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'UNP ensures protecting people’s freedom'

Feb 4 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe assured the commitment of his party to preserve freedom for the people in all aspects. In his Independence Day Message, he said the freedom which the people are entitled to is being restricted today through various means. This he said was contrary to what late D.S. Senanayake the architect of independence of the country stood for. He said the late leader stood for people’s freedom from poverty, unemployment, ignorance and illness. more..

Grieving mother asks youth to heed the law

Feb 4 (Island) Mother of the youth who was killed in an accident on the Southern Expressway in the early hours of yesterday appealed to all to advise youths to respect highway rules and be careful when driving. "Careless mistake would lead to fatal accidents," she said. She said her son travelled from Matara to Colombo every Friday, but this week he returned on Thursday. The 26–year–old victim, Arosha Shehan Cooray’s vehicle skidded due to excessive speeding and he was more..

Central Bank admits to BOP problem:Rupee allowed to fall, policy interest rates increased

Feb 4 (Island) With the country staring down a balance of payments crisis which saw Central Bank intervention in the foreign exchange market erode the reserve position and wipe out rupee liquidity already under pressure from growing credit demand, the Central Bank finally admitted there was a serious problem and yesterday announced an increase to policy interest rates and slapped limits on commercial bank credit growth in a bid to curb demand. more..

Amid move to switch from criminal Silva, Ban dismisses predecessor criticism

Feb 4 (ICP) For a week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office has been questioned about accepting alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva as one of Ban's Senior Advisers on Peacekeeping Operations. While Ban's Spokesman Martin Nesirky has insisted that Ban is powerless to stop what several member states describe as a travesty or a "new low," some states asked by Inner City Press say they are pushing Sri Lanka to pull Silva back, even if only to replace him with more..

SRI LANKA: Independence without justice

Feb 4 (AHRC) The 64th commemoration of Sri Lanka's independence takes place at the time when the country's justice system is in a hopeless crisis. The abuse of the judicial process for political reasons has created doubts about the independence of the judiciary itself. The government shows no will to respect the rule of law. The police and the Attorney General's Department are immersed in problems that seem to defy any kind of genuine improvement. Where is justice to be found? more..

'Opposition CMC members will turn red'

Feb 4 (DM) The Mayor of Colombo A.J.M. Muzammil yesterday said the opposition members of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) would turn red when they read his action plan for the year 2012 as they prevented him from presenting it by obtaining an enjoining order from courts to prevent him from convening a special council meeting. Mr. Muzammil who went public with his action plan said it was his right to make a statement as the Mayor as per more..

President opens new entrance road to Wilpattu

Feb 4 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the new entrance road to the Wilpattu National Park from the eastern side, from Thanthirimale Rajamaha Viharaya yesterday. The President bought the first ticket to enter the National Park from the eastern side and observed the park after going in for some distance. Only 200.000 acres of the Wilpattu National Park were open to the public. After opening this new entrance, it will extend up to 350.000 acres. more..

UGC Chairman says IUSF convener is an imposter, not a student

Feb 4 (Island) The UGC yesterday announced that the Convener of the so called Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) was not a university student anymore as he had not registered for study courses after 2008 and did not sit any of the university examinations since then. UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake told The Island that the IUSF convener was an imposter parading as a student and misleading university undergraduates and organizing them to cause trouble. more..

Independence Day messages

Feb 4 (DN) 'Our nation is fortunate to celebrate the 64th Independence Day with a genuine sense of dignity about freedom, states President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an Independence Day message. The message adds: "Today the national flag flutters pointing to a new country in the making. The way is open for an independent economy. It daily reinforces the nation's aspiration for a prosperous future. It has given us freedom to decide upon issues concerning the more..

Hakeem says no move to relocate Courts

Feb 4 (FT) Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday assured lawyers that there were no plans to relocate the Colombo Courts out of Hulftsdorp or to sell the historic court complex as alleged. This was disclosed by the Minister during a meeting with lawyers from the Colombo Magistrate Court protesting under the assumption the Colombo Magistrate Courts complex would be relocated. “He (the Minister) assured them that there are no plans by the Ministry of Justice to relocate more..

