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Tangalle victim 'raped' - AHRC

Jan 4 (BBC) Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) says the companion of the murdered British tourist Kuram Shaikah Zaman was sexually assaulted after the brutal attack on the couple. Russian national Victoria Alexandrovna, 23, is being treated in Karapitiya hospital, Galle at the intensive care unit. Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, Sampath Vidanapathirana, was arrested as the main suspect of the assault and murder of the Red Cross employee on more..

Gangster’s brother and UNP CMC member shot

Jan 4 (Island) An unidentified gunman shot and wounded a person identified as the brother of a notorious gangster, near the Jumma junction, in the Maligawatte area at 1.00 am yesterday. A UNP member of the Colombo Municipal Council, who was in the company of the targeted person, too, was wounded in the attack. However, the UNP politician said that he had been shot accidentally as he was walking on the road. The condition of the gangster’s brother is believed to be serious. more..

SLTB launches luxury bus service on Southern Expressway

Jan 4 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama yesterday inaugurated a new SLTB luxury bus service between Maharagama and Galle on the Southern Expressway. The new service commenced at 6.00 a.m. from the Maharagama Bus Stand while at the same time a bus commenced operating from Galle to Colombo. The new service will operate once in two hours both ways, the Transport Ministry said. When contacted, Minister Welgama said that the new SLTB bus service would more..

Stamps bearing LTTE pics, symbols: France admits blunder

Jan 4 (Island) The French embassy in Colombo yesterday claimed that ‘Groupe La Poste’ of which French postal services were a part had issued a set of stamps bearing pictures and symbols of the LTTE by mistake. The admission was made in the wake of External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris strongly condemning the French move at a meeting with the French Ambassador in Colombo Christine Robichon yesterday. more..

Cambodia - Sri Lanka 2012 New Year celebrations

Jan 4 (DN) To mark the New Year, the Ottawa - Hull Cambodian Buddhist Association invited the Sri Lankan community in the National Capital Region, to celebrate the Cambodian and Sri Lankan civilizations that are over 2500 years old. This joint Cambodia - Sri Lanka 2012 New Year celebration was a tremendous success. For the first time in Ottawa, the Cambodian and Sri Lankan communities got together in friendship and peace, celebrating both the New Year and more..

Ratna thera blasts govt. over tourist’s killing

Jan 4 (Island) JHU MP Ven. Atureliye Ratana yesterday lashed out at the govt over the recent killing of a British tourist, Khuram Shaikh, 32, from Manchester, a physiotherapist working for the International Red Cross in the Middle East, in the tourist resort at Tangalle. The victim’s Russian associate, Victoria Alexandrovna, 23, was wounded in the attack. The JHU heavyweight pointed out that the main suspect in the Tangalle killing was the Chairman of UPFA-run Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha. more..

The UNP’s leadership struggle Ranil,Sinhala-Buddhist racism and Rosy Senanayake

Jan 4 (SL) After the 1994 elections, the UNP began to disintegrate. It was the end of an era and a shock to so many people who had been in power for such a long time. It was inevitable, since after a while the public just gets sick of a party, and after 1991 there was a sense of inevitability about the end of the Premadasa era. Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali formed another party and more..

Killinochchi: The town that is quiet again

Jan 4 (LB) Killinochchi was just another obscure dot in the map in the eighties. It was a sleepy town which had no importance of any sort to anyone except to the farmer, peasants and the government servants who administered the area. Perhaps, the most important place was the railway station, which the people used either to get in or get out of the train, that ran from Colombo to Jaffna. Back in the eighties Killinochci was a quiet farming area with a lot of cattle roaming more..

Sri Lanka concede they misread Newlands pitch

Jan 4 (Reuters) Bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake conceded Sri Lanka had misread the pitch when they asked South Africa to bat first in the third and final test on Tuesday and then compounded the mistake by bowling badly. At the close of the first day at Newlands, South Africa were 347 for three with Jacques Kallis unbeaten on 159. The series is tied 1-1. "We did not bowl well at all, especially in the first session when we could have kept them to under 80 runs. more..

