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Sri Lanka News Debrief - 02.01.2012

Applications for 'Hangman's' post to be called shortly

Jan 2 (NS) Applications for the vacant post of the 'hangman' will be entertained within the upcoming fortnight, Prisons Commissioner General, P W Kodippili said. Two vacant posts exists for the 'hangman' at Welikada and Bogambara Prisons. Applicants should be between the age of 18 and 45 and those studiedup to grade 8 toapply for the post, he added. The mental and physical condition of the applicants would be the main criteria, he added. more..

South Africa front up to their mental weaknesses

Jan 2 (CI) Graeme Smith wore a different look on his face ahead of the New Year's Test against Sri Lanka in Cape Town. With the series surprisingly level at 1-1, those unfamiliar with Smith could have imagined that expression to be worry, concern or maybe even fear. They might have thought it was the same look as the one he donned against India last year, when South Africa arrived in Cape Town in the same situation. Those who have been around Smith since then will know more..

Thilanga team withdraws from SLC race

Jan 2 (BBC) The election for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has almost become a one-horse race after the main rival group against Upali Dharmadasa has decided to withdraw from the contest. The election, called for the first time in six years by the sports minister as per new ICC regulations to elect cricket administrations before 2013, is to be held on Tuesday. Two teams led by Upali Dharmadasa and Thilanga Sumapthipala were to contest the elections but more..

Sri Lanka phone use to overtake TV, radio

Jan 2 (LBO) Household access to telephones is on par with electricity, television, and radio in Sri Lanka mainly because of the boom in mobile phones, and are set to overtake TV and radio, a new study said. Access to household phones is greater than to transport in the island, the study of Asian countries by the LIRNEasia think tank said. SMS use, gaming and balance checking has decreased but camera and radio use increased in Sri Lanka from 2008 to 2011, more..

'Happy the win overshadowed my milestone'

Jan 2 (CI) It's been a long wait and we finally did it. What we did in Durban showed a lot of character as a team and shows that we can improve. It's something sweet and we want to build on that. After Centurion we sat down and had a good chat about how we wanted to go about our cricket. We knew the conditions were going to be tough in South Africa but we felt that we didn't give ourselves a chance there. On that surface, we had opportunities where we could have put more..

'We are not thinking too much'

Jan 2 (CI) If Tillakaratne Dilshan were as consistent with the bat as he is in press conferences, he would likely score a century every other innings and have a Bradmanesque Test average. From the first time he addressed the media, in Benoni before the tour match, to the most recent before the third Test, nothing has changed. He walks in with the same casual swagger, he sits down with the same look of indifference, he surveys the room with the same more..

Solving Sri Lanka’s ‘Tamil problem’ in 2012

Jan 2 (AN) Almost three years since the end of 30 years of ethnic conflict, Sri Lanka has not yet resolved its so-called ‘Tamil problem’. About 200,000 Tamil internally displaced people live in refugee camps in the northern part of the country under military control, unable to go home to their villages. Ethnic Sinhalese appear oblivious of what went on (bombardment and war crimes) and is going on trips to the former war zone. Here is a story of courage and hope of more..

Navy pledges its Commitment to Preservation of hard-won Peace and Nation Building

Jan 2 (SLN) Commencing the activities of the Year 2012 on an auspicious note, personnel of the Sri Lanka Navy pledged their commitment to preservation of hard-won peace and nation building. They made this pledge when they took the oath of allegiance to public service on 02nd January 2011 at a ceremony presided over by the Commander of the Navy at the Naval Headquarters. Directors General of the Navy and naval personnel of the NHQ and SLNS Parakrama participated. more..

Signature collection urginging release of Fonseka sent towards US White House

Jan 2 (LS) Signature collection urging United States to interfere to release former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in SriLanka was sent towards US White house, Saratha Fonseka sources conforms. 25,638 persons have kept signatures in this petition sources said. Official website of White House announced US officials would take necessary steps to release former Army Commander. Supporters of Sarath Fonseka thanked people for singing in this petition. more..

