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'Army preparing report to counter Darusman report'

Dec 2 (DM) The armed forces are preparing a report to counter the allegations leveled against the security forces in the Darusman report prepared by a panel of experts appointed by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said. “As a response to specific paragraphs that made allegations against the military during humanitarian operations in the Darusman report, we all in the tri-services are more..

Sri Lanka 'Still in Dark Ages'

Dec 2 (BBC) There’s been a call in Sri Lanka for greater openness and understanding in dealing with HIV and AIDS. Speaking on World AIDS Day, the former national cricket captain, Kumar Sangakkara, said there was a high degree of ignorance and embarrassment surrounding the virus and how it is spread. Kumar Sangakkara, who resigned as cricket captain in April, has a role as ambassador for an international AIDS awareness initiative. He said that even though Sri Lanka has more..

National stamp policy implemented

Dec 2 (SO) With a view to promoting tourism via stamps, the Postal Services Ministry has worked out plans to improve the Philatelic Bureau on the instructions of Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. The Philatelic Bureau which was limited to white boards will be brought to the international arena with new Ministry sources said that secretary Hemasiri Fernando is working closely to achieve results. A separate counter has been set up in main post offices for the convenience of more..

Connections – November 29, 2011

Underworld kingpin abducted

Dec 2 (Island) An unidentified gang on Wednesday night abducted a gangster identified as Feros, widely believed to be one of the underworld kingpins operating north of Colombo. Sources said that Feros had been accused of killing at least ten persons, including his wife. Responding to a query, sources alleged that the missing man was believed to have killed his wife by injecting cyanide. Although the suspect had been taken into custody on more than one occasion, by the police more..

‘Foreigners who worked for SL’s uplift must be remembered’

Dec 2 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that foreign nationals who admired and served the country will be considered as fellow Sri Lankans. The President said a large number of foreign nationals who came from many parts of the world, worked for the development of education, Buddhism and health services in the country and they should always be remembered for their services to the country. He said that a number of great personalities like more..

Don’t outsource Opp. responsibilities to foreign missions, GL tells Ranil

Dec 2 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday accused UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of misrepresenting facts regarding Sri Lanka’s strong opposition to the appointment of a Commonwealth Commissioner for Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Prof. Peiris lashed out at the Opposition Leader for playing politics with an abortive move made by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) at the behest of some members of the Commonwealth at more..

TNA delays PSC on Nat. issue

Dec 2 (Island) The progress of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) to formulate a political solution to the country’s national problem has been halted as the TNA still has not nominated its representatives for the committee, parliamentary sources said yesterday. The govet has already submitted the names of its representatives for the select committee, the sources said adding that the Opposition list could not be completed yet for submission as more..

Buddhika barred from sitting with UNP group

Dec 2 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday declared that Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana wouldn’t be allowed to sit with members of the parliamentary group due to being suspended for working against the party at the recently concluded LG polls. UNP sources said that an irate Wickremesinghe had walked out of the meeting at the parliamentary complex in spite of some members urging him to reconsider his decision. Soon after the LG polls on October 8, more..

New evidence unearthed regarding alleged Sri Lankan war crimes?

Dec 2 (DBS) Hello Friends, The controversy over the issue of War crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces with the sanction of high officials does not seem to receding into the background with the passage of time. Each time the flames show signs of reducing into flickers there is a fresh input of fuel into the fire which fan the flames again. The latest in this series is an “exclusive investigative report” appearing in more..

International Investor Conference to boost Sri Lanka- Pakistan trade

Dec 2 (Island) The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the Pakistan Board of Investment has organised an International Investors Conference, to be held in Islamabad next month, for the promotion and enhancement of investment and trade ties between Pakistan and the participating countries including Sri Lanka. A Pakistan High Commission spokesperson said that the conference will be held in Islamabad early next year under more..

