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Prime Minister briefs prelates on LG polls

Jan 4 (Island) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, calling on the Mahanayake Theras of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters on Sunday, said that the Local Government Amendment Bill would be presented in Parliament on Jan. 04. He said that the Opposition would get an opportunity to study amendment in detail and make constructive suggestions in Parliament. The elections would be held under the existing PR system since the new laws would not be ready before the elections, more..

'SLFP LG chiefs only on merit'

Jan 4 (DM) Not the highest number of preferential votes but the behaviour, the civility of the polls campaign and clean politics will be the criteria for the selection of heads of local government bodies for candidates of the SLFP after the forthcoming local government polls. General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena recalled that on this policy some Parliamentarians had not been given at least a more..

Over 200 hospitalised for food poisoning

Jan 4 (NN) Over 200 employees of a garment factory in Katunayake have been hospitalized over suspected food poisoning. The employees were brought in this morning and 25 have now been admitted for further observation. The police has launched an investigation into the incident. Reports of garment factory workers being hospitalized over food poisoning had been reported on a couple of occasions last year as well. more..

AH1N1: 8% of population immunized

Jan 4 (DM) The stock of 1.5 million AH1N1 vaccines donated by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been almost used up in immunizing some 8% of the population. The remaining 50,000 vaccines have to be used before they expire next Friday. “We targeted the members of risk groups such as expectant mothers, patients with chronic diseases, armed forces personnel and health employees for vaccination. more..

Economy going nuts

Jan 4 (IPS) At a marketplace near Colombo, consumers scramble for coconuts being sold from a state-owned truck. Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest coconut producer and a major exporter; but a crop shortfall and a drought have forced the country to import coconuts. Sarath Fernando, farmers’ rights activist and convener of a farmers and peasants group, attributes the coconut crisis to lopsided government policies and short-term solutions. more..

Minister to discuss controversial sea plane project

Jan 4 (Island) Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa would discuss with relevant officials the proposed sea plane project in the Negombo lagoon. WPC Minister Nimal Lansa said that the Government had decided to shift the proposed sea plane project from the Negombo Lagoon to the Dandugam Oya. Convener of the Alliance for Protection of the Negombo Lagoon, Herman Kumara yesterday said that Lansa had informed them of the decision. more..

Sri Lanka readies for island tourist resorts

Jan 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka expects to announce the investors who have been chosen to develop 10 islands in Kalpitiya, off the north-west coast for tourist resort development in the next two weeks, the chairman of the tourism office said. Nalaka Godahewa said 11 investors were ready to invest around 500 million US dollars to build tourist resorts, golf courses, marinas and other tourist infrastructure in the newly demarcated tourism zone. more..

CID busts massive ATM machine scam

Jan 4 (DM) The CID has busted a major ATM scam involving some 14 million rupees with the arrest of two suspects, the police said. The suspects had allegedly withdrawn more than Rs.14 million from ATMs after obtaining customer information using advanced electronic devices fixed on the ATM machines, initial police investigations revealed. They had then passed on this information to their accomplices in Italy more..

CJ has not resigned

Jan 4 (NN) The government today categorically rejected alleged reports that Chief Justice Asoka De Silva has resigned from his post following a dispute with President Mahinda Rajapakse. Responding to these reports Government Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva told Parliament today that those claims were part of a UNP campaign to mislead the public. He was responding to a question posed by Opposition Leader more..

Govt. MPs seek quota for school admissions

Jan 4 (DM) Some government members yesterday demanded of Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane that they be given quotas with regards to the admission of children to Grade I classes at popular schools. At the ruling party’s parliamentary group meeting, these MPs had reportedly raised concern that they would otherwise become helpless when their supporters asked for such favours. more..

Sri Lanka expects 8.5 percent growth in 2011

Jan 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Central Bank on Tuesday forecast the island's post-war recovery would accelerate this year with 8.5 percent economic growth on the back of a blistering expansion in tourism. The country's economy grew 8.0 percent in 2010, up from 3.5 percent a year earlier when security forces were in the final stages of crushing Tamil Tiger rebels and ending decades of ethnic bloodshed. more..

