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An appraisal of Norway’s Role in Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (GT) The revelation by former LTTE deputy Muralidhar Karuna that Norway provided funds for the Tigers to purchase lethal weapons has revived the issue of that country’s role in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. In addition, some documents released by wikileaks have pointed to Norway’s despatch of high-tech satellite equipment to the LTTE during the same period. Given that LTTE remnants connected to the Tamil Diaspora in Norway are still active, this is an opportune moment to more..

Govt. to set up 65 new Court houses

Feb 3 (Island) The Ministry of Justice would set up over 65 new Court houses to clear the backlog of a large number of cases, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Shibly Aziz told The Island. The objective of the new programme was to distribute the work load evenly throughout the country since delays in the disposal of cases had delayed judgments thereby causing hardship to litigants, he said. The Courts would be set up by the Ministry of Justice and more..

Minister briefs Diplomatic Heads

Feb 3 (DN) External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris held a series of briefings at the External Affairs Ministry on February 1 and 2 for the Colombo-based Heads of Diplomatic Missions relating to the progress made by the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) in implementing the interim recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Attorney General Mohan Pieris, in his capacity as the IAAC Chairperson participated in the discussions. more..

Ampara bus mishap, 42 injured

Feb 3 (DM) At least 42 garment workers were injured yesterday morning when the bus they were travelling in fell into a stream along the Upana- Himidurawa main road in Ampara. The bus driver had tried to avoid a cyclist who was with an umbrella heading from the opposite direction as heavy rains were prevailing at that time and the bus plunged into the stream. The bus was heading to Ampara at the time of the accident, the police said. more..

Sri Lankans prepare high-profile National Day celebrations

Feb 3 (AN) Sri Lankan missions in the Kingdom have made elaborate arrangements to celebrate their country’s National Day on Friday. The Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh will host a breakfast for all Sri Lankans in Riyadh following a flag-hoisting ceremony. Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad will unfurl the national flag amid the beating of drums (Magul Bera) at 9 a.m. at the embassy. Community members will then join a choir from the Sri Lankan International more..

Privatization of education

Sinhala colonization threatens fishermen of Vanni

Feb 3 (TN) The number of Sinhala fishermen from South, camping close to Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Navy camps in the SL occupied Vadamaraadchi East and Mullaiththeevu, has doubled within a short period in the recent weeks, causing alarm among the fishermen associations of resettled Tamil fishermen. Commanders of the occupying Sri Lankan military have become brokers bringing in hundreds of fishermen from south and allowing them to operate from more..

Rains continue until May

Feb 3 (DN) In comparison with previous years, Sri Lanka has received an extended spell of rain in the latter part of 2010 and in the early part of 2011. The prevailing rainy conditions are expected to continue on and off until May, according to Meteorology Chief G B Samarasinghe. However he predicts a lull in showers from mid-February to the latter part of March in which period Sri Lanka would co-host the Cricket World Cup. Colombo received only 21 mm of rain in January 2010 while more..

IMF approves $217 mln loan tranche for Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka has got 216.6 million US dollars from the IMF despite missing one key target and lack of data for another, with the lender banking on better budgeting and inflation control. Following end of the so-called 'fifth review' of a standby arrangement struck after foreign reserves fell to rock bottom in early 2009, Sri Lanka's Central Bank would have received a total of 964.6 million from the IMF on a 2.6 billion US dollar bailout. more..

Warning of landslides in Matale

Feb 3 (DM) The Disaster Management Centre has declared an emergency situation in several areas of the Matale District due to the possibility of landslides. The areas are Rattota, Dambulla, Ukuwela, Galegala and Pelawatte, where landslides were expected due to the prevailing wet weather. DMC sources in Matale said a decision was made to declare an emergency situation, following a warning, regarding the danger of landslides in four districts (because of the continual rains). more..

