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How to improve public revenues in Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (IDS) I recently visited Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a conference on tax and development. It was organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, together with the International Centre for Tax and Development at IDS. After the conference, my friend Anjali asked me about what had been discussed, and what it meant to her as a citizen of Sri Lanka. I explained to her what was foremost on my mind. The Government of Sri Lanka was gradually ceasing to tax. more..

Private medical college shouldn't award MBBS

Nov 23 (DM) The Malabe private medical college should never be allowed to award the Sri Lankan MBBS, Medical Faculty Students Action Committee representative Najith Indika said yesterday protesting opposite the UGC. “How can the standard of the Malabe private medical college be compared to ours?” Mr. Indika said. According to him some of the students accepted into the Malabe private medical college have not passed the Advanced Level Examinations. more..

Principal removed following protest

Nov 23 (Island) Central Province Education authorities yesterday removed the principal of Wariyapola Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya in Kandy, from the school premises following a demonstration by the students calling for his removal. The entire student population walked out of the class-rooms and joined a protest demonstration in front of the school while the principal was confined to his office. The principal, who had been managing the school for several years, was severely charge more..

Bogus DIG who tricked an OIC to release suspect granted bail

Nov 23 (Island) A son of a retired Superintendent of Police who impersonated a DIG to get a suspect released from the Peliyagoda police custody was yesterday produced before the Hulftsdorp Magistrate court and enlarged on Rs. 25,000 personal bail. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that the Peliyagoda police was conducting further investigations. The son of the retired SP had phoned Peliyagoda OIC Mangala Dehideniya identifying himself as a DIG more..

The Sri Lankan editor trapped in his office for the last five years

Nov 23 (Independent) It is not simply dedication to his job that has led newspaper editor MV Kaanamyl-nathan to not leave his office for five-and-a-half years. In the spring of 2006, gunmen stormed into the building and sprayed automatic fire that killed two employees and left bullet holes in the walls and the table in the conference room that remain to this day. Since then, two police officers have been assigned to permanent duty outside the building and more..

Unproductive plantation land takeover brews fresh crisis

Nov 23 (FT) The Govt’s plans to takeover unproductive plantation land as announced in Budget 2012 have stirred a fresh round of concerns among the private sector. Analysts said that the impact of the move is likely to have factored in the 3% dip in plantation sector price index yesterday in the Colombo stock market, whilst the bourse dipped by 1% as investors remained sceptical about the 2012 Budget’s fortunes. Though commending the Budget overall, the Ceylon Chamber of more..

Can Dilshan's men arrest a worrying slide?

Nov 23 (CI) What is ailing Sri Lankan cricket? In the past eight months, following the World cup, they have played eight series across formats against top-flight teams, and gone on to lose six of them. The two victories came in Twenty20 series, if that term can be used to describe one- and two-match Twenty20 shoot-outs. Their decline in Test cricket was not a complete surprise, given how much the side depended on Muralitharan, but the ODI slump cannot be easily explained. more..

Wake of LLRC report: Govt. pushes for national reconciliation

Nov 23 (Island) In the wake of the LLRC handing over its much awaited report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday, the govt will hold the first national conference on reconciliation at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute tomorrow. The SLFP-led UPFA govt will reiterate its assurance of post-war partnership with one-time foe, the pro LTTE Tamil Diaspora for the promotion of a Sri Lankan identity. more..

No choice in defence budget increase:MR

Nov 23 (DM) The threats to the nation and the country still remain intact though the heroic soldiers who were able to save the mother-land from terrorism and the government had no choice but to set aside the largest amount of funds possible for the defence of the country, from the budget for 2012, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Delivering the Convocation Address of the ‘General Sir John Kotalawala Defence University’ last afternoon at Temple Trees, more..

'Death threats' against Judge Deepali

Nov 23 (BBC) The judge who presided over the High Court Trial-at-Bar that convicted Former army commander Sarath Fonseka says that she had received death threats throughout the trial. Deepali Wijesundera who chairs of the High Court Judges Association (HCJA) of Sri Lanka said that she is not sure who was threatening her. When asked about media reports of threats against one of the judges in the Trial-at-bar which convicted Gen. Fonseka who challenged Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2009 presidential election, more..

