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Jaffna killings: Blown out of proportion?

Jan 9 (LB) It was the government’s point man in Jaffna, Minister Douglas Devananda who broke THE ice on a debate many wish to avoid. He told the House which met last week for its first sessions in 2011, that Jaffna was gripped by A fear psychosis and that murders and abductions had become commonplace. “Our people fear that they will have to live in a land of bloodshed once again,” he told the House. more..

Not knowing when to draw the line

Jan 9 (NS) For the past few weeks or so since the national selectors announced the preliminary squad of 30 players for the 2011 World Cup speculation has been rife that two of Sri Lanka’s outstanding cricketers of the World Cup winning team of 1996 Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas would make it to the final 15 of the squad. Although there was much sympathy from a section of the public and from certain sections of the media for their inclusion the national selectors more..

Security tightened in north

Jan 9 (NS) The recent violence in the Jaffna peninsula has seen a decrease during the past week, the military said. Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe said the security forces and the Police had taken stern steps to curb the violence in the peninsula. “A few attacks took place in the peninsula. The security forces have put up snap checkpoints at random places in order to ensure that these incidents do not happen,” he said. more..

President Rajapaksa pays last respect to veteran journalist’s mother

Jan 9 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid his last respect to late Mrs. Sisilin Balasooriya Dombagahawatta , mother of Mr. Ariyananda Dombagahawatta, Chief Editor of Irida Lankadeepa at his residence in Boyagane, Kurunegala on 07th January. Mrs S.B. Dombagahawatta was 98 years old at the time of her death and has five children. Her youngest son, Mr. Ariyananda Dombagahawatta is one of the leading chief editors in Sinhala news papers and more..

1,250 LP gas cylinders among stolen goods seized by police

Jan 9 (Island) Police raided an abandoned house at Elukatiya in Ahangama and seized 1,250 LP gas cylinders worth Rs. 3.5 lakhs, 50 water pumps, two welding plants and six motor cycles last week. Police believe that these items had been stolen by a gang operating in the area and concealed in this house for disposal. Two suspects arrested are believed to have robbed valuables worth over Rs. 5 million from two houses they had burgled. These goods were, however, not recovered. more..

Local Government Elections: Quotas for Women and Youth?

Jan 9 (Island) In 1990, as the result of a recommendation contained in the Report of the Presidential Commission on Youth which was set up by President Ranasinghe Premadasa following the youth uprising of the late 1980s, the Local Authorities Elections Act was amended to include a special quota of candidates aged between 18 and 35 years of age. The rationale for this was the pervasive sense of alienation among the youth of that time which the Commission, more..

Bank profits to shoot up by 30-40% this year

Jan 9 (BL) Sri Lanka’s banking sector is likely to record a sharp 30-40 percent increase in after-tax profits in 2011 following recent measures taken by the government to reduce taxes and gradually lower provisions, analysts predict. Effective tax rates applicable for banks is expected to come down to about 40-45 percent from a high of 55-60 percent witnessed in previous years while recent policy initiatives taken by more..

Ministers to lead election campaign in districts

Jan 9 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed senior cabinet ministers to be in charge of each district to carry out election work. The decision was taken during the SLFP party organisers meeting held on Friday (7) under the chairmanship of President Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa during the meeting had warned party organisers to be vigilant against any violence. Informing the party organisers that he wanted to ensure the polls were minus violence, he has also called more..

TRC takes 22 illegal TV stations to task

Jan 9 (SO) The Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the police raided 22 illegal TV stations operating in the country within the past few months, TRC Director General Anusha Pelpita told the Sunday Observer yesterday. According to the TRC 19 of these illegal TV stations were raided in Jaffna while the other three are in the southern parts of the country. He said some of these stations have been given time to prove their authenticity before taking legal more..

Crisis looms in milk food industry as importers demand price hike

Jan 9 (Island) Sri Lanka’s key milk food trade is heading for a crisis as importers collectively mull over a drastic cut on consignments to ward off mounting losses following the government’s continued refusal to grant a price revision ranging from 10% to 15%, industry officials warned last week. A 400 gram pack of milk powder, now sold at 244 rupees, will go up by about 30 rupees if the upward price adjustment more..

