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Govt mulls LG elections in Mullaitivu

Dec 11 (SO) The Govt is contemplating whether elections for the Puthukudiyiruppu Pradeshiya Sabha and the Maritime Pattu Pradeshiya Sabha in the Mullaitivu district should be held before or after the completion of the de-mining process. Provincial Councils and Local Govt Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke said that the Govt has to take a policy decision in this regard before the Elections Department announces a date to hold the election for the two local councils. more..

Prison welfare fund locked up

Dec 11 (ST) The Sri Lanka Prisoners Welfare Association, of which President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the patron, was yesterday rocked with dissent with committee members threatening to resign en-masse as the govt has failed to pay funds allocated in last year’s budget for prisoner welfare. SLPWA President Sam Wijesinha said that the govt grant of Rs. 700,000 for prisoner welfare this year through the national budget was not given despite several reminders to the Rehabilitation more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 11 (ST) The telephone operator at the switchboard of 'Temple Trees,' the official residence of the President, was somewhat surprised when he answered a phone call. The caller, a lady, who spoke in Sinhala said she was Anoma Fonseka and asked to speak to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The operator perhaps thought that the wife of the former Army Commander was calling to seize on President's offer to release her husband if a request is made by a member of the family. more..

UNP takes ‘free Fonseka’ plea to world community

Dec 11 (ST) The UNP launched its planned 'million signatures' public petition campaign yesterday to draw the attention of the United Nations and the International Community on the need to release former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka from prison. The campaign began at the New Town Hall in Colombo with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe placing his signature on the petition. more..

SLMC chairperson resigns

Dec 11 (LB) Doctors state that due to the pressure mounted on the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) by various parties the chairperson of the SLMC Prof. Lalitha Mendis has given her resignation citing difficulty in working under such conditions. Responding to our query she said, “I decided to resign due to extreme mental pressure that I have beeen subjected to. Further, it’s my family that continues to suffer the consequences of such stress. more..

TNA-Govt talks: Confusion most confounded

Dec 11 (NS) The Government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will meet on December 14 and 15 to discuss on the concerns raised by the former on the demands placed by the party in search of a political solution. Confusion arose with regard to the state of the ongoing talks between the party following the TNA’s demands to provide Land and Police powers to the provincial councils and to re-merge the Northern and the Eastern Province. more..

Judges to get guidelines on sentencing

Dec 11 (ST) The Sentencing Policy Bill which will give the judiciary guidelines on penalties is one of a string of new laws the govt will introduce next year. According to Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, the new law will ensure uniformity in the sentences passed on those found guilty. The new law has been formulated with the assistance of the Department of the Attorney General of Australia. At present there is no consistent policy on sentencing. more..

6 months RI suspended for 25 years for cheating wife

Dec 11 (ST) It all began at a Cancer clinic in the central hill capital of Kandy on October 18. A woman had travelled from Dambulla to this clinic seeking treatment, but failed to return home. Her anxious husband and other relatives mounted a massive search for her and the police alerted islandwide. After 15 days, she returned to her native home at Dambula, and this is what she had to say. She claimed that, while at the clinic in Kandy, more..

Cars unloaded at Hambantota only

Dec 11 (LB) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will permit car importers to unload their cargo from March 2012 only in the Hambantota Port, a proposal that several car dealers have opposed. SLPA chairman Dr. Priyath Wickrama said that this decision will be implemented no matter who opposes it. “We cannot wait for everyone’s consent,” he said. “This measure will be strictly followed as the Colombo Port is highly congested, has less parking facilities after the expansion of roads, more..

Govt. to develop all state lands in prime locations

Dec 11 (SL) The government is to take prime lands being currently used by state institutions and armed forces for development programmes. Media Minister and Cabinet Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella said the government has initiated programmes to relocate armed forces headquarters in prime locations in Colombo and the Welikada Prison in order to utilise them for development. more..

Treasury gives Rs. 50Mn to bailout SL Cricket

Dec 11 (SL) The Treasury had on Friday approved a grant of Rs. 50 million to bail out the cash strapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the Treasury has given the monies to SLC as a grant to help overcome the current financial crisis in the institution. He said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to give US$ 2 million to SLC by tomorrow to pay the salaries more..

