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Former Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger takes up acting

Dec 1 (Xinhua) Thousands of former Tamil Tiger rebels who were once part of a bitter 30 year war against the Sri Lankan govt 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 more..

'Economic policies of govt. unique to Sri Lanka'

Dec 1 (DM) The policies followed in this country cannot be found anywhere else and is unique to Sri Lanka, Minister Basil Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday. Closing the debate on the second reading of the budget in the House, the Minister of Economic Development said that our policies cannot be replaced with another. “It is a policy that will benefit our people and is not based on Washington policies,” he said. more..

'Govt contradicting own figures in budget'

Dec 1 (DM) Govt had made this year's budget a mess by contradicting its own facts and figures, DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake charged in Parliament yesterday. He recalled that the poverty level has been 7.6 percent in 2010 according to the facts put out by the govt during the budget last year but according to the figures put out this year it had reduced to 8.9 percent from 15.6 percent the previous year. more..

Sri Lanka’s under-pressure SEC chief quits

Dec 1 (ST) Indrani Sugathadasa, Chairperson of Sri Lanka's Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally caved in -- resigning from the post after a running battle with powerful investors and other brokers over stringent regulatory measures, SEC officials said on Thursday. Ms Sugathadasa, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had vowed to stay on and fight against these powerful interests, particularly those who were opposed to a crackdown on insider trading, market manipulation more..

Sheraton group of US to invest on a luxury hotel project in Colombo

Dec 1 (GDI) The ITC limited of India, a Franchise of SHERATON Group of USA is to invest in a luxury hotel and mixed development project in Colombo. Govt on Thursday approved this US dollar 300 million FDI and a land extent of 5 acre in the close proximity of Military headquarters, Colombo on a 99 year long lease. Accordingly, as per the proposal made by Minister Basil Rajapakse, Cabinet decided to lease out this block of landearlier allocated to M/s CATIC of China more..

Editorial: A free education that grants the freedom to protest

Dec 1 (DM) With the pandemonium at the Rajarata University that saw the Vice Chancellor being locked up in a room at the Puliyankulam Medical Faculty by a set of students, there arises a very rational question as to where the country's education is heading. Among many countries where education is a paid privilege, Sri Lanka stands out as an exception where it has not only been made a right of every child but also being provided free of charge. more..

World AIDS Day today

Dec 1 (GDI) The national ceremony to mark the World AIDS Day that falls on today is scheduled to be held at New Bazaar Maternity Home, Colombo under the patronage of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Health Ministry sources say. This event will be attended by Colombo Mayor A.J. Muzammil as well as the public. The ceremony will feature a National AIDS Walk. This is the first World AIDS Day national ceremony to be attended by the public. All ceremonies were earlier held in more..

47 Sri Lankan children living with AIDS

Dec 1 (ST) Forty seven children who were HIV infected by birth are among the HIV/AIDS patients in the country, Director of Health Ministry’s National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Dr. N. Edirisinghe told Timesonline. Sexually transmitted diseases have claimed 220 lives and 1317 cases reported since the first case in 1986. The highest number cases of 582 were reported during 2005 to 2009 compared to 310 cases during year 2000 to 2004. more..

Donald has eye on Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (S24) Proteas bowling coach Allan Donald is busy studying video material of Sri Lanka's players ahead of their tour to South Africa. Donald is currently at home preparing on his own for the upcoming Test series which starts with a Test match on Dec 15 at SuperSport Park in Centurion. "I'm currently busy with my own planning. I'm looking at their key players - the core of their batting line-up - but there some players here and there whom I'm not very familiar with," more..

‘Maha raja’ should go if he can’t – Bimal Ratnayake

Dec 1 (LT) The Socialist Youth Union of the JVP commenced a ‘Protest March’ from Technical Junction to Ministry of Finance yesterday (30th) to protest against the budget 2012 and demanding employment for unemployed youth. Despite police obstructions the ‘March’ continued, until it was attacked with tear gas and water cannon jets of water mixed with ammonia at the Lake House Junction. The protestors held a rally before they dispersed. more..

