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Navy helps injured Fin Whale to refloat in 7-hour operation

Jan 15 (Island) An injured 38-foot Fin Whale washed ashore at Vella beach in Kalpitiya on Friday was freed from an entangled fishing net and guided back into the deep waters off Dutch Bay in a tough seven- hour naval operation. Timely action by personnel attached to SLNS Vijaya in the North-western Naval Area saved this marine mammal, which had beached due to the entangled fishing net hindering its free movement. more..

GL in bilateral talks with Mauritania President

Jan 15 (Island) External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris had bilateral discussions with Mohamed Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania, on Friday. President Abdel Aziz, accepting the felicitations of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said that there are many features in common between the challenges faced by Sri Lanka and Mauritania. He referred to the sharp focus on infrastructure as a key to the strengthening of Mauritania’s economy, and noted with interest more..

Mahinda acts swiftly to scotch Chamal for PM story

Jan 15 (Island) A furious president acted swiftly and decisively to scotch rapidly spreading rumour that his eldest brother Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa was to be sworn in as the Premier at the expense of D.M. Jayaratne. Asked whether the president had felt the move posed a serious threat to the unity and stability in the coalition, well informed sources pointed out had the SLFP leader took it lightly he wouldn’t have more..

Sri Lanka batting too slow at start - Dilshan

Jan 15 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan has admitted that his side were "20 or 25 runs" short of a winning total in the second one-day international against South Africa in East London. Sri Lanka put on 236 for 6 after a slow start - they had managed just 82 runs by the halfway stage of their innings. "The wicket was slow but we tried to get to 250," Dilshan said. "In the first 20 overs, we did not get enough runs. They bowled and fielded really well." South Africa removed Dilshan in the second over and more..

Sajith and Dayasiri to be axed?

Jan 15 (NS) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera is likely to be suspended from UNP membership at Monday’s crucial Working Committee meeting, well informed UNP sources disclose. They said a motion would be brought before the committee seeking the suspension of Jayasekera on disciplinary grounds with many charges framed against him for violating party disciplines. If the proposal was approved by the Working Committee, it would then be placed before the UNP Advisory Committee for more..

Krishna visit likely to propel devolution talks

Jan 15 (ST) For more reasons than one, the coming weeks remain crucial for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. With a comfortable two thirds majority in Parliament and a separatist war over, his UPFA govt has still been floundering. A number of issues have begun to erode public confidence even though they are not highlighted by an impotent opposition. The largest cabinet in post-independent Sri Lanka notwithstanding, more..

JVP Insists It Is Not Involved In Ragging

Jan 15 (SL) The JVP says it is completely against ragging and does not condone such action, nor is it involved in such acts in universities. JVP MP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that there was an attempt to point fingers at the JVP, over some of the ragging incidents reported from universities in recent times. He said that the JVP is not part of the IUSF whose members are known to have been involved in ragging. Dissanayake says the JVP has consistently condemned more..

Tamil-speaking policemen to be enlisted in N-E

Jan 15 (SO) A massive recruitment program has been launched to enlist Tamil-speaking men and women from the Northern and Eastern provinces to foster a good relationship between diverse ethnic communities, Police Media Spokesman, SP Ajith Rohana said. Fifty Tamil-speaking males have been selected as Sub Inspectors of Police to undergo training at the Police Training School at Kalutara from January 25. On completion of training the Probationary Sub Inspectors of Police more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 15 (ST) The UNP's one time deputy leader, Karu Jayasuriya, was at 'Temple Trees' on Friday. As was expected, phones of UNPers began ringing with queries whether he was returning to the govt fold again. Jayasuriya served a stint as Minister of Public Administration in the Rajapaksa regime. However, his presence at 'Temple Trees' was for another reason altogether. The Ramanna Nikaya's two-yearly Upasampada Ulela is to be held shortly. more..

