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Sri Lanka stocks close down

Dec 29 (LBO) Stocks closed lower Thursday after four days of gains with more deals in a bank dominating turnover that remained at relatively low levels, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index eased 0.07 percent to 6,089.38, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.19 percent to 5,262.76. Turnover was 680 million rupees. Commercial Bank transactions once again dominated turnover with three crossings or off-market private deals of a million shares all at 100 rupees each. more..

President visits and inspects the Kandy City and the Lake

Dec 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Kandy yesterday and inspected Kandy Lake and the city. During this visit the President enlightened the Mahanayakes' of the Malwathu and Asgiriya Chapters on the Kandy city development plan. The President told the Mahanayakes' that he has instructed Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva to clean and renovate the Kandy Lake and a team led by the Minister will investigate about it on Thursday. more..

Trial into suicide attack on USS Cole likely to establish Tiger paw marks

Dec 29 (Island) Now that the US has decided to try a key Al Qaeda operative, suspected of employing Sea Tiger tactics in a spectacular suicide mission targeting USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000, the LTTE’s influence in grooming international terrorism is likely to transpire during the upcoming hearing. The state-of-the-art Destroyer was rammed by a small craft laden with explosives, which blew a 40 foot hole in the side of the guided missile ship. more..

Race Course goes the Dutch Hospital way

Dec 29 (DM) The Race Course Grounds at Reid Avenue would be converted into a Dutch Hospital- style Development Project with restaurants, shopping centres and other places for sports and leisure, The UDA said yesterday. The project was a concept designed and supervised by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The rugby sports grounds, the mini stand and grand stand at the Race Course Grounds, as well as the buildings in the area would remain. more..

Police instructed to catch and prosecute belching vehicles

Dec 29 (Island) Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa earlier this week instructed officials to combat air pollution as many cities are highly polluted by belching vehicles. The Central Environment Authority has strongly recommended the steps needed to be taken to minimize vehicles that are not fit for the roads. Officials said that with the rapid development in the country, air standards are of great importance and more..

Sri Lanka keen to develop ties with China, India

Dec 29 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's ruling party insists that its cooperation with China should not be seen by India as a threat to the South Asian region. A member of the UPFA and former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that the island nation has a special relationship with China similar to the ties it has with India. Over the past few years India had expressed concerns of China's growing presence in Sri Lanka after more..

Construction of Kandy expressway to commence next year

Dec 29 (PRIU) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has informed the chief incumbents of the Buddhist Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters of Siyam sector as he paid a courtesy call yesterday that the construction work of the Colombo-Kandy expressway would begin next year. The President had said that the Colombo-Kandy expressway would be constructed via Kurunegala instead of previous plans of constructing it via Rambukkana. more..

Mahela to take back the reins?

Dec 29 (DM) The end is nigh for Tillekaratne Dilshan as Sri Lanka’s cricket captain and a new captain, most likely Mahela Jayawardene would be appointed after the South African tour, sources told “Daily Mirror”. Dilshan who was appointed initially on a probationary basis till the end of the South African tour has failed to deliver so far as Sri Lanka suffered a string of defeats has himself been disgusted with the team failures and has decided to voluntarily step down, sources added. more..

'Ragging would be stopped in all Universities'

Dec 29 (Island) Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake lashed out at some sections of the university teachers who condemned the suspension of the Peradeniya University’s Students’ Council and Faculty Student Unions recently. An angry minister said that the blame lay especially with the arts faculty teachers’ union which officially issued statements against the suspension. "The university administration had to suspend all student unions in Peradeniya for more..

Private University Act ready soon

Dec 29 (Island) The Ministry of Higher Education plans to present a new bill titled ‘Quality Assurance Accreditation and Qualification Framework Bill’ which is popularly known as ‘Private University Act’ in parliament as soon as possible. Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that the Cabinet of ministers had already approved the draft bill and it would be tabled in the House after it received clearance from the Legal Draftsman’s Department. more..

GCE A/L Fiasco: Crisis intensifies

Dec 29 (DM) The controversy over the GCE A/L results further intensified yesterday with trade unions and others in the education sector urging a total review of the Z-score and Island and District rankings. They said students, parents and unions were not prepared to accept the results that were released on Monday with some unions having complained to the Human Rights Commission and even threatening to take the matter to seek for justice. more..