Four Hospitals in northern Sri Lanka to be reconstructed

Dec 1 (GDI) Sri Lankan govt has decided to reconstruct four hospitals in the northern Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. These hospitals which were damaged during the war period will be reconstructed with a grant assistance given by United States Pacific Command. On a proposal made by Minister Maithripala Sirisena, the cabinet approval was granted for the development of the Divisional Hospital- Oddusudan in Mullaitivu District, Base Hospital Mulankavil, more..

PM to establish separate court for Maha Sangha

Dec 1 (DM) Prime Minister D.M. jayaratne said he would take steps to establish a court exclusively to solve the disputes among the Maha Sangha to uphold their dignity and to prevent any possible damage to the Sangha Sasana when their cases were heard in open court. Addressing a gathering that attended the opening of the two storied living quarters of the monks at Polgasowita Sri Sudharshanarama temple in Homagama, he pointed out that in past the disputes in the temples more..

Sri Lanka stocks end up 0.9-pct

Dec 1 (LBO) Stocks closed higher Thursday with turnover pushed up by a bank deal amid news that the chairperson of the regulatory body was quitting just weeks after powerful investors forced out its director general. All Share Price Index rose 0.94 percent to 6,144.67, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.57 percent to close at 5,303.76, according to provisional stock exchange figures. Turnover was 4.2 billion rupees. Nations Trust Bank trades accounted for the day's biggest turnover more..

WikiLeaks: Balasingham said to be 'Obsessed' with the U.S.

Dec 1 (CT) “Despite the lack of direct contact, the LTTE seems to maintain a deep interest in the U.S. Based on his recent meeting with Balasingham at the September peace talks in Thailand, Milinda Moragoda reported that the Tiger spokesman peppered him with questions on where the U.S. stands with regard to the conflict” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “SECRET” by the Deputy Chief of Mission more..

Air Force officer remanded for harassing police woman

Dec 1 (DM) An Air Force officer attached to the Slave Island camp who had allegedly exposed himself to a woman police officer near the Fort police station was remanded till December 2, by a Colombo Court today. Lodging a complaint with the Fort police, the complainant said that a man who stood on the overhead pedestrian bridge had exposed himself to her. The complainant further alleged that she was severely embarrassed by what she had to see and the suspect was arrested by more..

Assault on buses: Man is charged

Dec 1 (HP) A man has been charged in connection with the assault of three young women on buses. Detectives say that in each incident, a man is said to have sat next to a young girl on a bus before talking to her and then groping, fondling or trying to kiss her. One of the attacks was on a Hartlepool bus, while another was destined for the town and a third happened on a bus in the Middlesbrough area. A 24-year-old Sri Lankan man has been charged with four counts of sexual touching more..

Indian sugar company to invest in Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (IANS) Three foreign companies, including an Indian sugar manufacturer, will set up factories at an economic zone in southern Sri Lanka that is centered around a $361 million China-funded harbour, a top official said. The Indian sugar company, a Singaporean petro-chemical plant and a Pakistani cement grinding factory are expected to begin building their factories this month, said Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama. more..

Sri Lanka insists no softening of stance on alleged war crimes

Dec 1 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt has denied any softening of its stance on alleged war crimes despite comments to try individual soldiers if evidence is found, a top minister said here on Thursday. Govt spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella talking to reporters dismissed speculation that President Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime was softening its stance on denying any allegations of war crimes. Instead he insisted that recent comments made by Defense Secretary more..

Traffic plan for buses to Kandy

Dec 1 (DM) Police have taken a decision to allow buses operating to Kandy to go back to its destination without idling around the Kandy town in a step to minimise the traffic congestion with immediate effect from today. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that these buses idle or move slowly in the Kandy town which paves way to traffic congestion. The decision will not allow the buses to wonder around in the Kandy town. He said this decision will ease the number of vehicles and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 01.12.2011

Cabinet nod for repair, rebuilding of houses in Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (PTI) As part of its efforts to rebuild war-torn northern region of Sri Lanka, India will undertake reconstruction and repair of 49,000 houses for Tamil civilians displaced due to the decades-old conflict at a cost of Rs 1300 crore. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here today in line with a promise made by him to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the latter's visit here in June, 2010. more..

