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Sri Lanka’s Hypocritical Bar

Dec 7 (SL) Last week a petition signed by some 153 members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) pushed for the BASL to stop a government motion from appointing a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe the conduct of Sarath N. Silva during his tenure as Chief Justice. The lawyers who signed the petition asked for the President of the BASL Shibly Aziz to “vehemently protest and deplore” the appointment of a PSC. more..

Editorial: Ranil Vs Karu

Dec 7 (Island) The UNP can no longer paper over the cracks. Its leadership dispute has come to a head. The time has come for it to grasp the nettle. Karu Jayasuriya has stopped doing a Hamlet at long last and decided to take on Ranil Wickremesinghe. The latter has picked up the gauntlet. The battle lines have now been drawn. Ranil is hoist with his own petard. He may have thought of forming a buffer between him and the party rebels who are all out to oust him by bringing more..

Percy Mahinda in Wonderland

Dec 7 (SL) It was Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa in Wonderland when the much celebrated Southern Highway was ceremonially declared open. Alice (in Lewis Carroll’s book) who fell down a rabbit hole into a wonderful new world found it getting ‘curioser and curioser’. To Mahinda Rajapaksa the unfolding scenario would have made him think he was becoming greater and greater. The Japanese and ADB financed highway built by the Chinese was a great Rajapaksa achievement. more..

'Audit, an integral part of transparency'

Dec 7 (SO) Senior Minister and Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) DEW Gunasekera joined in an interview with the Sunday Observer in the Parliament, shortly after presenting their latest report on the performance and financial accountability of the State institutions. In the interview he emphasised the need to strengthen the Department of Auditor General and spoke of the challenges facing the public sector of the country. more..

World’s largest advertising co enters Sri Lanka

Dec 7 (Island) Sri Lanka has a high growth potential over which everybody was excited about the future of the country, Chief Executive Officer GroupM, South Asia Vikram Sakhuja said yesterday. "It is a great pleasure and honour to launch GroupM in Sri Lanka, because Sri Lanka is poised for growth and we believe that we could consolidate our position in this upcoming market, Sakhuja told a media conference, held to launch GroupM. Mindshare, hitherto a division of more..

Workers, employers can do more than haggle over wages

Dec 7 (Island) Social dialogue should not be limited to collective bargaining alone, a representative of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) told the International Labour Organisation 15th Asia Pacific Regional Meeting underway in Kyoto. Presenting a brief observation at a session on ‘Rights at Work and Social Dialogue’ EFC Deputy Director General K. L. Weerasinghe said many labour issues in Sri Lanka were handled by the tripartite National Labour Advisory Council. more..

Marsh says he was aware of Sri Lankan politics

Dec 7 (Island) Cricket enthusiasts may be surprised to hear that national coach Geoff Marsh was called up for a meeting with Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to address differences during Sri Lanka’s tour of the UAE where the team lost both the Test and ODI series. Supporters would have thought that if there were issues to be addressed to in the team, that would have been best left for Michael Tissera, Sidath Wettimuny, Aravinda de Silva or more..

Sea urchin invasion could keep tourists away

Dec 7 (ST) The sea urchin population in many coastal areas is on the increase, and this could have a negative impact on recreational activities associated with the coast. In certain areas, hundreds of these spiny creatures cover small areas of rock floor in shallow waters, presenting a risk to bathers, divers, and anyone who likes to go wading in the sea. A recent visitor came out of the sea with more than 400 sea urchin spines stuck in his body, according to marine biologist more..

Whither Lanka’s cricket after South African tour?

Dec 7 (ST) The real epilogue has begun. The Lankan cricket is thus inactive till fifth December pending their flight to the Proteas Land where they will begin their tour with a three-day warm-up at Sahara Willowmoore Park, Benoni. The real baptism with fire will begin at the SuperSport Park, Centurion on December 15, when the two sides meet for the first Test. However at home since the arrival of the cricketers from their now infamous desert debacle, it has been a hive of activity. more..

