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Sri Lanka on the brink

Sept 28 (CI) Geoff Marsh has taken on a tough assignment, one likely to test his skills to the utmost. If he emerges from his stint as Sri Lankan coach with his reputation enhanced, he will have surpassed all reasonable expectations. Coaching Sri Lanka requires a rare mixture of wisdom, patience, vigour, diplomacy and thick skin. Marsh has many fine qualities, including durability, common sense and a certain humility, but more..

'Devaluation rumour quashed: Sri Lanka’s financial situ stable'

Sept 28 (DN) Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal quashed speculation that the rupee would be devalued. He stressed that there is no imminent danger in this regard. He said that the country was in a very stable financial situation and there was no reason for the rupee to be depreciated. The fluctuation of currency is dependant on several internal and external factors and could not be manipulated by more..

PSC proposal: TNA decides to respond

Sept 28 (DM) In what appears to be a change of stance in the wake of international pressure, the TNA has decided to respond to the proposal for a parliamentary select committee in a constructive manner. Earlier, the TNA categorically said it would not participate in the select committee proposed by the govt to evolve a political solution to the national question incorporating views of all stakeholders. more..

SL to seek geothermal power prospects

Sept 28 (DM) Sri Lanka is to enter a new field of power generation using geothermal power within the next few decades as studies conducted so far have been encouraging, energy experts said yesterday. Preliminary studies conducted by a Sri Lankan specialist Marell Fonseka have identified nine sites with possible development for geothermal power generation. He added that if successful, geothermal power could replace the more..

East Expo – 2011 Water Sport Festival in Trincomalee a grand success

Sept 29 (SLN) With a view to develop water sports along the Eastern coast, Sri Lanka Navy in collaboration with the East Expo – 2011 Exhibition Secretariat conducted a very successful water sports festival at the Dutch Bay in Trincomalee on 23rd and 24th September 2011. A large number of swimmers, triathlon athletes and other water sport enthusiasts from all over the island participated in the events with great enthusiasm. Adding more excitement to the event, more..

Arrested Lankans had LTTE links

Sept 29 (ENS) The five Sri Lankan Tamils and four Keralites who were arrested on Monday for cheating 34 Sri Lankans at refugee camps in Tamil Nadu are suspected to have had LTTE links. The officials have sought the assistance of Tamil Nadu Q branch in this regard. Ernakulam Rural SP Harshita Attaluri told ‘Express’ that nine persons, including the agents are suspected to have some connections with the LTTE in the past.” “The arrested were quizzed in Kalamassery police camp. more..

Fiat India to sell Linea in Sri Lanka

Sept 29 (PTI) Expanding its overseas presence, car-maker Fiat India on Wednesday said it will start selling its Linea sedan in Sri Lanka from Thursday. "Fiat India Automobiles announced its intent to increase its focus on exports, under which they have exported the Fiat Linea to Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, the inauguration is set for September 29," the company said. The company has appointed Speed Italia as its distributor for the Sri Lankan market, more..

More Tamils seek work in Jordan

Sept 29 (SL) A large number of Tamils have sought work in Jordan as domestics over the past year, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. The rights group also said that domestic work in Jordan had gotten “rougher” recently, with an increase in escapes, and some domestics turning to, or being forced into, sex work. A 111-page report titled, “Domestic Plight: How Jordanian Laws, Officials, Employers, and Recruiters Fail Abused Migrant Domestic Workers,” more..

Refrain from committing election violence: PAFFREL

Sept 29 (DM) PAFFREL said today that a Local Government election candidate contesting in the Southern province has provided Rs.1,000 and a lunch packet to people in the area to win their support at the upcoming election. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said election candidates should refrain from committing such blatant election violations and that they should adhere to the regulations put forward by the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. more..

Sri Lanka to increase allocation for scientific research by four fold

Sept 29 (AT) The govt of Sri Lanka is to increase allocation for scientific research by four fold. The present allocation of 0.5% of the GDP is to be increased to 2% in the forthcoming budget in order to achieve the Mahinda Chintana objective of making Sri Lanka a knowledge hub in the region. This was disclosed by the Minister of Technology and Research Mrs. Pavithra Wanniarachchi addressing a media conference this morning. more..

