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'NK, Iran arms not used in war'

Jan 8 (Island) Sri Lanka says that in spite of difficulties in obtaining arms and ammunition at one stage during the Eelam War in 2008, government forces never faced shortages in ammunition and equipment needed to sustain the offensive. An authoritative official insists that the Lanka Logistics and Technologies Limited, which functions under Defence Ministry control, procured the required equipment from Sri Lanka’s regular suppliers. more..

'Elements trying to create rift'

Jan 8 (DM) There were attempts by certain elements to create a rift between the President and the Chief Justice, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. He charged that one report had said he had scolded the Chief Justice. He said certain opposition groups, NGOs and foreign elements and LTTE sympathizers have got together in the campaign to discredit him and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka CB net forex buyer in December: data

Jan 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank has been a net buyer in foreign exchange in December following three months of net sales amid unprecedented excess reserves in the banking system. In December the central bank bought 70.40 million US dollars from commercial banks and there were no sales. In December Sri Lanka's money supply expands as cash draw downs from banks increase during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. more..

No oxygen in Chilaw

Jan 9 (NN) Patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Chilaw hospital were moved out this morning after a breakdown with the oxygen machine. According to hospital sources four patients had to be moved out and admitted to the normal sections of the hospital following the breakdown. Sources said that the oxygen machine had experienced similar breakdowns on previous occasions as well but the authorities turned a blind eye to the situation. more..

Japan donated two fully equipped ambulances to Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (IL) Mr. Takano Kiyoshi, Minister of Ibaraki prefecture, Japan donated two fully equipped ambulances for the Sri Lankan Government. Sri Lanka business council of Japan coordinated to arrange the shipment to Sri Lanka. These ambulances worth eight million rupees were officially handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees by the President of the council Jagath Ramanayake. more..

Sri Lanka ship fuel vendors eye new port prospects

Jan 9 (LBO) Sri Lankan bunker firms want the government to open up to the private sector ship fuel supplies at a new port on the south coast close to the main shipping route, officials said. The market for ship fuel can be expanded as hundreds of vessels daily sail past the new Hambantota port which was opened last November, they said. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has announced it plans to start bunkering operations at Hambantota in May and more..

Sabaragamuwa to reopen for first year’s only

Jan 9 (AD) Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Sabaragamuwa, Professor H.M.S. Priyanath states that the faculties in the university which had been temporarily closed will be reopened on Monday. All faculties of the university apart from the Faculty of Applied Sciences will be open to first year students only, Prof. Priyanath revealed. The Sabaragamuwa University had been temporarily closed on January 01 due to certain ragging incidents while more..

UNP’s Grama Charika in Kotte

Jan 9 (SL) The UNP is to hold the fourth phase of the Grama Charika programme in the Kotte electorate today (8) and tomorrow (9). The Grama Charika programme was launched last year with the aim of reaching out to the party’s grass root level membership. Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya is to participate in the event. The programme commenced at the Naga Viharaya in Kotte at 8.00 am today. more..

Rs. 700mn allocated for national census

Jan 9 (SL) The government has said the 14th national census on population and housing to be conducted this year is estimated to cost Rs. 700 million. The census this time is to cover all 25 districts in the country after 30 years. During the period of the war, districts in the North and East were not included in the census. The last census was held in 1981 and was then confined to 18 districts only. more..

Majority bus owners are against the strike - NTC

Jan 9 (AD) Even though the private bus owners are ready to stage an island wide bus strike, we will face it with alternate strategies, says Shashi Welgama Chairman of the National Transport Commission (NTC). He further added that the demands by the private bus unions are not at all reasonable. A majority of the private bus owners are against this strike, Shashi Welgama pointed out. The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association had previously stated that more..

Hakeem to ease backlog of court cases

Jan 9 (SL) Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem says that he would take necessary steps to ease the backlog of cases in the local courts. Addressing an event at the Justice Ministry, Hakeem has said that while he was aware of the issues faced by the country’s judiciary, the most salient factor is the delay in court cases. He has said there were a large number of cases accumulated in the courts, pending decisions due to various reasons. more..