No more even a ‘Former Army Commander’

Dec 11 (SL) Army spokesman Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi said that Fonseka is not referred to as the “former Army Commander” anymore. Even as history is being re-written by the Rajapaksas, the former army chief will not be a part of history when Sri Lanka’s victorious battle against the LTTE is documented. His details have already been removed from the list of former Sri Lankan Army Commanders on the army website as a result of a Court Martial ruling against him last year. more..

Fishermen again targetted by Lankan Navy

Dec 11 (PTI) Fishermen of this coastal town who put out to sea after a 12 day gap in protest against attacks on them allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel were reportedly again accosted and threatened by them at mid sea today, fisheries department officials said here today. The fishermen had decided to resume operations after talks with District Collector Arun Roy who persuaded them to call off their stir. They told officials two Sri Lankan naval ships surrounded 750 of more..

Indian business delegation to meet Sri Lankan Prez tomorrow

Dec 11 (PTI) An Indian business delegation will meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow and discuss ways to strengthen economic ties between the two neighbours, industry body CII said. The 13-member delegation, led by CII Vice-President Kris Gopalakrishnan, would take up issues related to bilateral trade and investment, knowledge cooperation, technology partnerships, infrastructure connectivity and promoting tourism," CII said. more..

There is a serious erosion of basic rights: JVP

Dec 11 (DM) Somawansa Amarasinghe the Leader of the JVP speaking to Daily Mirror on line stated that the citizens of the country are faced with a massive erosion of their basic human rights. Speaking in lieu of the International Human rights day the Leader of the JVP stated that the erosion and violation of these rights stems from the capitalist system of governance of many countries. “There is no democracy nor are there basic political social or more..

Sri Lanka 'will face uphill battle' in South Africa Test series, says Boycott

Dec 11 (ANI) A shortage of genuine wicket-taking bowlers in the touring Sri Lankan team will mean that South Africa's batsmen will cash in during the upcoming three-Test series, former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott has said. "I said months ago: without Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) and (Lasith) Malinga - they were two wicket-taking bowlers - Sri Lankan cricket will struggle. Bowlers win Test matches; wicket-taking bowlers. They were two of the best. more..

Competing better within global unrest

Dec 12 (SL) With the new budget the govt has shown stores inclination to make the country more business friendly. The vast amount of tax concessions provided together with incentives for exporters make it more attractive for foreign companies to set up factories and obtain services here. But a lot depends on the global situation now and what the govt can do will be seriously limited by this. International investments are known to slow drastically at times of crisis. more..

DLF’s 12th anniversry: We go forward with the people for the people

Dec 12 (SO) The Democratic Left Front (DLF) which celebrates its 12th anniversary this December offers a political programme; based on the understanding that the principal contradiction lies between the latest forms of imperialism and the people in the world. However DLF does not subscribe to the false theory of National Capitalism. No capitalist in general, supports the UPFA as against the UNP which is the longstanding agency of imperialism. more..

With IOUs and distressing form, what awaits us in South Africa?

Dec 12 (SL) No past Test series has quite evoked a sense of hopelessness as the one which Tillekeratne Dilshan’s team undertake in the coming days in South Africa. History records that Sri Lanka, since acquiring Test status, has not managed a Test win in South Africa, conceding six of the seven played there – a staggeringly depressing ratio by any count. So, to expect a mending of this historical anomaly by a Sri Lankan team that has failed to secure either more..

Land to those who till it

Dec 12 (LB) On 10th July 2011, in this column, I said “One need not be a Marxist to observe that low country private factory owners and small-holders, pay similar or higher wages for workers and yet they make much profit. One of the main reasons, for the low cultural level of workers, is related to their living conditions. Unlike many of the villagers, they do not have their own house or land to work. Even the 7 perch land distribution and housing loan scheme is not functioning properly.” more..

