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New local election law will trim campaign spending

Nov 7 (Island) The new Local Government elections law that is now before the Supreme Court will reduce excessive elections spending, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. Gunawardena who chaired the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms said that the Bill would be taken up for debate once the Supreme Court determination is conveyed to the Speaker and he announces the order when the Bill can be taken up for consideration under more..

‘Prabhakaran alive’ myth fails to elicit funds

Nov 7 (EB) A radical faction of the LTTE, headed by Norway-based Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan, has failed miserably to get voluntary contributions from the Tamil diaspora by promoting the myth that Velupillai Prabhakaran is alive and planning a comeback, LTTE watchers say. “There is virtually no collection now,” said Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. more..

Some porn ‘actors’ outed did not know they were filmed

Nov 7 (LB) The Police Child Protection Bureau (PCPB) is to identify local youths who willingly appeared in porn sites by exposing their pictures in the media. They hope to locate owners of such sites who rope in gullible males and females to appear in the nude and semi nude for photographs while destroying their futures, having posted such photos on the internet. more..

SM Krishna to open Jaffna and H’tota Indian consulates general

Nov 7 (Island) Indian External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna will formally open Indian Consulates General (CGs) in Jaffna and Hambantota during his upcoming visit to Sri Lanka, scheduled for 25-28 November 2010. The Sunday Island understands from the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha that the officials appointed as Consuls General will arrive in Colombo in mid-November. more..

McKay ends Australia's losing streak

Nov 7 (CI) Sri Lanka's series-winning hangover allowed Australia to end their seven-match losing streak as Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc set up the eight-wicket victory. The result meant Australia avoided their worst sequence of defeats and gave them a much-needed boost with the Ashes starting on November 25. Despite the strength of their performance, Australia's opponents were not fully focused more..

Govt. going ahead with Las Vegas plans

Nov 7 (ST) Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene confirmed the Government’s intensions to go ahead with legislation to legalise casinos and betting centres throughout the country despite criticism from the clergy and opposition political parties. The new law will empower a minister to designate areas in any part of Sri Lanka for gaming or gambling and is now before Parliament for approval. more..

Lanka seeks large scale FDIs

Nov 7 (ST) A new investment strategy is being worked out by the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development with a view to increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for large scale projects including industrial ventures.Accordingly the mandate of Sri Lanka's Board of Investments (BOI) will be redefined and legislation enacted to replace the BOI with a new investment promotion authority, official sources said. more..

UNP splits roots at the grassroots

Nov 7 (ST) It was close to midnight when the UNP Deputy Leader, Karu Jayasuriya, walked into a small room (10 feet X 8 feet), in an old house. His political chores for Saturday October 30 had just ended. He shut the half door that remained open. Already locked to the frame was the other half. With his thumb, he pushed upwards the lever of a creaky old power switch on the wall. A light bulb without a shade that hung from the roof went off plunging the room into darkness. more..

'North-East MPs should be made an integral part of the ongoing development process'

Nov 7 (Island) All MPs elected by the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces should be made an integral part of the ongoing development efforts in that region so that a more meaningful, reconciliatory and participatory process would emerge, says Ashruff Aziz, leader of the ADWC. All elected MPs from the North and East, irrespective of their ethnicity or party affiliations, should be drawn into the more..

India nudges Tamil parties

Nov 7 (NS) With India urging a united minority front to win a fair political solution, the Tamil Political Parties Forum (TPPF) is likely to be strengthened with the likelihood of the inclusion of the TNA. Discussions between the TNA parliamentary group leader R Sampanthan and some of the members of the TPPF had taken place last Wednesday (3), with both parties accepting the importance of the Tamil political parties to work together. more..

Law degree holders to be hired as ASPs

Nov 7 (LB) The police have implemented a new programme to absorb law degree holders as ASPs after the AG’s decision to steer clear of police cases. In the wake of the decision taken by the AG, the responsibility to look into the legal aspect of cases involving murders, heists, robberies, protests, insurgencies and accidents has now been entrusted to the DIGs and other Inspectors at district level by IGP Mahinda Balasuriya. more..

