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Oblate seminary marks 50 years of service

Dec 16 (UCAN) As many Religious orders struggle to find new members, the major seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), celebrating 50 years in Sri Lanka, has seen strong growth in the number of students. From just 15 in 1981, the number of priests in training has risen to 28 this year. The congregation arrived in Sri Lanka in 1847 and now has nearly 300 Oblate brothers and priests working in the country, including the troubled Jaffna province. more..

'Ready to face any accusation'

Dec 16 (EB) In sharp contrast to the statement of his electoral rival Gen.Sarath Fonseka, who revealed that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered the killing of surrendering LTTE leaders, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that he will not allow any war hero to be dragged before an international war crimes tribunal on this account, but will, instead, appear before it himself. more..

Sri Lanka women key beneficiaries of rural road project: ADB

Dec 16 (LBO) The Asian Development Bank said it has approved a project to build roads linking isolated rural villages in Sri Lanka that will employ poor villagers, especially women. The project, funded by a three million dollar grant from the Japan Fund For Poverty Reduction and administered by ADB, will cover more than 60 villages in the Eastern and North Central provinces. more..

Christians remember for Christmas the unknown victims of Sri Lanka’s war

Dec 16 (AN) Catholics and Anglicans have remembered together the unknown victims of the country’s recent civil war at an ecumenical prayer held in Colombo on 10 December. Promoted by the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM), the initiative sought to associate remembrance for unburied war victims and the coming of Christmas. Titled “To life from death, to the living from the dead, to hope from sorrow,” the prayer brought together priests, pastors and more..

Sri Lanka forum to help politicians help people

Dec 16 (LBO) A public seminar is to be held to educate politicians and their economic advisors on how best to meet the needs of people, ahead of scheduled elections in January. The seminar – ‘Unleashing the people’s potential: what should be done?’- will present the findings of a study and policy recommendations to empower people and accelerate economic growth. The study has been carried out by think-tank the Pathfinder Foundation. more..

Sri Lanka opens consulate in SW China

Dec 16 (Xinhua) The consulate of Sri Lanka opened in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, on Tuesday. "Chengdu is the hub of western China," said Karunatilaka Amunugama, the Sri Lanka Ambassador to China. "Opening consulate here is important to deepen cooperation between Sri Lanka and the western areas of China." Sichuan saw a rise of trade with Sri Lanka over the years. In 2008, export of Sichuan to Sri Lanka hit 14.27 million U.S. dollars. more..

Why billionaires get involved in frauds

Dec 16 (Rediff) One point comes out clearly from the extensive media reporting of the crises in financial markets, over the last couple of years: People of Jewish and Indian origin seem to be forming a disproportionate number amongst the financial elite in investment banking, hedge funds and private equity. (Incidentally, the two communities dominate the diamond trade globally.) more..

Sri Lanka bunker venture targets small ships

Dec 16 (LBO) A planned ship fuel business off a new port being built in southern Sri Lanka, will target small vessels sailing past the island and lure them with break-even prices, officials said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) intends to start sales of bunkers in the first quarter of next year off Hambantota, where a new port is being built a few miles away from the main sea route across the Indian Ocean. more..

Cricket in thrall as big guns slug it out

Dec 16 (CI) In the end it was the battle of the sluggers: Virender Sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Two openers who have always managed to play cricket that is exciting and daring. And if they are able to sustain their aggression for long periods, as they did today, no summit is really beyond them. Sehwag had set the pulses racing in the morning with a blistering century that formed the springboard for India vaulting past 400. more..

The book "Itukala Poronduwa" (Promise Delivered) launched

Dec 16 (MoD) "Itukala Poronduwa" (Promise Delivered) the book was compiled from a collection of series of interviews with Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which had been broadcasted and published in electronic and printed media over the two and half period from the beginning to the successful end of humanitarian operations, launched today, 15 December at the Defence Ministry premises. more..

