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‘IL Heroes’ commemorated in the UK

Dec 2 (LT) The UK Committee of the JVP organized two celebrations in Birmingham and London to commemorate the founder of the JVP Rohana Wijeweera and other members of the party who sacrificed their lives on behalf of the Motherland. The solemn ceremonies were held on 26th November at Vale farm sports center in London and on the 27th at Ladywood arts and leisure centre in Birmingham. An exclusive feature of the ceremonies was exhibitions of photographs depicting the history of more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.9-pct

Dec 2 (LBO) Stocks closed lower Friday, losing most of Thursday's gains with some profit-taking seen. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.94 percent to 6,087.86, while the Milanka index fell 1.08 percent to close at 5,246.58, according to provisional stock exchange figures. Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees. Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 1.70 rupees to close at 168.20 rupees, after hitting 174.50 during the day, with 214,100 shares traded. more..

First hearing for Missionary of Charity charged with 'selling children' postponed

Dec 2 (AN) The first hearing in the case of Sister Eliza, Missionary of Charity accused of "selling children" from her hostel for single mothers (Prem Nives, pictured), has been postponed to 15 December. Scheduled for today, the judge accepted the police request to allow time to conduct further investigations. Responding to figures close to the religious who condemned "unclear" newspaper reports, the judge stated that "the media should work with responsibility." more..

Bobby Roberts' Circus owners face 'elephant abuse' trial

Dec 2 (BBC) The owners of a circus elephant which was filmed apparently being beaten by a keeper are to go on trial charged with causing her unnecessary suffering. Corby Magistrates' Court said Bobby and Moira Roberts, of Brook Farm, Oundle, Northamptonshire, would stand trial on 18 June next year. Their solicitor John Whiston indicated the couple would plead not guilty. They are accused of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to restrain an employee at their more..

Indian arrested with Cardamom, Tobacco and Hashish

Dec 2 (DM) An Indian air passenger who attempted to smuggle Cardamom, Hashish and Tobacco into Sri Lanka was taken into custody this morning at the Bandaranaike International Airport by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). He had 51 kilogrammes of Cardamom, 10 kilogrammes of Tobacco and 150 packets containing Hashish in his possession at the time of the arrest, police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said. The value of the seized items is yet to be established. more..

WikiLeaks: Mahinda Rajapaksa is “not so bad” – Mangala to US

Dec 2 (CT) “Samaraweera had no faith in the Rajapaksas to address meaningfully the questions of national reconciliation and accountability, despite their great importance for the health and future of Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapaksa was ‘not so bad,’ but his family (that is, brothers Gorabhaya and Basil) had made him a prisoner of the worst racist and chauvinist elements in society.” the US Embassy Colombo Informed Washington. more..

EPF Funds invested even in Private Banks

Dec 2 (HN) Today is the 2nd Day of the Committee State Debate of the 3rd Reading of the Appropriation Bill for the 2012 Budget. The Budget allocations for the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and religious Affairs and the Ministry of Ports and Highways is scheduled to be taken up for debate. The Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena stated today in Parliament that the EPF Funds have been invested even in a number of private banks. more..

Sri Lanka tea demand perks up after devaluation

Dec 2 (LBO) Demand for Sri Lanka's low grown teas, which make up the bulk of the crop, perked up at this week's Colombo auctions after increased orders from key overseas buyers and the snap devaluation of the rupee, brokers said. And despite a lower crop compared with last year, brokers said export earnings in 2011 were likely to exceed that of 2010. "There was good demand at firm to dearer rates," Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said, attributing the rise to more winter buying, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 02.12.2011

Govt. bans ‘Maaveer Day’ events

Dec 2 (DM) The govt has banned any form of publicity, celebrations, functions or events connected to the LTTE, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today. He said Sri Lanka would also through diplomatic channels request other countries to follow suit. With regard to the incident at the Anuradhapura prison last week, the minister said according to a confidential report, if the Anuradhapura Prison’s Superintendent had not taken timely action and prevented the LTTE more..

Police ordered to arrest PNB officers

Dec 2 (DM) The police were today ordered to arrest the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) officials in connection with the death of a 30-year-old man who had visited the PNB office on October 30 to sign the case book. When the inquiry into the death of Mohammed Sathak Mohammed Fahim of Maligawatta was taken up by Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne, she observed that the Court was not satisfied with the investigations carried out so far by the Fort police in tracing the suspects. more..

