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SF not mistreated: Prisons department

Nov 6 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is being provided with the facilities similar to those provided to any other prisoner under the law and he is not being mistreated as claimed by some who visited him, Prisons Department spokesman Kenneth Fernando told Daily Mirror online. He said no complaints had been received about the facilities provided to retired General Fonseka. more..

People not living by bread alone

Nov 6 (DM) Bakery owners said yesterday that due to the high price of bread, the sale of bread had declined by 25 per cent in rural and semi urban areas though sales were somewhat stable in urban areas. All Ceylon Bakery Operators Association (ACBOA) President N.K. Jayawardane said rice which was a substitute for bread was available in the market at a lower price. “Our sales are down mainly because of these two factors,” more..

Govt to directly import oil from Oman

Nov 6 (DN) The Government is to import crude oil, gas and lubricants from the Sultanate of Oman directly. An initial discussion in this regard was held between Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha and Sultanate of Oman Ambassador Humid Ali Al Maani at the Ministry yesterday. He said direct import of crude oil and gas from the Sultanate of Oman will benefit the Sri Lankan consumer to a larger degree. more..

Lanka eyes 75 per cent e-literacy by 2016

Nov 6 (Island) The government has set its sights on raising the ICT literacy of its citizenry to 75 per cent by 2016, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President said. Addressing the Future Gov Forum held in Colombo last week, Weeratunga said ICT literacy in the country has grown from five per cent in 2004 to 30 per cent today, as a result of a series of initiatives spearheaded by a Presidential taskforce to bring ICT to ordinary Sri Lankans more..

Sri Lanka to organise its BOI on Pakistani model

Nov 6 (PTI) Sri Lanka plans to re-organise its Board of Investment, the nation's main investment regulatory agency, based on the high-profile Pakistani model, which has the Prime Minister on its board. The government has proposed drastically changing the way the BoI operates, but no details have been disclosed. Privately-run Website, however, reported that the Sri Lankan government expected to follow the Pakistan experience. more..

JCPSM says ready to man OPD till 8 P.M.

Nov 6 (Island) The Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine said they would extend their services at the out patients department till 8 p.m., despite the existing dearth of PSM in the government service. President of the JCPSM Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday (05), that they would maintain PSM services at the OPD from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. instead of signing off at 4 p.m. as in the past. more..

Govt. willing to study pros and cons: PM

Nov 6 (DM) The government yesterday expressed its willingness to study the pros and cons of the Gaming Bill which is to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday as the religious leaders and opposition parties were opposing the proposed Bill. Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne gave this assurance at a ceremony held at Nalandarama Nugegoda to mark the opening of the new Dharma Shalawa last evening. more..

Polythene ban in WPC

Nov 7 (SL) The Western Provincial Council (WPC) is working on baning polythene decorations within three months to minimize environmental pollution. Environment Minister of the Western Provincial Council, Udaya Gammanpila has told the media that the WPC was waiting for observations of parliament to implement the ban on polythene. The WPC Environment Ministry had submitted the draft to parliament three months back. more..

'The rights of not only students but of the whole Nation have been deprived'

Nov 7 (LT) Democratic rights are being denied not only to students but to all masses in this country, and a situation has arisen where the rulers of the country do not accept advice given by religious leaders either says Mahanayake of Malwatta Chapter Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sumangala Thero. The prelate said this when a group of representatives of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) visited him in Kandy today. more..

'One Law for all'

Nov 7 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the newly Constructed Tangalla Court Complex at a cost of Rs. 385 million this morning on 06 November. The new Judicial Complex comprises the High Court, District Court, Magistrate Courts, Legal Aid office and Labour Tribunal. Speaking at the opening ceremony the President said that there is only one law for all from Devundarathuduwa (Dondra Point) to Peduruthuduwa (Point Pedro). more..

Medical Students Arrested

Nov 7 (SL) The All Ceylon Government Medical Officers’ Association (ACGMOA) says that four of its members have been arrested while distributing leaflets in Matara. The ACGMOA has condemned the arrest of its activists who were arrested while distributing leaflets against the introduction of private medical universities in the country. The ACGMOA has charged that while the phones of the medical students who were taken into custody were deactivated, they were more..

