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Flood disaster worsens: Northern Province also hit

Dec 30 (ST) The death toll due to the floods and landslides caused by heavy rains that have affected 21 districts in the country in the past two weeks has reached 40 with more than 400,000 persons affected. The number of damaged houses has reached 25,865 by yesterday, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), with the deaths being reported mainly from the Matale, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura and Puttalam more..

Satellite TV operations to start in June

Dec 30 (LB) The satellite launched by SupremeSAT on November 27 with Chinese collaboration is rightly positioned and would commence operations in June 2013. Supreme Group CEO Vijith Peiris revealed that the Satellite is positioned correctly at the moment and it would take another six months for it to beam at the region. “We are getting ready with our ground station or the space academy at Pallekele and are awaiting more..

Army thwarts LTTE ‘2nd Generation Force’

Dec 30 (NS) Sri Lanka Army Intelligence Division has thwarted an attempt made by the international Tamil Tiger sympathizers and cadres to train Sri Lankan youth in South India to form a skeletal terrorist force they called “Second Generation Force”. The arrests were made possible after the Armed Forces Commander of the North, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe informed Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya more..

Dialog launches first commercial 4G -LTE service

Dec 30 (SO) Sri Lanka ’s Telecommunications Sector entered the 4G era today with the launch of Commercial LTE Services in the city of Colombo by Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN) the Fixed Telecommunication Services arm of the Dialog Axiata Group. Dialog’s cutting edge broadband network is based on 4th Generation TD-LTE technology, and represents quantum advancement in Fixed Broadband services more..

2012 has been a year of disasters for the country’s fragile environment

Dec 30 (ST) This year has been declared one of the worst ever for the country’s environment. Experts say 2012 was especially disastrous, with environmental crime at an all-time high; pollution, depredation of forest cover, land grabbing, encroachment, deterioration of law and order, and human-animal conflict peaked this year. Environment lawyer Jagath Gunawardane was whistle-blowing throughout the year, more..

Fingerprint database to get digitized

Dec 30 (CT) The fingerprints of around 550,000 persons, including hardcore underworld criminals, will be computerized by the Fingerprint Bureau of the Police Department. The data has ready been fed to the main server and the new system will enable the tracking down the details of a suspect within a few seconds. The system will also connect the police stations around the country, and share information about persons involved in more..

SLMC resolves to safeguard PCs

Dec 30 (CT) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), while urging the govt to implement in full the LLRC recommendations immediately, has mentioned categorically the party will oppose any attempt to weaken or sabotage the existing Provincial Council system. The above decision was one of the eight resolutions adopted by the SLMC at its 24th Delegates’ Conference yesterday. The event was presided over by Chairman of the SLMC, more..

Editorial: Leadership programme - A myth in the making

Dec 30 (CT) When the leadership training programme for new entrants to universities was first announced last year, opposition to it emanated from various quarters. Most of it came from the parents of the students, followed by students themselves. Yet the govt showed little interest in listening and continued with the preconceived plan of action to instil what it deemed was, discipline, in the new undergrads. However, last year’s debate on the issue did not focus on the expenses each of more..

Christian organization condemns grilling of Bishop

Dec 30 (SL) The Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM) has condemned the questioning of Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph by the CID. According to CSM the Mannar Bishop was questioned last week about a statement made by him over the issue of deportation of asylum seekers by the Australian govt. This is not the first time that the Bishop has been interrogated by the CID. “We as the Christian Solidarity Movement are proud to see him as a rare and extraordinary leader who is faithfully more..

Constitutional crisis in the making: the violation of Supreme Court determinations

Dec 30 (Island) Annually the Govt presents to Parliament its income and expenditure statement, and how it intends to finance the deficit between income and expenditure. With the exception of a couple of years since independence in 1948, the Govt Budget has been in deficit. The Budget process begins when the Govt presents an Appropriation Bill in Parliament, followed a month or so later by a speech in Parliament known more..

The impeachment:Some Common Misconceptions

Dec 30 (Island) The current debate on the parliamentary resolution to impeach the Chief Justice appears to be clouded, and sometimes distorted, by several misconceptions. It is believed in some quarters that Members of Parliament are above the law and are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts. This belief is entirely misconceived. It is probably due to a provision that was included in the 1972 Constitution which read as follows: "30. No court or other institution more..