Denial of media coverage on evidence at LLRC harmful for the confidence of the Commission - IUSF

Jan 5 (LT) The LLRC which has been established to obtain views of the public on the national problem in Sri Lanka has obstructed media presence at several centres including Bussa camp, states the IUSF. The Convenor of the IUSF, Mr Udul Premarate in a comminique states that at least when the LLRC obtained evidence from the suspected LTTE cadres the media was not allowed to be present depriving the public awareness on the evidence damaging the more..

Special privileges to Namal at Law College exam in International Court

Jan 5 (LT) Final year student of the Law College has complained to the Human Rights Commission of the UNO and the International Court that he has been denied the fundamental rights that have been guaranteed to the people by the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the internationally accepted human rights. The complaint, making the Attorney General and the Council of Legal Education of the Law College as respondents, states the 12th clause of more..

Sri Lanka warns no redress for risk takers

Jan 5 (LBO) Sri Lankans who invest in high-risk, high-return unauthorised investment schemes will not be bailed out at tax payer expense if they lose money in future, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. The regulator will continue public awareness campaigns warning people of the danger of investing money in unauthorised schemes, he said. "We want to ensure they will not get lured by prohibited schemes and lose their money and more..

'Johnnie's eggs small, chicken stink'

Jan 5 (NF) Johnnie's eggs are small and chicken stink. These people who import eggs and chicken are the very same people who shouted from the rooftops to protect the local farmer, says UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilaka. Gayantha expressed these views addressing a meeting held at the Kobeigane Pradeshiya Sabha Hall. “The eggs imported by Johnnie are small. I saw these at a CWE outlet. They are also less nutritious than the domestically produced eggs and are not as large. more..

Stray cattle threaten livelihoods in north

Jan 5 (IRIN) Returnees to the north of Sri Lanka are struggling to deal with up to 40,000 stray cattle that are damaging their crops, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says. "Stray cattle were always involved in damaging cultivations in the past. This time it [the damage] is high, as farmers do not have enough fencing around their lands," Ravi Dissanayake, a national veterinary specialist with the FAO, told IRIN. About 80 percent of recently resettled households more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 04.01.2011

Lanka army learns fine art of mixing cocktails from India

Jan 5 (PTI) An Indian hotel has provided training for 11 members of Sri Lanka's elite army commando unit to sharpen their culinary skills and learn the fine art of mixing cocktails. The Taj Samudra hotel sharpened the army commandos' etiquette skills over three months "on culinary and food and beverage trades," the defence ministry said. Lieutenant Colonel Chaminda Chandrasekara said that there was a dearth of "professional knowledge among the soldiers handling more..

Former UNP MP released on bail

Jan 5 (SL) A former UNP MP Mohomad Maharoof was today (4) released on bail by courts after being arrested for criminal breach of trust. Courts had today (4) released Maharoof on a personal bail of Rs. 1.5 million after he was arrested for criminal breach of trust after cheques worth Rs. 1.5 million issued by him had allegedly bounced back. While Maharoof was released on a personal bail of Rs. 1.5 million and two sureties, more..

Former UNP MPs to support Sajith

Jan 5 (SL) Several former UNP parliamentarians have pledged their support to UNP Hambantota District parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa to take over the party leadership and called on the UNP Leader to step down. The group of parliamentarians have decided to hand over a letter to Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe requesting him to step down from the party leadership in order to make way for Premadasa to take over the post. more..

Govt. decides to postpone LG bill

Jan 5 (SL) The government today (4) said that a decision has been made to postpone the passing of two Local Government Bills in the House. Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister A.L.M. Athaullah told parliament that the debate on the two bills will be carried out today. The Minister said that more time was needed to debate the bill and to introduce more amendments. The two bills presented for debate in parliament today were the Local Authorities more..