Sri Lanka Cricket: ‘Clean suit empty pockets’

Dec 12 (SL) In 1996 Sri Lankans were proclaimed the World Champions of Cricket when that buccaneering captain Arjuna Ranatunga lifted the World Cup from the dazzling Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at the Gaddafi Stadium after thrashing the Australians who were considered to be invincible, in a bruising battle. It was the greatest achievement for this little island in sports and perhaps in any other human endeavour since Independence. more..

JVP: Split or damp squib?

Dec 12 (LB) At the time of the JVP split a few months ago there was anticipation that significant differences of policy lay at the root and that the rebel faction would strike out on a clearly different path. There was a promise from both factions that they would document their positions and the public would learn what the fracas was about. Several months and two rival anniversary celebrations later, nobody is any the wiser what the brawl was about? What on earth is so ideologically, more..

Editorial: New SEC must counteract gloomy expectations

Dec 12 (BL) The new Chairman has taken over the Securities Exchange Commission at a critical moment for the stock market. He has to tackle some formidable problems. The stock market is tottering and it will be no easy task to prevent it falling. The turnover has dropped drastically from Rs.2-3 billion per day to mere Rs.500-700 million now. The market has fallen this year by 9% for the All Share Price Index and even more for shares in the Milanka Price Index. more..

'Working Commitee should decide leadership change'

Dec 12 (NS) When the late J R Jayewardene was the President, Tissa Attanayake was a student at the University of Kelaniya. He became the president of Kelaniya University student union Eksath Samavadi Shisya Sangamaya. He has worked at the Fisheries Corporation for one year and later joined in full time politics. Tissa was appointed the UNP organiser for Ududumbara electorate in 1988, contested the general elections in 1989 and was elected to the Parliament. more..

Editorial: Circuses without bread

Dec 12 (Island) In ancient Rome, crafty rulers used bread and circuses (known as panem et circenses to Latin buffs) to placate the masses and neutralise their discontent with the potential to find expression in violent revolts. The hoi polloi were so enthralled by gladiator combats, chariot races, blood sports etc in the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum that they did not give two hoots about even the barbarians at the gates, according to historians. President Mahinda Rajapaksa seems to have taken a leaf out of Roman Patricians' book. more..

Let’s unlearn lessons forced on us

Dec 12 (NS) LLRC created in 2010 to investigate the events that transpired during the war between the govt of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. The Commission’s authority, however, was limited to reporting on the events between 2002 and 2009; recommending measures to prevent the recurrence of such events; and identify individuals or groups who were directly or indirectly responsible. Considering the narrow scope of the inquiry critics have been skeptical about its usefulness. more..

‘TNA not genuine!’

Dec 12 (NS) Talks between the Govt and the TNA to find out a political solution to the so called ethnic problem seem hit by differences over three key demands raised by the TNA. However, the positive move is both parties are still ready for the talks. The Govt and the TNA had finished 16 rounds of talks by today and they will be meeting again on Dec 14. Reliable govt sources said the TNA’s demands over the re-merger of the north and east provinces, and more..

President Rajapaksa is not a welcome guest in western capitals

Dec 12 (TC) “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand” lamented Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Modern rulers know better. They hire expensive public relations firms to cleanse them of stains and smells. One of the most noxious practitioners of this unscrupulous trade is the British firm Bell Pottinger, the Rajapaksa regime’s reputation launderette of choice. Bell Pottinger is currently struggling to launder its own reputation. more..

Crystal clear that Jaffna is rising through sustainable work ethic in post-war environment

Dec 12 (TC) My recent visit to Jaffna was after three and half decades. What I saw was positively reassuring. The battlefront dynamics had receded irrefutably. From the air, it seemed a blanket of lush green had swept over the signature fertile red soil of Jaffna. Yes, Jaffna is rising. Her toiling farmers and fisherfolk seemed hoping to share the peace dividend. The renowned Jaffna market provided a backdrop to what loomed ahead. more..

Sri Lankan Professor was stabbed in Chicago

Dec 12 (UL) A University of Illinois law professor waiting for a train to Chicago is hospitalized after he was stabbed in the throat Wednesday in a possible hate crime. The professor, 41-year-old Anurudha Dharmapala, has expertise in law and economics, and tax policy. According to a witness account, both Dharmapala and the suspect were sitting in the Amtrak waiting area, when the suspect jumped up and shouted that this was his country. more..