Farmers contradict Ministry claims

Dec 30 (NS) Paddy farmers of Vavuniya, Ampara and Polonnaruwa districts said a vast area of paddy fields, which were being prepared for the Maha cultivation, has been destroyed due to adverse weather conditions. They lamented that the Ministry of Agriculture had stated that there was no significant loses in agriculture due to the adverse weather conditions. According to the ministry evaluations, only 1% of the paddy harvest is reported to have been destroyed in the more..

Untold stories, unseen war

Dec 30 (Hindu) Light and shade form the nature of life. One man’s blessing may be another’s hell. Celebratory firecrackers to some can sound like gunfire and shelling. So it is that, as midnight strikes to herald the start of 2013, some in our highly networked world will be rejoicing and partying, while others continue to mourn, unnoticed. And so it is that while much of the world thinks that Sri Lanka’s civil war is over and it is busy reconstructing a more..

'No room for Duminda'

Dec 30 (SL) The Chairman of the Kotikawatta and Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha, Prasanna Solangaarachchi has warned that he will not allow MP Duminda Silva to take part in political activities in Kollonawa or Mulleriyawa once again. Solangaarachchi said that he heard MP Silva would return to the country after undergoing surgery in Singapore and appear in Court this week. Silva was undergoing treatment in Singapore after being injured in a shooting incident in Mulleriyawa more..

Impeachment, moving towards the final act?

Dec 30 (CT) The seven odd Billion humans inhabiting this planet (and surely all other living beings) would have given a collective sigh of relief as the sun set on the 21 of Dec. Luckily for us, the Mayans who had predicted the end of it all on that day seem to have got their calculations wrong. Not too surprising, when we consider the fact that they could not even predict the coming of the Spanish (and other European races) that had such a fatal impact on their out-dated show in what is more..

Without ‘Test’ familiarising we are punished now! Banished soon?

Dec 30 (NS) For a country nearing almost 40 years in the international arena it is rather disturbing to hear comments such as ‘they play as if they don’t have enough experience in the test scene’. And these coming from internationally recognised and admired broadcasters and very experienced former test players can be extremely serious. At the least should be taken seriously by us Sri Lankans as a prediction that test cricket more..

Bid to hand over 1,200 permits to private bus operators

Dec 30 (SL) Trade Unions attached to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) have written to President Rajapaksa alleging there was an attempt to take 1,200 route permits from state buses and hand them over to private bus operators. The All Ceylon Transport Employees Union said that the move, which is expected to take effect from January 2013, will have a negative impact on the state passenger bus industry in the long run. In the letter signed by the secretary of the union, Sepala Liyanage, more..

Nonis addresses UK Defence Forum

Dec 30 (NS) Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Chris Nonis said the country had adopted a comprehensive program to address the issues of rehabilitation, resettlement and re-integration of former combatants. He made the comments addressing the recently held Defence and Security Forum in the UK. Dr Nonis spoke about the challenges Sri Lanka faced and the progress it had made in the post-conflict era. He articulated the comprehensive de-mining and welfare more..

Big friend of a little island

Dec 30 (CI) Two years ago I was travelling with a cricket-illiterate foreign friend through Colombo when a billboard showing a large man with a wide-brimmed hat caught his attention. "Who is that? I keep seeing him around," he asked, pointing. 

"Tony Greig," I replied. "He is a cricket commentator. He's very popular here." "Just for being a commentator? What about all the other commentators?" 

"Well… no," I stuttered, more..

Army hands back 32-acre land to owners

Dec 30 (CT) The Army in the North has handed back a 32 acre land belonging to 45 families early this week, according to Army Media sources in Jaffna. The land in Ramavil in Chavakachcheri, was used formerly as an IDPs’ welfare camp. Earlier the land was encroached by the LTTE and it was used for their nefarious activities according to Army sources. The LTTE was expelled by the army from the area in 1996 and since then the army was occupying the land to monitor the movements more..

Intelligence ‘eyeing’ 1,000 ex-LTTEers

Dec 30 (CT) Security service intelligence operatives are keeping a close watch on around 1,000 ex -LTTE cadres who have evaded rehabilitation and are currently engaged in criminal activities in the North, Jaffna Security Forces Commander, Major General Hathurusinghe said. He said the TID officers have already rounded up 48 former LTTE operatives, suspected of being involved in criminal activities. He added they were taken into custody after investigations and that they will be more..