Public warned of SMS

Jan 5 (NN) Officials have warned of an attempt to mislead the public via SMS service saying they had won a lottery and asking for money to process the documentation to claim the jackpot. The SLCERT have received atleast four complaints where customers had received an SMS from an Indian number claiming they had won a million dollar lottery. When these customers had contacted the Indian number, the person on the other side had repeated the claim that the caller was a winner. more..

Lankans to be deported

Jan 5 (NN) Discussions are underway to repatriate over 300 Sri Lankans who have been apprehended in Indonesia for entering the country illegally. The External Affairs Ministry quoted the Ambassador of Indonesia in Colombo as saying that his country is a transit point for those who want to travel illegally to Australia and at present there are several hundred Sri Lankans in detention centers in Indonesia. more..

2011 : Make Law the King

Jan 5 (LG) In December 2010, the judiciary of Israel set a good example for a country, which like Sri Lanka has experienced an exceptional collapse of the rule of law. Former Israel president, Mosh Catsave was charged and convicted by an Israeli court for rape and other offences. We have to absorb good without considering the background of it. The verdict of the Israeli Court compels us to think about the situation which prevails in our country. more..

Mahinda to the Tamils and Muslims -- this is our country

Jan 5 (LG) In the United Kingdom, back in the 1960s, when it was still a 'United Kingdom,' a group of comedian/musicians produced a long playing record entitled "Fool Britannia". It was nothing less than political satire that poked fun at the government and the Royal family. In parts it was not really that well done but it still managed to incur that wrath of those in power. It was eventually banned from public broadcast but not before it became very popular and more..

More corruption in the MininLanka

Jan 5 (LG) After we published the first report on Mihinlanka, the Rajapakse's own aviation company, we have received more details from our sources in Colombo. All details point to the fact that Mihinlanka is one of World's worse aviation companies. What we have gathered now is that its training institution can endorse flight training only on a Sri Lankan License. So, whoever is willing to pay the thundering amount of USD 35,000 for 20 hrs of training more..

Economic development versus economic growth

Jan 5 (DM) At the moment all we hear the Ministers say that we are fast developing the economy , that our people have this and that and why on earth are they complaining . The per capita is as high at 2000 dollars and it is repeated with nauseating ease that by 2015 it would in the range of 4000 dollars. Never a word is mentioned about the high cost of living and the traumas faced by not only the marginalized but the fixed wage earner. more..

'Resolution’ is never obtained by myth-modelling, misnaming and mischief

Jan 5 (DM) Harim Peiris, spokesperson for Chandrika Kumaratunga from 2001-2005, in an article titled ‘Rahul Gandhi, the UN and US express concern about Sri Lanka’ (Daily Mirror, Dec 30), has argued that when friends raise issues they need to be taken seriously. He is correct. We need to listen to friends. In this case however the friendship credentials of Gandhi (as or not as proxy for India – he’s just an MP), the USA and UN are pretty thin, more..

Sri Lankan American Roy Wijewickrama becomes US District Court Judge

Jan 5 (TC) According to the NC State Board of Elections Roy defeated Stephen Ellis by more than 4000 votes, garnering 53.88 percent of the vote and winning all seven counties in the district. He takes his oaths as judge in the Haywood County Superior Court in Waynesville, North Carolina. A graduate of Tuscola High School in Waynesville, NC, USA, Roy did his BA in Political Science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC and more..

Few Universities in Sri Lanka gave fake professorship

Jan 5 (LG) The Sri Lanka Guardian source reveals recently that few universities in Sri Lanka including the Rajarata, the Kalaniya and the Ruhuna Univerrsity are gave promotions to many unqualified jokers professorships by violating University Grand Commission formula. According to the source, the people who received professorships are do not have PhDs or any single publications in any reputed journals. However the Sri Lanka Guardian tried to contact more..

