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Sri Lanka minister in bid to fast track building starts

Nov 2 (LBO) Minister Basil Rajapaksa urged state agencies to drop archaic rules and procedures that were delaying construction starts, and the ease of doing business in the country. "It takes a lot of approvals to even build a toilet in this country," Rajapaksa told a forum of senior public officials and businessmen convened to improve the 'ease of doing business'. "Sometimes we do this as a habit." more..

UNP lambastes govt. plan to take over loss incurring private ventures

Nov 2 (Island) The UNP yesterday lashed out at the government for a controversial move to rush through a Bill titled ‘Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets’. The UNP has alleged that the Rajapaksa administration is playing politics with the national economy. In a letter to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga has warned that some provisions of more..

Legal action will be taken against ten candidates

Nov 2 (DM) The Elections Department vowed today to take legal action against the ten candidates who did not declare their assets before October 31, 2011, officials said today. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Desapriya requested all the elected candidates to declare their assets. Altogether 420 candidates were elected at the election conducted on October 8, 2011, and of them 410 had declared their assets in writing to the commissioner. more..

JVP admits 2004 alliance with SLFP was a blunder

Nov 2 (DM) The JVP has admitted that entering into alliance politics with the SLFP in 2004 was a political mistake that compromised the party's identity. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that it is not possible to overcome challenges without proper understanding and vision. He said, as the existing left parties were not strong enough, comrade Rohana Wijeweera in 1965 formed a political party for the social class. more..

Sri Lanka SEC deputy out after pressure over probes

Nov 2 (Reuters) The director general of Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday said he will move to a position in the finance ministry, capping weeks of speculation he was being forced out amid complaints he was too aggressive as a regulator. Malik Cader said he had been appointed senior adviser on capital markets policy and development at the finance ministry, more..

Norway contributes to rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres

Nov 2 (Hindu) Norway has joined the international effort aimed at assisting reintegration and reconciliation of former LTTE cadres into society. The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo has contributed Rs. 57 million to support the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) programme towards the purpose. Sri Lanka has released, in batches, most of the former LTTE cadre, barring the hardcore ones, charged with serious offences. more..

Ven Dhammalankara asks Govt. to reconsider the Takeover Bill

Nov 2 (DM) An eminent Buddhist monk yesterday asked the gover nment to reconsider its decision to introduce the controversial "Revival of Underperfor ming Enterprises and Unutilized Assets Bill". Siyam Nikaya's Anunayake of the Samagri Sangha Sabha in Kotte, the Most Ven. Iththepane Dhammalankara Thera, said that the gover nment could use the proposed bill to acquire the properties of its opponents. more..

Editorial: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Nov 2 (DM) As the world commemorates All Souls’ Day today with florists having a rosy day, it would be an appropriate time for all people and especially powerful political leaders to remember that everything in worldly life is transient or impermanent and a physical death is one of the grim realities. We need to remember this reality because we often tend to delude ourselves into thinking that worldly factors like power, prestige, popularity or wealth will last forever. more..

Sniffer dogs brought from Sri Lanka for SAARC Summit security

Nov 2 (Haveeru) Sniffer dogs have been brought from Sri Lanka for the security of the upcoming SAARC Summit. Sniffer dogs have been brought from Sri Lanka for the security of the upcoming SAARC Summit. The sniffer dogs were shown yesterday at a special inspection of the Joint Inter Agency Taskforce held at Gan International Airport in Addu City. The Joint Inter Agency Taskforce Commander, Colonel Mohamed Ziyad earlier said that six teams, each having one sniffer dog, more..

118 students suspended from studentship: IUSF

Nov 2 (DM) The IUSF said today that as many as 118 university students had been suspended from their studentship during the past few months due to their alleged involvement in various violent activities during the past few months. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said that 32 of these suspended students are from the Sri Jayewardenepura University, 2 from Kelaniya University, 13 from Rajarata University, 2 from the Sabaragamuwa University, more..