ILO Assistance Sought

Nov 7 (SL) Deputy External Affairs Minister Geethanjana Gunawardene has requested the International Labour Organization (ILO) to assist in strengthening the training facilities available for migrant workers in the country. Gunawardene had made this request when Officer-in-charge of the ILO Office in Colombo, Sherin Khan had paid a courtesy call on him to discuss ways to strengthen ties between the Sri Lankan Government and the ILO. more..

Australia hope to avoid losing record

Nov 7 (CI) In the blue corner is Sri Lanka, the happiest team in the world, the one deservedly still celebrating their first series victory Down Under. Slumped in the really blue corner is Australia, the side trying to avoid setting their worst losing streak in history. It is usually the touring teams that feel this low here, but the faded green and golds have lost their sheen. And the Ashes starts in 19 days. more..

Promoting contacts, preserving confidence

Nov 7 (LG) In writing many years ago about the Indo-Lankan Accord of 1987, the single most crucial element in bilateral relations since the independence of both countries, I made the following assessment -The full text of the Accord, revealed only after it had been signed, indicated that in order to win peace Jayawardene had gone far down the road he had tried to avoid. It had already been let slip the previous week that the President would have discretion to more..

President of Sri Lanka is more vulnerable to be arrested in December

Nov 7 (LG) Times of India, first reported that the President called off the visit fearing arrest on war crimes charges. This news was soon repudiated by the news in the Daily Mirror of Sri Lanka. It said, quoting the Sri Lanka Foreign Office sources that the visit has been postponed to December this year. The true situation was, a massive demonstration involving the Sinhalese, Tamils and the Muslims communities were planned to take place in the Central London and more..

The Oxford Union invite – trip or trap?

Nov 7 (LG) The External Affairs ministry has just issued a statement indicating that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to London, in response to an invitation to address the Oxford Union, has been postponed “to a more suitable time” on account of a busy schedule that included much recent travel, and his upcoming 2nd term-inauguration ceremony. This followed recent media reports that said the visit had been “cancelled” owing to fears of arrest in London for war crimes. more..

Imalda’s damned lies and her naked maladministration

Nov 7 (LG) There are limits to compromise or please the master. This is what the Government Agent of Jaffna Mrs Imalda Sugumar is finding hard to achieve. She is entering into un-chartered territories to please the government out of the way. In this process, she is even selling her sub conscience to touch on issues that are deeply hurtful to the people whom she is working for as the senior government official of Jaffna. more..

10 new envoys present credentials to Rajapaksa

Nov 7 (TN) Ten new envoys, including 8 ambassadors and 2 high commissioners, presented their credentials to Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday. Colombo has received new envoys from Norway, Switzerland, Cyprus, Mexico, Peru, Oman, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Mongolia. Four of the envoys are women. The two new High Commissioners presented their credentials are Ms Seema Illahi Baloach of Pakistan and Ms Nafsika C.Kroushi of Cyprus. more..

Sri Lanka builds more mini-hydro, wind power plants

Nov 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is building more mini-hydro and wind power plants but needs more technology transfer to ensure better use of renewable energy, officials said. Harsha Wickremasinghe, deputy director general of the Sustainable Energy Authority, said the country was well in its way to achieve planned non-conventional renewable energy targets but more ambitious goals needed greater caution. more..

Editorial : Towards a movement against dictatorial insanity

Nov 7 (SL) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya was reported in The Sunday Leader saying that his Party was forming a ‘Peoples’ Movement Against Dictatorial Insanity’ and was looking at the possibility of amalgamating it with the ‘Peoples’ Movement for Democracy’ headed by Anoma Fonseka, wife of the former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka who has been incarcerated. Even though the UNP itself appears to be afflicted with some degree of insanity, more..