'Former military officer Jayakody threw acid'

Dec 30 (OU) Former Hindu Cultural Minister Thiyagaraja Maheswaran's brother and leading businessman Thiyagaraja Thuwarakeswaran aged 41, faced an acid attack on Saturday at Nallur. He was severely wounded in the back and neck area was admitted to Jaffna Teaching hospital. However he had informed, due to dearth of safety at the Jaffna hospital, he got admitted to a hospital in Colombo. more..

Three short-listed to head Bank of Ceylon

Dec 30 (NS) The govt has short-listed three individuals to take over the chairmanship of Sri Lanka’s largest state bank, Bank of Ceylon (BOC). Former Central Bank deputy governor Priyantha Fernando is the top name tipped to take over whilst the two other suggested names were Sri Lanka Foundation Institute head Prof. Ranjith Bandara and Former Deputy Secretary to the Treasury and former Commissioner General of Essential Services S.B Divarathne. more..

Three top Sri Lankan travel personalities quitting

Dec 30 (ST) Three of Sri Lanka’s top travel executives – Gehan Perera and Ravi Subramanian from Aitken Spence Travels and Michael Elias from Walkers Tours are stepping down from their positions for different reasons. They are resigning from end December. Mr Perera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels who along with Mr Subramaniam has 34 years in the business having joined straight from school, said he was migrating to Australia – to join the family. more..

Colombo Port Terminals operational by August

Dec 30 (NS) The new terminals, at the ongoing Colombo Port Expansion Project - launched to develop Colombo South Harbor, is to be operational by August next year adding 7.5 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) capacity after completion of the third stage, the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Dr. Priyath B.Wickrama announced recently. Delivering the keynote address on the subject of more..

The game is not yet over for Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (SMH) It is true the Sri Lankans lost in Hobart after a fight and lost badly in Melbourne. We give credit to the Australian team for winning the Test series. But the game of cricket and the test of cricket are not over for the Sri Lankan team. The Sydney Test, and the one-day and Twenty20 internationals are yet to be played. That is the test for skipper Mahela Jayawardene and his lads. Sri Lankan supporters in Australia would have been disappointed by their team's performance more..

Govt. looking for skilled people: Gota

Dec 30 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the govt is facing difficulties for want of qualified personnel to fill the vacancies in many fields in the govt sector. “It is matter of serious concern that young men and women are reluctant to join the nursing profession despite wide opportunities and prospects. The govt is facing difficulties for want of qualified persons to fill the vacancies in many fields. Shortage of civil engineers is one such,” he said. more..

More Sri Lankan asylum seekers opt to go home

Dec 30 (AAP) Another 30 Sri Lankans have opted to return home rather than spend time on Nauru, with authorities claiming a win against people smugglers. They have joined four of their countrymen who made the return trip home last week instead of heading to the Pacific island for the processing of their claims. "They chose not to pursue their asylum claims and no longer seek to engage Australian protection obligations," more..

Glass piece found in antibiotic vial, entire set disposed

Dec 30 (AD) piece of glass has been found inside an antibiotic vaccination vial at the Kalubowila Hospital. Chairman of the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) Saman Rathnapriya stated that after the piece of glass was found, the entire set of vials, roughly 600, that were brought with it were disposed of. The Chairman stated that the piece of glass was found in a vial containing the Cloxacillin vaccine. He explained that this is a serious issue because the vial’s sterilization is important more..

TNA tables post-war problems in KL

Dec 30 (CT) A TNA parliamentary delegation has tabled the post-war problems faced by the North and East Tamils at the Tamils Protection Conference that commenced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday. The TNA delegation which is led by Jaffna district MP, Mavai Senadiraja, comprises MP M.A.Sumanthiran, C.Sritharan, P.Ariyanenthiran and C.Yogeswaran. The Kuala Lumpur conference will discuss the problematic issues faced by Tamils worldwide and will adopt a resolution in more..

Sri Lanka murder victim Khuram Shaikh's brother speaks out

Dec 30 (BBC) The brother of a British man murdered in Sri Lanka on Christmas Day 2011 has said it is "disheartening" that the suspects have not been brought to trial. Khuram Shaikh, 32, from Milnrow near Rochdale, was on holiday from his work as a Red Cross worker in Gaza when he was murdered in the resort of Tangalle. Eight people, including a Sri Lankan politician, were arrested but bailed. His brother, Nasser, told BBC the more..