Water for 150,000 families - Dinesh

Dec 7 (DN) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday stated that money has been allocated to provide drinking water for 150,000 families next year. He also stated that the ministry has drafted plans to guarantee that 60 percent of population would enjoy pipe borne water within the next few years. Minister made this observation in Parliament yesterday joining the Committee Stage debate on finance head of Water Supply and Drainage Ministry. more..

SLA threatens villagers protesting illegal sand mining in Batticaloa

Dec 7 (TN) The commander of the occupying Sri Lanka Army camp at Mu'rakkoddaagncheanai and the police officer-in-charge from Ea'raavoor station on Monday dispersed the villagers from Chantha'na-madu-aa'ru who gathered in front of Chiththaa'ndi Murugan Temple to protest against illegal sand mining allegedly being carried out by a paramilitary person of Pillayan group, who is also a member in the civic body of Chengkaladi Piratheasa Chapai (PS). more..

SL Police backed robbery group exposed in Mannaar

Dec 7 (TN) The Sri Lankan Police in the city of Mannaar has been backing a 10-member gang to fuel communal hatred among the sections of Tamil speaking people in Mannaar, legal sources in the city told TamilNet Tuesday. The ploy has come to light after the gang leader with Muslim name, allegedly a convert from Hindu background, has been caught following a number of criminal acts in the city. Known by one name, Rahman, has been harassing Tamil women and has been allegedly more..

Minister Faizer Mustapha on YaTV

Bill to establish National Women's Commission, soon

Dec 7 (DM) The govt will introduce a new bill in Parliament very soon to establish the proposed National Women’s Commission, Minister Tissa Karalliyadda said today in Parliament. He said that the bill drafted in this regard had been referred to the Legal Draftsman Department for approval at the moment. Also, he said that safe houses would be set up for the protection of women who are under death threat. “Such women will be given protection until court cases are over,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka are an open book

Dec 7 (TV) It is a quirky tale of cricket wrapped around details of Sri Lankan life and injects the island's people with so much colour it is a wonder the covers of the chronicle have not burst into a fireworks display. Having last seen Sri Lanka on these shores in 2002, you could do with a crash course in the who's who of the team. The book will bring back memories of Arjuna Ranatunga and Muttiah Muralitharan and, although he's not specifically mentioned, Hashan Tillakaratne. more..

Ranil attends Karu’s website launch in surprise move

Dec 7 (Island) Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe surprised all by attending yesterday’s website launch of his Co-Deputy Karu Jayasuriya, who on Monday declared his candidature for the party leadership. Wickremesinghe did not speak at the ceremony but was in high spirits despite the rebels posing a stiff challenge by presenting Jayasuriya as their nominee, who they believe can propel the UNP to power. more..

Sri Lanka makes donation to flood ravaged Thailand

Dec 7 (Island) The Sri Lanka Government gifted relief assistance to the Kingdom of Thailand which had experienced an unprecedented flood that has stretched over two months and devastated several provinces in the Kingdom causing loss of life and property. A token donation was handed over to Group Captain Anudith Nakomthap, Minister of Information and Communication Technology by Gen. S.H.S. Kottegoda, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand at the offices of more..

Attack on Editor unwarranted - minister

Dec 7 (DN) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday visited Chief Editor of Lakbimanews Rajpal Abeynayake at the Colombo National Hospital where the latter is receiving treatment after being assaulted at a lawyers’ function on Saturday night. Abeynayake was subjected to an inhuman assault by a lawyer at the Voetlight dinner at a five star hotel in Colombo when he freely expressed his views on the duplicitous conduct of some of his lawyer colleagues. more..

‘Twisting facts’: SB warns GMOA

Dec 7 (Island) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayaka yesterday warned the GMOA against distorting facts about the recommendations made by two committees that looked into the degree awarding status of the Malabe private medical college. The committees which included officials of the University Grants Commission and Sri Lanka Medical Council had recommended that all basic training facilities be made available for medical students. more..

Editorial: The peace dividend

Dec 7 (DP) The LTTE is no more. The war against terror has been long won. But Sri Lanka is yet to ensure devolution of political power to the country’s Tamil minority. We have to thank a Sri Lankan scholar who must remain unnamed for reminding India that it has an unfinished task in Sri Lanka: That of helping the Tamils secure political devolution through a negotiated settlement for sustainable peace. It’s a position with which the Sri Lankan Government was always in accord. more..

