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Provider profits, public pays

Nov 16 (NS) In 1977, J.R. Jayawardene cried, ‘Let the robber barons come!’ Peter Mandelson said New Labour had no problems about people being seriously rich. “Liberalisation” of the economy made some people seriously rich. It has been claimed that the term “privatisation” was first used in the 1930s by The Economist to describe Nazi economic policy. In my lifetime, it has generally been seen as a right-wing kind of concept. One of the foundation myths of Thatcherism more..

Editorial: Doctors' hello allowance

Nov 16 (Island) Medical officers in the Western Province have threatened to launch a token strike today in protest against the nonpayment of their telephone allowances––Rs. 6,000 per month for ordinary doctors and 12,000 per month for specialists. If doctors in all other provinces have been paid their dues, as the Government Medical Officers' Association says, there is no reason why their counterparts in the Western Province should be left out. Doctors, no doubt, deserve better salaries and perks. more..

How and why the Oslo sponsored SLMM failed in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (TC) The SLMM functioned for almost six years and comprised an average of about 45 unarmed, non-uniformed monitors. The CFA did not end contestation between the parties, but transformed it. First, it caused a near complete cessation – at least initially – of military offensives. Second, it outlawed the intimidation and coercive control over civilian life, at least on paper. The checkpoints and curfews were lifted, but the High Security Zones, more..

Actor’s role in real life comes a cropper

Nov 16 (SO) The hostage drama was all over in a matter of minutes. The proprietor of the employment agency at Kiribathgoda was pulled out from his car by a group of people posing as police officers at the Kiribathgoda - Makola main road. Thereafter they bundled him into a car and drove off to a secret location at Himbutana in the Angoda area where he was held captive as a hostage in a storeyed house. The police followed several clues and was able to identify the suspect as an ex -Special Forces army soldier more..

Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Bill

Nov 16 (NS) In a hard hitting speech pervaded with justification for the government Bill on Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets, Minister Basil Rajapaksa emphasised that these assets and enterprises were once public property handed over to the private sector and individuals for contributing to the nation’s economic development but found to have run for devious purposes. During the debate on the Bill in Parliament on November 9, more..

Everything is defined by the Rajapaksas

Nov 16 (DM) Sri Lanka was the focus last week both locally and internationally due to a bill being passed in parliament. The revival of the underperforming enterprises and underutilized assets bill now holds an important place in the law and its implementation. The bill was presented as one which was urgent and thus prevented anyone going to court to seek redress if he had one. Why such an urgency? The urgency was to target certain individuals politically. more..

When majority voting needs a braking system

Nov 16 (DM) President Barack Obama has a new slogan - ‘We Can’t Wait’. Delayed by a divided Congress, he has resorted to issuing executive orders to get things moving. Although not having such difficulties in Parliament, President Rajapaksa’s government is in an equal hurry. Thus certain legislative proposals are being pushed through Parliament as ‘urgent bills’. Around a year ago, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was presented as an urgent bill. more..

More UK firms interested in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (Island) British High Commissioner John Rankin says he will encourage more UK companies to consider Sri Lanka as an ethical and profitable partner while the UK Trade and Investment Section of the British High Commission was having a record year in terms of enquiries from British companies wishing to do business in here and develop trade partnerships. "In that context I welcome the Sri Lankan govet’s efforts to improve the business environment by tackling existing more..

Govt will safeguard honest businessmen, their investments and their future progress

Nov 16 (TC) Following are excerpts of the speech made by Minister Basil Rajapaksa in Parliament during the debate on the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Bill. All property included in this draft Bill is public property which belongs to the people and not private property. This should be stated categorically. These public properties have been vested in private industries or enterprises under various more..

Life and times of Karu Jayasuriya in the private sector

Nov 16 (DBS) Hello Friends; Senior deputy leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya is a widely respected popular politician. Before he entered active politics this old Anandian had a distinguished record in the private sector. In a recent article in “The Island” journalist Ravi Ladduwahetty has written a multi-faceted article about Karu Jayasuriya’s private sector past based on a conversation with him. It is an interesting article providing an insight into Karu’s previous “avatar”. more..

