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Rugby’s new calendar too good to tamper with

Dec 24 (SL) COMPILING an events calendar for the New Year can’t be the most crucial of tasksa sport body has to perform. The job, at the end of the day, is only about allotting dates to the year’s events, a trifling matter, really. For the SLRFU, though, an arrangement of the 2013-14 calendar wasn’t the customary yearly routine it is to others, which is why its Council, the decision makers, devoted its December monthly meeting entirely to the subject. The meeting, last Monday, was of more..

'I do not say Shirani Bandaranayake is Lily White or Govt is Pitch Black'

Dec 24 (DBS) The current imbroglio relating to the attempt to dismiss the present Chief Justice has obscured the real issue facing the country which is whether the independence of the judiciary and hence civilized governance will prevail or not. What the people must understand is that Mahinda Rajapaksa is unimportant as are Shirani Bandaranayake, and the other actors in this sordid drama – for they all fade into wholesale insignificance when compared to that real more..

Dreams shattered, buried under a landslide

Dec 24 (SO) The world is no doubt going through turbulent times. Newspapers present speculations galore while soothsayers are in the forefront. Meanwhile rumours spark speculation about the destruction of the world. Predictions are rife of a likely apocalypse. Natural disasters are in profusion. In this backdrop we witnessed the sudden outburst of a kind of opening of heaven on Tuesday. Landslides, floods, road blocks and more..

What do you do?

Dec 24 (SL) I am not the only commentator on the Sri Lankan political scene who has referred to the fact that our new monarch has built up a considerable fund of personal popularity. However, I do not subscribe to the theory that this is due to his heroism in battle as popularly accepted, particularly by the Rajapaksa Sycophancy. Considering that I advanced this fact a considerable time before the defeat of the Prabhakaran horde, it can hardly be defined as hindsight. The annihilation of more..

Left parties should follow the CP decision on impeachment

Dec 24 (CT) As reported by the Colombo Telegraph on 21 Dec, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka has decided almost unanimously not to be involved in any manner in the impeachment effort of the govt against the Chief Justice. As the members have correctly pointed out “it is important to see the real reasons behind the impeachment.” They have identified that “while the immediate reason was the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Divineguma Bill, more..

Lankans will never forget that Boxing-Day Test

Dec 24 (ST) Nineteen years ago the cricket-mad Lankans counted their days till the boxing day Test became a reality, but, their adrenaline began to pump not because of the cricket that was dished out but because of an umpire by the name of Darrell Hair who many thought was putting into action a pre-planned drama. During that game Hair no-balled the Lankan champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. The Lankans may have lost that game, but more..

No more Dr. Vickramabahu’s columns

Dec 24 (CT) Colombo Telegraph regrets to announce that Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne’s submissions will not be published for reasons of intellectual dishonesty and political irresponsibility. This decision came into effect on Wednesday December 19, 2012. The decision was taken in the context of correspondence detailed below. On December 18 Colombo Telegraph sent an email to Karunaratne asking whether he phoned the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe to more..

Christmas is a Festival of Humanity

Dec 24 (DBS) The whole world is set to celebrate Christmas which is specially significant for Christians who believe in God. It is the story of divine is getting involved in the humanity itself to bring liberation to the humankind. So it is a festival of human life which is the elevation of the human person to the highest level. This story of divine getting involved in the human history is not ad hoc decision of the creator God but planned from the beginning when the human persons did more..

FUTA’s unifying banner - the 6%

Dec 24 (NS) FUTA (Federation of University Teachers’ Associations) called off a union action a while ago after being on strike for 99 days. What began as a salary issue was quickly transformed into a struggle about the budgetary allocation for education. That transformation was accompanied by the natural inflation of ‘want’. FUTA thereby got some numbers behind them, for demanding the equivalent of 6% of GDP won the attention of more..

Cashew cultivation mooted in Mullaitivu

Dec 24 (DN) Plans are on to cultivate cashew in the Mullaitivu district for the first time in the country's history. A programme in this connection was held at the District Secretariat Office, Mullaitivu under the patronage of Minister Reginald Cooray. The minister distributed a large number of cashew plants among 120 farmers in the district. The Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation provided training in cashew cultivation to farmers. Plans are underway to cultivate 60 acres in the Mullaitivu district. more..