Traditional fears: War, collapse and dictatorship

Jan 3 (SL) There are still a few common fears floating around Colombo and the pages of this newspaper. They are that the country will return to war, that the economy will collapse and that we will descend into a totalitarian dictatorship soon. These are the traditional rallying cries of the disenfranchised elite, but I think they simply do not apply any more. These fears are unfounded. Will Sri Lanka Return To War? No. People have waited almost two years to see if more..

SLRFU elections: Trouble ahead?

Jan 3 (SL) Over the past five seasons Sri Lanka rugby has been so persistently harassed by controversies that it’s excusable should followers include in their New Year wish-list a plea to spare the game of the old convulsions. But, as nominations for the Jan 7 the SLRFU elections were received in the final week of the old year, signs are the wish will remain just that, a wish; more of the same troubles seem to be in store for the New Year. The origin of the controversies more..

Vehicle Monitoring System for first time

Jan 3 (SO) The fisheries Industry will enjoy the benefits of modern technical know-how. The Fisheries Ministry plans to introduce for the first time a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) by the end of this year, Ministry sources said. With the introduction of the VMS, loss of life and property will be minimised. Messages can be passed onto fishermen via satellite. Sudden changes in weather conditions can be easily monitored and can be given to fishermen who are at deep sea. more..

Tamil polity and LLRC report

Jan 3 (Island) The main political representatives of the Tamil people, the MPs of the Tamil National Alliance, have been under pressure from the govt which frequently refers to them as the "LTTE rump." During the latter period of the three decade long war, the LTTE was able to persuade the TNA politicians to fall in line with their position that the LTTE was the sole representatives of the Tamil people. Prior to this capitulation, several leading politicians more..

Jubilee celebrations of Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya; 50 years in Medical Education

Jan 3 (Island) The Faculty of Medicine Peradeniya is the cumulative result of what has been done in the past and it will undoubtedly be enriched by what is being done today. It completes 50 years in serving the nation by January 2012, since the first batch of medical students was registered in January 1962. Most certainly, 50 years of national duty of highest quality cannot go unappreciated. Therefore, the Dean of the faculty Dr Gamini Buthpitiya, Chairman of more..

Innovations that resolve social issues are the need of the hour - Anil Gupta

Jan 3 (DM) Anil Gupta is a pioneer and all his attempts are focused on harnessing inventions and converting them into innovations that are commercially viable and would serve the masses. Gupta uncovered innovations in the most unlikely places and thus he continued to travel through the Indian countryside in discovery of wayside inventions and innovators. He discovered ground -breaking useful devices such as a pedal-operated more..

Prevention of the sale of substandard and outdated pharmaceuticals

Jan 3 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the aspiration of Sri Lankan society to be rid of the sale of substandard and/or outdated pharmaceuticals from our pharmacies. As quoted above when these pharmacy owners sell substandard and/or outdated pharmaceuticals to patients they take no heed of the suffering of others, but what they do not realize is that this sin will one day revisit more..

Have Lankans learnt any lessons?

Jan 3 (SL) Soon after President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa issued the proclamation on May 16, 2010 appointing the LLRC, we wrote in this column that the whole idea of Sri Lankans learning lessons on anything from anyone was a misconception. We Sri Lankans do not learn lessons but love to teach others, we said. Now, one year and six months later, the commissioners having travelled the length and breadth of the island and having listened to citizens learned and not so learned, more..

The decline and fall of public administration

Jan 3 (Island) The Govt seems to have hopelessly blundered in preparing the results of the G.C.E A/L Exam held last year. Previously we saw the CPC importing contaminated petrol and selling it to consumers, causing damage and expenses to the vehicle owners. According to Minister Champika Ranawaka the Norocholai coal power plant is working below capacity due to serious technical defects or inadequacies, causing financial loss to the country. more..

Editorial: Immortalising dead monsters

Jan 3 (Island) Dejected LTTE activists now have something other than their wounds to lick––a controversial stamp France is reported to have issued with Prabhakaran's picture on it. Since the Tiger sympathisers no longer have Prabhakaran's blood-stained boots to run their servile tongues around, they could disport themselves in licking that stamp. Three more stamps depicting LTTE symbols like its flag, the so-called Eelam map and the 'national' flower of Eelam have reportedly been printed in France. more..

