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'Rajapaksa magic is over now – Country should be steered in a new direction'

Jan 6 (LT) ‘The JVP has decided to contest the forthcoming Provincial Council elections alone’ said its leader Mr Somawansa Amarasinghe. Accordingly the JVP is ready to contest all Divisions including North and East if the Provincial Council elections will be held in this Province too,’ said Mr Amarasinghe. He added that the JVP has contested the Provincial Council elections alone in the past, and more..

Sri Lanka new port to offer ship fuel in May

Jan 6 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) plans to start bunkering or ship fuel operations at a new port in southern Hambantota in May, its chairman Priyath Wickrama said. A tank farm with a capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes is under construction at the port which was built with Chinese loans and contractors. The tank farm should be ready by April 2011. "We're hoping to start bunkering by May this year," more..

National reconciliation: Northern youth take to law enforcement

Jan 7 (Island) Sri Lanka is ready to deploy the Tamil police personnel recruited and trained after the conclusion of the war in May 2009. The police say 336 personnel enlisted from the Northern Province and trained in the South will pass out from the Kalutara Police Training College on Friday (Jan.7) evening. IGP Mahinda Balasuriya would take the salute, sources said. more..

'Undergrads will get three weeks leadership training under Army'

Jan 6 (DM) The nearly 20,000 students who qualify annually for university education will be given a three week leadership training to improve their skills and discipline under the supervision of the armed forces, said Minister S.B. Dissanayaka. He said the greatest challenge in the sphere of higher education was to change the destructive and miserable university culture that prevailed only more..

Mini skirts allowed

Jan 6 (NN) The Government has denied rumours of banning mini-skirts and introducing a related clothing pattern to Sri Lankans visiting specific places and areas in the country. According to the government, in the past few days there were reports that there is a move by the government to bring new regulations introducing a new dress code to be adhered when the people visit the religious places and other important public places. more..

Lawmakers: Violence returns to northern Sri Lanka

Jan 7 (AP) Sri Lanka's former war zone is again seeing unexplained killings, abductions and rapes despite tight security in the region, lawmakers said Thursday. A group of ethnic Tamil lawmakers submitted to Parliament a list of 15 serious incidents that they say occurred in the northern Jaffna peninsula in the past two months. They asked the government to explain how such crimes could take place considering the area's security situation. more..

Bhanuka Rajapaksa to lead Sri Lanka U-19s

Jan 7 (CI) Sri Lanka's leading run-getter in last year's Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, will lead his country in the upcoming Test and one-day series against England U-19s. Rajapaksa, a top-order batsman, accumulated 253 runs at an average of 63.25 in the World Cup in January 2010 and is one of four players who played in that tournament picked in a squad of 16 to meet England in two four-day matches and five limited-over internationals. more..

'Tamil rebels operating ships abroad'

Jan 7 (DPA) Defeated Tamil separatist rebels of northern Sri Lanka were running illegal operations overseas, using ships that escaped the conflict, a senior cabinet minister said Thursday. Rebels associated with the LTTE still had at least eight vessels and were using them for illegal activities, including human trafficking, charged Dinesh Gunawardena, the chief government whip and water supply and drainage minister. more..

Sri Lanka expressway nears completion

Jan 7 (LBO) An expressway linking the Sri Lankan capital Colombo to the south is nearing completion with one section expected to be open to the public by June this year, a statement said. Work on roads near three cricket World Cup venues is also being expedited to cater to the large numbers of local and foreign fans expected for the event, the statement from the President's media unit. It said 80 percent of work on the Colombo - Matara expressway is over. more..

Order sought on Face Book

Jan 7 (NN) Sri Lankan authorities are to seek a court order to obtain information from the Facebook Corporation in the United States in order to investigate several complaints lodged in Sri Lanka over the abuse of privacy using the social networking site. Senior Engineer of the SLCERT, said that a court order will be sought through the assistance of the CID after more than 300 complaints had been received in Sri Lanka alleging abuse of privacy through the facebook network. more..

The video tape of the white flag case that ‘was missing’ exists!