Editorial: Sovereignty not a privilege but a responsibility

Dec 29 (DM) While the govt appears to be enjoying absolute power and has widespread support among the people it goes into 2012 facing a major international crisis over accountability issues relating to the final months of the war against the LTTE. Powerful western countries, India and international human rights groups have waited or were told to wait for the report of the LLRC which among other issues looked into allegations of human rights violations and war crimes both by more..

Two Lankans remanded in connection with attempted murder in Cyprus

Dec 29 (CM) limassol District Court issued an eight day remand yesterday for two Sri Lankan suspects aged 25 and 38, in connection with the attempted murder of a 32-year-old compatriot on December 17 in Limassol. The victim was attacked and brutally beaten at a petrol station and is still unconscious at Nicosia General Hospital. The two suspects are being held in connection with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit robbery among other offences. more..

Sri Lanka India fishing dispute talks in Jan

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka and India will hold talks on resolving a fishing dispute which escalated after the end of a 30-year war, when a joint working group meets in January. Fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said Sri Lanka will hold talks with an Indian delegation made up of state and central govt officials on January 13 and 14 in the second such round of discussions. India's foreign, fisheries and defence ministries and navy will be in the delegation, more..

CPC awarded $ 2.5 million dollars for legal fees

Dec 29 (CT) The Singapore Arbitration Board awarded a sum of 2.5 million dollars to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) today as an award for legal fees incurred during the arbitration process of the hedging deal, CPC officials said. The Citi Bank and the CPC underwent arbitration proceeding in Singapore regarding the hedging deal after which a sum of approximately Rs. 287,500,000 was awarded to the CPC for legal fees incurred due to the arbitration process. more..

Action against dengue beginning to pay off

Dec 29 (IRIN) Sri Lanka is making progress in the battle against mosquito-borne dengue fever, say health officials. “Over the last two years we have gone all out to stop the spread of dengue,” Pabha Palihawadana, head of the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit, told IRIN. “Now we are seeing some of the results.” In 2011, 26,722 cases were reported - down from 34,105 cases in 2010 - the Health Ministry reported. The number of deaths dropped from 246 to 172. more..

WikiLeaks: US Embassy clueless about Fonseka’s sis-in-law’s bucks

Dec 29 (CT) “CID Chief Inspector Mohan Siriwardena reportedly told court officials involved in the case that he was seeking assistance from Interpol to investigate Tillakaratne’s U.S. bank account.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written by the Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis. Ambassador wrote “Tillakaratne’s mother, Asoka Tillakaratne, was questioned by CID personnel on more..

A/L exams lost its credibility: FUTA

Dec 29 (CT) The 2011 A/L results fiasco has violated the credibility and high standards maintained during the exam throughout the years, university academics said expressing their grave concern over the controversy. Expressing their concern over the complications and errors reported concerning the A/L results, FUTA President Dr. Ranjith Nirmal Dewasiri said the flaws have not only deteriorated the standards and confidence in the A/L exam but concerning the total examination system in the country. more..

Island rankings at 2011 GCE A/Ls

Dec 29 (DM) The following students were ranked first second and third in the island rankings in their respective streams at the 2011 GCE A/L Exam: Bio-science: Pramith Shashinda Ruwanoathirana of Royal College, Colombo, Anandarajah Sanjayan of St. John’s College, Jaffna and Mohamed Saleem Fathima Shalidha of Fathima Muslim Ladies College Colombo. Mathematics: Kamalakkannan Kamalavasan of J/Uduppidy American Mission College, Valvettithurai, Nushen Manithya Seneviratna of Royal College, more..

Over 50 % to apply for re-correction

Dec 29 (DM) Out of some 300,000 students who sat the A/L exam in August, more than 150,000 may apply for re-correction as they had lost confidence in the results, which were released on Monday, because of the serious blunders by the Examinations Department, the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) said yesterday. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin said teachers and parents had asked the students to apply for re-correction as they believed that it more..