Cabinet nod for repair of 49,000 houses in Sri Lanka

Dec 2 (Hindu) The Union Cabinet has given its nod for reconstruction and repair of 49,000 houses for IDPs in Northern and Eastern Provinces and for Indian Origin Tamils (IOTs) in Sri Lanka. For this purpose, the Centre would provide a grant assistance of Rs 1, 319 crore. The project will benefit 49,000 IDPs and Indian origin Tamils in Sri Lanka. Under this project, 38,000 houses would be reconstructed under the owner-driven model for IDPs. more..

Card Ranjith: read, study, pray, live, celebrate and share the Word of God

Dec 2 (AD) “For us disciples of Christ, the Holy Eucharist and the Word of God are the highest gifts. They confirm us in his love and are the visible and audible expression of that love,” said Card Malcolm Ranjith, metropolitan archbishop of Colombo when he announced the Year of the Word of God in front of Episcopal vicars, priests, nuns, seminarians and faithful from different parishes. Opened on the first day of Advent (27 Nov), the year will end on 10 October 2012. more..

Presidential pardon reversed for daughter-rapist

Dec 2 (SM) The president has reversed a decision about to be implemented to grant a pardon for a man convicted of raping his own daughters, aged two and four years. Justice ministry secretary Suhada Gamlath and a prisons commissioner Asoka Hapuarachchi have informed the newspaper about the new decision, taken to prevent any public uproar. Yesterday morning, when 'Ravaya' had inquired from Mr. Gamlath, he had confirmed the accuracy of the pardon to be given, more..

'Lack of help' killed fishermen in storm

Dec 2 (BBC) Fishermen in the southern coast in Sri Lanka have accused the government of failing to take action to save their lives when a tropical storm hit several districts, last week. JP Nishantha, a fisherman in Mirissa who has managed to swim through the tropical waves to safety, said that many lives could have been saved if the authorities sent rescue helicopters. "Even the navy and the coastguard that arrived in the scene were afraid of more..

Mohan Lal Grero to monitor education sector

Dec 2 (HN) Colombo District UNP MP Mohan Lal Grero who recently crossed over to the Government was appointed as the monitoring MP of the Education Ministry. The relevant letter was handed over to him today at Temple Trees by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MP Mohan Lal Grero voted in favour of the 2nd reading of the budget for the year 2012 and eventually crossed over to the government. An educationist, Mr. Grero is a well-known physics teacher.

Oil leak from private pipeline

Dec 2 (SM) The pipeline from which an oil leak is occurring belongs to a private company, said the Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd at Kolonnawa. The pipeline runs from Colombo port across Bloemendhal area to the Kolonnawa oil refinery. The Terminals Ltd. says it will determine whether the private pipeline in question, from which diesel is leaking, belongs to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The Petroleum Ministry said in a statement that the Terminals Ltd. Chairman and more..

SL ranked 86th by TI's CPI

Dec 2 (DM) Sri Lanka has bettered its position in Transparency International’s global annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) earning the 86th position out of 183 countries for 2011. Sri Lanka has registered a score of 3.3 points, with “0” denoting that a country is perceived as highly corrupt, and “10” denoting that a country is perceived as very clean. In 2010, Sri Lanka was ranked at 91 out of 178 countries with 3.2 points. more..

'Employees of Oluvil harbour idle without work'

Dec 2 (DM) Hundreds of employees attached to the Oluvil harbour in the east idle today without any productive work to do, and it is one reason for heavy losses being incurred by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the UNP said in Parliament today. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, speaking during the debate on the committee stage of the Ports Development Ministry, noted that that these employees now use their three-wheelers for hire during duty hours. more..

A protest by Employees of Engineering Corporation

Dec 2 (LT) A protest march and a ‘Sathyagraha’ were held by employees of the State Engineering Corporation of Sri Lanka yesterday (1st) to protest against the arbitrary administration carried out by political henchmen and certain authorities in the Corporation. The employees say the subject minister and the management had been apprised on numerous occasions regarding various injustices meted out to the employees by these political henchmen and authorities. more..

