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Drink-driving accidents, violence, firecracker-burns damper to festivities

Jan 10 (ST) A boy lit a ‘bambara chakraya’ and chucked it inside the shirt of another boy causing severe burn injuries to him, while in another instance, a man had thrown a glowing cigarette butt onto an old lady selling firecrackers in Pettah, setting all her wares on fire. The old lady and her son were rushed to the National Hospital with severe burn injuries. These were some of the incidents during the festive season where victims received burn injuries. more..

‘Salary hike for CPC employees’

Jan 10 (DN) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) employees’ salaries will be increased this year. The salary increase will be given in five installments. One installment was granted last year, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. According to Minister Premajayantha, employees’ welfare is one of the key areas that will receive special attention this year. “Several steps will be taken this year to ensure the smooth functioning of the CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Limited,” more..

UGC to relocate Jaffna’s Agriculture, Engineering faculties to Kilinochchi

Jan 10 (Island) The UGC plans to relocate the Jaffna University’s Agriculture faculty and the new Engineering faculty to Kilinochchi in order to enhance postwar education opportunities in the Northern Province. UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said that a special team from the UGC and Higher Education Ministry would discuss the issues with Jaffna University’s Vice Chancellor, more..

Lack of facilities stop teachers going to Vanni

Jan 10 (BBC) Teachers in the north of Sri Lanka are requesting hundreds of houses out of fifty thousand to be built by the Indian Government in the Vanni region. Consultant of All Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (ACTTU) Thambiah Mahasivam told BBC that there is severe shortage of teachers in the north as many teachers from Jaffna and Vavunia are reluctant to take up their posts at remote schools. He referred to lack of accommodation and poor transport facilities more..

New oil pipe line to replace old one

Jan 10 (DN) A new oil pipe line will replace the old oil pipe line carrying oil from Colombo Port to Kolonnawa, and preliminary work has been started in this regard by the Storage Terminal Company under the guidance of Minister Susil Premajayantha. Storage Terminal Company chairman M R W de Soysa has launched the project with the Defence Ministry as the main collaborator. All arrangements have been made to demolish all illegal settlements on both sides of the pipe line, more..

Change of results percentage after re-correction insignificant: Minister

Jan 10 (DM) The percentage of change of results after re-correction of answer scripts of the G.C.E. A/L Exam conducted in 2010 had been as low as 1.5 per cent in 2010, a slight increase from 1.1 per cent reported the previous year, Minister Bandula Gunawardane said. In 2010, 62,268 candidates applied for re-correction, and only 989 of them had their results changed after the process. 89,503 candidates applied for re-correction in 2009, and more..

No diaries, calendars from bankrupt SLC

Jan 10 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has not printed calendars or diaries for 2012 due to the severe financial crisis it is going through at the moment. The colourful diaries printed by SLC over the years depicting past and present greats of the sport were extremely popular and had a high demand too by cricket enthusiasts both here and overseas. SLC, however, refrained from printing any diaries or calendars for this year owing to the financial crisis it is experiencing. more..

SLTB to improve its training schools to produce better drivers

Jan 10 (Island) Minister Kumara Welgama says the ever increasing numbers of traffic accidents could be prevented if vehicle drivers are given a proper training. He will take action to expand SLTB driving schools in 12 regions. In those training schools, anyone over 17 years of age could receive proper training. It would cost just Rs. 6,500 for light vehicles and Rs. 9,000 for heavy vehicles, but at private driving schools, the learner had to pay around Rs. 20,000, more..

Letters 'delivered without stamps'

Jan 10 (BBC) Sri Lankan postal department will remove disputed French stamps with pictures of LTTE Leader and logo, before delivering the letters and parcels. "We will take actions to protect the sovereignty of the country whilst protecting the rights of the general public to receive letters without any trouble,” the head of the postal services MKB Disanayake said. “I have instructed the staff to record the details of the receiver with the disputed stamps and more..

'Party must approve Sajith’s plans'

Jan 10 (DM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said any activities with regard to the party, including the membership drive, had to be approved by the party’s advisory committee before implementation. He was referring to the statement made by Deputy Leader, Sajith Premadasa that he was planning to recruit 100,000 new members. However, Mr. Attanayake explained that the party’s plan was to appoint area organisers first and then reorganise the affiliated organisations of the party. more..

