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Sri Lanka surveying cost of civil war

Govt. signs deal with WFP to build resilience in adapting to adverse weather conditions

Dec 25 (FT) The Govt has signed an $ 8 million agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP) to build resilience in adapting to adverse weather conditions. The agreement for ‘Addressing Climate Change Impacts on Marginalised Agricultural Communities Living in the Mahaweli River Basin of Sri Lanka’ was reportedly signed between the Environment and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.U.D. Basnayaka and WFP Deputy Country Director Mads Lofvall. more..

Christmas is here again, sadly slightly dimmed

Dec 25 (Island) This Christmas season is different. There is a pall over me and felt by others too. It is not only due to the high cost of everything, but the thought of those who are really badly off unable to buy a few onions for their curry. How can they buy a sweet or small chocolate for their children, toys of course being far beyond their means? Those who can manage to decorate a tree and hang baubles – yesteryear’s or new - and have planned a good lunch for the 25th and a better one for more..

All they want for Christmas is a better tomorrow

Dec 25 (ST) As the evening shadows lengthen, gently nudging the time towards midnight on December 24 and the joyous peal of bells heralds the celebration of the birth of a tiny Babe 2013 years ago, the “image” that flashes across the mind is one of absolute simplicity and humility. In that lonely manger in Bethlehem, away from home and family, was born Jesus Christ to humble Mary and Joseph, to be wrapped more..

Good chance to reflect on SL’s performances

Dec 25 (ST) The three-match Test series, which begins on December 31 in the desert sands, provides a good opportunity to reflect on the last two series between Test-starved Sri Lanka and the comparatively busier Pakistan. Two players, one on either side, sparkled above all else. Kumar Sangakkara accumulated 1006 runs (490 and 516) in the six Tests. Saeed Ajmal, the mesmerising off spinner, winkled out 33 batsmen in the same period (15 and 18). Five man-of-the-match awards more..

Buoyant Pakistan aim for series win

Dec 25 (CI) Following the first truly one-sided result in the tour on Sunday, Pakistan seem to have secured a marked edge in what had previously been an evenly-matched encounter. Their new advantage is down mainly to the arrival of one man. On Sunday, Umar Gul returned from a nine-month injury layoff to provide the menace that Pakistan had lacked with the new ball, as well as control and experience with the slightly older one. Gul was not required to bowl in the death overs, more..

Our preparations for Geneva

Dec 25 (Island) I was happy to read that Mr. Lalith Weeratunge and Dr. G.L. Peiris would be going out to Geneva to brief missions of countries in the HRC, whatever briefing/ publicity we can give to what we have achieved so far and what we intend to do will not be a waste of time. This approach is certainly what is called for, not sending a large delegation during the Sessions to lobby delegates as we did a few years ago; most countries more..

Humans eating ‘animal food’

Dec 25 (Island) Arrogant politicians who tell fish tales and try to hoodwink voters are often urged by their detractors not to take the public for ‘fodder-eating suckers’. There have also been instances where some politicians smarting from electoral losses went so far as to leave bundles of grass in public places asking those who voted for their rivals to partake of them. But, it has now been revealed that people, in fact, eat ‘animal food’! Raids conducted by the Health Ministry on eateries, more..

Women’s forum calls for minister’s resignation for making sexist comments

Dec 25 (FT) The Sri Lanka Women’s NGO Forum (SLWNGOF) has called for the resignation of Women’s Affairs and Child Development Minister Tissa Karaliyadde for making sexist comments against women in the country. The forum has noted that the minister had made extremely sexist remarks humiliating Sri Lankan women without any sense of respect for the Cabinet or the office he holds. “Minister Karaliyadde is clearly unaware that the oath of office he has taken as a more..

Ad-hoc marketing strategies, overpricing, politicisation lead to drop in arrivals

Dec 25 (Island) Senior hotelier and former Vice Principal of the Ceylon Hotel School Anil Perera attributed the drop in tourist arrivals in November partly due to blocking of a large number of rooms during the CHOGM for delegates. Perera said, lack of a proper marketing strategy by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) and the campaigns being handled by inexperienced and inefficient persons in the SLTPB had also more..

