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‘Appointments based on preferential votes’

Mar 22 (DM) The appointment of heads and officials to local government bodies under the UPFA following last week’s elections will be done according to the preferential votes candidates had obtained, sources said. The decision was taken after a meeting of the SLFP Central Committee last evening chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Earlier the meeting was scheduled to be held on Wednesday. “Officials for these authorities will be appointed more..

Ranil ready for election, Sajith calls for consensus

Mar 22 (Island) The much awaited showdown between UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa vying for the leadership, was witnessed at yesterday’s Working Committee Meeting, but in the end both sides agreed to reach a consensus which was put off for this morning. Informed sources said that in the event an amicable settlement could not be reached this morning, a vote would be taken among members of the Parliamentary Group and more..

Sri Lankans – who are they?

Mar 22 (SHN) Very soon, on May 22nd, we shall mark the second anniversary of the removal of the LTTE terrorist threat, at least from our immediate vicinity. Although that memorable event secured the territorial integrity of our island homeland, it didn’t – indeed, it couldn’t – define and secure our national identity as Sri Lankans. We seem to have worked out a reasonably well-defined way of identifying ourselves ethnically – as Sinhalas, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers etc. more..

Collapse of roof at Mahamodera Hospital: Health unions lash out at authorities

Mar 22 (Island) Health sector trade unions lashed out at the authorities over their failure to have the roof of the Mahamodara Maternity Hospital in Galle repaired. All Ceylon Health Services Union president Gamini Kumarasinghe told The Island that the roof of Ward 27, where 70 expectant mothers were warded, collapsed on March 17. The patients were moved to another Ward, but after that no action had been taken to have the roof repaired, he said. more..

Supermoon high tide causes damage, panic

Mar 22 (Island) High tide, created by the Supermoon effect, damaged some boats and huts in Talaimannar yesterday afternoon and spread panic among area residents. One fisherman in the area, Sudharshan, speaking to News said that the sea came inland beyond the usual limits and damaged huts and fishing boats on shore. The fisherman said that navy officers had later advised people near the sea to move away till the tide settled. more..

Blake’s cables exposed awareness of LTTE war strategy

Mar 22 (Island) The government says Sri Lanka should be grateful to whistle-blowing website Wiki Leaks for revealing ‘covert diplomatic talk’ in Colombo immediately after the Nov. 2005 presidential polls, which set the stage for eelam war IV. The Wiki Leaks revelations, a highly placed official told The Island, gave the government an opportunity to realize the circumstances leading to the outbreak of the all-out war in Aug. 2006. more..

Sri Lanka to add a thousand rooms for tourists this year

Mar 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourism authority says another one thousand rooms will be added to the current tourist accommodation by the end of the year to cater to booming demand. "One thousand rooms will be added and they will be in different categories," Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism said. "Our statistics at end December 2010 show a total number of 14,714 rooms in the country." more..

Libya concerns Lanka

Mar 22 (NN) The Sri Lankan government today raised concerns over the protection of civilians in Libya as coalition forces continued air strikes in the country. A release from the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said that the issue of protection of the civilian population in Libya remains a concern for Sri Lanka, as indeed for the rest of the international community. “In fact, it is this very same concern that led to the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1973. more..

Factions against vote

Mar 22 (DM) UNP seniors including those loyal to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and MP Sajith Premadasa stressed, at the party’s Working Committee meeting yesterday, that the leadership crisis should be sorted out through consensus involving all concerned, instead of leaving room for a rift in the party by calling for a secret ballot. The Working Committee met at party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ yesterday to discuss the issue, but it was adjourned till 5.00pm today to finalize matters. more..

80 Sri Lankans to return from Saudi Arabia in amnesty period

Mar 22 (Island) Eighty Sri Lankans have obtained travel documents from the Sri Lanka Embassy in Riyadh to return to Colombo taking advantage of the amnesty which ends on Wednesday. The Amnesty was offered by the Saudi government for visa overstayers to leave for their respective countries. Media Manager of the SLFEB Kalyanapriya Ranasinghe said that there were 65,912 Sri Lankans registered for employment in Saudi Arabia up to November with the Bureau. more..

