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What is happening in Europe, and why we should care

Dec 5 (SL) Over the past several weeks the Euro zone has been steadily unraveling. A debt crisis that began in Greece has now moved to several other key nations like Italy and Spain like a virus. Even Euro giants like France and Germany aren’t safe anymore. What’s happening in Europe may seem like a distant dream to us, something to fill up the international segment of the nine o’clock news, and nothing too much to worry about. But what happens in Europe can have serious more..

'Opposition interrupted President’s address'

Dec 5 (NS) Q: What really took place in the parliament when the budget speech was being delivered by President Rajapaksa the other day? A: I have been given special mention about that incident but it was very clear that the Opposition were continuing to interrupt the President’s speech. That was not the correct thing to do. The Opposition should have first listened to the budget speech and if they had any criticism they should more..

Illicit affair with ex-soldier leads to businessman's death

Dec 5 (SO) On a tip off the Kuliyapitiya police Special Investigations Unit launched a relentless investigation into the five month old murder case of a businessman that baffled them. Finally they learnt that a man who had been in the employment of a poultry farm at Giriulla in the Narammala area was missing from his home following the killing of the wealthy businessman named S. Wijayabahu at his home. The police came to know the man was an ex-soldier, in the army. more..

Ranil fights back whilst further war crime allegations emerge

Dec 5 (SL) The previous week saw Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe claw back some prestige through a successful rally held at Hyde Park. The opportunity to do so was due to the JVP distancing itself from the “Free Fonseka” campaign. The JVP in a soul-searching exercise had deemed that supporting Sarath Fonseka at the last Presidential election was to their detriment. Ranil had expressed his intentions to make a special statement in more..

Sri Lanka leave for South African challenge today

Dec 5 (Island) The national cricket team will emplane for Johannesburg this evening on a seven week tour of South Africa where they will play three Test matches and five One Day Internationals. This is Sri Lanka’s first Test tour to South Africa in 10 years. Sri Lanka have a horrendous record in South Africa, having lost all but one Test match they have played there. South Africa has hosted Sri Lanka in seven Test matches and the tourists were more..

Ranil ‘with a cause’ rebels against a gag ruling

Dec 5 (ST) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe seems almost like a rebel without a cause. Which is probably why he is keen now to take up the ‘cause’ of jailed former Army Commander and Opposition common candidate at the last presidential election, Sarath Fonseka, both inside and outside Parliament, and that too, in rather dramatic fashion. Hence, his walkout of the Chamber of Parliament last Tuesday, removing his Commonwealth emblem embossed tie on the way out, more..

Keep them quiet by keeping them down seems to be the Rajapaksa path to peace

Dec 5 (TC) As President Mahinda Rajapaksa was declaring open the Southern highway amidst fanfare, the people of Galle and Matara were struggling with the aftermath of a deadly gale. Despite the regime’s boast of turning Sri Lanka into a Hub of all things great and glorious, the Met Department had failed to forecast the gale. It took the people unawares, especially the fishermen who went out to the sea, trusting in the Met Department’s ‘all clear’. more..

GMOA warns govt. against appointing Carlo to head SLMC

Dec 5 (Island) GMOA General Secretary Dr.Chandika Epitakaduwa yesterday warned the govt not to appoint Prof. Carlo Fonseka as the President of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) as he was regarded to be the most controversial character by the medical profession. He was also a politically affiliated person who had criticized the SLMC on several occasions. Several medical institutions would hand over a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint more..

Overflowing river threatens pilgrims at Kataragama

Dec 5 (SLBC) The National Disaster Management Centre reports that transportation from Balangoda to Thanamalwila has been curtailed owing to the overflowing of the Hambegamuwa tank in Thanamalwila. Assistant Secretary of the Centre Ravindra Kumara said that if the floods continue tomorrow as well, the technique of using concrete cylinders to reduce water levels will be applied. Meanwhile the Authorities have opened all sluice gates of the Veheragala reservoir in Wellavaya. more..

Steps will be taken to detect oil leak

Dec 5 (DM) Engineers attached to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) have decided to take steps to detect the reason that led to the leakage of fuel from a pipeline in Kolonnawa recently, the Ministry said today. The Ministry said in a statement that a trench with 150 feet in length and ten feet in height would be dug to reach the point from where fuel was leaked with a big force. The Ministry said that fuel had not leaked from a pipeline laid by the Sri Lanka Petroleum Storage Terminal. more..