Nadesan saddened by attempt to attack him

Jan 15 (Hindu) The attempt in Rameswaram to attack Thirukumaran Nadesan, a Tamil businessman known in India as Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's relative, has both shocked and saddened him. “I have been there so many times. I was in Tiruchendur in November; I have been to Rameswaram so many times. In fact, I have been going to the temples in India for the last 26 years, to Tiruchendur for kanda shasti, more..

CID probes charges against Mervyn

Jan 15 (ST) Allegations of extortion and other illegal activities by Minister Mervyn Silva are being probed by CID detectives on a directive by Police Chief N.K.Illangakoon. The probe follows a petition handed over to the Ministry of Defence by UPFA members of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha .A copy of the petition has also been given to the CID. According to the petition, the alleged extortions took place when commercial establishments were forced to pay more..

Drastic drop in SJGH’s occupancy rate

Jan 15 (Island) The former Chairman and Board of Directors of Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) were not corrupt but a decision was taken to dissolve the Board because there were some weaknesses and drawbacks in the management of this key medical facility, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. "That was why I reconstituted the Board and appointed a new Chairman, Director and Deputy Director under a restructuring more..

Hikkaduwa-bound party has nightmare encounter with highwaymen

Jan 15 (ST) What started out as a spontaneous decision among a group of Colombo friends to head to Hikkaduwa for a late night dinner turned into a nightmare experience for one party, which had a narrow escape from a gang of armed highwaymen. The incident was described to the Sunday Times by one of the passengers. “We took the Southern Expressway, we were travelling in two cars. more..

Police to begin probe on hundreds of missing persons

Jan 15 (SL) The police have begun investigations into hundreds of people reported missing over the past several months. In the last 40 days alone eleven persons have been abducted in white vans. They have disappeared with no clue except for Amal Rodrigo, Coordinating Secretary for Mervyn Silva who was returned after being abducted. Out of the ten who were ‘whitevanned’ in the last one and a half months include more..

High Sec-Zone land stays put with Army

Jan 15 (ST) The army has issued a directive to the Govt Agent (GA) of Jaffna that certain High Security Zone (HSZ) lands which were earlier earmarked to be released to their private owners be retained for military use, claims the TNA. “Certain properties in Mathagal and Thelakatti, the latter which is located in the Pallali High Security Zone were earlier earmarked to be handed over to their owners, but now the army has more..

Bribery Commission interrogates top Finance Ministry official

Jan 15 (Island) In a high-profile probe, a Cabinet appointed Director-General of a key Ministry has been questioned by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption for allegedly submitting a bogus certificate claiming a doctorate from a University in USA. This high-ranking official had also served as the Secretary of the Transport Ministry in 2005 on the strength of this collective more..

Govt. to remove contentious clause from EPF Bill

Jan 15 (ST) The Govt has decided to delete a contentious clause in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) (Amendment) Bill which provides for the setting up of a pension or insurance fund for members, due to strong objections by the Opposition. The Bill will be taken up for debate in Parliament on Wednesday but both the UNP and the JVP said that despite Govt assurances, they will remain vigilant when the Bill comes up to more..

Presidential Committee says officers to blame for GCE A/L results mess up

Jan 15 (Island) The committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to inquire into the GCE (A/L) results mess up, has blamed officers responsible saying they had not taken adequate steps to avoid the causes that contributed to the error. The committee has recommended the need to take several steps to enhance the capacity of the Examination Department to handle technology related activities and more..

TNA to brief on the lack of progress in talks

Jan 15 (SL) The TNA representatives are to communicate to Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna about the lack of progress made in the talks between the TNA and the Sri Lankan govt on finding a political solution to the ethnic issue. Krishna is scheduled to meet with representatives of the TNA tomorrow soon after he arrives in the country. TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said the party would communicate the progress, or lack of it, in the talks between more..

FUTA sees lack of transparency

Jan 15 (SL) The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) said that the lack of transparency was a major contributing factor in the decision to continue with strike action over the proposed Private University Bill on Tuesday. FUTA spokesman Dr. Mahim Mendis said that the provisions of the Bill had been kept hidden from the university community, adding that even Parliamentarians were not aware of the contents. A leaked document received by the Association revealed that more..