Sri Lankan cricket governing board among loss making enterprises

Dec 1 (PTI) Sri Lanka's cricket governing body, two govt owned airlines and a television house are among the 45 state enterprises that have been founds to be loss making by a parliamentary committee. The COPE has recommended stringent accounting measures in order to maintain smooth administration and better accounting procedures in its report submitted in Parliament on Thursday. Senior minister DEW Gunasekera, the chair of the committee, said he hoped that more..

The parents of Sri Lanka’s missing children struggle to find their families

Dec 1 (Economist) When Shanthakumar Kamala fled the inferno of fighting in northern Sri Lanka in 2009, she was clutching a number of glossy photographs to her chest but little else. Mrs Shanthakumar holds out the pictures now—one of a smart lad in school uniform, one of him wearing a Boy Scout kit—and sobs that she wants her son, Thanuraj, back. Like hundreds of other children, he went missing in the harrowing final months of fighting between more..

2012 Budget Analysis

Dec 2 (NS) Amidst posters, fisticuffs and childish pandemonium, President Mahinda Rajapaksa released the 2012 budget. What’s in it? The Rupee is now trading at about 113 to 1 dollar. So, an American importing Sri Lankan apparel worth Rs.100,000 is now paying $885 instead of $910 (at an exchange rate of Rs.110). Once you start importing millions that makes a difference, making Sri Lankan exports more attractive. Let’s say you’re a consumer buying tinned fish, however, which we import. more..

‘Lore of the Law’ by S. L. Gunesekera

Dec 2 (NS) Name it, it’s there in plentiful: ingredients required to attract contempt of court, breach of parliamentary privileges, libel and every conceivable wrong known to mankind. The reputations of the ‘repute’ and the practices of the ‘disrepute’ are bashed at a level above the navel, graciously, never below the belt. None touched will dare to become a daredevil and challenge the contents. Highlighted are features that will comprehensively negative any such bizarre thought more..

Forest reserves, a haven for drug lords

Dec 2 (SO) A police informant from the Southern province turned up at the Walana Vice Squad, Panadura last month and met its OIC Duminda Balasuriya. who was armed with vital information regarding thriving Ganja plantations in the Hambegamuwa state forest reservation. He said vast acres of land in the state forest reservations of Hambegamuwa were being cultivated with thousands of Ganja (Cannabis sativa) plants by farmers making enormous profits more..

Editorial: Hate-driven diplomacy

Dec 2 (Island) Britain has, true to form, flexed its diplomatic muscles over Tuesday's attack on the British embassy in Tehran. The Iranian mission in London was shut down and its diplomats expelled. Britain's consternation is understandable, one may argue; the storming of its embassy and the desecration of its venerated national symbols cannot be countenanced on any grounds. But, the fact remains that the British govt started it all by imposing sanctions on Iranian banks more..

Detention of Rohana Wijeweera at Magazine Prison

Dec 2 (Island) A couple of months prior to the insurrection of 1971, Rohana Wijeweera was arrested by the police in the jungles of Ampara, while he was having a meeting with some JVP leaders. He was brought to theBatticaloa prison and thereafter transferred to Jaffna. The JVP had planned to rescue Rohana from Jaffna prison, during the insurrection and this task was entrusted to some JVP supporters, who were students of the University of Moratuwa. About 30 to 40 students from more..

Registered Children's Home, a baby farm?

Dec 2 (SO) 1929... the hotline of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) received two 'exclusive' complaints. The first was from a doctor, who treated a mother of a two-year-old baby, who found that the child was to be handed over to a children's Home in Moratuwa without going through probation procedures. The mother was not mentally fit to look after the baby, whose father had abandoned the family. The second complaint was about the same more..

E01: The spectacular beauty & life-threatening dangers of Southern Expressway

Dec 2 (GV) We drove down to Galle today on the newly opened E01 road, more commonly known as the Southern Highway / Expressway. Setting off at 6.33am, we were in Galle at 7.45am, and setting off after a leisurely breakfast at around 9.45am, we were back in Kottawa around 10.45am. Many will take this same journey in the days and weeks ahead just to experience the road, Sri Lanka’s first highway. To be able to go to Galle and return in such a short time is, for those used to more..