Around 600 Dons breach agreements

Dec 5 (DN) About 600 university lecturers who went abroad on study leave have not reported back to work even after completing studies, said Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) chairman D E W Gunasekara. He told the Daily News that this is a breach of the agreement they signed with these institutions. Gunasekara noted that many higher education institutions are confronted with this problem and suffer a huge loss as a result. more..

Int’l Buddhist conference in SL next year

Dec 5 (DN) International Buddhist Conference 2012 will be held in Sri Lanka under the theme “New millennium challenges for Buddhism”, Minister S B Dissanayake said. The conference will be held from February 17 to 19 at the Buddhasravaka Bhikshu University, Anuradhapura. Over hundred Buddhist scholars from local and international Buddhist organizations will take part in the international conference, which is aimed at presenting over 100 research papers from more..

Sri Weerathungaramaya gets Rs 11.4 m shrine room

Dec 5 (DN) President yesterday opened a new shrine room at Sri Weerathungaramaya in Madihe, Matara to coincide with the 2600th Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthiya. Over Rs. 12 million had been spent to construct the new shrine room at the temple. The access road to the temple was also developed on President Rajapaksa’s directive. The President participated in religious observances after a brief conversation with the temple’s Chief Incumbent Ven Devalegama more..

I defended our senior MPs - UNP MP Harin Fernando

Dec 5 (NS) Q: You are well known among the UNP MP as one who expresses clear views in public statements regarding your party. But you had also got stamped with the identity of being a quick tempered person. How do you see these things especially regarding the incident in the House on Budget day? A: I am the youngest among the UNP MPs and I take this opportunity to thank the voters of the Badulla District in electing me to Parliament. more..

Our ‘A’ side can beat Sri Lanka - Kepler Wessels

Dec 5 (Island) Former South African cricket captain Kepler Wessels has expressed his concern ahead of South Africa’s upcoming series against Sri Lanka. It is widely considered that the Sri Lankans will not pose much of a threat to Gary Kirsten’s men in South Africa, as their best result to date has been a rain-affected draw in Durban 11 years ago. However, Wessels has come out to further fuel the notion that it is well within the Proteas capabilities to whitewash the more..

200 Lankans stranded in Kuwait to be repatriated

Dec 5 (Island) Steps are being taken to repatriate another 200 Sri Lankans nationals who have taken refuge in the Lankan Embassy in Kuwait. The Embassy said that the first 100 of these migrant workers would arrive in the country today after being cleared by the Kuwait govt. Their air fare and travel expenses have are being met by the Kuwaiti govt, which has so far funded the repatriation of over 500 Sri Lankans who were stranded in the Middle East country. more..

Public debt burden up by further Rs. 81bn: UNP

Dec 5 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged that the devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee at the recent Budget has resulted in the country’s public debt burden increasing by a further Rs. 81 billion, the UNP said yesterday. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said the country’s public debt burden had risen to Rs. 5,200 billion though the government put the figure at Rs.4,800 billion. He said of this amount 52 per cent was external borrowings. more..

‘The greatest of virtues is Charity (Love)’

Dec 5 (Island) The incident connected with the "Prem Nivesa" in Rawattawatte Moratuwa is a very sensitive subject and these views which are very personal may go against the grain. It is written, however, in the spirit of charity which means love. To me what took place at Moratuwa where a Nun, of the Sisters of Charity, was arrested is most inappropriate for a country with a cultural history of decency, tolerance and a civilized ethos. My first reaction is to more..

J’pura hospital deputy director resigns

Dec 5 (SL) The Deputy Director of the Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital has resigned from her post, just days after The Sunday Leader had reported on her appointment to that post by the former Chairman of the hospital. Dr. Mrs. Chamila Ariyananda had tendered her resignation from the post of Deputy Director of the hospital with effect from December 1, the Chairman of the hospital Nimal Bandara said. “Deputy Director Dr. Mrs. Chamila Ariyananda tendered her resignation more..