Children’s home raided

Jan 9 (NN) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) raided a children’s home in Anuradhapura this evening and arrested the caretaker as well as the assistant over allegations of abusing the children. NCPA Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake told News Now .lk that there were complaints alleging poor management of the Avantha-devi children’s home in Anuradhapura. She said that following the raid this evening the caretaker and more..

Murali, Mahela get 1m

Jan 9 (NN) Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and batsman Mehela Jayawardena fetched over US$ 1 million each at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction held in India today. Muttiah Muralitharan was sold to the Kotchi team for US$ 1.1 Million at the auction a short while ago while earlier in the day Kotchi also purchased Mahela Jayawardene for US $1.5 million. Pune got Angelo Mathews for US$ 950,000 while Kumar Sangakkara was sold for US$ 700,000 more..

'Signs of a major change is very clear'

Jan 9 (NF) The signs of a significant change is very clear. Government is losing its local bodies one by one and their members are crossing over to the UNP, says Karu Jayasuriya, Deputy Leader of the United National party. He made these comments addressing a rally held at Leighnton Stadium in Negombo on Thursday where a number of party leaders including Ranil Wickremasinghe and Sajith Premadasa also took part. more..

MR signs cricket bat

Jan 9 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa kicked off a national signature campaign this evening organized by Ran FM and Swarnavahini to support the Sri Lankan cricket team for the upcoming world cup by signing a massive cricket bat at Temple Trees. The campaign titled ‘Jaya Apatai- Loka Ran kusalana dinawana sinhanadaya’ will cover the entire country and will begin at Hambantota on Wednesday. The massive cricket bat which was signed by the President today will be able to sign the bat and more..

'Arjuna, the reason LG elections are not being held altogether'

Jan 9 (AD) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says that the main reason the Local Government elections is not being held at the same time is due to the request made by Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga. Some groups are releasing various false statements in regard to this matter, he stressed. The Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities emphasized that the government has the ability to win the upcoming election without any obstructions. more..

Sri Lanka go for variety and experience for World Cup

Jan 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricket selectors opted for a blend of variety and experience when naming the final 15-man squad for the 2011 World Cup that runs from February to April, officials said on Saturday. "We looked at the opposition teams and the games we will be playing and we went for variety in our attack, coupled with experience to pick the 15," chief selector Aravinda de Silva told reporters on Saturday. more..

Korean support for more projects discussed

Jan 9 (MoD) The Government discussed the possibility of obtaining more financial support from the Korean Government for the development of roads and water supply sectors in the country at a meeting held at the parliamentary complex yesterday. A high level delegation from the Strategy and Finance Ministry in Korea met Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Ministry officials at the parliamentary complex and they focused on the priority projects of the Sri Lankan Government. more..

Colombo attempts to divert attention from increasing lawlessness in Jaffna

Jan 9 (TN) Colombo is campaigning to portray the continually escalating incidents of civilian murders, disappearance and robberies as being the result of individual enmities and family squabbles among the local population. Jaffna district SSP, Neville Padmadeva, speaking at a conference to explore the reasons for the increasing crimes, held in Jaffna’s Veerasingham Hall Friday, in the presence of NGOs, journalists and civil society members, advanced this view, more..

Arumugam Varatharajan ~ I want to feel belonged

Jan 9 (GV) The time is 12.10PM, it is lunch time in Sri Lanka. The scorching Sun shines bright in Jaffna, North of Sri Lanka. Arumugam Varatharajan (56) wrapped in an old Blue Sarong and wears no shirt as the weather is balmy. He is seen busy stitching bags at his small tailor shop in Kondavil~ Jaffna district. A ladies’ bicycle is parked on the wall. His shop also has candy, shampoo and pen for sale. more..

Editorial: JVP exposes its hidden agenda

Jan 9 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government have again demonstrated in no uncertain terms their firm belief in democracy and the people's power by dissolving Local Government (LG) bodies to hold fresh elections shortly. Having conducted the Presidential elections two years ahead of schedule and the subsequent general elections in April last year, the President intends to give the masses an opportunity to elect representatives to the Municipal Councils, more..

