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Private University for Sabaragamuwa gets Govt. okay

Sep 25 (Island) The government had approved the opening of a private university in the Sabaragamuwa Province, Chief Minister Maheepala Herath revealed during recent discussions he had with officials of the Sarvodaya Movement. He said that stiff competition to enter local universities and the inability of the underprivileged students, from the Sabaragamuwa Province, to spend large sums of money on education in foreign universities, were the main reasons for more..

President and UN chief discuss need to move forward on outstanding issues

Sep 25 (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met today for talks focused on political settlement, reconciliation and accountability. In discussions at UN Headquarters, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual general debate, the two officials talked about the need to move forward expeditiously on outstanding issues covered in the joint statement of May 2009, more..

Sri Lanka and Mexico 'best for long-haul value'

Sep 25 (Telegraph) Australia and Hong Kong were the least cost-effective destinations featured in the survey, which also revealed significant rises in the price of food, drinks and supermarket goods in Thailand and South Africa. The Post Office's annual Long-Haul Holiday Report compares the cost of 10 essential holiday purchases – such as an evening meal, a cup of coffee and sun cream – in 22 destinations. In Sri Lanka, the 10 items cost just £46.85, more..

Analyst’s delays crowd prisons

Sep 25 (DN) There is a backlog of 400,000 cases in Courts islandwide and of them 17,000 are due to the delay in analyst’s reports, Justice Minister Athauda Seneviratne said. He was addressing employees at the Government Analyst’s Department while on an inspection tour together with Deputy Minister Reginald Cooray. Due to this delay even persons charged with minor offences continue to be in jail for long periods, he said. more..

'CFA: Most UNPers in the dark'

Sep 25 (DN) Former Housing and Construction Minister Ferial Ashraff yesterday said the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission officials did nothing other than taking down notes when a CFA violation took place. She said the UNF Government Chief Government Whip led by Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was not aware of a Ceasefire Agreement which had already been signed by the Government and the LTTE. more..

Tourists arrivals has increased in August

Sep 25 (DM) Ministry of Economic development yesterday stated that August alone registered nearly 36% increase in tourist numbers when compared to the previous year. Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that this is an achievement with the lower rate of tourist arrivals usually predicted for August. He said that with ‘World Tourism Day’ events kicking off in Kirala Kele from yesterday till September 27, more..

IGP tells treasure hunting cops: Expect ‘no mercy’

Sep 25 (Island) IGP Mahinda Balasuriya says initial inquiries have revealed the involvement of eight police officers, including an ASP in an abortive attempt to retrieve treasure buried at the Sooriyadeva Sri Rajamahaviharaya early this week. Addressing the media at police headquarters on Thursday, IGP Balasuriya said that the suspects wouldn’t be pardoned. IGP said that such actions damaged the image of the police irreparably. more..

‘Over 261,000 children not attending school’

Sep 25 (DM) As many as 261,709 children from a total of 4.3 million aged between 5 and 17 do not attend school due to their involvement in various economic activities, a recent survey has revealed. According to the 2009 statistics released by the Director General of Census and Statistics, 557,599 children had been found to be engaged in work. However, of these children, 448,161 attended school. more..

Uproar over internet barrier in House

Sep 25 (DM) The alleged jamming of internet within the Parliament chambers caused uproar in the House yesterday with UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake complaining that the members had been denied access though they were allowed to bring their lap top computers inside the chamber. Mr. Karunanayake called on Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to look into the matter stating that they were not able to log on to the internet. more..

Over 20 foreign universities to set up branches in SL shortly

Sep 25 (Island) The government had decided to open branches of foreign universities here, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education Dr Sunil Jayantha Nawarathna told The Island yesterday. He said several universities from about 20 countries had expressed willingness to open branches in Sri Lanka. He said that a great deal of valuable foreign exchange could be saved by allowing the foreign universities to set up their branches here. more..