Sri Lanka tourism boom prompts luxury coach imports

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's SMB Leasing (SMBL) and Lanka Ashok Leyland (LAL) have begun importing luxury tourist coaches amid a boom in tourist arrivals and a shortage of vehicles, a statement said. Leasing facilities have been provided by SMBL to the buyer of the first three imported luxury LAL tourist coaches. The move is the latest outcome of a partnership entered into by the two companies in August 2010, under which SMBL was appointed as the sole distributor and more..

At Colombo National Hospital: Pain relief edged out

Feb 3 (DN) The Pain Relief Clinic at the Colombo National Hospital functioning since 2000 has been closed for six months due to lack of space driving a large number of patients into difficulties. When the clinic was functioning around 25 patients were treated daily with the clinic being held all five days of the week. Each day around 10 interventional nerve block procedures (C Arm procedures) were conducted using C Arm equipment at the clinic. more..

Sri Lanka apparel industry shrugs off loss of trade benefit

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lankan apparel exporters are getting enough overseas orders and not been affected as badly as feared by the loss of duty free access to European Union markets, officials said. "Exports are growing moderately," said A Sukumaran, chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), an industry body. "We have been investing in technology and processes which helped us improve efficiency." more..

'Partnership with UN, NGOs to develop North'

Feb 3 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that through the partnership of the United Nations (UN) and NGO’s more investments would be made to develop the Northern Province to reach similar standards prevailing in the rest of the country. He was speaking at the launch of the Joint Plan for Assistance (JPA) for the people of the North to recover and rebuild their lives, more..

‘UNP won’t allow LG poll deferral’

Feb 3 (DM) UNP would not agree to a postponement of local council elections due to issues regarding nomination lists, the party said. A postponement is likely if legal action is taken by parties whose nomination papers had been rejected as it had been the case before. UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya made this point in response to a statement made by UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajantha that his party intended to file legal action against more..

Plenty of rice despite floods

Feb 3 (Island) A paddy harvest of two million metric tons, in the Maha season, despite the inclement weather, could be expected. "Initially the ministry was expecting a paddy harvest of 2.7 million metric tons, but due to the inclement weather and floods in most parts of the country, an estimated 700,000 tons of paddy have been destroyed," Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, K. E. Karunathilaka said. more..

UNP welcomes KP’s entry into politics

Feb 3 (Island) The UNP on Wednesday said that it wouldn’t object to one-time chief arms procurer for LTTE Kumaran Pathamanathan, aka ‘KP’, entering politics, but the government should be ashamed of the way it had treated former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The UNP accused the government of adopting double standards. UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said that as a democratic party the UNP welcomed anyone entering the political mainstream. more..

'Sri Lanka ready to work with BIMSTEC'

Feb 3 (Island) Sri Lanka,was ready to work with all member states to ensure that the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), achieved its vision for the betterment of its peoples,the Deputy Minister Neomal Perera, said in Myanmar last week. He was addressing the 15th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting and 13TH BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, more..

Bribe complaints pile up

Feb 3 (DM) Thousands of complaints of bribery and corruption have piled up at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption without action since the expiry of the term of office of the members of the commission in 2008. Commission had received a total of 1,354 complaints up to the end of January, 2011 on the incidences of bribery and corruption from many parts of the country since March 28, 2008 the day on which more..

Convener of IUSF arrested

Feb 3 (NN) The convener of the Inter University Student’s Federation (IUSF) Sanjeeva Bandara was arrested by the police last night on assault charges. He was arrested following a police complaint that he had assaulted two students of the Ruhuna University. He is also alleged to have had a weapon with him at the time. Last year the former convener of the IUSF Udul Premaratne was arrested opposite Sirikotha on an order issued by the Colombo Magistrate Court. more..

Waters Edge: SC approves new management

Feb 3 (Island) In a surprising move, the government has replaced a seven-member team, which successfully managed Waters Edge, which was taken over by the State in keeping with a Supreme Court order on Oct. 8, 2008. In a judgment similar to that which reversed the management of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) and the Lanka Marine Services Limited (LMSL), the Supreme Court declared the Water’s Edge transaction fraudulent and set it aside. more..