Husband held over gruesome triple killing

Dec 24 (SO) The gruesome killing of a mother and two of her young children has sent shockwaves among law-abiding citizens. The charred bodies of the young mother along with her three-year-old son and a month-old infant who lived in an upstair house at Kaldemulla in the Mount Lavinia area was found in their room when police visited the scene. Her husband, his mother and the domestic aid also lived in the same spacious house. The charred bodies were found lying on the upstairs bedroom more..

Senior Minister says SEC to get more teeth

Dec 24 (Island) As the country’s equities market ends a controversial year, a senior minister says steps are already being taken to clean up the market and bolster investor protection by giving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) more power to take out capital market offenders. Earlier this year SEC Chairman Dr. Tilak Karunaratne resigned citing undue interference by a group of influential investors and their crony brokers more..

'Foreigners rushing into stocks; locals still turning a deaf ear'

Dec 24 (FT) Softlogic Stockbrokers is lamenting that locals are continuing to turn a deaf ear to record-breaking net inflow as foreigners are rushing into Lankan equities. It said last week’s highlight was the aggressive accumulation by the foreigners into the steady lot, which has continued throughout 2012, taking the year-to-date net foreign inflow to over Rs. 38 billion. Last week saw Rs. 1.2 billion in net inflow up by over tenfold from Rs. 161 million. “During the past two years, stocks have come down by more..

MoU inked for special loan scheme for rubber smallholders

Dec 24 (DN) The Thurusaviya Fund and Bank of Ceylon (BOC) entered a MoU to introduce a special loan scheme for the first time for around 133,000 rubber smallholders to increase rubber production and uplift rubber smallholders' economic and social status. Thurusaviya Fund chairman Suranga Hidelaarachchi and Thurusaviya Fund director Kumari Wimalasuriya signed the MoU on behalf of the Thurusaviya Fund while Deputy General Manager H M Mudiyanse and more..

Some 30% of tourists opt for boutique hotels, home stays

Dec 24 (ST) Home stays, a popular mode of tourism accommodation these days, is set to rise to 500 units this year from 143 in 2011, Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. He said the home stay units include boutique hotels, boutique villas, home stay units, guest houses and heritage homes. Tourism industry officials last week said that home stays now account for 30% of inbound tourist traffic. more..

A Christmas wish list for Sri Lanka: Prerequisites for development

Dec 24 (ST) Christmas is just two days away and it’s the time of the year when everyone is wishing each other a joyful festive season and happy New Year to follow. Nobel Prize laureate in economics Joe Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University, has a wish list for the United States. It includes a jobs bill, a better energy policy and financial system reform. What is the wish list for Sri Lanka? A wish list for Sri Lanka may have to be much longer as we have to fix so many aspects of our national life and more..

Risk of earth slips in Matale

Dec 24 (CT) Some 59 zones in the Matale District have been identified as extremely dangerous as there is a high possibility of earth slips occurring in the areas. Assistant Director of the National Building and Research Organization (NBRO), Matale District, M.M.C.U.B. Moremada, warned people living in the identified areas to be extremely vigilant. "Pitakanda and Kikaloya estates are situated on hills about 3,500 feet above sea level. Those two locations have been identified as more..

President being misled by advisors - DPF

Dec 24 (Island) The Democratic People’s Front (DPF) is of the opinion that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is not properly briefed by his advisers, including certain communal minded politicians, of the correct situation in the Northern Province, but it seems unfortunate that he has to listen to them. Vice-President of the DPF Dr. Kumar Guruparan said, that President Rajapaksa is an experienced politician and must not fall more..

Sangha council proposed to tackle issues pertaining to Buddhist clergy

Dec 24 (Island) A Resolution calling upon the authorities, including the Maha Sangha that a council comprising the Mahanayake Theras of the three sects, under the banner ‘Sangharaja Mandalaya’, be appointed to resolve disputes among the Sangha and complaints against the members of the Sangha was tabled at the 86th annual general meeting of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBS) in Kandy on Saturday. The ‘Sangharaja Mandalaya’, more..