Gas-find a damp squib?

Nov 23 (DM) Despite the govt claiming that natural gas had been discovered while drilling for oil in two blocks in the Mannar Basin, the gas deposits found deep under the sea in one well has been proved to be inadequate in terms of volumes and thus non-economical, the Daily Mirror learns. Cairn International, whose Indian subsidiary which was reported to have found the gas deposits, has reportedly communicated this to the govt recently. more..

Neglected in budget, jobless graduates to launch continuous protest

Nov 23 (Island) Unemployed graduates, who had been waiting for nearly eight years to secure government jobs, yesterday threatened to launch a continuous protest campaign as the 2012 budget had neglected them. Addressing a press conference in Colombo, Convener of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates, Lunugamvehere Kalyanaransi thera, said that they had high hopes that the budget would allocate funds to provide them with jobs, but it had failed. more..

Annual law week on its third phase

Nov 23 (Island) The annual law week, organized by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), which commenced on Monday (21st) would conclude on November 26th with free legal aid clinics for the litigants and many more law related activities, an official said. This is the third phase of the law week. "During the third phase the BASL is planning to draw the attention of the Attorney General’s Department over the plight of prisoners countrywide, who had served more than one year in more..

Outing A Counterfeit Guerrilla

Nov 23 (SL) The objective of this research note is not only to uncover the truth or otherwise of the “memoir” by Niromi de Soyza (nom de guerre) titled The Tamil Tigress: My story as a child soldier in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, but to go beyond and investigate the purpose(s) of publication of her “personal story” and reason(s) for hiding her real name and identity. This research note is based on the reading of the book under scrutiny in its entirety, promotional blurbs and reviews of more..

Songs and stories of Sri Lanka's war

Nov 23 (ES) Anticipation rises as you approach Elephant Pass on your way north to Jaffna. Yet it is an undistinguished place; a narrow strip of flat road passing between shallow sea lagoons and salt-pans. It is hard to imagine the strategic importance of this place during nearly 30 years of warfare between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan armed forces. However, as you continue north of the pass the sad story of the war is more deeply etched into the landscape. more..

High dengue larvae presence in Colombo suburbs

Nov 23 (Island) A survey carried out in the month of October has revealed a high dengue larvae presence in the suburbs of Colombo. An entomological survey carried out in the Colombo District, in October, on the larvae density of the dengue breeding mosquito, revealed the need for people to take precautionary measures against dengue. The survey carried out by the Medical Research Institute had revealed that the Aedes (Ae.) Larvae density in several parts of more..

'Sri Lankan garment industry unaffected by Western economic crises'

Nov 23 (F2F) Sri Lankan apparel industry has remained unaffected by the financial crisis that has gripped some of the Western nations, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin has said. Addressing the annual general meeting of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters’ Association (SLAEA), he said in spite of the debt crisis affecting some of the Western economies, UK still remains Sri Lanka’s second-most leading trading partner in terms of volume and more..

Tracing Sri Lanka's missing children

Nov 23 (AFP) Two and a half years after the end of Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic conflict, hundreds of families displaced by the war are still engaged in a fraught, exhausting search for missing children. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians were caught up in the chaos of the military's ferocious final assault on cornered Tamil Tiger rebels in the jungles of northeast Sri Lanka in April and May 2009. As the offensive intensified, Usha Devi Selvaratnam said goodbye to her teenage son, more..

Mihin Air and Sri Lankan airlines to share destinations

Nov 23 (DM) Mihin Air is to go for code-sharing with Sri Lankan Airlines, senior minister Sarath Amunugama told Parliament yesterday. Dr. Amunugama who was speaking at the debate on the second reading of the budget in the House said there is nothing wrong in Mihin Air and Sri Lankan Airlines sharing the destinations between them as it is a practice carried out by many other airlines today. With regard to the repeated charges on the performance of Mihin Air, more..

