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‘Wave’ in NYT Best Ten list

Dec 22 (Island) 'Wave,' by Sonali Deraniyagala, who lost her whole family – husband, two sons and parents in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami which engulfed the hotel at Yala where they were holidaying, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as one of the ten best books published this year. It is among the top ranked books, fiction and non-fiction, picked by the New York Times Book Review. This is the synopsis of the book as published by the NYT: On the day after more..

CMC to auction 260 properties

Dec 22 (SL) The Colombo Municipal Council has decided to auction 260 properties whose taxes have been avoided, Treasurer of the Council K D Chithrapala told The Sunday Leader. The list of properties will be issued as a gazette and the expected tax revenue will be Rs 300 million, the Treasurer said. Although 500 properties were earlier listed under the category, as per the ultimatum issued by the CMC, more than 240 property owners paid the taxes and regained their properties. more..

Packer’s luxury project could start next year ‘minus a casino’

Dec 22 (ST) Construction of casino mogul James Packer’s “integrated super luxury resort” could start in the first half of 2014 if the Govt convinces opponents that the project no longer includes a casino. The same applies to two other resorts (one by business tycoon Dhammika Perera and the other by John Keells) for which gazettes were published last week. Amended gazettes have omitted the words “gaming activities” more..

Nagapattinam fishermen go on indefinite fast

Dec 22 (Hindu) The fisherfolk of the district on Saturday launched an indefinite fast demanding the release of those arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. The fishermen were on indefinite work boycott for the seventh day, demanding that the govt announced a date for talks between the fishermen of the two countries. Calling for the release of the 210 fishermen and 70 boats currently under detention in Sri Lanka, the fisherfolk from Pazhayar, Sirkazhi and Kodiakkarai arrived here more..

'Sri Lanka can tour Pakistan if security guaranteed'

Dec 22 (AFP) More than four years after an attack on their team in Lahore, Sri Lanka could well be the country that brings international cricket back to Pakistan. The attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, which stripped Pakistan of its right to host international matches, left a permanent scar on some of the players but according to Sri Lanka Cricket’s media manager Rajith Fernando a tour could still be possible in the near future. “Insurgency is not new to us as we have seen it more..

Apey Ranil transfers his powers to LC, calls for end to Rajapaksa dictatorship, corruption

Dec 22 (Island) Amidst a catchy song, "Apey Ranil," sung to an upbeat tempo, the UNP yesterday held its 55th annual Convention at "Srikotha" with the central theme being relief for the long suffering masses, abolition of the Executive Presidency and an end to corruption and lawlessness. Proceedings went off smoothly with all participants body-checked and armed policemen providing security within the complex. more..

Defaulters to be listed

Dec 22 (SL) Defaulters of telephone bills, water bills, electricity bills and insurance policies will be listed under the Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka (CRIB). The Bureau says the existing Act will be amended in order to list names of the defaulters. Once listed, if a defaulter attempts to obtain a new telephone connection or bank loan, his name will appear on the list. A source at the CRIB said that, so far, Rs 4.5 million bank loans have been obtained and among them there are several defaulters. more..

‘My life in danger’

Dec 22 (CT) Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe, the embattled Coordinating Secretary of the Prime Minister, who had allegedly issued a letter on behalf of the premier to seek a duty waiver for a consignment, in which the police narcotic sleuths later found South Asia’s largest heroin haul, has complained that his life is in danger. “I am receiving death threats since the incident. My life is in danger,” he said. But he refused to say who had been making the alleged threats. “I will reveal them in the due course,” more..

Ministerial spouses default millions

Dec 22 (CT) In a startling revelation, it has now transpired that spouses of 12 Cabinet-ranked ministers have borrowed funds on interest basis from Salaka Group Chairman, Gamini Nettikumara, who also owns the gaming centre, Salaka Regino, and his wife Sudharma, where some of them have defaulted as well. Nettikumara confirmed that there were a large number of ministers who had borrowed money from him and his wife, running into more..

CPC issues red notice to state agencies

Dec 22 (ST) Petroleum Industries Ministry will enforce with immediate effect a maximum two-month credit limit for state institutions to pay their fuel bills, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. He said supplies would be discontinued if the arrears were not paid within two months. Concessionary terms would also be withdrawn. Among the main institutions which owe the CPC large amounts are SriLankan and Mihin Lanka. Two airlines owe CPC a staggering Rs 30 billion. more..