Transitional period for supermarkets to dispose of old stocks urged

Dec 24 (FT) A call for supermarkets to be given a transitional period in the New Year to dispose of remaining stocks of 2012 year end is being made by the industry. The Inland Revenue Department last week issued a notice explaining the implementation of Budget 2013 proposal of imposition of VAT on wholesale and retail businesses. As per the notice, input tax relating to tax invoices issued only after 1 January 2013 could be claimed against the output tax and input tax relating more..

'Sri Lanka is becoming more prosperous'

Dec 24 (Island) Sri Lanka is becoming more prosperous over the past three years, according to an indicator introduced by the Central Bank to assess the overall status of prosperity in the country as a whole and in each of its provinces. The Sri Lanka Prosperity Index (SLPI) introduced by the Central Bank in 2008 reflects the economic and social developments in the country and the provinces on an annual basis. more..

S’pore polythene firm in Hambantota

Dec 24 (ST) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority is to tie up with a Singapore petrochemical firm for a multi-million dollar polythene manufacturing complex in Hambantota. The Cabinet has granted approval for the project following a recommendation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also the Minister of Ports. For this new venture, Peak Energy Private Limited of Singapore has registered its business in Sri Lanka under the name of Hambana Petrochemicals Limited (HPC). more..

Plum cakes get Sri Lankan flavour this Xmas

Dec 24 (TOI) This season, Chennai's plum cakes get a dash of Sri Lankan tradition as more home bakers from the island nation crank up their ovens. Anna Nagar-based Kumar Durairaj, wife Janet and the rest of the family have been working non-stop for the last month, trying to get 150kg of plum cakes out in time for Christmas. "We have been making cakes for the last 25 years," says Kumar, who came to Chennai from Sri Lanka in 1983. "It is a recipe that has been in the family for more..

'Sri Lanka to list state firms'

Dec 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka will list more state firms in the Colombo Stock Exchange as well as encouraging more privately owned companies list, international monetary co-operation and minister Sarath Amunugama said. Listing more companies "both private and public" are among a series of initiatives that the state will pursue in the next two to three years, minister Amunugama said in a speech at a award ceremony held by SEC. more..

Alcohol and overloading blamed for boat tragedy

Dec 24 (Island) The investigations into the deaths of seven persons in the Tissamaharama lake have revealed that the boat they travelled in was meant only for 10 passengers, but the boatman had accommodated 22 persons, the police said. "There were nine life jackets in the boat and none had worn them," the police said adding that the boatman was highly intoxicated and had been very careless. He has been arrested by the police. Civilians in the area and the police had made a huge effort more..

JJ accuses govt. of not protecting migrant workers

Dec 24 (Island) UNP trade union leader Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana, MP, alleged that the govt hadn’t ratified the ILO Convention, bearing No. C 189, which offered specific protection to Sri Lanka’s migrant work force. He said that C 189 laid down basic rights and principles and required governments to take tangible measures for the benefit of migrant workers. Responding to a query, the JSS leader said that the govt had deprived those who earned valuable foreign exchange the more..

No need for house prorogue: Rajitha

Dec 24 (DM) Responding to LSSP call for prorogation of the Parliament in order to resolve the problems pertaining to the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne today said there was no such necessity for a prorogation. The Minister also suggested that the existing procedures pertaining to the impeachment of Chief Justice could be changed later while the existing procedures should be more..

Waiting for their father's return from Lanka

Dec 24 (TOI) When bloody clashes erupted among the prisoners at Welikada prison in Sri Lanka in November, Najma and her two children in Kollam were praying for one of the prisoners - Nazir Abdul Azeez, Najma's husband who has been imprisoned at Welikada jail since the past eight years. Nazir, a native of Jonakapuram, was arrested for drug trafficking when he landed at Colombo airport in 2003. Najma says her husband has been falsely implicated. "He was running a more..

No free tickets to Opera for Ranil

Dec 24 (Island) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Rome had recently informed the Italian Foreign Ministry that a delegation of Sri Lankan Archaeological and History experts would be arriving in Rome to study Roman history. The Ambassador had requested the Italian FM to issue complementary passes for the delegation to enter the sites and the Foreign Ministry promptly complied. It also stationed an important archaeological expert to welcome and guide the so called Lankan experts. more..

