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Sri Lanka must devolve powers in 'very visible manner'

Jan 19 (PTI) India today underlined the need for Sri Lanka to devolve powers to Tamil-dominated provinces envisaged under a key constitutional amendment in a 'very visible manner' to fulfill the political aspirations of the minority ethnic community. Wrapping up his four-day visit to Sri Lanka during which he visited the war-ravaged North and Southern parts of the country, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said he was satisfied with more..

Australia/India buy ITN’s Killing Fields

Jan 19 (BN) ITN Productions’ powerful documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields has been acquired by broadcasters in India and Australia. The hour-long film, made originally for Channel 4, has been sold by distributor DRG to Australian broadcaster ABC and India’s AETN18 and TV Today Network. NRK Norway and DR Denmark have also secured the doc, which features footage of atrocities in the final weeks of the civil war between the Sri Lankan govt and the Tamil Tigers. more..

Kadirgamar murder suspect 'tortured'

Jan 19 (BBC) The main suspect in the murder of Former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar informed courts that he was tortured while in police custody to extract a confession. Muththiah Sagayadevan told the high court in Colombo on Thursday that police officers assaulted him demanding to 'tell the truth'. The suspect named two police officers. One policeman beat the suspect's head with poles and his ear drum was burst following assault by the other, the suspect claimed. more..

De Mel reappointed Sri Lanka chief selector

Jan 19 (AP) Former test bowler Ashantha de Mel was reappointed as Sri Lanka’s chief selector on Thursday, 19 months after he was sacked amid accusations of inefficiency, favoritism and political bias. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage also named former internationals Amal Silva, Hemantha Wickramaratne and Don Anurasiri as members of the panel. The previous selection committee headed by former captain and administrator Duleep Mendis resigned. more..

Sri Lanka's 2011 tea output slips from record high

Jan 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea production fell in 2011 from a record high in the previous year due to bad weather, but the island nation's top agricultural export earned a record $1.5 billion, the state-run tea board said on Thursday. Tea output in 2011 fell 0.9 percent to 328.37 million kg from the previous year's record 331.43 million kg. Output in December fell 6.8 percent to 25.47 million kg from 27.32 million in the same month in 2010. more..

Sri Lanka power projects eyed by Marubeni

Jan 19 (LBO) Japan's Marubeni Corporation plans to return to Sri Lanka and is keen on investing in power projects including supplying liquefied natural gas, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement. The Japanese multinational's decision would be a "major boost" to Sri Lanka’s international investment profile and its foreign direct investment inflows, it said. “Marubeni wants to re-commence operations in Sri Lanka in the due course. The discussions with more..

Above the law

Jan 19 (RNW) The one is in a hall full of students, who are being monitored closely by the examiner to make sure they’re following the rules: no phones, no electronic devices, no cheating. The other, meanwhile is taken to a private air conditioned room with a computer with internet access, and is allowed to keep his phone. As an added bonus, he has two teachers from the college sitting by his side perhaps simply for moral support, or perhaps for slightly more. more..

Chinese controlling major share – Ravi K.

Jan 19 (CT) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake today in Parliament claimed that Chinese companies are controlling a majority of shares in the South Port of Sri Lanka. Karunanayake, pointed out that Sri Lanka should be keen on luring Indian investors instead of the Chinese. “If Indian investors are attracted we can have control in the region,” he said. He said that 55% of the South Ports are owned by Chinese companies and only 15% is owned by Sri Lanka Ports. Meanwhile UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva more..

GMOA to launch token strike

Jan 19 (CT) Doctors of the Colombo National Hospital are to launch a 24-hour token strike from 8 a.m. tomorrow till 8 a.m. on Saturday. The members of the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) took this decision today after the conclusion of the branch union meeting where they discussed two vital issues that have not been resolved. Member of the GMOA, Dr. Shihan Azeez told Ceylon Today the decision was taken as none of the requests they have made, have been responded to by the govt. more..

