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Water Minister wants another lake for House

Nov 13 (DM) Against the backdrop of Wednesday’s deluge, Minister of Water Supply and Drainage Dinesh Gunawardane yesterday stressed the need for an additional lake next to the parliament complex for rain water retention so as to avert the danger of the House being flooded. Flood waters from the swollen Diyawanna Oya caused extensive damage to the electrical and information technology systems in the parliament complex on Thursday. more..

Order reserved in challenge to AG’s appointment

Nov 13 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday reserved the order in the fundamental rights violation applications, filed by the centre for Policy Alternatives and Rohan Edirisinha, challenging the appointment of Mohan Pieris, PC, as the Attorney General of Sri Lanka. The petitioners had alleged that the steps taken by the second respondent, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to appoint Mr. Pieris PC, as the Attorney General, without the approval of the Constitutional Council, more..

Welfare program to help handicraftsmen

Nov 13 (DN) The National Crafts Council of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry has commenced a welfare program to upgrade the living standards of elderly and disabled handicraftsmen, Minister Douglas Devananda said. He said so participating at the inauguration ceremony of the welfare program yesterday at the Ministry. Under this welfare program, National Crafts Council (NCC) will grant a Rs 2,000 monthly allowance for each selected handicraftsman. more..

Poddala Jayantha wins Transparency International Integrity award

Nov 13 (GV) Battered and bleeding, journalist Poddala Jayantha lay on his hospital bed when we visited him on June 2, 2009. He was lucky to be alive after being brutally assaulted by a group of unidentified assailants just the previous day. This was a terrible time for the Sri Lankan media. Personally, I was struggling to recover from the shock of losing my former editor Lasantha Wickrematunge to the tyranny of the powerful. I was not alone. more..

Govt fast-tracks nursing officers’ promotions amidst protests

Nov 13 (Island) While trade unions continue to oppose the new Nursing Constitution Bill, the government has decided to fast track promotions with effect from November 1. The new service minute which has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, would reduce the period of service to qualify for promotion to six years from the present 10 years, Acting Cabinet spokesman and Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, said yesterday. more..

Two killed; 236,938 affected by floods

Nov 13 (DM) Two deaths have been reported while 236,938 people were affected in the heaviest rainfall to hit the country in 18 years with more than 20,000 people being housed in temporary shelters in Colombo and the suburbs, the Disaster management Centre (DMC) said. It said 4,022 families were living in 15 camps seven of which were located at Kalawitigodella Purana Vihara, Sedawatta Siddartha Vidyalaya, Nagawanaramaya, Meetotamulla Henawatta Temple and the Vidyabiwardana Vidyalaya. more..

SLMC joins Govt.

Nov 13 (Island) The SLMC yesterday joined the government and said that it had accepted President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation to help develop the country. The National Organiser of the SLMC Shafeek Rajabdeen said that their decision was not based on any conditions. He said that Rajapaksa had requested an SLMC delegation led by its leader Rauff Hakeem on Thursday to join the government as it was the main political party representing the Muslims in the country. more..

Illegal construction brings floods to HE section

Nov 13 (DM) Floods experienced in the country after two days of torrential rains had effected buildings of the Health Education Section and computers, and valuable documents have been damaged causing a loss of millions of rupees stated the Director of the Section Dr. Sarath Amunugama. He said that even during a small shower the Health Education Complex goes under water as a house had been constructed on the canal way. more..

Sri Lanka mulls ocean thermal energy option

Nov 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka is considering OTEC, or ocean thermal energy conversion, in the eastern deep-water harbour of Trincomalee as part of a renewable energy drive, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. "We're trying to promote renewable energy," he told a forum of exporters organised by the National Chamber of Exporters to discuss the island's future power plans. "Trincomalee is one of the best places for OTEC and we're now exploring its possibilities," Ranawaka said. more..

Explanation to be called from 550 sick nurses

Nov 13 (Island) The Health Ministry will call for explanation from nurses who kept away from work on Wednesday despite a circular cancelling leave for all nurses in State hospitals. According to Ministry sources, they would call for explanation from 550 nurses. Asked on what basis they had selected 550 of the protesters while there were many others belonging to the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) more..