Exposed: Building full of outdated food items, rats and cockroaches

Dec 22 (ST) A major racket to redistribute expired food items –including baked beans, flavoured drinks, canned fish, noodles, cornflakes and fish sauce — for public consumption was busted in Colombo yesterday. The Colombo Municipality’s Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) raided an insect-and-rat-infested Pettah warehouse of a company known as New J.P.S. Enterprises located at Old Moor Street, Colombo 12, and found a massive stock of food items which had passed their expiry dates. more..

Presidential poll likely in 2014 despite multitude of crises

Dec 22 (ST) President Rajapaksa held out the prospect of a Presidential or Parliamentary election in the coming year. “Eka Janadipathi methivarnayak venna puluvang. Baagey velavaata eka maha methivaranayak wennath puluvang (It could be a Presidential election. It could also be a parliamentary election),” he told the Executive Committee of the SLFP. Ministers, deputies, MPs and local authority members are among more..

NAITA assists unemployed in Matara

Dec 22 (SO) Vocational and technical training courses for school leavers and unemployed young men and women in the Matara district have commenced at NAITA. These training programs include personal secretarial training (English), motor mechanism, hotel and restaurant management,graphic designing, information and communication technology, nursing assistants, gem cutting, training for tea factory officers,refrigerator and air conditioner repairing, manufacture more..

The voter should not be taken for granted

Dec 22 (CT) Is it one of those proverbial trial balloons or is it for real, one would know only when confirmed. But, the President's assertion that 2014 would be an 'Election Year' is a gross understatement. Ever since this administration assumed office in 2005, the rulers have resorted to elections not only as a tool for receiving a 'mandate' for their policies and programmes, but more so as a powerful weapon to install and reinstall themselves in the seats of power and more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 22 (ST) It is the high respect in which President Rajapaksa is held in Dubai that saved the day. A photographer of his media team, returning in the official entourage from visit to South Africa, was caught red handed allegedly stealing a CCTV camera worth more than Rs 300,000 from a duty free shop at the Dubai International Airport. He is said to have tried to conceal it in his bag and was detected walking out. more..

TNA wants ‘a credible response’

Dec 22 (CT) Leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, responding to an invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the TNA was prepared for talks, but insisted the government reciprocate with ‘a credible response.’ President Rajapaksa on Friday (20) invited the TNA and Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, to resume long-stalled talks to seek a political solution to the national question. more..

TRC before UNHRC

Dec 22 (SL) The Govt is considering implementing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) ahead of the UNHRC Session in Geneva in March, 2014. Sri Lanka has sought advice and assistance from the South African govt over the appointment of a TRC and a delegation is scheduled to visit South Africa next month. The South African government, which appointed a highly successful TRC as a court-like body more..

‘walk in’ interviews to fill 100 plus Snr. Medical Admin. vacancies

Dec 22 (Island) With Sri Lanka’s state health sector taking a battering over the continued failure to fill more than 100 senior medical administrative grade vacancies within this critically vital system, Health Ministry Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka assured that ‘walk in’ interviews will be conducted early January 2014 to tide over this longstanding issue. Admitting that the vacancies had remained unfilled for a long time, more..

'Let’s roll up sleeves and oust this regime'

Dec 22 (ST) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday asked party members to roll up their sleeves, end their differences and unite to fight the Rajapaksa regime. “Let us roll back our sleeves and move forward till we oust this regime,” the UNP leader told cheering crowds who gathered at the UNP headquarters Sirikotha in Kotte yesterday. He said that it has been four years since the war was won but the present time is more..

SL to curb number of finance companies

Dec 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s number of finance companies is to be restricted to around 25 from the existing 48 on guidelines to be announced early next year. These new guidelines have been devised in accordance with 2014 budget which proposed to merge or absorb finance companies with subsidiary finance companies and banks having subsidiary finance companies to absorb its finance companies. more..

Investigations into bottled water at a standstill?

Dec 22 (NS) With different authorities expressing contradictory viewpoints on who should conduct quality checks on bottled water, investigations into the matter have now come to a standstill. Recently, Minister Dinesh Gunewardena said his ministry would intervene to check the quality and standard of treated water. Gunawardena said even though bottled water did not come under the purview of the ministry, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had more..