Budget 2012: UNP has failed to put forward constructive criticism

Nov 23 (DN) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 9.30 am yesterday. After presentation of papers and oral questions, the House took up the first alloted day of debate of the second reading of the Appropriation Bill 2012. Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama: The UNP failed in forwarding constructive criticism of the 2012 budget. The UNP is always living in a dream world. When the govt is developing the country, more..

UNP opposes IMF budget: Public campaign to commence from Colombo on Nov. 29

Nov 23 (Island) The main Opposition, UNP, said that a campaign would be launched from Colombo, on November 29, against the govt’s inflationary budget, prepared according to the dictates of the IMF. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that IMF budgets cannot ease the sufferings of Sri Lankans, the large majority of whom live below the poverty line. The people will be informed about the true intentions of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime which claimed to be pro-poor, he said. more..

IMF says Sri Lanka devaluation to spur exports, protect reserves

Nov 23 (BN) The IMF said Sri Lanka’s move to devalue the rupee will help boost exports and conserve foreign-exchange reserves. “We think that the exchange-rate adjustment was a step in the right direction and should help support Sri Lanka’s export competitiveness and safeguard its reserves over the medium term,” Koshy Mathai, the lender’s resident representative in Colombo, said today in an e-mailed response to questions. more..

Sugar plantation takeover seen illegal

Nov 23 (LBO) A listed Sri Lankan sugar plantation that is among businesses taken over by government under a new expropriation law has said the seizure was illegal as it does not fall within the ambit of the new regulation. Pelwatte Sugar Industries has written to the secretary to the government Treasury requesting the plantation be handed back to the firm as any delay could damage the business, especially in replanting cane for the next season. more..

Editorial: A healthy Lanka will be a wealthy Lanka

Nov 23 (DM) In a development-oriented Budget speech loaded with incentives for local production and exports, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said high priority would also be given to healthcare with an allocation of more than Rs.73 billion for the state health service. He pointed out that despite marvelous advances in medical science and the widespread use of modern technology, the number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, more..

Chinese firms bid for $500 mn project in Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (IANS) Two Chinese firms and a British company are bidding for a contract to build the $500 million Colombo South Harbor Container Terminal in Sri Lanka, an official said here Wednesday. British group Boskalis International, along with China Harbor Engineering Corp and China State Engineering Corp are the three companies engaged in the bidding, reported Xinhua. The official said the winning bidder will be selected in December and construction will begin in January. more..

Sri Lanka denies devaluation at IMF request

Nov 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka denied that it had devalued its currency at the demand of the IMF to secure the rest of a $2.6 billion bailout. Colombo on Monday cut the value of the rupee by three percent against a basket of currencies, despite spending millions of dollars in recent months to defend the unit. Release of the latest IMF payment had been held up by the Washington-based body's calls for the island to adopt a "flexible exchange rate policy" to ensure more..

A hub of knowledge or a club of idiocy?

Nov 23 (DM) The ‘future vision’ of the govt regarding education has been announced; it is to make Sri Lanka the ‘hub of education’ in Asia. This, at face value, looks a very attractive slogan as well as one that could be ‘marketed’ for people for a considerable period of time. The masses will take a considerable amount of time to comprehend the deceitful manipulations concealed behind these beautiful words. J.R. Jayewardene by introducing neo-liberalist Open Economy to more..

More power supply to Batticaloa

Nov 23 (PRIU) Ministry of Power and Energy has established 66 electricity projects in the Batticaloa district during this year, spending over Rs.679 million. Accordingly, 42 transformers were established in these electricity projects. The govt will inaugurate another 26 electricity projects next year. 10 electricity projects have been established under the Nagenahira Navodaya programme, 20 projects under the Immediate Rural Electrification programme and another more..

'It is the duty of all to work towards taking the country to a top position in the world'

Nov 23 (GDI) The convocation of the Sir John Kotalawala Defence University (KDU) was held at Temple Trees yesterday with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the chief guest. Chancellor of the Kotalawala Defence University Gen Rohan Daluwatte conferred degrees to the graduates and the president awarded trophies to student officers who excelled in respective services and to the officer who outshined among tri services. more..

