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Clashes make vacations come early for Moratuwa Campus

Dec 19 (LD) The Vice Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa yesterday (Dec. 18th), declared the year-end break two-days earlier, after intensifying clashes between two student groups. Intensified fighting continued for a second day yesterday, after three students were hospitalized the day before. Therefore, the VC declared holidays two days before the usual vacations. more..

More displaced as downpours continue

Dec 19 (LD) As downpours continue in the districts of Ampara, Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa, the number of displaced families have increased to 9000, reports say. In addition, 40 houses were damaged following strong winds and tornado conditions. District Secretariats say that 5,825 families in Ampara have been displaced while 3,047 and 47 displaced families are reported from Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa respectively. more..

A person cannot be remanded on terrorist label - court

Dec 19 (LD) “A citizen of Sri Lanka has the right to move freely and engage in the profession of his/her choice. The court cannot remand a person merely because the police arrested and labeled him/her as a terrorist,” Colombo Chief Magistrate Mackey Mohamed says. He was taking up a case in which a man identified as Meera Mohideen Abdul of Samanthurai is accused of gathering information for terrorist activities. more..

Suspects in Raviraj murder offer confession

Dec 19 (LD) The Colombo Chief Magistrate Court today (Dec. 19th) allowed two suspects in the assassination of TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj to make a confession. Granting the request of the suspects - Nalaka Mathangaweera and Shantha Jayasuriya, Additional Magistrate Sujatha Alahapperuma ordered that the request be performed on January 01st next year. Until then, the two will remain in remand custody. more..

Court orders speeding up of probe into attempt on Gotabhaya’s life

Dec 19 (LD) The Colombo Chief Magistrate today (Dec. 19th) ordered the police to expedite investigations into the attempted assassination of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Pittala Junction in Colombo on December 01st last year. Chief Magistrate Mackey Mohammed also sent the five suspects – M. Naufer, S. Thabir, A.L. Nazir, Kiran Farooq and Mohamed Niyaz – into remand custody till January 02nd next year. more..

President participates at State Christmas Festival

Dec 19 (GDI) “The country would achieve development and progress if everyone lived in a sense of harmony and brotherhood without divisions of caste, creed and economic status,” said Archbishop Most Rev. Oswald Gomes participating at the State festival to mark this year’s Christmas organised by the Department of Christian Religious Affairs. The Festival was held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at Temple of Trees on Monday (17) evening. more..

Hajj Festival in Sri Lanka on Friday (21)

Dec 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka will celebrate the Hajj Festival on Friday (21), as per the decision at the conference of Ulemas, Katheebs, Trustees of Jumma Mosque, representatives of the All Ceylon Jemmiyathul Ulema, Anjum Faiz-e-Raza and the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, announced the Colombo Grand Mosque. The Colombo Grand Mosque in a release said there had been some confusion about the date of the Hajj Festival consequent to more..

Foreign funded projects to upgrade education system

Dec 19 (GDI) Prof. Wishwa Warnapala, Minister of Higher Education, held discussions with a team of high powered World Bank delegation recently with the objective of exploring the possibilities of getting additional funds and other resources of the World Bank to develop the under-graduate education system in Sri Lanka. Following discussion, the World Bank and the Government agreed on setting up a project to improve the quality and more..

Tourism industry ending year on a strong note

Dec 19 (GDI) Reports indicate that the tourism industry is performing better than the previous year and especially since September. According to statistics, arrivals for November stood at 45,102 compared with 37,591 for the same month last year. With the current boost Sri Lanka tourism is enjoying with the arrival of the 'Barmy Army', a group of nearly 7,000 cricket fans from England who are following the English cricket team on its tour, the month of December is expected to perform better. more..

Christmas celebrations at Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission

Dec 19 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in the city conducted Christmas celebrations on Tuesday evening. Sri Lankan Minister of Export Development and International Trade G.L. Peiris, Minister of Housing and Common Amenities Ferial Ashraff, Advisor to the Sri Lankan President Sunimal Fernando and senior officials participated in the event. The Madras Christian College choir performed Christmas carols and hymns. more..