Sri Lanka way down ‘early marriages’ list

Nov 13 (Island) Sri Lanka lies way down on the ‘early marriage practice’ list compiled after a survey carried by Nepal’s Rastriya Samachar Samittee (RSS). The survey revealed that only 12 per cent of the Sri Lankans entered wedlock early in life. Bangladesh topped the list in the South Asian region with 64 per cent marrying before reaching the age of 18 years. The report released in a two-day executive board meeting on more..

Public institutions owe CEB a whopping Rs.15 bn

Nov 13 (Island) Public institutions still owe the CEB Rs. 15 billion for power supplied in the past, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. Apart from public institutions certain large scale private firms, too, were indebted to the CEB, he said. "We are unable to recover the entire debt as some companies have closed down," he said. Among the institutions that owed the CEB money, there were security forces, hospitals, schools and local councils. more..

Deeds for those who lost property in NE

Nov 13 (DM) Residents who had lost or misplaced documents or deeds of ownership to their house and property left behind when they fled the North and East during the 30-year war will be issued with ‘Land Ownership Certificates’ (LOCs). Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon said the ‘Bimsaviya’ programme which was planned to operate between 2011 and 2013 would provide a much awaited solution to the land disputes in the North and East and more..

Tiran takes Fonseka case to CPA

Nov 13 (DM) The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is reported to have assured DNA MP Tiran Alles that it would do its best to ensure justice for war hero and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who is serving a 30-month jail sentence. DNA sources said Mr. Alles held talks with CPA Secretary General William Shija on Thursday and briefed him about the plight faced by retired General Fonseka, who led the troops in defeating the LTTE. more..

Tribunal upholds extension of ban on LTTE

Nov 13 (Hindu) Observing that the LTTE still remains a threat to the country's security, Justice Vikramajit Sen of the Delhi High Court, constituting the one-man Tribunal, on Friday upheld the May 14, 2010 notification of the Centre extending the ban on the outfit for two years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Tribunal said there was sufficient evidence that pro-LTTE elements and remnant LTTE cadres, with the help of local smugglers, more..

To push down escalating rice prices: PMB releases buffer stocks

Nov 13 (DN) Cooperative and Internal Trade Minister Jonston Fernando yesterday directed the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) to begin processing the paddy stocks purchased by the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) during the last season. These processed stocks would be issued to the local market gradually to avert a possible increase in prices of rice. The Minister arrived at this decision at the price control meeting held at the Ministry yesterday. more..

Lack of co-ordination between HM, UGC delaying internship appointments

Nov 13 (Island) Internship appointments for newly passed out graduates, were being unduly delayed due to lack of coordination between the Health Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), charged yesterday. The delay has considerably affected the medical services in State-run hospitals, especially in the peripheral hospitals which suffer without adequate doctors, the GMOA said, more..

Vinayagam emerges in Europe as new Chief of LTTE

Nov 13 (DBS) Writing in these columns last week about the state of the LTTE overseas network I noted that “the Tiger and pro-tiger structures abroad could be broadly classified into two categories”. The first category is the group comprising organizations that are either fronts or sympathetic to the LTTE. This category about which I wrote extensively last week ,consists of organizations such as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) headed by more..

Post-war relations: Spat over UNP’s criticism of German approach

Nov 13 (Island) In the wake of the UNP’s criticism of Germany’s stand on post-war Sri Lanka, German Ambassador in Colombo Jens Plotner has strongly defended his country’s position, while assuring the main Opposition party of the EU member’s neutrality. Sources told The Island that Plotner had got in touch with UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya after the UNP accused him and a visiting Germany parliamentary delegation of taking a pro-UPFA stance. more..

President advises to grant Al-Jazeera crew visas

Nov 13 (AD) President Mahinda Rajapakse has instructed that visas be approved to the Al-Jazeera television staff members of who had wanted cover the swearing-in of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a second term on November 19. The President has advised the relevant authorities to grant the Al-Jazeera television crew permission to enter the country stating that there is no reason to deny the group visas, a Spokesman to the President’s Office stated. more..

