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Editorial: Don't crucify the truth for sensationalism

Dec 7 (DM) With controversies and slander or scandal-mongering still swirling over the arrest of the nun in charge of Blessed Teresa’s Rawathawatte home for pregnant women or children who had been raped, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in a prophetic proclamation has said he would not attend any state ceremonies for the Christmas season until the baseless and dangerous allegations in some sections of the media against the well-loved missionaries of charity were rectified. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end up 0.7-pct

Dec 7 (LBO) Stocks closed higher Wednesday, swinging back over the 6,000 point mark although trading was thin. The main All Share Price Index rose 0.67 percent to 6,028.79, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 1.81 percent to close at 5,249.78. Turnover was 832 million rupees. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings rose 8.10 rupees to close at 172.10. Over 9.9 million shares of Dialog Axiata changed hands with the stock closing up 10 cents at 7.90 rupees. more..

Sri Lankan companies get faster visas for UK visits

Dec 7 (LBO) The British High Commission has launched a fast track visa pilot scheme for 20 selected companies in Sri Lanka which do regular business with the United Kingdom. The UK Border Agency will have special arrangements for company members of the scheme, a British high commission statement said. This will include, for an additional fee, expediting the processing of UK business visitor visa applications for company employees. more..

Arrested for removing iron blocks off sunken ships

Dec 7 (DM) Eight persons engaged in removing iron blocks off sunken ships in the sea surrounding the Galle Harbour have been arrested by the Galle Harbour Police, with the assistance of the officials of the Galle Navy Camp. Iron blocks removed from the ships, a saw used for cutting, a 30ft boat, a boat engine and two diving kits which were in the suspects’ possession have also been taken into custody. According to the police the suspects have illegally removed the scraps from the ships more..

Three Indians arrested for selling textiles with tourist visas

Dec 7 (DM) Three Indian nationals on tourist visas were taken into custody while they were engaged in selling textiles in Kalawanchikudi and Ampara. The men possessed a large number of sarees and shalwars at the time of the arrest. They also found mobile phones and five travelling bags used by them to sell textiles. They were taken into custody by a patrol team deployed from the Kalawanchikudi and Malwatta camps of the elite Special Task Force (STF). more..

DM calls for ban on wheat flour and fruit imports

Dec 7 (DM) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne today called for the total ban of wheat flour imports so that people could shift towards consuming rice flour. Speaking during the committee stage debate on the budget in the House Mr. Jayaratne said the price of bread should be increased as much as possible so that it would be impossible for the people to purchase bread and wheat flour products. He said rice flour would be an ideal replacement for wheat flour. more..

Sri Lanka to release audit reports to web for first time

Dec 7 (Xinhua) For the first time the audit reports complied by govt institutions and foreign funded projects are to be released to the web. Auditor General H.A.S. Samaraweera said that the first sets of reports would be available to the public from Jan 1, 2012. "We have planned to release 1200 audit reports relating to years 2008 and 2009 to the web as first reports available online," Samaraweera said. He said from Jan 2012 onwards feeding of audit reports for 2010 is to be started. more..

Elephant pays a surprise visit

Dec 7 (DM) A wild elephant entered the premises of the Deliwala School in Walapane today which created a tense situation in the area. According to the police 26 students receives their education at the school. The elephant had come to the playground of the school from a forest nearby. Following the incident the District Secretary of Nuwara Eliya instructed the authorities to take steps to ensure the security of the students and the teachers of the school. more..

Docs seek urgent meeting with President to discuss circular

Dec 7 (DM) Some 40 medical organisations including the GMOA and the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) have sought an urgent meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding a Treasury circular that had listed the Sri Lanka Medical Council as a public enterprise. The request had been made through three letters addressed to the President by the organizations representing medical professionals following a meeting on Monday at the SLMA. more..

Gov't calls on expatriate scientists to support post-war development

Dec 7 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is encouraging expatriate scientists to assist in its post-war development by holding a global forum next week, a minister said here on Wednesday. "We must arrest this brain drain and the govt is taking measures to engage with the expatriate scientists so that they can contribute to local industries," Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told media at the launch of the forum. The "Global Forum of Sri Lankan Scientists" is organized by more..