Jan 7 (LT) The Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluvihare informed the Colombo High Court today that the video tape relevant to the white flag case against Gen. Sarath Fonseka which Derana TV had earlier stated they did not possess, is now available with the TV station. The white flag case against Gen. Fonseka was taken up for inquiry today before a panel of three Judges. Ratnapura District reporter for Derana TV Dayan Kanchana Kudagama, more..

Seven mortars found

Jan 7 (NN) The police have recovered seven unexploded mortar bombs from a jungle area in Eluwankulama, Puttalam this evening. According to the police, following intelligence information being received a search operation was conducted in the Gangawadiya area in Eluwankulama today. During the search operation the police recovered seven used but unexploded mortar bombs near a former army firing range and the police suspect it may have been once used by the army. more..

Habaraduwa opposition members attend session wearing helmets

Jan 7 (NF) Opposition members of the Habaradwa Pradeshiya Sabha attended a special session of the council today dressed in black and wearing helmets. This was to protest against the clash that erupted between government and opposition members of the pradeshiya sabha on the 30th of last month. The opposition members charged that several minutes after the session commenced this morning, the chairman of the pradeshiya sabha had delivered the vote of thanks and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 06.01.2011

New Book: Fire & Storm

Jan 7 (LG) This anthology is a companion piece for Confrontations in Sri Lanka: Sinhalese, LTTE and Others (Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2009). That collection reproduced essays that had been printed previously in refereed academic journals. In contrast this cluster reproduces articles presented in popular journals, newspapers and web-sites. As such, they are mostly shorter articles. There are two exceptions embodying articles intended for an academic journal: more..

Dr. Chandre Dharma-Wardana apologizes to the AHRC

Jan 7 (LG) Yesterday we published an open letter relating to false and defamatory material which also amounted to the publication of a death list. We have subsequently received replies from Dr. Chandre Dharma-Wardana and the Webmaster which we reproduce below. The AHRC is not satisfied with the excuse and explanation provided by Dr. Chandre Dharma-Wardana or that of the Webmaster of A WHO'S WHO OF SOME LTTE ACTIVISTS, OPPONENTS etc., PAST AND PRESENT. more..

Wheelchairs & artificial limbs distributed among differently able civilians

Jan 7 (Cimic) Requirements of nineteen differently able civilians who needed attention and assistance of society were recently fulfilled by the 511 Brigade of Achchelu, Jaffna donating wheelchairs and artificial limbs to them. During a brief function held at the Headquarters of 9th Battalion Sri Lanka Light Infantry at Atchuveli, nine wheelchairs and ten artificial limbs were distributed among ten males and nine females on 22nd December 2010. more..

Reply: Miniskirts and myopia; is the government barking mad?

Jan 7 (LG) I refer to the above titled article carried in the Sri Lanka Guardian web site today (5). While respecting and holding in high esteem your independent stand on Sri Lankan affairs, I regret to note that the tone of some of your articles go beyond freedom of expression into hurting religious sentiments perhaps in the name of so called 'freedom of the ass". Ms Pearl Thevanayagam has chosen to pen an article on a very relevant theme that of the proposed more..

Sri Lanka in rather odd company

Jan 7 (LB) It was an odd medley of sixteen countries that joined China in boycotting the award ceremony of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize honouring Liu Xiao Bo, China’s most famous current political prisoner and campaigner for political freedoms and human rights. I included the adjective ‘current’ advisedly; Liu simply stands in a long line of fighters against Chinese Stalinism. The sixteen renegades were Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, more..

Ad hoc govt policies hurt tour operators

Jan 7 (Island) Tour operators said the government should refrain from making ad hoc policy decisions because it was having a detrimental impact on them on the ground, who have to bare additional costs, as contracts with visitors entered eight months in advance cannot be changed overnight, unlike government policy. Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators president Nilmin Nanayakkara said it was understandable why the government would more..