SriLankan reduces losses

Sept 29 (DM) SriLankan Airlines has dramatically reduced its net loss to Rs.202 million in 2010/11 compared with to Rs.6 billion incurred during the 2009/10, the airline said. The airline's Revenue for the year under review was Rs. 78,515 million, compared to Rs. 63,358 million in the previous year. Total Passenger Revenue was increased by 25% or Rs. 12 billion. Following this improved financial performance by SriLankan, the airline is now transforming itself to profitable more..

ODEL Wattala Opens in Style

Sept 29 (NN) Wattala came vibrantly alive when ODEL opened its new five storey store to cater to the fashion and lifestyle needs of this busy suburb. A characteristically bright and entertaining opening inclusive of video mapping of the building drew large crowds to No. 350 Negombo Road, Wattala, the location of this latest outlet in the ODEL chain. Comprising of 12,000 square feet of trend-defining shopping synonymous with the ODEL brand, the new Wattala store offers casual and more..

Heat wave in Colombo

Sept 29 (DM) The Meteorological Department today attributed the strong sun light and heat currently experienced in Colombo to the removal of what it called the ‘natural cooling system in the city’ by cutting trees that gave a cover to the sunlight among other factors. The Daily Mirror has received a number of calls in the last couple of days from our subscribers that they were experiencing headaches and an irritable sensation in their eyes when more..

Activists protest against arsenic

Sept 29 (UCAN) Religious leaders joined rights activists and 1,500 farmers for a street demonstration to highlight the dangers posed by arsenic poisoning in the sacred Bhuddist city of Anuradhapura on the weekend. Christians and Buddhists marched in a silent demonstration and held religious observances on September 25 to raise awareness about the use of poisonous substances in agro-chemicals. “It has been discovered that poisons used by farmers have caused various diseases and deaths,” more..

Lankan embassy in Oslo angry

Sept 29 (SL) The Sri Lankan Ambassador in Oslo, Norway Rodney M. Perera, has protested the decision by a leading Norwegian television station to air the British Channel 4 documentary titled “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” yesterday. In a letter sent to TV NRK, the Ambassador said that the program content is completely biased and contains unsubstantiated allegations against the govt of Sri Lanka. The Ambassador said that at a time when a great deal of efforts are underway for more..

Sri Lanka spends Rs 500 m annually for rabies control

Sept 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka spends Rs. 500 million every year for the prevention and control of rabies in Sri Lanka says Director, Veterinary Public Health Services, of the Health Ministry Dr. P.L Harischandra. “We spend Rs.350 million for the treatment of 2, 50,000 rabies patients per year, another 25 million to vaccinate about 1 million dogs and another Rs. 100 million for birth control of dogs’ added the Director, Veterinary Public Health Services. more..

Delay to train service on the Coastal Railway Line due to derailment

Sept 29 (HN) The Railway Control Room states that a delay to train services on the Coastal Railway Line is taking place following a derailment which occurred early this morning. The Ruhuna Kumari Train which was travelling towards Colombo had derailed in close proximity to the Aluthgama Railway Station early this morning. Passengers from the derailed compartments of the train had been transferred to the remaining compartments and that the Ruhunu Kumari had recommenced its journey more..

President keen to export excess rice to Africa

Sept 29 (LP) Excess rice in Sri Lanka can be exported to African countries, President Rajapaksa said addressing a meeting on Food Protection and Cost of Living. He said that a request was made by African leaders in this regard during talks held in New York in the sidelines of the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations. The President directed the relevant authorities to take necessary measures on this regard. Directions were given to authorities to control more..

Donors 'ignoring' resettled IDPs

Sept 29 (BBC) The Sri Lankan Red Cross society has spoken out about the difficulties of ordinary people living in the country’s former war zone. It says hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly returning displaced people, still lack the basics of life and that international donors are not doing enough to help them. The organisation said it feared the international community was getting sidetracked by human rights concerns, but more..

Marsh Arrives in Sri Lanka

Sept 29 (NN) Former Australian cricketer, selector and coach Geoff Marsh arrived in Sri Lanka last evening to assume his duties as national coach of the Sri Lanka cricket team. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the governing body of cricket on the island, announced that it had appointed Marsh as coach last week and the 52-year-old arrived on the island yesterday (27) aboard a Malaysian Airlines flight which touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport at 10:55PM. more..