Three Indians arrested for selling textiles with tourist visas

Dec 7 (DM) Three Indian nationals on tourist visas were taken into custody while they were engaged in selling textiles in Kalawanchikudi and Ampara. The men possessed a large number of sarees and shalwars at the time of the arrest. They also found mobile phones and five travelling bags used by them to sell textiles. They were taken into custody by a patrol team deployed from the Kalawanchikudi and Malwatta camps of the elite Special Task Force (STF). more..

WikiLeaks: GL a Pomme, Mlinda a Yankee, US cable contends

Dec 7 (CT) “In pursuing this pro-U.S. course, Wickremesinghe has been supported by two dynamic advisers, Minister of Constitutional Affairs G.L. Peiris and Minister of Economic Reform Milinda Moragoda.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable analyses the Sri Lanka’s pro – US foreign policy under the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The cable was written on May 29, 2003 by the US Ambassador to Colombo E. Ashley Wills. more..

Sri Lanka flyover to ease port access road congestion

Dec 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's road development agency is to build a flyover at the main entrance to Colombo port to ease traffic congestion caused by container trucks, a port official said. Sri Lanka ports Authority chairman Priyath Wickrama said the flyover at the port entrance in the northern part of Colombo will be for general public transport. "The port's internal roads are being widened to ensure smooth traffic and minimise congestion inside and also at the access gates," more..

Abortion to be allowed in special cases

Dec 7 (DM) The govt is to introduce new legislation to allow abortions to be performed on women who get unwanted pregnancies as a result of being raped or due to involvement in sex trade, Minister Tissa Karalliyadda said in Parliament. Delivering the concluding speech on the committee stage debate of the Child and Women’s Affairs Ministry, he said that the harshest possible punishments would be given to rapists and those involved in the sex trade under the law more..

President Rajapaksa arrives in Indonesia for 4th Bali Democracy Forum

Dec 7 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation arrived at Norarha International Airport in Indonesia for three days official visit this morning. The President was warmly received by the Sports Minister of Indonesia Mr. Andy Malarangan and Indonesian Children at the Airport. President Rajapaksa will be attending the two-day summit of Bali Democracy Forum IV more..

Water Board suspects 15,000 'leaks'

Dec 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run water supply agency has found about 15,000 suspected points where water is stolen in the island's capital Colombo where 48 percent of the supplied water brings no revenue. About 30 percent of Sri Lanka's Water Supply and Drainage Board is 'non-revenue' water but in the capital Colombo it is as high as 48 percent, chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi said. "One main reason for the loss in Colombo is an old pipe system dating back to the 1970s," he told reporters. more..

Sri Lanka carrier plans Nepal, Bangladesh flights, Indian frequencies up

Dec 7 (LBO) State-run Sri Lankan Airlines is planning flights to Nepal and Bangladesh in 2012 and is increasing frequencies to India from December 23, the carrier said in a statement. Flights to Chennai will increase to four frequencies a day or 28 a week, from December 23. "We are developing Colombo into a hub for the South Asian Region and it is vitally important that we provide the best service for our connecting passengers to south India and other parts of India," more..

'We unconditionally support Palestine people’s struggle'

Dec 7 (LT) A public lecture and a documentary programme were held at Public Library in Colombo yesterday as an event of the Palestine Solidarity Movement organized by the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) to mark the Palestine Solidarity Day which was on the 27th November. The ceremony was chaired by the Ambassador of Palestine in Sri Lanka Dr. Anwar H. Alegha. The General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva said the JVP would unconditionally support any more..

Bad Judge to Court of Appeal

Dec 7 (CT) Mrs Deepali Wijesundara, the most controversial senior High Court Judge, has sworn in as an Appeal Court Judge. The swearing in was held at the Temple Trees before President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the afternoon yesterday. Judge Deepali Wijesundera has been known for her arrogance from the time she was a Magistrate. She did not like suspects being brought to her residence by the Police. In 1986 when she was the Kesbewa Magistrate, she remanded a senior public more..