Sri Lankan national with fake seals on passport held

Jan 10 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan national was arrested here on Monday after his passport was found bearing fake seals of Chennai and Tiruchi immigration authorities. M. Ahsan Mohamed (26) of Kandy district in Sri Lanka, had been illegally overstaying in India for over three years after expiry of the tourist visa, police sources said. The Sri Lankan national came to the airport here to board a Kingfisher flight to Colombo in the late hours of Sunday when more..

Private universities to be closely monitored

Jan 10 (DM) Four regulatory and monitoring bodies will be established under the proposed Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Qualification Framework Act to monitor and regulate private degree-awarding institutions, private universities and academies. Higher Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Navaratne said these monitoring bodies would oversee degree programmes, time allocated for degree and diploma programmes, more..

Sri Lanka protesting university students evicted

Jan 10 (BBC) Thousands of protesting students have been evicted from the campus of one of Sri Lanka's main universities following a court order. The evictions at the Sri Jayawardenepura campus comes amid disputes between students who have been protesting for days and the govt. Students accuse the govt of interfering in their lives. A senior opposition figure has said that Sri Lanka's entire education system is in a state of collapse. Sajith Premadasa of the UNP, said students more..

Emirates A380 in emergency landing at BIA

Jan 10 (Island) A giant Emirates A380 aircraft was yesterday forced to make an unscheduled stop at the Bandaranaike International Airport for refuelling. The Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world, with 517 passengers aboard, remained for over one hour until the fuelling was over, top airport sources told The Island last night. Emirates sources claimed that it was a scheduled flight, though there was panic in travel and aviation circles that it was an emergency landing. more..

Govt. to amend 13th Amendment

Jan 10 (Island) Despite India and the TNA insisting that the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution be implemented in toto, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government said yesterday that in view of the LLRC’s recommendations, the 13th Amendment, which was a sequel to the Indo-Lanka Accord, would have to be modified. Asked when the amendment was due, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that a time frame could not be given since a Select Committee on more..

Protest against Maligawa T-shirts

Jan 10 (Island) A group of persons staged a demonstration near the Kandy Lake bund, opposite Queen’s Hotel, protesting against the use of the imprint of the Sri Dalada Maligawa on Women’s T-shirts. A collection of T- shirts with the large size picture of the shrine was detected from a garment sales outlet at Dalada Veediya recently. The protest demonstration was organized by Surakimu Siri Dalada National Movement president and former Basnayaka Nilame Sudantha Senanayaka. more..

'Time to pay greater attention to TB'

Jan 10 (Island) About ten thousand people in the country were diagnosed with tuberculosis annually and a great number of them died each year after suffering for long periods, but not much attention was given to the illness compared to the attention given to a disease like dengue, Director of Tuberculosis Control Programme, Dr. A.K.S. B. de Alwis said recently. Addressing a ceremony to launch a software solution for the National Programme for Tuberculosis Control and Chest more..

“I spy with my little eye…”

Jan 10 (ST) Two Dutch nationals turned up at the Tourist police recently, claiming to have been robbed of their valuables as they walked out of a leading fashion store near the Town Hall in Colombo 7. Among the items they claimed lost were a Nikon Camera, US$ 1,000 and the purchases they made from Odel. Two days later, they returned to the Police to inquire about the progress made on their complaint, and expressed their displeasure at the failure to more..

Indo-Lanka trade booms in Delhi’s favour

Jan 10 (DM) The volume of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and India during the first eleven months of last year had reached US$4.46 billion, an increase of 71.94 per cent when compared with the corresponding period of the previous year, an official said yesterday quoting Sri Lanka customs data. But of this India’s exports to Sri Lanka amounted to US$3.97 billion. During this period, Sri Lanka’s exports had grown by 15 per cent while more..

Norachcholai Plant idles since last Friday’s fire

Jan 10 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) promised to resume electricity generation within hours after the latest fire broke out at the Norachcholai Power Plant in the early hours of last Friday. However, four days have passed and the plant has yet to resume production. When we raised the matter with the authorities yesterday, we were once again informed that it would be restored within hours. more..