'Upeksha has falsely accused me of favouring 18th Amendment'

Sep 25 (Island) National List UNP MP Harsha de Silva yesterday rejected accusations, by Upeksha Swarnamali MP, that he had supported the 18th Amendment to the Constitution during a recent Working Committee meeting, as false. De Silva told The Island, that he has been in the forefront of opposing the 18th Amendment, because it was a draconian piece of legislation that has dealt a huge blow to democratic governance. more..

'Recruitment of Tamils silences critics'

Sep 25 (Island) Senior DIG N. K. Illangakoon says recruitment of Tamils to the police will be of great help to the Tamil community adversely affected by a severe dearth of Tamil speaking police personnel. That will also reassure the international community which is concerned about dearth of Tamil personnel in the department, Illangakoon says. The department’s No 2 said those who had been concerned about the lack of Tamil policemen had conveniently forgotten that more..

'MR’s delegation to UN cost around Rs. 1,000 mn'

Sep 25 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his 130-man delegation to the the 65th UN General Assembly sessions, has cost the Sri Lankan tax payer over Rs.1,000 million, the UNP alleged yesterday. Central Provincial Council UNP member Shanthini Kohangahage, said that the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN was one of the largest and many of them were staying at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria at tremendous cost to the tax payer. more..

Rs.70 mn heist: Police suspect inside help

Sep 25 (Island) Police investigating yesterday’s Rs. 70 million heist at Telangapatha Wattala strongly believe that the robbers had inside help. Investigators are of opinion that prior information had been leaked out to the robbers on the movement of the van that routinely carried cash to ATM points. The path of the cash-laden HSBC vehicle, loading money into ATM machines in the Colombo North suburb was more..

Entrepreneurial course for Sri Lankan refugees

Sep 26 (Hindu) A three-day entrepreneurial development programme under Puduvaazhvu - III for the Sri Lankan refugees in the camps of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts commenced here on Friday. TMSSS with the support of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Chennai, has organised the programme. Julus Pandian, an expert in electronic data processing from Kanyakumari district, will provide inputs for 60 participants from the refugee camps. more..

'Minister, NTC head responsible for accidents of illegal buses

Sep 26 (NF) The Transport Minister and Chairman of the National Transport Commission should be held responsible for accidents and deaths caused by buses plying illegally in public highways, says Gemunu Wijeratne, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association. He said that travelling in buses plying without route permits was dangerous. “A case in point is the accident, which occurred recently, when more..

Sri Lanka rail metro option for single corridor: official

Sep 26 (LBO) A rail-based metro system may be an option in part of Sri Lanka's capital city Colombo when passenger flows rise to levels that make it financially viable, an official said. D S Jayaweera, Director General at the finance ministry's Department of Development Finance, said only one transport corridor, from Dematagoda, in the city centre, to Peliyagoda, a northern suburb, has enough traffic to support a metro. more..

Sri Lanka targetting 6.5 lakh visitors in 2010

Sep 26 (PTI) Sri Lanka is targetting about 6.5 lakh tourist arrivals this year from around the world, a top official of the country's national airline said today. The island nation registered a total of five lakh tourist arrivals from various countries last year, of which one lakh were from India, Chinthaka Weerasinghe, area manager Kerala of Sri Lankan Airlines told reporters. "India and Western Europe are the main contributors in the emerging leisure traffic to Sri lanka, more..

The citizen deserves the safeguard of a depoliticized public service

Sep 26 (LG) Shakespeare is credited with many words of wisdom. These have been uttered through different characters in the prolific number of plays that he wrote. In one of them, Measure for Measure, a woman pleads for the life of her brother in words that have an eternal truth. The words seem so relevant to us in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution by Parliament as "urgent" legislation. more..

President Rajapaksa is the best representative of national democracy

Sep 26 (TC) What does Sri Lanka need? Some say regime change, others say stability and continuity. Those who say regime change regard the slogan of stability and continuity as one for totalitarianism and/or dictatorship. I say we need Modernisation, Pluralist Democracy, Moderation, and Multi ethnic National Integration/Nation Building. My take is that Sri Lanka: more..