Ranil should resign - Mano Wijerathna

Dec 19 (LeN) "We as a group are happy today that we were able to offer crucial support to the government to get through the 2008 budget" said UNP democratic group member minister Mano Wijerathna today (19) at a press conference in Colombo. Briefing the press he also said so, As you all would have observed that the battle line for the budget was clearly drawn between the patriotic forces on one hand and the reactionary force and the LTTE proxies on the other. more..

Clear titles for Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu lands before long - President

Dec 19 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday expressed confidence that the day residents of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu get clear titles for their lands is not far away, hinting that the two areas will soon be liberated from the clutches of the LTTE. The President also said that the East was not liberated just to hand over to it to some other party. `We have done so to create a situation in which all the people could live without fear or suspicion,` the President added. more..

Mangala`s charge: Rathu Sahodarayas as whipping boys

Dec 19 (LNP) One day, a motorist was stranded as the headlights of his car had developed a fault. It was a dark rainy night. While he was thinking of ways and means of returning home, a solution flashed upon him: He could follow another vehicle up to the town and then be guided by street lamps. He saw a car go past him and put his plan into action. Thus, he began his homeward journey thanks to someone else`s light, thinking that everything was hunky dory. more..

30 Agriculture officers arrested

Dec 19 (SAMN) Over 30 Agriculture and Agrarian officers were remanded yesterday in connection with the Rs 150 million fraud that took place in the distribution of fertilizer. The Agriculture Development and Secretary to Ministry of Agrarian Services T. M. Abeywickrama said several provincial officers, research officers and distribution agents were involved in the fraud. more..

East not liberated for other groups: MR

Dec 19 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday emphasiaed that the government did not liberate the Eastern Province from one group to hand it over to another group but to ensure the right of people to live without any fear. “The East was not liberated by us to hand it over to some other party. We have done so to create a situation in which all the people could live without fear of suspicion,” the President said more..

JVP has endorsed the budget charges UNP

Dec 19 (SAMN) The UNP Tuesday charged that the JVP had now revealed their true position by abstaining from the budget vote last week, and in effect declaring their support for the budget. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella, briefing the media said that the JVP who earlier compared the 2008 budget to a woman of loose morals draped in a Kandyan saree have now proved that they too endorse the budget proposals, akin to a woman of loose morals and that which burdens the people. more..

Nepal told to follow Lanka's health system

Dec 19 (DN) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended Nepal to obtain Sri Lanka's advice to formulate its health sector development policy, Health Ministry sources said. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva will leave for Nepal today to inspect Nepal's health sector development and also deliver a special lecture on 'Sri Lankan health sector development and its achievements', the sources said. more..

Uninterrupted relief measures for flood victims

Dec 19 (DN) Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishad Badiudeen yesterday assured the uninterrupted relief measures to the flood victims in Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa districts. Due to the prevailing rainy weather 7,305 families in Ampara, Batticaloa and Polannaruwa districts have been affected. Alayadivembu Divisional Secretariat Division in Ampara district, Erauvur Pattu and Mavadivembu Divisional Secretariat Division in the Batticaloa District and more..

AG blames non-summary proceedings for laws’ delay

Dec 19 (Island) The Attorney General said he was against non-summary proceedings, in the Magistrate’s Courts, in cases involving grave crimes such as murder, attempted murder and rape as such proceedings drag on for years and were the main cause of laws’ delays. The Attorney General, C. Silva said "At the very outset the Magistrate’s Court should contact my department and then I would decide whether the case should be directly indicted before a High Court or allowed to take its own course in the Magistrate’s Court." more..

Passengers help in preventing train mishap

Dec 19 (Island) The Kandy bound intercity express from Colombo Fort yesterday (18) afternoon, met with a serious mishap at a point between Galigamuwa and Gangoda Railway stations as the engine of the train proceeded towards Kandy leaving behind the carriages. The driver of the engine who was unaware that the carriage were separated from the engine, proceeded a distance of about 1.5 kilometres. more..