Tourism industry in 'new visa mess'

Dec 5 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry won some concessions regarding the free, visa-on-arrival (VOA) this week after it was extended for three more months but was confronted with more confusion when immigration authorities said the extension applies only for bookings made prior to December 31. A new clarification issued by immigration authorities issued on November 30 states that the existing facility of “Free Visa on arrival will continue until 31 March more..

Christian Affairs Minister blasts NCPA

Dec 5 (Island) The Christian Affairs Minister Milroy Fernando yesterday said that those who conducted a raid on a Children’s Home in Moratuwa had done so with the intention of discrediting the Church. He said that he would bring it to the notice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that the home had been in existence for so many years and there was no record of children being sold to anyone. "There is a possibility that some officers of the NCPA would more..

Wijedasa wants COPE to step up probe

Dec 5 (Island) Former COPE Chief MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe said that the parliamentary watchdog committee should recommend ways and means to tackle waste, corruption and irregularities in the public sector. He said that COPE should aggressively pursue the issue. Responding to a query, MP rejected the assertion that Secretaries to Ministries were responsible for deterioration of financial discipline.It wouldn’t be fair to blame all Secretaries, the MP said, urging the COPE to identify more..

USAID: Celebrating our shared values

Dec 5 (Island) The people of Sri Lanka have a loyal American friend: the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). For more than five decades, U.S. govt assistance has been quietly at work, helping ordinary Sri Lankans build better lives. In a little Ampara village called Mattaravai, twenty-five low-income preschoolers sit raptly before Jasmine, their teacher. For eight hard years, Jasmine has worked single handedly and voluntarily to set up, more..

Magistrate re-remands former Buddhist monk

Dec 5 (ST) Kandy’s Additional Magistrate has issued notice on Ven. Dhampala Seelananda Thera, the former Trustee of Sri Pada, and two others, ordering them to be present in court on Wednesday when the case on an alleged fraud of Rs. 2.3 million in the construction of a glass covering for the dagaba at Sri Pada is taken up. Attorney appearing for the complainant submitted the former trustee had not been produced before court, despite a court direction. more..

The hills are alive with bribery and corruption

Dec 5 (ST) Ceylon Estate Staffs’ Union chairman Dhammika Jayawardena said large scale bribery, corruption and malpractices were taking place within the estate sector. He revealed how key officials of the Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation (SLSPC), the Janatha Estates Development Board (JEDB) and private estate owning companies have been directly involved in depriving the Government of its due income, while paving the way for the complete breakdown of the estate sector. more..

Fonseka says he was sentenced under non-existing law

Dec 5 (ST) The appeal filed on behalf of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who was sentenced to a three year jail term in the ‘White Flag’ case is seeking his acquittal on the grounds that he was sentenced under a non-existing law. The Appeal filed said that the Emergency Regulations, under which Mr. Fonseka was sentenced, was lifted on August 30, 2011 and when he was sentenced on November 18 the law was not in operation. more..

Latest abduction suspicion on Govt

Dec 5 (BBC) Police in Sri Lanka said that the family of an alleged underworld figure lodged a complaint over his abduction. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana told BBC Sandeshaya that police in Warakapola has received the complaint of the abduction of Ruwan Chandimal Depp early Sunday. Lakshika Shamali, wife of Ruwan Chandimal Depp, widely known as Navy Ruwan, told BBC Sandeshaya that police delayed recording the complaint of her husbands abduction Saturday evening. more..

Tourist arrivals to exceed 950,000 next year

Dec 5 (SO) The number of tourist arrivals in 2012 could exceed 950,000 with the increased arrivals from the traditional markets of South Asia and Western Europe and hitherto untapped markets such as East Asia and North America. According to the document, Recent Economic Developments issued by the Central Bank initiatives such as resumption of the ferry service between Sri Lanka and India after 20 years would attract more Indian tourists. The number of tourist arrivals more..

Bankrupt SLC’s payments to lawyers under scrutiny

Dec 5 (Island) COPE Chief Minister Dew Gunasekera believes that Sri Lanka Cricket is the most corrupt institution in the country. Responding to a query by The Island, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka alleged that SLC was in a crisis today due to corruption. There couldn’t be any other reason, the outspoken National List MP said, emphasizing the need to further investigate the corrupt body. more..

