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Canada Post rejected original request for personalised pro-LTTE stamp

Jan 13 (DM) The original request for a personalised pro-LTTE postage stamp in Canada depicting ‘Tamil Eelam’ had been turned down by the Canadian postal service in May 2011, the Canadian High Commission in Colombo said yesterday. The Canadian High Commission said, “The original request for the personalised stamp in question was submitted to Canada Post through its Picture Postage website in May 2011. more..

Sri Lanka report not enough to change Canadian PM's mind on summit boycott

Jan 13 (MG) Canada remains steadfast in its intention to boycott next year's Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka unless "real progress" is made in that country following its reconciliation report that Canada says failed to address human rights concerns stemming from the civil conflict in 2009. A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that actual change must occur on the heels of more..

'Ex-LTTE cadres are with us' -JVP dissidents

Jan 13 (DM) JVP dissidents said that former LTTE cadres had joined hands with them in political work in the Northern Province, and their activist Kugan Maruganathan who was abducted on Dec 9, last year was also involved in the activities of the organisation at that time. JVP dissident Udul Premaratne, said that there were around 900 political prisoners in the country, and that he interacted with 500 of them. more..

Editorial: What is right, not who is right

Jan 13 (DM) Self-realisation is the best form of visualization and world history has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that genuine democracy is the only sustainable form of good governance for the common good. This means, in its highest or noblest dimensions, a govt of the people, for the people and by the people. Essentially, such a democracy comprises three key factors – the executive power of the sovereign people being exercised by the executive presidency, more..

Cabinet reshuffle on Jan 17?

Jan 13 (CT) The much anticipated Cabinet reshuffle will take place on 17 January and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will elevated to the post of Prime Minister, highly placed political sources told Ceylon Today. Speaker Rajapaksa, who was on a personal visit to the US, was scheduled return to the country this morning. Two ministers namely Nimal Siripala de Silva and D.E.W. Gunasekera are considered for the position of the Speaker. De Silva, is the frontrunner for the top post in Parliament. more..

I only want justice - Dayasiri

Jan 13 (NS) Q: There is talk circulating that your party is going to conduct a disciplinary inquiry against you. Have you been made aware of such a move? A: No, I have not been informed of such a move. If any disciplinary inquiry against a party member is to be instituted it should emanate from the party disciplinary committee. Such decisions have to be made by the General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and Disciplinary Committee Chairman Tilak Marapana but more..

SB ends up with egg on face

Jan 13 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake hadn’t even briefed the Cabinet about his controversial Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Qualification Frame Bill, aimed at regulating ‘private universities’, in spite of publicly vowing to present it in parliament. The failure on the part of Minister Dissanayake to discuss such a critical issue with his Cabinet colleagues before making public pronouncements was pointed out during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting chaired by President more..

Aitken Spence says renegotiating port deal

Jan 13 (LBO) Aiken Spence group has confirmed it was renegotiating a contract to build a deep-water container terminal with a Chinese shipping group after reports that it would pull out as costs had escalated beyond its means. Aitken Spence had reportedly been forced to pull out of the deal, the island's biggest private sector infrastructure project, after additional equity funding was needed when a 350 million dollar loan from China Development Bank fell more..

WikiLeaks: Rajapaksa frequently contacted US with Mangala

Jan 13 (CT) “He frequently contacted the Embassy in the 1988-89 period to complain of disappearances and extra-judicial killings under the then UNP govt, and with fellow southerner and Minister of Ports in the Kumaratunga administration Mangala Samaraweera” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. “A memcon in Embassy files quotes Rajapakse as freely admitting to ballot stuffing during that race–but only to balance out just-as-vigorous more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.2-pct

Jan 13 (LBO) Stocks closed weaker Friday, losing some of the gains in Thursday's rally, although turnover stayed above a billion rupees, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 0.22 percent at 5,929.34, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.39 percent to close at 5,046.09. Turnover was 1.17 billion rupees. Shares of Environmental Resources Investments, which last week said it was delaying conversion of warrants, were again the most actively traded and more..