Cricket elections: Upali in one-horse race?

Nov 16 (ST) Now the political election cavalcade is over for the time being. Suddenly out of the blues out came the Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, announcing the dissolution of the incumbent Upali Dharmadasa’s Interim administration by the 14th of this month. Subsequently, the minister pronounced that the elections would be held as stipulated by the ICC by December 15, 2011. However the present interim committee could have gone on till 2013 before facing ICC sanctions. more..

‘Ensure accountability for serious violations of human rights to truly solidify peace’

Nov 16 (TC) Remarks as Prepared to the Galle Dialogue, Sri Lanka By Robert M. Scher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asian Affairs: I’m delighted to be here today, along with so many distinguished leaders and practitioners of maritime security. I thank my good friend the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Pat Butenis, for personally inviting me to participate today. She is an outstanding representative for the United States. more..

Rs 400,000 monthly wage for Hotel Developers Ltd Chairman

Nov 16 (ST) The board of directors at Hotel Developers Ltd (HDL) – owners of the Hilton Colombo, have approved a monthly wage of Rs 400,000 for company Chairman Thirukumar Nadesan effective from October 2011 in a decision made two weeks before the company was acquired by the govt. HDL is listed as an ‘under-performing’ asset in laws passed this week to take over 37 enterprises. The board decision was made at its meeting on October 24 where Cornel Perera, a director, more..

Archaeologists uncover rare inscriptions in Ampara

Nov 16 (ST) A team of archaeologists have unearthed ruins in Girikumbila Tissa Vihara in the Rajagalathenna area in the Ampara District, where old inscriptions have been found for the first time in the area. Some of the inscriptions that have been deciphered show how money was disbursed annually for the maintenance of Girikumbila Tissa Sabbatha Vihara in the 10th century, during the reign of King Buddhadasa, son of Jettatissa the Great. more..

'Education shops' to be monitored -Minister S.B. Dissanayake

Nov 16 (DN) Educational ventures, including all tutories, carrying the name board 'Higher Education Institute' will be monitored and supervised to control and eliminate the operation of 'education shops', Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. It has been reported that various entrepreneurs are running these so-called higher educational institutes for financial benefits rather than the quality of education. more..

Most SL Facebook complaints from females on identity theft

Nov 16 (ST) Of the 1,600 Facebook related complaints that have been received by the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SL CERT) since the beginning of 2011, the majority of these incidents pertain to the opening of accounts, later reported as false, using the identity of mostly real life Sri Lankan females; according to Kanishka Yapa, Information Security Engineer at SL CERT, the Information and Communication Technology Agency-subsidiary that more..

Gentle reminders from eye hospital to its patients

Nov 16 (Island) The National Eye Hospital has come up with a method of giving a gentle reminder to all its patients on their annual eye test from next year. Spokesman for the Health Ministry said that a birthday card would be sent on the patient’s birthday wishing him/her with a little a note at the bottom informing them that an appointment had been fixed for a certain day of that month. He said they would be given a certain time where they could go to the doctor for eye testing. more..

UNP to launch public protest against draconian RUEUA Act

Nov 16 (Island) The UNP said yesterday that it would launch a public protest against the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Unutilised Assets Bill, which was bulldozed through parliament last week without discussing it with the stakeholders. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanyake, said that the date of the protest would be decided on, when UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe returns from London this week. more..

Public celebrations to mark Southern Expressway launch

Nov 16 (DN) The government will provide a rare opportunity for the people to visit and enjoy the marvels of modern road construction on the Southern Expressway on November 19 and 20. The public can walk freely on the Southern highway and participate in several sports competitions which will be conducted at all interchanges of Kottawa, Kahathuduwa, Galanigama, Dodangoda, Welipenna, Kurudugahahethakama, Baddegama and Pinnaduwa during two days from 2pm to 8pm. more..