NCPA on a 100,000 signatures campaign for children

Feb 4 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said yesterday it hoped to collect over 100,000 signatures for their national pledge to make Sri Lanka a Centre for a Safe Childhood. Deputy Chairperson NCPA, Nanda Indrawansa said that they would be getting the signatures of people visiting their stall at the ‘Deyata Kirula’ exhibition which is being inaugurated in Anuradhapura today (04). Initiated one month ago (January 4) the content of the more..

Jumbos run amok in Beruwala, police deployed to protect leader

Feb 4 (Island) A simmering internal battle in the UNP took a turn for the worse yesterday when the party reformists made an abortive bid to disrupt a public meeting chaired by UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at Imitiaz Bakeer Markar’s stronghold in Beruwela. Several hundred UNPers launched a protest in the Beruwala town ahead of the UNP leader’s arrival at the Kankanamgoda road residence of a more..

Blake visits Sri Lanka ahead of HR sessions

Feb 4 (NS) American Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert O Blake will visit Sri Lanka on Saturday, February 11. The visit is considered to be crucial in view of the United Nations Human Rights sessions scheduled to be held in Geneva in March at which Sri Lanka is expected to be the centre of discussions. Blake is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris on Monday 13th, Ministry sources confirmed yesterday. Meanwhile, it was very unlikely that Blake would meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa since more..

E01 drivers severely warned

Feb 4 (DM) The Highways and Road Development Ministry yesterday warned drivers on the Southern Expressway to refrain from drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel or driving over the speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour following the road accident that killed a 26 year old man on the expressway early yesterday morning. Ministry officials said drivers could not stop their vehicles on the expressway unless in the case of a vehicle break down or some other emergency where the vehicle can be parked in a more..

Glowing plaudits for SL from int’l community

Feb 4 (DN) Leaders of many countries congratulated President Mahinda Rajapaksa on taking tremendous strides towards development in the aftermath of the 30-year conflict which claimed the lives of thousands of people belonging to all communities. In congratulatory messages to the Lankan President and Prime Minister on the occasion of Sri Lanka’s 64th Independence Day, they lauded the dynamic and charismatic leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Youth Affairs Minister laments over Lanka having highest child abuse cases

Feb 4 (Island) With the rising numbers of child abuse cases and child related road accidents, it is felt that as a nation Sri Lankans attention towards children had been neglected, Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said. He told ‘The Island’ that Sri Lanka had recorded the highest number of child abuse and rape cases last year, while 45 of those cases were of a serious nature. Nearly 224 schoolchildren were killed on the spot in their school uniforms due to road accidents. more..

Foundation laid for Rs 700 M hotel project in Jaffna

Feb 4 (GDI) Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne and the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa laid the foundation Stone for Jetwing Yarl hotel in Jaffna on Friday. The Rs 700 million project is a joint venture between Mercantile Merchant Bank Ltd, and the Jetwing Group. Jetwing Yarl hotel is to be constructed on a 46 perch land area on the Old Clock Tower Road, in Jaffna. The star class hotel will have 76 rooms, 14 storied, roof top swimming pool, Presidential Suite. more..

Behind Bars

Feb 4 (SL) An innocuous looking silver cannister rolled out onto the middle of Baseline Road. Someone shouted “tear gas!” and the onlookers fled the scene. On the prison roof, STF guards were attempting to jump down to the road as tear gas rose like a noxious cloud. On arriving, The Sunday Leader spotted prisoners on the roof of the New Magazine Prison Borella, holding a banner that said ‘SP Epa’ (We do not want SP). From a distance, we saw that they were dressed in ordinary civilian clothes. more..

Kahawatte in panic with two more gruesome killings

Feb 4 (Island) Panic and confusion reigned in the Kahawatte area yesterday with the discovery of the bodies at Kotakethana of a mother and her teenage daughter who were believed to have been raped prior to their killing. There has been ten other mysterious and gruesome killings in the Kahawatte area in recent times. The body of P.G.Nayana Nilmini (46) was found at their residence and her daughter Kavindya Chathurangi Selllahewa’s (18) body more..

