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India-Sri Lanka power link by 2013

Dec 29 (Rediff) The Indian government's initiative to set up a high-capacity power transmission link between India and Sri Lanka is likely to be completed by 2013. The 285-kilometre power link, including submarine cables over a stretch of 50 km, will enable the two countries to trade their surplus power, thereby offering a cheaper option to bridge their power generation deficit and also manage their peak demand. more..

In Kuwait: Sri Lankans celebrated Christmas in style

Dec 29 (AT) The Embassy staff together with their families and friends, joined by safe-house inmates and the local Sri Lankan Christian and Catholic community celebrated Christmas at the Embassy on 26th December in a spirit of unity and harmony with the sounds of bells marking the festivities. The event, the first ever organized by the embassy Seva Vanitha Unit (Ladies Welfare Group) in Kuwait, held in a truly Christmas festive setting, more..

Lankan Tamils face Hobson's choice, says leading journalist

Dec 29 (AT) The Tamils of Sri Lanka are presented with a Hobson's choice in the upcoming presidential election, but vote they must, a leading Tamil journalist has said. Mr N Vithyatharan, editor of Tamil dailies Uthayan and Sudaroli published from Jaffna and Colombo respectively, feels they have to choose between President Rajapaksa who ordered the shooting and Gen (Retd) Sarath Fonseka who pulled the gun. more..

Blinkered vision of Tamil nationalists and socialists is self-defeating

Dec 29 (GV) There’s one important lesson to be learnt from the presidential campaign so far: It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Mahinda-Regime is determined to hang on to power by hook or by crook. Ominous signs of thuggery against all opposition are widespread; the state-media’s shamelessly transparent propaganda is making a mockery of all journalistic principles. Over one and a half million Tamils have been deprived of their right to vote. more..

Both main candidates 'foreign agents'

Dec 29 (BBC) A leftwing presidential candidate in Sri Lanka has accused the two main candidates of being 'foreign agents'. Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, leader of the Left Front, told journalists on Monday that none of the leading candidates will respect the rights of minorities. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his former military commander, Gen Sarath Fonseka, are the two more..

Sri Lanka: Cornea exporter to the world

Dec 29 (HT) Managing director of the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society (SLEDS) Dr MHS Cassim doesn’t like it when asked whether Sri Lanka is the second largest exporter of corneas in the world. Cassim doesn’t have problems with being second after the US in sending corneas abroad; his problem is with the word “exporter". “We don’t export but donate. We only charge processing fees. We don't sell corneas," he said. more..

Sri Lanka Tsunami: The Fifth Anniversary

Dec 29 (HP) "How are you going to mark the fifth anniversary of the tsunami?" I asked a woman on the southern coast of Sri Lanka who had lost her husband in the tsunami. "We don't need to mark it," she told me. "We remember it every day." Today is the fifth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami that devastated the eastern and southern coasts of Sri Lanka and in the process took 40,000 people with it in the space of twenty minutes. more..

Moving into a new decade

Dec 29 (LG) Another year has gone by but what a year it was! Whoever thought the conflict would end just like that? A near 30-year battle with Tamil militants ended in May with the killing of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his family. The LTTE, through its expatriate supporters are trying to re-organise but in a world that frowns on terrorism and has tough counter measures, any revival would be difficult unless more..

Let 2010 be a year of compassion and growth for Sri Lanka

Dec 29 (LG) The year 2009 has proved to be decisive for Sri Lanka, giving hope particularly to the deprived and disheartened minorities, that an era of peace and tranquility will ultimately begin for them. Millions of words have been written and spoken all over the world as to whether the means adopted to end the conflict in Sri Lanka were appropriate. While some would argue that every act is fair in a war like situation, more..

Despite legislative reforms, domestic helpers still subject to abuse

Dec 29 (JT) When Ishara Hemanthi arrived in Jordan in November 2008, she hoped that she’d be able to save enough money to help her family in Sri Lanka. But in less than four months, her dreams turned into a nightmare when her employers started to abuse her physically. She told her story as authorities were mulling tougher measures against abusing employers, more..

The merciless Rajapaksha regime must find its way out

Dec 29 (LG) Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksha is a fundamental rights violator. Being one time in the military service, he should have known the implications of violating the military, humanitarian and the international rules and laws in any military engagements. His conduct has surpassed the behaviour of his predecessor, the self professed General Anuruddha Ratwatte of the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s regime to more..

Law enforcement as usual!

Dec 29 (LG) Money counterfeiting monks, accused monks in rape cases; in a nutshell, all sorts of monks have been proliferating quite steadily in the past several decades, certainly warranting a clean-up in the Sasana –monks’ order-perhaps a clean-up a bit more sophisticated than the legendary Asokian one in the third century B.C. While the reason, as publicised, for the arrest of Buddhist monk Dambara Amila appears to be and could be anything from cheating to criminal breach of trust, more..

