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Brittle Sri Lanka blown away by an innings

Dec 17 (CI) South Africa overwhelmed a brittle Sri Lanka by an innings and 81 runs at Centurion with victory sealed before tea on the third day when Vernon Philander claimed his tenth wicket of the match. The home side's bowlers needed just 39.1 overs to dismantle the opposition batting line-up for a second time to reinforce the pre-series predictions that this could be a very one-sided contest. Sri Lanka's cricket has taken a worrying nosedive since more..

Protest in Jaffna against abductions

Dec 17 (BBC) Hundreds of people have joined a protest in the northern Sri Lanka town of Jaffna against the recent spate of abductions, organisers say. The Jana Aragala Movement (Movement for People’s Struggle) organised the protest following two of its disappeared in Jaffna, last week. Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan were in Jaffna to help relatives of the missing in their search for the loved ones. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has said that they were not missing and more..

Sri Lanka targets Japan in post-war tourism boom

Dec 17 (Xinhua) A Sri Lankan tourism promotion campaign in Japan was launched on Friday to add to the post-war tourism boom, a statement from the External Affairs Ministry said here. The 15-month long campaign will cover a range of areas which include a planned advertising campaign targeting consumers, event promotions, and promotional activities for travel agents and proposal-based marketing and promotional activities, said the statement. more..

Mahanayake Thera concerned over prejudice

Dec 17 (DM) Malwatte Mahanayake Thera Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera yesterday expressed serious concern over the discrimination meted out to rivals and the negative response to repeated requests by the Mahanayake Theras to release former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. During a meeting with a group of UNP Parliamentarians including Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene and Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Families of 5 arrested fishermen observe fast

Dec 17 (PTI) Families of five fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy personnel last month, today sat on a day-long fast to demand their immediate release. Women members of the fishermen families also held a prayer meet here for the safe release of the fishermen, Fisheries department officials said. Leaders of various fishermen's associations also assembled at the prayer meet in support of the families. District Secretary of Tamil Nadu Coastal Mechanised Boats Fishermen more..

Sri Lanka hosts 6th Galle literary festival

Dec 17 (DS) For the sixth year running, the internationally acclaimed HSBC Galle Literary Festival is ready to take the city of Galle by storm once again, promising literary wonders, new writers and a host of exciting activities. Events are scheduled to take place from 18-22 January 2012, like last year, but with more new additions to cover all aspects of literary work, while remaining ‘intimate’ to give audiences an opportunity to engage more closely with writers, more..

Kulasekara, Prasad added to SL squad

Dec 17 (CI) Sri Lanka have called up fast bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Dhammika Prasad to their Test squad for the remaining two matches against South Africa. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan confirmed that the the pair will fly in to South Africa in "a couple of days" after competing in the knockout stages of the domestic tournament at home. After being beaten by an innings and 81 runs in Centurion, Sri Lanka are searching for ways to come back into the series and more..

Ruling members question Priyani in UNP WC

Dec 17 (SM) Ruling members today raised former secretary general of parliament Priyani Wijesekara being appointed to the working committee of the UNP. A.H.M. Azwer she cannot hold office in a political party, since she still holds the chair of the parliamentary scholarship fund. Describing the fund in question as a white elephant, deputy speaker Chandima Weerakkody said the speaker was considering the matter. Chief government whip Dinesh Gunawardena noted more..

MP Ajith Kumara’s vehicle stoned in Jaffna

Dec 17 (SM) The vehicle carrying MP Ajith Kumara has been attacked in Jaffna town. Stones were hurled at the vehicle by a group of thugs. Mr. Kumara was on his way back after taking part in a protest organized by the Movement for People’s Struggle. He is the national organizer of the movement. A top official of MFPS told ‘Srilankamirror’ said the attackers were aided by the police and the military. Arumugam Weeraraju, the father of missing MFPS activist more..

Fonseka does not oppose request for presidential pardon

Dec 17 (SM) Imprisoned former Army chief Sarath Fonseka will not oppose if there is a request for a presidential pardon for him, UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake said. The ex-commander has told Mr. Attanayake, however, that neither he nor anyone in his family would make such a request. The UNP general secretary was speaking to the media after visiting Mr. Fonseka at Welikada Prison. more..