Protest over removal

Feb 4 (NN) Residents of the Maligawatte flats voiced their anger towards the authorities as they began to demolish illegal extensions of the premises this morning as part of the project to make Colombo look good for the cricket World Cup. Cement extensions of the Maligawatte residential flat which have been constructed illegally, were demolished a short while ago with police assistance. The removal of the illegal construction was being carried out in preparation of more..

Egypt style protests

Jan 4 (NN) The main opposition UNP today warned that it will organize street protests similar to that seen in Egypt in order to seek the defeat of the government. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera, speaking to reporters today, said that a protest will be staged at Punchi Borella tomorrow, Independence day, from 7pm onwards to agitate against the government. He claimed that hundreds of people will take part in the protest and also urged the public to take to the streets and support the campaign. more..

Tharanga powers Sri Lanka to easy win

Feb 4 (CI) Upul Tharanga's unbeaten century powered Sri Lanka to an easy win over West Indies in the second ODI in Colombo. A rain delay soon after Sri Lanka's chase started meant that their target was revised to 197 off 47 overs. Though Sri Lanka lost Tillakaratne Dilshan early, Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene's unbroken 97-run stand for the third wicket carried Sri Lanka to victory in just under 43 overs. more..

Sri Lanka forex reserve target missed due to Iran repayment

Feb 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka missed a foreign reserve target set in a deal with the International Monetary Fund due to an early repayment of a loan to Iran, IMF resident representative Koshy Mathai said. He said a seven month credit facility from Iran to import oil was reduced to four months reduced to four months in late 2010. "As a result there was a bunching of oil import payments towards the end of last year," Mathai told reporters. more..

Accidental explosion injures 10

Feb 4 (NN) An accidental explosion at the Colombo dockyard injured atleast 10 people a short while ago. The injured were admitted to the Colombo National hospital, Director of the hospital Dr. Hector Weerasinghe said. He said that the injuries were from the explosion possibly caused by some sort of gas leak during the repair of a ship in the dockyard located at the Colombo port. Those admitted to hospital ha minor injuries and will be discharged during the day. more..

Sri Lanka tea export earnings exceed Kenya's

Feb 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka earned a record 1.37 billion US dollars in tea exports in 2010, exceeding that of Kenya, which exported more, owing to higher prices and more valued added shipments, brokers said. The island's tea export earnings from exporting 314 million kilos were 16 percent more than in 2009. Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said exports in 2010 were eight percent higher than in 2009 when drought reduced the crop. more..

Govt decides to accelerate National Food Production Programme

Feb 4 (GDI) Government has decided to accelerate the food production drive targeting the one million home gardens set up under the Apiwawamu- Rata Nagamu Program. Government is to provide necessary seeds and other plants to the public, school children and others free of charge depending on their needs to cultivate home garden at every household. The recent price escalation of commodities in the open market affecting the cost of living of the general public more..

Arrangements being made to evacuate Sri Lankans stranded in Egypt

Feb 4 (HNS) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo is planning to take steps to facilitate the evacuation of 102 Sri Lankans, stranded in the northeastern Egyptian city of Ismailia, as bloody anti-government protests sink Egypt deeper into turmoil. The move to evacuate the 102 Sri Lankans come as a result of a factory in Ismailia, which is located 175Km from the Egyptian capital, Cairo, halting its operations due to the worsening crisis. more..

Detainee list released

Feb 4 (NN) The government assured the TNA this afternoon that the list of Tamils detained soon after the war on suspicion has been made available in Vavuniya and will be displayed in other parts of the country soon. TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran said that during a meeting between a government delegation and TNA delegation held this afternoon the Tamil party raised the issue of over 11,000 Tamils detained soon after the war as well as those detained during the conflict. more..