Nalani’s Story: Removing Lice

Sep 26 (LG) Nalani is a 58-year-old mother of five children from the southern part of Sri Lanka. On 13 April this year at around 8.30pm several criminals had entered her house forcefully and robbed her of her belongings including jewels, four mobile phones, and a camera. These criminals assaulted both her and her family members before running away. In self defence she threw acid at her attackers. When she complained about this incident to the police more..

'Operation Colombo' plan of Rajapaksa has political and economic components

Sep 26 (TC) The 18th Amendment was the elixir of power, absolute and longue durée; empowered, the Rajapaksas are unleashing mopping-up operations to neutralise the few enclaves still resistant to their dominance. Such as the City of Colombo. Colombo’s poor predominantly vote for the UNP. Thanks to their numerical preponderance and strong resistance to Rajapaksa lures, the UPFA has failed to make a clean sweep of Colombo electorally, as more..

Key change in the way Hajj arrangements this year

Sep 26 (NF) The Hajj committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to streamline the Hajj pilgrimage from Sri Lanka, has made significant changes in the way Hajj arrangements will be undertaken this year. The committee comprises Alavi Moulana, Faiser Mustapha and Asath Salley. For the first time, one “Muallim” has been allocated to house all 5,800 pilgrims travelling from Sri Lanka to Mecca, both during Arafat and Minna. more..

18th Amendment is an insidiously destructive piece of constitution-making

Sep 26 (TC) One hundred and sixty-one Members of Parliament, in their understandable admiration of President Rajapaksa’s leadership in eliminating the LTTE, appear to have taken up the position, by voting for the 18th Amendment ("18A"), that he can consequently be trusted unreservedly with whatever powers he wants to have and that he will not misuse them, for however long he is entrusted with such powers. more..

Will Sajith survive leadership?

Sep 26 (LG) Sajith Premadasa is slowly but steadily, taking steps to assume the leadership of the party. Thus the UNP leadership crisis could lead to a split unless Ranil takes a tactical step back. All those who are supporting Sajith still accept that Ranil is the wisest political leader who understands relevant political issues. Some consider him as the person with a vision for the party; they feel that he has been a shrewd political leader and it is unfair and more..

Jaffna Public Library services decline due to lack of funds

Sep 26 (TN) Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) which has to allocate funds for the administration and maintenance expenses of Jaffna Public Library faces serious impediments in fulfilling its responsibility as Sri Lanka government has failed to support JMC with any considerable allocation of funds. Consequently, JMC administration which depends entirely on local revenues for its expenses has more..

Pressure builds against Ranil

Sep 26 (SL) The beleaguered Leader of the Opposition and UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe will come under serious pressure if plans being made by grassroots party cadres to descend on Sirikotha, the party headquarters demanding that Wickremesinghe steps down from the position of party leader, go ahead. It is reliably understood that plans are being made to stage a mass convergence of party faithful from all parts of the country outside Sirikotha demanding more..

Open letter to Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Sep 26 (LG) Soon after the ending of the Sinhala youth uprising, on 19th October 1989, then President Premadasa appointed you as a member of the Presidential Commission on Youth Unrest. One of the findings of that Commission was that "The extension of Parliament by its own fiat in 1972, and by a referendum in 1982, would appear to be deeply resented by the youth as a flagrant abuse of accepted democratic principles". more..

Virginity test reaches climax as Vice Chancellor says story is fabricated

Sep 26 (SL) Despite vehement denials by the Vice Chancellor of the Sri Jayawardenapura University, N.L.A. Karunaratne that he sent six girls for a virginity test, The Sunday Leader met with and spoke to two of the girls who had been subjected to this humiliating act. “It was about 6.30 p.m. There was enough light and we just could not engage in ‘such things’. We were not misbehaving. more..

Editorial: Laws can’t replace people

Sep 26 (LB) Much is being written these days by various folks — bless them — about institutional safeguards that should protect the public service, and general safeguards that should protect the integrity of the system, such as the separation of powers etc,. It’s not possible that the worst dimwit would miss the scale of the enormous assault on the public service and political institutions by successive administrations in this country. more..