Baird talks tough on Sri Lanka

Dec 2 (cnews) Sri Lanka needs to take accountability for serious allegations of war crimes committed during its 25-year civil war, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Thursday. Baird's comments to MPs at the Commons foreign affairs committee come after Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly criticized Sri Lanka over its human rights record during the Commonwealth meeting in Australia in October."Other countries have taken 10 years for reconciliation, other more..

Govt. dismisses UNP allegations, blames Ranil for Grero’s defection

Dec 2 (Island) Amidst UNP allegations that parliamentarian Mohan Lal Grero had crossed over to the govt, on being pressurised over issues relating to his business interests, Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle said that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was to blame for the defection. The Minister said that Wickremesinghe should know how to retain the support of his MP’s and if he could not do that, there was no point blaming the govt for taking them. more..

Ranil complains to CPA SG

Dec 2 (Island) Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe has written to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on the incidents which took place on the budget day (21.11.2011) before and during the presentation of the 2012 budget by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Finance Minister. He had forwarded the letter through his party’s assistant secretary Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena. The text of the letter sent to the CPA General Secretary: more..

'Lanka capable of meting out justice on its own'

Dec 2 (DN) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report is to be submitted to Parliament shortly and thereafter released to the media. The LLRC was not something that came up due to international pressure. It was proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa long before the humanitarian operation ended, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said that nobody can come to Sri Lanka from a foreign land, find fault and impose punishments. more..

Dumped Fonseka votes were genuine

Dec 2 (DM) Elections Department’s former Questioned Documents’ Examiner P.H. Manatunga has confirmed that the 62 ballot papers which were marked for common opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka at the last presidential election and found dumped near the Ratnapura Technical College were originals though the govt had failed to conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident, it was revealed yesterday. In the letter tabled in parliament more..

Tamil Nadu Fishermen to boycott fishing indefinitely

Dec 2 (PTI) Hundreds of fishermen on Thursday decided to boycott fishing indefinitely after talks with the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner to secure relase of five fishermen taken into custody by the island nation's navy failed, officials said. Ramanathapuram District Collector Arun Roy, who led a two member team for the meet, said despite the setback, the Tamil Nadu government had contacted foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai and talks would be held with Lankan govt Officials and more..

Team of Japanese doctors conducts Sri Lanka's first lung transplant

Dec 2 (Kyodo) A team of doctors from Okayama University Hospital successfully conducted Sri Lanka's first lung transplant Wednesday, a hospital said Thursday. The operation took place at a hospital in Colombo on a Sri Lankan man in his 60s and lasted some 11 hours, it said. The man, who has lung fibrosis, a disease that causes breathing difficulties due to lung inflammation, received lungs from a brain-dead donor. The team, led by Takahiro Oto, a respiratory surgeon and more..

SEC succumbs!

Dec 2 (FT) Indrani Sugathadasa yesterday quit as Chairperson of the SEC, a development which some viewed as expected after her Director General moved out, whilst others claimed it was accelerated by events in capital markets last week. A retired top career civil servant who was handed over the mantle of the SEC one-and-a-half years ago, Sugathadasa tendered her resignation last morning to Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Finance Ministry, the appointing authority, more..

SC orders fresh bids be called for sale of GK shares

Dec 2 (Island) The Supreme Court directed the Professor Watawala Committee to call for fresh bids to sell the shares of Golden Key ENT Hospital at Rajagiriya, The Golden Key Children’s Hospital at Narahenpita and three floors of the Ceylinco House at Fort, Colombo 1. The advertisements calling for offers are to be published by December 15, 2011. The offers are to be received upto one month. The Watawala Committee will operate from the Secretariat at the Central Bank. more..

SC varies decision in interest of depositors

Dec 2 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday decided to vary the Court order of April 27, 2009, to facilitate the transfer of shares of Directors and shareholders of Ceylinco Sri Ram Capital Management Services Private Limited and Ceylinco Capital Investments Private Limited. This variation of the order was made in the best interest of 5,767 confirmed depositors, who had asked the respondent companies for the repayment of their monies. The specified subsidiary companies, more..