Northern Ireland business delegation visits SL for trade discussions

Nov 23 (PRIU) A delegation of business leaders from Northern Ireland visited Sri Lanka to explore opportunities for trade, technology transfer and alliances with local companies. The business delegation included senior managers from seven companies from Northern Ireland. The group included Full Circle, a leading management consultancy, which recently signed a joint venture with a company in Colombo for specialist training advice and support. more..

Don’t use electrification projects to light up your image

Nov 23 (DM) Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday appealed to politicians not to use power supply projects for their political expediency as the electrification programmes are carried out within a targeted plan. Addressing a group of trade Union leaders at his ministry, Minister Ranawaka pointed out that certain politicians wanted to delay or speed up electrification projects according to their whims and fancies, aiming to procure political brownie points, more..

'To free Fonseka, we need your support'

Nov 23 (DM) The wife of former Army Commander, Anoma Fonseka, yesterday called on the people to join her, in her efforts to release her husband who was recently sentenced to three years in jail in the controversial white flag case. Mrs. Fonseka said she needed the support of the masses to move forward in her efforts to release her husband from imprisonment. “We have to hope for the best and not let things get us down when we face difficult times. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.4-pct

Nov 23 (LBO) Shares closed weaker again Wednesday with trading also drying up amid uncertainty about govt policy towards investors despite mostly healthy quarterly earnings, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.39 percent to 6,037.41, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.37 percent to close at 5,279.52. Turnover fell to 611 million rupees. Kandy Hotels Company, among the more actively traded stocks, was the day's highest gainer, more..

Sri Lanka private sector urged to increase investment

Nov 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's private sector has been called upon to make big investments using tax savings and gains from incentives given by govt, and banks urged to lend more to small business. Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said the govt was managing to maintain public investment at around six percent of Gross Domestic Product or almost 500 billion rupees and expects the private sector to play its part. The govt expects the private sector to invest 2,000 billion rupees as more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.11.2011

Animal sacrifice writ application fixed for Jan. 30

Nov 23 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday granted further time to the respondents until January 30 to file objections in respect of the Writ application seeking to prevent the annual rituals of animal sacrifice to the God at the Sri Bhadra Kali Amman Kovil in Munneswaram, Chilaw. The matter was taken up before Justice W.L. Ranjith Silva. The petitioners were Sri Bodhiraja Foundation, Jathika Sangha Sammelanaya, Dharmavijaya Foundation President Olcott Gunasekera, more..

Lawyers express concern over PSC

Nov 23 (DM) A group of well-known lawyers have expressed concerns about the govt’s move to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the conduct of former Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva. In a letter to Shibly Aziz, President of the Bar Association, the 11 lawyers have urged him to convene a Special Meeting of the Bar Association to adopt a resolution calling upon the govt to withdraw the appointment of the PSC. The signatories to the letter include more..

WikiLeaks: Sri Lanka is fiscally performing well but moving away from the West

Nov 23 (CT) “Ishii and Astrup recommended that the West and the International community try to bring SL back to normalcy and build the level of trust between SL and the West. While the private sector tilted to West, WB’s official noted that SL’s political orientation was moving away from the West.” the US Ambassador Patricia A Butenis wrote to Washington after a meeting with the World Bank Country Director Naoka Ishii and Senior Economist Clause Astrup. more..

Lanka IOC Chairman on working visit to Colombo

Nov 23 (Island) India-based Chairman of Lanka IOC PLC Makrand Nene was in Colombo on a working visit recently during which time he has extensive discussions with the Minister of Petroleum Industries Susil Premajayantha, Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum Industries Ms. Sandya Wijebandara and the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, Ashok K. Kantha. Among the wide ranging topics discussed by the Minister and the Lanka IOC Chairman were Lanka IOC’s marketing network more..

JEDB makes 115.2mn loss in 2010

Nov 23 (DM) All 17 estates under the JEDB had suffered losses to the tune of Rs.115.2 million in 2010, Minister of State Resources and Enterprise Development Dayasritha Tissera informed Parliament today. Responding to an oral question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera in the House today, the Minister said losses have been made in these estates due to the reduction of the yield due to not receiving fertilizer and other requirements. There had been an increase in production cost more..