Mismatch between students enrolling in universities and those passing out

Feb 4 (Island) Around 860,000 students enrol annually in state universities including the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), but the country produces only 13,000 graduates per year, a survey conducted by the the Department of Manpower and Employment reveals. The study Determinants of Unemployment among Sri Lankan University Graduates has been conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of more..

Unfit vehicles on the expressway result in 1,900 breakdowns

Feb 4 (Island) Authorities managing the Southern Expressway say about Rs. 200 million is required annually for its maintenance. "The cost will increase when the road surface maintenance is added as there would be a rapid increase in the surface maintenance due to a large number of vehicles using the expressway," Director, Maintenance of Southern Expressway, B.D.K Bandara said. more..

Post-war EU-UNICEF boost for N&E education

Feb 4 (Island) Eradication of the LTTE has paved the way for those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to receive a range of assistance from the international community, primarily through various INGOs based in Sri Lanka. Since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the international community had provided substantial support for resettlement, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in spite of a section of more..

Sri Lanka has to fix SOE losses reduce currency pressure: IMF

Feb 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka has to fix losses in key state enterprises as part of polices to slow credit and arrest the loss of foreign reserves, the International Monetary Fund said. Though imports are rising above that can be financed from exports, remittances and state foreign borrowings partly due to private sector credit growth, state borrowings from banks have also grown sharply. more..

President will trust 'Douglas' with land and police powers but not others

Feb 4 (Island) The EPDP leader and Minister, Douglas Devananda says that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would have no hesitation in entrusting land and police powers to him,but will not risk giving it to others. Asked in a brief interview with The Island, as to what his views were on the demand by Tamil political parties that the subjects of land and police be devolved in terms of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, Devanada who lives a charmed life, more..

All set for a Grand Deyata Kirula National Exhibition

Feb 4 (GDI) All arrangements are underway to hold the “Deyata Kirula” National exhibition at Oyamaduwa in the Anuradhapura district from the 4th to 10th of this month. The exhibition will be ceremonially declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, who is the Chairman of the Deyata Kirula Exhibition Committee said that a rapid development has taken place in the Anuradhapura district in connection with the exhibition. more..

Sri Lanka frees 1,400 prisoners on freedom day

Feb 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka freed 1,414 convicts on Saturday to mark the country's 64th anniversary of independence from Britain, a prisons official said. President Mahinda Rajapakse granted an amnesty to convicts serving light sentences, but Sri Lanka's most high-profile prisoner, former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, was not among those released. There had been intense local media speculation that Rajapakse may use more..

Sri Lanka president urges 'courage' on National Day

Feb 4 (AFP) President Mahinda Rajapakse marked Sri Lanka's national day by appealing to the country to show "strength and courage" in the face of a worsening global economic crisis. Rajapakse said the problems confronting the world economy were also hitting the resort island nation of 20 million people who are emerging from nearly four decades of ethnic war after crushing Tamil separatists in 2009. "It is important to be aware of the reality," Rajapakse said more..

Businessman remanded for misappropriation of Rs.191,056 million at LECO

Feb 4 (DM) A businessman who had allegedly misappropriated Rs.191,056 million of public funds at Lanka Electricity Company (Private) Limited (LECO) was remanded till February 15 by the Colombo Magistrate Court yesterday. The CID alleged that the suspect Nandana Wickramasinghe had been directly involved in a transaction pertaining to LECO in purchasing houses and properties. The CID officer told Court that the suspect had been involved in the whole transaction more..

Hospital worker taken into custody for poisoning water tank

Feb 4 (NF) A worker at the Sevanagala Hospital has been taken into custody on suspicion of poisoning the water tank at the home of a doctor at the hospital. The doctor in charge of the Sevanagala hospital alleged that the worker had poisoned the water tank on the direction of another doctor at the hospital. Newsfirst contacted the doctor against whom the allegation was leveled at. He claimed that he had no knowledge of the matter. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Indian university confers honorary doctorate on Erik Solheim

Feb 4 (TN) TERI University of India (The Energy and Resources Institute), which is a deemed university located in New Delhi, has conferred honorary doctorate on Norwegian Minister of Development Mr. Erik Solheim in its fourth convocation this year held on Wednesday. The deemed university, specialized in sustainable development, got accreditation in India in 1999. The university has affiliated centers in Japan, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, USA and UK, more..