LTTE could raise its head again -Ex-service commanders

Dec 19 (DM) Ex-service commanders met UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday and stressed the need for the main opposition to work together with the government to formulate a political solution to the national question. The ex-service commanders pointed out that, though the LTTE could be suppressed for the time being, it could raise its head again in the absence of a political solution to the problem. more..

Rat fever rides again

Dec 19 (DM) Leptospirosis - commonly known as Rat Fever is on the rise in many parts of the country particularly in Kandy and Matale, health authorities and epidemiologists said yesterday. According to latest research the deadly disease could spread through water contaminated by buffalo urine as well. The general belief among the medical fraternity and the public so far is that Leptospirosis is a disease caused by water contaminated by rat urine. more..

Unstoppable Jayawardene brings series closer

Dec 19 (CI) Sri Lanka's hunt for a series victory has become a personal quest for Mahela Jayawardene after his unbeaten 149 kept England in the field throughout the second day at Galle. He added 149 with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made a positive 84 on his Test return, then ground England down during the evening sunlight as the bowlers ended the day with just two success and any hopes of a victory to take home with emphatically buried. more..

Frustration as tsunami reconstruction winds down

Dec 19 (IRIN) The giant Buddha statue at Pereliya gazes out to sea. The noise of the waves slapping the shoreline is broken only occasionally by the sound of passing vehicles on the nearby highway. The village, 90km south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, has returned to its former anonymity after the 26 December 2004 tsunami when giant waves crashed ashore and the international media flowed in right behind. more..

US deselects Sri Lanka from 2008 funding

Dec 19 (LNP) The Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States Government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world, has voted to `deselect` Sri Lanka as a country eligible for MCC funding next year, the Daily Mirror has learnt. At a December 12 meeting, the Board of Directors of the MCC deselected Sri Lanka, based on the country`s performance on 17 indicators in three areas -- ruling justly, investing in people and encouraging economic freedom more..

President's office meddled in probe-experts

Dec 19 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office has interfered with a commission probing civil war rights abuses and murders that include some blamed on state security forces, international observers said on Wednesday. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) says the presidential probe into abuses, including a massacre of 17 aid workers last year that Nordic truce monitors have blamed on security forces, lacks transparency and more..

Sri Lanka moves to oust flagship carrier's UK boss

Dec 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is cancelling the work permit of SriLankan Airlines' British boss after the national carrier refused seats to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his entourage, the government's investment board said on Wednesday. Rajapaksa went on a private visit to the United Kingdom this month to watch his son's graduation from a naval college but couldn't get a place on the flight home because of heavy holiday traffic. more..

Pizza Hut introduces halal meat in Lanka for Muslims

Dec 20 (PTI) Global pizza restaurant chain Pizza Hut will offer delectable and sizzling items made out of halal meat targetting the 1.8 million Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Pizza Hut has received the halal certification for all its outlets in the island country from All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), the prominent Muslim body in the country. "Presently we are no longer serving pork related items or any non-halal products and more..

Sri Lanka uses Ramayana to woo Indian tourists

Dec 20 (IANS) Sri Lanka is going to use the Hindu epic Ramayana to attract Indian tourists in a big way. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has formed a committee to work out an ambitious scheme to develop and promote as many as 34 sites in the island associated with the Ramayana,' SLTDA chief S. Kalaiselvam said. 'We want to get started on this soon,' Kalaiselvam told IANS. more..

People in Need opens school in Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (CTK) The Czech People in Need humanitarian organisation handed an elementary school, the largest building it constructed in Sri Lanka, to the local educational officials Tuesday, its representatives told CTK. The chance to attend the new school will be given to 500 children who have so far studied at a temporary facility and in the old school building that was severely damaged by the 2004 tsunami. more..

Russia, Lanka to join hands in fighting terrorism, drug menace

Dec 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka and Russia have decided to join hands in fighting international terrorism, drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime. The two sides were working on finalising a bilateral treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters during two days of bilateral negotiations which concluded yesterday. Substantial progress has been made on the draft text of a mutual legal assistance treaty, and more..

