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CPI condemns attack on TN fishermen; slams centre

Jan 22 (PTI) Condemning the latest attack on Indian fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Naval personnel, CPI leader D Raja on Sunday said India should reopen the 1974 agreement ceding Katchatheevu to the island nation to find a lasting solution to the recurring mid-sea incidents. The attack on more than 600 boats carrying fishermen from Rameswaram allegedly by Sri Lankan Navalmen 'is completely in violation of all international conventions,' Raja said referring to more..

Marsh to be replaced by Ford as coach

Jan 22 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket are set to replace current coach Geoff Marsh with Graham Ford, the former South Africa coach, ESPNcricinfo has learned. An announcement is likely to be made after the one-day series against South Africa. Earlier this week Ford resigned as head coach of the Dolphins, the Durban-based franchise, saying he wanted to "follow my dreams of involvement at an international level". Ford will be the third coach appointed by more..

CPSU Sathyagraha tomorrow

Jan 22 (CT) Ceylon Postal Services Union (CPSU) President Jayantha Nawarathne told Ceylon Today that CPSU has decided to stage a Sathyagraha based on several requests. “We previously sent charge sheets to the Postal Department against the Postmaster General, yet officials failed to take action against him. He still remains the head, and now we don’t have anyone to discuss our problems” he said. Nawarathne alleged that Postmaster General’s action bring damage to employees and the people. more..

12 year old shot by father

Jan 22 (CT) A 12-yar old child died yesterday when he was accidently shot by his father in Mihinthalaya, Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana told Ceylon today. “The accident occurred when the father tried to clean the gun which was used to kill wild animals” he said. Both the gun and the father have been taken into police custody, Rohana said, adding that the father will be produced before the Anuradhapura Magistrate Court today. The Anuradhapura Additional Magistrate more..

Govt trying to create division - TU

Jan 22 (CT) Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Trade Union employees yesterday alleged that the govt and administration of the CEB is attempting to create disharmony among the unions by distorting the stance of unions. The trade unions had initially called for a 45% pay hike, but some trade unions made public statements last week stating that they have agreed to a 25% increase proposed by the govt. “No such agreement has been made, and we will decide trade union action more..

I will sack incompetent VCs - S.B.

Jan 22 (NS) Higher Education Minister, S. B. Dissanayake asserted that Vice Chancellors who were unable to uphold discipline in universities would be removed. Speaking at an event to distribute equipment for self-employment ventures in the Udunuwara DS Division, Kandy last afternoon, the minister noted that the maintenance of student discipline at universities was the responsibility of the respective Vice Chancellors. ‘If VCs cannot perform this task, more..

Sri Lanka frees 73 rehabilitated ex-LTTE members

Jan 22 (IE) Sri Lankan authorities released a batch of 73 rehabilitated ex-members of the rebel outfit LTTE in the eastern district of Batticaloa today. "This is another batch to be released from the 11,000 ex-members of the LTTE," said A Dissanayake, the secretary to ministry of rehabilitation. Dissanayake said with the release there will only be around 550 who are left to be freed. They are currently being housed in four camps. more..

Sri Lanka donates eyes to the world

Jan 22 (AP) At 10:25 a.m., a dark brown eye was removed from a man whose lids had closed for the last time. Five hours later, the orb was staring up at the ceiling from a stainless steel tray in an operating room with two blind patients — both waiting to give it a second life. S.P.D. Siriwardana, 63, remained still under a white sheet as the surgeon delicately replaced the cornea that had gone bad in his right eye following a cataract surgery. more..

Kalam pays tribute at IPKF memorial

Jan 22 (Hindu) On Sunday, former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam became the first former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to pay tribute at the memorial of the IPKF in the outskirts of the city. Mr. Kalam, the 11th President, who was in office between 2002 and 2007, is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka. He witnessed the unveiling of the tri-lingual year on Saturday, and, delivered a lecture on ‘Ignited Minds of the Youth is the Greatest Resource for the Nation’. more..

Navy apprehends two persons

Jan 22 (CT) Two persons who entered Sri Lankan territorial waters illegally were apprehended by the Navy, Spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Ceylon Today. “The two middle aged individuals were identified as Sri Lankans,” he said. This incident occurred last evening when they had attempted to illegally creep onto the 8th Sand Bank in Mannar by swimming from the 9th,” he said. They had entered the waters through a hired Indian boat. more..