Editorial: President's statesmanship exemplified

Sep 26 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa proved in no uncertain terms his exemplary statesmanship, diplomacy and far-sighted vision when he addressed the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday. His inspiring speech highlighted his world-class statesmanship - political maturity, transparency, accountability, clear-cut vision, desire to achieve goals and unmatched political willpower. more..

Graffiti on walls - mischief makers beware

Sep 26 (SO) The police will take stern action against those who scrawl graffiti on parapet walls in the city and the suburbs. According to the police, mischief makers who draw graffiti on parapet walls near popular schools and at main junctions in the Colombo city have become a nuisance. The graffiti is a common sight on walls opposite St. Bridget’s Convent, Royal College, Ananda College, Visakha Vidyalaya, more..

Editorial: Way to stop dollar drain

Sep 26 (NS) Rarely have the rumblings from within the halls of higher learning ceased in our country. Ever since the seventies, student unrest has been part and parcel of our universities. Recent reports suggest that the din is about to reach a crescendo yet again. The current cause of uproar in our campuses is a proposal by the government to set up private universities. Student unions have condemned the move, saying this will sound the death knell of free education more..

Editorial: Lay the basis for a trilingual public sector

Sep 26 (Island) Democratic opinion and the champions of a plural, egalitarian and tolerant state in this country are bound to warmly welcome moves by the Police Department to recruit members of the Tamil community to its ranks. This is a long overdue measure and if properly and effectively implemented, there is no doubt that national integration will be greatly strengthened as a result of it. more..

Housemaid cleared of adverse medical conditions

Sep 26 (BBC) The Sri Lankan housemaid L.P. Ariyawathi has been cleared of any adverse mental conditions. Mrs. Ariyawathie said that she faced a psychological test at the Angoda mental hospital and doctors had cleared her of any such mental conditions. There was speculation from the Saudi Arabian officials that she was making false allegations due to her mental conditions. more..

Politicians get away ‘treasure hunting’

Sep 26 (LB) Four UPFA politicians are believed to have been among the policemen who attempted to unearth the buried treasures at Sri Suriyadeva Raja Maha Vihara, Aludeniya, Siripura, Polonnaruwa last Monday, Police sources said. Among those politicians, three are UPFA parliamentarians and the other politician is believed to be a Minister of the Eastern Province. Vakarai ASP Indika Hapugoda who led the team for treasure hunting is in custody. more..

Alarm over explosives

Sep 26 (NS) A survey conducted by a team of experts has revealed that explosives kept at 80 percent of the police stations across the country are not securely stored thus posing a grave threat typical of the Karadiyanaru explosion. “Given this serious situation, the authorities have decided to transfer the high powered explosives as well as chargers used to detonate bombs now haphazardly kept in Police stations in operational areas to storehouses of STF camps and more..

90% fail Year 5 scholarship exam

Sep 26 (LB) The primary education system has taken a downturn with many primary school teachers complaining that they can’t handle the wide syllabii that have been newly formulated. They charge that the National Institute of Educatiion (NIE) does not consult any teacher representatives before formulating syllabii and as a result children have to suffer. Meanwhile, plans are afoot to scrap the Year Five scholarship examination and more..

Knuckles committee yet to decide

Sep 26 (SL) The Knuckles Conservation Committee, appointed to look into the alleged illegal holiday bungalow built by Air Force Commander Roshan Goonetileka, is still at too early a stage to make a decision, Deputy Minister of Environment Faiszer Mustapha told The Sunday Leader. To date, despite the publicity this issue has drawn, the Committee is still ‘looking into properties,’ according to Mustapha, but hasn’t come to a definite decision as yet. more..

One party rule - direct and indirect means

Sep 26 (LB) Hope wells eternally as they say, but unfortunately for the opposition some of the ‘hopes’ are cases of clutching at straws. For example Ranil Wickremesighe thinks that — and says that — the new Parliamentary Council on public service appointments would collapse if everybody he appoints to it resigns. This is absolute poppycock of course, because anybody who has a rudimentary knowledge of the new 18th Amendment will know that the president can constitutionally ignore the more..

