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'Bad Rajapaksa omen cause of widespread destruction, death'

Feb 10 (Island) The bad omen cast upon the country by the "Rajapaksa Rule" was the cause for so much destruction and loss of life in the last few months, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Addressing over 3,000 of the 5,300 UNP candidates for the March 17, LG Election, who had gathered at the Viharamahadevi Open Air Theater, he said that the "Rajapaksa Curse" can be ended only by installing a UNP government. more..

'Sri Lanka a victim of global weather pattern'

Feb 10 (DM) The extreme weather condition been experienced in Sri Lanka right now is a global phenomenon and it is a matter for regret that the main opposition UNP and the JVP are attempting to exploit the sufferings of flood victims for their local govt election propaganda, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. He said the adverse weather is the impact of the climate change known as ‘La Nina’ which will continue for another one and half years. more..

Sri Lanka's Etisalat to cover north-east by April

Feb 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's unit of UAE-based Etisalat will add 170 new base stations to expand and strengthen its network in former war-torn areas in the North and East of the island by April, an official said. "We are already in the North and will be adding 170 new towers in the North and East by end April," Dumindra Ratnayaka, chief executive officer of Etisalat said. "Right now we are having a bit of an issue with the weather but we are on target." more..

Japan provides a grant of Rs. 54 M to improve production facilities at SLRC

Feb 11 (GDI) The Government of Japan has agreed to provide a grant of Rs. 54 million (Japanese Yen 41,700,000) for Improvement of Production Facilities at Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC). Under this project, a new 3D Animation Studio will be established enabling SLRC to produce new 2D and 3D animation TV programmes and it is also expected to raise the quality of cartoon production in Sri Lanka to International standards. more..

Consistency is our strength - Dilshan

Feb 11 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan, who will be playing his second World Cup, has said he is looking forward to playing a huge role as opener and help Sri Lanka win another world title. Dilshan made his tournament debut in 2007 but managed just one half-century, scoring 217 runs in nine innings. "Everything is going well at the moment for us and we are looking forward to the World Cup," Dilshan said. more..

Sri Lanka new port nears half-way mark

Feb 11 (LBO) Infrastructure work on a new container port next to Sri Lanka's existing Colombo harbour that will expand capacity has neared the halfway mark and is on schedule, officials said. Deputy ports minister Rohitha Abeygunawardene said the construction of the breakwater and dredging of the harbour basin will be completed by April 2012. "The new Colombo South Harbour that is being built will be three times bigger than the existing port," more..

Death contract fails

Feb 11 (NN) The police arrested six suspects in Dambulla a short while ago over an attempt to murder a man in the area on a contract received from overseas. According to the Dambulla Police, the suspects had come to Dambulla from Keselwatta in Colombo to carry out the contracted murder at the time they were arrested. The police said that four men who were travelling in a three wheeler were initially arrested on suspicion at a police check point in Dambulla while more..

Cyber Center bringing innovation and information to farmers

Feb 11 (USE) The United States Government has joined the Sri Lanka Ministry of Agriculture to provide information technology to Sri Lankan farmers. The initiative aims to increase productivity and better link farmers to markets. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the development arm of the U.S. Government, will equip cyber centers that will be managed by four local farmer associations. more..

Cabinet decisions; Feb 9, 2011

Feb 11 (GDI) Govt to re-negotiate on CEPA with India: The representatives of the India and Sri Lanka Governments which met in November 2010 in Colombo noted the significant progress made under the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) and reaffirmed the understanding that it would be timely to build on this achievement through a more comprehensive framework of economic cooperation. Accordingly, on a proposal made by Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of more..

Import duties on hybrid vehicles cut down

Feb 11 (GDI) The import tax on hybrid vehicles which have been used below three and a half years will be reduced from 30% to 15%. This reduction was taken as a step towards environmental conservationand is effective immediately, Deputy Finance Minister GeethanjanaGunawardena said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in November last year said electric and hybrid vehicles will be completely freed from excise duties and value added tax to promote environmental friendly vehicles. more..