New Sri Lanka peace keepers for Haiti

Jan 22 (CT) A new contingent of Sri Lankan military personnel will be deployed for the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Haiti during the first week of February, Army Spokesperson Brig. Nihal Hapuarachchi told Ceylon Today. “The Vijayabahu contingent will replace the Gajaba regiment,” Hapuarachchi. “The Gajaba regiment will complete their 6-month tenure in January and the Vijayabahu regiment will act as a replacement,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka private carrier resumes flights to north

Jan 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Expo Aviation will recommence twice daily flights to Jaffna in Sri Lanka's north using a 12-seater Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft. Expo Aviation managing director Seraj Mohammed said that demand is seen picking up. The firm was awaiting clearance from civil aviation authorities to start flights. Expo Aviation used larger 52-seater aircraft for scheduled flights between Colombo and Jaffna during the island's long-running civil war when the Jaffna more..

Court acquits former UNP organiser

Jan 22 (DM) Former UNP organiser of Nawalapitiya and two others who were indicted for attempted murder of the Chairman of the SLFP branch in Nawalapitiya, Nuwara Paksha Gedara Amarasuriya during the 2001 General Election, were discharged by the Kandy High Court Judge W. C. Pushpamalie on January 19, and the second accused was sentenced to two years imprisonment. The case dragged on for several years. The accused in this case were Basil Wilson Harley, the former UNP organiser of more..

Media groups to mark 'Black January'

Jan 22 (BBC) Media organisations in Sri Lanka have urged the authorities to investigate all recent attacks on media personnel and institutions. The watchdogs say they will stage a protest on 25 January in Colombo against a series of attacks against media personnel in recent years. It will especially mark "Black January" during which many prominent media personnel were either murdered, disappeared or attacks against media institutions, more..

Mahela, Sanga under political pressure: JVP

Jan 22 (DM) The JVP today charged senior Sri Lankan cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were being subjected to undue influence by government politicians to accept the captaincy of the national team. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said both Mahela and Kumar had expressed reluctance to accept the captaincy because of this pressure. The JVP MP charged the government was using the cancer hospital of these cricketers as a tool to pressurise them. more..

Postal workers to launch Satyagraha tomorrow

Jan 22 (AD) Postal trade unions are to stage a ‘Satyagraha’ movement in front of the Postal Headquarters in Colombo tomorrow noon, centered on several demands. Spokesperson of the Joint Postal Trade Union, Chinthaka Bandara said that even though a charge sheet has been filed against the Postmaster General, he still continues to serve as the head of the Department of Post. He went on to accuse the Postmaster General of acting in a prejudice manner towards the Postal Department, more..

Grievances of Tamils must be addressed: JVP

Jan 22 (DM) The JVP which expressed somewhat favourable sentiments on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent pledge to convert Sri Lanka into a trilingual nation, called for its quick implementation while opposing the full implementation of the Indo Lanka accord and 13 plus. JVP General Secretary Tivin Silva said that the Tamils in this country should be given the right to get their administrative matters done in their native language while more..

Police Dept. upgrades facilities to obtain clearance

Jan 22 (LB) Police Department sources told this newspaper that police clearance records that are sought from countries where Sri Lankans are seeking jobs, education and those who would be domiciled could be provided within the space of two weeks. SSP Bernard Silva said that the Police Department has been getting through many files that had piled up over the years. He said that other than those who have a police case against them or legal issues to deal with, such reports for more..

Shehan Karunatilaka reflects on Colombo, Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (DB) If a visitor is planning a trip to Sri Lanka, I usually advise that they skip Colombo. Not being harsh, but on the island’s buffet table of scenic delights, the city is very much a side dish. On first glimpse, it’s just another Asian metropolis, trying to peddle that East-meets-West thing. Not as berserk as Mumbai, not as sober as Singapore. Most travelers will drive straight through, en route to the beaches down south, the hilltops out east, or more..

Sangakkara stars as SL win thriller

Jan 22 (CI) For once, the choke was almost on the opposition in a game involving South Africa. Sri Lanka almost messed up what had been the perfect big ODI chase. Their openers had blazed away and their middle order had kept up with the asking rate. Kumar Sangakkara was batting on a silken century with Sri Lanka on 274 for 3 in 44 overs chasing 313. And then came the collapse. Sangakkara holed out. 274 for 3 became 308 for 8 more..