Planning and Implementation of Irrigated Colonization Schemes in Sri Lanka

Dec 31 (DBS) In 1960 while in the Ceylon Civil Service, I was given charge of planning for the Agriculture Sector in the Department of National Planning, with the duty of looking into the economics and effects of the irrigated colonization schemes in the Dry Zone, among others. These schemes were considered by successive governments as their major vehicle in achieving their stated objectives of achieving self-sufficiency in rice and increasing employment. more..

LLRC in 2011 and impeachment in 2012, will it be political destruction in 2013?

Dec 31 (DBS) Last year on Dec 16, after much hesitation, foot dragging and translation excuses, the govt tabled in parliament the report of the LLRC that had been hand delivered to the President more than a month earlier. This year on Dec 8, ignoring calls for patience, due process, fairness and natural justice, a Parliamentary Select Committee – reduced to government members only – rushed to judgment against the country’s CJ, Shirani Bandaranayake, and reported to the Speaker that more..

'SL, a knowledge hub in Asia soon'

Dec 31 (SO) "Our objective is to increase high-tech component of exports from 1.5% to 10% by 2015," Prof. Vitharana said. Today, Sri Lanka has only about 4,000 researchers. To make full use of our natural resources we should have 18,000 researchers with doctorates. Sri Lanka is planning to become a knowledge hub for the region. But are we, as a country doing enough? What percentage of our knowledge are we using more..

It’s the time of year for “stock-taking, but …”

Dec 31 (SL) Rather than indulge in the tried (tired?) and true practice of trying to sum up the events of the year past, let me deal with something that has bedevilled me but of which I have not spoken at any length in the past. I will leave it to sociologists or the similarly skilled to draw deeper conclusions from what I am about to relate. So here are a few notes about running the gauntlet of the Sri Lankan highway! It is a part of the road culture of this country that not only does a bigger and more..

Boxing’s Day of shame

Dec 31 (SL) THERE’S more than one worthy reason by which to remember the 86th National Boxing Championships: the triumphant return of Manju Wanniarachchi to competition after a two-year ban, and, poignantly, in his hometown Kandy, which itself is historical, being the first time the country’s oldest boxing event was transported out of Colombo. Sadly however, the four-day meet, concluded last Tuesday, won’t be recalled by any of that– but rather, by thenasty eruption of crowd violence more..

On a ride with those beauties of the past

Dec 31 (ST) In Asgi Akbarally’s family, a car is never just a car. Sitting in his office off Darley Road, Asgi tells us each car has a story. A collector and connoisseur, he is behind a beautiful new coffee table book titled ‘Classic and Vintage Automobiles of Ceylon’. He and his sons Hussain and Shiraz together selected the 105 magnificent specimens that are featured in the book. While the vehicles come from the garages of more..

Can anti-corruption campaigners justify impeachment of the Chief Justice?

Dec 31 (GV) There was much publicity given in state media, run by a group of well-known hate campaigners, that the impeachment of the Chief Justice is the right thing in the anti-corruption discourse and that that Sri Lanka can be proud of such an impeachment. We are not at all surprised with this line of crusades, particularly at a crucial time in our history when the govt will do anything possible under the sun to use its hidden investments and human resources. more..

External and internal shocks rock the economy in 2012

Dec 31 (ST) The economy took a downturn in 2012 owing to severe external and internal shocks. These affected economic growth, the trade balance and fiscal outturn adversely. Economic growth is likely to dip below 7 per cent this year from the higher trajectory of 8% planned for the country. The global economic depression and the turmoil in the Middle East affected the country’s trade balance unfavourably. Exports fell more steeply than imports to result in a huge trade deficit for more..

Sunday Leader edited out Gota again: The TNA’s duty

Dec 31 (CT) This article, exclusively written for the Sunday Leader, had the highlighted paragraph relating to Gotabaya Rajapaksa deleted. Tamils wonder aloud this Christmas when our earthly salvation from this criminal govt would come. State arrogance showed through at the Governor’s Cup Championships set for 19.12.2012 in Nallur. Promptly at 2:00 PM leading citizens were assembled. more..