and selling/leasing them. Since such kleptocratic ways might alarm and alienate the Sibling’s Southern-base, more..

5th column: In Lankanomics, profit is loss

Nov 14 (ST) "Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is the difference between profit and loss?" "In a business," Bindu's father Percy explained, "if you have some money left over after recovering your expenses, then you have made a profit but if you haven't done that, then you are running at a loss" "So," Bindu said, "if you are running a business, you try to run it at a profit…" "Of course you do…" Percy agreed. "But what happens if you are running at a loss?" Bindu wanted to know. more..

If it was right for you what’s wrong with us: Govt.

Nov 14 (ST) While the Govt’s intentions for introducing new legislation to take over a select number of institutions it deems as underperforming or having underutilised assets is highly questionable, what is equally questionable is how serious are the UNP and the JHU in their opposition to the Bill. The UNP and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe went public with their opposition to the Bill, after it was made known that Govt had forwarded the draft Bill for more..

Budget deficit expands as revenue growth slows down

Nov 14 (Island) The budget deficit has expanded by 11.12 percent during the first eight months of this year to Rs. 349.6 billion, which is estimated to be 5.51 percent of GDP, as revenue growth slowed down although still ahead of expenditure growth, latest data from the Central Bank showed. According to fiscal data for the period January to August 2011, the budget deficit grew 11.12 percent year on year to Rs. 349.6 billion from Rs. 314.6 billion. more..

Visit by JATA Chief and team big boost for tourism

Nov 14 (FT) Japan Association for Travel Agents (JATA) President Akira Kanai and the Executive Committee arrived in Sri Lanka over the weekend on a familiarisation tour. The delegation comprising 25 members will remain on the island until 16 November. During the visit, the delegation is expected to visit Colombo, Pinnawela, Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. The delegation comprises of the heads of leading travel companies in Japan. JATA’s familiarisation visit is more..

'Losing CWG bid a blessing in disguise'

Nov 14 (Island) UNP Dr. Harsha De Silva says losing the bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018 (CWG 2018) was a blessing in disguise. The country is estimated to have spent US$ 7-8 million on the bid to host the games in Hambantota. "The estimated cost to host CWG 2018 is around US$ 8 billion although it was earlier estimated to be US$ 4 billion and the economy could not have absorbed this huge cost. A feature of the construction sector is that costs tend to escalate. more..

Dissidents are robbers:Tilvin

Nov 14 (DM) The JVP today referred to its dissidents as robbers who took away party’s property including a photocopy machine and a computer. Addressing the 22nd death commemoration of party’s founder leader Rohana Wijeweera, Tilvin Silva said that these dissidents whom he referred to as a group of robbers were now trying to distort the ideology or Mr. Wijeweera. He vowed that these elements would never be allowed to distort this ideology persevered by the party since its inception. more..

Learn and be empowered with all that is legal

Nov 14 (ST) The Public will be afforded an opportunity to obtain free legal advice from eminent lawyers on November 26 at Court premises, Hulftsdorp Street, Colombo 12, as part of Law Week that falls next week. From November 21 to 25, several branch associations of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will hold Legal Awareness programmes in their respective areas, while Law Week 2011 exhibition will be held on November 26 at Hulftsdorp from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. more..

Caught with smuggled fags and fined

Nov 14 (Island) Acting on a tip-off Kollupitiya Police on Friday took into custody a Chinese national with a consignment of smuggled cigarettes worth about Rs. 130,000. The suspect identified as Tiem Son was produced before Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on the same day. The cigarettes had been found concealed in a box in his shop at Siman Hewawitharana Mawatha in Kollupitiya. SI Jayasundera prosecuting in the case informed the Court that the stock consisted of more..

Be prepared to sacrifice your lives: JVP Dissidents

Nov 14 (DM) JVP dissidents, who called for a socialist revolution, today requested its cadres to be prepared to even sacrifice their lives for the cause following the example of the party’s founder leaders. The JVP led Socialist Students Union National Organiser and Central Committee member Chamira Koswatte who delivered the key note address at the El Maha Samuluwa which was organised to commemorate the party’s founder leader Rohana Wijeweera and others more..

'Solutions for problems in Islamic scripture'

Nov 14 (Island) Minister G.L. Peiris said yesterday there were solutions for all the problems facing the contemporary world, and Islamic scriptures were a wealth of knowledge which has singularly contributed practical solutions to all these problems. Prof. Peiris, who was the guest of honour at the inauguration of the third World Muslim Congress, said hadiths in Islam clearly indicated the moral duties of an employer to the employee, and citing a hadith, he said a worker should be paid before the sweat in his skin dries out. more..