Lectures in Kelaniya uni suspended

Jan 13 (CT) All lectures for second year students of the Kelaniya University have been suspended by the University’s administration today until further notice. A representative of the Kelaniya University Student Union, said that the reason for the administration to take such a decision was due to the clash between two student factions in the science faculty of the university. “There are two student factions in the science faculty that oppose each other. more..

Sri Lanka to expand food stamps to former war zones

Jan 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka will expand a food stamp scheme to former war zones in the east adding an estimated 100,000 families to 1.5 million already on the scheme, deputy minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. Sri Lanka's Samurdhi (prosperity) income re-distribution scheme also has several income generating programs with a savings and loan scheme. The program will be extended to the districts of Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, where a war ended in 2009 and more..

Elephants take commuter from Stevenage to Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (TC) A year ago Alison Joseph of Brick Kiln Road, Stevenage, was made redundant from her London commuter job after the company she worked for was taken over. But rather than descend into gloom the 35-year-old used the opportunity to go off in a radical new direction. “I decided to take the year to travel,” she said. “I started in Central America and then went to Sri Lanka for six weeks of volunteering. While there I fell in love with the elephants and more..

Degrees for civilians at KDU

Jan 13 (CT) Lieutenant ADC to the Vice Chancellor of Sri Lanka’s Kothalawala Defense University (KDU) Dimuthu Perera said that the University has decided to open degree programs of the university to civilian students. “Civilian students don’t need to stay at camps and study; they can come in the morning and leave in the evening similar to a normal institute, the cost will be low in comparison to private sector courses in these subjects “Lieutenant said. more..

'We condemn the move to repress students on pretext of conspiracies and establish private universities'

Jan 13 (LT) Students’ opposition to the denial of educational facilities, slashing of other welfare facilities and restriction of extracurricular activities in universities has intensified but the govt, instead of solving those issues, attempting to level false charges against students, creating a bogey of conspiracy against the government to suppress students, closing down of universities and more..

Local Hotel wins the prestigious ITS Red Star Award

Jan 13 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s Club Hotel Dolphin has won the prestigious ITS Red Star International Award. This is the first time that a Sri Lankan Hotel has been nominated for this prestigious Award. The ITS brand has the largest selection of hotels amongst the Tour Operators of the Travel and tourism division of REWE Group. The focus of the ITS program is on three-to-four star hotels. The ITS Red Star Award is awarded to the best and most popular 60 hotels worldwide. more..

Chief Minister Maheepala honoured at the Ratnapura District Media Seminar

Jan 13 (GDI) The Ratnapura District Development Seminar in the series of Development Seminars for Media Personnel, organized by the Government Information Department is being held today at the Auditorium of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council. This is an awareness programme for media personnel of the Ratnapura District on the development programmes of the government to enable them to take the message to the districts and villages in which they operate. more..

Oil minnow Sri Lanka has most reasons to worry about Iran oi

Jan 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka may be a minnow in the oil world, but a near total reliance on Iranian crude imports means it has more reason than most to find a way to avoid being caught in the clutches of U.S. sanctions. The island's only refinery - the 50,000 barrels-a-day Sapugaskanda refinery - is almost entirely reliant on imports of Iran's crude. Switching to alternatives is not easy because the refinery has been configured to handle Iran's more..

Six Rajarata University students get a two year suspension

Jan 13 (NF) A two year suspension has been imposed on six students of the Science Faculty of the Rajarata University. University Registrar A.A. Karunarathne stated that this period of suspension which commenced on the 28th of November last year will be effective until the 28th of November next year. The suspension was imposed over an incident where the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar of the University were forcibly kept in the university premises by the students. more..

'Saturn in 10th House of my horoscope'

Jan 13 (SM) UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa says the placement of Saturn in the 10th house of his horoscope gives him the strength to face any unpleasant situation. He was speaking to journalists yesterday (12) at a function in Kandy held to coincide with his birthday. Mr. Premadasa accused the UNP leadership of destroying party discipline by granting the working committee membership to only Ravi Karunanayake and disregarding Karu Jayasuriya and Dayasiri Jayasekara. more..