Ottawa loses appeal of sentence for Tamil Tiger fundraiser

Mar 22 (CTV) A six-month sentence handed to the first person in Canada convicted of raising money for a terrorist group was appropriate for a man whose relatively small amount of fundraising was on the "low end" of terrorism-related crimes, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Monday. Prapaharan Thambithurai, 47, of Maple, Ont., pleaded guilty last year to raising $600 for the Tamil Tigers and more..

Lankan Embassy in Libya closed, Ambassador recalled

Mar 22 (AD) The Sri Lankan embassy in Libyan capital, Tripoli has been temporarily closed due to the present insecure situation in the country. The External Affairs Ministry states that Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Libya, Sudantha Ganegamaarachchi has also been recalled. It has been reported that Mr. Ganegamaarachchi had left Libya yesterday night. These precautionary measures had been taken as result of the air strikes on more..

Rejected asylum seekers get visas

Mar 23 (Age) TWO Sri Lankan men who were among the first planeload of rejected asylum seekers flown to the mainland from Christmas Island by the Rudd government to alleviate crowding have been granted visas after reviewers found them to be at risk if returned to Sri Lanka. Then-prime minister Kevin Rudd had said the 89 men were being processed for return home. Lawyer David Manne said the cases showed it didn't matter whether boats were brought to Christmas Island or more..

Sri Lanka exports to get easier China customs clearance

Mar 23 (LBO) China plans to make it easier for Sri Lankan exports to the country to clear customs and be distributed to local markets, according to the island's Ministry of Industry and Commerce. "China is planning to provide favourable policies for custom clearance and inland transportation for exports coming from Sri Lanka," it said in a statement, without giving details. The assurance was given by Huang Shah, Vice Chairperson of the China Council for more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 22.03.2011

Accident injures MP

Mar 23 (NN) Govt Minister John Seneviratne was injured this evening when his vehicle met with an accident in Puttalam. Minister Seneviratne was on his way for the opening of the Norochcholai coal power plant when the accident took place. According to the police, the minister’s vehicle had collided with a bus and he sustained minor injuries. The car was damaged in the crash with the bus virtually landing on top but yet the vehicle did not get crushed as it was hardy and bullet proof. more..

Aravinda De Silva hits out at Sri Lanka soft centre

Mar 23 (AFP) World Cup winner Aravinda de Silva believes Sri Lanka's misfiring middle order could be the weakest link in Saturday's quarter-final clash against England. De Silva, who is now the team's chief selector, also said the day-night match at the R. Premadasa stadium will be "tough", with the toss playing a vital role when the dew factor kicks in, told the state-run Daily News. De Silva said Sri Lanka's main concern so far has been the inconsistency in the batting department. more..

Sri Lanka to add 600MW of power by 2014: president

Mar 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will add another 600 MegaWatts of capacity to the national grid by 2014, ensuring uninterrupted 24-hour power supply, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said while commissioning the country's first coal power plant. The country is also seriously looking at alternative, clean sources of energy, not wanting to depend on a single fuel source, Power minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. more..

God, Avathar & Politics

Mar 23 (LG) I respond to the article ‘Baba drawn into politics?’ published in yesterday’s Sri Lanka Guardian. The article says ‘According to the Tamil news website, Bahawan Sri Sathya Saibaba will be visiting Sri Lanka in May 2011 on the invitation of the President Dr Mahinda Rajapakse. According to the news he will be accompanied by about 1,000 persons to provide security and help for him. Will frail Baba visit the North and East of Sri Lanka and more..

Let me say a big thank you to my brothers on March to Delhi!

Mar 23 (LG) Over 150 determined Tamils are marching to Delhi to raise the profile of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Beyond divisive political mechanisation, what these men doing by walking with their big hearts for miles must be praised and saluted. They may be branded as anti-LTTE, anti-social, pro-India ENDLF by the conditioned mindsets that cannot see beyond limits and solidify with them for their very worthy democratic agitation of walking from Chennai to more..

World Water Day for celebration or education?