Exhibition at the American center: Contemporary Sri Lankan textile designers

Dec 16 (AT) As part of its ongoing celebration of the 60th anniversary of the official relationship between the United States and Sri Lanka, the U.S. Embassy is now hosting an exhibition featuring the work of eight of Sri Lanka’s most outstanding contemporary textile artists. The eight artists are pioneers of the craft, who have left their unique imprint on contemporary Sri Lankan textile design. more..

Sri Lanka makes Journalism an act of terrorism

Dec 16 (PBS) As of December 10, J.S. Tissainayagam, a respected Tamil journalist and editor, had served the first 100 days of a 20-year sentence in a Sri Lankan jail. In his World Press Freedom Day statement, President Obama cited Tissainayagam as an "emblematic example" of a journalist who was being persecuted. Amnesty International also named Tissainayagam a prisoner of conscience, and more..

Record number of candidates: Record number of candidates

Dec 16 (BL) A record number of 15 candidates are expected to contest the upcoming Presidential election and by yesterday 13 candidates had made deposits to the Elections Department. All candidates who wish to contest in the January 26 Presidential election are expected to make their deposits before 12 noon today and the nominations should be handed over between 9 and 11 a.m. tomorrow. Among the 13 candidates who have already made deposits are more..

Sustainable Construction: A Necessity for reawakening of the North and East

Dec 16 (BL) Disasters can provide opportunities for sustainable development. But relief and reconstruction efforts should be integrated into long term development strategies clearly targeting transforming disasters into opportunities for sustainable development. The aim to develop guidelines for sustainable relief and construction and to provide a framework for implementation should receive highest priority of the policy makers. more..

Colombo bourse getting ready for a take off in 2010

Dec 16 (BL) Securities and Exchange Commission says the Colombo Stock Exchange will see nearly 8 to 10 new listing within the next year, the highest such listings to take place during a year after nearly 15 years. However, according to the SEC’s Director General Channa De Silva these companies who are planning to enter the CSE will wait until the “Presidential Election” is over, while some he says will stay until the “General election” is over. more..

Feel Negombo-2009 Festival not felt

Dec 16 (BL) The state-sponsored beach festival, Feel Negombo 2009 - The first of its kind - on the western coast was held from December 11 to 13, and became yet another poorly organised event of Sri Lanka Tourism. Organised by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau in collaboration with the Western Provincial Council, Feel Negombo-09, was more of a holiday trip for SLTPB officials rather than for the tourists. more..

Sarath Fonseka is not the answer; neither is Status Quo without change

Dec 16 (AT) Rtd General Sarath Fonseka has confirmed to the country that he is not a suitable person to lead the country although he may have been an astute military commander. The latest incident involving him, his condemning of his own troops and the leadership of the country with accusations based on hearsay, possibly at the behest of some unseen and unheard masters elsewhere, more..

Panel to counter Fonseka’s charges

Dec 16 (Hindu) The government on Tuesday announced that a committee of representatives would be appointed to clarify and counter the statement made by the former Army commander, General Sarath Fonseka, to the Sunday Leader newspaper making serious charges against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Minister Lakashman Yapa Abeywardena told media that the reported statement of the former Army Chief, was highly derogatory in nature and caused irreparable damage to the image of the country. more..

Lankans and Indians arrested for working illegally in UK

Dec 16 (ET) A west London-based company faces a potential fine of up to 170,000 pounds after 17 illegal workers from India and Sri Lanka were arrested during a raid by British immigration officials. Acting on intelligence, officers targeted the premises of a company called Only 4U Ltd on December 10. The operation was part of an ongoing clampdown on illegal working in the west London area, and more..

'Govt must ensure all IDPs can vote'

Dec 16 (FCO) The Foreign Secretary underlined the importance of securing genuine reconciliation between Sri Lanka's communities and stated that the presidential elections will be an opportunity for Sri Lankan's to have their say, adding that the Government must ensure all IDPs can vote. He also acknowledged that recent announcement that all remaining IDPs have been granted freedom of movement is a positive step, more..