Whale-watching in Lanka

Jan 13 (Hindu) I recently travelled to Sri Lanka with the intention of writing a travel piece. Admittedly, I spent less time travelling and more time, well, never mind, but my so-called travels did end up in a rather interesting whale watching excursion. There are a lot of nice things for tourists to do in Sri Lanka, but whale-watching is one particular activity that seems to be experiencing quite a hike in popularity. There are several spots around the island more..

Two buses nabbed for illegally traveling in highway

Jan 13 (CT) The National Transport Commission (NTC) has suspended the permits of two private buses which had illegally operated in the Southern expressway, NTC chairman Shashi Welgama said. According to the NTC Director Operations W.A.C Weerasekara had captured the buses normally plying in the Colombo-Galle route. Bus permits of these two buses have been temporarily suspended. The Private Bus Owners Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said that the govt should consider more..

Three local govt bodies to become municipal councils

Jan 13 (NF) The Government plans to convert three more local government institutions into Municipal Councils. According to the Ministry of Local Government & Provincial Councils, a proposal has been forwarded to convert the local government institutions in Ampara, Polonnaruwa and Monaragala into Municipal Councils. A committee has already been appointed to look into the criteria to convert the Ampara Urban Council into a Municipal Council. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.01.2012

Navy releases 13 Indian fishermen

Jan 13 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has released two Indian fishing trawlers and 13 fishermen on Friday, even as a delegation of top officials for the region arrived here for talks on the fisheries issue. The fishermen were apprehended off Trincomalee on January 11, the Navy said. “The trawlers were initially sighted at a location 14.2 nautical miles north-east of Pulmudai around 03.00 p.m. on 10th. Due to intrusive behaviour, they were kept under surveillance by patrolling SLN vessels more..

National Drug Policy to transform health service: Minister

Jan 13 (DM) The pharmaceutical drug trade is the second largest profit-making business in the world after the weapons trade, therefore the Health Ministry will be confronted with many challenges from private drug traders when it implements the National Drug Policy (NDP) in 2012, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. One of the prime objectives of the Health Ministry in 2012 would be to legalise NDP that will bring a huge transformation into more..

Will KP’s fund raiser case be heard in absentia?

Jan 13 (DM) The Colombo High Court today fixed for April 19 the case in which to consider whether the case against the LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan’s fund raiser be heard in absentia or not. High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa made this pronouncement before the High Court regarding the matter in which the suspects Ponniah Ananda Rajah alias Aiya and Subramaniam Sivakumar alias Rajan were indicted for raising funds in more..

Sri Lanka PC Pharma mulls drug manufacturing

Jan 13 (LBO) Sri Lankan pharmaceutical and medical supplies importer PC Pharma, which is seeking a stock exchange listing, plans to make drugs in the island and diversity into energy drinks and 'nutraceuticals'. The firm, a unit of PCH Holdings, is to list 101 million shares priced at one rupee each following a bonus issue and share split. The shares of the firm are to be listed on the "Diri Savi' second board of the Colombo stock exchange where listing more..

18 OIC’s transferred

Jan 13 (DM) The Police Headquarters said that today that 18 OIC’s have been transferred with immediate effect. Police said that the transfers were routine transfers and they were not taken on disciplinary grounds. The Police Department is planning to take a number of steps this year to increase its efficiency and move closer to the public by introducing a number of people friendly initiatives under the directions of Inspector General of Police (IGP) N.K. Illangakone. more..

Sri Lankan anger over foreign 'Tamil Tiger' stamps

Jan 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka has reacted furiously to a spate of "personalised" foreign postage stamps bearing the image of slain Tamil Tiger rebel supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran. The stamps, from Britain, Canada and France, were reportedly put together by overseas Tamil Tiger support groups, using services sanctioned by state postal agencies that allow people to combine personal photos with official stamps. more..

LLRC recommendations need implementation

Jan 14 (DM) The mandate also covered several specific matters including the lessons we would learn from these events and their attendant concerns, so as to prevent a recurrence of such a conflict. Contrary to comments made by certain extremist elements, it is the considered view of the CPSL that the Commission has not transgressed its mandate in any manner. It was perfectly within its mandate to look back at the conflict and identify the root cause of the grievances of more..