Sri Lankan Huyton shop murder may have been racially motivated, says shop owner

Dec 2 (LE) A Sri Lankan shop worker at Stanley News and Wine may have been the victim of a racially motivated killing, his employer feared today. The 30-year-old dad of two, who has children aged 3 and 6, was stabbed in the neck as he manned Stanley News and Wine in Kingsway, Huyton on Tuesday night. While detectives said they were keeping an open mind as to the motive for the attack shop owner Gunapale Welhengama, 63, said he believed it was race-related. more..

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: N is for na tree and nil manel

Dec 3 (GV) The national tree and the national flower were both in the news this year. In August the uprooting of the Indian willows lining Independence Avenue to be replaced by indigenous na trees as part of Colombo’s beautification programme provoked angry reactions, as reported on Groundviews here. The na tree (English name: ironwood; botanical name: mesua ferrea) is the national tree of Sri Lanka. It is a tall tree known for its pink (young) leaves and fragrant white flowers, more..

The Incomplete Thombu: A compelling interlace of architecture, drawing, memory and art

Dec 3 (GV) Put simply, The Incomplete Thombu by Sri Lankan Tamil artist T. Shanaathanan is, for us, one of 2011Œs most compelling publications. It is art, but in the form of a book that deftly entwines it with architecture, drawing, the memory of loss and an eerily compelling exploration of what makes a home, a home by those who have left it behind, or lost it to the war. Short excerpts in the book by those who have lost their home are always poignant, more..

Sri Lankan govt does not want 'Interference' by Organizations like Amnesty or Countries like Canada

Dec 3 (TC) Testimony by Amnesty International before Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee on Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka. Good afternoon, everyone. It is November 17, 2011 today and this is the eighth meeting of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. We are currently studying the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Restoring Shelter

Dec 3 (GV) The World Meteorological Organization, part of the United Nations, have just stated that the warmest 13 years of average global temperatures have all occurred in the 15 years since 1997. That has contributed to extreme weather conditions that increase the intensity of droughts and heavy precipitation across the world, it said. “Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities,” WMO Deputy Secretary-General more..

Editorial: Worshiping foreign gods

Dec 3 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is one of the politicians who apparently lack the wisdom of hindsight. He continues to grovel before the western powers no end. An anglophile to the core, he has recently demanded to know why Sri Lanka opposed a move by a section of the Commonwealth to appoint a commissioner for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The govt is, he says, averse to the setting up of such an institution as it does not want its more..

Needed: A Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal our nation

Dec 3 (Island) At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Britain set up a War Propaganda Bureau to promote the govt’s war effort. All the leading writers (George Bernard Shaw being a notable exception) and major newspaper owners/editors were invited and all agreed to support the war propaganda. Hundreds of pamphlets were produced, under the signed authorship of different writers, encouraging young men to enlist and more..

Promoting ‘liberal values’ or superimposing an ideology?

Dec 3 (DM) The attempts to enforce moral philosophies, beliefs and standards by some groups in the West, upon the world’s poorest countries, under the package of ‘universal values’, by using aid as a tool contradict the very notion of democracy that the West purports to uphold. To do so at a price –in cutting off aid – is also absolutely immoral. Such moves are not about promoting liberal values or broader democratic norms but are attempts to market an ‘ideology’, more..

A peep into the lives of the Royal Javanese Exiles in Colombo

Dec 3 (Island) Amongst the kings of the Dutch East Indies, who were exiled to Ceylon in 1767 was Sultan Fakhrudin Abdul Khair the 26th Sultan of Gowa a kingdom in Sulawesi. He died in exile in.1795. A letter written by his queen Sitti Happipa to the Governor General and Raad van Indie dated 3 January 1807 and received at Batavia 29 May 1807 [Cod Or 2241-1 25 [Ket 21/No526] is in the bibliotheca collection of the University of Lieden, Holland. more..

Saving our whales as well as watching our whales

Dec 3 (ST) Our eyes are fixed on the far horizon. The sun’s rays illuminate the seascape. ‘Whale.. Blue Whale!’ a cry is let out from the boat. All eyes turn to the person who made the call and then follow his finger towards the distance. Suddenly the magnificent creature surfaces. The sight itself is overwhelming. The Blue Whale, the largest animal on earth shows itself for just about minute, before disappearing into the depths of the sea. more..