TRC to check IMEI

Feb 11 (NN) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has introduced an SMS system where consumers can check if the mobile phone they are about to purchase from a store is fake or genuine. TRC Director General Anusha Pelpita said that consumers can now SMS the TRC with the unique model number of the mobile phone, also known as the IMEI, and TRC will then send a reply notifying the consumer if the phone is genuine and imported legally or more..

'Govt has no need to suppress Media'

Feb 11 (GDI) Information could not be concealed on the local or international level due to the existence of the internet. However, the practice of certain media violating media ethics could not be accepted by any means. The government has no need to suppress the media. This has been stated by the Director General of Information Professor Ariyaratne Athugala participating in the “Subharu” discussion programme conducted by the SLBC. more..

'Displaced to be resettled by end 2011'

Feb 11 (IRIN) The Sri Lankan government aims to resettle all conflict-displaced people by the end of 2011. “We are very confident that everybody can be resettled by the end of this year and [that we can] close Menik Farm camp as well," Uthpala Basnayakaye, secretary for the Ministry of Resettlement, said on 10 February, noting that demining had to be completed first. Nearly 17,500 people continue to live at Menik Farm, the country's largest camp for IDP. more..

Sri Lanka to spend $350 mln to expand Colombo seafront

Feb 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka plans to build a new port city by reclaiming the seafront at a cost of $350 million and selling the land as it expands the island nation's main harbour, the state-run Port Authority said on Thursday. As presently envisaged, the creation of 340 acres of new land would partially, if not entirely, block Colombo's historic Galle Face Green seafront by moving the shoreline farther away. more..

Police under govt. rule - Karu

Feb 11 (AD) When the 17th Amendment was destroyed and the independent police commission was done away with, Lankan policemen were brought under government rule, UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said at a press conference today. He also reminded the Police especially during to upcoming election period to remember that they are supposed to serve the people and not the politicians. Certain independent policemen have been transferred, and we have informed more..

'We can win World Cup this time'

Feb 11 (PTI) Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan on Thursday posed faith in his teammates to repeat the 1996 World Cup winning feat as the strong sub-continental contenders geared up for the quadrennial extravaganza. Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga and ended-runners up in the last edition in the West Indies. Muralitharan is confident that what the team could not do in 1999, 2003 and 2007 can be done this time around. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 10.02.2011

Muralitharan’s coaching stint in Australia 'not finalised'

Feb 11 (IC) Muttiah Muralitharan’s manager, Kushil Gunasekara, said that the Sri Lankan spin-legend’s coaching stint at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence (COE) in Brisbane has not yet been finalised. “Nothing has been finalised at this stage, owing to the date plan coinciding with his prior cricket commitments,” Gunasekara said. News reports from Australia stated that Muralitharan will join the COE as a spin bowling coach and more..

Lanka to re negotiate CEPA with India

Feb 11 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government today decided to renegotiate the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India which has been hanging fire for the last few years. An inter agency committee will be set up to prepare a new draft framework to restart the negotiations, the information department said in a release here. "The representatives of the India and Sri Lanka Governments which met in November 2010 in Colombo noted the significant progress made under the ISFTA. more..

President allocates 3.3 billion rupees for flood rehabilitation

Feb 11 (GDI) A Task Force appointed under the Chairmanship of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to direct and monitor the implementation of a well coordinated and effective programme for restoration activities of the flood affected areas in the country. This Task Force and consisting of relevant Cabinet Ministers and Chief Ministers of the relevant Province will implement the restoration of properties and livelihood projects in more..

Vision impaired child is tortured by a teacher

Feb 11 (LG) Amuwaththe Mudiyanselage Lahiru Ruwan Chamara (13) a school child and the son of Mrs. Rathnayaka Mudiyanselage Daya Manike of No: 21, Sandunthannagama, Karagasthalawa, Belihul Oya is a student of R/Galagama Vidyalaya in Belihul Oya in the Rathnapura District. Manike and her husband are also teachers attached to the same school. Lahiru has been suffering with vision disability since 2006. His parents brought the child to the Badulla Teaching Hospital for treatment. more..