Editorial: Consider advantages of plastic crates

Dec 18 (SO) The Government's decision to transport fruits and vegetables in plastic crates ran into mischief in several parts of the country. Certain Opposition parties which failed to create unrest in the country, literally went to town and played an active role in the demonstrations in key areas. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's timely intervention helped find an amicable solution to overcome an artificial scarcity of vegetables and fruits during the festive season. more..

Editorial: Ranil stands on a burning deck

Dec 18 (SL) The Mahanayakes have spoken. The four supreme prelates are concerned with the state of the nation. Their thought-process clearly shows that the country is sliding down a precipice and the cause for it is not the govt by itself. Caution was thrown to the winds when the prelates in unison identified the opposition as the main cause for the present state of events in this country. And they placed the blame for this deterioration (of a nation spiralling down more..

'Fisheries sector to the fore in fighting malnutrition'

Dec 18 (SO) Minister Rajitha Senaratne spoke out his mind on prospects of realising President Mahinda Rajapaksa's vision of transforming Sri Lanka as the wonder nation of Asia, the targets of his Ministry towards that goal, the achievements so far, the significant role that the fisheries sector could play towards eliminating malnutrition in the country, the cross-border fishing issues, the problems faced by the Northern fishermen more..

Editorial: Now implement recommendations

Dec 18 (NS) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a Commission to obtain through representations and discussion the lessons learnt from the decades-long conflict, the act was pooh-poohed by his detractors as an exercise in foot-dragging. Some said he was buckling down to pressure from powerful players in the international community. The LLRC has released its report and the President has tabled it in Parliament. The members of the commission need to be commended for more..

Editorial: LLRC – near enough, or not?

Dec 18 (LB) The LLRC report released in parliament this week probably sets a record as a document which was mercilessly attacked before it saw proper light of day — without anybody really having seen so much as one single letter or word of its content. Those who aimed broadsides at it probably wanted the document stillborn. They wanted it aborted, cut down on arrival. They appeared to be succeeding — to the extent that the Minister of External Affairs was virtually down more..

LLRC report out what next?

Dec 18 (NS) The LLRC report presented to the Parliament on last Friday envisaged with 285 main recommendations including allegations for both the major political parties of the country and Tamil political leaders. It has also called for a joint declaration of apology from political leaders of all sides to the country’s citizens who have suffered as a result of the 30 year long conflict. The Commission further recommends that a separate event be more..

Southern Expressway, economic costs and plight of affected people

Dec 18 (TC) Two things have escaped the general discussion on the highway. The first is the cost and the debt repayment over the next 20-30 years that, given the considerable cost overruns of 100 percent, the delays in getting the highway completed and subsequent maintenance costs, will continue over the years. The return on the tolls seemed to be encouraging initially and it is hoped that this revenue stream will continue to cushion some of the expenditure that more..

West gets cooked goose for Christmas!

Dec 18 (Island) It was an eventful week with the LLRC’s report being presented to Parliament on Friday and the Court of Appeal pronouncing its verdict with regard to the jailed Sarath Fonseka’s appeal against the sentence of the court martial in the Hycorp case on the same day. In addition to that, Karu Jayasuriya’s bid for the UNP leadership also comes to a head today as the UNP working committee meets. But first let us look at this unedifying and highly tragic spectacle of a war hero more..

Ananda College: Liberal Arts tradition of knowledge and humanism

Dec 18 (DBS) Dr.Sudharshan Seneviratne, Professor of Archaeology at Peradeniya university needs no introduction as a respected archaeologist-scholar. He is an old student of Ananda College, Colombo and delivered a speech titled “Celebrating the sacred space of wisdom and humanism: Revering Anandamatha” on Dec 8th 2011 on the occasion of the venerated Institutions 125th anniversary. more..

Editorial: Egg on Johnny boy’s face

Dec 18 (Island) The government, at least temporarily, has retreated from the crate war with plenty of egg on its face with Minister Johnston Fernando insisting that the issue is not closed – only postponed. But it is unlikely that he will emerge from his corner the next time round wildly swinging both fists. Hopefully he has learned a lesson. As usual, the people have had to foot the bill, paying a lot more for their vegetables, if they were able to get any. more..

