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Army on drive to downsize strength

Feb 6 (ST) The Sri Lanka Army has launched a drive to downsize its strength and keep it at a viable level in keeping with peace-time needs. Military spokesman Ubaya Medawela said the Army would be pruned to 200,000 or less from its current strength of 220,000. He said several officers and soldiers had been taking early retirement since the war ended in May 2009. As part of the downsizing drive, the Army initiated a programme to allow deserters to formally quit the service without being arrested or penalised. more..

UNP looking at legal action over Punchi Borella attack

Feb 6 (Island) The UNP is considering legal action over Friday night’s attack on its candle- lit procession demanding the release of Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the party’s General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. Several people were injured in this attack by goons armed with steel rods who set upon the protesters and their vehicles causing damage running into millions. Police said yesterday that no suspects had been arrested more..

FM Derana sends letter of demand to SLBC Chairman

Feb 7 (AD) FM Derana through its attorneys has sent a letter of demand to the Chairman of the SLBC yesterday. The letter states that the SLBC providing pre publicity that it will broadcast the cricket commentary of the 2011 World Cup even though the rights to do so has been granted to FM Derana is an infringement of intellectual property rights. FM Derana officially announced that it has been awarded the official Sri Lankan radio broadcaster of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. more..

East schools close

Feb 7 (NN) All schools in the eastern province except in Mahaoya and Dehiyatakandiya in Amapara will be closed from tomorrow till Wednesday owing to the flood situation. Officials said that 301 schools in the eastern province have been flooded while 242 are being used as camps for the displaced people. Schools in the eastern province will re-open on Thursday, depending on the weather and the flood situation. Schools in the North Central Province (NCP) will also close tomorrow but more..

Sri Lanka take series with 26-run win

Feb 7 (CI) Sri Lanka displayed their bowling strength ahead of the 2011 World Cup when they rested three key bowlers and yet ended up beating West Indies by 26 runs in the third and final one-day international to take the series 2-0. Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara were missing from their line-up but their back-up bowling unit comprising Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis and Thisara Perera did extremely well more..

IDB buys 10% stake in Sri Lankan bank

Feb 7 (AN) The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has taken a 10-percent stake in the first commercial Islamic bank in Sri Lanka, which is to be opened shortly in the island, a senior official from the Amana Bank Limited in Colombo told Arab News Saturday. Amana Bank Limited, which obtained the provisional approval license from the central bank last year to become a bank, has got the green light from the island's Finance Ministry to operate as a commercial bank in the country. more..

MDMK leader goes on hunger strike protesting against fishermen killings

Feb 7 (ANI) MDMK General Secretary, Vaiko, went on a hunger strike on Sunday to protest against the recent killings of local fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. The MDMK leader condemned the killings and also slammed the Central and state governments for not taking effective steps to stop the deaths. D. Pandian, State Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), inaugurated the protest, which had a strong strength of MDMK activists. more..

SM Krishna to meet Lanka foreign minister, fishermen issue to figure in talks

Feb 7 (PTI) Against the backdrop of the killing of some Tamil fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, India is expected to convey its concerns and press for an end to such incidents when external affairs minister SM Krishna meets his counterpart GL Peiris in Thimpu tomorrow. Krishna and Peiris will be meeting on the sidelines of SAARC foreign ministers' conference for which both are arriving here tomorrow, sources said today. more..

Navy renovates Kataragama Pilgrims’ Rest for public convenience

Feb 7 (SLN) Civil engineering personnel of the Sri Lanka Navy renovated the Pilgrims’ Rest located close to “Kirivehera” for the convenience of the General Public visiting the historic city of Kataragama. It was ceremonially declared open by President on 05th January 2011. Commander of Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake, Commander Southern Naval Area Rear Admiral Lakshman Illangakoon and a large number of distinguished guests were present on the occasion. more..

Cosmetic importers concerned over CESS

Feb 7 (BL) The recently formed Sri Lanka Cosmetics and Nutraceuticals Traders Association (SLCNA) has alleged that the government has thrown a dampener on the industry by imposing an additional CESS of Rs.350/- per kilo on imported cosmetics which is stifling the enthusiasm and viability of the cosmetic importers and inter alia the whole cosmetics and personal care products industry. There seems to be a strong lobby of local manufacturers who are influencing the government to more..