'Sending Jaffna students to rehab illegal'

Dec 24 (CT) Sending the Jaffna University students, recently arrested for lighting lamps in commemoration of the LTTE Martyrs’ Day, to a rehabilitation camp, without producing them in courts, is legal, the Joint Opposition charged. Addressing the media, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said the issue is quite serious, as it has happened at a time when the govt has pronounced terrorism has come to an end. more..

Floods cause havoc, 42 dead, 9 missing, nearly 61,000 families affected

Dec 24 (Island) The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) yesterday reported 42 deaths and nine persons missing due to countrywide floods during the past week. A total 222,699 persons of 60,784 families had been affected with 21 persons injured, while 3,136 houses had been completely damaged and 7,694 partially. There were 100 evacuation centres giving refuge to 17,168 displaced people from 5025 families, he said. More showers could be expected over the island during the next more..

Killer gave money, car keys to friend for wife’s, children’s funeral

Dec 24 (Island) Mount Lavinia police, investigating the murder of two children and their mother, a teacher of Prince Wales College, have found that the suspect husband had given Rs 200,000 to one of his friends to cover the funeral expenses. The suspect had also given the keys of his car to the friend to be used for the funeral arrangements. The friend had told the police that he later had handed over the money and car keys to the mother of the suspect. more..

Dons’ allowance hiked from next year

Dec 24 (DN) The govt decided to increase educational and research allowances of university teachers from 25 to 30% from January 1. The university teachers 100-day strike ended following the MoU reached after discussions between the FUTA and the Higher Education Ministry. The govt’s decision was officially delivered to the Higher Education Ministry yesterday in the presence of a top-level delegation from University more..

'Polonnaruwa worst affected by floods'

Dec 24 (Island) The Polonneruwa district was the most affected, of the 15 districts ravaged by floods caused by torrential rains over the past few days. Around 12,000 persons have been affected in Polonnaruwa, while hundreds of houses had been completely damaged. A number of roads, especially those leading to villages, had become inaccessible due to flood waters. The ‘Parakrama Samudraya’ was beginning to spill, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, who went on an observation tour more..

Kahawatte suspect abducted

Dec 24 (DM) One of the suspects in the killing of a mother and daughter in Kotakethana, Ratnapura in January this year, has been abducted by unidentified men last night, the suspect’s wife has complained to the police. She had complained to the Malwathuhiripitiya police that her husband had gone missing when she came to the house after returning from the nearby grocery. He was bailed out recently after being in custody over the double murder of 52 year old Nayana Nilmini and 19 year old more..

'Take a step back'

Dec 24 (CT) The only solution to what appears to be a standoff between the three arms of the govt, the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, is for one institution to take a step back in order to prevent the country from plummeting to a full-blown crisis situation, former PM and Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, said, in what appears to be an advice to the govt. He also said it is difficult to say who is at fault at the moment. more..

Editorial: Lifejacket of popularity

Dec 24 (DM) Here in Sri Lanka, popularity alone can manufacture politicians; sometimes against their own will. Ours is a political history that carries the resonance of well-known figures entering politics; sailing on their fame to the helm though ruling is not in their blood. In worse cases, they become the sails of sinking boats; certain parties and individuals, riding on someone else’s popularity wave to grab power, which is not within their reach. It was somewhat rare in the annals of power, more..

Towards stable hope

Dec 24 (DM) Jesus was born in circumstances of political and economic oppression. Palestine had been occupied and subdued under Roman imperialism. Augustus Caesar reigned supreme over a vast empire. His pomp and power knew no limits; and he was even made out to be a god. The people of Palestine experienced hardship and harassment under this regime. They were taxed heavily to maintain the extravagance of the Emperors court and the might of its military machine. more..

Sangakkara wants more Tests for Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara hoped better communication between administrators and players would in future help avoid the dearth of Test cricket that Sri Lanka face in 2013. When the Sydney Test ends early in the new year Sri Lanka will have played their last Test against top-flight opposition until December. Two-thousand-and-thirteen had shaped to be a busy year for Sri Lanka in the longest format, but the removal of more..

Pressure mounts on Jaffna student arrest

Dec 24 (SL) Despite repeated calls by opposition political parties, civil society movements and human rights groups to release the Jaffna University students who were arbitrarily arrested last month on alleged terrorism charges, they continue to remain in custody of the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). It is two weeks since the students were arrested and detained on charges of terrorism for more..