Migration For The Nation

Jan 7 (SL) Sometimes the best thing you can do is leave. A recent study in New Zealand has said that immigration brings in much more money than micro-finance or cash transfers at home. In Sri Lanka this is obviously true because we have 1.8 million people working abroad, sending back more than the value of apparel exports. It’s a bit of a counter-intuitive idea, but one which most Sri Lankans know instinctively. In order to help your family, sometimes you have to leave. more..

Cricket Cross Culture

Jan 7 (DM) Legend on a complimentary cap, gifted to spectators at the inaugural test match (1982), read, “I Was There”. Now a part of cricket memorabilia. We should have been there earlier, when Michael Tissera, most astute of captains, led a team to the World Cup. White domination governing cricket delayed our entry. Sport is War minus shooting said George Orwell. White Man opts we lose at both. If we won at either, he sledged. more..

A Path to sustainable energy: The Challenge ahead

Jan 7 (DM) On the sidelines of a high level discussion on renewable energy - Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC) 2010 - organized by the Indian government in Gautham Buddha Nagar, NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh in October, 2010, an event had been planned by India’s elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to discuss the technical nitty gritties of the renewable energy sector. As the subject minister in Sri Lanka I more..

Sand castles or solid foundations?

Jan 7 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, Wanakkam, Asalamu alaikum and wishes for a happy New Year which you proclaimed will be a year of unprecedented mega development to make Sri Lanka one of the foremost countries in the world. The powerful Economics Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, a possible heir to the throne has declared 2011 as the year of tourism, with officials saying they hope to attract about 700,000 tourists to the country this year. more..

Looking for feasible solutions for cost of living

Jan 7 (DM) The cost of living is a phenomenon which cannot be held down but market distortions resulting in sudden unrealistic prices can conveniently be avoided by constantly monitoring and adjusting the upward trends by timely action. The cost of living and food security coordinating committee COLFSCC was first headed by that eminent bureaucrat G.V.P Samarasinghe during the post 1977 J.R.J government. The committee met like a prayer every Friday for more..

The future of our forests

Jan 7 (ST) 2011 has been declared the International Year of Forests. Malaka Rodrigo reports on the new international mechanism REDD+ that aims to reduce deforestation and Sri Lanka’s REDD readiness Historical accounts suggest that more than 75% of Sri Lanka was once covered by forest. But since the British colonial era, there has been mass scale clearing of forests largely for agricultural expansion. more..

Editorial: Of that nutty barb

Jan 7 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe may be a political jinx to his detractors but to others he is a public entertainer par excellence. What he says therefore oftentimes makes good news. He has recently said at a function at Sirikotha that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is qualified to enter the Guinness Book of World Records because the latter has been importing coconuts. Let's not ask whether the UNP leader's feat of staying put in spite of more..

Editorial: 2011: Work hard, work honestly

Jan 7 (DM) In the afterglow of the New Year when people make resolutions which often fade or pass away before the month is over, we stressed in our editorial last Tuesday the vital need for those in political leadership and those wishing to come to such leadership to be aware that they are not masters or mistresses but servants of the sovereign people. We pointed out that the only leadership that would have lasting value was servant leadership where the leaders sincerely more..

Faiszer Musthapha lashes out at UN

Jan 7 (Island) Deputy Minister Farzer Musthapha says those investigating human rights violations and war crimes should focus on the LTTE rump. Musthapha asserted that the UN shouldn’t target Sri Lanka in the post-war era, thereby disrupting ongoing resettlement, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. The following is the full text of a statement issued by Musthapha: "There are news reports that the Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka appointed by more..

Abductions shook Mannaar, relatives of victim confront white van

Jan 7 (TN) Sinhala-speaking armed men in white-van rushed through Mannaar abducting four males, one of them a Muslim youth, Jaharil Jazeel. The episode turned out to be a chaotic confrontation between the relatives of Mr. Jazeel and the abductors, exposing the level of top-hierarchy involvement of Sri Lankan defense authorities in the chain of abductions. Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Army and Police guarding the Mannaar Bridge withdrew their security, more..