LG Elections: All kinds of game-plans

Jan 9 (LB) It’s almost strange that the impending local government elections have become a problem for both government and opposition parties. The government has been beset by protests from sitting local government members of its own party claiming that the new local government Bill is disadvantageous to them. Therefore, the government decided that the coming LG elections will not be held under provisions of the new Bill. more..

N-E economic growth to be expedited

Jan 9 (SO) Economic growth in the North and the East will be expedited this year following the huge inflow of foreign investments to the country, said Governor Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal. He said around US$ 3 billion has been invested on development in the North and the East and added that around US$ 2 billion has been already invested to accelerate development in the East. "Major investments are being made on reviving the banking sector, more..

A govt cover-up: Lasantha’s killers still walk free

Jan 9 (SL) A year ago, a high profile investigation into the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge and the attacks on Editors Upali Tennekoon, Keith Noyahr and Namal Perera got underway as senior sleuths attached to the CID and the TID sifted through a smattering of leads which may, they said, eventually pinpoint who were responsible for these attacks on journalists at the height of the war against the LTTE. more..

25 dead as AH1N1 cases near 500

Jan 9 (NS) AH1N1 confirmed cases rose this week to 425 while the number of confirmed deaths stands at 25. The cumulative number of cases (475) is an increase of 75 over the previous week and the number of deaths reflects an increase of two over last week’s figures published by the Epidemiology Unit in its latest update, dated January 7, 2011. The alarming rise in the figures this early in the year, comes as no surprise to Health officials. more..

Living at a cost

Jan 9 (SL) The rising cost of living has taken its toll on people from all walks of life. According to statistics from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, prices of most essential goods have drastically risen, giving people more worries to chew on. The normally riotous visit to the Nugegoda pola was relatively subdued, the effect of this price rise reflected, if not on people’s faces, then in their words. The market vendors admit that business has been poor for some time now, more..

More educational facilities for Northern children

Jan 9 (SO) Discussions on Friday with Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena on appointments for existing vacancies in the education sector of the Northern province were successful, Governor Maj.Gen.G.A.Chandrasiri said. This was part of the measures of the provincial administration, under directions from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to provide unhindered educational facilities to the Northern children who were more..

Grand Tamil alliance for local elections

Jan 9 (NS) Tamil political parties have taken steps to form a grand alliance to contest the upcoming local government elections. The TNLA, TULF, EPRLF/Nabha faction and PLOTE had had met earlier this month to discuss the possibilities on forming a broad alliance that would also include Tamil parties that are with the government. The four parties had already spoken to the TNA and the EPDP on this matter. more..

Govt, TNA talks to resume tomorrow

Jan 9 (SO) The first meeting for the new year between the special committees of the Government and the TNA to explore ways and means to find a solution for the grievances of the people living in the North and the East will be held tomorrow, according to TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandran. He said that tomorrow’s meeting between the high level committees of the Government and the TNA would be significant as it was the first meeting for the year. more..

'120-day deadline for UNP changes flexible'

Jan 9 (NS) One-time staunch Ranil Wickremesinghe supporter, Dr Jayalath Jayawardana, who now claims to be a reformist, however, says that 120-day deadline set to make party hierarchy changes with the adoption of its new constitution on December 12 is a flexible target and there is no hurry as it is not something stipulated in the country’s constitution, but in a party constitution. And he argues that there more..

'I don’t belong to any group, only working for UNP victory'

Jan 9 (Island) Rosie Senanayake, MP, said yesterday that she did not belong to any group in the UNP and was only working towards the party’s victory at future elections. She said that her support for the UNP reforms which led to the recent amendment of the party constitution, was based on the urgent need for democratization since it was the key to winning elections – be they local, parliamentary or presidential. more..