Shock treatment for farmers and jumbos at Wilpattu border

Nov 14 (ST) Farmers living on the border of the Wilpattu National Park have expressed fears for their future livelihoods, with the authorities planning to erect an electrified fence stretching some 95 kilometres on the eastern side of the sanctuary. The authorities claim that the fence was important to prevent wild elephants from entering the villages and also to prevent farmers from encroaching into the park. However a spokesperson for the farmers said that more..

High-flying Pakistan plot another win

Nov 14 (CI) With every passing match, the stock of Misbah-ul-Haq continues to rise. A dysfunctional board, the loss of world-class fast bowlers to the spot-fixing crisis, a fall-out between captain and coach earlier in the year leading to the brief retirement of the talismanic Shahid Afridi - none of that has stopped Misbah from steering Pakistan to an almost six-month unbeaten run. Some of the opposition along the way might have been the lightweights, more..

Lankan Tamil held with suspected narcotic substance

Nov 14 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan Tamil was held for allegedly possessing suspected narcotic substance at Thethakudi near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district on Sunday. The 36-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil D.Albert Cruz (36) had come as a refugee from the island nation in 1989 and had been staying outside the refugee camp in Nagapattinam district since then. Based on information, a police party caught Albert Cruz, who was found in possession of packets containing white coloured more..

Sri Lanka port in terminal construction deal

Nov 14 (LBO) Agreements to start building the first container terminal by Aitken Spence and China Merchants Holding (International) in a new deep water port being built next to Sri Lanka's Colombo port were signed last week. The agreements were the site lease agreement, shareholders agreement, direct lenders agreement and facility agreement, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority said in a statement. The 500 million US dollar South Container Terminal is to be built and operated by more..

Sri Lanka in fresh bid to get mercy for Rizana

Nov 14 (AN) A delegation led by Western Province Gov. Alavi Mowlana is to arrive in Riyadh this week to seek clemency for Rizana Nafeek from the parents of the infant who was killed during her care. On June 16, 2007, Nafeek was sentenced to death for killing the baby she was entrusted to look after in the absence of her Saudi employers at home. The accused maintained that the newborn choked during bottle-feeding, and that she tried to seek help. more..

Belgians seen as early birds seizing new economic opportunities in Lanka

Nov 14 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, Belgians have been "early birds" in seizing on the new economic opportunities opening up in Sri Lanka since the ending of the terrorist conflict in May 2009, a press communiqué from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Brussels said. "Noting that both Sri Lanka and Belgium, where the SME sector is prominent, presents a better fit to do business, he said this trend has been supported by more..

Sex abuse cases on the rise

Nov 14 (DM) Police have identified as many as 258 cases of sexual abuse involving children and 21 cases of forcing girls or women into the sex trade during the first nine months of this year, Parliament was informed last week. 47 cases of forcing women into the sex trade were reported last year, 31 in 2009, 33 in 2008, 30 in 2007, 35 in 2006, 15 in 2005 and 16 in 2004. Besides, the report said 334 incidents where children were ill-treated and sexually abused were reported in 2010, more..

'Schools must maintain proper accounts'

Nov 14 (DM) In a bid to curb corruption and financial malpractices, the Education Ministry has decided to make it compulsory for school authorities to maintain accounts of their school development societies according to the accounting standards and concepts stipulated by the Sri Lanka Chartered Institute from January next year, Minister Bandula Gunawardane said. He said that he instructed the National Institute of Education to work out instructions more..

Sri Lanka state network enlists Harris for switch to digital TV

Nov 14 (RN) Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has contracted Harris Broadcast Communications to provide it with DVB-T2 transmission equipment as the South Asian nation migrates from analogue to digital terrestrial television. The contract involves a number of Harris Maxiva ULX UHF transmitters to support eight over the air digital channels for SLRC. Targeted DVB-T2 channel insertions in specific regions will also allow the network to retain local as well as more..

SB wants police posts inside universities

Nov 14 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday dropped a bombshell when he announced his intention to introduce police posts inside universities to deal with student violence. He said that police presence within university premises was almost universal. He said most foreign universities had their police units. Violent clashes between student unions becoming a common occurrence, authorities had no alternative but to introduce police posts within universities to more..

Sri Lanka struggling to revive 23 busted state firms: report

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka is struggling to revive 23 troubled state enterprises, with salaries being paid with people's tax money and hundreds of million rupees more to be paid as voluntary retirement compensation. "Some of these enterprises were not operating for around four to seven years while others have been defunct for over seven years,". One firm, Embilipitiya Paper Corporation, will be given to Perth Engineering more..