Controversial road restricted in 3.5 km stretch

Dec 5 (Island) The recommendations of the executive committee appointed by the Ministry of Environment, to look into the controversial road being constructed through a section of the Sinharaja Forest, were presented to media yesterday (2). "The committee has concluded that road development of the nearly 10 km stretch from Potupitiya to Ilumbakanda and another 700 mt stretch to Bambumale, does not cause any threat to the Sinharaja eco system," more..

Electricity pirate pays with his life

Dec 5 (Island) A power pirate was electrocuted while illegally tapping an overhead power line. This was revealed at the inquest held into the death of Marimutthu Selvakumar (27) a resident of Ferguson Road, Colombo 15 before City Coroner Edward Ahangama yesterday. Witness Selvadorai Shanthi Kumar a resident of Mattakkuliya said her residence had no electricity but Chimney lamps were in use to provide lighting. On her request Marimutthu had agreed to provide an electricity more..


Dec 5 (SL) In November 2005, in recognition of her service to the country and the world, then-President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Kumaratunga conferred on Radhika Coomaraswamy the title of “Deshamanya” a prestigious national honour. She is the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. In this capacity, she serves as a moral voice and independent advocate to build awareness and give prominence to the rights and protection of more..

No more calls to police? What’s the point of being a presidential secretary now?

Dec 5 (LB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s media unit circulated a curious little note last week. It went like this: “It has been brought to the notice of the President’s office that various people are making calls to the Police and other Public Institutions, saying they are Coordinating Secretaries and other senior officials attached to the Presidential Secretariat. Please note that only Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President and more..

Govt. to investigate any violations of intl. treaties

Dec 5 (SM) Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says the govt would investigate any violations of internationally accepted treaties during the final phase of the war if the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has reported of such incidents. Rambukwella has said the government has not deviated from its stance on war crimes allegations and international humanitarian law violations. more..

UNP rebels throw down the gauntlet to Ranil

Dec 5 (Island) In the wake of latest crossover of yet another opposition MP to the govt last week, the UNP rebels asked its Co – Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya to take over the party leadership to protect the country’s biggest party. UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara told The Island last night that according to the party constitution, the working committee and parliamentary group elected the party leader once a year at the national convention. more..

Sri Lanka non-bank lenders urged to borrow abroad

Dec 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's non-bank finance companies should borrow abroad to increase resources they have to lend to the domestic economy, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "We need new money coming into the country if we are going to achieve this growth that we are targeting," Cabraal told a forum of non-bank lenders in Colombo. "We cannot do it with only the savings that we have in our own country." Cabraal said the state has borrowed abroad and more..

Split in the JVP TUs

Dec 5 (SM) The decision by the JVP affiliated National Trade Union Center (NTUC) to remove several trade union leaders for their support towards the JVP dissidents has resulted in a split in the trade unions. Nine trade union leaders who have been removed from several unions under the NTUC claim the arbitrary decisions taken by the union leadership has prevented the movement from succeeding in its struggle. They have said that the removal was due to the opposition raised to more..

Johnston wants cooperative loans written off

Dec 5 (DM) A request had been made by the Minister Johnston Fernando, to write off non-performing loans amounting to Rs 1.9 billion, which cooperatives owed state banks and other institutions. The Minister had submitted a cabinet paper to this effect had informed cabinet that it had become impossible for these cooperatives to function because of the heavy debt they were carrying. It was revealed that the total amount owed by cooperatives to more..

Corrupt officials, politicians exposed (COPE) but committee lacks power: DEW

Dec 5 (ST) Chairman- Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE), Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera says the powers of the Parliamentary oversight committee should be enhanced, to enable it to summon former heads of State-run institutions, as well as bring under its purview private limited companies incorporated under the Companies Act. Mr. Gunasekera who presented the COPE report to Parliament last Thursday, more..

Undergrad suffers mental trauma due to ragging

Dec 5 (DM) An undergraduate of Peradeniya University has been mentally traumatised after being subjected to inhumane forms of ragging, doctors say. The 20 year old student of the Arts Faculty had been admitted to the Peradeniya hospital after being harassed during the rag. He is undergoing treatment in a ward reserved for mentally ill patients. The Peradeniya Police who are conducting inquiries into the incident said the more..