Presidential pardon for Fonseka – the question is ‘when?’

Jan 10 (LB) Speculation is rife regarding whether the former army commander Sarath Fonseka will be given a presidential pardon before the March 2012 UNHRC sessions after several government ministers, including Wimal Weerawansa called for his release in recent days. His call follows reports that DNA MP Tiran Alles was holding discussions with the President Rajapaksa in this regard. more..

Lanka to issue free passports to Tamil refugees in India

Jan 10 (KT) The Sri Lankan govt has taken steps to provide free passports to Lankan refugees living in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to assist them repatriate with minimum costs. President Rajapaksa has authorised to waive the LKRs4,400 fee to obtain a Sri Lankan passport for refugees in Tamil Nadu. The move is aimed at encouraging the repatriation of a large number of Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu back to their homes in Sri Lanka. more..

One more round of TNA-Govt. talks on political solution this month

Jan 10 (Hindu) The next round of talks between the Sri Lankan govt and the TNA, an umbrella association of Tamil political parties, is set to commence in Colombo on January 17, to continue discussions on the contours of a political solution to accommodate Tamil hopes and aspirations. The three-day talks commence soon after Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who arrives here on January 16, meets Sri Lankan President more..

Exams dept. likely failed -Report

Jan 10 (DM) While claiming that there are several administration problems within the Examinations Department, the Presidential Commission appointed to look into the recent GCE A/L/ results fiasco, said the results were correct and the merit dispute was also rectified with the issuing of the district merit results again. It is also revealed that this district merit result problem had occurred due to a mistake in entering the results of both the old and new syllabi. more..

SCB checkmates cameo Central Bank!

Jan 10 (FT) The Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has opined the Central Bank’s forecast of $ 25 billion foreign inflow as “optimistic” given external headwinds whilst cautioning that pressure was mounting on the rupee given the rising import demand. This view along with weaker GDP forecast is contained in SCB's latest country update titled 'A challenging year ahead' following the presentation of the roadmap for 2012 and beyond by the Central Bank. more..

Rajapaksa’s kin attacked in Ramanathapuram

Jan 10 (Hindu) Thirukumaran Nadesan, husband of Sri Lankan Member of Parliament Nirupama Rajapaksa, was attacked on Tuesday in Rameswaram by a group of activists. The attack was unleashed when he was coming out of a house after performing puja. He was on a two-day visit to Rameswaram to offer prayer at Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. The activists of MDMK and Nam Tamilar Iyakkam, who came to know about the arrival of more..

Hashan alleges political interference in SLC polls

Jan 10 (CI) Hashan Tillakaratne, the former Sri Lanka captain turned politician, has written to the ICC claiming there was political interference in the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections held on January 3, and that the elections had also violated the SLC's constitution. Tillakaratne alleged the Sri Lanka govt allowed a change of voting delegates at the last minute in order to ensure that votes were cast for a predetermined list of candidates, and more..

Sri Lanka stocks fall 0.2-pct

Jan 10 (LBO) Stocks weakened for the sixth straight trading day Tuesday, with investors selling off shares and warrants of a firm which has delayed conversion for the second time, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.17 percent to 5,862.91, while the Milanka index fell 0.32 percent to 5,004.55. Turnover was 534 million rupees. Investors punished shares and warrants of Environmental Resources Investments, which last week said it was delaying conversion of more..

Editorial: Let there be light

Jan 10 (DM) Saving energy, electricity or water is an act of practical patriotism that Sri Lankans need to practise in this new era when the LLRC has recommended that the Sri Lankan identity be established with any reference to race being removed from official documents. Minister Champika Ranawaka announced last week, the Ceylon Electricity Board was setting up a separate company to harness solar and wind power which Mother Nature gives to all unconditionally and free-of-charge. more..

The NY Times has dropped Sri Lanka from the best destinations list

Jan 10 (CT) Sri Lanka is not within the 45 best destinations to visit in 2012. The New York Times listed “45 places to go in 2012” destinations including Kerala and Maldives. The list published January 6, 2012 in the New York Times travel section. It is speculated that The New York Times has dropped Sri Lanka after Christmas Day gang rape and killing incident in President Rajapaksa’s political home base, Tangalle. more..