Panel to study Alston letter

Dec 29 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday sent the December 18 letter of Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra- judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions seeking an explanation from the government, to a committee appointed to study and report on the October 21 U.S. Department of State Report on “incidents during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka”. more..

Sri Lanka behind Pakistan in regulatory transparency: study

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka is the most uncertain market among South Asian countries for new telcos, while Pakistan has the most transparent process for entry and spectrum, despite high fees, a study has found. "Pakistan is the most expensive to enter in South Asia, but it's the most transparent," Helani Galpaya, chief operating officer at LIRNEasia – a Sri Lankan-based think-tank, said. more..

‘Uncivilising’ Sri Lanka

Dec 29 (GV) The SLPC Chairperson, Hudson Samarasinghe, is using vulgar telecasts and thereby contributing to the degeneration of language and public discourse within the country. The rudest forms of language used to refer to persons and the manner in which people are referred to publically are those which are considered in the language as most unacceptable. Such telecasts which last for hours are aired every day and more..

Abductees unreleased even after payment of ransom, in Jaffna

Dec 29 (TN) Around fiteen to twenty persons had been swindled each for two hundred thousand rupees as ransom to have their abducted family members released in Jaffna, sources in Jaffna said. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) intelligence officers are alleged to have collaborated with certain persons in this racket. A caller, introducing himself as a Major in SLA had told the Village Officer of A'laveddi, Changkaanai and Cha'ndilipaay, Poopalssingham (J220), more..

Polgahawela honours war heroes

Dec 29 (MoD) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya attended a Ranaviru felicitation ceremony on Sunday evening where war heroes of all Three Forces and the police were felicitated. The event was held at the Polgahawela Pradeshiya Sabha auditorium. The ceremony was organized by Polgahawela Sashanarakshaka Balamandalaya, Provincial Council Polgahawela, Young Men's Buddhist Association and 2600th Buddhist Anniversary Celebrations Committee. more..

LTTE leaders who surrendered were killed by Army Special Forces

Dec 29 (DBS) The above lines from an old nursery rhyme recur constantly in my mind when looking at the controversy surrounding the deaths of some senior leaders of the LTTE in the early hours of May 18th 2009. The LTTE’s political commissar Balasingham Mahendran alias Nadesan and head of tiger peace secretariat Seevaratham Prabhakaran alias Pulidevan and some other tiger leaders and more..

We believe in the pulse of the people - President

Dec 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the government believed in the pulse of the people rather than the international community. The President made this observation when he met with members of local government institutions belonging to various political parties. The President said that the country was liberated through the humanitarian operation. The people have been provided the opportunity to lead better lives. more..

Rains in North, reservoirs full

Dec 29 (MoD) The heavy rains experienced in the North during the past several days had resulted in filling up all irrigation reservoirs. Farmers will be able to cultivate all paddy lands in Vavuniya and elsewhere during the current Maha season. The A9 road was inundated with flood waters during the past few days while the A32 road was flooded from Jayapuram Junction to Pooneryn stopping traffic movement during the rains. more..

Eradicating hunger no challenge for President - Keheliya

Dec 29 (GDI) The Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Keheliya Rambukwella said that eradicating the pangs of hunger among the people would be a simple task for the President who cleared their mental agony by eradicating 30 years of terrorism within four years. He said the President while conducting a costly war never neglected national development. Nearly 400,000 people including graduates have been provided with employment while more..

Mud slinging cannot stop President's march to victory - Dinesh

Dec 29 (GDI) Certain political parties hired by the UNP were trying to buckle the President's efforts by engaging in a sinister mud slinging campaign against him. But none can stop the Presidents efforts, Minister of Urban Development and Sacred area Development Dinesh Gunawardena said when he opened a UPFA election office at Kottawa junction recently. He pointed out that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had planned to steer the country towards development and more..

'President created a future for the younger generation'

Dec 29 (GDI) The role of the younger generation on national development was clearly identified by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his mission as a cabinet minister in his political career and now the youth of the country have received a real vision which was never seen before, during the regime of the President, Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne said while addressing more..

No shortage of essentials as claimed by certain media - Trade Minister

Dec 29 (GDI) "Certain media has reported that there was a shortage of essential food items which is totally false. Certain private sector entities are concealing essential food items to create an artificial shortage to make the Government uncomfortable and the country has sufficient essential food items, especially rice and the market is being supplied without any shortage", Minister Bandula Gunawardena said more..

Express Highway to boost national economy

Dec 29 (GDI) Work on the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway now in progress will boost the to the economy. Work on the project launched nearly a decade ago came to a halt. However, it is now taking place successfully under the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto. The road from Peliyagoda to the Katunayake International Airport is 25 kilometers in length. The total expenditure to be incurred is 15 billion rupees. more..