New theatre also under President

Dec 2 (DM) The newly built performing arts theater on Green Path would also come directly under the purview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala De Silva informed Parliament yesterday. It would be the latest addition to the 22 institutions which come directly under the President, according to a list read out in Parliament. Minister de Silva who was speaking during the committee stage debate on the budget dealing with the budgetary allocations more..

Police identifies Sri Lankan youth knifed to death in Liverpool

Dec 2 (IL) Merseyside Police identified the Sri Lankan youth was stabbed to death in Huyton, Liverpool, UK as Mahesh Wickramasinghe. He is from Madampe, Negambo and 30 years old at the time of his death. Mahesh has been stabbed by an unidentified person Tuesday night on 29 November around 9 pm while he was working in a shop. British Foreign and Commonwealth office has informed to Sri Lanka High Commission in more..

'France proud of its role in SL’s post-war recovery'

Dec 2 (Island) In spite of ongoing attempts by a section of the Tamil Diaspora to discourage the international community, particularly Europe, from supporting Sri Lanka’s post-war recovery process, the govt receives substantial assistance by way of grants, concessionary loans and technical assistance. Presidential Secretariat sources said that international support had strengthened Sri Lanka’s efforts and given hope, more..

CEB must pay workers’ PAYE, unions insist

Dec 2 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) trade unions will oppose a move to impose PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax on employees in line with government regulations. Responding to a query, sources said that the unions would not undertake to pay that tax under any circumstances. Parliamentary sources said that successive governments had violated financial regulations by allowing the cash-strapped CEB to pay taxes of its employees. more..

'Sri Lanka built foreign reserves to use during tough times'

Dec 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka built up foreign reserves as a buffer to be used during tough times, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said, as reserves came off record highs seen in August 2011. "We have thought through carefully and built up are reserves carefully in order to ensure that we are able to meet challenges as and when it occurs," Cabraal told a forum of non-bank lenders in Colombo. more..

Nailed maid in embassy custody

Dec 2 (DN) The Sri Lankan embassy here on Wednesday, took custody of the Sri Lankan housemaid, who was found with seven nails in her body following surgery last week at the Dammam Central Hospital. Sources at the embassy said that the arrangement was made to provide shelter to the victim till the Police investigations are concluded. At an informal inquiry held at a Police station in the Eastern Province on Monday, embassy officials had expressed unhappiness since more..

'We're not for fraudulent select committees'

Dec 2 (LT) What is needed now is not to have round table conferences, seminars or select committees for the national question but to find solutions says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said the govt is appointing a Parliamentary select committee not to find a genuine solution for the national question but to avoid the question and to while away the time. The policy of the govt to avoid finding a solution and using delaying tactics push the masses in the North towards more..

Dayasiri blasts Sarath N Silva

Dec 2 (Island) The damage done by former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva to the country’s judicial system is irreversible and irreparable, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera told Parliament yesterday. Sarath N. Silva had removed talented judges from their posts, the MP said adding that the former CJ had also destroyed the country’s Opposition parties. Sarath N. Silva, after having contributed to the destruction of the country’s opposition parties, more..

Ranil asks why govt. opposed C’wealth eminent persons’ recommendation

Dec 2 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday declined to make a special statement in Parliament, despite getting Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s permission to do so, saying that he did not approve of the manner in which the statement had been amended. However, later in the day, while participating in the committee stage debate of the Budget, Wickremesinghe read out the statement, which ran into controversy over its original contents that more..

Sri Lanka among 2012 best tourist destinations: National Geographic

Dec 2 (Bernama) National Geographic Traveler magazine has named Sri Lanka among top six destinations for world travelers in 2012, focusing on island's hill country, heritage sites, and pristine beaches. The magazine, in its Nov/Dec issue, describes that Sri Lanka's hill country features stunning scenery, tea plantations, and ancient Buddhist temples. "This mountainous, mist-draped realm has long been popular with backpackers and more..