Another UK visa applicant arrested for Fraud

Dec 7 (DM) A Sri Lankan visa applicant was arrested today for using deception and a false identity to apply for a UK visa. He was referred by the UK Border Agency to CID. The visa applicant was applying with his younger brother to join his mother who is working in the UK. The applicant who is over 18 pretended to be younger than his true age by presenting a false birth certificate. He also provided a false college certificate and a false death certificate for more..

'More money for LG reps than for ministers, MPs'

Dec 7 (DN) Local Govt representatives play a key role in the country’s development. They receive a large amount of money, even more than ministers and MPs, for development activities, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The President was speaking as the chief guest at the ‘Swarna Purawara’ Awards ceremony and Local Govt National Symposium at Temple Trees yesterday. President said that past leaders of Gam Sabhas were responsible for the village. more..

Rs 11m Japanese grant for community development

Dec 7 (DN) The Japanese government provided a grant of US $ 101,245 (Rs 11 million) for a community development project in the Jaffna district. This is a follow-up project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) development planning project implemented from January 2010 to September 2011 to support the Jaffna district through fisheries and agricultural assistance and development planning. ‘The project for enhancing the community development at more..

Three tanks to absorb flood waters

Dec 7 (DN) Three new tanks have been built at a cost of Rs 480 million to drain flood waters which caused havoc in the Colombo city, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. The three tanks, Diyawannaa tank in Battaramulla, Rampalawatta tank in Pelawatta and Thalawatugoda tank in Thalawatugoda had been built at a cost of Rs 480 million. The Diyawanna tank cost around Rs 290 million, Ramapalawatta tank cost Rs 170 million while the Thalawatugoda tank cost around Rs 20 million, more..

UNP: Leadership battle intensifies, Ranil in the lead

Dec 7 (Island) The battle for the UNP leadership has intensified, but the current numbers in the Working Committee appear to favour incumbent leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Informed sources told The Island, that according to the party constitution the Working Committee had to have a maximum of 94 members, of which 73 had already been appointed. Wickremesinghe, as the leader was empowered to pick 20 members of which 18 had been appointed, more..

Turmoil in Jampettah continues over abduction of businessman

Dec 7 (Island) Amidst a second day of protests at Jampettah Street, in Kotahena, over the abduction of businessman Christopher Fernando, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Colombo Anura Senanayake said cops were not involved in the white van abduction of individuals. Christopher was abducted at Jampettah Street on Monday by a group that arrived in a white van at about 2:15 pm. At that time he was returning home in a three wheeler with two friends for lunch. more..

Three Acts to implement National Drug Policy

Dec 7 (DN) Three new Bills will be presented in Parliament in January to implement the National Drug Policy, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said in Parliament yesterday. He said that the current tender procedure to purchase drugs and medical equipment will be completely changed with the implementation of this policy. The minister made this observation participating in the committee stage debate of the Appropriation Bill under the finance heads of the Health Ministry. more..

No vote for UNP leader till WC slots filled

Dec 7 (DM) An election for the leadership of the main opposition UNP is unlikely to be held till December 31, since a number of vacancies for slots in the party’s apex Working Committee had not been filled, UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake said. He said a new party leader would not be elected until the vacancies for the working committee were filled. “The remaining vacancies will be filled according to the party constitution by December 31,” more..

Sarana to return wiser at auspicious time

Dec 7 (Island) UPFA Gampaha district MP and Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena, who was suspended from parliament for one week, said yesterday that he would return to Parliament at an auspicious time today. Gunawardena was suspended by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa for his part in charging opposition benches during the budget speech commotion. He said that the suspension had taught him a lesson and he was now a changed man. He added that he expected his colleagues too to more..

Former S’gamuwa VC asked to cough up Rs. 1.5 mn

Dec 7 (Island) The UGC has ordered the Sabaragamuwa University to recover, from its former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dayananda Somasundera, Rs. 1.5 million he obtained as emolument during unauthorised leave and reimbursement for an air ticket. University authorities said the money due to the university would be deducted from the former VC’s EPF balance. The COPE inquired into the alleged irregularities at the Sabaragamuwa University during more..