Mar 23 (SO) As a day is designated to celebrate even trivial things in the world today, important events such as the World Water Day can easily go amiss. On this day, which has been commemorated on March 22 annually since 1993, we must question our eligibility to celebrate the cause as most of us are transgressors of wasting water on a daily basis on habitual grounds in the name of convenience. Although many people in the country are unaware of this fact, more..

Civilian predator Rajapakse Bros. calls for civilian safety in Libya

Mar 23 (LG) ‘The issue of protection of the civilian population in Libya remains a concern for Sri Lanka’ states the press release of the Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka. What a contradiction of a predator who presided over the mass killing and maiming of civilians in the final war with the LTTE in May 2009. Having executed thousands of civilians in the close door war, Sri Lanka is trying to stand on moral high grounds to come to the aide of the more..

Sri Lanka is neither Egypt nor Libya

Mar 23 (LG) The elections to most of the local bodies are over and the people have again voted for the President and his nationalistic policies. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to win elections while Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe continues to lose. Nobody is bothered to keep a count of the elections lost by Mr. Wickremesinghe and it is very very unlikely that he would win a future election even if the cost of living soars exponentially. It does not mean that young Mr. Sajith more..

BOI bloopers

Mar 23 (FT) Mandated to woo foreign investments the BOI which is under restructuring is promoting the perfection of learning via trial and error though at some cost. The latest is the BOI going back to a single sheet application form which the new administration originally abandoned when it took over in May last year and akin to reinventing the wheel introduced a cumbersome 14-page format. There was no rationale for the introduction of an exhaustive format but more..

Rajiv held Tiger’s tail, now Sonia is holding Lion’s tail

Mar 23 (DM) After the Indo- Lanka peace accord was signed, a very interesting and intriguing cartoon made a splash in the Indian media. The cartoon carried a drawing where the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was shown as panting and running holding the tail of a tiger around a tree while the then Sri Lanka (SL) President J R Jayewardene was relaxing seated in a chair. The idea conveyed by the cartoon was the SL President after signing the accord had entrusted more..

R2P: Still Alive and Kicking?

Mar 23 (DM) A lot has been written and said about the popular uprisings in the Arab world and some have opined on the possibility or lack thereof of similar events in Sri Lanka. Suffice it be said that the situations in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya are different to that in this country. Over thirty years we have had armed insurgencies in the south and in the north and east of the country. The challenge is to move beyond conflict and whilst it is more..

Lanka’s immunisation programmes collapse

Mar 23 (LB) The National Immunization Programme appears to have collapsed as five deformed babies have come into this world in the last few months, with the reason for these incidents being attributed to pregnant mothers refusing to be vaccinated against Rubella. The World Health Organization (WHO) no less had acknowledged that Sri Lanka is one of the countries that has a well developed immunization programme, and much envied by many other countries more..

Editorial: Rabid hounds chasing a mad dog

Mar 23 (Island) The US-led forces are all out to bomb Libya into a vibrant democracy, so to speak. They are unleashing hell from heaven in what looks like a demonstration of their long-range weapons capabilities presumably in a bid to boost their arms sales. France, which opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 tooth and nail, maybe because Saddam Hussein wanted to sell his oil for Euros and not US dollars, was the first nation to swing into action against Gaddafi more..

Editorial: Up, Up for the World Cup

Mar 23 (DM) With the local council elections over and despite the catastrophe in Japan and the Middle East, the focus of attention for millions of Sri Lankans will be the tense and vital knockout round of the World Cup cricket tournament. It must have been a sigh of relief for Sri Lankans to have learnt that their team will avoid a quarter final clash with India in the World Cup and will instead play against a lame England side which is minus the big names like Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad. more..

Radiation monitoring center established at Peradeniya University

Mar 23 (NF) A center for radiation monitoring was established at the Peradeniya University premises yesterday. The center has been set up to test radiation levels in the atmosphere, in order to determine if the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, has had an impact on Sri Lanka. Under the first phase of nuclear testing center, the air is inspected and filtered and filtered data is examined through a computerized mechanism. more..