Paradise Lost?

Jan 23 (NS) I have been asking myself, again and again, my question of last week, and other weeks in different ways – why is there a demand for an inquiry into the final stages of the civil war, but no demand for an inquiry into previous moments of the war. In fact, when the evaluation of the Norwegian peace efforts was published, I asked a similar question; why was the lack of a war crimes inquiry in 2002 not criticised now as a major failing of that peace process. There has been no reply. more..

The Business of Religion

Jan 23 (NS) In a column published in these pages a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that commercial enterprises that are carried out under cover of ‘religion’, viz., churches, devales and kovils, be taken off the list of charitable organisations and taxed. As those who patronise them in search of divine favours or divine forgiveness of their misdeeds know, the turnover of revenue in such places often run to millions of rupees every month. Indeed, some of them, those that have been more..

Boom time for Duriyan and Rambuttan sellers

Jan 23 (SO) Unlike in other countries, the Sri Lankan tropical climate and the soil are suitable to grow any variety of fruit that could be seen in different parts of the world. For example, mango or butter fruit, commonly known as avacado are not grown in England or Australia. Pineapple or mangosteen are not grown either in Canada or Italy. rambuttan or duriyan trees cannot be seen either in Pakistan or in the Middle Eastern region. more..

Can Asanga live up to his brave words?

Jan 23 (SL) Asanga Seneviratne, president of the SLRFU since last week, was deputy in 2010 and 2011; so it’s rather extraordinary that he should describe the administration of the last two years as “a lesson on how not to administer”. More pointedly he told a newspaper interviewer, Monday, there had been “a complete breakdown” in governance. Such strong remarks emanating from opponents of the Chief Air Marshall Roshan Goonetilleke 2010/11 committee is of course expected, more..

Of burglars and burglaries in Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on another malaise affecting Sri Lankan society: the ever increasing occurrences of burglaries in Sri Lanka. It was reported recently in the media that an organized gang of five young men were taken into custody for their involvement in several burglaries in the Sapugaskanda area and a large stock of electrical appliances, cameras and jewellery stolen by more..

A journey on an ill-fated school van…

Jan 23 (NS) An eye witness elaborating on the tragedy: “I was taking my child to school in a three-wheeler. We were right behind Sachini’s van, appalled at the break-neck speed at which the van was trying to overtake other vehicles,” said H W Sajith de Silva of Panadura Alubomulla. according to him, the van was being driven at high speed on the third lane. They were near the Odeon Cinema, Mount Lavinia when at 6.15 am the school van on its way from more..

Enter a year of economic uncertainty

Jan 23 (LB) One must not make a fool of oneself by making forecasts that are too specific in times of uncertainty. On the other hand it is necessary to look ahead and anticipate foreseeable trends. I will attempt to tread a fine line and offer you broad-brush assessments of local and global economic developments as they appear now, and at the same time point out uncertainties. If I get it half right it will be an opportunity to build your own views on the outlook for the next 12 to 24 months. more..

Z score, scores more than marks!

Jan 23 (LB) One professor, defending the govt argued “The Z scores calculated for the three subjects of each student is averaged and a composite Z score of each student is calculated. There was absolutely no debacle with results up to this point and everything was in order. Then the composite Z score of the students needed to be arranged from the highest to the lowest value to provide the corresponding all island merit rank. The dilemma arose here, on the approach to be adopted, more..

How to solve a problem? Appoint a presidential commission

Jan 23 (SL) The usual reaction when a vehicle crashes on the road injuring and even killing others is: Hang the driver. This seems to be the response to the accident that took place on Thursday morning when a school van crashed into and oncoming bus injuring 9 children in the vehicle, some of them seriously. Certainly the 21-year-old driver cannot be exculpated because of his youth. But there are others to blame as well. more..

Govt. bows to the will of the people

Jan 23 (ST) The Government’s attempt to introduce a Private Sector Pension scheme looks a closed chapter, at least for now, with the decision to withdraw the three relevant Bills from the Order Book of Parliament last Wednesday. Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said the Government is withdrawing the three Bills, namely, Employees’ Pension Benefits Fund Bill, Overseas Employees’ Pension Benefits Fund Bill and Pensions (Consequential Provisions) Bill. more..