Sri Lanka call for corruption-free cricket

Nov 2 (AFP) Sri Lankan team manager Anura Tennekoon Wednesday called for corruption-free cricket in order to sustain the interest in the game after three Pakistani players were found guilty in a spot-fixing scandal. “I think any form of corruption in the game should be dealt with seriously and eradicated so that the interest in the game is sustained,” said Tennekoon when asked about his reaction on the court verdict in England on Tuesday. Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and more..

Sri Lanka stocks end up 2.7-pct

Nov 2 (LBO) Stocks closed sharply higher Wednesday on news the markets regulator who had cracked down on securities fraud had been removed, with indices rising steeply but tapering off towards the end of trading, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 2.71 percent to 6,452.28, while the Milanka index rose 2.49 percent to close at 5,743.55, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover was 1.5 billion rupees. John Keells Holdings rose over three percent to close at 195 rupees, more..

Where is the new political culture, asks Muzamil

Nov 2 (DM) Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil charged that UPFA members of the CMC had defied President Mahinda Rajapaksa by taking over rooms at the Town Hall even before the new administration was formed. Mr. Muzammil who was referring to the opening of an opposition leader’s office at the CMC on Monday, said UPFA members had defied President Rajapaksa who had said he would work towards building a new political culture instead of traditional hostile politics more..

Sri Lanka packaging industry calls for effective waste management system

Nov 2 (LBR) Sri Lanka’s packaging industry is calling for an effective waste management system to help repeal the social stigma that discarded packaging creates waste amountig to nearly six to seven percent of municipal waste. "Post consumer packaging is considered value-less because it does not perform any useful function," said J D Amarasooriya, director of the Packaging Development Center in Sri Lanka. "If post consumer packaging is made more..

Land Circular: Court fixes hearing for Nov. 9

Nov 2 (DM) As both parties move for time to consider the English translation of the impugned circular circulated in the North and East asking the owners to register details of their land, the Court of Appeal yesterday fixed the matter for mention on Nov 9. When the matter came up before Justice W.L. Ranjith Silva, Counsel for the petitioner implored to reconsider the impugned circular which requires the possessors to fur nish details of State as well as private land before November 20. more..

WikiLeaks: US believes JVP honestly wants to move the country forward

Nov 2 (CT) “While few Sri Lankans think of the JVP when they think about political reconciliation, we believe they are sincere in wanting to move the country forward to a new era of national peace and inter-ethnic cooperation.” the US Embassy Colombo reported to Washington. The US Ambassador Patricaia Butenis met the JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi on January 15, 2010. more..

Jayasuriya backs Dilshan

Nov 2 (TC) Former Sri Lanka all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya has come to the defence of under-fire captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, insisting the team's current dip in form is nothing to panic about. Sri Lanka face Pakistan in Sharjah on Thursday for the start of the third and final Test following a draw and a nine-wicket defeat in the opening two matches. Dilshan took charge of the side after this year's World Cup, taking over from taking over from Kumar Sangakkara, but Sri Lanka have struggled since more..

Kudu Baba arrested

Nov 2 (DM) The Vavuniya police today arrested an alleged drug dealer known as ‘Kudu Baba’ who had run an illegal drug business in the area since the end of the war, with 500 grams of heroin in his possession. The arrest had been made on an intelligence report received by the STF in Vavuniya and further information regarding the racket was exposed to police by the frequent incoming calls to the suspect’s phone. Police also suspect that this person was the kingpin who more..

Three days at sea without food and water

Nov 2 (IOL) Four Sri Lankan sailors survived clinging to a life raft at sea for three days without food or water – thanks to South African authorities who had earlier detained their ship and made them buy safety equipment. Their 57.5-foot fishing trawler, the Deshan Lanka, was en route to Sierra Leone from Sri Lanka when it caught fire and sank on Sunday off the Cape south coast. The sailors launched the life raft the authorities had made them buy in East London. more..

Stand up and score Dilshan urges Sri Lanka batsmen

Nov 2 (AFP) Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan urged his batsmen to stand up and score big to help Sri Lanka level the series against Pakistan by winning the third Test which starts here from Thursday. Poor first innings batting let Sri Lanka down in the first Test before an epic double hundred and a fighting century from Prasanna Jayawardene salvaged a draw in the first Test in Abu Dhabi. But the batters failed to show an improved performance in the second Test as Pakistan romped to more..