Editorial: People's War II

Jan 9 (LB) If one thing is certain it is that the president and his cabinet have declared a war on the cost of living. It is simple -- why else would the army be selling vegetables? Coming close on the heels of directives to import coconuts, eggs and chicken, the decision to have military men in fatigues selling vegetables strikes as being almost surreal. Is it then a sign that the government that won an extremely difficult war now believes that throwing the army at more..

A look at our troubled future through Vidu’s eyes

Jan 9 (ST) I entered the Regal Cinema expecting to watch yet another typical Asoka Handagama movie that would subtly peep into the contemporary sexuo-social paradoxes of society. I came out visibly shaken, battling between emotions and rational thinking and finally allowing the rational side to claim victory. Vidu is a movie with a new theme, story line and message. The storyline is different from other Handagama movies. more..

Editorial: ‘A people like no other’

Jan 9 (SL) When an advertising agency came with the slogan “The Small Miracle” President Mahinda Rajapaksa went ballistic. The objection was to the word ‘small’. Sri Lanka after all does nothing small. Just look at the ‘mega’ infrastructure projects, most of them white elephants, the mega cabinet and of course mega corruption. So came the current slogan — ‘A Country Like No Other.’ Whether by intention or default the second slogan is far more apt at describing this island. more..

Editorial: Disarm armed cadres in north

Jan 9 (NS) It is now more than one and a half years since the war against the LTTE was officially declared over. Sri Lanka stands once more as a united and peaceful nation and its citizens are able to travel to any part of the country. That freedom was disputed in recent weeks with reports that the North and Jaffna in particular had become a hotbed of criminal activity. Crime, it seemed, had replaced the spectre of terrorism in the city which was once the theatre of the ethnic conflict. more..


Jan 9 (SL) When I was 16 years old my father was to bring home a book from his travels to a beautiful little village called Caux in Switzerland. The title startled us. It read gravely, How to be Your Own Selfish Pig…. And Other Ways You’ve Been Brainwashed by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. Macaulay was the daughter of the great Christian Thinker, Francis Schaeffer. Within the pages of this excellent book were examples of more..

Editorial: Hemin, hemin

Jan 9 (Island) It is time for the public to look long and hard at shabby, shoddy work by government institutions and agencies, examples of which abound, and insist on acceptable standards. Ruana Rajepakse, an attorney-at-law who has long contributed to this newspaper has in an article today looking at the Local Authorities Elections Bill and the related Local Authorities Bill presented to Parliament recently has cited a telling example of what we are talking about. more..

Editorial: Reciprocity to visitors

Jan 9 (ST) The Government's decision to slap a visa requirement accompanied by a fee on foreigners visiting Sri Lanka has been met with a grumble from the tourist industry, which sees it as a damper on its plans to boost tourist arrivals. It is clearly a tit-for-tat move against countries that demand visas from Sri Lankans travelling to their shores, more than the revenue to be earned from the exercise. Only Singapore and the Maldives have been exempted because more..

Shangri-La Hotel pays premium price for land

Jan 9 (SO) The premises of the Gangarama temple and the former Commercial Company would be converted into a recreation area and the existing main road would be relocated soon. The Urban Development Authority (UDA) which is handling the project is also planning to acquire a further five acres of land adjoining the Nawaloka Hospital which was neglected to construct an alternative road which would link Staple Street. more..

The Rajapaksas have a proven capacity to normalise the preposterous

Jan 9 (TC) Last week the Rajapaksa regime sold 10 acres of land located opposite the Galle Face Green, to Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, for US$125 million. Little wonder the brothers are rearing to evict 65,000-75,000 low-income families from Colombo. Quite apart from the overwhelming need to deprive the UNP of its last electoral bastion (ideally before the next CMC election), the lands occupied by these families are ‘gold mines’ which can be ‘developed’ and more..

