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UN envoy raises land issue

Dec 6 (CG) Visiting UN Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani raised the land issue in the North, when he met Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem today. Hakeem had told the UN envoy that the land issue is being addressed at this moment. Hakeem also said that all communities in Sri Lanka are now co-existing following the end of the 30 year war. The Minister briefed the UN envoy on the post war progress and measures taken to implement more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Dec 7 (NS) Gayantha says that the govt had robbed ordinary people of their dreams. It looks like the entire country is full of dream robbers. The JVP seems to have robbed the working class of its dreams. And the UNP? Well, the robbery is of such a magnitude that we hear that party loyalists have long since stopped dreaming! Minister G.L. Peiris claims that Budget 2014 will benefit ‘all sections of society’. What society is the good professor thinking about, one wonders. more..

‘Traditional Homelands’ tells a story

Dec 7 (NS) I’ve been here long. Longer than those who claim me. Their earliest ancestors, i.e. those who hadn’t coined a name for me, had to first make their paw prints on my breast. That’s how old I am. I was here when Raja Raja Chola, in 993AD named my body-soils as well as the body-soils of my neighbors as Ila-mandalam with the descriptive, ‘The land of the warlike Sinhalas’. The inscriptions at the temples in Tanjavur and Ukkal are clear. Raja Raja Chola congratulates himself not for more..

No bombs, only ‘badaginna’

Dec 7 (NS) The dust has finally settled over the much hyped Commonwealth confab with its ‘no expenses spared’ budgeting. The facelift to Colombo and other designated townships must certainly have impressed the visiting delegates that we were an upwardly mobile nation. Close on the heels of the CHOGM carnival came the presentation of the National Budget 2014 which was perceptibly uneventful. more..

Proposed National Railway Museum

Dec 7 (SL) It is reported that Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has submitted a cabinet paper to set up a national railway museum at Kadugannawa. This brings to my mind the pleasant memories of the short spell of my service in the Railways [Way and Works Dept] in the 1950s. During this period of my service, I was appointed to carry out a verification of stores in the Central District Engineer’s Division at Dematagoda. While checking with the list given to me, I came across an item more..

TNA's double standards in glorifying Prabha

Dec 7 (SO) The TNA seems to be playing a double game once again as it made direct and indirect attempts to mark the birth anniversary of the most ruthless terrorist leader ever in world history - V Prabhakaran. TNA MP S. Sritharan in a statement to Parliament, attempted to glorify Prabhakaran. In his controversial speech on Prabhakaran's birth anniversary, Sritharan justified the cause fostered by the LTTE terrorists and identified their terror acts as a freedom struggle. more..

DRS a key stage in cricket’s evolution

Dec 7 (ST) Well it’s not everyday that you hear nice things about the local cricket administration, especially things that could have a direct bearing on the game itself. If not what emanates is about how someone closed the deal with a pint in his pocket or some other crooked act that has come to light. The news is that the local cricket administration has coaxed the Ten Sports management to throw in the package of more..

Editorial: The holy vs the unholy

Dec 7 (Island) An anti-casino campaign led by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera and other religious dignitaries is gathering momentum. These prelates seem determined not to leave any stone unturned in their efforts to thwart a govt plan to set up gaming resorts. A meeting they held on Thursday was a success. Even some key Opposition politicians were present there though they usually don’t see eye to eye on other issues and go for each other’s jugular at the drop of a hat. more..

Shenzhen and Hambantota

Dec 7 (CT) The caption may invoke the prejudice of comparing the incomparable. It will certainly look a study in contrasts. Yet there is many a point of comparison. Shenzhen has already created history with late entry in three important areas, as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), in urban development and in maritime transport. This transformation was achieved in 33 years with incredible changes to be seen in the next few years. The reality and the principal contrast is that more..

Southern fishermen go for traditional methods

Dec 7 (SO) The Sri Lankan fishing communities observed the 'World Fisheries Day' on Nov 21, focusing manly on some of their problems. It was observed virtually in all fishing districts including Jaffna, Mannar, Negombo, Galle, Matara and Batticaloa. The Mannar and Jaffna district fisher communities have passed resolutions requesting an end to the long unresolved 'Cross Border Issue' while those of the more..