Editorial : Sri Lanka on threshold of development

Nov 7 (SO) The country had been plunged into darkness without electricity at night mainly for two reasons in the past - poor power generation during droughts or when the LTTE’s small aircraft flew low, targeting strategic locations to drop bombs. When J.R. Jayewardene’s 1977 UNP regime embarked on the accelerated Mahaweli development project, they gloated that electricity could even be provided to South India. more..

Rajapaksa extends LLRC term for another six months

Nov 7 (TN) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has extended term of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that is to expire at the end of November this year for another six months from 1st December, according to Lakshman Wickremasinghe, Media Advisor of the LLRC. The LLRC has already been discredited by three leading human rights agencies of the West. more..

The beneficiary of the biggest Free Ride: The chief executive of this country

Nov 7 (SL) I have on previous occasions devoted this column to specifying whom I thought was getting a “free ride” from the media in that he, she or they were not drawing the criticism that they should have. Among those targets was the Commissioner of Elections who provided extensive comic relief during two elections that were anything but funny. However, the one man who has wielded enormous power and authority has, more..

The Sinhalese are content with an unjust peace: But are Tamils?

Nov 7 (TC) Last month, a mob of Southern ‘tourists’ invaded the Jaffna Public Library after closing hours. They responded to objections by the authorities with malicious acts of vandalism and even defied the security forces. No arrests were made; having had their ‘Vini- Vidi-Vici’ moment the vandals returned, safe and sound. Though the identities of these vandals are unknown, they belong to an identifiable type. more..

Sri Lanka Cargills links farmers in former war zone to markets

Nov 7 (LBO) Cargills (Ceylon), which runs Sri Lanka's biggest supermarket chain, has begun selling products of farmers in the former war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The joint 'Yal Uthpaththi' programme by the Food City supermarket chain with the Central Bank and state-run Bank of Ceylon aims to create markets for farmers from Jaffna who specialise in palmyrah-based products. more..

Editorial: Time to hear the voice from North

Nov 7 (NS) It is not often that one hears the words ‘political solution’ being bandied about these days. The term was in vogue during the height of Sri Lanka’s civil war and the concept was seen as an alternative to a military resolution of the conflict. However, with the decisive end of the war in May 2009, the clamour for a ‘political solution’ in Sri Lanka has become less strident. In fact, a view has since emerged that there need not be any kind of more..

Drastic changes likely in President’s second term

Nov 7 (NS) The stage is set for the swearing-in ceremony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who will assume office for a second term as President on Nov 19. According to the government, ministers and officials, there would be a revolutionary change in the approach to tackling burning issues of the people once the President announces his policy framework for the next term with the assumption of office. Among other things, finding a durable solution for the ethnic issue takes a foremost place. more..

Is Army Commander subject to military law?

Nov 7 (NS) In the recent past, much interest (or controversy) has been generated with regard to courts martial. For the ill-informed, a court martial is nothing but an advanced version of a ‘kangaroo court’. However, this notion is far from the truth. This article attempts to clear the misconceptions that are associated with courts martial. A court martial, as the very word denotes, is a military court that metes out justice in the Armed Forces. more..

Editorial : Good thinking at Dee’wali

Nov 7 (LB) It is not very well-known that the president recently shot down a proposal — or was it a request? — to shut down bars for the Deepawali festival. If one thing can be said about the government, it is that its helmsmen are revving up the economic engines very fast. Last week there was Norrocholai and this week there was the Kotmale tunnel. In this context, the president’s decision to shoot down the request for closing of bars taverns and liquor outlets on more..

Cabinet memorandum is setback for devolution

Nov 7 (TC) Legal experts and political groups have raised concerns about a cabinet memorandum approved recently that says that Provincial Councils should consult and take prior approval from the relevant line ministry whenever they issue a circular or a statute. The decision with regard to the cabinet paper, presented by State Management and Reforms Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, states that obtaining the sanction of the line ministry concerned when more..