Accountability, reconciliation and community are all musts

Jan 3 (NS) There are two words that certain people are fascinated with: accountability and reconciliation. They are so fixated - possible out of a bad dose of ‘Sour Grapes’, exacerbated with undisguised hatred – that they conflate the two or, in the very least, consider the former as part of latter. Interestingly their venomous discharges are marked by a conspicuous reluctance to indulge in self-reflection. Neither do they take issue with many crimes of more..

Ending the exile and back to roots: Fears, challenges and hopes

Jan 3 (GV) On 27 Dec 1989 I arrived in Heathrow along with my two young daughters, aged 9 and 11 years. At the Immigration Desk the Officer asked me how long we intended to stay.I replied ‘a couple of weeks’. My youngest daughter still hanging on to my hand and whispered to me ‘Thaththa, don’t tell lies we are not going back to Sri Lanka’. She of course was telling the truth. Now after more than two decades I had to return to Sri Lanka alone, more..

University system and its discontents

Jan 3 (NS) Last Friday the march organised by the students’ union of University of Peradeniya was aborted by the police at the Galaha junction. The students intended to march to Colombo in protest against the pending ‘Private University Act.’ The university was under siege, surrounded by the police and military personnel and the latter were armed with automatic rifles. Since I entered university in 2008, this was the most threatening defence build-up (defence of whom? I wonder) more..

"Let's continue the good work" says Secretary Defence

Jan 3 (MoD) "We should continue with the good work assisting the country's development drive", said Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Addressing staff members of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development this morning (2), Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa emphasized, that all should irrespective of work responsibilities focus on productivity based output". The event was organized coinciding with the traditional taking of oath by govt servants at more..

Brand ‘Sri Lanka’ valued $ 23 b; ranks 76th globally

Jan 3 (FT) Post-war rebounding Sri Lanka has entered for the first time the Most Valuable Nation Brands ranking compiled by UK-based Brand Finance debuting at number 76 with a value of $ 23 billion. A world renowned specialist in the subject Brand Finance’s 2011 ranking reveals brand ‘Sri Lanka’ is worth $ 23 billion (Rs. 2.6 trillion) and ranked at 76 out of 100. Brand rating wise Sri Lanka’s A- is second best in South Asia, behind giant India. more..

Commercial Bank expands ATM network to 500

Jan 3 (Island) The ATM network of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon has connected its milestone 500th terminal, further consolidating its status as the largest electronic cash dispensing system owned by a single bank in Sri Lanka, the bank announced yesterday. This landmark was reached with the opening of an ATM at Maradana Railway Station. Commercial Bank’s ATM network has grown rapidly, adding 100 terminals in the past five months. The 500th ATM machine was ceremonially more..

Army saved Govt. Rs. 3.7 billion

Jan 3 (SL) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya says the army was able to save the government more than Rs. 3.7 billion by taking part in several construction projects. Speaking to troops at the Army Headquarters during the traditional New Year ceremony today (2), Jayasuriya said that the army is now involved in constructing roads, international level sports stadiums and public parks and is also involved in town beautification and waste recycling management projects. more..

Police to upgrade CCTV system

Jan 3 (Island) The Police Department will upgrade the existing Closed Circuit Television Camera system, within the Colombo city, where not only the number plate of the offending vehicle will be spotted but also the faces and other body features of the driver and passengers will be registered. The CCTV system which had been confined to Colmbo, will be extended to the suburbs, Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana told The Island yesterday. more..

Anoma Gamage to petition ICC over Sevanagala acquisition

Jan 3 (Island) Anoma Gamage MP, who is fighting a legal battle against the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime over the acquisition of Sevanagala Sugar Industries, under the newly introduced RUEUA Act, said yesterday that she would be petitioning the International Chamber of Commerce shortly. She recently requested the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, in writing, to protect her against "an act of crass intimidation aimed at stifling her political activities as a member of more..