A flawed liberation struggle: Massacres of Sinhalese civilians

Dec 7 (CT) It was hard for the LTTE, which claimed to be the sole legitimate representatives of the Tamil people, to live down the fact that its way of settling political differences by annihilating opponents had led to the total collapse of the Tamil militant struggle. It was this, which enabled India to step in as the saviour of the Tamils. Through calculated provocations, LTTE thus worked towards discrediting India by fomenting a war with the Indian Army that was very costly to Tamil civilians. more..

After CHOGM 2013 – (3)

Dec 7 (Island) In my last article I argued that we Sri Lankans in general seem to have difficulty in perceiving the world as it is, in consequence of which our Governments can make terrible blunders leading to very troubled periods in our foreign relations. In my view that has happened twice: from 1977 to 1994, more particularly from 1977 to 1989, and it is happening now in a period which I see as having begun with our victory over the LTTE on May 18, 2009. The importance of this difficulty in more..

Many challenges await Sri Lanka in UAE

Dec 7 (Island) The national cricket team left for United Arab Emirates last night (Friday) for a six week-long tour where they will play three Tests, five ODIs and two T-20s against Pakistan. The tour provides the national cricket team that has been deprived of much international exposure, several challenges. One of the foremost challenges for the Sri Lankans during the tour will be to improve on their Test ranking. more..

An experience of Jaffna and North after 30 years

Dec 7 (Island) Two months ago, in early September, I received an invitation, quite unexpectedly, from His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundrnayagam, Bishop of Jaffna, to be the facilitator of the two annual retreats of the priests of the Diocese of Jaffna, to be held in two disconnected weeks in November. I accepted the invitation not only because the request came from the Bishop himself and instinctively felt I should comply with it. And I considered it a singular privilege to more..

Dharmadasa Walpola: Golden Voice of Silver Screen

Dec 7 (Island) Dharmadasa Walpola incontrovertibly dominated the Sinhala Cinema in 1950s & '60s as the best play-back singer. The melodious and romantic voice of Dharmadasa Walpola, a household name, resonates even today in the hearts of music fans all over the island. This is a commemorative appreciation on the 30th death anniversary of this versatile musician which falls on December 25, 2013. Born on Nov 27, 1927, in Deiyannewela, Kandy, more..

Govt. and Opposition clash over oil drilling in Mannar

Dec 7 (FT) The Govt has entered into an agreement with Cairn India, enabling it to retain 90% of anticipated profits from the ongoing oil explorations carried out on block no. SL2007-01-001 in the Mannar Basin in the north west of Sri Lanka, UNP MP Rosy Senanayake revealed in Parliament. “Sri Lanka spent US$ 6 billion for annual crude oil imports. We spend almost 60% of the total imports bill for oil imports. more..

Naveen faults Budget for low capex for education

Dec 7 (FT) Minister Naveen Dissanayake criticised the Budget 2014 for inadequate allocations made to meet capital expenditure in education. “The allocation of Rs. 9 billion is not enough,” he charged participating the eighth allotted day of the Appropriation Bill 2014 Committee Stage Debate. He said the Ministry of Education would receive Rs. 107,519 million for recurrent expenditure of the education sector while Rs. 9,185 million had been allocated as capital expenditure. more..

'Sri Lanka fully supports WTO Bali package'

Dec 7 (FT) The Doha Development Agenda has been on hold for 12 years and despite challenges, Sri Lanka extends its fullest support and flexibility to a balanced WTO Bali package. “The Doha Development Agenda, which was supposed to inject a new impetus to the world economy through trade creation, has been on hold for 12 long years and despite the rebuilding challenge, Sri Lanka is ready to extend its fullest support and flexibility towards a balanced Bali package that will ensure more..

SLC to propose ICC shift to Lanka

Dec 7 (CG) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is to submit an attractive proposal to to re-locate the ICC Head Office to Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Cricket board said. The Executive Committee of SLC which met Friday evening, decided to appoint a committee which will be headed by the Office bearers and include the District Representative of SLC to make the proposal. It was also decided by the Executive Committee to fill the vacancies created by more..

People’s Bank unveils its latest SME Centers

Dec 7 (Island) People’s Bank declared open its two latest Small and Medium Scale Business Centers in Vavuniya and Batticaloa. recently. The centers are situated at the Vanni Regional Head Office and the Batticaloa Regional Head Office. Both centers were declared open by the People’s bank Deputy General Manager (Cooperative and Development Banking) T. A Ariyapala. Launched under the budget proposal of 2012, following the agenda of the Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dekma, more..