NorthEast Local Election circulars printed in Sinhala only

Jan 9 (TN) Sri Lanka Government has issued circulars and directives for the forthcoming local council elections printed in Sinhala only, sources in Jaffna said. Election officials in the NorthEast are undergoing enormous difficulties in interpreting the directions and procedures to conduct the elections. Civil society sources said that Colombo appears to be imposing Sinhala only policy especially following the recent controversy after forcing the more..

Liquor prices down… but up again – all in just 5 days

Jan 9 (Island) In what appeared to be a comical scenario, Sri Lanka’s liquor prices were pushed down and then up again within just five days last week. The reduction of VAT on liquor from 20% to 12% last Monday came as a surprise move, which saw retail prices drop by 20 to 25 rupees per 750 ml bottle of local liquor. But, come Friday – four days after the reduction – the excise duty on a proof litre of alcohol was increased by 50 rupees more..

Election fever spreads amid UNP ‘cold war’

Jan 9 (NS) The leadership crisis in the UNP has deepened over the week with both parties claiming that they command the confidence of the majority in the working committee and the parliamentary group. The UNP constitution stipulates that the two apex bodies of the party, the working committee and the parliamentary group together form the electoral college entitled to elect office-bearers of the party. The Wickremesinghe group believes that Sajith Premadasa would face a definite defeat more..

Poll battle heats up

Jan 9 (NS) Even if 2010 was hailed as an election year and both presidential and general elections were held, elections have not been off the agenda in the New Year: the government on Thursday announced polls for local government bodies in March. Indeed, there has been a lot of political activity in the lead up to this particular election. That is because the government, with the consent of the opposition, wanted to experiment with a hybrid election system combining both the more..

JVP bids adieu to Fonseka

Jan 9 (Island) The dissolution of the Pradesheeya Sabhas has overshadowed everything else. Even before the last local government elections in 2006, the elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake wrote to the Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils wanting to know whether the elections were to be held on the present proportional representation (PR) system or according to a first past more..

Military presence criticised at LLRC

Jan 9 (BBC) Roman Catholic churchmen in northern Sri Lanka say many of the region's mainly Tamil population feel they are living under military rule, 20 months after the war between the state and the Tamil Tiger separatists ended. They were addressing a government-appointed war commission on one of its visits to the former war zone. Many hesitate to speak out against the government or military in northern Sri Lanka but Catholic priests regularly do so. more..

Unemployment rate drops

Jan 9 (NS) Sri Lanka’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in the third quarter 2010. The unemployment rate in 2009 was 5.7 percent. The Department of Census & Statistics released these data after conducting surveys in July, August and September 2010, except in the Northern Province. The survey results revealed that the estimated economically active population (or labour force) was about 8.0 million in the third quarter of 2010 of which 66.8 percent were males and 33.2 percent were females. more..

Banks warned on ‘e-thieves’

Jan 9 (NS) Banks offering electronic banking facilities are being urged to focus more on upgrading their security systems to ensure the safety of account holders in future. Payment devices fraud experts made the call in the wake of the recent ATM scam, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. It was revealed that some banks do not even have the basic security measures such as CCTV cameras that help identify the withdrawer at a later occasion, if needed. more..

East Coast becomes a hot destination for Heli Flights

Jan 9 (Island) Against a backdrop of increasing economic activity in all parts of the country domestic airlines such as Deccan Aviation reports a significant increase in domestic flights to the north and east. The company revealed that the average sector flying time is on the rise with more flights being taken to the east coast, Trincomalee, Pasikudah and Arugam Bay tops the list of hot destinations. However Deccan which currently operates a single more..

‘Three Js’ working to bring unity between Ranil and Sajith

Jan 9 (Island) UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake MP, yesterday said that he was confident that the party had the strength and ability to bring all sections together at the grassroots level and forge ahead to take the party to victory at the forthcoming local polls by defeating the UPFA which is increasing becoming unpopular amongst the masses. "The UNP has decided that it would give priority to sitting members of local bodies who do not have any disciplinary more..