Yet another election; yet another ministerial gaffe

Mar 23 (SL) O-o-o-o A-a-a-h! What a blithering bore! What a big yawn! I’m recounting the week on Thursday 17th as political party members belligerently march to the polls and the Elections Commissioner conveniently closes his eyes to violation of election rules so he can pronounce at the end of the day a free and fair election. Honestly, not me, not you, nor any other citizen of Sri Lanka with thinking mind and not contesting the polls is interested in these more..

It is the Name where the buck stops says LG results

Mar 23 (SL) A much devalued Local Government (LG) election for selected 234 LG bodies that had very little to do with actual local issues, came to a close last Thursday. Results, with only 55% plus voter turn out, the only JVP held Tissamaharamaya Pradeshiya Sabha in Hambantota District also lost to the UPFA and the Rajapaksas claiming continued popularity, are being analysed and interpreted by many, according to each political party’s fancied taste. more..

Ian Chappell meets Sri Lankan President

Mar 23 (FT) Former Australian skipper and currently top commentator Ian Chappell met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday and thanked for the assistance offered to him to cure an ailment in his arm and leg, through the President’s personal physician Dr. Eliyantha White. Rajapaksa had offered the services of Dr. White on a request made by Chappell who had been suffering from this ailment for a long period. Here President Rajapaksa greets Chappel more..

Police begin investigation into National Peace Council funding

Mar 23 (TC) Last week, the Executive Director of the National Peace Council was called to the headquarters of the CID. He was informed that the CID wished to carry out an investigation regarding the organization's sources of funding, its partners and the activities it was carrying out. CID officers asked questions about the work of the National Peace Council and asked for further information. This investigation was preceded by adverse media commentary in both more..

Tough action for trying to influence Courts

Mar 23 (DM) A man claiming to be a ministerial secretary and two others claiming to be Samurdhi Development officers will be severely dealt with in connection with an alleged attempt by them to influence court proceedings, a Kebithigollewa Court said. Kebithigollewa Magistrate and Additional District Judge Thilina Gamage made this observation at yesterday’s inquiry into the case where two Samurdhi Officers with the help of some supporters of a politician more..

Masses’ ignorance of taxation benefits govt. as economic concerns mount

Mar 23 (Island) A leading economist in Sri Lanka Dr. Harsha De Silva says the situation in Sri Lanka may not be all that bad from an accounting perspective as the crises in the Middle East and North Africa, and Japan raises global fears and uncertainty over oil price increases. But he warns that Sri Lanka’s economy is far from stable and expects the government would nonetheless contain its deficit by exploiting the general lack of awareness more..

'Cricketers must be humble and grateful'

Mar 23 (Island) Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara delivered the keynote address at the launch of Rex Clementine’s book ‘From Rags to Riches’ held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, on Monday. Excerpts: Reverend Fathers and the members of the clergy, distinguished guests, invitees, the members of the media and, of course, the author of this wonderful book, Mr. Rex Clementine. I was taken aback and a bit surprised when Rex spoke to me personally and more..

'China urged to play constructive role in the island'

Mar 23 (TN) As a super power having influence on the Sri Lankan state, Eezham Tamils urge China to play a constructive role in the island of Sri Lanka, says Dr. S.K. Sitrampalam, the vice president of ITAK. The retired senior professor of Archaeology of the University of Jaffna recently visited China following an official invitation to the ITAK to take part in an organised trip extended to delegations from selected political parties from South Asia to have an exposure of more..

British University is to link up with a Sri Lankan University

Mar 23 (IL) The Sri Lanka High Commission in London has revealed that the University of Hertfordshire in the UK has decided to link up with a Sri Lankan University soon, a press release said. A meeting was held at the Sri Lanka High Commission recently to discuss possible linkages and collaborations between the University of Hertfordshire and a Sri Lankan University. This move was initiated by Lord Sheikh (Conservative) of the British House of Lords who more..

TNA MP complains of death threats

Mar 23 (DM) Batticaloa District TNA MP S. Yogeshwaran has lodged a complaint with the Kattankudy police alleging that Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan had on Sunday threatened him with death. Mr. Yogeshwaran in his complaint has said the Chief Minister after lowering the window-pane of his car, had made the threat pointing a gun at him. The Chief Minister had also threatened him during the campaign of the last LG election according to the complaint. more..