Municipal Vet Dept. gone to dogs

Dec 7 (Island) The Chief of the Veterinary Department of the Colombo Municipal Council yesterday said that there was a severe dearth of staff that was preventing it from carrying out its services. Chief Vet, Dr. I. Dharmawardane said that out of a cadre of 21 veterinary supervisors (VS) the Department had only four. VS’ services were equivalent to those carried out by PHIs. They served on the field visiting their relevant wards, carrying out licensing, registrations of dogs, more..

Reforms to strengthen finance sector next year

Dec 7 (ST) A major shake-up in the finance company sector is in the offing with guidelines being prepared by the Central Bank to reduce the number of firms. Separately, smaller, shaky, companies are to be encouraged to merge or be acquired by their bigger counterparts, officials said. The planned reforms, aimed at strengthening and consolidating the finance sector, will be announced in Jan 2, 2014. more..

Additional Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluwihare appointed to Supreme Court

Dec 7 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week appointed the Deputy Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department, President Counsel Buwaneka Aluwihare as a Judge of the Supreme Court. He was sworn in by the President at Temple Trees. Aluwihare, whose career expands over 30 years at the Attorney-General’s Department, has worked on a number of high-profile cases related to political violence and terrorism. He has also served as a prosecutor for the UN’s more..

Sri Lankan Catholics bid farewell to former apostolic nuncio

Dec 7 (CNA) The bishops, priests, and religious of Sri Lanka celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving Dec. 2 to show appreciation for their former apostolic nuncio, who has been appointed nuncio to Ivory Coast. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo and president of the Sri Lankan bishops' conference, thanked Archbishop Joseph Spiteri for his valuable contributions to the Catholics of Sri Lanka, where he had been apostolic nuncio since February 2009. more..

Sri Lanka launches first ever multi-sectoral action plan on nutrition

Dec 7 (GDI) At an event attended by government and development partners, the Speaker of Parliament, Chamal Rajapaksa launched the country’s first-ever Multi-sectoral Action Plan to reduce maternal and child malnutrition in the country. The three-year Action Plan on Nutrition sets targets and milestones to reduce the prevalence of under-nutrition, anemia and stunting amongst key population groups, as well as to improve more..

Lankan woman receives int'l Peace Award

Dec 7 (DN) Thavachsri Charles Vijayaratnam from Sri Lanka was among a group of six women from the Asia region honoured at the N-Peace Awards ceremony hosted by the UNDP in Bangkok, Thailand. Charles won the most number of votes among the Sri Lankan nominees under the leading N-Peace Awards category - Role Models for Peace - in an online voting campaign that received a record breaking 70,000 votes earlier this year for all nominated candidates. more..

Missing A/L student found dead

Dec 7 (CT) Lindula Police have initiated an investigation into the mystery surrounding the death of an 18-year-old youth who had left his house, and had not returned, leading to search to locate him. However, on a tip-off received from a resident in the vicinity, his body was found in the Meraya area in Lindula, this morning at around 6:30 a.m. The body of the deceased, Raja Kulasekaran, was identified by a family member. The father of the teenager, in his statement to the police more..

'Rich List 2013' puts Dhammika on top

Dec 7 (CG) Dhammika Perera the billionaire businessman who controls the Vallibel One group, was named the richest Sri Lankan by The Rich List 2013 Sri Lanka. The new book values Dhammika Perera’s personal fortune at a minimum of USD 538,000,000 or Rs 70 Billion. Last week Forbes Asia valued Sri Lanka’s biggest individual publicly-listed shareholder at Rs 72.6 Billion or USD 550,000,000. more..

Central Bank seen keeping rates steady

Dec 7 (Reuters) Central bank is expected to keep its policy rates steady on at its monetary meeting on Monday, a Reuters poll showed, after it slashed them by 50 basis points in October to multi-year lows to stimulate economic growth. The central bank has lowered key rates by 125 basis points since December last year, along with several other easing monetary-policy measures including cutting commercial banks' statutory reserve ratio (SRR) by 200 basis points from July. more..

Eight bogus cops arrested

Dec 7 (Island) Dambulla police yesterday arrested eight men, who tried to break into the house of an Urban Council member there, posing off as policemen from the Mirihana police station. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the suspects who had tried to forcibly enter the house by breaking the front and back doors, while the inmates were fast asleep, had been arrested on information provided by the inmates, while they were fleeing the area in a van, after the inmates had tried to more..