Editorial: Heed LLRC's call to save Rule of Law

Dec 18 (ST) The long-awaited report of the LLRC has now been placed in the public domain through Parliament, with the Leader of the House doing the honours. The Commission was not something the Govt had in mind in the flush of its military victory over the LTTE in May 2009. Pressure from Western powers which could not prevent the liquidation of the LTTE at the time, however, succeeded in arm-twisting the Govt to include the appointment of such a Commission as part of its post-conflict agenda. more..

'Can't predict crossovers, but I will remain in UNP'

Dec 18 (SO) UNP spokesman Gayantha Karunatilake said it was time for UNP MPs to emulate President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was patient till the right time came and ended up being Head of State, without crossing over to various political parties to gain petty political objectives. Explaining the present situation of the party which is facing a crisis over party leadership, he said politicians who don’t have patience would destroy party unity “ more..

5th column: Howzaat for the sport that binds

Dec 18 (ST) My Dear Chamal, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had organised a cricket match for our politicians, to be played between ministers and MPs for a trophy named in your honour. And we all saw the match on television. I must say it provided us with some real entertainment indeed! Anyway, Chamal, it is probably quite appropriate to stage a cricket match involving ministers, because most people now seem to think that it is these same ministers who more..

Bid to intimidate SLMC into submission

Dec 18 (NS) The rumblings of dissent that have erupted over the setting up of a privately run medical school in Malabe are threatening to snowball into a crisis with political dimensions, with the government recently sending clear signals that it will not back down from its policies on higher education. At the centre of the dispute is the medical faculty opened by the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) in Malabe. This institution was granted more..

Delving deeper into Dilshan debacle

Dec 18 (ST) In the pre-2011 Cricket World Cup era, both Australia and Sri Lanka were the top of the pops in the cricket rankings and also were two of the sides to beat. Their winning percentages were high and the teams were clicking like clock work in all three departments of the game. Yet the great uncertainties that apply to everything in the universe have come in as a reality to both teams. The Australian cricket team which maintained a few niches above the more..

LLRC, Ranil and veggies, not necessarily in that order

Dec 18 (LB) Though by far the most momentous political development of the week was the release of the LLRC report in Parliament, it was in character with the Sri Lankan style of politics as usual — that it was the vegetable crates issue that hogged the spotlight! In order of importance, of course, the fact that the LLRC report saw the light of day with over 250 recommendations was a watershed event for the government, which had earlier been accused of stalling on the issue. more..

Ranil and Karu poised for final battle

Dec 18 (NS) The internal crisis in country’s main opposition, the UNP has reached boiling point and the party’s Working Committee meets today at the Sirikotha to elect the party leader for the next year. Candidates to other key positions in the party hierarchy will also be elected at this important meeting. Election of office bearers by a secret ballot will become necessary in instances where two or more candidates are vying for the same position. Co-deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya had more..

Cricketers get half pay, staff none

Dec 18 (SL) Eight months on from the conclusion of the Cricket World Cup, Sri Lanka’s cricketers have received fifty percent of their due salaries. However, staff members of the cricket board are still awaiting their salaries. Ajith Jayasekara, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket, told The Sunday Leader that the cricketers had received ‘nearly 50 percent of their due amount prior to the start of the first test against South Africa on Thursday’. He added that more..

Psychiatrists and health ministry create awareness on mental health

Dec 18 (Island) The Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists and the Ministry of Health is launching an extensive public media campaign to raise awareness on facts about mental health here having revamped the country’s mental health policy to make expert medical care for those suffering from mental health accessible island-wide. "Mental illness is curable and expert care is easily available," the College of Psychaitrists said in a news release. They expect the awareness more..

Govt.’s call for responsible media culture falls on deaf ears

Dec 18 (ST) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella spoke some home truths in Parliament last week during the committee stage debate of his Ministry. He said the Opposition should support Govt moves to build a responsible media culture in the country from what exists at present, because the day the Opposition comes to power, it would also serve them well. While there were no takers for the Minister’s suggestion to support the Govt on forging a “responsible media culture”, part of the more..