Sri Lanka renewable energy use grows

Dec 29 (LBO) Non-conventional renewable energy use has grown sharply this year, accounting for the fastest growth among the different sources of energy in the island. Non-conventional renewable energy generation rose 56.8 percent or by 40.9 Gwh to 112.9 Gwh in January - October 2011 from 72 Gwh in the same period the year before. Total electricity generation rose 7.6 percent or 680 Gwh to 9,582 Gwh during the period with thermal energy showing the second biggest rise more..

Dayasiri ready to face inquiry

Dec 29 (CT) UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera, asserted that he has not been informed about any disciplinary inquiry by the UNP against him and that he is ready to face any such inquiries. Speaking to Ceylon Today, Jayasekara noted that if the Party is to hold an inquiry against him he is ready to face it. He said that he does not fear any disciplinary inquiry and that he is ready to reveal who instigated violence at UNP headquarters, ‘Sirikotha’. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 29.12.2011

Four Narahenpita police personnel remanded

Dec 29 (DM) The Colombo Vacation Court Magistrate has remanded four police personnel attached to the Narahenpita Police on charges of having forcibly obtained Rs.1,030 from an aviation engineering student and sexually harassing a girl who was with him at the Narahenpita Krimandala Mawatha police checkpoint on Friday night. The arrests were made by the CID on orders from the Colombo Division DIG after the student Shehan Wickremasinghe complained to him that on more..

Solider arrested for killing army officer

Dec 29 (DM) A solider was taken into custody for killing an army officer and injuring another officer by shooting them in Jaffna today. The suspect soldier attached to the 18th Gemunu Watch in Chavakachcheri was taken into custody by the two officers as he was fleeing the camp. The soldier had fled the camp with a weapon last morning. “The company commander along with a team arrested him in an area close to the camp and was then brought back to his post in Chavakachcheri,” more..

'Everyone's passing the ball regarding the A/L fiasco'

Dec 29 (DM) UNP MP Thalatha Athulokarala today said that the govt is not taking responsibility in the recent debacle regarding the A/L results. "Who is responsible for this mess? No one knows because all those in power keep passing the buck on each other, it is the lives of the children these people are playing with. I have been a part of this system and we know what a lot of hard work goes into this exam, it is the one most defining moment in more..

Postal workers warn of strike

Dec 29 (CT) President of the Postal and Telecommunication Officials Union Navaratna Bandara vowed to take trade union action if the Ministry Secretary did not withdraw his decision to suspend the promotions of Assistant Postal Superintendents. Bandara said that the promotions were authorized by the Public Service Commission (PSC), and asserted that the secretary to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication has no power to suspend the promotions authorized by the PSC. more..

Sri Lanka promises impartial probe on tourist killing

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka says investigations are continuing on an attack which left a British tourist killed and his Russian female friend injured with several suspects including a local politician of the ruling party being arrested, officials said. Sri Lanka's deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abeywardene said the island's defence secretary has ordered police to take action against all suspects including the local council chief who was present during the incident. more..

Herath spins Sri Lanka to famous win

Dec 29 (CI) As predicted the Durban Test was a one-sided affair, except that it was the no-hopers from Sri Lanka who were doing the dominating. A year that has gone rapidly downhill for Sri Lanka since their World Cup final appearance in April, including an interminable run of series defeats and a bankrupt board struggling to pay players, ended on the most unexpected of highs as they secured their first Test success in South Africa. more..

Asian Century, New Cold War, Sri Lanka’s foreign policy in the new ‘Super Region’

Dec 30 (DM) The global political terrain is undergoing a massive transformation, most of the transformatory features were witnessed in 2011. There is a definite shift in the Washington doctrine on how the USA perceives the world, influenced by a significant economic crisis at home, decline of Europe, the upheavals in Arab States, shifts in theatres of battles to the more visible rise of China and its repercussions.The term ‘Asian Century’ is now a buzz word in more..

Violence and its moral dilemmas: Fidel according to Dayan Jayathilleka

Dec 30 (GV) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s book, Fidel’s Ethics of Violence: The Moral Dimension of the Political Thought of Fidel Castro, is a significant contribution towards understanding one of the enduring intellectual dilemmas in the theory and practice of politics: the ethics of the use of violence. Dayan’s ambitious project in this book is to offer a comprehensively worked out theory for the ethical use of violence, for both revolutionaries and states, based on the more..