The TAIL of success in hospital service

Jan 14 (Island) "What’s all this about dogs attacking the health services?" asked Kamal Sunakharatne, who is engaged in a study of veterinary medicine in the country. "That is the problem, there are far too many dogs in our hospitals" said Haris Jalabheethika, a self-proclaimed expert on rabies eradication. "One thought that hospitals are meant for human patients and not dogs. Is it that the dogs come to the hospitals for treatment, because there are not enough veterinary more..

Failed attempt to revive pension scheme plan

Jan 14 (ST) The Sri Lankan Govt’s attempt to sneak in disputed private sector pension scheme through amendments to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has been foiled due to the timely intervention of trade unions and the media. It was the Business Times that revealed the govt’s plan in its front page news item and in an editorial, both published on Dec 18. On Wednesday, unions pitched into Minister of Labour Gamini Lokuge, at a regular more..

Restoring confidence in the criminal justice system

Jan 14 (Island) Five news items published in our newspapers within a couple of days in the course of last week reflect the political culture of impunity that prevails in our country today. The first two referred to the killings of Lasantha Wickrematunga and Dharmaratnam Sivaram, both well known journalists who had been openly critical of the political and military establishment. Sivaram was a popular The Island columnist who wrote under the pen name ‘Taraki’. more..

Some Lessons to be Learnt from China

Jan 14 (Island) The LLRC was mandated to (a) learn why the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) failed, (b) to investigate humanrights abuses in the war, (c) recommend steps for national reconcilliation, preventing future conflict. Investigating (a) and (b) are fair. However, can the learned panelists, or anyone, recommend steps to ensure peace in the future? The causes of aggression have been shrouded in myths about ‘civilising the heathen’, ‘class struggles’, ‘lack of democracy and more..

Challenging task for newly elected body

Jan 14 (NS) So finally despite all the hullabaloo that surrounded the first election for seven years of Sri Lanka Cricket we have an elected body in place to administer the game. We should be thankful for small mercies such as this for under whatever circumstances this present set of administrators were elected an end has been put to govt appointed interim committees. There were several allegations cast by the Thilanga Sumathipala camp headed by more..

On so called scientific knowledge – XI

Jan 14 (Island) A paradigm in the sense of Kuhn and not in the sense of Sri Lankan academia and NGO establishment is a base in which theories are constructed. It should be mentioned that according to the western sociologists of knowledge, knowledge is constructed and not discovered and moreover it is done in a social context. It is clear that Einstein, if born in Continental Europe in the eighteenth century would not have come up with the theory of relativity nor would more..

Editorial: Dons feeling hard done-by

Jan 14 (Island) Arrogance of power has been the undoing of most governments in this country. The present dispensation does not seem to have learnt from the experience of previous regimes. Intoxicated with power, it is trying to bulldoze its way through. The debilitation of the main Opposition party, the UNP, owing to internal disputes has apparently emboldened the ruling coalition to resort to strong-arm tactics in dealing with virtually everything. But, resistance more..

Thai Pongal-Thanks Giving Festival auguring bountiful harvests and good fortune

Jan 14 (TC) Thai Pongal is a “Thanks giving ceremony” celebrated by farmers in particular to thank the nature spirit- the sun- and farm animals for bringing prosperity to agriculture with plentiful harvests. They venerate and thank the sun god – the nature spirit and offer the first part of the produce in the form of cooked rice. They do not forget to make this an occasion to thank the farm animals who contribute to the prosperity of agriculture in a big way. more..

Dhamma, Gamini and H. A: Tribute to three theatre greats

Jan 14 (ST) It seemed an age since I last dropped in at Lionel Wendt. That was my feeling when I went there last Wednesday for an event which can easily be described as 'unique'. Janakaraliya, - the enthusiastic group forming 'Theatre of the People' had organised a 'guru pooja' to pay tribute to three stalwarts of the theatre scene in Sri Lanka – Dhamma Jagoda, Gamini Haththottuwegama and H. A. Perera. "An artistic tribute to dear departed teachers by their disciples", more..