What God has joined together, let man not separate – Matthew 19:6

Feb 11 (LG) Thank you for your response “Division helps an unjust system survive”, to my article “Sri Lankan Legal System Dismisses Itself” You say ‘It is sad that Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam cannot see beyond her personal case.’ Don’t feel sad Basil. Cheer up! Look back at your own response to me about the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, in which you say “It is about the protection of individual rights as the core of the idea of independence of Judiciary. more..

'Prison system needs streamlining'

Feb 11 (SO) Sri Lanka's prisons, which are still considered dens for illegal activities, face the difficulty in rehabilitating its inmates fully. Though the govt spends over Rs. 3.8 billion annually to reform the prisoners, there are serious doubts that the efforts have served the purpose. "I am not satisfied with the existing system and I am struggling to change it. I need 100 percent support from the officers as well as the others who are involved in prisons affairs", more..

Sri Lanka Perspectives – January 2011

Feb 11 (TC) Sri Lanka political scene is getting hot as new members are being elected for 330 local bodies throughout the country on March 17, 2011. In these elections, 12.7 million voters would be electing 3,931 members to four Municipal Councils, 39 Urban Councils and 258 Pradeshiya Sabhas. These elections in the Northern Province have become a prestigious one for President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the ruling UPFA and its Tamil partner EPDP had not fared well in winning voter confidence in more..

Response : Lack will to put up a fight together

Feb 11 (LG) Justice System of Sri Lanka has become enemy of all Sri Lankan. The decision of the attorney general to compromise on a murder case which has lasted 16 years in which jury was twice withdrawn due to threats, demonstrate the extent of this problem. In any country where the justice system is functional, such a happening is not possible. By some chance if it were to happen, people will not accept it. AG or some one holding a similar position would definitely have to resign. more..

Turning garbage into a resource

Feb 11 (SO) The lush greenery and the waterways all around accompanied with the cool and misty weather due to rains gives the impression that we are in the upcountry. The scenic Bolgoda lake in its calm environment adds more beauty to the area. No wonder it inspired poets and lyricists to come out with their best. However, trucks and tractors loaded with heaps of garbage lined up in a queue and the stench emanating from the garbage mounts more..

Arson and self-immolation; two sides to the coin

Feb 11 (NS) Last week, the office of the web news outfit known as ‘Lanka-e-News,’ was torched. A suspected arsonist is reported to have been arrested. It is said that he was merely carrying out his end of a contract, the other party allegedly being an overseas agent. These are still ‘early days’ of the investigation, considering that the relevant authorities took two years to nab a suspect in the attack on the Defence Secretary and are yet to apprehend those more..

The transmogrification of the UNP

Feb 11 (LB) From all reports Sajith Premadasa supporters were in a great majority at the UNP convention, and if resolute, could have forced a humiliating setback on Ranil and enshrined their hero as top-dog. It is not easy to make predictions for the UNP’s prospects at the March LG elections, but it is likely to improve its position despite internal conflicts because people are fed up with the government. That won’t be enough to save Ranil unless the surge is big; more..

War partners pressurize SriLanka to buy arms

Feb 11 (DM) The response shown by the Sri Lanka Govt. to the visiting Pakistan President Asif Al Zardari and the Army chief Gen. Kayani sparked speculations among the Diplomatic community of Colombo. The Pakistan President arrived in Sri Lanka on the 27th of November. It is well and widely known that during the SL war, Pakistan was a country that rendered immense assistance to SL. When there arose a shortage of arms in SL to win the war, more..

Healing the traumatized thousands after floods

Feb 11 (DM) The Reuters recently reported the case of ten year old Pakistani youngster Raja Hussain, who still sees ‘flood waters roaring towards his farming village most nights. They sound like a high-speed train.’ They reported how after six months of monsoon floods hitting Pakistan these vivid images still haunt the child’s nightmares. “In the dreams I see myself praying to Allah for help,” said Hussain. In one of the worst natural disasters to hit Pakistan leaving more..

What should be our responsibility towards our neighbour community?