Sri Lanka stx at 2-mo lows on credit woes

Sept 29 (Reuters) Stock market fell to a two-month low on Wednesday in thin trading volumes on month-end settlements to meet margin debt calls and retail selling amid a liquidity shortage weighed on the bourse. The main share index closed 0.4 percent or 27.01 points weaker at 6,710.67, lowest close since July 28. It is still Asia's best performer with a return of 1.13 percent on the year. The bourse witnessed a foreign outflow of 175.3 million rupees on Wednesday, and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 28.09.2011

Eastern Sri Lanka reeling from weather extremes

Sept 29 (AN) Eight months back, Ponnambalam Thanesvaran was not only using a boat to get to work, but wearing a life-jacket for fear of being swept away by raging flood waters. On two occasions in January and February, Thanesvaran, a government agent for Verugal Division - a remote area in eastern Sri Lanka – found himself surrounded by flood waters for close to two weeks, along with his staff and the small population he served as the top public official. more..

Protest over Governor's order to demolish 'Old Park' in Jaffna

Sept 29 (ST) An order by the Governor for the northern province Major General (retd) G.A.Chandrasiri to demolish an ancient building with archeological value in Jaffna has sparked off a dispute. Municipal workers started demolishing the building when representations were made to the Govt Agent for Jaffna Emelda Sukumar who in turn informed the Archeology department officials and got the work stopped. This building known as Old Park was built during the period of 1796 when more..

Sri Lanka to scrap visa-on-arrival for Indians, others

Sept 29 (Hindu) Indian tourists, business people and transit passengers will have to apply for travel authorisation ahead of heading for Sri Lanka, in a few months from now. Indians constitute the biggest chunk of tourists into the country. On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s Immigration and Emigration department announced that an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system that will replace the simple visa-on-arrival facility for travellers from 78 countries. more..

Sri Lanka tea exports down

Sept 29 (BBC) One of the industries crucial to Sri Lanka as it continues its post-war economic recovery is tea. Along with textiles, tourism and remittances, the famous Ceylon Tea is a key earner for the island nation. But figures for its production this year are turning out to be slightly disappointing. Just weeks ago, there were high hopes that Sri Lanka's tea harvest this year would surpass that of last year, which itself was the biggest ever. Now, though, tea brokers say that more..

Colombo prevents persons displaced by the war from returning to their homes

Sept 29 (AN) The Sri Lankan govt has decided to take urgent measures to close the last of the camps that have housed more than 200,000 IDPs, that is, refugees from the war zones, at the end of the conflict in May 2009. The government has announced that works are underway for the construction of a new, 600 acre village in Kombavil, in the Mullaitivu district, to house refugees from the Manik Farm of Vanvuniya. The persons concerned have expressed their refusal: more..

Wikileaks: Mervin Silava is a drug kingpin patron chief

Sept 29 (CT) A leaked US embassy cable reviled “drug kingpins in Sri Lanka have political patrons in the government”. “Chief among them Dr. Mervin Silva, a Member of Parliament and the Minister of Labor” the cable further said. The Colombo Telegraph found the cable from the Wikileaks. The remarks by Washington’s embassy to Sri Lanka, are revealed by the Wikileaks leaked cable. The cable classified as “ CONFIDENTIAL” by ambassador Patricia A. Butenis. more..

Ravibandhu – Samanthi Dance Ensemble at SAARC Festival in India

Sept 29 (GDI) 15 members of the Ravibandhu-Samanthi Dance ensemble, will be travelling to India to participate in the 4th SAARC Folklore Festival organized by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) at Agra from 30 Sept to 2 Oct. They called on the High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha, who is also the Co-Chairperson of the India-Sri Lanka Foundation, to convey their appreciation to the ISLF for facilitating ensemble’s participation in the FOSWAL. more..

Alankuda state land case: Five suspects remanded

Sept 29 (DM) Five persons who were allegedly involved in selling a block of 92 acres of state land in Kalpitiya to a resort company by presenting a forged deed and Court judgment were remanded till October 5 by a Colombo Court today. When the case pertaining to the state land grabbing in Alankuda, Kalpitiya came up before the Colombo Fort Magistrate Ms. Lanka Jayaratne, the CID alleged that the five persons presented in Court had allegedly involved in a fraudulent act while more..