CID to grill Mangala

Sep 26 (NS) Former SLFP strongman and new defector to the UNP Mangala Samaraweera has been summoned to the CID’s notorious Fourth Floor for questioning on Tuesday at 10:30am over the alleged defamatory posters printed at a printing press at Mirihana. Samaraweera, who confirmed this, also said it was strange that only he had been summoned to the Fourth Floor, where as several people already arrested in more..

Rs. 70m heist - sleuths grill security officers

Sep 26 (SO) The two security officers who escorted the van transporting cash to the ATM machines at Negombo, Kelaniya and Wattala are being grilled by the Detectives of the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) as to why they failed to open fire at the robbers when they were asked to surrender their weapons and cartridges, police sources told the Sunday Observer. CCD sleuths are questioning the two security officers as to why the cartridges had been in their trouser pockets instead of more..

New show of support

Sep 26 (NS) The curtain has fallen on the drama surrounding the passage of the 18th amendment to the constitution in parliament and the focus of political activity is now slowly but surely shifting to local government elections, scheduled to be held early next year. Having secured a two-thirds majority in parliament in the process of enacting the 18th amendment, the ruling UPFA is now intent on letting the juggernaut roll along, crushing any semblance of opposition along its path; hence more..

Karu slams plan to abolish CMC

Sep 26 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, yesterday accused the government "which adopts a policy to suit its political agenda," of keeping mum on media reports of a plan to abolish the 144-year old Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). The government was well aware that they are losing the support of the people living in municipal areas and was hence trying to overcome this situation by abolishing the CMC, he charged. more..

Consolidated company to hold Golden Key assets in the offing

Sep 26 (Island) The creation of a consolidated company to hold the assets, real estate and properties of the crisis-hit Golden Key is on the cards as a viable option to generate an operational profit by using the wealth of this collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary worth billions of rupees in a bid to repay struggling depositors, the Sunday Island learns. Following this new development, the sale of the overall assets of Golden Key, including the ultra-modern ENT Hospital, more..

Dredger ‘hijacked’: 7,220 acres of paddy under water

Sep 26 (NS) Farmers, who cultivated paddy in a stretch of about 50,000 acres during this Yala season in a section of the Ampara district, have incurred heavy losses in the wake of 7,220 acres, awaiting harvest, going under water. Nearly 4,200 acres have been totally destroyed, said the farmers, The affected areas are Kudakarai East, Kudakarai West, Iraiveli, Sevagapattu, Kalmunai veli, Natpiddimunai East, Natpiddimunai West, Panditheevu East, more..

In defence of the CMC…

Sep 26 (NS) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), the oldest and largest local government authority in the country, has been ailing for quite a while. Charges of rampant corruption, inefficient mechanism and an employment cadre saturated beyond its limits, are some of the symptoms that this centuries-old body is troubled with. Over the years, the council proved that it is not capable of running the country’s capital and its massive populace, and many quip that, more..

Cancer has increased at an alarming rate in Sri Lanka

Sep 26 (Island) Improved cancer survival rate; increased access to treatment for cancer patients; organized screening; improved public awareness of and knowledge about cancer early detection and its prevention are all very important factors in a country like Sri Lanka where the cancer has increased at an alarming rate. MARKSS, a healthcare organization addressed this key issue in their ongoing CSR initiative to facilitate medical professionals in various parts of more..

Forests denuded to tackle elephants

Sep 26 (LB) The Department of Wildlife has recommended the removal of forest areas spanning thousands of acres in the North Western province as a solution to the elephant-human conflict. This step, taken in an area which has one of the lowest forest covers in the country, will lead not only to massive ecological damage but will also leave hundreds of thousands of farmers without water for agriculture. more..

Rajapaksa’s ‘Thank You’ to political stooges

Sep 26 (SL) Sri Lanka may have defeated terrorism – which is the trump card of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at this year’s UN General Assembly in New York but the country will never fail to draw a laugh and a snigger for her blatant show of decadence each time a delegation represents the country in the Big Apple. An estimated 110 persons accompanied the President to New York on Monday, September 20. more..