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ICTA partners with Microsoft to introduce the Sinhala Language Interface Pack for Windows 7

Dec 11 (ICTA) The apex body in directing the ICT permeation in the country, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, was the main facilitator and driving force behind the introduction of the Sinhala Language Interface Pack for Windows 7. ICTA in close collaboration with Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Sri Lanka spearheaded the project as part of their mission to more..

Teaching kids that every penny counts

Dec 11 (G&M) During the school year John Hetherington teaches history and world religions at West Ferris Secondary School in North Bay, Ont. But every summer he heads off on an adventure, travelling to war zones and other troubled parts of the world. In 2005, he visited Sri Lanka six months after the tsunami that devastated the country. By chance he ran into a group from a Lion’s Club in North Bay whose members were helping build a house. more..

Sri Lankan politicians to de-stress with yoga lessons

Dec 11 (BBC) Sri Lankan members of parliament are to be offered yoga sessions at work, starting next month. The aim is to eliminate their high levels of stress, the practitioners have told the BBC. "With peace in Sri Lanka, the most stressed-out people are now the politicians," said the instructor in charge, Chamin Warnakula. His yoga organisation has produced a leaflet headed "Yoga for MPs - For Mind, Body and Soul". more..

Postponement of West Indies series costly for Sri Lanka

Dec 11 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket is to pay 500,000 thousand US dollars (Rs.50 million) to the television company Ten Sports for postponing the five-match one-day series against the West Indies which was scheduled to start last Thursday in Suriyawewa. Ten Sports bought the rights to cover Sri Lanka’s international matches in the island and was down on the deal when the series was postponed. Ten Sports also lost millions of dollars when several days of cricket were washed out more..

Moratuwa campus closed

Dec 11 (Island) Vice Chancellor of Moratuwa University Prof. Malik Ranasinghe, on Friday, declared the university out of bounds to students following a clash between two factions which wounded 15 students. Prof. Ranasinghe declined to comment. Sources told The Island that sections of NDT students and BSc (Engineering) undergraduates had clashed. They said that some students had been armed with clubs and iron bars, while some threw stones. more..


Sri Lanka aims for big investments to boost slow FDI

Dec 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is targeting big-ticket projects that will give the economy a short-term boost and enhance export earnings, to increase slowing post-war foreign direct investment, the state investment body's head said on Friday. Despite the end of a 25-year war in May 2009, the Indian Ocean island nation is still struggling to bring in FDI. Despite the Board of Investment's (BOI) approval of 268 projects worth $2.5 billion this year, more..

Piyasiri blames Johnston for doing away with rice price control

Dec 11 (Island) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando took a wrong decision to remove price control on rice and Sri Lankan consumers completely were at the mercy of traders when they jacked up the prices said, Piyasiri Wijenayake of the National Freedom Front (NFF). Minister Fernando’s unwise decision was not meant to assist the rice farmers, consumers or traders. It was a personal decision taken by him. more..

'No place for O/L students in North to sit exam'

Dec 11 (DM) The government’s attention had been drawn to the difficulties faced by students sitting for their O/Ls in the North where according to the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) there was still no proper location to hold a national examination at present. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin said that students attending five schools in the North, including Thirumurugandi Vidyalaya, Wanni Ulankulam Vidyalaya, Maankulam Vidyalaya, more..

Public health safety violators fined

Dec 11 (DM) Eight persons, who had been arrested and produced in court on charges of having places that were breeding mosquitoes in their premises, which included a garage owner, were found guilty and fined Rs. 2500 each, totalling Rs. 20,000 by Addl.Mt. Lavinia Magistrate, Ruchira Weliwatte. Those fined were Madduge Somasiri, a garage owner from Attidiya, Mowjood Mohamed Assad - a Hardware Shop owner, Chitra Damayanthi, Sivamoorthilingam, more..

Ravi K uses rupee coins to show decline in value

Dec 11 (Island) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday attempted to demonstrate in Parliament how the purchasing power of the rupee had declined by comparing the weight and size of the newly minted one rupee coin with the older rupee coin. Karunanayake, who held up the coins one after the other, one minted in 1988 and the other in 2009 and said the appearance of the two coins was symbolic of the devaluation of the rupee. more..