Old habits die hard? SEC resumes investigation

Jan 19 (FT) Old habits die hard they say, as inner circles of stock market were rocked yesterday by the news of SEC resuming its investigations causing mixed reactions. Following their meeting on Monday, a few SEC Commissioners had been insistent that once ruled out or closed investigations must be resumed. The end result much to the charging of some, was SEC had fired letters to at least four brokers and eight investors asking them to more..

All Sri Lankans need to learn English for national integration, development and prosperity

Jan 20 (TC) A Ten Year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka will be launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on January 21, 2012. This is yet another strong initiative of the President to create long lasting peace and harmony among all Sri Lankan communities, through a steady and far-sighted language policy. This initiative should be viewed as a gradual evolution and a major stride from the President’s declaration of the year 2009 as the Year of ICT and English. more..

The SOPA and the PIPA: What implications for Sri Lanka?

Jan 20 (GV) There are a lot of websites in the US that have gone black to protest against the proposed Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Wikipedia has gone to the extent of taking down its site for the day, and lists its reasons here. Action across such a large number of key internet companies based in the US is unprecedented, and demonstrates clear opposition to the two pieces of legislation. The White House has itself distanced itself from both in their current form. more..

New avenues for short film-makers to enter mainstream cinema

Jan 20 (SO) Short film is a medium of art which has been popular in our country for the past few decades, especially among the youth who used this art form as a medium of expression. With the digital technology revolution across the world, short film has evolved to be one of the mediums that benefited and today, anybody can do a short film as long as there's a script and a basic handycam. more..

‘Court order helped me escape as ComBank Chairman from the skin of my teeth!’

Jan 20 (Island) Just retired Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC Chairman Mahendra Amarasuriya reminisces his stint with the blue chip bank as Director, Deputy Chairman and Chairman, its meteoric rise from a conservative city based bank to the premium status it enjoys today, hostile acquisition bids by a business tycoon and conflicts of interests in shareholdings in the banking sector and his other career milestones. It was in 1986 that just retired Commercial Bank more..

Who is to be blamed for the plight of our children's education?

Jan 20 (ST) There are many independent organisations in the country, which are not answerable to anyone. Likewise, there are many avaricious NGOs. Aren't these organisations, comprised of parents of children? Parents should treat all children alike, in order to safeguard their future. It is a pity, that we have forgotten the pain and anguish which we experienced in our time at University level. That same pain found its way down to the kindergarten, later. more..

'Results of sports development drive by year end'

Jan 20 (SO) Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that the real results of the new programs implemented by his Ministry during last year could only be experienced by the end of this year. Expressing his full satisfaction on the progress of the Sports Ministry during 2011, he said the success of the numerous programs launched by the Ministry could gradually be experienced this year. He said it was a challenge that President Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

From war to negative peace and to that haven of freedom

Jan 20 (ST) Delivering the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam Commemoration lecture this week in Colombo, Prof. N. Selvakkumaran, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, says there is a necessity for major constitutional and legal reforms in the post-conflict Sri Lanka so that the negative peace that is prevailing now can be transformed into a positive one. Excerpts from his widely-hailed speech. We are gathered here to cherish the memory and 159th birth anniversary more..

Editorial: Politicos and whirlybirds

Jan 20 (Island) Our politicians are birds though they are without wings and plumage. They emulate the flightless ostrich only when they are beset with intractable problems. They do more flying than walking! When they have no foreign junkets, they disport themselves in domestic flying––of course at our expense. Never do they think twice before taking an SLAF chopper to a far-flung area all the way from Colombo to ceremonially open a culvert! Nero earned notoriety for more..

2011 A/L Results and the Z-Score method

Jan 20 (Island) In recent days much attention has been focused on the Z-score calculation for the 2011 A/L results. This article examines the 2011 A/L Z-score calculation fiasco and the need for further research in developing a more appropriate scaling method. Since year 2000, the Z-score has been used as the scaling method for ranking students at the G.C.E. A/L exams for university admission. The Z-score is considered a better scaling method than more..

Education and teacher dispositions

Jan 20 (Island) Desirable student attitudes are formed as a result of learning experiences in an educational context dominated by these elements. Social stimulation through examples and opinions of teachers, parents and peers also play a part. Canadian Professor Albert Bandura is often considered the father of the cognitivist movement (as opposed to B.F. Skinner’s behaviourism). Taking a fairly long walk has become an essential part of my daily routine for some time now. more..