Duminda to return in 3 months

Jan 15 (SL) UPFA MP Duminda Silva is expected to return to the country within the next three months, an official at Silva’s office in Nugegoda told The Sunday Leader. The official said that Silva, who sustained gunshot injuries in Mulleriyawa, had recovered considerably in Singapore. Presidential Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed in the shooting incident last October while Silva was seriously injured. more..

Fireworks in Rajapaksa council

Jan 15 (LT) The political outburst regarding a cabinet reshuffle has been due to a blowup in the power struggle that exists among Rajapaksas say internal sources of the govt. The Chief Minister for Uva PC Shashindra Rajapaksa has gone abroad due to falling out with the President say these sources. The latest cause for the blowup in the power struggle is said to be the process of getting MP Namal Rajapaksa to the forefront. It is further reported that the President has been more..

Thai Pongal, most popular event in Hindu calendar - President

Jan 15 (GDI) “On this Thai Pongal Day, the most popular event in the Hindu religious calendar, I wish the Sri Lankan Hindus prosperity, peace and happiness in the coming year and beyond,” states President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a Thai Pongal message. The message adds: Traditionally a thanksgiving ceremony of the farming community Hindus offer prayers of gratitude to the Sun God for a bountiful harvest and also pay tribute to the farm animals who helped them in the cultivation. more..

Police looking for stone throwers

Jan 15 (DM) The police are looking for a number of individuals who had been throwing stones at passing vehicles in the Southern Expressway. Police warned people not to throw stones at vehicles travelling on the Southern Expressway. These incidents had been reported in Welipenna, Kurudugahahethekma, Aluthgama and Dodangoda areas. The Police said that those involved will be strictly dealt with by the law. more..

Youth disappears after jumping into a canal

Jan 15 (DM) A youth disappeared after jumping into a canal during a brawl which took place in the Dharmarama Road area in Wellawatta. The clash took place between two factions when an argument had broken out over a long standing personal dispute. After residents informed the police, the individuals who were involved in the fight had gone missing. The victim's body has not been found so far and navy divers are currently being used to find his body. more..

Robbery of building material at high noon

Jan 15 (LB) Vandalism on the abandoned giant, four-storeyed former Star Toffee manufacturing complex near the Kelanitissa Power House, Colombo 14 led to its collapse last week. Since the building came down injuring three people, dozens of unidentified men are engaged in breaking up and moving away what is left of the massive fallen structure. Soon there will be nothing left as the removal of material goes on day and night as people transport structural steel and more..

TNA dismisses LLRC report and sets the agenda for talks

Jan 15 (Hindu) Barely two days before the commencement of a crucial round of talks between the TNA, an umbrella group representing Tamil political parties, and the Sri Lankan govt, the outfit again called for outside scrutiny of the Eelam War IV. The war concluded in May 2009 and the government has conceded that there have been civilian casualties in the war. Almost all civilians killed were Tamils. more..

Kallis and Amla to miss rest of ODI series

Jan 15 (CI) Hashim Amla will miss the remainder of the ODI series against Sri Lanka to be with his wife, who is expecting their first child. Jacques Kallis has been rested while Rory Kleinveldt has been ruled out due to injury. Alviro Petersen and Colin Ingram replace the two senior batsmen and Vernon Philander, who's been impressive in Tests, has been picked in the ODI squad in place of Kleinveldt. Amla's been in excellent form in the series; he scored a century in more..

Sri Lanka to send more peacekeeping troops to Haiti

Jan 15 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to send more troops to Haiti to join the UN peacekeeping operations. A batch of 659 soldiers have been selected to join a Sri Lankan contingent already in Haiti, and these soldiers took part in a military parade last week, a Sri Lankan military official said. He said that the new contingent to Haiti will join the UN peacekeeping operations in early February. In 2007 the United Nations repatriated more than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers more..