US SL community celebrate christmas

Dec 25 (USE) Sri Lankan Christian community in the greater Washington area gathered at the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington on Friday (13) to celebrate Christmas. Once again, the embassy organized Thanksgiving prayers, Christmas choir and dinner for the guests, in keeping with its long unbroken tradition of celebrating the important events of all four major religions in Sri Lanka. Minister Education and Cultural Affairs of the Embassy, Varuna Epasinghe welcomed the guests to more..

Joy and fear for Christians in Sri Lanka

Dec 25 (WM) Christmas is a time of joy, but also of fear for Christians in rural areas of Sri Lanka. Yamini Ravindran, National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka’s (NCEASL) advocacy officer, said, “Christmas is commercialized for the Christians residing in the main city areas; however, for most Christians in the rural or Buddhist-dominant villages it is a completely different scenario. It is an event filled with joy and fear for them. Joy to remember the birth of Christ—fear to conduct services more..

IOC offers sops to Sri Lanka to retain strategic storage facility

Dec 25 (LM) To protect its economic interests amid growing strain in Indian ties with Sri Lanka, state-owned Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) has proposed to jointly develop a key storage facility in Trincomalee as a petroleum products trading hub that will cater to the demands of the region. The sop that will help boost the island nation’s economy follows a threat of eviction from the strategic storage facility—the largest one located between more..

GMOA explains circumstances that led to closure of hospital

Dec 25 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday said that the Baduraliya hospital had been closed as the people in the area had threatened the staff with bodily harm. GMOA General Committee member, Dr. Navin de Soysa said that a 75-year-old man was brought to the Baduraliya hospital with a complaint of abdominal pain a few days ago. But, as his condition was rather serious, he was transferred to the Kalutara Nagoda hospital. more..

Kadirgamar Institute launches conference report on ‘Role of Religion in Reconciliation’

Dec 25 (FT) On 23 Dec, the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) launched its report of the National Conference on the ‘Role of Religion in Reconciliation’. The report aims in providing inputs pertaining to the important role of all four religions in the reconciliation process. Rev. Fr. Benedict Joseph, members of civil society and academia, joined together to discuss the outcomes of the report, as well as its recommendations. more..

'Live telecasts of House proceedings will expose calibre of MPs'

Dec 25 (DN) If the Opposition is batting, let the govt set up a good field, said Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara. He said this commenting on the fact that some govt MPs have opposed the live telecast of Parliamentary proceedings ‘on account that Opposition MPs take advantage of the situation to sling mud at them.’ He said either side can sling mud. “If Opposition MPs continue to sling mud, the govt MPs may set a good field by more..

Missing albino turtle an inside job

Dec 25 (CT) Investigations conducted by the Kosgoda Police have revealed that the controversial theft of the albino sea turtle from the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery and Sanctuary could have been an inside job. A senior police officer stated that records of the telephone network of the employees as well as the owner of the hatchery would be checked, and added that they would also be subjected to DNA tests. He also said they had arrived at this conclusion, consequent to investigations more..

Lankan fishers expect talks in January

Dec 25 (TOI) A meeting between fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka is likely in the second week of January, 2014.President of Federation of Mannar District Fishermen Associations, Justin Soysa, told TOI over phone that they expect the talks to be held in the second week of January. A meeting was hosted by the Lankan fisheries minister in Colombo last Friday where the Lankan fishermen, who expressed concern about Indian trawlers fishing in Lankan waters, were assured that talks more..

Christmas messages: Heed the message of peace - President

Dec 25 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, in his message to mark Christmas, called on Christians to celebrate with joy the birth of the founder of the faith, taking to heart his message of love that transcends all differences. Following is the full text of the President’s message: The festival of Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ - the Prince of Peace - who is known for the message of love that transcends all differences in society. more..

National Sangha Council invites cardinal for debate

Dec 25 (Island) The National Sangha Council invited the head of the Catholic Church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith for an open debate on the ‘Heritage of Land’. National Organiser of the NSC Ven. Pahiyangala Anandasagara Thera criticising the Catholic Church leaders for the issuance of the ‘Pastoral Letter’ of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka that revealed the Catholic stance on the burning issues of the country, under the theme, "Towards the Reconciliation and Rebuilding of Our Nation.’ more..