Invincible Gina madam behind bars at last

Jan 9 (LB) Police plan on obtaining a court order to question clients of Liberty Plaza brothel owner Rosemary Judy Perera also known to her clientele as Gina Madam. Police sources told LAKBIMAnEWS that certain politicians and high profile businessmen who were clients of Gina Madam fear to interfere with the investigations, as the raid was conducted under the direct orders of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

'Police powers should remain with Central govt.'

Jan 9 (SO) Deputy Minister of Resettlement Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan said that police powers need not be vested with the Provincial Councils but remain with the Central Government to ensure national security. The LTTE's former Military Leader of the Eastern region, Minister Muralitharan said that the best solution to solve the problems of Tamils was the 13th Amendment and more..

3 district secs and 17 divisional secs win ISO 9001 certificates

Jan 9 (IL) 3 District Secretariats and 17 Divisional Secretariats have won ISO 9001 International Certification as a recognition of providing a quality, efficient and high standard service to the general public in public administration sector in Sri Lanka. This achievement of the government’s public administration sector was celebrated and President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the award ceremony more..

My Thaththi

Jan 9 (SL) One day about two years ago, I was at home here in Melbourne playing with my stuff when I heard a commotion. My mother was crying and people were coming to the house. My mother said my dad had been hurt so we got ready immediately to leave to Sri Lanka. At the airport I was playing about at the transit lounge. I asked Ammi whether Thaththi was in hospital. “He will ask me for 100 kisses I know,” I said happily.Then Ammi told me the truth. I couldn’t believe it. I said, “No, it can’t be,” and I cried. more..

'Chandrika demanded Norway to remove SLMM chief'

Jan 9 (DM) A move by SLMM made a gunrunning vessel belonging to the LTTE, escape from Sri Lanka Navy, Wikileaks reveals. The highly confidential cable sent by Colombo US Embassy to Washington, dated October 23, 2003 was classified by Colombo’s Charge´ d´Affaires James F. Entwistle. He reports that this series of events led to then President Chandrika Kumaratunga requesting the Norwegian govt to remove the then incumbent SLMM chief Tryggve Teleffsen. more..

Rudra writes to Ban

Jan 10 (NN) Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, the so called “Prime Minister” of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) has written to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon saying TGTE is taking steps to brief leaders of different countries to highlight the latest escalation of violence in Sri Lanka. In the letter made public today Rudrakumaran urged the UN Chief to broaden the mandate of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka to cover the abuses that more..

Proud to be Lasantha's daughter

Jan 10 (ST) The morning of January 8, 2009: I sat with you while you had your breakfast; you kissed me goodbye like you always did. I still remember the song that was playing as you were, unknowingly, preparing for death. Ironically enough, it was Pink Floyd's 'Great Gig in The Sky’. Two sad years have passed since the day you left home never to return, but to me the shock of losing you seems like it happened just yesterday. more..

JHU accuses Sajith

Jan 10 (NN) The JHU has accused UNP Hambantota MP Sajith Premadasa of trying to “buy” the support of Buddhist monks by offering money to Temples with the intension of one day becoming the President of the country. JHU member Udaya Gammanpila, speaking in Maskeliya today said that the popular UNP MP and son of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa had offered Rs. 50,000 each to some Temples in an attempt to buy the support of the monks. more..

Nine Sri Lankans arrested over violent clashes in Cyprus

Jan 10 (CM) Police arrested have arrested nine Sri Lankans in connection with the violent clashes that took place on Thursday night in Nicosia. Six were arrested on Friday afternoon, with a further three later on Friday night. All nine went to Nicosia district court and have been remanded in custody for six days. Three people were hospitalised after the clashes, with two head injuries and one hand injury. more..

Moves to change PR system make little headway

Jan 10 (ST) The Government admits that the Proportional Representation (PR) system used in electing members to Parliament, Provincial Councils and local authorities should be changed. The main opposition UNP which introduced the system by way of the 1978 Constitution too now thinks the system should be amended. However the first attempt to change the system at local government level made little headway in Parliament last week when the government said it more..