'Electing UNP leadership: Akin to eating curd with a razor'

Jan 4 (Island) Electing the office bearers of a political party was tantamount to eating curd with a razor (Dalipihiya), UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said yesterday. He said that he had done his level best to convince all concerned of the need to appoint the UNP office bearers through consensus. Obviously those who had challenged Ranil Wickremesinghe for the leadership and contested other key positions recently had failed to more..

SLMC and DUA to merge?

Jan 4 (DM) Moves are afoot to create a political union between the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Democratic Unity Alliance (DUA). DUA Secretary-General Hafiz Nazeer Ahamed is tipped to be appointed as the Deputy Leader of the SLMC as part of a deal aimed at ending a legal dispute over properties. Mr. Nazeer Ahamed is likely to act in the capacity of Deputy Leader informally until being officially appointed to the post at the next more..

'Sri Lanka to target inflation explicitly in 2012'

Jan 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka is moving to a more explicit inflation targeting environment setting a level of 5 to 6 percent for 2012 and priority has been shifted to maintaining prices over growth, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka is expecting 8.0 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2012 on the back of 8.3 percent growth in 2011 boosted by a lower budget deficit and the end of a war two years earlier. more..

Amendments for stricter enforcement of Mathata Thitha

Jan 4 (DN) Amendments to the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act number 27 of 2006 are to be presented to Parliament by April, this year. Once amended, the Act will enable law enforcement officers to implement `Mathata Thitha’ (Full stop to tobacco and alcohol) policy in all public places especially roads and more vigorously, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Once amended the Act will assist to implement President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s concept more..

Lanka raps France over LTTE stamps

Jan 4 (DM) Minister G.L. Peiris yesterday summoned the French Ambassador Christine Robichon and expressed deep concern over France’s postal service “La Poste” issuing four stamps depicting images related to the LTTE including its symbol though the LTTE was proscribed in France. The minister said though the publishing of these stamps was not facilitated by the French Govt, it was responsible in ensuring that such publications should not be permitted more..

Alleged war crimes:SL wants UN to lift embargo on evidence

Jan 4 (Island) The govt expects the UN to lift an unprecedented 20-year embargo on both written and oral material in its hands pertaining to alleged war crimes committed by GoSL troops and the LTTE to help domestic investigations into complaints. Authoritative sources told The Island that those sceptical of a domestic investigation process as recommended by the LLRC should make available whatever more..

Govt. takes blame for A/L fiasco

Jan 4 (DM) Preliminary investigations have revealed that three data entry operators had messed up the August 2011 GCE A/L examinations results, Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said yesterday. He told a news conference that the govt accepted full responsibility for the blunder and would not put only Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana on the firing line. He admitted that the GCE A/L fiasco had embarrassed the govt with even President Mahinda Rajapaksa concerned about what happened. more..

Stocks close 1.04-pct lower

Jan 4 (LBO) Stocks fell 1.04 percent Wednesday in thin trade with steep falls in some small cap speculative stocks as the market failed to maintain the momentum seen in the last week of December, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index fell 62.90 points to 5,972.7 points and the Milanka Index of liquid stocks fell 53.39 points to 5,120.8 points. Turnover was 459 million rupees. Colombo Stocks rose in the last week of December to top a psychological 6,000 point mark. more..

Editorial: Win-Win solution on the middle path

Jan 4 (DM) One of the crucial issues in the first few weeks and months of 2012 will be the way in which the govt responds to the positive recommendations made in the historic 400-page report of the LLRC. Largely because of the bad record of most of the former commissions or committees whose recommendations were either partial or not implemented, many independent observers and leading western countries had been skeptical because the Commission had been appointed by more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

No one will be allowed to rock the boat in 2012: Ranil

Jab 4 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said those who attacked the ‘Sirikotha’ on Dec 19 and those who are defending them are enemies of the party. These comments by the UNP leader comes after several provincial council members and others in the party were arrested and released on bail after the commotion that took place in the party head quarters during the election of new office bearers while some of the dissident MPs have already spoken against these arrests. more..