Attempt to put off UNP convention foiled

Dec 11 (DM) Colombo District Court yesterday refused an eleventh hour action by a UNP Pradeshiya Sabha member from Bentara to stay the UNP Convention scheduled to be held tomorrow. Colombo District judge M. A. R. Marikkar refused to issue an enjoining order sought by Ranjith Siri Lal Wickremasinghe, the opposition leader of Bentara Pradeshiya Sabha. The plaintiff had filed the action against UNP, its General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake and the leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Transfers of nurses to far off places an act of revenge: GNOA

Dec 12 (DM) Nurses at the Colombo National Hospital and the Ratnapura General Hospital along with four other hospitals had decided to launch a continuous strike today (December 11), demanding that the transfers of 34 nurses of the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital be withdrawn, the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) yesterday said. The Association yesterday said that nurses attached to the Kalubowila, Hambantota, Matara and Karapitiya hospitals had more..

Sri Lanka policy consistency seen needed for investor confidence

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka should have consistent government policies to increase private sector confidence to invest more in the economy which in turn would boost economic growth, a senior chartered accountant said. Since independence Sri Lanka's economic growth has faltered due to wavering economic policies adopted by successive governments, analysts say. "I am extremely happy to note that our political leaders after a long period of time have appreciated the importance of fiscal policies and other economic reforms." more..

Rosy wants increased money allocation for higher education

Dec 12 (Island) UNP MP Rosy Senanayake on Thursday lamented in Parliament that the government had not allocated enough funds for the country’s higher education sector. "Yet, money seems to be available whenever needed for junkets and empty celebrations," she said, participating in the third reading of the budget when discussing the vote on the Higher Education Ministry. more..

'UK should have investigated US war crimes instead of arresting Assange'

Dec 12 (Island) Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka (JHU) on Thursday, commenting on the arrest of the WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange, said that what the United Kingdom should have done was not to arrest, but to investigate the alleged war crimes by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. "It is the usual practice of this block of western countries to torture the person who exposes their wrong doings and WikiLeaks case is a clear example of such actions," more..

UNP, SLMC on collision course over new Vanni MP

Dec 12 (Island) The SLMC is on a collision course with the UNP over a move to influence the late MP Noordeen Mashoor’s successor, U.L. Muthaliph Farook, to sit with the UNP parliamentary group. UNP sources say Farook recently met Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in the company of WPC UNP member A.J. M. Muzammil to discuss his plans. Vanni District MP Noordeen Mashoor (SLMC), who contested the last parliamentary elections on April 8 on the UNP ticket, passed away recently. more..

'Petition to put off convention was a govt. contract'

Dec 12 (AD) The UNP says that the only reason they were able to avoid the court from issuing an enjoining order preventing the party’s convention was because they had been previously prepared. Had we not been ready for such a petition we would not even be able to have an attorney to represent us, Tissa Attanayake said. The Colombo District court yesterday refused to issue an enjoining order preventing the UNP from holding the annual convention scheduled to take place on December 12. more..

President inaugurates ‘Jewels Sri Lanka’

Dec 12 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday inaugurated the “Jewels Sri Lanka - 2010” International Gems, Jewellery and Mineral Exhibition at the BMICH. The exhibition will be open to the public till December 12. This exhibition was organized by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority jointly with the Gemmologists Association of Sri Lanka to present high quality gem and jewellery to present high quality gem and jewellery to more..

Private Campuses: SB invites JVP for talks

Dec 12 (DM) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake told parliament yesterday he would seek the views of the JVP when introducing legislation to ensure that state universities were not affected by the establishment of private universities. He said a two-day workshop would be conducted early next month for the exchange of views and asked JVP front-liner Anura Kumara Dissanayake to participate in it. “If you think that the quality of state universities will drop with the advent of private universities, more..