JVP protest demonstration against removal of posters

Nov 14 (LT) A protest demonstration against the removal of posters and cut-outs put up by the JVP for the '21st Commemoration of Heroes' event to be held tomorrow (13) was held today. This protest demonstration was held in Piliyandala town today for more than 1 hour led by former Parliamentarian of the JVP, Mr Lakshman Nipunarachchi. They held this protest displaying posters, cut-outs and banners on ' 21st Commemoration of Heroes ". more..

Mahawa PC members stage rooftop protest

Nov 14 (AD) A group of government and opposition members of the Mahawa Provincial Council have begun a protest on the roof of the Provincial Council building. They are demanding that the Chairman of the Mahawa PC be removed from his duties, Ada Derana correspondent said. The PC members staging the protest accused the Provincial Council Chairman of offering various posts in exchange for money and also of having a hand in several illegal affairs. more..

BBC granted access to war hearings

Nov 14 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has told the BBC it can now have full access to cover the proceedings of a government-appointed war commission, thereby overturning its own earlier decision to block the organisation from doing so. On Wednesday the defence ministry had prohibited the BBC from travelling to cover the current hearings in northern Sri Lanka’s main city, Jaffna. Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war was centred around the north of the island. more..

Sri Lanka gets ADB help to cope with climate change

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka has drafted a national strategy for climate change adaptation with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a statement said. The ADB, working with the Ministry of Environment, has given technical assistance for a new framework to enable Sri Lanka’s economy and people to cope with climate change impacts, it said. “Sri Lanka needs to adapt to climate change to ensure that its economic development can continue without disruption more..

'New pension scheme would not affect EPF, ETF contributions'

Nov 14 (Island) Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge yesterday said that private sector employees should have no apprehension over the introduction of a new pensions scheme by the government as it would not adversely affect their EPF and ETF contributions. The Minister stressed that privileges enjoyed by private sector employees, would not be affected with the introduction of the new pensions scheme. more..

Sri Lankan maid alleges torture in Kuwait

Nov 14 (AFP) A Sri Lankan housemaid has accused her Kuwaiti employer of hammering 14 nails into her body, in the second such incident in the past few months, a local doctor said on Saturday. The woman, identified only as Lechchami, 38, underwent surgery to have the nails removed after returning home to Sri Lanka, the director of the hospital in the northwestern town of Kurunegala said. "We have removed nine out of the 14 wire nails that showed up in X-rays," more..

Army to hold SEAL training excercise for the first time

Nov 14 (NF) For the first time in Sri Lanka the Army is to hold a seal training exercise. Military spokesperson Major General Ubhaya Medawala says that the sea, air and land training exercises will be held for nine days in the Silawatura area in Mannar starting on the 21st of November. Medawala said that the training exercises would be held under the approval the Secretary of Defence and under the guidelines of the Army Commander. more..

Sri Lanka to ease foreign flow restrictions

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will relax foreign exchange regulations by cutting down on paperwork for foreigners investing in the country, the central bank said on Friday. Foreign investors have long complained of the lengthy paperwork required to both invest and repatriate money but Sri Lanka says the measures are designed to safeguard its reserves. KD Ranasinghe, the chief economist at the central bank said that the relaxation, more..

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi freed

Nov 14 (Reuters) Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi walked out of her home to rapturous cheers from thousands of supporters on Saturday after the country's military rulers released her from seven years of house arrest. "People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal," the Nobel Peace Prize-winner said, smiling as she clenched the tops of red-iron gates bordering her crumbling lakeside mansion, her hair pinned with flowers. more..

Who will take responsibility for Rizana Nafeek?

Nov 14 (LG) We have the right as human beings to ask about the souls of other humans that are being wasted unjustly. And it is our right to in a State of law and order to ask about the rights of these souls. Follows to that the souls of all human beings, whether they belong to us or to other nations since we belong to the religion of justice, and since we worship a God who prohibited injustice on himself. more..