Pakistan to explore gas in Sri Lanka

Dec 25 (DM) Pakistan has expressed its interest in oil and gas exploration in the seas off Sri Lanka. At present Cairn Lanka (Private) Limited, a subsidiary of Cairn India, is engaged in oil and gas exploration work in the Mannar basin at the moment. Following the success of two gas discoveries under the initial stage of exploration, Cairn also completed drilling of a fourth exploration. However, studies are underway to ascertain whether the gas discoveries are commercially viable or not at the moment. more..

Pope Francis here early 2014

Dec 25 (DN) Pope Francis would be visiting Sri Lanka early next year to attend the opening of the University for Theological Studies which is now been constructed in Bolawalana, Negombo. The new University is considered to be the largest of its kind in South Asia. The Pope has accepted an invitation extended by the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, and the Bishops' Conference in this connection. more..

106,041 new applicants for Electoral list

Dec 25 (CT) The Department of Elections have received 1,06,041 new applicants to be included in Electoral List, Deputy Election Commissioner, H.M Mohomad said. He further added that 778 complaints had also been received regarding the Electoral List. Accordingly investigations and appeals regarding these complaints were finished and field investigations are yet to be done for some appeals. The Department of Elections noted that most of the complaints were on issues more..

12 SSPs, SPs transferred

Dec 25 (DM) Twelve police officers, including eight Senior Superintendents of Police (SSP) and four Superintendents of Police (SP) had been transferred with effect from today, Police Media Spokesman said. He said the transfers had been made on service requirements with the approval of Law and Peace Ministry’s Secretary. SSP S.P. Siriwardhana has been appointed as the Administrative Director of Police Headquarters from Director of Police Welfare Division. SSP M.C.M. Jyfri from Jaffna more..

TNA continues PSC boycott

Dec 25 (CG) TNA has decided it will continue to boycott the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the National issue as it feels that process will not bear fruit. Meeting in Vavuniya today, TNA membership including TNA Parliament and provincial members, discussed among other things President Rajapaksa’s open call for dialogue with the TNA. President had extended the invite while speaking in Parliament last week more..

'Chief Minister interfering with transfer'

Dec 25 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers' Service Union (CTSU), accused the Chief Minister of the Western Province, Prasanna Ranatunga, of interfering with transfers of teachers and using political influence to override the Teacher Transfer Board that is responsible to effect transfers. Ranatunga has issued a list comprising 179 names of teachers to be transferred, and this type of action can be construed as interference, and illegal, the General Secretary of the CTSU, Mahinda Jayasinghe said. more..

Two foreigners nabbed with forged currency at BIA

Dec 25 (DN) Two foreign nationals were arrested by customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake early last morning, with forged foreign currency. The two had got violent after sleuths found the fake money in their baggage and had torn some of the papers before the officers could intervene, Customs Spokesman Leslie Gamini said. Two males, a 36-year-old Mali national and a 37-year-old from Cameroon had arrived at the BIA on a flight from a Middle Eastern country. more..

Heroin racket: PM’s son benefited from suspects – Monks

Dec 25 (Island) President of the National Sangha Council (NSC) Ven. Rajawatte Wappa Thera alleged that the PC election campaign of PM D. M. Jayaratne’s son, Anuradha Jayaratne, had been funded by those who brought in a container where heroin was subsequently found concealed in cans of grease. Ven. Wappa thera said that they had received information, from people in the area, that the PM’s son had spent millions of rupees to more..

Live for others and purposes beyond yourself

Dec 25 (DM) A new Religion is taking over the world! It is impacting New York, London, Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing and Tokyo all at the same time. It is crossing the barriers of all major world Religions and infiltrating and subverting them with ease! What is the name of this Religion? It is called “Crass Materialism”. People are made to believe that material riches, luxurious living and political power can satisfy. They are being persuaded to give up morality and right living to embrace more..