Credit Card for state employees

Nov 8 (SL) The Internal Trade and Cooperatives Ministry is to launch a new credit card for public sector employees. Deputy Internal Trade and Cooperatives Minister Neomal Perera said the decision was taken as a measure to further ease the cost of living burden from the public sector employees. He said that salaries of state sector employees covered 25% of the population. “The government therefore would address this issue and has planned to provide state sector more..

Series win best of my captaincy - Sangakkara

Nov 8 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has rated the series win over Australia as the best of his captaincy, but said his team must avoid lapses like the one at the Gabba if it is to be the best in the world. Sri Lanka followed their Twenty20 victory last week with two wins to claim the ODI trophy, but stumbled to an eight-wicket defeat in Sunday's dead rubber. After their batting was so strong over the rest of the tour, the tourists were knocked over for 115 in only 32 overs more..

'Govt. harbors a grudge against people in Colombo'

Nov 8 (LT) The President and the government are harboring a hatred towards people in Colombo District says convener of the ‘People’s solidarity against evicting of citizens from Colombo’ JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi. Mr. Handunneththi speaking at the inaugural media briefing of the ‘People’s solidarity against evicting of citizens from Colombo’ said it is due to this hatred that Rajapakse government is attempting to more..

Migrant workers stranded in Kuwait return

Nov 8 (SL) Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded in Kuwait are scheduled to arrive in the country today (7). The Foreign Employment Bureau has said that 113 migrant workers who were stranded in Kuwait would return to the country. Among the majority of female migrant workers who were stranded in Kuwait, there are eight males. The migrant workers had sought refuge at the Sri Lankan embassy in Kuwait when they were stranded after losing their jobs. more..

Licence must for selling, repairing cell phones

Nov 8 (ST) Police raids will be launched on persons selling or repairing mobile phones without a valid licence after December 31, this year, TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said. He said that persons will have to obtain a licence by paying Rs. 6,000 for each category such as sales and repairs, during the next eight weeks. Mr. Palpita said that so far only 3,000 licences have been issued despite tens of thousands of persons being engaged in the business. more..

D A Rajapaksa- 43rd death anniversary commemoration ceremony at Tangalla

Nov 8 (IL) The 43rd death anniversary commemoration of former Deputy Speaker and Minister late D.A. Rajapaksa was held at Tangalla this morning on 07th November. D.A. Rajapaksa is the father of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Late D.A. Rajapaksa represented Beliatta electorate of Hambanthota district in the parliament and also held the post of Deputy Speaker, more..

Wheat flour prices push bakers out of business

Nov 8 (SL) Bakery owners have said that thousands of bakers have been forced to close down their business due to the increase in wheat flour prices. The bakers have said that some 2,000 bakers islandwide have been forced to close down their businesses while hundreds of others who depended on the bakery industry have lost their jobs. The govt’s decision to ban wheat flour based food items from school and state hospital canteens has dealt a severe blow to the bakers. more..

Dismal crowds send a message

Nov 8 (DT) International cricket should never again be played so early in the Australian season after fans voted with their feet and stayed away in a record low Gabba crowd yesterday. An embarrassingly small number of fans, 9037, turned out to watch Australia smash Sri Lanka, the smallest crowd ever for a one-day international involving Australia at the Gabba. The previous lowest crowd figure for a Gabba ODI featuring the home side was way back in the 1992 World Cup when more..

Ten new Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Colombo

Nov 8 (IL) Ten (10) new Ambassadors and High Commissioners handed over their credentials to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President’s office on Friday 05th November. Accordingly eight (8) new Ambassadors from Switzerland, Norway, Mongolia, Cambodia, Mexico, Oman, Peru and Vietnam and two (2) new High Commissioners from Pakistan and Cyprus handed over their credentials at the ceremony. more..

Police "unaware" of prisoners' sensitivities

Nov 8 (BBC) The government says that it will carry out an inquiry about an attack on police in a Sri Lankan jail that left almost fifty police officers and some prison officials injured. Prisons deputy minister Wijithamuni de Zoysa say that police not been sensitive about prisoners' feelings would have led to the attack in the Welikada prison on Sunday. "Prisoners have an animosity towards police and judges," the deputy minister told BBC Sandesaya. more..