Lal Kantha reveals a secret of the ‘Highway’

Dec 7 (LT) Despite President Mahinda Rajapakse attempting to show that the ‘Southern Highway’ from Colombo to Galle was a project commenced with his leadership, the President of National Trade Union Center and former JVP MP K.D. Lal Kanthe at a public rally held in Matara revealed the top secret of the ‘Highway.’ Former Secretary General of the UNO Kofi Annan had proposed regarding this network of highways in 2001 as a step to unite the South Asian Region. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.12.2011

Govt. plunders pensions of 800,000 elderly farmers

Dec 7 (LT) 80814 elderly farmers are confronted with acute financial difficulties as a result of nonpayment of farmers’ pensions. The farmer’s pension is paid not from any state fund but funds collected from savings of farmers. Yet, Mahinda Rajapaksa regime that presents itself as a ‘sensitive administration’ has failed to make available the pension for which farmers have contributed. Paying farmers’ pensions has been stopped from October and when it was stopped govt more..

Dilshan thanks Smith, de Villiers for helping SL cricketers over payment row

Dec 7 (CC) Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan on Wednesday thanked South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith and his deputy AB de Villiers for ensuring the visitors get paid before the commencement of their three-match Test series starting December 15 at Centurion. Smith and de Villiers made statements to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to assist the Sri Lankan cricketers, who have not received salaries since the end of ICC 2011 World Cup, more..

Lankan civil war panel's report to be tabled before Dec 21

Dec 7 (PTI) The much-awaited report of a Sri Lankan commission looking into the ethnic conflict in the country's Tamil-dominated north is likely to be tabled in the parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa before December 21. The LLRC was set up by the government after it came under incessant attacks from the international community over human rights breaches during the last phase of the military conflict with the LTTE. more..

SAFF Championship: India beats Sri Lanka 3-0

Dec 7 (Goal) The defending champions shall face Maldives in the first semi-final of the SAFF Championship as they finished runners-up in Group A after defeating Sri Lanka 2-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi. Two second half goals from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sunil Chhetri, and an own goal by Bandara Warakagoda, helped India go past the Lankans who failed to threaten the Indian backline. India and Afghanistan finished on the same number of points and more..

Russia opens service centers in Sri Lanka

Dec 7 (TASS) Russia plans to open maintenance centers in Sri Lanka to service Soviet or Russian-made military equipment, a Rosoboronexport high-ranking official said. Viktor Komardin, Rosoboronexport’s deputy general director, made a statement to this effect at an international arms exhibition in Malaysia. Russia has supplied Sri Lanka with four Mi-17 helicopters, two infantry vehicles and 19 armored personnel carriers. Last year, Sri Lanka received $300mln to purchase 14 helicopters.

Key decisions in ten days: UNP

Dec 7 (DM) The UNP said today that it would hold a working committee meeting in ten days time to decide on how the new committee members will be appointed and other formalities concerning the posts in the party. General Secretary Tissa Attanayake addressing the media after the working committee meeting today said that decisions made on the working committee appointments were led by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who decided on making a decision on more..

Over Rs.21,000 m for purified water to Jaffna peninsula

Dec 7 (GDI) "The govt has allocated over 21000 million to provide purified water to the Jaffna peninsula from Iranamadu tank", said the Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardana in a press conference. The Minister further revealed around 689,000 individuals would benefit from that project and clearing the drainage water system in Jaffna also included into that project. "Ministry's aim is to distribute purified tube water throughout the peninsula" he said. more..

11 Indian fishermen killed in Lankan navy attacks in 5 years

Dec 7 (PTI) Eleven Indian fishermen were killed in attacks by Sri Lankan navy in the last five years and as many as 164 others from Tamil Nadu were apprehended along with their boats so far this year. Replying to a query in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said the Sri Lankan Govt has, however, denied allegations of killing Indian fishermen. "According to information available, in the last five years, a total of 30 incidents of attacks more..

Police ordered to carry firearms

Dec 7 (BBC) IGP has given new instructions for police to resume carrying firearms while on duty. The decision to arm police officers once again has been taken following criminals taking advantage of the recent introduction of the 'people-friendly' police service, said Police Spokesman, Superintendent of Police, Ajith Rohana. "IGP earlier gave instructions to disarm police with the good intention of creating a people-friendly police service a few months back. more..