New BOI website for timely information

Dec 12 (Island) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka has re-launched its website to highlight the country’s post-war emergence as the most dynamic investment destination in the region. The website,, has been completely redesigned both in visual presentation and in content to maximize Sri Lanka’s positioning as a stable and profitable investment choice in Asia. "With the end of the 30-year civil conflict, stable govt and the launch of an ambitious more..

Keep striving to achieve excellence to accomplish all tasks, cadets told

Dec 12 (Hindu) Lieutenant-General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Sri Lanka army, on Saturday exhorted the passing out Gentlemen Cadets at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) here to continuously endeavour to achieve excellence so as to accomplish all tasks and earn the respect and loyalty of the men and women they would be commanding. “Remember that through excellent leadership qualities taught at the IMA you will not only be able to lead your men anywhere but more..

Defending Rupee may lead to unintended consequences

Dec 12 (BL) The recent decision by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to raise the current threshold for foreign investments in Treasury Bills and Treasury Bonds from 10 per cent of the outstanding stock to 12.5 per cent is likely to result in unintended consequences, a top Economist warns. According to him, although the Central Bank thinks that its decision will support the growth momentum of the economy by enhancing more..

Paranavitana ton lifts Sri Lankan spirits

Dec 12 (CI) Sri Lanka's top three were able to spend much-needed time in the middle on the third day of their tour match against the South African Invitational XI. Tharanga Paranavitana was dropped twice on his way to a century before retiring, Tillakaratne Dilshan scored an aggressive, almost run-a-ball 74 while Mahela Jayawardene battled for his 26. Kumar Sangakkara was moved down the order after he split the webbing between fingers on his right hand while fielding on Saturday. more..

Trade deficit widens 93.6%

Dec 12 (Island) The trade deficit widened 93.6 percent to US$ 6,865 million for the first nine months of this year from US$ 3,545 recorded in the corresponding period last year. The external sector performance for September 2011 released by the Central Bank showed that export earnings for the first nine months of this year had grown 27.7 percent to US$ 7,819.9 million from US$ 6,125.4 million a year ago. Apparel export earnings had grown 25.7 percent to US$ 3,311.2 million, more..

Boston Lanka News: Dec. 11, 2011

Over 50,000 scale Adams Peak

Dec 12 (Island) More than 50,000 Buddhist devotees have scaled Sri Pada since the commencement of the Unduwap Poya, on Saturday and they have entered the holy venue from Hatton, Maskeliya and Nallathanniya. The proceedings started with the motorcade carrying the statue of God Saman and gold jewels leaving the Nedungamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya at Galpoththawela in Ratnapura, Nallathanniya OIC Gamini Sarath Bandara said. Then the motorcade proceeded from Maskeliya to Nallathanniya and more..

O’ Level exam starts today

Dec 12 (Island) The G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination-2011 will commence today (12) at 3920 examination centres countrywide. Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe said that a total of 531,325 candidates are eligible to sit for this year’s examination. This was the highest number of candidates to sit the examination in its history. Of them 385,095 were school candidates, while the balance were private applicants, he said. more..

President returns after successful Bali visit

Dec 12 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in the country on Saturday after attending the two-day Bali Democracy Forum IV, held in Bali, Indonesia on December 8 and 9. He attended the forum, on an invitation extended by Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Bali Democracy forum was held at the Bali International Convention Centre in Nusa Dua. The theme of the BDF IV was more..

Sri Lanka credit hits new high in October

Dec 12 (LBO) Loans to business from Sri Lanka's commercial banks hit a fresh high of 54.50 billion rupees in October 2011 to 1,882 billion rupees while central bank credit to the state also rose amid defence of a dollar peg, official data shows. Credit to business grew 33.4 percent in the 12-month to October from a year earlier, easing slightly from 34.8 percent in September, but the monthly volume was the highest since the end of a balance of payments crisis in 2009. more..