Saudi accident victims' families get Rs 3 m compensation

Jan 3 (DN) A Saudi court ruled that the families of five Sri Lankans, who died in a bus accident in June 2009, be paid Rs 3 million each as compensation for the deaths. The verdict, ordering compensation for the families of the deceased, was issued by Riyadh General Court judge Khalid Al-Jasser, last week. The five deceased Sri Lankans included Segu Atham Lebbe Meera Lebbe Thayar of Nintavur, Subair Mafeez of Akkaraipattu, Sulaiman Lebbe Abdul Gafoor of Sammanthurai, more..

Foreign currency glut coming soon, says Cabraal

Jan 3 (Island) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said there would soon be a glut in foreign currency inflows which would completely remove the pressure that continued to build up for the rupee to depreciate against the dollar on severe import demand. "We do not want to unnecessarily allow the rupee to depreciate at this stage because we know foreign currency inflows will be strong and there would soon be a glut," Cabraal told more..

Another suspect in Sirikotha attack granted bail

Jan 3 (DM) The Nugegoda Magistrate further released on bail another suspect who surrendered before court over the attack on Srikotha. The Provincial Councilor Shirantha Amarasekara was released on Rs.10,000 cash with two sureties for Rs.500,000 by Nugegoda acting Magistrate Sunitha Nanyakkara. At the onset of the inquiry the Mirihana Police informed the Magistrate that the investigations are not yet concluded and moved for a date to file their investigation report in court. more..

Sri Lanka take another shot at history

Jan 3 (CI) South Africa haven't won their previous four home Test series, but a failure to close out this one will cause the most criticism. While the other contests were against teams near the top of the rankings, this one is against a side that was struggling to find its feet in Test cricket after the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan. A series that was expected to be all one-way traffic is now level at one-all, with Sri Lanka having already achieved their pre-tour more..

Connections | January 02, 2012

Abduction suspects re-remanded

Jan 3 (Island) Three persons arrested in connection with the abduction of student, attending a leading school in Colombo, were yesterday re-remanded till January 5 by the Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate Nirosha Fernando. The suspects in this case were Suranga Wijesiri, Aruna Ruwansiri and Upul Ranjith. They had been arrested by the Mt. Lavinia Police in connection with the kidnapping of a 15-year-old son of a doctor. The complaint said that the student had been at his residence more..

GMOA plots collaborative action with other bodies

Jan 3 (Island) The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Executive Committee yesterday held an emergency meeting and decided to take a final decision on the appointment of Prof. Carlo Fonseka, as the President of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, in collaboration with all medical professional bodies within the next two weeks. Although GMOA and professional bodies, represented by Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) Prof. T. Lamabadusuriya had requested the more..

'External degrees are worthless'

Jan 3 (DM) The Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake said that the external degrees awarded by Sri Lankan universities were worthless certificates that would not benefit its holder or the country in any manner. Addressing a gathering at the inaugural ceremony of the Open and Distant Education Centre affiliated to the Aesthetic University, he said external degrees had recognition during election campaigns when political appointment were made. more..

Govt embarks on Palmyrah research in North

Jan 3 (DN) Steps are currently being taken by the government to uplift the palmyrah industry in the Northern Province with a Palmyrah Research Plan, to take the industry to a global platform. Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry sources yesterday said steps are currently underway to enable the industry to access global export markets. President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized the importance of developing the Palmyrah plantation sector in the North. more..

New Acts to boost health sector: Work on Bills, amendments completed

Jan 3 (DN) Several Acts and amendments related to the health sector that were long overdue will be presented to Parliament within the next two months, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. According to minister Sirisena, the new Acts and amendments will make this year a revolutionary year in the health sector. ”Work on all such Bills and amendments have been completed. The new Bills and amendments will see drastic changes in the health sector,” he said. more..

‘Govt servants’ dedication, key to new Sri Lanka’

Jan 3 (DN) The hope of building a new Sri Lanka can only be realised if all public servants dedicate themselves to serve the public, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. “Whatever the rank or position, the most important document for the public servant to confirm their road map is the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma,” the Secretary said. He reminded that “we must always keep in mind that we are not the masters but merely servants of the public”. more..