SHAME: A Bar Association that encourages the desecration of the Judiciary

Dec 7 (LB) Sarath Nanda Silva, the beleaguered former chief justice, who during his reign unleashed an orgy of judicial terrorism, has now found some strange bedfellows who have come to his rescue. The executive committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution against the proposed parliamentary select committee (PSC) to probe the conduct of the former Chief Justice. more..

Over 700 children reported missing since end of war

Dec 7 (SL) A total of 707 children have to date been reported missing from the Northern Province since the end of the conflict. Of the total, 374 of the children are boys, and 333 are girls. Thus far, 116 of the children reported missing have been traced. Thirty one of these children have been reunited with their families, while reunification is in process for another 22. Another 63 names have found matches, and more..

Marsh wants Sri Lanka to lift their game

Dec 7 (CI) Geoff Marsh, the new coach of Sri Lanka, has said he learned a lot on Sri Lanka's tour against Pakistan in the UAE and believes those lessons will stand his team in good stead on their tour of South Africa. "We got ourselves into winning positions, but couldn't get to where we wanted to get," Marsh said on the eve of the team's departure to South Africa. "I learnt a lot on my first tour. Obviously a different culture than to coaching Australia and Zimbabwe". more..

UGC, universities urged not to squander public funds

Dec 7 (Island) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has called for an explanation from the UGC over the payment of Rs. 106 mn to UGC employees as language proficiency allowance. The COPE, in its latest report tabled in parliament on Dec. 1, said that such payments had been contrary to public enterprises circulars. The report dealt with waste, corruption and irregularities in the public sector. more..

Hakeem sees local and foreign forces undermining SL, welcomes PSC

Dec 7 (Island) SLMC Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem is of the opinion that all minorities in the country could look forward to a lasting solution because President Mahinda Rajapaksa commands the respect and support of the majority of the people and has the capacity to win their support. He said so in answer to our question whether minorities could bank on President Rajapaksa to evolve a political solution and whether the SLMC was more..

CB strongly denies involvement of officials in the alleged gold scam

Dec 7 (PRIU) The Central Bank strongly denies the involvement of its officials in the alleged gold scam reported by Neth FM in its morning news yesterday. Despite several press releases issued earlier by the Central Bank clarifying its position that it does not involve in gold trading activities locally, some media still continue to carry news items alleging Central Banks’ involvement in this regard, stated the Central Bank. more..

Sri Lanka cricketers to receive part of back wages

Dec 7 (AP) Sri Lanka’s national cricket team members will receive a portion of the eight months of back wages they are owed next week. Sports Minister Mahindanda Aluthgamage told Parliament on Tuesday that 65 percent of the contract payments owed to the cricketers will be made when Sri Lanka Cricket receives $1.8 million (1.3 million euros) from the ICC for co-hosting the World Cup with India and Bangladesh earlier this year. more..

Treasury Chief disappointed with BOI performance, prescribes remedial measures

Dec 7 (Island) In the wake of Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera reiterating concern over the failure on the part of the BOI to rectify its shortcomings, the COPE in its latest report to parliament highlighted a series of problems and irregularities in the country’s premier investment agency. Chairman of the 31-member parliamentary watchdog committee, Senior Minister Dew Gunasekera presented the damaging report, more..

President leaves for Bali Democracy Forum

Dec 7 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for Indonesia this morning to attend Bali Democracy Forum IV. President Rajapaksa will be attending the two-day Forum held Nusa Dua in Bali on December 8 and 9 on an invitation extended by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The theme of this year's Bali Forum is Enhancing Democratic Participation in a Changing World: Responding to Democratic Voices". more..

'My dream is to form a UNP regime'

Dec 7 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya who has announced his candidacy to contest for the post of party leader yesterday said his dream was to form a UNP government and to put a stop to the injustice and corruption prevailing in the country. Addressing a gathering at the launch of his official website,, Mr. Jayasuriya said the country was at a critical stage when the UNP should make a comeback. more..