D-Day for UNP tomorrow

Dec 12 (DM) The much awaited and crucial UNP convention where the party’s new constitution is expected to be adopted will be held tomorrow at the party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’, from 9 am onwards. Most party members are looking forward to the approval of the new party constitution which provides for the election of five top officials including the party leader through a secret ballot in the absence of a consensus. The proposed reforms were approved by the working committee earlier. more..

‘I intended to reveal the political solution at the Oxford speech’

Dec 12 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that he had received information about sinister attempts by some elements to create dissension and divisions within the military for their petty gains. For the first time in political history, the President, in his capacity as the Finance and Plan Implementation Minister, arrived in Parliament and participated in the debate on the vote of his Ministry. more..

Sixty kilos of narcotics seized: Biggest haul in SL

Dec 12 (Island) The Police Narcotics Bureau, in a joint operation with the Customs at the Colombo Port yesterday, seized 60 kilos of heroin hidden in a container. The street value of the haul, the biggest detection made to date, was estimated at Rs. 360 million. Previously about 40 kilos of heroin had been detected in Chilaw. Heroin was found inside what looked like potatoes of all sizes made out of plaster of Paris and more..

'I do not think the LTTE can revive'

Dec 12 (TC) In an exclusive interview conducted in June 2010 with Thirunavukkarasu Sridharan, the leader of the left leaning Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front, Padmanaba faction, (otherwise known as the EPRLF-Naba), who spoke candidly to Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe about the general situation facing Sri Lankan Tamils after the civil war, the implications of the demise of the LTTE, and Tamil aspirations for the near future. more..

Silence of the Sri Lankan media

Dec 12 (LG) Commemorating human wrongs on World Human Rights Day yesterday Sri Lankan journalists would do well to ponder on their own abyssmal record of pandering to their media organizations’ policies. While there is much hue and cry over the President’s botched Oxford Union address and media having a field day the government actually won in the end in their propaganda machinery. The Island, Sunday Times, Daily Mirror and The Nation editorials in fact gave glowing tribute to more..

Rape case charge against Julian Assange is similiar to corruption charge against Sarath Fonseka

Dec 13 (TC) Emperors are almost always naked. We think they are garbed in regal attires because of the collective psychological blinkers imposed on us, the ruled, by dominant ideologies. Those who take upon themselves the necessary task of exposing the structural nudity of Emperors risk imperial wrath and vengeance. So it was then. So it is now. So it is everywhere, even in the liberal heartland. more..

Look at Lanka the way others see it

Dec 12 (LG) We in this resplendent isle always had a great opinion of ourselves and have not given a damn about how others saw us. Two thousand five hundred years of recorded history, ‘hydraulic civilisation’, ‘Granary of the East’, are some of the magnificent perceptions that kept us and keep us going. After the victory over the LTTE, the ego of our leaders and the collective ego of the nation have gone through the roof. more..

'Cabinet Ministers have given wrong advice to President expecting to humiliate him'

Dec 12 (TC) I came back from England on November 7, Tuesday. I was warned by friends that I could get arrested by the Mahinda regime. But the ruler had a better arrangement set for me. I was not disturbed in any way while I went through the airport. In fact most respectfully officials attended to my matters and within minutes I was out of the airport. Then the vicious plot of Mahinda regime was launched. more..

US envoy Patricia Butenis is not a Tiger, Tiger supporter or sympathiser

Dec 12 (TC) One does hope that in her next cablegram, Ambassador Patricia Butenis will not fail to inform her bosses that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the highest ranking Sri Lankan in a formation that stands at a rare interface of global civil society and the global inter-state system; a member of the top elective college of a planetary organisation of a billion adherents; the leader of the only social organisation on more..

Editorial: Integrity in the face of adversity

Dec 12 (SL) On December 9th, the late Sujith Prasanna Perera was given the National Integrity Award by Transparency International. It is perhaps telling that our bearer of integrity is dead. Sujith Perera died for fighting fraud within the Customs Department. His murderers were convicted, but he could not be replaced. More tellingly, his attitude of taking risks to do the right thing has not been replaced. more..