Sinhalese, the majority, will see the light if only they had enlightened leadership

Jan 20 (TC) The Thirteen amendment was “forced” on us to reverse on going fracture of the republic, caused by tribalists trying to drag it into the past and reverse history into something Sri Lanka never was. For most of its history, Sri Lanka was administered under a devolved system of governance. We had Rajarata, Rohona, Mayarata. Even within Rajarata, the Mahavamsa mentioned that the Naga king sat on a throne of equal size to the Sinhala king, indicating a more..

'I will think about the captaincy'

Jan 20 (Island) It’s a job that he said he didn’t want three years ago and last year after the ICC Cricket World Cup in April he stepped down from the team’s vice-captaincy too, but Mahela Jayawardene said yesterday that he would ‘think about it’ if the post of captaincy was offered to him on the national cricket team’s return home. SLC’s new Chairman Upali Dharmadasa is believed to prefer a change in the leadership role and Jayawardene is said to be the more..

Work begins on South Asia’s tallest tower today

Jan 20 (DN) Work on the construction of South Asia’s tallest tower, the 350 metre high Lotus Tower will begin today. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa will lay the foundation stone for the construction of the multi-functional Telecommunication Tower and an Entertainment Centre which will cost over US $ 100 million. The proposed tower will be constructed on 3.06 hectares of land situated between the Eastern Beira Lake and D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha in Colombo. more..

Water Board strike called off

Jan 20 (DN) National Water Supply and Drainage Board employees yesterday called off their strike following discussions with Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and board officials. The trade unions were to strike today in the Western Province as an initial step to win the salary increase of 45 percent. The trade union representatives of the NWS& DB agreed to comply with the 25 percent salary increase promised by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a discussion they had with the President recently. more..

Preview: South Africa v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI

Jan 20 (CI) It's that time of the series, when you wish there was a mercy rule. South Africa have already ensured their trophy cabinet will have an addition, and Sri Lanka are empty handed in a fourth consecutive series since the 2011 World Cup. After losing the World Cup final, Sri Lanka have endured a miserable nine months on the field, although they are talented and hard-working side. Despite spending nearly eight weeks in South Africa, more..

SC orders PSC to promote 634 police officers

Jan 20 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Public Services Commission to promote 634 po;ice officers to the rank of Sub Inspectors, by February 15, 2012. Among them are nine women officers. Those officers had complained to the Supreme Court about the failure of the authorities to grant them their due promotions. The respondents were the National Police Commission and the IGP. Sanjeewa Jayawardene appeared with Rajiv Amerasuriya for the petitioners. more..

Three retired judges face arrest over failure to return official vehicles

Jan 20 (Island) The three judges who have not returned their official vehicles after retirement would be arrested, the vehicles seized and produced before Court, the Fraud Investigations Bureau told the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court in a report filed yesterday. The report submitted to Colombo Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli by the FIB stated that the probe was conducted on a complaint made by Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Dasanka Andara. more..

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna reaches out to people of Northern Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (DBS) As most of you are aware India’s minister of External Affairs SM Krishna is currently in Sri Lanka. Krishna is a Kannadiga and a former chief minister of the South Indian state of Karnataka. A highlight of the Indian foreign ministers Lankan trip was his visit to the Northern Province where many Tamils reside. Krishna participated in many functions related to projects benefitting by India’s generous assistance and aid. more..

Editorial: Way forward in Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's reiteration — in his recent meeting with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna — of his commitment to the “13th Amendment plus” approach to solving the nation's Tamil question is to be welcomed, although it is only from Mr. Krishna that we know about this in the present instance. Of course, the President has articulated this commitment several times before, including in an interview to The Hindu in 2009. more..