Tiran in ongoing talks to release Fonseka

Dec 18 (LB) Our sources say that Tiran Alles, businessman turned news magnate, and DNF MP has been discussing for the last two months with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to secure the release of Sarath Fonseka on a presidential pardon. The discussions have been ongoing, and in fact there were talks to this end yesterday as well. Reliable sources say that the talks are with the consent of Fonseka, but we have no confirmation on that aspect.

Something is wrong somewhere among the successful

Dec 18 (Island) A man of repute inquired from his nephew, a CEO of one of the most prestigious international companies, to name a few successful people of his generation for a project with a charitable disposition where there will be no worthwhile return except the feeling of satisfaction. Few days later the enterprising young man in his forties returned without a name in mind. His comments were more disturbing -"Mama, you may still find a few from your generation but not from mine. more..

Consulate provides lifeline to stranded Lankan sailors

Dec 18 (AN) The Sri Lankan mission in Jeddah stepped in to supply food for 34 stranded crewmembers on a cargo vessel anchored outside Jeddah seaport. The cargo vessel, MV Lanka Mahapola, which has come from Sudan with 33 Sri Lankan sailors and one Irish engineer aboard and anchored five kilometers away from the Jeddah harbor, has been sending SOS signals to its local agents in Colombo saying its food supplies had run out since Dec. 6. On receiving the SOS call from more..

TNA seeks release of handicapped LTTE cadres

Dec 18 (Island) The TNA has sought Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem’s intervention to secure the release of 30 physically handicapped LTTE cadres now held at Welikada and Anuradhapura prisons. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran made the request on behalf of the TNA during a meeting with an SLMC delegation headed by Minister Hakeem last Thursday at the TNA office in the parliamentary complex. Political sources said that the TNA had pushed the Justice Minister over more..

State institutions owe over 1 billion to CMC

Dec 18 (SL) Govt institutions in Colombo owe over one billion Rupees in taxes to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Colombo Mayor A.J.M Muzammil told The Sunday Leader. The Mayor said that among the government institutions are Ministries, authorities, companies and corporations which operate under the govt. He said that the treasury has now been told to pay the CMC nearly Rs. 1.5 billion as taxes which the govt institutions had failed to pay over a period of time. more..

Gemunu alleges secret deal

Dec 18 (SL) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) claims some private bus operators have struck a secret deal with the government resulting in their opposition to the proposed strike by the LPBOA over a bus fare hike. LPBOA president Gemunu Wijeyratne said that the secret deal includes some private bus operators being given new route permits by the Ministry of Private Transport services violating existing procedures. “I have all the evidence regarding this deal,” more..

US GSP probe resumes in Jan.

Dec 18 (ST) Hearing in a public petition filed by an umbrella of US labour unions challenging the Sri Lankan govt’s failure to allow unions within the export processing zones and outside, resumes in Washington next month, officials said. The petition filed by AFL-CIO urges the US govt to stop GSP benefits to Sri Lanka unless the situation improves as per freedom of association, collective bargaining and acceptable conditions of work. more..

Manner of defeat more concerning for Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (CI) Would you have any motivation if the company you worked for was in a corporate governance tangle messier than Lasith Malinga's hair? If that company had not had elections in the last seven years and had run by a series of committees who changed more frequently than the number of teams in the IPL and with far greater impact? And most importantly, if you had not been paid in nine months? Sri Lanka's cricketers have managed to keep going, albeit it more..

Is the Sheraton coming to Sri Lanka?

Dec 18 (ST) While the Sri Lankan govt has announced that a Sheraton hotel is coming up in Colombo, the India-based ITC Group – with whom the government is negotiating with – is yet to confirm the plan. "Whilst we have expressed interest in building a premium green ITC Hotel in Sri Lanka, we are unable to offer any comments at the moment, until we receive a formal intimation," a spokesperson for ITC Hotels, part of the ITC Group, told the Business Times in an email communication. more..

Thilanga says accusations against Arjuna, Aravinda were always there

Dec 18 (ST) Three political figures – a former captain, a former sports minister and a former president of SLC – were in the middle of a dispute during a parliamentary session last Wednesday while the budget of the Ministry of Sports was being heard. The argument heated up when former Minister of Sports, Gamini Lokuge accused former Test skipper turned politician, Arjuna Ranatunga of match fixing charges which the latter vehemently denied. more..