EPF & ETF funds too for Mahinda

Nov 8 (LT) The government is attempting to amend the EPF and ETF (Employees’ Provident Fund & Employees Trust Fund) bill and arbitrarily invest Rs.850 billion of those funds says the President of Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) Wasanthe Samarasinghe. He said his union would take stern action against the attempt to increase to ten years the entitlement that existed for employees to get a part of their contributions every five years. more..

More than 50 injured in Sri Lanka prison clash

Nov 8 (AFP) More than 50 police and prison officials were injured Sunday by inmates at Sri Lanka's main jail in the capital Colombo after authorities launched a drugs raid, officials and doctors said. Convicts beat up police as they stormed the Welikada prison to search for hidden narcotics as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal drugs, police said. Five prison officials and 46 policemen were brought for more..

Disciplining university students

Nov 8 (LG) University teachers would like university students to be disciplined. Vice-Chancellors prefer disciplined students in the universities headed by them. The Chairman of the University Grants Commission would like to use his own experience to enlighten students to make them more disciplined. And finally, the Minister of Higher Education has been working hard to make university community well-disciplined. What is meant by this cliché? more..

The world’s shortest judgment comes from the Kandy High Court

Nov 8 (LG) The world’s shortest judgment, consisting of just one paragraph, came from the High Court of Kandy after the indictment filed in 2005 and evidence collected over five years of hearing came to an end with a two sentence, one paragraph judgment from the trial court judge at Kandy High Court. Eight witnesses, including four doctors, one Assistance Superintendent of Police and three lay witnesses have given evidence. more..

Beware: American flour and paang terrorism

Nov 8 (LG) The waiter pouring the chilled water of Nuwara Eliya into our mug had a wry smile on him. On completing his duties satisfactorily — half an inch of foam on top and not a drop spilt — he claimed: Sir, our side has kept to its promise — bread at Rs 3.50. As we pushed the chair back and sprang to our feet, to vent our feelings, the fellow with a straight face explained: Ai, sir paang petthak thunai panahai ne? more..

Quick-fix tenders, short-cut to development

Nov 8 (LG) Quick-fix tenders and the short cut to development is the route Sri Lanka is taking in the post-war era in an effort to leap-frog into a modern version of Singapore, South Korea or Thailand. A development phase which would normally take 30 years (the period in which Sri Lanka has been upstaged by conflict) is now being quickened, and fast, to reach the goalposts in 3-5 years. While such, rapid development is not alien in the world and in Sri Lanka more..

Gen. Kalupahana at the LLRC

Nov 8 (LG) The evidence of Major General Devinda Kalupahana at the LLRC as reported, repeat as reported, would no doubt have surprised those who followed closely the progress of the so-called Peace process of 2002. I am happy and relieved that he has clarified matters but we do need however to comment on his statements. Gen. K was known to be a compassionate general and one of a kind and what he said is quite revealing at the time that RW himself was pursuing his more..

Mega health projects for North

Nov 8 (SO) Mega health projects will be implemented in the North at a cost of Rs. 1,160 million to improve the health sector in the peninsula to provide a better health service to the people. These projects will be implemented in 2011 and 2012, Northern Province Governor Major General G.A. Chandrasiri said. He said that the Government has planned to implement development projects under the "Uthuru Wasanthaya" Northern development drive to more..

Joint holistic and long-sighted approach needed to make Sri Lanka the congenial home of all residents

Nov 8 (TC) The current moves of the powerful government in post-war Sri Lanka are mainly for sustaining the wartime military strength, preventing the resurrection of the smashed LTTE and developing the infrastructures, notably the roads and rail network, coal-fired power and hydro-power, the Hambantota harbour, second international airport in Hambantota district and rebuilding the war-torn areas with foreign assistance have raised doubts about the future of Sri Lanka. more..

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith speaks truth to power on justice, reconcilation and peace

Nov 8 (TC) When conditions in post-war North-East cause unease in such diverse individuals as a cardinal and two Tamil politicians, and when daily events bear out their concerns, it is time for all of us to take notice. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in his LLRC testimony highlighted the urgent need for a political solution to the ethnic problem, as veteran Tamil politician V Anandasangaree and former militant leader D Sidhartan did before him. more..