'President's campaign effective at grassroot level'

Dec 29 (GDI) UPFA General Secretary, Susil Premajayantha was of the view that the campaign of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was very effective at grass root level. He told the media today, that the campaign has reached the necessary segments of the society. Minister Premajayantha pointed out the opposition has failed to criticize any shortcomings in the Mahinda Chinthana, because the President had fulfilled all pledges. more..

UNP and JVP fall short of candidates - Athaulla

Dec 29 (GDI) Minister ALM Athaulla today asked the UNP and the JVP whether they faced a crisis of finding a candidate to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa. At a news conference at the Mahaweli Centre today, Minister Athaulla said Ranil Wickremesinghe always pleased the LTTE and Norway and the public were aware it. He asked whether Ranil Wickremasinghe would cast his vote in favour of Gen.Sarath Fonseka. more..

Ampara Urban Development plan launched

Dec 29 (LP) Urban Development Authority of the Urban Development and Sacred Area Development has undertaken several projects for the development of Ampara District. Accordingly the projects undertaken are Expansion the town centre, Service industries, Shopping complex, Administrative and industrial centre, Industrial Development Zone, Bus stand development project, New Urban Council building, market development, more..

A ceremony to remember those who passed away in the Tsunami

Dec 29 (LP) A special ceremony to commemorate the citizens who passed away due to the tsunami disaster five years ago was held at the Veththalakerni, Uduthurai Public cemetery recently. Around 2000 relatives of the deceased participated by paying their respects and observing religious rites. The ceremony was held under the patronage of the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General L.B.R Mark. more..

Dengue fever spreading fast in Colombo district

Dec 29 (LP) Investigations conducted by the Public Health Department revealed that there is an increase in the mosquito breeding places in Colombo which led to the increase in the number of Dengue patients in the city. Breeding places have increased basically in and around the residences and institutions in the city of Colombo. Roof gutters, water storage tanks, drains, ornamental plants, items found in improperly disposed garbage and more..

Temporary ICs issued for PC polls valid, except in EP

Dec 29 (LNP) Temporary identity cards issued to voters in lieu of national identity cards at the recently concluded provincial council elections would be valid for voting at the forthcoming Presidential election, Commissioner of Elections, Dayananda Dissanayake said. However, such identity cards issued to voters for the Eastern Provincial Council elections would not be valid, he said. more..

Sarath accepted this challenge thinking of suffering people

Dec 29 (LT) “My husband came forward to contest at the Presidential Election leaving behind his comforts when he could have served for a further period. He did not come forward thinking of his family but the country and the general public. It is a pleasure to see that it’s striding upwards to accomplish his mission”, said Mrs Anoma Fonseka addressing a rally at Nittambuwa. “Some war heroes do not possess a house to-date. more..

Muthur fishermen want more affirmative actions

Dec 29 (PSM) Fisher folks of Muthur in Trinco district are yet to get full bennefit of the relaxation of the fishing restrictions. They have compalined of difficulties by the pass system prevailing in this area. The application forms to get the required security pass is in Sinhala language and they have to seek the help of a person who knows Sinhala. As a first step they have requested to provide with the application form in Tamil language. more..

Wimal challenges Fonseka for debate

Dec 29 (DN) NFF Chairman Wimal Weerawansa yesterday challenged Sarath Fonseka to a live debate on arms dealings by Fonseka’s son-in-law. Addressing the media, Weerawansa claimed that although Fonseka played down arms dealings by a company owned by his son-in-law as of little importance, it was not so. The NFF leader claimed that he has evidence that the company had major involvement in arms dealings and more..

‘Bright future’ – An obstacle to the Prophecy

Dec 29 (LT) The fortune tellers have pointed out that the ‘bright future’ slogan in the President’s election propaganda has become an obstacle. Reliable sources indicate that they have pointed out this might become worse according to the President’s horoscope. It is reported that as soon as the President came to know this situation he had become furious and rebuked the relevant advertising company and its coordinators. more..

What happened to Philip Alston's Letter

Dec 29 (LeN) The popular topic of today is a letter purported to have been sent by Mr. Philip Alston Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the UN. The politicians are trying to earn an extra mileage using this letter. The most popular world associated with this issue is "betrayal." Unfortunately, the politicians have not understood the fact that by giving more prominence to this letter more..

'Rajapaksa administration ruined confidence people had on the CID'

Dec 29 (LT) The present administration has declined the confidence of the public on Criminal Investigation Department within the country stated the Senior Presidential Counsel and the former Additional Solicitor General Srinath Perera at a news conference held in Colombo yesterday. I have been serving in the Attorney General’s Department since 1971. more..