Pearl Thevanayagam’s cheap journalism

Nov 14 (LG) My write up ‘Imelda's comment hurtful and unacceptable’ published in the Sri Lanka Guardian (click here to read) based on news reported in the Colombo media and facts gathered from the victims and respectable visitors to Jaffna came under critical analysis by Gaja Luxshmi Paramasivam (Click here to read) and a hate attack by a gutter journalist Pearl Thevasagayam (click here to read). more..

Can Tamil diaspora efforts to get President Rajapaksa arrested as a war crminal succeed?

Nov 14 (TC) Q: Pro-LTTE diaspora groups recently succeeded in planting a story in local and international media that President Mahinda Rajapaksa cancelled a trip to the UK since he feared arrest over war crimes. This has reopened a debate on whether a head of state has unqualified immunity from arrest in another country. What does international law say on this? A: The traditional view is that international law becomes a more..

Victory of Truth in a War of Words

Nov 14 (LG) It is sad but true that few Sri Lankans would have followed the debate on the engagement of our troops in the last stages of the LTTE created war. After nearly 30 years of terrorist atrocities our troops defeated the LTTE at a water log area called Nandikadal, and what has happened at the last two days of this war has created enough vibration to damage the goodwill and the trust of the civil society in Sri Lanka. more..

Former LTTE cadres’ wives bear witness before LLRC in Jaffna

Nov 14 (TN) The wife of Vijithan, a key person in LTTE political wing, told the LLRC Friday in Changkaraththai in Vaddukoaddai that her husband and her brother were taken away after they surrendered themselves to Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at Vadduvaakal in Mullaiththeevu and that she had not had any information about her husband since then. Vijithan Arivumathi added that her brother who was released later had seen her husband surrendering to SLA at Vadduvaakal. more..

Heavy-handed response to student unrest is self-defeating

Nov 14 (LG) Rupert Brooke was one of Britain’s great war poets. The words above are an extract from his sonnet Death which Regi Siriwardena quotes in his ‘Among My Souvenirs’, a semi-autobiographical narrative of his life. Siriwardena was an undergrad in Colombo at the outbreak of the second Great War. Professor Marrs was the Principal of the University College at that time. more..

Editorial : President can do more for GKCC depositors

Nov 14 (LG) Although President Rajapakse and those close to him showed initial sympathy and signs of resolving the pathetic problem of over 5,000 smaller depositors, ill fate threatens the lives of most of these innocent folk - whose world has collapsed right in front of their eyes without warning in December 2009. Many children from the ages of 5 to 17 have lost their places in good schools their parents found for them that ensured a good education and more..

Editorial : President Thanks Ranil

Nov 14 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week made an unusual telephone call to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Rajapaksa had called and thanked Wickremesinghe and UNP Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera for raising the issue about a casino that is being operated by a foreign national on D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha. The President had said that he was unaware of the casino down D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha until the matter was raised more..

Mistrust, discontent and anger at LLRC North sessions

Nov 14 (TC) The LLRC sessions in Jaffna were a stark contrast to those held in Colombo. While the gallantry of the security forces, commendability of the government’s attempts at rehabilitation and resettlement and the importance of tri-lingual education for better understanding policy dominate the Colombo sessions, hostility, hundreds of mothers and widows cornering the commissioners to complain about lost family members and more..

Editorial : The people's President

Nov 14 (SO) Friday will be a red letter day in the annals of Sri Lanka when President Mahinda Rajapaksa takes oaths for his second term in office. President Rajapaksa was re-elected with a larger mandate than any of his predecessors and scored a landslide victory at the last Presidential Election on January 26, 2010. It is by no means an easy task for a Head of State of a democratic country to increase his or her popularity while holding the mantle of office. more..

Editorial : Of publishing porn star photos

Nov 14 (NS) Among the measures advocated for a crackdown on pornography was a plan by the police to publish in the media photographs of persons found in pornographic material on the internet. Although the plan had been announced by law enforcement authorities, it is yet to materialise. The latest snag apparently is that media houses have politely refused to accede to the request of the police. This issue brings to light several factors which surprisingly have not been adequately discussed. more..