Sri Lanka gas retailing: battling politics, price controls

Jan 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's gas retail business is a protected market with high profits but political risks have to be managed, the head of the island's second largest and sole privately owned distributor has said. Laugfs Gas, a listed company, is estimated to have 30 percent of the island's 125,000 tonnes a year liquefied petroleum gas market, the third seller in a largely fragmented petroleum retail network and fourth in lubricants. It is also one of two state mandated emissions testers. more..

Insurance to be compulsory for fishermen from April

Jan 10 (Island) Bilateral issues, including the cross-border fishing and the problems faced by the Northern fishermen due to undeterred poaching by Indian fishermen, would be taken up for discussion at the Joint Commission meeting with the Indian delegation, on January 13 and 14, to ensure sustainable fisheries development, a Ministry official said. The Ministry had launched an insurance scheme for fishermen in January 2011, but they had not evinced a keen interest in the scheme. more..

'Sanga's speech is like asking Obama to release Fonseka'

Jan 10 (DM) Minister Aluthgamage criticized Kumar Sangakkara's famous Colin Cowdrey oration last year in England because he did not agree with Sangakkara's sentiments and likened his speech to Hashan Tillakeratne complaining about the SLC election to the ICC, which the minister earlier equated to asking US President Barack Obama to release Sarath Fonseka from jail. "I was against it then; I am against it now. Players under contract have some conditions. more..

Trawler used for human trafficking seized

Jan 10 (DM) The multi-day fishing trawler which was to be used to take 22 asylum seekers was taken into custody by the Sri Lanka Navy this morning off the seas of Hambantota. Navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that four crew members were also taken into custody during the raid undertaken by a naval patrol team at around 2.00am. The owner of the trawler has gone into hiding and a joint operation is underway together with the CID to arrest him. more..

Stop attempt to establish paying wards in govt hospitals - ACHSU

Jan 10 (LT) In an atmosphere where free health service is broken-down so badly that patients have to bring in equipment necessary for treatment that should have been made available in hospitals, the attempt by the govt to establish paying wards in govt hospitals should be defeated states All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU). The President of ACHSU Gamini Kumarasinghe said by establishing paying wards in govt hospitals patients are divided into two classes and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 10.01.2012

Seven arrested after Tamilnadu assault

Jan 10 (BBC) Tamil nationalist activists on Tuesday tried to assault Thirukumaran Nadesan, husband of Sri Lankan MP Nirupama Rajapakse at Rameswaram in southern Tamil Nadu where the couple had gone on a pilgrimage. However Mr Nadesan was rescued by the police and has now been moved to safety. Rameswaram is a temple town on the eastern coast, and fishermen from there complain repeatedly of attacks by Sri Lankan navy in the environs of Kacha Theevu in Palk Straits, more..

Uproar at Matara MC meeting over Upul Nishantha’s presence

Jan 10 (SM) There was uproar at the monthly meeting of the Matara Municipal Council this morning after the ruling UPFA objected to the presence of former mayor and present opposition leader of the MC Upul Nishantha of the UNP. Mayor Soshindra Handunge, quoting a letter issued by Matara assistant elections chief Suneth Lochana, said the opposition leader cannot attend the meeting. Challenging the claim, Mr. Nishantha asked that he would accept that he was not a councillor more..

Sweden Ambassador Alahapperuma presents his credentials to King Carl

Jan 10 (IL) The newly appointed Sri Lankan envoy to Sweden, Oshadhi Alahapperuma presented his Credentials to His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden recently at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. Representing the Sweden Govt the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps called at the SriLankan Embassy which is located in the heart of Stockholm and escorted the Ambassador and his accompanying suite to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs more..

Nirupama’s husband says he wasn’t “attacked”

Jan 10 (AD) Thirukumaran Nadesan, husband of Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa, speaking to Ada Derana refuted Indian media reports which claimed he was attacked by a group of activists. However, he stated that he was mobbed by a group of pro-LTTE activists in Rameswaram, India today. Mr. Nadesan added that he was surrounded by the activists who demonstrated shouting slogans against the Sri Lankan govt. Earlier today Indian media reported that Nadesan was attacked by more..