Malwatte chapter Chief Incumbent rejects President’s Benz car offer

Dec 29 (LeN) It is reported that the Govt, has gifted two Benz cars to the Chief Incumbents of Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters (a Benz car each). However, the chief Incumbent of the Malwatte Chapter Ven. Thimbatuwe Sri Sumangala Thero has refused to accept the Benz car in the midst of the Govt.’s Presidential elections campaign. The Ven. Thero has declined the gift on the ground that this is not the time to accept gifts of the Govt. more..

Local election monitors divided on bringing in foreign counterparts

Dec 29 (LNP) Major election monitoring groups in the country have shown conflicting opinions on the election process and the choosing of foreign election monitors for the upcoming Presidential election. CAFFE said yesterday that the country was seriously in need of foreign election monitors and that the backing out of UN and EU monitors from the election monitoring process was a loss to the country in terms of carrying out a free and fair election. more..

Whom to believe?

Dec 29 (LNP) The JVP is on the warpath over the arrest by the CID of Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, who is a frontline member of the outfit. The police say his arrest was made consequent to a probe into a foreign employment racket he was allegedly involved in. There is credible evidence against him, the police say. But, the JVP insists that the charge against the Thera is trumped up and the government is trying to frame him for political reasons. more..

Tremendous growth potential

Dec 29 (LNP) Sri Lanka's tourism industry has tremendous potential to grow further with the dawn of peace. The opening of the North and the East has brought positive hopes to Sri Lanka s tourism as two-thirds of the coastline, which was formerly under the control of terrorists, has been liberated making it accessible to tourists PJ Hotels (Pvt) Ltd., Chairman, Prasanna W. Jayewardene told Daily News Business. more..

UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara released on bail

Dec 29 (AD) The Hettipola courts this morning (December 29) has ordered that UNP Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera be released on bail. A complaint had been lodged at the Hettipola Police claiming that Dayasiri Jayasekera had been involved in an incident of assault. Accordingly Mr. Jayasekera had surrendered to the Hettipola courts this morning, where he was released on bail,

Army chief in a desperate bid to building his image

Dec 29 (LNW) According to reliable sources Army Chief Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya has launched a very costly media campaign to build his image as a Professional battle hardened officer in par with his predecessor General Sarath Fonseka. Journalists who attended the latest media party in a series at Rock House Camp yesterday evening at the expenses of public money told that Army Commander has already posted more..

Victims still live in misery five years after tsunami

Dec 29 (wsws) December 26 marked the fifth anniversary of the devastating tsunami that was triggered by a massive earthquake off the Indonesian province of Aceh. At least 230,000 people were killed and another 1.7 million left homeless in 13 countries bordering the Indian Ocean, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. After Indonesia, Sri Lanka was the worst hit. According to official figures, 30,920 people lost their lives and more..

All Ceylon Hindu Congress praises President Rajapaksa for speedy IDP resettlement

Dec 29 (AT) The All Ceylon Hindu Congress has expressed its high appreciation to the President and the government for the speedy resettlement of IDPs. In a letter addressed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr. Kandiah Neelakandan, the General Secretary of the All Ceylon Hindu Congress thanked the President and government officials for expediting the resettlement process. more..

Nursing profession gets impetus

Dec 29 (DN) The Government has increased the number of Nurses Training Schools to 19 and made arrangements to grant nursing degrees to train nurses according to international standards because there is a great demand for skilled nursing staff here and abroad, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President was addressing a meeting attended by members of the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) at Temple Trees on Sunday. more..

Minister Muralitharan to TNA: Don’t repeat past mistakes

Dec 29 (DN) The TNA should not make the same mistake as it did in the past, said National Integration and Reconciliation Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan at a press conference. He added that it was only President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was able to end the 30 years of war and bring peace to the nation and there was no necessity to change the leadership of the country. more..

Massive infrastructure development in Matara

Dec 29 (DN) During the four-year reign of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the development of the island’s economic and social infrastructure was expedited to a level that the country had never witnessed during the time of previous leaders. According to the Mahinda Chinthanaya, the development was not confined to a particular city or town, but covered the entire country emphasizing a balanced more..

No more underage tuskers to be released from Pinnawala

Dec 29 (Island) The National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela has decided not to release any tuskers under the age of five years in future from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Zoo Director Duminda Jayaratne said. He said the parents of the only tuskers born in Pinnawala, Raju and Sindu had been identified. They were donated to the Dalada Maligawa by President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this year despite protests by animal rights organisations and zoologists. more..

'When Gen Fonseka challenges the President , a ‘pig’ enters the arena on his behalf'

Dec 29 (UNP) Speaking at a media briefing at the General’s office today, JVP M.P. Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, the opposition common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka threw an open challenge at the President to come for an open debate on the country’s issues. The President is slinking. But, a ‘pig’ however has come forward in his place to defend the President. more..