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Christmas is a time for peace

Dec 25 (CT) Christmas, the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ by Christians, is celebrated on 25 Dec by millions around the world. Breaking the barrier of religious differences, Christmas has taken the mien of an internationally celebrated event and is observed even in countries that have non-Christian populations. However, it is a day of great significance to Christians who, while rejoicing at the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, view it as a day offering renewed more..

The story of Sivakami’s tears

Dec 25 (CT) What a coincidence? On flight BA2042 from Colombo to London two days ago, I found myself sitting next to my drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram. I was returning from a visit to Sri Lanka, giving a talk at a conference on ICT for Emerging Regions on the subject of modern biology, and taking part in a PhD interim exam of two students whose research — on developing an automatic translation system between Sinhala and Tamil — I help supervise. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

The year of a humble Christmas

Dec 25 (CT) In 1965, Jaffna suffered one of the worst floods and food was scarce. I recall my mother saying Dudley Senanayake flew to Jaffna and inspected the town from a helicopter and provided food relief. But what I most remember and the Christmas I cannot forget is we did not bake the Christmas cake and instead had kiribath (milk-rice) and some humble palaharam (local sweetmeat). None of us children had any new clothes that Christmas which was de rigueur; the reason being more..

Is there any room in the inn?

Dec 25 (DM) Consider how lonely Jesus would have felt when He was rejected and despised by people. St. Luke wrote, “(She) laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Throughout Jesus’ earthly life, He was rejected. I quote D. L. Moody: “His neighbours didn’t want Him; those Nazarenes didn’t want Him; they would have taken Him to the brow of the hill and dashed Him to the bottom; they would have torn Him limb from limb, if they could. more..

PSC needed to probe N’cholai breakdowns

Dec 25 (Island) The Power and Energy Ministry should call for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the frequent breakdowns at the first coal fired power plant, at Norochcholai, rather than the Ministry Secretary writing and seeking explanations from the CEB management, a consumer centered organisation said. With the recent breakdown at the plant, the CEB had to spend an additional Rs. 800 million to make up more..

New measures to ease traffic blocks near popular clothes store

Dec 25 (ST) After a week of complaints by those affected by the huge traffic jams caused by patrons of the popular clothing store ‘House of Fashion’, the Borella police have deployed extra policemen to the area especially during peak hours. They have also taken measures to help the store manage its parking facility better. Since then, though traffic does build up from time to time, it is managed effectively most of the time. OIC Traffic Borella, IP Sanjeeva Rajapakse said more..

Woman suspect arrested over acid attack at Kananke

Dec 25 (Island) Kananke police arrested a woman suspect over the killing of a mother in a recent acid attack and causing serious injuries to her daughter. Police said the seriously injured daughter Chamila and the suspect had been having a lesbian relationship for sometime and that was what led to the acid attack. The suspect under interrogation however had told the investigators that the attack on the mother was carried out with the knowledge of Chamila. more..

Pak-SL sleuths to probe heroin haul

Dec 25 (CT) Deputy Chief of the Pakistan Police Narcotics Bureau, accompanied by two other officers, arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday night, to launch combined investigations with the assistance of the Police Narcotics Bureau, on the discovery of 261 kg of heroin hidden in grease containers, said to be the largest haul in the region uncovered at the Colombo Port recently. The officers would be conducting extensive investigations into the suspected more..

PRED exercise onboard ICGS Vishwast

Dec 25 (Island) Adding to the continuous training sessions conducted by the visiting Indian Coast Guard ships, ‘Vishwast’ and ‘Rajkamal’, a Pollution Response Equipment Deployment (PRED) exercise was carried out onboard ICGS Vishwast yesterday. The exercise took place amidst protests by some Tamil Nadu politicians including Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Participants from the Sri Lanka Navy, Coast Guard and observers from the Sri Lanka Army, Air Force, Marine Environment Protection Authority, more..

Ruwan backstabs Harsha

Dec 25 (CT) UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardena, it was alleged, had started propaganda activities through the newspaper he owns (Lankadeepa), to tarnish the image of UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, by publishing articles implying that de Silva will contest for the post of Chief Minister of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) at the elections for the Province expected to be held next year. A news item which was published in the Lankadeepa had stated that the Chairman of the UNP Youth Front, more..