Assault on Tamil media personnel continues in East

Jan 7 (TN) Attacks on media persons in Batticaloa and Ampaa'rai districts by armed groups and politicians associated with Colombo is on the increase. On Wednesday, P.M.M.A.Cader, a media person working for several years in the Ampaa'rai district, was severely assaulted on Wednesday by a councillor of the Kalmunai Municipal Council when the journalist was on his way to Maruthamunai to collect information about displaced persons due to the recent floods. more..

How to cook Sri Lankan with Cabbage

Jan 7 (HP) Traditional Sri Lankan cuisine is a wondrous mix of tropical produce, freshly pounded spices, and curries cooked slowly in clay pots over an open fire. Flavor comes with spare time and energy - two factors in short supply in the big city. As a result, photojournalist Sri Walpola became interested in how his fellow countrywomen manage to recreate the tastes of home on Staten Island. more..

Over 10,000 SLFP applications for LG polls

Jan 7 (DN) The SLFP has so far received over 10,000 applications from party members to contest in the upcoming Local Government Election. This is the highest number of applications ever received in history for a local Government Election, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Addressing the media after a ceremony held at his office yesterday, he said that the SLFP expects around 100,000 applications by January 15, the day of closing date for applications. more..

More Indian eggs in market tomorrow

Jan 7 (DN) The second shipment of eggs will be released to the market tomorrow. Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said over four million eggs imported from India will be sold at all Sathosa, Co-op City and Mini Co-op City outlets at the lowest prices. The wholesale price of an egg will be Rs 11 while the retail price will be Rs 12, Fernando said. The Minister instructed Lanka Sathosa Chairman Nalin Fernando to distribute the imported egg stocks to more..

Sri Lanka: Yala National Park

Jan 7 (CNN) Every flick of the leopard’s tail and canine-flashing yawn is met with a flutter of camera shutters. Vying for the best view of the nonchalant feline are tourists packed into seven jeeps. The leopard, seemingly fully aware that he’s at the top of the food chain, seems to be enjoying the attention. After 20 minutes, he stands up and, just like a domestic tabby, stretches, yawns and then wanders off into the more..

CID search safe house of suspect in fraud case

Jan 7 (DM) The CID informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Court yesterday that a number of land deeds and five identity cards were found in a safe house in Panadura belonging to a suspect who was embroiled in a Rs. 10 million land fraud case. The safe belonging to the suspect, who had operated a money lending company in Wellawatte, had been opened after the receipt of a court order. The suspect had given a loan of Rs. 130 million to Tillekeratne Bandara Dissanayake, more..

10 Indians arrested in Sri Lanka

Jan 7 (PTI) At least ten Indian nationals have been arrested by Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly violating immigration regulations. The immigration and emigration controller Chulananda Perera confirmed to the PTI the arrest of the Indians but refused to give further details as the investigations are still underway. "Investigations are going on. I cannot say anything until they are over" he said. The ten Indians were residing in Matale, more..

Sri Lanka army to share anti-terror expertise with others

Jan 7 (NDTV) The Sri Lankan army that scripted a remarkable military victory over the LTTE is now ready to share its counter-terror expertise with foreign military personnel including those from India and Pakistan. The Sri Lankan army will conduct a training programme on anti-terrorist operations for military personnel from three South Asian countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh from next week, more..

Foundation stone laid by fmr. President uprooted

Jan 7 (DM) The foundation stone for the extension of the coastal railway from Matara to Kataragama, which had been laid by the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa near the Matara railway station twenty years ago, had been dug out and discarded on Thursday (6) by a set of railway employees. The foundation stone was laid on December 27, 1991 by the former president with the participation of former Gampaha District MP and former Minister of Transport Wijayapala Mendis. more..

Hospitality industry: Govt moots refurbishment

Jan 7 (DN) Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that 2,000 new hotel rooms will be added to the local hospitality industry this year in addition to the 1,000 new hotel rooms being constructed across the country. "A thriving hotel industry is a key component for any country's tourism sector. Therefore we have initiated a program to refurbish existing hotel properties and building new rooms to accommodate the growing tourist demand," more..