Minister Rajitha Senaratne alleges Media Institution character assassinating

Nov 2 (AT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that a certain media institution has launched an exercise to character assassinate him since he made a speech condemning political gun culture, following the Mulleriya shooting in which Bharata Lakshman Premachandra was killed. He said that he is doing politics based on principles and he vehemently opposed the JVP gun culture as well as the LTTE gun culture and will continue to do so fearlessly in the future as well. more..

‘SAITM to start clinical classes in private hospitals’

Nov 2 (DM) Despite protests by local medical faculty students and government doctors, the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) said yesterday it expects to receive permission to begin clinical lessons for SAITM medical students at three private hospitals in Colombo. This week the Medical Faculty Students Action Committee which comprises medical students from all local universities in the country held a protest outside more..

Reports about SL Navy ramming Indian boat turn out to be false

Nov 2 (Rediff) Certain media reports had recently claimed that on Sunday, a Sri Lankan Navy ship had rammed into an Indian fishing vessel, sinking it. On Monday, visited Rameswaram to probe this story further and found that the boat in question belonged to one Alex. Alex stays at Victoria Nagar in Thangachimadam, Rameshwaram. On the fateful day, the boat had gone fishing with four men on board, including Alex's son Reagan. more..

Five Sri Lankan Artists honoured with Bunka Awards

Nov 2 (GDI) The 18th Bunka (Cultural) Awards ceremony organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held recently at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Colombo 07. The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan. For the past seventeen years, 98 such awards more..

Indian Army team visits Wanni in Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (PTI) An Indian army team has undertaken a visit to Tamil dominated Wanni region in northern Sri Lanka, which was once a battlefront between the government forces and the rebel LTTE during the three decades ethnic conflict, the military said on Wednesday. The representative delegation of the Indian Army Higher Command Course-2011 is currently touring Sri Lanka, country's Army said. The 16-member delegation is led by Air Commodore P R Navalkar of Indian Air Force. more..

Sri Lanka workers organise fashion show to demand ‘living wage’

Nov 2 (AN) Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees' Union launched a campaign for decent work in response to the growing crisis in the apparel sector. However, the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) sees it only as an image problem even though job losses went from 15,000 last year to 30,000 this year. The union’s campaign is titled "Living Together-Sharing the Wallet". FTZ workers want to highlight the difference between a ‘minimum wage’ and a ‘living wage’. more..

Sri Lankan banks urged to borrow abroad

Nov 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's banking regulator has urged banks to borrow abroad using improved credit ratings and precedents set by sovereign bonds as local savings were inadequate to raise funds needed to maintain high growth. Central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said economic growth has begun to accelerate with the end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in 2009 but it would be tough to maintain the pace without external funding and investment. "It's not easy to maintain eight percent-plus growth continuously for four or five years," more..

NATA wants Govt. to increase cigarette prices

Nov 2 (DM) The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) today urged the government to increase the price of cigarettes by 50 per cent as a means of controlling tobacco consumption and increasing government revenue. NATA Chairman Carlo Fonseka said by increasing the price of cigarettes govt revenue from tobacco would increase by a staggering Rs.16 billion. He said it had been proved the world over that if cigarette prices were increased, more..

Duminda Silva’s Rs. 17 million fraud crashes

Nov 2 (CT) The Police hasn’t taken any action against Duminda Silva’s Rs 17 million insurance fraud and the threat he made to the insurance company the Colombo Telegraph learnt. The police think there is sufficient evidence to act against MP Duminda Silva but they cannot go further due to extreme political pressure. “We would have been in deep trouble if we raised any issue then,” said one of them familiar with the case. Duminda Silva, submitted the fake claim for Rs 17 million to to Janashakithi Insurance. more..