'Provide at least food ration to the distressed'

Feb 7 (LT) The Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath says they would demand the government to stop wasting billions on false pageants and use that money to take measures to provide those masses who have been distressed due to rains. Speaking at a media conference held by the JVP today Mr. Herath said whatever boastful speeches the ministers make the masses who are marooned by the flood waters away from main roads do not get any relief. more..

Exclusive demonstration zones for the ruling party

Feb 7 (LG) I have seen Sri Lankans demonstrating against the LTTE’s atrocities while the LTTE supporters demonstrating against the Government of Sri Lanka right across from the same street or open space in several major cities like Washington, New York, and London. Nobody gets an exclusive zone to demonstrate, and all demonstrators know that law will be equitably applied to all. Therefore, one can often see parties with conflicting objectives demonstrating in front more..

Will local council elections foretell the future?

Feb 7 (LG) The government struck a thorn in holding elections in two phases-- rural pradeeshiya sabhas followed by the cosmopolitan municipal and urban councils. If both were held together, the wins and losses would have evened out the final result. On an election graph, held separately, a dip in the rural ballot can turn into a dive in an urban vote. The strategy is to win comprehensively the rural vote hoping the urban vote will follow the trail. more..

A petition in a shoe decides freedom

Feb 7 (SO) High on the list of Sri Lanka’s national demands at the outset of the twentieth century was regaining custody of freedom and independence from British imperialism. The consequential struggle for independence (Swarajya Satana) showed the workings of national leaders such as F.R. Senanayake and E.W. Perera who somehow knocked the British administrators off-balance and forced the British Crown to put its decisions under the microscope. more..

Who is unscrupulous?

Feb 7 (LG) Speaking to a sixteen-member clandestine Tamil diaspora delegation from Germany, Australia, USA, Canada and the UK last week, the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had said that expatriate Tamils living abroad should look way forward in the reconstructing and development process in the country, instead of being misled by unscrupulous elements which are trying to destabilise the peaceful atmosphere in the country. more..

Fitting thoughts for post-independence day

Feb 7 (LG) In discussions with a group of colleagues from a provincial Bar this week, one question provoked spirited and at times, heated debate. In admitting that there are serious flaws in the working of Sri Lanka’s legal system, are we providing avenues for internationalists who have their own agendas, to intervene in the internal affairs of this country? Such a question would have seemed inconceivable a decade back when there were vigorous discussions and more..

National flag: The symbol of Independence

Feb 7 (SO) The national flag or Sinha Kodiya continues to flutter in homes, shops, schools, temples, churches and other institutions to mark the Independence of our paradise isle, especially after the dawn of peace after three decades of turmoil, conflict and confusion. The national flag was flown high on Friday in every nook and corner of Sri Lanka as a symbol of true freedom. The significance of the flag was truly felt on this landmark day. more..

Crimes took place in Jaffna during the last three months

Feb 7 (LG) * On 11.11.2010 at Kudathanai in Vadamarachi area two women who went to collect firewood have been undergone to sexual violence. One 19 year old student and the other one wife of a detainee who is still in the detention camp. Police from Manatkadu inquired about the incident. * On 13.11.2010 a young boy, Pathmanathan Thusyanthan from Polikandy, disappeared and later found death at the beach. He seems to be a mentally retarded person more..

The Ethical Public Servant

Feb 7 (GV) The article Bribery and Corruption: The Bane of Our Country by Dr. Daya Hewapathirane prompted me to go deeper into this issue in the public sector. I must also note that corruption is not confined to the public sector and that it prevails in the private sector too. It is also the private sector and private citizens who promote graft as it takes two to tango by being the giver of bribes in exchange for favors. Yet, I refuse to believe that the entire public sector is corrupt. more..

The greatest paradox of Sri Lankan terrorism

Feb 7 (LG) Independence Day is supposed to be a day of national unity. Regrettably, in Sri Lanka it has been a day revealing national disunity than unity. On Thursday, the main opposition party, the UNP boycotted official ceremonies. Tamil parties as they had done for decades boycotted official functions. The UNP said they were keeping out because of the Opposition’s main presidential candidate, former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka being jailed. more..