417 schools closed in last seven years

Dec 7 (CT) The govt has closed a total of 417 schools in the last seven years, despite the proclamation of opening 1,000 new schools, UNP MP, Sajith Premadasa charged in Parliament. He also said 64% of the students who had sat for the O/L exam in 2005 had failed English and Science papers, while 63% had failed those subjects in 2006, 60% failed in 2007 and 52% in 2013. He also asked what steps have been taken by the govt to more..

Contempt inquiry against Bathiudeen in March

Dec 7 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday fixed the inquiry against Minister of Economic Development Rishard Bathiudeen for March 14, 2014 in respect of a contempt of Court application filed by a group of lawyers. The applicants had alleged that Bathiudeen abused the Mannar Magistrate over a judicial order. The respondent Bathiudeen was also alleged to have telephoned the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission to transfer the Magistrate. more..

Sajith demands to know why Jana Sabha system not been implemented

Dec 7 (Island) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa queried in Parliament why the govt had failed to implement the Jana Sabha system (People’s Councils) as ab administrative structure mentioned in the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma . Deputy Minister S.M. Chandrasena said that there were over 14,000 Grama Niladahri Divisions in the country and the introduction of novel administrative structure was a complex process and a pilot project had been commenced in the Hambantota District. more..

Farbrace to be Sri Lanka coach

Dec 7 (DM) Former Sri Lanka team assistant coach Paul Farbrace will take over as the next Sri Lanka coach from Graham Ford, after the series against Pakistan in December-January. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive Committee ratified his appointment unofficially last evening and decided to call Farbrace for a routine interview, which will take place on Monday. “Chief national selector Sanath Jayasuriya has been in touch more..

Pettah fire guts over 50 shops

Dec 7 (DN) Over 50 shops were gutted in a fire which broke out near the Bodhiraja Temple close to the main bus stand in Pettah last evening. The shops on the left side of Bodhiraja Temple were completely gutted in the fire. However, no casualties were reported, according to Police. A majority of shops destroyed were mainly selling textiles, toys, household products and plastic appliances. A large number of items were destroyed in the fire. Fire fighters doused the fire more..

Spending heavily on science, technology to develop country a myth - Ranawaka

Dec 7 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka told Parliament that a country could not be developed by spending heavily on science and technology alone. Participating in the third reading stage debate, of the budget 2014, under the expenditure head of the Ministry of Technology and Research, the minister said: "It is a myth that you need to spend more on science and technology to develop a country. We have a base of 4,000 scientists, which has been stagnant in numbers for a long time. more..

SL army bitter, alleges international witch hunt

Dec 7 (Island) The Australian High Commission declined to comment on its controversial decision to deprive Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias of the opportunity to join an ICRC-organised project in Australia on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations made by UK media outfit, Channel 4 News. Asked for a clarification, a spokesperson said: "Our privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any visa matter." more..

Madiba Mandela: Behold the Man

Dec 7 (DM) In this era when most leaders appear to be abusing the vice side instead of the wise side of the globalised capitalist market economic system and politics specially has degenerated into selfishness and self-centred plunder of the people’s resources, the death of legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela on Thursday night could also mean a resurrection of exemplary values and principles all over the world. Nelson Mandela, widely respected if not revered by billions of people more..

The controversy surrounding private higher educational institutions

Dec 7 (DM) Mar­tin Lu­ther King, the lead­er of the Afro-Amer­i­can Civ­il Rights move­ment once said, “Change doesn’t roll on the wheels of in­evi­ta­bil­ity but comes through continued struggle." Private educational institutions and campuses in Sri Lanka operate amid the dawn of change and the resulting controversy. There are opposing views and arguments by advocates on both sides. While some see private univertisies as a blessing to the Sri Lankan economy and to students, more..

CIFL depositors continue to file complaints with Fraud Investigation Bureau

Dec 7 (ST) The Police Fraud Investigation Bureau continues to receive complaints from depositors of Central Investments and Finance (CIFL), several months after it became public that the company was in trouble. Bureau has also started recording statements from the Finance company’s 10 directors. “On the instructions of the Magistrate, we issued notices on them and to date have recorded the statements of two directors. more..