Sajith Ravi cold war now hot war

Nov 7 (LB) The cold war that is brewing between UNP MPs Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake has come to a head, and MP Premadasa’s supporters apparently have decided to intensify a protest campaign against his main adversary in the party, sources said. The Premadasa camp is looking forward to holding a press briefing before launching their protest campaign against MP Karunanayake, they further said. more..

Editorial : Making the right choices

Nov 7 (Island) Last Sunday’s issue of this newspaper highlighted a comment made by Colombo lawyer Gomin Dayasri that the success or failure of the new order decreed by the 18th Amendment depends on the kind of people the president appoints to the various commissions that must be set up under it. The president is the appointing authority and it is he who must decide on their composition and must take full responsibility for his choices. more..

Phone book a cash cow for SLT

Nov 7 (Island) SLT’s publishing arm, SLT Publications (Pvt) Ltd., handling the publication of telephone directories had positively contributed Rs.194 million profit before-tax during the first nine months of the current financial year, the company announced last week. The SLT Directory, previously confined only to the printed book, has now expanded to many electronic formats enabling customers to access directory information through a CD, more..

Cold war continues bewteen uncle Basil and nephew Namal Rajapaksa

Nov 7 (TC) Bollywood super star Vivek Oberoi’s wedding took place last Sunday in a five star hotel in Bangalore. Among the Indian Bollywood super stars, Indian government and opposition politicos who were present on the occasion there was also a special guest. He was none other than Sri Lanka’s heir to the Rajapaksa Dynasty, Namal Rajapaksa. The latter became personally acquainted with Vivek Oberoi at the IIFA ceremony when they were held in Sri Lanka. more..

Religious fundamentalism, hypocrisy and the gaming bill in Sri Lanka

Nov 7 (TC) At present the government is trying to introduce a gaming bill, while religious fundamentalists are betting on the Talibanist element in society to stall it. One can imagine Buddhist fundamentalist groups such as the JHU trying to ensure that we go "back to the future" to a puritanical era, which never existed, but opposition from the Catholic Church to this bill before the Lessons Learnt Commission is hilarious. more..

Editorial : Objecting to a statue

Nov 7 (ST) France, colonised by the Germans during World War II has had a great commitment to people who are refugees. Many Frenchmen and women were refugees themselves during those war years and the post-war generation opened the doors of France to all peoples who were refugees. "Liberte; Egalite; Fraternite" - Liberty; Equality; Fraternity (Brotherhood) is France's famous national motto. It had its problems with Algeria because of its occupation of that country, but more..

Karu out Mangala in ?

Nov 7 (LB) Plans are afoot to replace Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya with recent crossover and Matara district Mangala Samaraweera to provide leadership to the Grama Charika programme countrywide, informed sources of the UNP said. The latest Grama Charika programme took place in Matara last week and now measures are underway to replace MP Jayasuriya with MP Samaraweera as the Grama Charika concept is to be sustained for the rest of the year. more..

'Drop in standards likely to deprive Sri Lanka of many medals'

Nov 7 (SO) NOC President Hemasiri Fernando declined to comment anything extravagant with regard to the medal winning prospects of the Sri Lankans at the forthcoming Asian Games to be held in China from November 12 to 27, citing the drastic drop in performances in athletics in contrast to the previous years. However, Sri Lanka could have their hopes flickering for some medals with people like Chinthana Vidanage and Sudesh Pieris (Weightlifting), more..

Samurdhi helps bring down poverty level

Nov 7 (SO) The Samurdhi program has achieved remarkable progress in alleviating poverty among low income groups and helped bring down the country’s poverty level to 15 percent. The Samurdhi program has made a direct impact on reducing the poverty level in the country. When the Samurdhi Movement was launched in 1995 the country’s poverty level was 28.8 percent. The poverty level had been reduced to 15 percent at present due to the effectiveness of the poverty alleviation more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa would speedily head towards obliteration if he does not change

Nov 7 (TC) If President Mahinda Rajapaksa is not able to make a serious change in his attitude, style of governance and actions after genuinely looking back at his first four years of governance, it is unavoidable that he will crumble as a leader, speedily heading towards obliteration even though he will be able to win the next presidential election. more..