President directs milk production increase

Nov 16 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday instructed officials of the Food Security and Cost of Living Committee to focus on developing a programme to increase local milk production, besides increasing vegetable and fruit production. He told food and security officials, who had gathered at Temple Trees that they should pay attention to increase local milk production with the same enthusiasm they show in increasing fruit and vegetable production under the Divi Neguma Programme. more..

Death row Lankan maid in emotional meeting with parents

Nov 16 (AN) A Sri Lankan housemaid who has spent the last six years on death row in Saudi Arabia had an emotional meeting with her parents in Riyadh on Tuesday. The visit took place as frantic efforts continue to secure clemency for 23-year-old Rizana Nafeek from the parents of the infant who was killed in her care. Tuesday’s meeting was the first between Nafeek and her parents following her death sentence on June 16, 2007. more..

Lankan school and Chinese school to be named sister schools

Nov 16 (Island) Colombo Sirimavo Bandaranaike Girls School and China Beijing No.80 High School have been named as sister schools. Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Vice President Li Xiaoqiang and her teammates will arrive in Sri Lanka today to make the tie up of the two schools formal. A ceremony will be held to officially announce the two schools as sister schools tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. in the Premises of Sirimavo Bandaranaike Girls’ school. more..

Sri Lankans ponder peace

Nov 16 (NST) In the thirty-something years that Sri Lanka fought with itself, profound changes were wreaked on the country. Its institutions have been greatly weakened and some of the best achievements since independence frittered away. In the 1960s, East Asian countries such as Singapore and South Korea visited Sri Lanka to study its social support system that provided free healthcare to all and free education up to a first degree. While those countries went ahead and more..

'China came in only after India refused'

Trip to Sri Lanka shows Seaforth couple the difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’

Nov 16 (HE) Returned recently from the island of Sri Lanka off the southeast coast of India, Gail and Chris Hill, of Seaforth, are still reeling from the stark difference between the "haves" in Canada and the "have-nots" in Sri Lanka. Working as volunteers with Sleeping Children Around the World, the Hills distributed 4,000 bed kits to seven schools in northern Sri Lanka during a two week visit at the end of September and beginning of October. more..

Indian former foreign secretary boycotted in Jaffna

Nov 16 (TN) Students and faculty of the University of Jaffna boycotted an address by India’s former foreign secretary (2004-2006) Shyam Saran, who visited Jaffna on Monday at the invitation of India-Sri Lanka Foundation and the University of Jaffna. As a result, the audience for Mr. Saran’s address at the university turned out to be mainly the SL military personnel occupying Jaffna. Speaking on India’s neighbourhood policy, Saran denounced international solutions to more..

Supreme Court refuses six FR petitions on Revival Bill

Nov 16 (FT) The Divisional Bench of five Judges of the Supreme Court yesterday refused to grant leave to proceed with six different Fundamental Rights violation petitions challenging the Expropriation Bill titled ‘an Act to provide for the vesting in the State identified Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Act’. The Bench held that there is no basis to grant leave to proceed and dismissed the petitions. more..

Uni. Non-academic staff meet today to fix strike date

Nov 16 (Island) University non-academic staff will meet today in Colombo to decide on a date for the launch of their continuous strike demanding their salary anomalies be rectified immediately. President of the Inter University Trade Union Federation R. M. Chandrapala told The Island that at their last meeting, the executive committee decided to launch a continuous strike if the government kept silent on their sick note campaign which was staged on Nov. 02. more..

JVP unions stage salary hike demand protest today

Nov 16 (Island) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), the umbrella organisation of over 300 trade unions, will hold a protest opposite the Fort Railway Station demanding an immediate pay hike for both public and private sector employees. The protest which is scheduled to start at 4.00 pm, would see the participation of public and private sector workers from country wide. NTUC President K.D. Lalkantha said that they would demand an increase of Rs. 10,000 for the public sector and more..

President Rajapaksa inaugurates National Tree Planting Campaign 2011

Nov 16 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the second phase of the National Tree Planting Campaign-2011: ‘Haritha Ratak - Deyata Sethank’ this morning on 15 November at the botanical garden on the Sri Lanka-Japan Friendship Road in Battaramulla. The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has organised many projects island wide to plant more than one million trees as part of the national tree planting day. more..