Govt. openly attacking opposition parties and misusing State resources - UNP

Dec 16 (UNP) The UNP in a news release had accused the Govt. of violating election laws and country’s laws openly with impunity while also wasting public money on sumptuous feasts costing many millions of rupees feeding certain sections as part of its election campaign. The election propaganda offices , posters and cutouts of the opposition are being destroyed. Riding on a wave of crime and violence the Govt. is seeking to win election. more..

Cast the first vote to Bahu: Manickasothy

Dec 16 (TN) All Tamil political leaders should ensure in unison that Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne receive the first preferential vote in the presidential election, so that the two main candidates equal in their chauvinistic agenda against Tamils will not get the necessary 50 percent to win, said senior politician and civil movement member Manickasothy Abhimannasingham in an interview to media in Jaffna, more..

Heavy floods in East, 3 killed, IDP camps under water

Dec 16 (TN) Lightning claimed the lives of three people and more than 25,000 have been displaced due to heavy floods as cyclone 'Ward' entered the Eastern coast Monday night. Vaakarai, Vaazhaichcheanai, Kaaththaankudi and Vavu'natheevu are among the worst affected areas in Batticaloa. Meanwhile, all the huts of 'welfare centers' located in Moothoor East and Eechchilampattu in Trincomalee district are under water more..

Tsunami victim who came back from the dead

Dec 16 (NZH) There are a million questions one could ask of the woman sitting on the edge of a hospital bed in southern Sri Lanka, but for now only one of them matters: is she Padma Wawlanbokke? Five years ago, the 42-year-old's family mourned after she, her husband and the couple's young children disappeared and were presumed dead after the train in which they were travelling was struck by the deadly Asian tsunami. more..

British High Commissoner visits Dambana

Dec 16 (N1) The British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes visited an indigenous people's village in Dambana yesterday and met with their leader Uruwarige Wannialaeththo. Later, he visited the museum of the indigenous people. He then partook of a meal prepared in honour of his visit. The leader of the indigenous people said that it was the first occasion a high commissioner had visited the area and more..

Expatriates celebrates Christmas at Embassy of Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (SLE) The Sri Lanka Embassy’s annual Christmas celebrations were held on a crisp and cold Washington evening on 06 Dec, in keeping with the tradition of the Embassy of commemorating the important festivals of all four world religions practiced in Sri Lanka. Deputy Chief of Mission Tissa Wijeratne began the program with a welcome speech, explaining the importance of participating in multi-religious events as more..

SMS Trimurti leadership of the TNA on the firing line

Dec 16 (AT) “I don’t want anyone to break the TNA. This is the political outfit that can safeguard the Tamils from the dangers the community would face in the future”, said Thangeswary Kathiraman, the independent TNA parliamentarian from the Batticaloa district. Speaking to Asian Tribune she said that in the last TNA meeting, “I proposed that TNA should put forward a common Tamil candidate” She said that she proposed the name of R.Sampanthan. more..

Rajaratnam, Chiesi indicted in U.S. hedge fund probe

Dec 16 (Reuters) A U.S. grand jury on Tuesday indicted Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam and co-defendant Danielle Chiesi on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy in an insider trading case involving employees of some of America's best-known companies. The indictment in Manhattan federal court, two months after the pair were charged along with others in a coast-to-coast probe on Oct. 16, lists 17 counts of conspiracy to more..

KCCI asks Lanka to benefit from Gwadar

Dec 16 (IN) The KCCI Leadership has emphasized that Sri Lanka should take advantage of the Gwadar Port to establish a production base in Pakistan and tap the huge and largely untapped market of Central Asia and Middle East. Six-billion-dollar National Trade Corridor (NTC) is being developed over a period of six years. Initially it will connect the Karachi-Gwadar-Kunjaribe section, which will cost $2.8 billion, more..