Sinhala only national anthem and

Jan 5 (SL) Jaffna students were forced to sing the National Anthem in Sinhala. Subheadline in a December 28th daily. Some kids of Vembadi Girls’ School and Jaffna Central College were selected to sing the National Anthem at the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna in celebration of some day or another (Meniks has lost count of these days of celebration) in the presence of the Prime Minister. On a sudden order they had to sing in Sinhala. more..

Tamils heavily victimised at Colombo airport

Jan 5 (LG) With the heavy presence of the intelligence officers at the Katunayake International Airport in Colombo, Tamils travelling from overseas are being systematically targeted and put through extensive interrogative processes for several hours. According to latest information, Tamil passengers of both inbound and outgoing flights are being targeted by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID). more..

For a public dialogue with UNP as Twenty-Eleven rolls out

Jan 5 (SL) We can’t forget the Sinhala voter. They are important in elections.” A strong reformist voice in the UNP told me, a fortnight ago, when I casually slipped into small talk at a seminar, that did not allow much private discussion. It was in response to my accusation that “reformists” are Sinhala racists, trying to compete with this Rajapaksa image, the original Sinhala Buddhist icon in present day Sri Lankan politics. more..

Needed: A Police to Police the Police

Jan 5 (SL) In a rare case of efficiency the police has managed to round up the mastermind and most of his accomplices in the biggest robbery in Sri Lanka’s history, the Rs 70 million ATM cash heist a few months ago in Kelaniya. However one startling fact the investigating cops discovered was that there was a police hand in the robbery itself. It has been found that a serving cop had been part of the gang and had played a key role in the robbery. more..

No Poya holiday for private sector

Jan 5 (LB) Private sector employees now fear the government would abolish the Poya day as holiday for mercantile sector employees. The apprehension is after a recent comment made by the Minister Gamini Lokuge that the government is considering whether to get rid of the Poya holiday given thus far to those in the mercantile sector. According to Lokuge currently the government is seriously contemplating taking the Poya holiday off from the holiday calendar more..

Editorial: Ban, ban, ban!

Jan 5 (Island) Perhaps no other government ever got its priorities mixed up the way the incumbent one has. It is all at sea, unable to control food prices and contain the high cost of living but it is planning to measure women's garments worn in public, according to media reports. An AFP dispatch says quoting Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Nimal Rubasinghe, that the government is considering a request from an unnamed group that provocative garments more..

Editorial: More jeers than cheers in sports

Jan 5 (DM) Whoever has some optimism that sports in Sri Lanka will reach a healthy and corruption-free state in the New Year, maybe be living in a fool’s paradise and may need to do some rethinking. Remember this is Sri Lanka where the politicians and their stooges reign supreme or thrive like maggots on a dead rat and we beg to differ from the optimists who sometimes go into extremes to think that change is likely. more..

'No country in South Asia can match Lanka in electricity'

Jan 5 (NF) No country in South Asia can match Sri Lanka in electricity generation and distribution, says Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Power and Energy. Addressing a media briefing today to raise awareness about the board's finances during this year, Patali said Sri Lanka did not have power cuts like India and Nepal. “The Electricity Board has fallen into this state because of providing electricity round the clock every day. more..

Sirisena to answer swine flu vaccine queries today

Jan 5 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena will make a special statement on the standard of the A/H1N1 influenza vaccine in Parliament today. Minister Sirisena yesterday said that he would make the statement in response to a series of questions raised by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake during a special statement to the House yesterday. He said that there were claims from many quarters of society that the vaccine provided to patients diagnosed with more..

'Sri Lankans remember marshes only during floods'

Jan 5 (Island) The Western Provincial Council Environment Minister Udaya Gammanpila on Saturday emphasised the need to maintain marshy land to accommodate excess rain water. He said that the entire Western province got inundated during heavy showers last month as the water retention areas had disappeared. "When vast areas of land are inundated, we try to find a solution and after a few weeks when the rains cease, we forget about it. more..