Biggest heroin haul: Joint probe by Lanka and Pakistan

Dec 22 (ST) Narcotics sleuths from Sri Lanka and Pakistan will visit each other’s capitals to probe one of the biggest heroin hauls in history. The main aim of the detectives will be to unravel drug mafias operating between the two countries and their influential connections. Police Narcotics Bureau Director Kamal Silva said the PNB’s counterparts in Islamabad had confirmed the visit of Pakistani detectives. more..

Wigneswaran fears new LTTE

Dec 22 (ST) NP CM C.V. Wigneswaran claims there is an attempt to form an new LTTE which will operate with the backing of the Govt. Wigneswaran also said there are fears for his safety and security and that he may face the same fate as some Tamil politicians in the past. “The latest we hear is that a former LTTE military commander is being commissioned to restart an LTTE outfit subservient to the powers that be. more..

City dwellers clubbed by new rates plan

Dec 22 (ST) Ratepayers in urban areas will be worst affected over the proposed new scheme of calculating assessment rates, valuation experts warn. Under the mooted new scheme the property value would be its market price on the date of valuation, which is known as its capital value. At present properties are valued on the basis of annual value, which is the cost incurred to occupy or rent the property for one year. Experts predict the amounts as more..

Budget brawls, corruption stinks, northern stalemate

Dec 22 (Island) The last few weeks have been particularly remarkable for a harvest of embarrassments for the President. It began with a string of budget upsets in quite a few Pradeshiya Sabhas throughout the South. In the North, the TNA provincial govt presented its first budget to Council with due decorum, but not much by away of revenues and allocations. Devolution is a shell game, only the NPC is exposing it. Worse, the President was severely let down by his more..

The TNA-Rajapaksa confrontation: It is time to call the regime’s bluff

Dec 22 (Island) This has been Mandela-week and nothing can be truer of the compromise he made than this remark by Marx. Madiba’s choice was forced on him by the simple fact the alternative was civil war. Hence he took political transformation and full democratic rights for the blacks, Coloureds and Indians of South Africa, in exchange for which he gave up economic transformation of the country, at least for the first stage. He agreed not to expropriate white lands - the fertile and more..

The media can’t kill me- Hulugalle

Dec 22 (DM) Former director general of the Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle, speaking to Daily Mirror denied reports that he had attempted suicide and said instead that he was at home and in good health. “The media can’t kill me. I’m above the media. This is also another media circus. I'm at home and well. If I took poison I would be dead by now. It is the media who are making up this entire story,” he said. more..

Sending Lankans to Sudan halted

Dec 22 (CG) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has suspended sending workers to Sudan owing to the volatile situation in that country. SLBFE Deputy General Manager Mangala Randeniya said that new recruits to Sudan from Sri Lanka will also not be registered. He said that a decision will also be taken if there is a need to evacuate some 70 Sri Lankans egistered with the SLBFE who are already employed in Sudan. Randeniya said that the SL Mission more..

Miss SL Italy 2014 beauty pageant held

Dec 22 (Island) The Miss Sri Lanka Italy 2014 beauty pageant was held on a grand scale at the Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport Hotel in Italy on Dec 14. The glittering event was organized for the first time in this European city by an enthusiastic group of second generation Sri Lankans who had formed ‘Lotus Club’ in Italy. It was a hearty round of applause all around when Dulanji Peterson, a 23-year-old Sri Lankan residing in Rome, was crowned ‘Miss Sri Lanka Italy 2014’. more..

AG advice sought

Dec 22 (SL) The Fisheries Ministry has sought legal advice from the Attorney General’s Department to introduce stringent legal measures against fishermen who infringe on Sri Lanka’s maritime laws, Deputy Fisheries Minister Sarath Gunarathne said. As per the present system, in an event where Indian fishermen infringe on Sri Lankan maritime laws, Sri Lanka can only confiscate their boats and fishermen often go scot-free. more..