Sri Lanka after the Civil War

Nov 8 (TC) Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvanathan is the principal researcher at the Point Pedro Institute, which is a non-for-profit think tank that provides analysis and advocacy on political and economic issues afflicting the Sri Lankan Tamil population in the north. In an exclusive interview conducted in mid-October Dr. Sarvanathan speaks about a range of current and contentious matters related to post-war stabilization and nation building in Sri Lanka and more..

Who is the Real Mahinda?

Nov 8 (LB) Mahinda Rajapaksa is a dictator. The Rajapaksas are running the country as a family business. They are a clan. They are into dynasty-building. They are robbing the treasury. They are ruining the economy. They’ve turned Sri Lanka into a ‘failed state’. The Rajapaksas, led by Mahinda, are the worst news that Sri Lanka has heard post-Independence. He is a disaster when it comes to foreign relations and has angered the big players in the international community, more..

Is the JVP behind the campus turmoil?

Nov 8 (LB) One version going round is that the JVP is pulling the strings from behind, planning and organizing the clashes in the university campuses. This is conceding too much capability to the JVP at the present time for two reasons; firstly its influence among university students has diminished considerably from peak days; secondly neither the JVP nor the devil himself could achieve anything on this scale unless the university system was already in a state of ruin. more..

'Govt’s target - increasing per capita income to US$ 4,000'

Nov 8 (SO) Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said President Mahinda Rajapaksa faced the major challenge of defeating terrorism during his first term. The necessary environment has now been created for him to take forward the country during his second term. The Deputy Minister said during the second term of the President, the major economic goal of the Government is to increase the per capita income to US$ 4,000. more..

'Time is ripe for West to engage Sri Lanka in a more respectful and constructive manner'

Nov 8 (LG) “notwithstanding some governments as well as regional and international organizations succumbing to demands from NGOs and the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora to continue a policy of keeping pressure on Sri Lanka, an emerging trend is discernible, that others are gradually re-thinking their strategy, and in fact working hard to build bridges with Sri Lanka, both in terms of economic, as well as security cooperation. more..

Hotel manager, two others, shot dead in hotel at Minuwangoda

Nov 8 (NF) Three police teams have launched investigations into an incident where three people including a hotel manager were shot dead at a hotel in the Maathanmana area in Minuwangoda. A senior police officer, conducting investigations said that the Gampaha police and the Minuwangoda police would be jointly carrying out the investigations together with the crime investigations unit of the Peliyagoda police. more..

Enjoying Mervyn

Nov 8 (SL) Mervyn Silva is just the news. The story is us. Whatever’s said and done, people voted him in this time. Whatever drama he caused on the MegaStar show, he was put there and got more ratings, the worse he behaved. Mervyn is not just a part of Mahinda, he’s a part of you and me. He’s something we encourage and enjoy. People ask why Mahinda keeps Mervyn around. The answer should be somewhat obvious. Imagine knowing someone who could help you sort out any land dispute, more..

Notes for a play called ‘The Temple Trees Tea Party’

Nov 8 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has cancelled a trip to Britain, we are told. Well, the Foreign Ministry says that the trip was postponed. The Eelam lobby maintains that the President was scared that he would be arrested for ‘crimes against humanity’ in terms of legal provisions available to citizens and law-protectors in that country. Mahinda-haters, among whom are many that supported Ranil Wickremesinghe’s (and of course Chandrika’s) many accommodations to more..

Living and believing in the past as Sri Lankans

Nov 8 (SL) President Rajapaksa, in an embarrassing turn of events, calls off visit to Britain fearing arrest for war crimes, reported Times of India last Friday. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, war crimes and crimes against humanity can be prosecuted in Britain even if they were not committed in the UK, as it was with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for atrocities he committed against Spanish citizens during his 17-year rule, said the news report. more..