Roadblocks to foreign direct investment

Jan 23 (ST) The hopes and expectations of sustaining the current rate of economic growth and raising it to a still higher trajectory of growth would depend on whether the country would be able to attract adequate foreign and domestic investment. A small country can only develop with significant amounts of foreign direct investment of the right types. Therefore an investment climate that is attractive for foreign investors is vital strategy for the country's economic development. more..

'The party comes first and then comes my political career'

Jan 23 (SL) UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that there cannot be factions in the party after the election and the winning group should not victimize and suppress the others. He noted that there needs to be a discussion on the matter in order to come up with a mechanism for everyone to work together. “The crisis in the UNP would otherwise be a force of strength to the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration,” more..

Editorial: Z score and skewed logic

Jan 23 (Island) The government has the habit of going into the denial mode and letting loose its propaganda hounds on its critics whenever it commits a blunder, triggering protests. When the disastrous Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) hedging deal came to light, the kneejerk reaction of govt leaders was to shrug it off. But, later they had to eat their words. The same is true of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). They insisted that everything was hunky dory and sought to blame those who more..

Sri Lanka men and women win medals

Jan 23 (Island) Sri Lanka Women’s team won silver, while the Men’s team won the bronze medal in the Central Asia AVC Beach Volleyball Tournament to qualify for the Continental Cup which serves as an Olympic qualifying event. The two day event which was staged in Negombo concluded on Sunday evening with a colourful closing ceremony. In the men’s category, Iran had a superb day as they won the championship when they beat a fighting Kazakhstan outfit. more..

'No change in A/L results'

Jan 23 (SO) Various speculations regarding the 2011 G.C.E. A/L exam results and Z-score system have turned it into a controversial topic. The Sunday Observer interviewed Minister Bandula Gunawardane to ascertain the ground realities on this issue. He said unfortunately, the issue of the A/L exam results has been politicised in an adverse manner by the JVP and its student faction, the Inter University Students Federation, certain sections of the UNP and the LTTE diaspora. more..

Indicative lending rate increase outstrips fixed deposit rate

Jan 23 (Island) The indicative lending rate of the banking system has outpaced the fixed deposit rate as dealers say interest rates should not spike within the next few months although there is pressure on interest rates as the Central Bank continues to intervene in the foreign exchange market and credit growth remains strong. Rupee liquidity in the financial market remains tight. Some banks are advertising fixed deposit rates higher than 12 percent in a bid to more..

Taylor hopes Lions batsmen will click in Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (CI) James Taylor, captain of the England Lions side beaten in Bangladesh, has admitted that his squad has shown the same frailties as the England senior side struggling against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates - a lack of runs on Asian pitches. England Lions had the consolation of a comfortable 32-run win against Bangladesh A in the first of two Twenty20 contests in Mirpur on Sunday, but whatever the outcome of the Twenty20 series they will head to Sri Lanka smarting more..

Top Obama envoy Stephen Rapp to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (CT) Top US Ambassador, Stephen Rapp, will be visiting Colombo over the coming weeks to hold high-level discussions with the govt, opposition and civil society groups over the current situation in Sri Lanka. Rapp, is the US President’s Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes who has served as Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone beginning in January 2007, leading the prosecutions of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and more..

'Lankans abroad must help War Heroes' children'

Jan 23 (DN) 'The majority of Sri Lankans are peace loving and hospitable. It is only a handful that create mischief and damage the country's image, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said. He was addressing a scholarships awarding ceremony at the Prime Minister's office last week. The ceremony was organized by the Ranaviru Seva Authority. Funds were donated by Sri Lankan workers in Kuwait. Thirty children belonging to families of Security Forces' personnel whose fathers were more..

'Economic development must be equitable'

Jan 23 (DN) External Affairs Minister Professor G.L.Peiris was the chief guest at the 53rd annual general meeting of the National Chamber of Commerce, held at Continental Hotel, Colombo recently. Prof. Peiris, in his address, explained the economic policy of the government for making use of the wide range of opportunities now available to the country after the eradication of terrorism. Economic development, he said, must not only be rapid but also equitable, making it more..