Britain 'did not summon' HC

Dec 20 (BBC) The Sri Lanka High Commission (SLHC) in London has categorically denied media reports that the High Commissioner (HC) was summoned by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). First Secretary at the SLHC, Maxwell Keegel, told BBC Sandeshaya that HC Kshenuka Seneviratne was not summoned and therefore the question of her 'dodging' the summons does not arise. more..

Sri Lanka demolish Bangladesh for consolation win

Dec 20 (CI) Sri Lanka Under-19 pulled off a convincing six-wicket win over Bangladesh Under-19 in the last match of the series after its opening bowlers shared nine of the ten wickets to restrict the hosts to a modest 123. Opting to bat Bangladesh lost four wickets in the first nine overs of the match as Denuwan Fernando and Chathura Peiris caused plenty of problems. Bangladesh never really recovered from that dismal start and only brief fightbacks, with three batsmen reaching the 20-run mark, more..

An opportunity availed by Dilshan

Dec 20 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored a stylish 84 on his return to the Sri Lankan team, said he was under no pressure while crafting a 149-run partnership for the fifth wicket alongside Mahela Jayawardene. "I have been in good form these past three months both domestically and for the A-team and I was under no pressure when I was recalled to the team," Dilshan said at the end of the second day's play. more..

Jayawardene accuses England of giving up

Dec 20 (CI) England's hopes of squaring their series against Sri Lanka are all but over, after an abject second-day surrender at Galle. The city's seventeenth-century walls have withstood mightier invaders than have been on display these past two days, and by the close of play, England's tormentor-in-chief, Mahela Jayawardene, had taken to goading them from the ramparts. Not content with locking them out of the contest with a steadfast and brilliant 149 not out, he accused them afterwards of lacking the will to win. more..

JVP splitting from top to bottom, says Nandana

Dec 20 (LeN) Former Presidential candidate and ex-JVP politburo member MP Nandana Gunathilaka says that the party will split unless it changes its political path. Gunathilaka said to 'Lanka-e-News' that a group led by a politburo member and several Central Committee members is in the line of taking the party back to armed struggle and they are in the forefront of current agitations. more..

'Safeguard' humanitarian workers

Dec 20 (BBC) Condemning the abduction and the murder of a Red Cross worker in Jaffna, the European Union (EU) has called on Sri Lanka to take measures to safeguard humanitarian workers. Chairman of the Red Cross Jaffna branch Thavarajah who was selected the "best volunteer" in 2005 was found shot dead on 14 December. Extending condolences to Thavarajah's family and colleagues, the EU statement issued on behalf of the EU by UK High Commission in Colombo had reminded that the killing is 'not the first such incident'. more..

Reaching the end of the Rainbow

Dec 20 (BBC) Never satisfied with what he has done he pushes his art and strives to reach further and further. In trying to do this he displays that spark of genius. There is one other characteristic that is the hallmark of a truly great artist.Humility. I had only a brief experience of working with Pandit Amaradeva. This encounter as well as my association with two others, one a painter and the other a jazz player is what made me write the above. more..

Saluting Mano Ganesan and slamming Mahinda Government

Dec 20 (TC) Sri Lanka already strengthened ties with Iran has been reportedly seeking to buy arms from Russia recently. In the meantime, UK High Commissioner Dominick Chilcott said aspiring for ‘Eelam is not illegitimate’ while calling for graft free governance and respect for human rights. US Ambassador Robert Blake Jr. has been calling for greater power sharing and respect for human rights when speaking at several events he has been attending in Sri Lanka during his entire tenure in Colombo. more..

Canada and Sri Lanka sign MoU for Vocational and Technical Training

Dec 20 (AT) World University Service of Canada (WUSC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training (MVTT) for the implementation of the Project for Rehabilitation through Education and Training (PRET). WUSC Country Director, Ms. Shelagh Savage, and Secretary to the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training, Mr. Thilak Hapangama, signed the MOU at an official ceremony held at the Ministry premises on Monday. more..