For tsunami's Baby 81, fame brought misfortune

Dec 16 (Reuters) The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami brought international fame to Baby 81, but the parents of the two-month-old who miraculously survived the deadly wave say it has only brought misfortune. Found in the debris left by the wave that wrecked swathes of Sri Lanka's coast, Abhilash Jeyaraj became a phenomenon after international media reported nine sets of parents had come forward to claim him. more..

God Bless Children

Presidential candidates accuse each other of war crimes

Dec 16 (wsws) As the campaign for the January 26 election in Sri Lanka gets underway, President Mahinda Rajapakse and opposition rival General Sarath Fonseka have traded blows over who bears responsibility for war crimes and human rights abuses. In fact, both men are responsible for the government’s communal war against the separatist LTTE that was defeated in May. Rajapakse restarted the war in July 2006 and Fonseka, the country’s top general until he resigned last month, prosecuted it. more..

SLA, police exhort money from passengers to Jaffna

Dec 16 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and police personnel manning the bus terminal at Vavuniyaa where people travelling to Jaffna have to report first for checking demand money from them for being permitted to travel to Jaffna, sources in Vavuniyaa said. The bus travel being the cheapest, people choose it rather than ship or flight which are run by agencies of prominent persons of the ruling UPFA. more..

Kandy transport to get new building

Dec 16 (GDI) The Ministry of Transport has taken steps to allocate contraction work of the new building for Kandy District office of the Department of Motor Traffic to Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) to this amount subject to payment on the rates approval by the Permanent Technical Committee of the Ministry of Construction and Engineering Service out of normal tender procedure. more..

New buildings come under Trade Ministry

Dec 16 (GDI) The Ministry of Trade, Marketing Development, Co- Operatives and Consumer Services has taken steps to locate the laboratories required for the Department of Measurement Units Standards and Services, Training Center, Administrative Unit with accommodation facilities for staff in a new building complex at Pipana, Homagama. It is expected to assign the construction work to Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau and more..

'Sri Lanka has a bright future under President'

Dec 16 (GDI) Minister G.L. Peiris today claimed that Sri Lanka could confidently look towards a bright future under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He made these statements while participating at a discussion forum to formulate the National Integration Policy today held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. He pointed out that Sri Lanka was a country with a unified social and political structure. more..

Ravi condemns insulting remarks from Opposition on Artistes backing President

Dec 16 (GDI) Popular film actor Ravindra Randeniya strongly condemns claims by certain elements that artistes who are supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming elections had betrayed themselves for money. He stated “I believe the victory of the war is obviously decided on the clear leadership, I must say that he is the only one leader who gave maximum sponsorship to the cinema industry in every way. more..

'Attitudes and policies needed to change trends'

Dec 16 (Island) Sri Lanka has an excellent data base of economic indicators which need to be analysed and appreciated, however, there has to be an attitude that negative trends can be changed for the better which require policy measures to do so, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said recently. "When it comes to analysing trends in economic data we must understand them and appreciate them and not criticise them if more..

Nominations for Presidential election tomorrow

Dec 16 (LP) Accepting nominations for the upcoming Presidential Elections will be held at the Election Secretariat tomorrow. Accordingly nominations will be accepted from 09.00 am to 11.00 am while the public can field their objections for the nominations from 9.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. Special security has been provided to the Election Secretariat premises. Each candidate is permitted to enter the election secretariat premises with two representatives and ten supporters. more..

Custom officers arrest passenger with swiftlet nests again

Dec 16 (LP) A large amount of swiftlet nests were taken into custody by Customs officers yesterday. It is reported that the 44 kg of swiftlet nests taken into custody were found in the possession of a passenger bound for Malaysia. The passenger had tried to avoid the custom checking and had become fidgety. The swiftlet nests were inside 03 ravelling bags belonging to the traveler. The value of these swiftlet nests in the foreign markets is estimated to be over Rs. 10 million and more..