Sri Lanka to conduct first national census in 30 years

Jab 4 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's first nationwide census after three-decade civil war is to be done in March 2012, the Census and Statistic Department said on Wednesday. Suranjana Vidyaratne, director general of the Census and Statistics Department, said data on access to IT technology is to be collected for the country's future economic and development plans. With the post-war economic boom, Sri Lanka will assess the development of information technology used by its people by more..

WikiLeaks:If Rajapaksa wins, he may destroy everything I tried – CBK

Jan 4 (CT) “My only regret is that if my party’s Presidential candidate wins, he may destroy everything I have tried to do in the last 11 years.” Chandrika Kumaratunga said to the diplomatic corps. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” recounts details of the dinner which was hosted by Outgoing Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for the diplomatic corps on November 16, the evening before the 2005 presidential election. more..

Central bank under fire for unrealistic expectations

Jan 4 (Xinhua) Central bank has run into criticism from the opposition for wildly optimistic targets for 2012, a member of parliament said. On Tuesday central bank Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal told business leaders and media that the country had grown 8.3 percent in 2011 and expected 8 percent growth this year. He also presented an ambitious roadmap outlining the objectives. A key highlight of his roadmap was estimating a significant 25 billion more..

Fonseka’s petition to Obama hits credibility snag

Jan 4 (CT) Signature collection urging US to interfere to release former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in Sri Lanka was sent towards US White House, Sarath Fonseka sources confirms. 25,638 persons have kept signatures in this petition including following interesting signatures which raises serious credibility issue with authenticity of the signatures. Mahinda Rajapakse (5 times) Shiranthi Rajapakse (5 times) Gotabhaya Rajapakse (3 times) Basil Rajapakse (2 times) more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 04.01.2012

Body of abducted male found in Grandpass

Jan 4 (DM) The body of a man allegedly abducted by an unidentified group on Tuesday night was found in Grandpass this morning. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said the body was found at around 6.30am on Ferguson Road in Grandpass. The victim was identified as Dinesh Buddhika (26). According to reports the victim is believed to have been an accomplice of an alleged major drug dealer known as ‘Shankar’. Police were informed about the abduction by his mother who more..

Sri Lanka's biggest bank eyes US$500mn bond

Jan 4 (LBO) State-run Bank of Ceylon, the island's largest lender is looking to sell a 500 million dollar bond in the first half of this year chairman Gamini Wickramasinghe said. "It will be during the next three to four months," he said. "The bond will be rated." Bank of Ceylon has been one of the most prolific banks to go to international markets. It has previously raised money through syndicated loans. Last month the bank raised 140 million dollars from UAE based Mashreq Bank. more..

Body of Khuram Shaikh repatriated to the UK

Jan 4 (DM) The body of Mr. Khuram Shaikh, a British National who was murdered in a brutal attack on December 25, has been returned to the United Kingdom in preparation for a family funeral. Khuram’s brother, Nasir Shaikh, travelled to Sri Lanka on January 3 to oversee the repatriation of his brother’s body and to seek information directly from the Sri Lankan authorities about the circumstances of the tragic attack. more..

Pakistani businessmen invited to int’l expo in Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (PT) Air Chief Marshal (retd) Jayalath Weerakoddy, Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Pakistan, extended the invitation on Wednesday as he spoke at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The Sri Lankan govt has designed a special package for foreign businessmen and LCCI members should avail this opportunity,” Weerakoddy said. “The Lankan government is also making every effort to increase their trade volume with Pakistan to the one-billion-dollar mark.” more..

'Govt. attempting to pick pockets of electricity employees'

Jan 4 (LT) The government enters into various circular agreements and is attempting to picks the pockets of electricity employees who work hard in the sun and the rain, climbing mountains and plunging into precipices. However, this would not be allowed says the General Secretary of the Lanka Electricity Board Employees’ Union Ranjan Jayalal. Speaking to ‘Lankatruth’ Mr. Jayalal said employees in the Electricity Board are given a salary increase only every three years. more..