Ragged truth of ragging

Dec 8 (DM) Referring to the incident, Vice Chancellor of Peradeniya University told that media tends to blow minor ragging incidents out of proportion, thereby drawing undue attention to the institution. In certain contexts, his statement could be right, however, the incident reported on Monday was certainly not a ‘minor’ incident. It may be true that Peradeniya University, despite its salubrious location and breath-taking surroundings, does not boast of a history devoid of ragging. more..

We are still stuck in the winter of our discontent!

Dec 8 (GV) The Arab spring is fast becoming a global phenomenon in the sense that it is an inspiration and metaphor for branding the anti-government protestors around the world, reimagining of the geopolitical relations, and has promoted many govts (e.g. China) to take precautions to prevent it happening in their own countries. The dawn of ‘Arab Spring’ in Sri Lanka, however, is still a distant dream, despite the fact that the necessary preconditions for it are abundant. more..

From performing arts theatre to a performing arts centre?

Dec 8 (DM) The recently completed Performing Arts Theatre is to be ceremonially declared open by the President on December 15th highlighting a gesture of great generosity by the Chinese Govt, whose construction spanned only several years. The structure is spectacular as it is large and rightly situated in the most cultural location Colombo can offer, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, surrounded by the University of Performing Arts, more..

Liberalism – lexical ambiguity

Dec 8 (LB) Liberalism has got itself a bad name in many and different quarters. Suren Raghavan, writing in the Colombo Telegraph was one of the many criticizing NORAD’s analysis of Norway’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s “peace process.” “The Peace Process was hegemonized by a naive liberal peace discourse. It gravitated around the liberalism II model of minority rights, right to self-determination and ethnic federalism, etc. By which it pre constructed solutions at the cost of analyzing the depth of more..

The metamorphosis of a “corrupt” regime

Dec 8 (SL) In Sri Lanka, where politicians are the most stupidly superstitious, number “13”, which is not used in any hotel for any room or floor and is avoided by many when registering their vehicles, Minister Dew Gunasekera was proposed to chair the Committee on Public Enterprises as the 13th Chairman of the COPE, since its inception. Claiming to be a “Marxist”, Minister Gunasekera would not have thought of “13” as a bad number. Nor would most heads of those 229 State owned enterprises. more..

Storms in South 'unexpected' - Met Dept chief

Dec 8 (SO) The stormy winds that hit Matara and Galle districts in the Southern Province destroying properties, claiming many lives and causing problems to fishermen raised concerns on weather forecasts by the Meteorological Department. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera called for a report from the Meteorological Department to ascertain whether there was any lapse on the part of the Met Department. The Sunday Observer interviewed the Director General more..

Editorial: Blood stones & hypocrisy

Dec 8 (Island) Global Witness (GW), a human rights group, is reported to have left, in protest, what is known as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a regulatory mechanism to ensure that diamonds entering the mainstream markets in the world are ethically mined. It has accused the international diamond regulatory group of turning a blind eye to links between diamonds and human rights violations, according to a Daily Telegraph dispatch we reproduced yesterday more..

Construction disallowed in high hazard zones

Dec 8 (SO) Improper land use and construction at bad sites have given rise to landslides. Colombo and Gampaha districts have come into the landslide zones, said, R.M.S. Bandara, Head, Landslide Studies and Services Division, National Building Research Organisation (NBRO). He said that these were not landslides in real terms. It is known as cutting failure, what happens is during heavy rains the unstable soil-marsh begins to get loose. The surveys of NBRO have identified that more..

'I have decided to support and work with the govt to do what is necessary for education'

Dec 8 (TC) The Chinese Philosopher, Confucius, once said, “If your strategy for the future is for one year then cultivate paddy. If your strategy is for ten years then grow trees. If your future strategy is for 100 years then what you must invest in is education”. Therefore, in a budget for a country’s future economic improvement and development, the most important and long term investment is the expenditure on education. more..

Former Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger takes up acting

Dec 8 (SL) Thousands of former Tamil Tiger rebels who were once part of a bitter 30 year war against the Sri Lankan government troops, are now back in society living a normal life with their past behind them. But one former rebel has taken his past to the movie screen and is now looking at spreading a message through his acting. Shanthalingham Gokularaj (25) was a member of the Tamil Tiger rebels before the rebels were defeated by the Sri Lankan government troops in May 2009. more..