‘The victims were there and they were asking for my help’

Dec 3 (ST) When she was a medical student at the University of Colombo, no one spoke of child abuse. “It was simply not a problem that people had recognized,” says the newly inducted President of the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, Dr. Asvini Fernando. Now things have changed to such an extent that she has chosen to put forward child protection as her main area of focus in the year ahead. It was during a period of seven years during which Dr. Asvini worked and more..

Memories of the man with the mighty pen

Dec 3 (ST) His pen might as well have been a scalpel. With a few well chosen words, D.B. Dhanapala could slice past pretence and posturing to lay his subject bare before you. He chose to write about prominent Sri Lankans who had been scholars, journalists, healers,artists and diplomats, but politicians were perhaps his favourite fodder of all. So it is that he describes Arunachalam Mahadeva, one time Minister of Home Affairs, as both a “well-bred gentleman” and a “tragedy in a turban.” more..

Dignity of temples of justice needs to be restored

Dec 3 (NS) The tribulations afflicting the country’s judiciary today should receive the serious attention of all citizens of this country irrespective of their political party or other affiliations or personal prejudices. The judiciary in any country is regarded as the final bulwark that defends and protects citizens against any invasions and inroads made into their rights and freedoms. It is incumbent, therefore, on all sections of people to unite more..

Fake charity from “Tigress” author

Dec 3 (SL) Last week, ‘Tamil Tigress’ authoress Niromi de Soyza was featured in these pages. De Soyza claimed that she was one of the first female LTTE cadres in her book, which was released earlier this year. Soyza claimed at a literary event that proceeds from her book were going to the “SJC87 Initiative” a charity that provided scholarships to war-affected children in the North and East. Her Facebook page also noted that 15% of “Tamil Tigress” sale proceeds were more..

Towards a national media policy

Dec 3 (DN) Over the last few years, there has been a whole series of tentative initiatives at establishing guidelines to provide, if possible, a sense of direction to the practice of media in this country. In most instances these efforts have proved ad hoc exercises, prompted by an urge to cope with a development or developments, in the current media scene. Though these tended to be temporary palliatives, there has not been any substantial, co-ordinated or more..

'Double Per Capita income by 2016'

Dec 3 (Island) Central Bank Governor Ajit Nivaard Cabraal yesterday called upon the Registered Finance Companies to increase their non banking assets from Rs. 450 billion to Rs. 1 trillion, which, he said, will help Sri Lanka double its per capita income. The Governor made these remarks, while addressing the Central Bank Directors’ Symposium for Non Banking Financial Institutions under the theme: "Repositioning the non banking sector for more..

International recognition for Dr. Ajith Perera

Dec 3 (DN) A humanitarian award - a framed accolade of excellence - was presented to Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera by the OIUCM at its 49th World Congress held last week at BMICH in Colombo. This honour was conferred in recognition of the invaluable contribution and excellence of Dr. Ajith Perera’s work- with unreserved commitment and competence in fostering the ideals of humanitarianism in the promotion of accessibility to the built environment enhancing social inclusion for all. more..

Illegal power tappers taken to task

Dec 3 (DN) CEB Special Investigation Unit officials collected over Rs. 23.67 million as fines from illegal power tappers during operations carried out throughout the Jaffna district within four days. The raids were carried out on Nov 25,26,27 and 28. The fines were made up of Rs 1.26 million as court fines and Rs. 22.41 million as compensation totalling Rs.23.67 million. Around 126 incidents were manipulations of electricity meters and other incidents were illegal connections. more..

TUC-SIGPS salary demands: For private sector: Minimum salary Rs. 12,000

Dec 3 (Island) The Trade Union Committee for Salary Increments in Govt and Private Sectors (TUC-SIGPS) warned that they would resort to trade union action if the Govt did not take steps to increase the salaries of employees in both sectors following the 2012 budget proposals. Convener for TUC-SIGPS, Ravi Kumudesh said on Wednesday said that the 42 member trade union committee from the govt and private sector had been formed to pressure the govt more..

Rs. 330 million to improve estate areas infrastructural facilities

Dec 3 (Island) The Ministry of Economic Development has allocated Rs. 330 million to uplift the infrastructure facilities of the estates in the Nuwara Eliya district under the Gama Neguma programme an official from the District Secretariat said. "The funds have been allocated in mid November and the officials are drawing up plans to effectively utilize it," Additional District Secretary, Mrs. Mallika Amarasekara said. She said the District Secretariat had sought opinions of the MPs more..