Teaching Tamil Tigers

Dec 20 (TC) For over two decades, there has been savage conflict in Sri Lanka between a minority group of Tamils who claim traditional rights for land in the north-east and the majority, Sinhalese, government in Colombo. The conflict has consumed tens of thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands, sown agricultural land with mines, laid waste plantations, and stunted a generation of children. more..

Human Rights Commission Undermined By Unconstitutional Appointments

Dec 20 (FI) Several foreign donor agencies including the UNICEF recently ceased funding the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) alleging that the appointments of the Commission are unconstitutional in terms of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. The unconstitutionality of the appointments made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has blatantly been up for discussion ever since they were made. more..

LTTE has only suicide to offer to Tamil people

Dec 20 (ISL) There’s video of the bra bomber on the net. You can see her sit down at a desk, in orange sari, thin and seemingly attractive. A man points at her chest, something odd. Her chest explodes, sending her torso flying and the man reeling into a pool of blood. It’s pretty sad, meaningless, and, well, just sad. At this point – after 25 years of armed failure – you have to realize that the suicidal path has failed. more.. unblocked

Dec 20 (ISL) Pro LTTE web site which has been blocked by all major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Sri Lanka since June 2007, is now once again freely accessible. Users from Sri Lanka who were trying to view the site on the 17th of June were presented with server timeouts. It was initially suspected that the error was a technical fault with Tamilnet's hosting provider. However,later it was evident that Tamilnet was blocked on government orders. more..

More shocking news of Mahinda's visit to UK

Dec 20 (ISL) The leading Sri Lanka daily ‘Lukbima News’ (16/12) published a startling revelation about Sri Lanka President’s unofficial private visit to the United Kingdom. The news titled: ‘Mihin Air follows President to London sans passengers’ reported to the extent the President had abused his powers to fly to the United Kingdom at an undisclosed cost. more..

Who paid Navy Chief 's tour to UK? – SL Navy Explains

Dec 20 (LG) The Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Wasantha karannagoda, who paid an official visit to the United Kingdom recently, had brought out many aftermath results of effective heralding signs that further strengthened longstanding friendships of the two navies and the two nations, according to official in Sri Lanka Navy. Vice admiral wasantha karannagoda met the Chief of the Naval Staff of the Royal Navy of the Great Britain, the First Sea Lord, more..

D. S. De Silva, 26th advisor to the President

Dec 20 (LG) President Rajapakse has added another to his ‘fleet’ of advisors- D. S. De Silva, the 26th in the row. Some see this addition as an effort by the President to keep his number of advisors also abreast of the President’s largest Cabinet of Ministers in the world! Azwer, another of the President’s many advisors said that this appointment is for the President to see villagers playing cricket. - A wonderful whim in the national interest! more..

The Senanayakes’ Generation and the Federal Party

Dec 20 (LG) Recent weeks have given us an opportunity to go back to the Senanayake era and reflect on history with the wisdom of hindsight. Unfortunately, Chilcott's diplomatic faux pas and ignorance of Sri Lanka history did not help much in the recent oration at Dudley's commemoration, probably written by some ghost-writer of the British Mission. We thank Mr. Hullugalle for doing the needful in the most diplomatic manner possible. more..

None of 7 murdered were media personnel – Govt. spokesman

Dec 20 (LD) Government spokesman and Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has rejected allegations that seven journalists had been murdered in Sri Lanka this year. Speaking to the media today, he claimed that none of those killed had been serving as media personnel. “None of these had been registered with the Government Information Department as media personnel. One of them was a media student. Another was a printer. Another was an employee of a media institution,” he said. more..

SL-UK embroiled in trouble over Karuna

Dec 20 (LD) Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom are embroiled in trouble at diplomatic level. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London had reportedly been summoned by British authorities, while in Sri Lanka, the top UK diplomat has been criticized for commenting on internal political affairs. In the latest incident involving diplomats, the Sri Lankan mission in London has categorically denied media reports that the High Commissioner was summoned by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. more..