'Govt. hasn’t won hearts and minds of North East people'

Nov 8 (LB) Outspoken lawyer Gomin Dayasri tells Lakbimanews that Norway should apologize to Sri Lanka with compensation in krones for the mess they made of the ceasefire agreement. Excerpts: Q: You are a known supporter of the Rajapaksa administration but you recently wrote an article criticizing ministers, secretaries, advisors and so on for being servile sycophants. more..

Editorial: Enter the Dragon, flies away the bald Eagle

Nov 8 (DM) As a ruffled feathered Barack Obama touched the Indian soil after the grand debacle at mid-term polls which questioned Democrats’ mandate and the future of the United States, Hu Jintao left Paris inking trade deals worth more than $20 billion. Having beaten the US as European Union’s biggest trade partner a few months ago and now with Hu replacing the US President as the most powerful person in the world in the latest Forbes ratings, more..

Editorial: Let universities be ‘more open than usual’

Nov 8 (Island) The Duke of Edinburgh, at the ceremonial opening of the University of Peradeniya, famously said, "You have remarked Mr. Chancellor that it is not easy to open a university, because once established it is always open. However, like the shopkeepers of London during the bombing, I can declare this place to be "more open than usual…." But, today, Peradeniya as well as other universities are 'more closed than usual'. more..

The Mega drama

Nov 8 (SL) The hush of anticipation before critical results are announced is an essential component of almost every reality show. Contestants battle it out for weeks before a winner is finally crowned. Last week, popular Swarnavahini reality show/talent contest Megastar held its grand finale. Billboards were hoisted around town and faithful viewers tuned in for the results. As everyone knows, things went sour after the much hyped results were read out. more..

Economic policies and expectations

Nov 8 (NS) Being clear about government policy is as important as the policies themselves. Ambiguity, uncertainty and doubt are a hindrance to the pursuance of investment decisions. In this context, there have been some clarifications on economic policy recently. These clarifications and elaboration of the government’s policies are not necessarily sweet music to everyone’s ears. They may not be palatable to the business community. In fact, they may not be good for the economy. more..

'4 suicides daily in Vanni'

Nov 8 (TN) An increase in suicides is reported in the one time war zones in the Northern Province and an average of four people commit suicide daily, according to the Sunday leader weekly in its November 07 edition quoting a psycho-social consultant from the Vanni, Dr. Thayalini Thiagarajah. “Many people in the North are still highly traumatized. People are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, depression, acute stress disorder, and other mental diseases,” she said. more..

'Muslim families to be resettled in Jaffna soon'

Nov 8 (TN) “The Muslim families evacuated from Jaffna 20 year ago will be soon resettled in their own places,” Jaffna Government Agent (GA), Ms. Imelda Sukumar said in an event held in Jaffna Osmania College Saturday. The event was organized by more than ten Muslim organizations in Jaffna in memory of the evacuation in 1990. Imelda Sukumar saying in the event that Sri Lanka government is correct in asserting that there is no place in Sri Lanka for any race to more..

Last onslaught in Wilpattu’s slow rape

Nov 8 (LB) The Civil Defence Force (CDF) is clearing up 6000 acres in the Kondaichchi, Silawathurei and Wilpattu North sanctuary to plant cashew blatantly disregarding environmental and civil laws. Kondaichchi Forest is linked to the Wilpattu North sanctuary and clearing up a large area which is used by elephants in their annual migration will lead to an escalation of the human elephant conflict. Since the end of Ealam war, forest areas in the north and the east more..

36 percent increase in tourist arrivals

Nov 8 (SO) The number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka has recorded a 36 percent increase compared to last year, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told the Sunday Observer. He said that the Government anticipated a target of 500,000 tourist arrivals by the end of this year. According to the latest statistics, the number of arrivals is likely to reach 650,000. Sri Lanka has been placed in the category of 32 countries which could be visited freely due to more..

'700,000 cases piled up in Sri Lankan courts'

Nov 8 (N360) Nearly 700,000 cases are piled up in Sri Lankan courts pending judgment says Suhada Gamlath Secretary to the Ministry of Justice. He says this backlog shows that the countries legal system needs drastic changes to enable it to serve the public efficiently. Gamlath said the lack of adequate man power and proper case management skills in the judicial system along with the protracted process of resolving cases are more..