Why not extend sympathy to a Tamil man or woman languishing in a rat infested jail?

Nov 7 (TC) Recently I listened in disbelief to a professional of Tamil ethnicity telling me that when people travel from Jaffna or Mullaitivu (etc) to Colombo, they avoid the out-of-town travellers like the plague. As the teller was an old friend of more than twenty years standing, I was able to remonstrate with her and ask her why this was the case. Her response was, ‘It is far too dangerous to be seen associating with them. more..

Walking down memory lane in a different shade!

Nov 7 (ST) My dear JR, I thought I must write to you even though you are not with us anymore because you were being remembered recently not only as it was your death anniversary but for a variety of other reasons as well. Remember, JR, how you made a landmark change in the way our country is governed by introducing a presidential system, replacing the prime ministerial system that had been in operation for thirty years since independence? more..

Houses for Tamils after monsoon

Nov 7 (DC) Sri Lanka has assured India that it would commence construction of houses for the internally displaced persons in the island nation after the monsoons, Union home minister P. Chidambaram said. “Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had, during his recent visit to New Delhi on the Lankan Tamils rehabilitation, assured to ensure the construction of 50,000 houses for the displaced Lankan Tamils as part of the rehabilitation process, more..

Air Senok soon to fly

Nov 7 (ST) The Senok Trade Group, heavily into the automobile business, is planning to start a helicopter service, company and aviation industry officials, said. “The Senok team had a meeting with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials and they are now discussing the details pertaining to certification process,” a CAA source told the Business Times. He said the CAA had requested the company to submit their business plans. more..

Love’s labour lost

Nov 7 (NS) Thanks to a bank video footage the police were able to nab woman and her husband, who withdrew the man’s paramour’s fixed deposit amounting to Rs400,000 from a bank in Galle on October 25 after stealing the deposit certificate and the victim’s identity card. The victim of this crime is a 48-year-old widow from Hapugala who had lost her husband an electrician attached to the Galle Municipal council who died two years ago. more..

Food shortage likely next year if Maha rains continue to fail in Dry Zone

Nov 7 (Island) A food shortage accompanied by high prices for the country’s essential food requirements is very possible next year if the Maha season rains fail to materialize. Currently, 60 to 65 percent of arable land in the country’s Dry Zone is lying fallow and if the Maha rains do not come within the next two or three weeks all cultivable land will go unused in the Zone. more..

Job seekers stranded in Bangkok

Nov 7 (ST) Dozens of Sri Lankans duped into believing they will get jobs in Thailand have been stranded as bogus agents in Sri Lanka and Thailand decamped with their money and sometimes their passports too. At least one dozen Sri Lankans of different ethnic groups have reported their plight to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Bangkok over the past two months after having been relieved of large sums of cash at both ends. more..

Rumpus on campus

Nov 7 (NS) For the past few weeks, the focus of attention in the country has been on the current disquiet in the universities where protests and student arrests are the order of the day, with the conflicts often turning violent and ugly. While the main student union involved, the IUSF strongly protests its independence, the government has been quick to claim that the union is nothing more than an extension of its former ally, the leftist JVP. more..

Sri Lanka rejects compensation claim in hedging dispute

Nov 7 (ST) The Sri Lankan Government is strongly defending its position in the controversial oil hedging case which is currently being examined by an arbitration panel in Singapore but a surprise witness to the proceedings on Wednesday was former Attorney General Shibly Aziz, official sources said. They said Mr Aziz, not a member of the 14-member Sri Lankan delegation which included former Petroleum Minister A.H.M.Fowzie and more..

Lanka set to smash $1.4 b tea forex record

Nov 7 (LB) Sri Lanka’s exports of tea for the current year are expected to exceed the record $1.4 b earned during 2009. The 2010 January to end-September tea export income stood at $991.9 m. Foreign sales have improved in the past few years and in 2008 total exports from tea netted in $1.2 b. Enhanced earnings this year results from international marketing strategies adpoted by the Tea Exporters’ Association (TEA). more..