South Africa well placed after batsmen's day

Jan 4 (CI) There was a sense of déjà vu as the action unfolded on the second day at Newlands, before Graeme Smith ended Sri Lanka's agony with an aggressive declaration that came 30 minutes before tea. Jacques Kallis was balletic in the morning, and AB de Villiers ballistic after lunch to leave Sri Lanka facing for a nightmarish day, reminiscent of the one India had endured a few hours earlier in a different continent. more..

Sri Lanka to assess internet, IT use in post-war census

Jan 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka will collect information about areas like internet access in the first nation-wide household and population census to be conducted in over 30 years, an official said. The census which is to conducted from February 27 to March 21 will have 80,000 'enumerators' visiting every house in the country to count the population and also questions about amenities in the house. The head of Sri Lanka's statistics office Suranjana Vidyaratne asked people to give correct information. more..

Census to count toilets as well

Jan 4 (DM) The third stage of a countrywide population and housing census will begin next month to gather information on the number of residents in a household, tenure, access to drinking water, electricity, cooking fuel, toilet facilities, communication and internet facilities, methods of solid waste disposal and other household information, the Department of Census and Statistics said. The first two stages of the census where all Grama Niladhari divisions more..

Lankan asylum seeker accused of petrol station robbery

Jan 4 (KG) A Sri Lankan asylum seeker stands accused of robbing a petrol station and beating a man with a baseball bat. Hajendra Saravanababanantha, 26, is also alleged to have sent a threatening text message and defrauded another petrol station. He denied charges of fraud, sending a threatening text message, and common assault, when he appeared at Southwestern Magistrates’ Court on January 3. The robbery charge was sent straight to Kingston Crown Court. more..

English as a state language – back to colonialism

Jan 5 (LB) There is no homogeneous education policy in Sri Lanka. In 1987, Sinhala and Tamil were made state languages. Accordingly, the medium of education in Sri Lanka should be either Sinhala or Tamil. Besides, schools have been set up in Sri Lanka according to the whims and fancies of various institutions. The education in govt schools is free. In so-called Catholic private non-fee-levying schools, lakhs of rupees are collected at admissions under the cover of ‘Donations.’ more..

International responses to the LLRC Report

Jan 5 (LB) Assessing how the international community is reacting, the LLRC Report is the strategic key for the regime. For the government, what the locals think is irrelevant. Not only Rajapaksa and his ministers but just about everybody in the country knows and has known for a long time how to reconcile with the Tamil community – substantial devolution, demilitarization of the N-E and release of thousands of illegally incarcerated Tamil youth. more..

Thanking the gods for the spice of their lives

Jan 5 (ST) Seven years ago, the tsunami destroyed the Southern coastline killing thousands and destroying homes and livelihoods. The salt water that swept as far as three km inland also killed the cinnamon plantations destroying the local cinnamon industry. Now, these small scale cinnamon farmers, some of whom lost their family members are back on their feet again. They believe the divine powers of ‘Devol Deviyo’ of Seenigama Temple also helped more..

People power to the fore

Jan 5 (LB) A friend of mine declared that since Independence in 1948, the JVP of the 1960s and 1970s was the only revolutionary Marxist or revolutionary socialist formation in Lanka; but today the JVP is neither revolutionary nor socialist. He added that post 1948, as the LSSP-CP were no more revolutionary socialistic, but essentially parliamentary socialists, there were only two options visible: a coalition for state power with the SLFP petty bourgeoisie /nascent bourgeoisie; more..

Recognizing Tamil achievements

Jan 5 (Island) These are the days of talk – and I do mean talk – of national integration. As I write a paper to be read at the annual meeting of the American Society of Engineering Education on the siting of the new engineering faculty in Jaffna and do the requisite reading for it, my attention is increasingly forced on two Tamil achievements that do not get the plaudits they deserve from our nation. If Tamils are truly a part of Sri Lanka, then our achievements must be recognised. more..

Let’s make the New Year auspicious

Jan 5 (DM) A New Year has dawned! We are all aware that a day wears out and a new day begins due to the revolving of the Earth on its axis and a year is created when the Earth revolves around the Sun. This happens with no recognition of the calendar, invented by us. However, within modern human society many values have been added to the calendar phenomenon. Despite no change in the issues and challenges we are faced with; we are accustomed to more..