Keheliya takes on Thondaman

Dec 22 (CG) Govt Minister Keheliya Rambukwella took a swipe at his colleague in the Cabinet, Minister Arumugam Thondaman, saying at times he tried to misuse his authority. Speaking at a trade union event in Kandy, Rambukwella said that when the UNP was in power Thondaman had gone to the Borella police station over an issue and sat on the chair of the police officer in charge and refused to leave until UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe came personally to resolve the matter. more..

10,000 disappearances investigated

Dec 22 (SL) Sri Lanka was inquiring into the disappearances of 10,000 persons of whom claims have been made by the public. Minister and President’s Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, speaking at a function in Colombo on Wednesday said that the figure of 40,000 disappearances is a fallacy computed by the UN’s former chief in Colombo Gordon Weiss on numbers given by a district secretary for the purposes of obtaining food supplies from the South. more..

New mass grave found in Sri Lanka four years after war

Dec 22 (AFP) An unmarked mass grave has been found in Sri Lanka's former war zone, the first discovery of an unmarked gravesite since troops defeated Tamil rebels more than four years ago. Construction workers in the coastal district of Mannar stumbled on at least 10 skeletal remains buried at a location where they were laying a new water pipe, said SSP Ajith Rohana. "A judicial medical officer has gone to the site. more..

New PA Chief upbeat on Tea Industry’s potential

Dec 22 (NS) Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) contribute Rs.71 billion a year to the local economy from plantation crops alone, Chairman of the Planters Association of Ceylon (PAC) Roshan Rajadurai revealed recently. Rajadurai spoke at length about the PAC’s vision of moving forward as well as the RPCs considerable contribution to the national economy. RPCs have poured a total of Rs.55 billion in terms of capital investment into the industry from 1992 to date, more..

25% discount for online vehicle revenue licences from Dec. 21 - 23

Dec 22 (Island) A 25% discount will be offered on the vehicle revenue licence fee in case of motor vehicles registered in the Western Province if the fee does not exceed Rs. 6,000 and for which the licence is obtained online on Dec 21, 22 or 23 , 2013. Providing this facility is a joint endeavour of the Office of the Provincial Commissioner of Motor Traffic (Western Province) and the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA). ICTA Chairman, Prof. P.W. Epasinghe says that more..

Family of murdered British aid worker in Sri Lanka still awaiting justice

Dec 22 (Guardian) Mohammad Zaman Shaikh woke up on Christmas Day 2011 feeling sick and uneasy. He had slept badly but couldn't say precisely why. All he knew was that something wasn't right. When, at 10am that morning, the police knocked on the door of the family home in Rochdale with the news that his son Khuram had been murdered in Sri Lanka, Zaman initially assumed they'd made a mistake. more..

CMC seizes a massive stock of expired food items

Dec 22 (NS) A large haul of expired canned food items were seized by health officials of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) during a raid at Old Moore Street, Pettah. Chief Medical Officer, CMC Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that the goods were found in four floors of the warehouse and were to be being repacked to be sold to restaurants for lower prices. The Public Health Inspectors (PHI) attached to the CMC launched a series of raids on hotels and warehouses around Colombo on Friday (20). more..

President participates at public ceremonies at Maradana Piriven Vuhara

Dec 22 (GDI) The 100th birth anniversary celebrations of the late Ven. Baddegama Wimalawanshabhidana Anunayake Thera were held under the patronage of President Rajapaksa at Sri Lanka Piriven Maha Vihara in Maradana on Saturday. President thereafter inaugurated the Dharma Mandira constructed in memory of the late Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thera. The President also participated in a ceremony to issue a first day cover and a commemorative stamp more..

SLPA and Archeological Dept in Dutch cannon shoot-out

Dec 22 (NS) Mystery still surrounds as to who exactly gave the order to obstruct officials from the Department of Archeology from taking charge of a Dutch era cannon that was discovered during expansion work carried out at the Colombo Port recently. Director General of Archeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said they were turned away by officials at the port on Dec 19 due to an order allegedly given by someone more..

New hotline to report unhygienic food

Dec 22 (AD) The Ministry of Health has introduced a special 24 hour hotline service for the public to complain regarding establishments which are selling food items unsuitable for consumption. The three telephone numbers are being introduced by the ministry coinciding with the operation for the inspection of food establishments across the country. The raids will be carried from Monday (Dec. 23) for the next 4 days, in view of the upcoming festive season, the ministry said, more..