New plant to recycle 30m CFL bulbs yearly

Dec 2 (BL) Asia Recycling (Pvt) Ltd which was formed last week as a joint venture between Orange Electric, Sri Lanka's largest manufacturer of electrical and lighting products and Nordic Recycling AB of Sweden, the market leader for recycling compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in Scandinavia has the capacity to recycle up to 30 million bulbs per year, according to officials. They say the Company will undertake the recycling of any brand of CFL and fluorescent tube lights more..

Salary allowance robbed through depreciation

Dec 2 (Island) The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) alleges that although President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as Finance Minister, had provided many incentives and benefits to the export sector and large businesses in the 2012 Budget, the workers had been robbed of their allowances through the depreciation of the rupee. They pointed out that in the previous Budget too incentives, by way of tax concessions, more..

SLPA goes for $ 500 m bond to restructure yen debt

Dec 2 (FT) Central Bank will issue a US$ 500 million bond in January to restructure the debt of its Ports Authority, a top official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrema told media that the US$ 500 million bond was necessary as the organisation was losing money on repaying yen loans that had been taken in 1985. “With the three per cent depreciation of the rupee and the appreciation of the yen, we have struggled to make payments. more..

Important notice from the presidential secretariat

Dec 2 (MoD) It has been brought to the notice of the President's office that various people are making calls to the Police and other Public Institutions, saying they are Coordinating Secretaries and other senior officials attached to the Presidential Secretariat. Please note that only Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President and Mr. Gamini Senerath, Chief of Staff are authorised to convey instructions of H.E the President. more..

Emission testing to be streamlined further

Dec 2 (SO) Environmental pollution had been increasing rapidly in Urban and suburban areas of the country with the introduction of free economic policies in the late seventies, mainly due to the massive rise in the number of vehicles plying the roads every minute of the day. It has been estimated that 65 - 70 percent of the city air pollution is caused by vehicular emissions. The necessity for remedial measures of some sort had been felt for a while more..

COPE requests co-operation of all

Dec 2 (DN) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) requested the fullest co-operation of all high ranking officials in public enterprises stressing that its ultimate intention is to help strengthen those institutions with recommendations for better performances. COPE chairman DEW Gunasekera stated that all chief accounting officers will be summoned before a committee comprised of the Parliament Secretary General, the Secretary to the President and more..

Boost for economic development: State land for investors

Dec 2 (DN) The Land and Land Development Ministry will lease around 2,054 acres of state land to both local and foreign investors to implement projects which have been approved by the Cabinet and the Investment Board, said Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon. Investors will launch special hydropower, windpower, agriculture, tourism and saltern projects. The lands will be leased for periods, such as, 30, 50 and 99 years. Most investors are local persons, the minister said. more..

Foreign elements encouraging trouble, govt. alleges

Dec 2 (Island) The govt alleges that a sustained Opposition protest campaign can cause chaos in the city. Authoritative sources said that there could be widespread protests by different political parties targeting the govt demanding media and political freedom, the imprisonment of General Sarath Fonseka and economic issues. Sources said that those wanting to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal, more..

'UNESCO could not make decisions based on crude financial threats'

Dec 2 (CT) “If UNESCO is to be the conscience of the world community, then it could not make decisions based on crude financial threats.” Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka said. He made above remarks at an interactive meeting with Sorbonne University students. On 29th November 2011, Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka met with Sorbonne University students to discuss post-war Sri Lanka. The conference was organized by the International Law Students Association more..

Six hundred acre prawn farm project in Jaffna

Dec 2 (Island) Minister Douglas Devananda, Government Agent Imelda Sukumar, Divisional Secretaries and the officials of NAQDA Organization held a discussion at the Jaffna District Secretariat regarding the prawn farm project in the Jaffna District. The coastal areas of Allaipitti and Araly. extending over 600 acres, have been earmarked for the prawn farm project and the preparations are going on to implement the scheme by the NAQDA Organization. more..