Editorial: We need to prepare another highway

Dec 2 (DM) These are days we hear of super highways or expressways, to take us from one place to another, in the shortest possible time, for those who can afford it. Indeed, it may even become a doorway, to enter the world of opportunities and prosperity for the opportunists, leaving the larger population far behind, distancing the gap between the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor. This was aggravated by the announcement in parliament yesterday that public or private buses more..

Sri Lanka Dialog expands fibre optic links

Dec 2 (LBO) Sri Lankan celco Dialog Axiata is expanding its fibre optic coverage with plans to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to over 100 buildings in the capital Colombo, an official said. Mangala Hettiarachchi, the firm's head of global business, said the firm has a fibre optic line linking Colombo to the southern town of Galle and Kandy in the central hills. It plans to extend fibre optic links to other regional towns north-central like more..

Bell Helicopter delivers 412s to Sri Lanka Air Force

Dec 2 (VM) Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced today it delivered two Bell 412s to the Sri Lanka Air Force during a ceremony at its facility in Tennessee. “We’ve had a strong partnership with the Sri Lanka Air Force for more than 40 years,” said Larry D. Roberts, senior vice president for Bell Helicopter’s Commercial Business. “This is a great day for Bell Helicopter as we continue to celebrate this relationship,” more..

Election to select chief incumbent of Sri Pada Vihare, rigged: UNP

Dec 2 (DM) The govt used all forms of inducements and intimidation to rig the election to select the chief incumbent of Sri Pada Vihare, last week, the UNP charged in Parliament today. Speaking during the debate on the vote on the Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs Ministry, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said that some Buddhist monks who were eligible to cast votes at this election were threatened by supporters of a certain minister claiming to be a descendant of King Dutugemunu. more..

Additional UK funding for re-integration

Dec 2 (DM) British Deputy High Commissioner, Robbie Bulloch, visited the North this week, where he announced additional UK funding of £150,000 for the reintegration of ex-combatants after their release from custody. This brings the total UK contribution to £650,000 this year (LKR116 million). He also visited a demining project in Jaffna, which is being supported by £3 million of UK money (LKR 535 million). Commenting on his visit, the British Deputy High Commissioner said, more..

40 state enterprises run at a loss – COPE

Dec 2 (LT) The main reason for state enterprises to run at a loss is the failure of Ministry secretaries to deliver their duties as the chief accounting officers of their respective ministries in controlling financial irregularities, frauds and malpractices stated Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara tabling the report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). He said ministry secretaries do not send necessary information regarding certain dealings more..

'Sri Lanka 2012 budget most SME friendly'

Dec 2 (LBR) Govt budget for 2012, including a decision to devalue the rupee boosting the country’s export manufacturing sector, makes it the most small and medium enterprise (SME) friendly budget in recent times, a senior govt official said. “Not only does the budget propose tax holidays between 4 to 6 years for small and medium-scale new enterprises, but even a tax deduction on the initial start-up costs faced by new entrepreneurs before commencement of an enterprise,” more..

Sri Lankan embassy promotes ‘rice and curry’ in US

Dec 2 (LP) Ambassador JaliyaWickramasuriya joined Washington-area guests last week to celebrate the release of Rice and Curry, a new cookbook by Sarath Fernando, a Sri Lankan-American author who has worked to popularize Sri Lankan cuisine in the United States. The cookbook, which includes 208 pages of traditional Sri Lankan recipes, from patties and cutlets to shrimp and crab curries to fruit dishes and puddings, was recently honored in The New York Times 2011 List Of more..

Sri Lanka Cricket comes to standstill

Dec 2 (DM) The day today activities of Sri Lanka Cricket have come to a virtual standstill after a directive given to the coaching department to stop all their work from December 1. The directive is given by a very senior official of SLC and the reason behind is that the SLC management has taken a decision to fire the more than 40 district and provincial coaches, including few other contracted employees, from December 31. more..