Editorial: Eliminating gap between city and village

Feb 7 (Island) UNP Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya has warned the government that unless it draws lessons from the Egyptian crisis and mends its ways, it is asking for trouble. The revolt in Cairo has all the trappings of an urban uprising. For, President Hosni Mubarak is still popular in the rural areas, though his supporters there are not as sophisticated and articulate as their urban counterparts. Jayasuriya seems to think that the pent up resentment of more..

Editorial: Migration and Climate

Feb 7 (DM) People had been leaving Sri Lanka for various reasons during the past. War and economic prospects had been the main driving factors behind this migration. Now, with the war over and economy seemingly improving with China’s prosperity, the factors that were behind the causes of large scale migration should come to an end. Besides, countries like Switzerland, Canada and similar Western countries have changed their perception about Sri Lanka and more..

Killed for tusks: not end of story

Feb 7 (LB) This tusker was a significant pachyderm in the Galgamuwa area. Its majesty was evident due to the two tusks it posessed which in length were five feet long. This jumbo which was loved by all in the Galgamuwa area was however facing constant threats from poachers who were after its tusks. After the tusker had killed a villager, these poachers decided to go for its tusks risking all consequences. These people warned that if Wildlife officials fail to more..

Coconut prices still too high

Feb 7 (LB) As neither the Ministry nor the Ports Authority had made efforts to move out the stocks of coconuts in time, they had become spoilt. The loss the government had suffered in this transaction is said to be Rs.2.6 million. Although the government has stated that the price of coconuts had come down after importing Kerala coconuts, a coconut is being sold at between 50 to 80 rupees in the market, market sources told this newspaper. The price of coconut oil also has gone up sharply. more..

Jaffna University will lose millions of rupees because of present acting Vice-Chancellor

Feb 7 (TC) I read today’s news on public anger over the delay in appointing Jaffna’s Vice Chancellor (Feb. 5) and the earlier interview with the Minister for Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake (The Island). He complained of bad management and neglect at Jaffna university under the present VC (Acting VC since mid-December) despite the allocation of ample funds. The UGC recently transferred a great deal of funds that have been allocated to Jaffna for more..

More Jaffna children out of school

Feb 7 (SL) Latest statistics show that the number of school drop-outs in Jaffna has increased, said Jaffna Government Agent (GA) Imelda Sukumar. She said that as of June last year the number of school drop-outs totaled 278, a number that rose to 347 by December 2010. “The main reason that children have dropped their studies is due to poverty,” said Sukumar, adding that figures appear to have increased post-resettlement. more..

Flamboyance 2011: ­An evening of horrid annoyance

Feb 7 (SL) Flamboyance 2011 — Fashion With A Purpose was held at the Galadari Hotel last Sunday. The fund raiser was organised by Leo District 306 C 1. For starters, it was bad taste to make a fashion statement of a terminal illness by advertising and printing posters, tickets etc. of shaven headed people, some of them wrapped in scarves. This was the theme and teaser trailer they said, for a charity fashion show in aid of a terminal illness institute. more..

Egypt’s unrest augurs well for Lanka’s tea exports

Feb 7 (LB) If the crisis in Egypt continues, tea coming to the Mombassa auctions will accumulate, and prices will come down. But, what benefits Sri Lanka may make is yet, unknown, for over 99 percent of Kenya’s tea crop is made in her factories to CTC - Cut, Tear, Curl, teas, claimed to give more cups per kilo. Sri Lanka is traditionally reputed for its orthodox type, teas. Decades ago, Ceylon tea lost its market in Egypt, to Kenyan produced CTC teas. more..

'Nomination mess not my fault'

Feb 7 (NS) Minister and EPDP Chief Douglas Devananda has countered allegations that his party is partly responsible for the growing violence in the North. While fingers are pointed at his party for the prevailing tension in the North, the minister says his party is a democratic political party and it has no intention of stooping down to such level. “I understand we are branded as ‘murderers and killers’ because we are a threat to the other Tamil parties in more..

Arrested with gun at check point

Feb 7 (NS) A Hungarian made pistol was found concealed in the waistband of a man who was searched by police near a check point at the Thalagaha junction, Galle on Thursday (3) morning. Police said the 26-year-old suspect was a garment factory worker in Bomiriya, Kaduwela. Investigations revealed that the suspect was a friend of a man called Kapila, who is the elder brother of the late notorious criminal Kaduwela Wasantha. more..