An island of mistrust

Nov 14 (NP) What lessons are we to draw from the Sri Lankan conflict? Something deep in the culture of antagonism that pervades modern Sri Lanka made it impossible for a peace process leading toward genuine reconciliation to be accepted. The hold of religious zealotry and political extremism in Sri Lanka was strong and depressingly persistent. The stubbornness of the Sinhalese majority created the conditions for a turn to violence by the Tamil minority in the 1970s, and more..

Editorial : End of term

Nov 14 (LB) There would be critiques and critiques of the current milestone in Rajapaksa presidency, but yet, an end of 1st term assessment is not about President Rajapaksa, it is about our nation. How did we fare under the Rajapaksa stewardship, and what does the record portend for the coming six years? Despite the background noise, what must be said about Mahinda Rajapaksa is that this is a man who for whatever reason lays a premium on delivery — or loosely put — the primacy of the fait accompli. more..

Editorial : Rebelling undergrads and social peace

Nov 14 (Island) The upsurge of unrest in our universities is quite understandably causing widespread concern among our citizenry and posing the question in their minds as to whether endemic undergraduate restiveness and issues associated with it are once again upon us. Besides apprehensions that lawlessness would be unleashed in our seats of higher learning, fears are rampant among particularly parents and other concerned sections that more..

Another egg crisis looming: How big is the question?

Nov 14 (NS) There is yet another crisis in the poultry industry directly arising from the closure of four mega farms last year following an outbreak of the salmonella disease, but as to who is telling the whole truth about the alleged impending shortage of poultry products is like the perennial question which came first the chicken or the egg and cannot be easily answered. While openly admitting there is a shortage of about one million chicks in the country, more..

MR’s power takes root as UNP pushes reforms

Nov 14 (NS) The month of November appears to be auspicious to Sri Lanka owing to twin events that would take place for the benefit of the country and the betterment of her people. While President Mahinda Rajapaksa will administer his oath for the second time as the executive head of the country on the 19th instant, Archbishop of Colombo Rt Rev Dr Malcolm Ranjith will be consecrated by his Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, a day after the former event. more..

How President Mahinda Rajapaksa has transformed Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (TC) Admire him or detest him, support him or decry him, the indubitable fact is that in five short years Mahinda Rajapaksa has transformed Sri Lanka, almost beyond recognition. Some of President Rajapaksa’s achievements are glaringly evident. He (together with his brother Gotabaya and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka) ended a nearly three-decade war in less than three years. The LTTE, thought by many to be invincible, was comprehensively defeated and more..

Nothing else, but the cost of living

Nov 14 (LB) With the president to officially begin his second term this week with a truly king-sized celebration, the country knows that the Rajapaksas are well ensconced in power. Is there anything that can shake this juggernaut? Not likely, most political observers would say, looking at a hapless UNP and a JVP groping in the dark. But if there’s one thing the president himself knows can unsettle him in the long term, it is the poor man’s burden. more..

Giant strides ahead

Nov 14 (NS) Hectic preparations are now underway for the inauguration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second term of office. Celebrations will be held throughout the country this week and the President will no doubt look forward to a successful second six-year term. It will be recalled that because he called for presidential elections one year ahead of schedule in 2010, President Rajapaksa effectively lost one year of his first tenure. The President, however, was keen to cash in politically on the war victory over the LTTE. more..

Calling the JVP’s bluff on the Tamil question

Nov 14 (Island) The leading force opposing the slide to dictatorship in Sri Lanka at the present time is the JVP; you may like it, you may not, but that’s the plain fact. If you work in political space, and if you want to stop the slide to dictatorship, stop wasting your time with the UNP which has tied itself up in multifarious knots, or consorting with the pro-Mahinda stooge-left; you need to participate in the activities of those performers who do not suffer from self-inflicted impotency. more..

Three ships to call at Magampura harbour

Nov 14 (SO) Three ships carrying fertiliser will call at the Magampura harbour from next month. Minister of Ports and Aviation, Dayasritha Tissera told the Sunday Observer said that these ships would transport fertiliser and this service would operate on a regular basis. In addition, four cement producing companies have also shown an interest to set up ventures at the Magampura Port. more..