MK Stalin coronation on hold, again

Feb 4 (DNA) The general council of the DMK which met here on Friday adopted 24 resolutions condemning the Jayalalithaa govt for its anti-people policies and the Union government for its indifference towards the attack on Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. Though it was widely believed that 59-year-old M.K. Stalin, the younger son of Muthuvel Karunanidhi would be elevated as party president, the party played it safe against the backdrop of the indictment of A. Raja, more..

CMC to involve people in city running

Feb 4 (DM) Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil yesterday said a system would be set up to involve city dwellers in the administration of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). A special Municipal Service Board comprising CMC officials and city dwellers would be set up for this purpose and a website launched. The website would also include details of tenders, the mayor said, outlining his action plan to develop the city for the year ahead. more..

Editorial: Issues for deep reflection today

Feb 4 (DM) Sri Lanka today marks the 64th Anniversary of its independence, with questions as to whether there is a degree of commemoration that casts a cloud over the celebration because of what is happening or what is not happening. Some 33 months after the end of the bloody ethnic war, most analysts believe that what we have is a fragile or negative peace and we are sitting on a volcano that could erupt at any time with consequences more devastating than the terrorism of more..

Pillayan’s brother in east land grabbing - Divaina

Feb 4 (SM) A group led by a brother of east chief minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan has grabbed a land belonging to a Sinhalese at Kalkudah, ‘Divaina’ reports. The group had fenced off the land located near a cemetery close to the Kalkudah town, worth hundreds thousands of rupees, on February 02. Police have received information that a man identified as ‘Kutti’ is also involved in the unlawful land acquisition. more..

'Will legalise abortions in certain cases'

Feb 4 (DM) Women’s Affairs and Childcare Development Minister Tissa Karalliyadda today vowed to go ahead with his move to legalise abortions in cases of rape of underage girls, incest and defective foetuses. Minister Karalliyadda told the Daily Mirror that a committee comprising the representatives of the Health Ministry, the Justice Ministry and his Ministry had been appointed to study this matter and furnish a report. more..

Lanka tourist arrivals to exceed 1 million

Feb 4 (AN) A TOURIST whom I met recently commented that one morning he woke up, went to his balcony, closed his eyes and envisioned a green carpeted landscape of scenic mountains, dotted with unique patches of colorful flora capped off by smoky mist flakes surrounded by the pleasant sound of chirping birds and the feel of unpolluted clean air, then he opened his eyes and realized that it wasn’t a vision, he was staring down from his hotel room balcony in Nuwara Eliya, more..

Saudi ties to grow further: Sri Lankan envoy

Feb 4 (AN) Another important milestone in Sri Lanka’s history as a sovereign nation comes by today, Feb. 4, when its citizens both at home and overseas rejoice the 64th Independence Day of their motherland. On this auspicious occasion I extend fraternal greetings to the Sri Lankan expatriate community in Saudi Arabia. The years after 2009 when Sri Lanka finally emerged victorious in its long battle against terrorism have been dedicated by the govt of Mahinda more..

'HRW running smear campaign against Sri Lanka'

Feb 4 (PTI) Pointing to a smear campaign against it by international rights groups, Sri Lanka on Saturday said it is confident of facing the UN Human Rights Council at its next session later this month as it has a clean slate. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe slammed international rights groups for what he called were attempts to slander the image of Sri Lanka for political gain. more..

Enterprises flourish in Sri Lanka as foreign direct investments surge

Feb 4 (AN) Sri Lanka, which is situated at the crossroads of major shipping routes connecting South Asia, Far East and the Pacific with Europe and the Americas, is ranked as the most liberalized economy in south Asia. Strategically located next to the fast growing Indian subcontinent with close proximity to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, the island has adapted open market free economic policies, and successive governments have further liberalized the economy, leading more..