Agrarian centres to sell veges cheap

Feb 7 (DN) The Government through the Agrarian Services Department will commence a program to sell fresh vegetables, fruits and grains at a price 30 percent less than the market price in 10 agrarian services centers located in Colombo and suburbs from February 8. Nearly 500,000 farmers are actively engaged in 13,000 farmer organizations attached to the 556 agrarian service centers across the country," Minister S.M.Chandrasena told the Daily News. more..

Sri Lanka pays PR firm over Rs. 500 million to boost post-war image

Feb 7 (SL) The Sri Lankan government is reportedly paying a top British PR firm about 3 million sterling pounds (Rs. 545,880,000) a year to try to enhance the country’s post-war image. The Sunday Leader spoke to Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal who maintained that, “many agencies are terribly tarnishing the country’s post war image. So we have to counter attack by taking steps to boost the country’s image.” more..

Sri Lanka Cricket, CMC to construct new road

Feb 7 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket joined the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to construct a new road leading from near the Crown Cinema in Maradana to the Kettarama Stadum where a few matches of the 2011 Cricket World Cup are to be played. CMC Special Administration’s Omar Kamil said that Sri Lanka Cricket was spending Rs 15 million for this new road which starts near the Crown Cinema Junction and proceeds through the Adi Seeya Para (100 foot road) through Apple Watte and more..

‘Nazi-style registration of civilians in Jaffna’

Feb 7 (TN) The occupying SL military in Jaffna is directly engaged in registration of individuals and families in the Jaffna peninsula in recent times. Everyday, covering area by area, the SL military is distributing forms to collect information and is insisting of family photographs along with children to be given to them. The activity of the SL military, reminding the Nazi practice before the Holocaust, creates terror in the minds of the people in Jaffna, more..

Govt to keep secondary schools open till 3 pm

Feb 7 (GDI) Government is to introduce a new educational policy to dedicate more time for school education. Minister Bandula Gunawardana told that all secondary schools set up under the 1000 school project will have classes till 3.00 pm. The government recently had taken a policy decision to establish 1000 Secondary Schools Island wide with all required facilities needed for school education. Two such schools have already been set up. more..

Flood displaces 100,000 in Vanni, 25,000 in camps

Feb 7 (TN) At least 100,000 Tamil civilians of around twenty five thousand families have been affected by the flood in the two districts of Vavuniyaa and Mullaiththeevu in Vanni. Sand bunds erected by the Sri Lanka Army are obstructing the flow of water reaching the sea. Hence the villages are flooded. The uprooted families are still not allowed to resettle between Mullaiththeevu and Puthukkudiyiruppu. In the meantime, informed sources said the more..

Pirapaharan's mother's condition serious, not critical

Feb 7 (TN) The condition of Velupillai Paa'rvathi Amma, the mother of the LTTE leader Mr. V. Pirapaharan, while remaining serious, has not reached dangerous stage, hospital sources in her native town Valveddiththu'rai said. The health officials transport her to the Jaffna Hospital for emergency needs and then bring her back to Valveddiththu'rai for day-to-day health care delivery, sources added. Due multiple displacements during the military offensives of more..

Punters’ choice: India on top, Sri Lanka close behind

Feb 7 (DNA) The cricket World Cup is still some way off. But the bookies seem to have made up their mind on the winner. According to them, India’s chances of lifting the Cup are the brightest. Ireland and three other teams don’t come up to the scratch as far as punters are concerned. According to a conservative estimate, bets worth Rs50,000 crore are expected to be placed during this World Cup. more..

Time for Lankan lions to roar again

Feb 7 (TOI) If there is one team that you will find most people hedging their bets on, apart from India, to lift the glittering World Cup trophy on April 2 in Mumbai, it's Sri Lanka. The reason isn't just related to familiar conditions or the fact that like India, they too will be backed vociferously by a large crowd while playing most of their games at home. This team, even without a colossus like Sanath Jayasuriya, is still a very formidable unit. more..

UPFA to support Independent Group

Feb 7 (DM) The UPFA yesterday decided to support the Independent Group contesting the Wigamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha under the “Mortar” symbol at the oncoming Local Government elections as the party’s nominations for that Pradeshiya Sabha have been rejected. The Independent Group consisted of the UPFA members of the last Pradeshiya Sabha who refused to sign nomination papers under the UPFA after a feud over deletion of two former members of the Pradeshiya Sabha. more..