Christmas in Jaffna in the fifties

Dec 25 (DM) Christmas in Jaffna then, was an extremely different scenario. There was no cacophonous commercialisation of Christmas. Trade and industry were not sufficiently developed, except for our three famous traditional exports. So there was nothing to advertise to persuade customers that their Christmas would be happier only if they bought their brand of refrigerators, CD players and electrical gadgets. Another factor was that Jaffna society was largely Hindu, the Christians forming more..

The TNA in search of a ‘GRIEVANCE’

Dec 25 (DM) Clearly, the so-called TNA loses no opportunity to make a fuss whether it is about something substantial or about nothing. First, they made and continue to make a fuss about the presence of troops in the North and about the Governor being a retired military man. Now they make a song and dance about the conduct of the Govt in preventing the People from commemorating dead terrorists/criminals on the so called more..

CB Chief lures Lankan expats with good work, play and life

Dec 25 (FT) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal on Monday expressed confidence to Lankan nationals abroad, in the nation moving forward and assured the Govt intends on maintaining a positive environment to encourage those interested to work in the country. Addressing a gathering of returnees and potential returnees at the inaugural ‘Work in Sri Lanka’ conference in Colombo, Cabraal highlighted the more..

Perspectives on reconciliation from the ground up

Dec 25 (SL) Reconciliation after decades of violent conflict is a task to be taken up by generations of society and cannot be enforced overnight. While the physical reconstruction of infrastructure and the re-building of basic administrative and governmental structures are often given priority, less attention has been given to the re-building of societal links. A society in a post-war country is fragmented. more..

Two foolish acts would never make a wise move

Dec 25 (LT) Minister Bandula Gunawardene’s idea to scrap the scholarship examination is similar to a thought that two foolish acts would make one intelligent move states the JVP. This is stated in a communiqué issued by the JVP which states the scholarship issue needs a scientific solution. A tense situation, especially among parents of small children, cropped up immediately after Minister held a more..

The great train robbery

Dec 25 (ST) Amidst charges of racketeering, corruption and lack of transparency, discarded engines and bogies have been left to corrode and disintegrate in various railway yards across the country, instead of being recycled or sold as money-spinning scrap iron. A Railway trade unionist has charged that hundreds and thousands of tons of railway scrap iron worth billions of rupees are lying idle in several premises, more..

Police arrest over 220 drivers

Dec 25 (CG) Police have arrested over 200 drunk drivers between last evening and this morning, the police media unit said. Between 6 last evening and 6 this morning 220 drunk drivers were arrested in operations conducted around the island. Of those arrested 111 were motorbike riders who were under the influence of liquor, the police media unit said. The police also arrested 75 three-wheel drivers and one bus driver. more..

Sajith,Thalatha voted for UNP LC, why complain now?

Dec 25 (Island) Amidst various public remarks made by Sajith Premadasa and Thalatha Athukorale, a spokesperson for the UNP’s Leadership Council (LC) queried why the duo had voted for a resolution to legally establish the LC at the UNP Convention last Saturday. He said that it was absurd for both Sajith and Thalatha to be making various demands having raised no objections at the Convention. more..

NE students proved Eelam propagandists wrong, says former STF chief

Dec 25 (SL) One-time commandant of the elite Special Task Force (STF), Senior DIG Nimal Lewke, said the Northern Province achieving the highest success rate of 63.3%, at the GCE A/L exam 2013, was proof of peaceful environment in the war-torn region. Those who had been alleging that the intimidating military presence, four years after the conclusion of the conflict, was causing anxiety among the community were proved wrong, more..

'DNA testing helped identify most victims'

Dec 25 (Island) Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem recently revealed that the govt had to conduct DNA tests to identify those who perished in the LTTE suicide attack, on a navy transit point, at Digampotha, Habarana in Oct 2006. SLMC leader Hakeem said that the identity of the victims, from those remains, had to be established through DNA testing to enable the navy to identify the next of kin. The minister was addressing a workshop more..

Poor being over taxed - LSSP

Dec 25 (Island) The LSSP has called for a radical change in the govt’s taxation policy in the interest of the working class, the poor and the economically vulnerable. LSSP Leader, Science and Technology Senior Minister, Prof. Tissa Vitarana told a media briefing in Colombo recently that the general drive of the govt’s taxation policy had been such that a heavy burden fell on the lower income earners through indirect taxes on basic food items. more..