Govt to withdraw controversial land circular and present new circular

Jan 20 (TC) The writ application filed by TNA MP, M.A Sumanthiran challenging the Land Circular was taken up today (19) in the Court of Appeal. Ms. Murdu Fernando, DSG appearing for the Respondents gave an undertaking to withdraw the Land Circular and informed Court that a new circular will be issued and presented to Court. Mr. K. Kanag-Isvaran, and Attorneys-at-Law Viran Corea, Bhavani Fonseka and Gehan Gunatilleke appeared for the Petitioner and were instructed by more..

'International elements grooming groups towards regime change'

Jan 20 (DM) The govt said in Parliament today that certain international elements were grooming some groups in Sri Lanka to bring about a regime change in the same manner they did in Libya. Making his remarks during the debate on the adjournment motion in Parliament, minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that these international forces were well aware that the govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa could not be defeated through more..

‘President said 'No' to Cabinet pay hike’

Jan 20 (DN) ‘The salaries of Cabinet ministers and Supreme Court judges should be on the same scale according to the constitution but the salary increase was given only for judges. No salary increase was given to ministers. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said ‘no’ to such an increase, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. “A worker attached to a certain corporation gets a salary of around Rs. 69,000, including all allowances and other payments,” he said. He said that the govt has already more..

500MW Coal Power Plant to be constructed in Sampoor

Jan 20 (DM) Cabinet has also gave approval to construct the proposed 500 MW capacity Coal Power Plant at Sampoor in Tricomalee with Indian assistance on a proposal made by Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Due to the increased demand for electricity in the Eastern Province, it has been decided to establish a Coal Based Power Plant of 2x250MW capacity at Sampoor in the Trincomalee District at a total investment of around US$500 million. more..

'Pay farmers their pension they have contributed to'

Jan 20 (LT) “The role played by farmers in the food requirement of the people, is invaluable. Issues confronted by the farmer community in fulfilling this task are enormous. Shortage of quality seeds, heavy production costs, inability to get a fair price as well as natural disasters such as droughts and floods that occur time to time torment them. They have no work shifts. Often, their work shift is 24 hours of the day. more..

President assures pension for Civil Defence Dept members

Jan 20 (DN) The government will take measures to grant a pension to Civil Defence Department members, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. President Rajapaksa was addressing a gathering in Mihintale, Anuradhapura while participating in an event to unveil a War Heroes memorial statue. “All members of the Civil Defence Department will be entitled to the pension as a mark of gratitude for their invaluable service by safeguarding the country during the humanitarian mission. more..

Mobile ‘lottery’ claims life of Sri Lankan student

Jan 20 (DB) An engineering student from Sri Lanka committed suicide after losing `3.58 lakh in an international lottery network which had promised him a sum of `50 lakh in a mobile text. “All human beings r greedy …………. I am example of tat….:(:(“. Thus reads the last post (dated January 11) on facebook wall of Merosan Siva, 21, who was found hanging in his room (no 6) at the NRI hostel in the campus of Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT). more..

New Avenues for Education

Sri Lanka seen needing to improve land, labour productivity

Jan 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's plantation companies are in crisis with high costs and falling commodity prices that only greater labour and land productivity can overcome, an official said. The island 150-year-old plantation industry needs to rationalize land and labour utilization and management, said Anura Ekanayake, a former Director of Planning at the Ministry of Plantation Industries and past chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) need to more..

Two more luxury buses to hit E-01: SLTB

Jan 20 (DM) The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) will launch two more luxury buses on the Southern Expressway from Elpitiya to Maharagama today to meet the growing demand for the bus service, the SLTB said yesterday. SLTB Chairman M.D. Bandusena said the new bus service will commence from the Elpitiya main bus stand to Kurundugahahethekma from where it will lead to the Southern Expressway and proceed to Maharagama. The bus services from Elpitiya to Maharagama will begin at 6am and 7am and more..

National Hospital docs on strike today

Jan 20 (DM) Some 1,200 doctors attached to the National Hospital will launch a strike today in protest against the recent appointment of two members to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and the govt’s failure to provide a special allowance to govt doctors. All doctors will be pulling out of all duties except from emergency services from 8 am today to 8 am tomorrow. The GMOA National Hospital Spokesman Dr. Shehan Azeez said they were protesting against more..