Academic assistants and non academic staff of universities on strike

Nov 2 (NF) Academic assistants and non academic staff in universities across the island have commenced a one day token strike. The President of the Inter University Trade Unions Federation, R.M. Chandrasena said the token strike had been organized in protest of the administration's inability to settle their salary arrears which have existed for several years. The Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Sunil Jayantha Navaratna said that as measures are more..

Members of the Thai Royal family call on President Rajapaksa

Nov 2 (IL) A delegation of Thai Royal family members including Princess Soamsawali who are on a tour in Sri Lanka paid a visit to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on 01 November. The meeting was arranged just after President Rajapaksa arrived in Sri Lanka after the conclusion of Commonwealth Summit which was held in Australia. The Presidential Media Unit stated that several members of the Thai Royal Family including Princess Soamsawali more..

51 Jaffna students get scholarship from the Army

Nov 2 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army, deployed in the northern part of the island has initiated a number of projects for the development of the education in the area. Constructing and renovating school buildings, distributing school items, offering scholarships to children, organizing education trip to places in the south and organizing seminars for GCE (A/L) and O/L candidates are some of them. Another such gesture of goodwill was extended by the Civil Affairs Office of the more..

WB’s South Asia vice president meets minister Basil Rajapaksa

Nov 2 (SM) The World Bank’s vice president for South Asia Isabel Guerrero today (2) met minister Basil Rajapaksa in Colombo. The discussion between them centred on vocational education, tank renovation, electricity sector development, FDI inflows and tourism development. World Bank Country Director to Sri Lanka Diarietou Gaye also participated in the talks. The World Bank has been primarily focusing on developing the island’s energy, transport, telecom, health, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 02.11.2011

Elle Thera’s solution instead of nationalization

Nov 2 (SM) The govt can extend assistance and give a deadline for the loss-making private ventures to show profits, instead of introducing nationalization, says Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera. Once they begin earning profits, the govt can levy a reasonable tax if it is in need of funding, says the prelate. He is questioning the motive behind the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act, at a time when the country is having more than 200 state-owned entities running at a loss. more..

Attaining AALCO goals needs cooperation: Hakeem

Nov 2 (DM) Minister Rauff Hakeem stressed the need for cooperation and working together to achieve the common goals of the Asian - African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) while finding solutions to unresolved issues on many aspects in the near future. The minister made this point speaking at the opening ceremony of the AALCO conference in the UN headquar ters New York on Monday. Introductory remarks were made by the Secretary General Prof. Dr. Rahamath Mohammad more..

Central Bank clarifies the strategy of EPF investments

Nov 2 (IL) In an era where interest rates are likely to decline in the medium to long term, the EPF has taken the view that returns from investments in government securities and debt instruments only, would not provide sufficiently high returns across such time horizon. Therefore, the need to diversify the EPF investment portfolio has been considered important, while maintaining the overall safety and stability of the Fund. more..

Misguiding Economic Statistics?

Nov 2 (LG) Statistical data are put out by various organizations such as the Dept. of Census and Statistics, (DCS) Central Bank (CBSL), Department of Meteorology etc. Some of these data such as population, rainfall, temperature are straightforward and clear. However, some economic statistical data such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Per Capita Income (PCI) and Poverty Level, the manner in which they are computed, tend to be misleading, though these statistics are widely used by more..

Sri Lanka backs Palestine bid for UNESCO membership

Nov 2 (LG) In keeping with its longstanding advocacy, Sri Lanka reaffirmed its support for Palestinian nationhood at the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Minister of National Heritage, Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, while delivering Sri Lanka’s country statement to the General Conference on 29th October 2011, stated that Sri Lanka strongly supports the membership of Palestine in UNESCO which would enable the country to more..

Private bus operators want diesel price reduced

Nov 2 (DM) Private bus owners urged the govt today to either reduce the price of diesel from Rs.84 to Rs.76 a litre or increase bus fares as private buses incurred a daily loss of Rs.15 million since last week’s price increase. PBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratne said the Rs.8 increase could be detrimental to the bus service as it was a heavy cost to bear. He said to ensure that bus travel was affordable to commuters, bus fares should be kept at a more..