Wikileaks: Bishop Chickera urged Ambassador not to remain silent in Sri Lanka

Sept 29 (CT) A leaked US Embassy cable reveals how the Anglican Bishop Dulip De Chickera lobbied US government on promoting international human values. “The bishop Chikera urged ambassador not to remain in silent in Sri Lanka, acknowledging the need to express US views and to promote international human values” a leaked US Embassy cable revealed. The Colombo Telegraph found the cable from the Wikileaks data base. more..

NCPA to establish committees in schools

Sept 29 (DM) The National Children Protection Authority (NCPA) will establish a child protection committee in all 9,700 govt schools island-wide to address the problems faced by children. The opening of the first child protection committee will take place tomorrow, Sept 29, at Ananda Balika Vidyalaya in Kotte. NCPA Deputy Chairman Nanda Indrawansa said that it was vital to address the problems of children through a particular medium and that it was ideal to do so through the schools. more..

A streamlined Master Plan to develop Matara

Sept 29 (GDI) The Group leader of the UPFA candidates contesting the Matara Municipal Council elections, Sosindu Handunge has said that the first act to undertake upon formation of the new political administration in the Matara Municipal Council is to draw up a streamlined master plan to develop the City of Matara covering all sectors. Addressing a mass gathering in Matara town, Mr. Handunge has said that he had been the Chairman of the Matara Pradeshiya Sabha on 3 occasions and under his administration, more..

Sri Lanka and Kashmir: are they ready for truth and reconciliation?

Sept 29 (RNW) Would a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) work in South Asia? A Sri Lankan and an Indian discuss whether Sri Lanka and Kashmir/India are ready for truth, whether forgiveness trumps justice and whether their countries will ever accept that all must accept responsibility if they are to move on from entrenched conflicts. The idea for such a body was born from the percieved success of the TCR used in post-apartheid more..

Harlow police officer's Sri Lankan adventure

Sept 29 (HS) A Harlow police officer has returned from a summer holiday with a difference after spending two weeks helping out at an orphanage in Sri Lanka. Neighbourhood officer PC Rob Hance travelled to a small village in Agape last month to help decorate the local orphanage and spend time with the 120 children who call it home. Many of the youngsters have come from tragic backgrounds but PC Hance and his family were able to put a smile on their faces by leading a holiday club, more..

Sri Lankan tsunami zone children learn to swim

Sept 29 (BBC) On December 26, 2004, a tsunami swept across the Indian ocean, triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. In Sri Lanka, the wave killed more than 30,000 people - some of them women and children who were unable to swim. The Swim Lanka project has been set up to give swimming lessons in some of the hardest-hit areas, in the hope of saving lives in future. Rafael Estefania reports. more..

UK not monitoring safety of Tamils deported to Sri Lanka

Sept 29 (Guardian) The UK govt has conceded that it is doing nothing to establish what is happening to scores of Tamils who are being forcibly removed from the UK despite concerns for their safety in Sri Lanka. A flight chartered by the UK Border Agency was due to depart on Wednesday with up to 50 failed asylum applicants on board, 24 hours after several human rights groups warned that they could face detention without trial, torture or even death. more..

Authorities fail to investigate death threats made against another journalist

Sept 29 (LG) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that Mr. Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk of Matara District is the regional news reporter of the Sinhala medium 'Lankadeepa' and English medium 'Daily Mirror' news papers, both are the of the most widely circulated newspapers in the island. On 1 September 2011 he received death threats from one of the leading politicians of the ruling party. Though Jayaruk made a complaint to the Headquarters Police Station of Matara more..

Rethinking local government

Sept 29 (LG) The administrative tier of Provincial Councils (PCs) is still new to Sri Lanka. Introduced as a fall out of the Indian govt’s intervention in Sri Lanka under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, it was originally thought to be a part solution to the issue of Tamil autonomy. It will serve no purpose either to the Tamil community targeted or to the general stream of Sri Lankans. The time has come for us to abolish these structures of local govt and rethink our whole local govt infrastructure. more..

Ray Wijewardene: An Extraordinary Thinker and Tinkerer

Sept 29 (GV) If I had to condense the multi-faceted and fascinating life of Ray Wijewardene, I would reduce it to a whole lot of question marks and exclamation marks. In his 86 years, Ray generated more than his fair share of both. He was unpigeonholeable: engineer, farmer, inventor, aviator and sportsman all rolled into one. Whether at work or play, he was an innovative thinker who rose above his culture and training to grasp the bigger picture. more..