Feb 11 (DM) Alleviation of people’s sufferings is primarily a spiritual concern. It is in that light we need to reflect on the insightful submissions made to the LLRC by the Bishop of Mannar Dr. Rayappu Joseph. As this particular commission is mandated by the President, the report will be handed over to him on a future date and what happens thereafter depends on the degree of accountability that the government holds over the lives of people in that part of the country. more..

Lanka e news attack: Were the drug addicts real suspects?

Feb 11 (LB) Another media institution was attacked recently and torched by an unidentified group. This was the Sri Lanka office of UK-based web site This incident took place on January 31, 2011. The website which was operated amidst severe threats and intimidation was originally functioning from an office situated at Rajagiriya before being moved out from there to Daham Mawatha, at Malabe. more..

Editorial: Witches have won

Feb 11 (Island) It was reported the other day that Romania was legislating for witches to be licensed and penalised in case of their predictions proving wrong. Labour laws had been changed in that country on Jan. 1 to recognise witchcraft as a profession, an AP dispatch carried in this newspaper said on Wednesday. It is reported that the Romanian witches have issues with some features of the new laws. But theirs is no mean achievement. more..

Editorial: People's role in national reconciliation

Feb 11 (DM) The thinking of most people is that the test of a majority community in any society is the manner in which that community treats the minorities in it’s midst. This applies not only to political leaders but to all the people who need to start thinking of themselves as Sri Lankans and not Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher. Based on this thinking the question is asked whether President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech from Kataragama more..

Principal who ordered female student to swallow Polythene arrested

Feb 11 (NF) The principal of a school in the Moragahahena area in Horana, who had allegedly forced a female student to eat the polythene with which she had covered her lunch box, has been taken into custody. “The principal was taken into custody on a complaint to the effect that he had ordered the female student to eat the polythene as punishment for bringing polythene to school,” said police. more..

Uproar in House as Ravi is denied privilege

Feb 11 (DM) A request made by Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake to raise a issue of privilege on the attack on the peaceful protest of the UNP was turned down by the Speaker leading to rowdy behaviour and an uproar in the House yesterday. Mr. Karunanayake wanted to raise a privilege issue just after UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera raised a privilege issue regarding the same incident. Mr. Jayaskera requested Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to more..

CEA appeals to parties

Feb 11 (DM) The Central Environment Authority (CEA) yesterday appealed to all political parties and candidates to make an extra effort to protect the environment during their propaganda campaigns in the run up to the March 17 LG polls as elections were increasingly becoming nightmares for those concerned on protection of the environment. CEA Chairman Charitha Herath said political parties and candidates had begun using environmentally unfriendly posters, more..

Tourism affected by extinction of lobsters, coral reefs

Feb 11 (BL) Sri Lanka has lost 70 per cent of tourists to the Maldives in respect of marine tourism, according to two of the country’s leading marine experts. These marine experts claimed that there had been an extinction of Sri Lanka’s exotic coral reefs, and lobsters with the marine habitat destroyed by as much as 95 per cent with the authorities turning a blind eye to it. In fact, they charged, there were only dead coral reef zones now. more..

Mahaaweli Sinhala farmers to be settled in Vavuniyaa, Polonnaruwa

Feb 11 (TN) 100,000 families under the Mahaaweli scheme don’t have enough land. Steps will be taken to provide them with land in the Vavuniyaa and Polonnaruwa districts, said D.M.C. Dissanayake, Director General of the Mahaweli Authority. The north has become a dumping ground of Sinhalese unwanted in the south so that the double purpose of getting rid of them as well as terrorising and subjugating or chasing away the Tamils from their country could be achieved, more..

Colombo exploits Buddhism to consecrate genocide

Feb 11 (TN) The political and military connotations with which a sapling of the Bo tree at Anuradhapura was paraded in Jaffna on Wednesday, before presenting it to Bodh Gaya in India to mark the 2600th year of the attainment of Buddhahood, alienated Eezham Tamils of the land, smacked of consecration of the genocide against them and involved India as a party, commented a Jaffna university academic. A modern ‘inscription’ erected at Maathakal, Jaffna, to mark the more..