Emergency hotline 1969 for Southern expressway users

Nov 16 (Island) An emergency hotline (1969) has been introduced for users of the Southern Expressway to provide emergency services in disaster situations. Deputy Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said yesterday that the 24-hour emergency service units include the provision of ambulance, police, fire and rescue services. "It will respond to users’ personal or medical emergencies while they are on the express way," he said. An emergency lane would also be set up on the expressway. more..

Investor confidence worsens by the day; bourse loses Rs. 53 b in value

Nov 16 (FT) Investor confidence is worsening by the day judging by the continued tumble in value of the Colombo bourse, as it suffered one of the sharpest declines yesterday. The market capitalisation of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) dipped by Rs. 53 billion, bringing the loss of value since 3 November to a staggering Rs. 127 billion. The All Share Price Index fell sharply by over 2% to languish at a 14-month low, increasing the year-to-date decline to over 8%. more..

Fitch joins chorus, says nationalisation law could hinder investment

Nov 16 (FT) Fitch Ratings yesterday warned that Sri Lanka’s new law that enables the Government to take control of businesses could hinder investment in the country, although much will depend on the scope of the law. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Parliament passed the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Act, identifying 37 business or assets that can be brought under Government control. more..

Health Minister to discuss drug price controls with industry

Nov 16 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said he would be meeting drug importers, local producers and agents this week to discuss the proposed drug price control. Addressing the opening of the ‘Hemal’s Thallessemic Care Unit North Colombo Teaching Hospital (Professorial Unit) Kiribathgoda on Friday (11) he said there were a large number of drugs available under different brand names at varying prices in the market. more..

Humanism has to be globalised -Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka

Nov 16 (GDI) The NUNC initiative organized by Ambassador Ion de la Riva (Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO) and the Spanish Delegation to UNESCO took place on November 14 & 15 at UNESCO headquarters. This two day seminar consisted of a series of symposia on the role of New Humanism in the context of the challenges that Science, Culture and Communication are facing in the new Digital Era. more..

Fuel hike NOT fuelled by world market rates

Nov 16 (LB) The govt raised fuel prices citing the increase in the world market but the UNP says that the govt has carried out such hikes to meet the heavy losses it keeps incurring. The UNP states that there is a big disparity between the prices of fuel in the world market and in Sri Lanka, and MP Gayantha Karunathilaka is of the view that this disparity has ocurred due to heavy tax being levied and as a way of trying to tide over the losses of the CPC. more..

Sarath N Silva – A Mere Mortal

Nov 16 (SL) It will be no exaggeration to say that, Sarath N. Silva was one of the most controversial figures to have sat in the highest court of law in this country. Considering the prevailing state of affairs, being controversial alone may not be such a bad thing. Today’s controversy could be tomorrow’s standard. But there will very few brave or naive enough to argue that whatever controversy Sarath Silva created was standard setting, strengthening the idea of justice or more..

Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen

Nov 16 (CPJ) Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris, who is now the senior legal adviser to the cabinet and who many Sri Lankans say is aiming to become the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, has made conflicting statements about missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. The discrepancies do more than point up the govt's indifference to Eknelygoda's fate and the mental anguish of his wife and two sons. more..

GMOA members threaten to quit SLMC

Nov 16 (Island) Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday warned the government that their Association representing about 14,000 doctors would be compelled to resign from Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC)membership if the SLMC took action to register 70 RMPs who had presented bogus medical certificates. It was a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Sri Lanka Medical Ordinance slot. more..

Petrol price hike will fuel inflation

Nov 16 (Hindu) October’s fuel price hike “will cause a marginal upward movement in prices,” the Central Bank said here on Wednesday. However, it expected improvements in domestic supply conditions, arising from the high growth momentum of the economy would keep inflation down during the rest of the year. Sri Lanka pondered over a fuel rate hike even as the oil prices in the international market kept heading north. more..