The early Church never celebrated Christmas

Dec 30 (ST) Why didn’t the early Christians celebrate the festival honouring the birth of Jesus Christ? They did not – for the same reason they honoured no other birthday or anniversary. It was strongly felt that the celebrating of any day or date – be they birthdays or anniversaries of an event – was a custom of the pagans. By the word ‘pagans’ they meant irreligious people who still live in the darkness of superstition. more..

UNP - between a rock and a hard place?

Dec 30 (ST) Mrs. Anumaana tends to tune out every time the topic comes up. So astounding are the stories surrounding the incidents that took place at Monday's UNP office-bearers' election, that they make her head spin. Sunil swears that there was a sighting of a 'Man from Mars' on the lawn in front of Siri Kotha, the UNP headquarters - and that a 'strange glow' was seen emanating from somewhere in the building that day. Rumours abound, but the trillion rupee question seems to be more..

Sarath Ambepitiya:The murder of a judge

Dec 30 (SL) This article is in response to some queries that came after an interview with The Sunday Leader on 25th Sept 2011, where this matter was referred to as well as to a comment by Mr. Wijedasa Rajapaksa regarding his representing Potta Naufer. It is tragedy compounded if the death of such a man is perpetuated not for the man and his virtues or for the dreadful circumstances of his death but for an ill conceived controversy on the ethicality of representation by more..

Cyber criminals on the rampage...

Dec 30 (SO) We shall call her Neetha. In her mid 30s, Neetha was an executive employed in a private firm in Sri Lanka. Her numerous official duties entailed regular overseas travel. An outgoing personality with a wide circle of friends Neetha just like any other person of the modern age, relied on her email and social networking sites to keep in touch with her friends. Her busy schedule at work, hardly permitted personal calls or fun outings with her buddies. more..

Milking the Southern Expressway

Dec 30 (Island) Few years ago Saturday was called the "Fish-day" at my wife’s parent’s home. Early in the morning my father-in-law and brother in-law drive from Dehiwala to St John’s market in Fort to buy fish for the week, not only for them, most often for us as well. Sometimes, when they are busy, we make the trip, in the opposite direction; from Katubedda to "fish lellama" at Modara, Panadura. The trip takes about one hour on the roads although the distance is not that large. more..

Former Sri Lanka coach Fernando says badminton is off-track

Dec 30 (Island) Former Sri Lanka junior national badminton coach Chintaka Fernando says he is concerned about the future of the sport in the absence of a proper plan and guidance for the shuttlers. Fernando in an interview with The Island said that he was greatly concerned about officials allowing players to have their own agendas, especially those who wish to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. "Qualifying for the Olympics is one thing, but training the more..

Sri Lanka on right track to development

Dec 30 (SO) Next Sunday would mark the beginning of a new year which would see the completion of more development projects that two decades ago were confined to the drawing boards of bureaucrats and politicos. The year 2012 would see more dreams of Sri Lankans turning into reality, taking the country closer towards its goal of becoming the Wonder of Asia. One of the most 'looked forward to' projects that would be handed over to the people would be the more..

Legal crisis over CB ruling on directors

Dec 30 (ST) A legal dispute has emerged over a Central Bank (CB) regulation where directors of banks cannot serve for more than nine years and/or have to quit when they reach 70 years, under which many directors have to quit by the end of this year. This came after the Appeal Court earlier this month issued an interim injunction restraining the enforcement of this rule pending the conclusion of a petition filed by K.C. Vignarajah, a shareholder of the Commercial Bank. more..

Editorial: The Yemeni hot potato

Dec 30 (Island) Washington is in a quandary over outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdulla Saleh’s decision to flee to the US. He has been America’s ally and therefore President Barack Obama cannot refuse him permission to enter the US in that such action would send the wrong signal to the American puppets the world over that they too would be left in the lurch someday, but at the same time welcoming the Yemeni dictator with open arms is rather embarrassing for the White House as more..