'President foiled country's division'

Dec 16 (MoD) Under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa those who had attempted to divide the country failed. But the statements made by the Opposition candidate had only pleased the divisive forces at home and abroad, Minister Susil Premajayanth said. He said people would not wish to give high responsibility to the Opposition candidate though he was aspiring to be a leader of the country as his statements were harming the country. more..

Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil in Jaffna now open to public

Dec 16 (LP) The Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil is opened for Pilgrims from yesterday under instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The road from Senthankulam to Keerimalai is now open for the public and devotees would be able to visit the Naguleswaram Kovil daily for their worshiping. A special bus service from Jaffna has been organized from 15th of December to cater to the travel needs of pilgrims from Jaffna area. more..

President Rajapaksa anticipates a revolution in SL dairy farming

Dec 16 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated a professional revolution in dairy farming in Sri Lanka with self-sufficiency in dairy produce in the not too distant future was his cherished goal. President addressing over 3,000 dairy farmers from all corners of the island at Temple Trees yesterday emphasized that the Government was committed to providing support facilities to dairy farmers to improve their trade. more..

Floods in East displace thousands

Dec 16 (PSM) Around 61,000 families in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts have been affected by floods resulting from heavy rains that lashed the area in the past few days, according to the Disaster Management Center. In the Ampara district alone 51,777 families have been affected. Two people are reported to be killed. Several camps had been already opened in a few schools in Batticaloa and 500 families had been placed there by more..

Senaka Wijesinghe earns lakhs through Tharunyata Hetak advertisements

Dec 16 (LNW) Actor Senaka Wijesinghe who coordinated the advertisements where popular artists and sports personalities express their support to the President on behalf of the Tharunyata Hetak Organization has reportedly misappropriated several lakhs from the funds allocated for the project. The advertisements are currently being telecast on state media channels free of charge. more..

Salute the Sri Lanka democracy

Dec 16 (LG) Sri Lanka which was till recently viewed as a country facing an internal war with part of the territory held by the rebels, now look much more vibrant and forward looking. This has particularly been so, due to the fact that there would be a Presidential Election immediately after the cessation of an internal strife in the country, that has caused the loss of hundreds of lives and great misery to everyone. more..

President’s teleprompter magic revealed before the Tamil people

Dec 16 (LNW) An official from the President’s Media Unit told Lanka News Web that the President who recently addressed the Tamil people during an election campaign meeting in a Tamil area using the teleprompter to make his speech in Tamil. However, the President was helpless when the people started to ask him questions in Tamil when he walked up to them after the speech. Several people had approached the President and spoken to him in Tamil, but more..

'LTTE Leaders including Prabhakaran were killed after the surrendered to the Army'

Dec 16 (LNW) Presidential candidate Wickremabahu Karunaratne told the media on Monday that the statement made to The Sunday Leader newspaper by General Sarath Fonseka has confirmed that LTTE Leader Prabhakaran and other leaders like Pulidevan and Nadesan were killed after they surrendered to the Army. He said that Fonseka’s statement had confirmed the stories that have been circulating for some time that the LTTE Leaders and their families surrendered to the Army with more..

'I revived the economy destroyed by the UNP'

Dec 16 (GDI) The UNP’s bankrupt economic policies devastated the local economy, observed President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, President Rajapaksa said the Government’s policy strengthened the local economy to a greater extent after he assumed office as President. The President said various accusations have been leveled in the past against the war heroes. But the Government at that time took appropriate measures to protect them. more..

Report of AG’s Department on Nipuna Ramanayake assault still not ready

Dec 16 (LT) The Police yesterday informed the Kaduwela District Court that the necessary legal advice has still not received from the Attorney General’s Department with regard to the assault on Nipuna Ramanayake, a student of SLIITS at Malabe. The son and wife of former SSP and the President Deputy Director General of Police, Kurunegala Mr Was Gunawardena have been accused of this assault who were earlier released on bail. more..