England U19s halted by rain

Feb 4 (ES) Rain intervened to deny England Under-19s a chance to chase down the target of their Sri Lankan counterparts in Colombo in the fourth ODI. The 50-over clash was forced down to 20 overs per side after several rain delays. And with England looking to have a chance of ending a run of three straight heavy defeats, the game had to be called off as a no result. Sri Lanka set about a total with typical verve, with dangerous opener Shehan Jayasuriya bludgeoning 60 more..

Sri Lanka need to fix middle order, Ranatunga

Feb 4 (Reuters) Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene should drop down and bolster a concerning middle order if Sri Lanka are to be successful at this month's World Cup, former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga said. Ranatunga, the burly left-handed batsman who led Sri Lanka to the title the last time it was played in the subcontinent in 1996, believes the island nation are the favourites, besides India, to win the World Cup for a second time. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.02.2011

God has spoken - Who said there is no God

Feb 4 (LG) We understand that Mahinda rajapaksa has cancer. We don’t know. When there is no other way to find justice for his atrocities an incurable disease is the right punishment. He may cure him self but that fear of cancer remerging is sufficient punishment for him. We wondered how to find justice for this national pestilence and his disease; we didn’t have any difficulty to find him guilty. Please get the difference. We asked every one, no avail. more..

A Response: Mahavamsa Mentality

Feb 4 (LG) Mr. Bandu De Silva’s main argument was how Mahavamsa can be connected to the present ethnic issue/debate and how it can be attributed to the present day ultra-nationalist chauvinism in Sri Lanka. Even though I have said enough on this issue (above) and in my article, how the present day Sinhala-Buddhists accrued the Mahavamsa mindset (the fusion between Mahavamsa and the present day Sinhala-Buddhists), let me further elaborate on how the fusion took place. more..

'What our country consequently needs is a new political will'

Feb 4 (TC) The celebration of independence is an important event in the life of any Country. It is an appropriate occasion to assess the quality of life of our people and our journey towards national integration. The end of the war provided an excellent opportunity for healing the wounds of the past. It was also an opportunity to include all those who had been excluded economically and socially, to build systems of social vigilance which more..

'Let our people feel that they are part of this community'

Feb 4 (DM) As Sri Lanka celebrates another year of independence due credit must be given to each of the communities that aided in the fight to gain this prized sovereignty from the British Colonisers. The Sri Lankan Tamils believed to be descendants from the old Jaffna Kingdom and east coast chieftaincies called Vannimais. Activities by foreign missionaries in 1814 caused a revival amongst Hindu Tamils who began building their own schools, temples, societies and more..

National unity and regulations

Feb 4 (DM) Soon we will be celebrating the 63rd year of our Independence and yet we are unsure of the single unity of our national identity. We remain as Sinhala Tamil and Muslim. Sixty-three years have gone by when we were recognized as a nation state and yet the fragmentation of the races have widened due to the emphasis given to the majority language by both politicians and bureaucrats. Even today after the war on terrorism has been successfully concluded yet more..

Limo ride for Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (DM) Prestige Limousines (Pvt) Ltd., the first Sri Lankan company to manufacture and sell custom built luxury limousines is planning a launch their vehicles on the February 7 at the BMICH for a limited crowd, to officially mark its presence in Sri Lanka, according senior company officials. "We are planning an official launch for our limousines on the February 7, 2011 and it will open up a completely new motor vehicle market segment for Sri Lanka" more..

Stretched luxury for Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (SL) As coconuts retailed at Rs 60, leeks at Rs 150, green chillies Rs. 500, tomatoes Rs 372 – all per kilo — and the Army selling vegetables to stabilise prices, the world’s first stretch Prado limousine arrived in Colombo last Wednesday. On Thursday, a similar super luxury vehicle, a Chevrolet 300c stretch limo, cleared Customs. Both cars cost the importer, a cool Rs. 16 million, thanks in part to a quirk in Customs regulations which permitted the cars to be imported as buses. more..