Govt to hold crucial talks for political solution to Tamil ethnic row

Jan 10 (PTI) The government will hold a crucial round of talks with TNA, a major Sri Lankan party representing the Tamil community in the country, in a bid to find a political solution to the grievances of the minority ethnic group. The first meeting between the special committees of the government and the TNA to explore ways and means to find a solution to the grievances of the people living in the North and the East will be held tomorrow, more..

Sana out of IPL also

Jan 10 (NN) Former Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya, who was just last week omitted from the Sri Lankan World Cup squad, was in for another shock today as he was not picked by any of the teams contesting the IPL in April. Jayasuriya, who was part of the Mumbai Indians in the previous three editions of the tournament was unsold on the second day of the IPL auction held in Bangalore today. Meanwhile the Chennai Super Kings bought Joginder Sharma for 150,000 dollars, more..

Our leader doesn’t learn from the past - Prabha

Jan 10 (AD) DPF MP Prabha Ganeshan says that the leader of his party, Mano Ganeshan never learns a lesson from past experiences. He recalled that when the Democratic People’s Front had contested the previous general election under the UNF together with the UNP its leader Ranil Wickramasingha had promised Mano Ganeshan a Parliamentary seat from the national List. However the promise was not kept and no seat was awarded, Prabha Ganeshan stated. more..

Sri Lanka Law College initiates probe

Jan 10 (BBC) Sri Lanka's foremost law academy says it has launched an investigation over allegations of exam irregularities at the final year examination held in early January. A whistle-blower, final-year student DM Thushara Jayaratne has accused Sri Lanka Law College (SLLC) authorities of making exam papers available beforehand to selective students and offering special privileges to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's son, Namal, MP. more..

Seven dead, 4 missing

Jan 10 (NN) At least seven people were killed and four others are missing following heavy rain, mudslides and floods since early this morning in several parts of the country mostly the eastern, central and north central provinces. Meanwhile the Disaster Management Center said that more than 750,000 people have been affected by the rain which is expected to continue tomorrow as well. Officials in Batticaloa said that four people who were heading along a route in more..

Private bus strike temporarily postponed

Jan 10 (NN) The LPBOA says that they intend to postpone the bus strike which was scheduled to take place on January 11. We plan to postpone the strike as the Western Province Road Passenger Transport Authority has decided to give in to one of our primary demands, Gemunu Wijeratne said. The President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) expressed “However, not only the minimum bus fare but a need for an extensive revision of bus fares exist. more..

Hundreds of city families told get ready to move out

Jan 10 (ST) Hundreds of Colombo families having valid deeds for their houses and land are being told to be prepared to vacate their homes, as the Urban Development Authority wants more land in the city for new development plans. Over the past few days, some 400 families holding deeds or valid documents issued by the National Housing Development Authority were called for separate meetings with UDA officials and more..

Do mere court building make a legal system?

Jan 10 (LG) We are being informed that new court officials are being commissioned and new court buildings are being established in various parts of the country to alleviate the woes of long suffering litigants lost in the infuriating labyrinth of what is Sri Lanka’s justice system. All this is well and good. This country certainly needs additional courts and additional judicial officials. However, as we saw most glaringly in the era of the former Chief Justice more..

Customs: Highest level corruption with overwhelming evidence exposed

Jan 10 (LG) 1. The government and people of this country are well aware of the deterioration of the law and order within the Customs Administration, particularly at the highest levels, causing tremendous losses of revenue to the government. 2. In this background, we, Sri Lanka Independent Government Trade Union Organization – Sri Lanka Customs, consider it is proper to bring to your notice the following, which require appropriate action to more..

Ranil Wickremesinghe is the main obstacle preventing re-establishment of democracy

Jan 10 (TC) Marx began one of his brilliant essays, the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte with a correction of Hegel’s idea that history necessarily repeats itself. According to Marx, Hegel "forgot to add the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce". Last autumn when I was in London, I had a long discussion with a Tamil gentleman who had left Sri Lanka in the early sixties and settled down in the UK. more..