Z-score: The real Story

'Sri Lankan Tamils want self determination'

Jan 15 (Xinhua) A leading Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora group said Sunday that it will support discussions for a political settlement on the island if the solution alters the structure of governance in the country. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), which is seen by the Sri Lankan government as an organization which promotes the ideologies of the Tamil Tiger rebels, said that Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka are entitled to the right to self-determination. more..

JJ, SPC Chief clash over transfer

Jan 15 (DM) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardane and State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) Chairman Prof. S.D. Jayaratne have locked horns with each other over the transfer of a labourer who is also an activist of the UNP-affiliated Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS). Dr. Jayawardane who is also the JSS chairman charged that this labourer attached to the SPC had been victimised on false accusations merely because of his connection with the JSS. He said this person had been more..

US sanctions put Sri Lanka in tight spot

Jan 15 (BBC) The govt says it is looking for importing crude oil from Qatar and Oman following latest US sanctions against Iran. Minister Susil Premajayanth said that the govt was informed by the US of the latest sanctions against Iran. "We refine approximately 40,000 barrels of crude oil a day that was imported from Iran," he said. The refinery that was built in late 60s, said the minister, can only refine either Iranian Light or AramCo which more..

J’pura campus to reopen on Jan. 23?

Jan 15 (NF) The Sri Jayawardenapura University which was temporarily closed due to student unrest is to be re-opened on the 23rd of this month. Senior Lecturer of the University, Sunil Ariyaratne stated that the decision to re-open the university will be taken after holding discussions with the university students tomorrow. Representatives of the university’s administration had held discussions with the Minister S.B. Dissanayake in this regard yesterday. more..

Gold turns to copper

Jan 15 (CT) Three police officers attached to the Ranajayapura police post were taken into remand custody on Saturday for allegedly misguiding the Kekirawa Magistrate, police said. Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said the officers having taken into custody some gold items from a caretaker of a temple after apprehending him had produced to the Kekirawa Magistrate some items made of copper, stating the confiscated items taken into custody were made of copper. more..

Pay Hike: CEB to protest, CPC to negotiate

Jan 15 (NS) While the 15,000 strong Ceylon Electricity Board Trade Union Alliance (CEBTUA) is planning a demonstration and work to rule in front of its head office on Wednesday 18, the 400 strong Ceylon Petroleum Common Workers Union (CPCWU) is in dialogue with the Minister of Petroleum, Susil Premajayantha in respect of the 18 per cent basic salary increase and 2,500 allowance granted in the 2012 budget. more..

Hotline for land complaints

Jan 15 (CT) A special police unit has been set up by the CID to investigate complaints relating to transactions of land. “A round the clock hotline (1933) has been introduced and five other numbers can also be used to make complaints (232141-5) relating to these issues,” Police Spokesperson, S.P. Ajith Rohana said. “Problems relating to immovable property (land, buildings and houses) transactions by using forged or fraudulent documentation or transactions which have been conducted by more..

Dhara washes her hands off Z-score

Jan 15 (LB) The Presidential Committee appointed to investigate the GCE A/L results fiasco did not look into the charges that the Z-Score formula used was wrong because it was not within their mandate, said head of the committee, Dhara Wijethilake. She added that they were not mandated to investigate the Z-score and did not interview Prof. Thattil. “We were clearly told to look at the errors which occurred over the District Rankings. We did not interview the professor because more..

'Thought my career had ended'

Jan 15 (CI) For Thilan Samaraweera, it has been a topsy-turvy few months. He averaged 50 in Sri Lanka's away Test series against England last summer, only to have his form fall away badly in the home Tests against Australia in September, when he scored 86 in four innings. He was dropped for the Tests against Pakistan in the UAE that followed and, after being initially ignored, added to the Test squad that toured South Africa as cover for Mahela Jayawardene, more..

Forgive, but do not forget

Jan 16 (NS) In a statement issued in response to the LLRC, the govt of Canada says, “Canada remains concerned that the report does not fully address the grave accusations of serious human rights violations that occurred toward the end of the conflict. In a statement issued in response to the LLRC, the govt of Canada says, “Canada remains concerned that the report does not fully address the grave accusations of serious human rights violations that more..