Editorial: Accolades for Budget 2011

Dec 12 (SO) Budget 2011 of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Government, presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was passed in Parliament last week with a thumping majority. It received a record number of votes at the third and final reading - the highest ever since the current Constitution was introduced in 1978. No Government in living memory had passed a budget by such a large number of votes. more..

Ranil trying to have the last laugh at convention

Dec 12 (SL) Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe came under fire from the pro-reforms group in the party for allegedly introducing amendments to the draft constitution that is to be presented at the UNP convention today (12). Amidst media reports of the UNP getting a new constitution at today’s convention, controversy now surrounds the draft that is to be presented at the convention. more..

Wake up Oxford alumni of Sri Lanka - speak up for your country

Dec 12 (LG) This article is to call to attention the Oxford alumni of Sri Lanka to speak up for their country in the context of the now infamous withdrawal of the invitation to the President of Sri Lanka, to address the Oxford Union. This ‘stale’ news of the President who had travelled to UK to honour the invitation to address the Oxford Union and being unceremoniously informed that the invitation was forthwith withdrawn as the organizers had made more..

Santa M. visits homes and wanse shouts himself hoarse

Dec 12 (SL) Oo la la, omigosh and all that! Menika is like a set jelly, quivering all over, with heart thumping fit to divert the next flat gent’s averted eye in her direction. And why all this excitement? It’s exhilarated anticipation. What of? Let Menika catch her breath before she replies. The quickening heart-beat and rush of blood to the head, not to mention the bellyfuls of mad laughter waiting to guffaw out are all due to our Morvin, oops sorry, more..

'It was my statement and I take full responsibility for it'

Dec 12 (TC) Karu Jayasuriya, the UNP deputy leader, last week said he did not know why the government was agitated over a statement he issued in good faith. He maintained also that he had never alleged war crimes had been committed by Sri Lankan troops. Excerpts: Q: Did you draft the statement or simply lend your signature to it? A: It was my statement and I take full responsibility for it. more..

Editorial: Wikileaks and freedom of expression

Dec 12 (NS) The Wikileaks controversy has taken the world by storm, culminating this week in the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of the now famous website that dared to leak confidential and often controversial government documents on the Internet. The Wikileaks exposures and Assange’s arrest bring forth a range of issues of this day and age: the use and abuse of information technology, privacy rights and last but not the least, the double standards adopted by more..

Editorial: Misled foreign policy mandarins

Dec 12 (LB) There appears to be muddle-headedness and enveloping confusion with regard to Sri Lankan foreign policy of late, but at least one good foreign policy decision was taken last week, and that was the one to absent ourselves from the Nobel Peace Prize awarding ceremony in Oslo. China is our ally, and it makes abundant strategic sense to show solidarity with the Chinese, particularly at a time when nations which ought to be our friends such as more..

Crafts Marketing Village

Dec 12 (NS) The Folk Arts Centre, popularly known as Janakala Kendraya, located along the Parliament Road in Battaramulla, was recently acclaimed by UNESCO as a hub of handicrafts with a cultural value; the first such site in the country to receive recognition of such magnitude. Adding a new zest to this site is Crafts Marketing Village or athkam alevi gammanaya which was launched last week by the National Crafts Council. more..

Nurses strike spreads to Kandy

Dec 12 (ST) The strike by nurses attached to several state hospitals is set to continue over the weekend as talks between a trade union and the health authorities aimed at solving the issue ended in a deadlock a short while ago. Saman Ratnapriya, with the Government Nursing Officers’ Union (GNOU) said that the strike will now be extended to the Kandy general Hospital beginning on Sunday as the authorities failed to come up with a solution. more..

MR defiant as politicos trade blame over ‘London fiasco’

Dec 12 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent tour of London was the subject of discussion in parliament and elsewhere throughout the week and took precedence over other important affairs of the state. It was certainly ridden with controversy as to who did what and the embarrassment caused to Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation in the international political theatre. President Rajapaksa’s endurance to face the situation in good stead was appreciated all round, but more..