Ensure Release of Fishermen from Sri Lankan Custody, CPM to Govt

Dec 25 (PTI) CPI(M) today asked the Centre to take urgent steps to secure the release of 210 Indian fishermen from Sri Lankan custody and initiate talks with Colombo on the problems being faced by "fishermen of both the countries". The party Politburo expressed concern over the "continuing arrests and detention" of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lanka and asked the government to ensure their release along with their 70 boats from Sri Lankan custody. more..

Christmas message of the JVP

Dec 25 (LT) Today (25th) is Christmas, commemorated with devotion and splendour by Christians all over the world. The JVP wishes Sri Lankan Christian devotees as well as Christians all over the world a Merry Christmas. Christmas is known as the day the message of peace was brought to this Earth. Jesus Christ taught to love others and to ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ The most valuable example of Jesus Christ’s life was that He stood up for the downtrodden, more..

Half-hearted film stars and cricketers could undermine politics: Ranil

Dec 25 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe today said that politics could be undermined by the entry of half-hearted film stars and sport stars who are not committed to a full-time political career. “Actors, actresses and cricketers should not join politics unless they are able to fully devote themselves to politics. Wijeya Kumaratunga did the right thing because he quitted his film career when he decided to join politics,” he said. Mr. Wickremasinghe said this more..

Sri Lanka to remember Tsunami

Dec 25 (CG) A two minute silence to be observed from 9.25 am to 9.27 am tomorrow will be part of the National tsunami remembrance events to be held in Sri Lanka. The Disaster Management Center said that the National Safety Day event, which coincides with the tsunami disaster anniversary, will be held in Kalutara tomorrow. Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne will be the chief guest at the Kalutara event, DMC spokesman Sarath Lal Kumara told the Colombo Gazette. more..

Jaffna’s community health workers continue their agitation

Dec 25 (Island) Despite assurances, from the Governor of the Northern Province as well as the provincial health authorities, that some remedial action would be taken soon, a section of the 700-strong Community Health workers have been agitating for the past fortnight, in Jaffna, demanding that they be absorbed into the permanent cadre, Hospital sources said yesterday. These young men and women were recruited on the instructions of the Health Ministry in June 2012, on assurances that more..

Apology demanded from the PM

Dec 25 (CG) The leader of the Janasatha Peramuna the venerable Battaramulle seelarathana thero today submitted a petition to the Chief Prelates of the Asgiriya chapter regarding an alleged statement made by Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne which reportedly disrespects the Buddhist clergy. Speaking to reporters after handing over the petition, the venerable Battaramulle seelarathana thero said that the statements made by the Prime Minister had been reported in the media. more..

Sri Lanka Navy cmdr. visits Iran 28th naval flotilla

Dec 25 (PTV) Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage has visited Iran’s 28th fleet of warships, which includes super-heavy Younes submarine, at the port of Colombo. On Wednesday, Colombage paid a visit to the flotilla, comprised of Alborz destroyer, Bandar Abbas auxiliary ship, Younes submarine as well as a Bell 212 Twin Huey helicopter, and was briefed on naval capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. more..

Reflections on Christmas (As Per Isaiah, Ch 58)

Dec 26 (CT) I am writing this on the 24th of Dec. You will be reading this, hopefully, tomorrow, Christmas Day. So Merry Christmas to all of you, especially those of the Christian faith and all those who are inspired by the life and words of the exceptional earth-resident, Jesus of Nazareth. There’s a passage in the bible that I return to frequently. It prompts deep self-reflection and also gives perspective to a lot of things in our society. Isaiah (Chapter 58) always sobers me up more..

Disaster management: From Aapada through Viyasana to Vinasa

Dec 26 (NS) Every year, around this time, we go through the rote of commemoration and remembrance of a disaster that caused the deaths of a lot of people and damaged and destroyed a lot of property. Nine years after the tsunamis hit us, we can definitely say we are good at adhering with religious zeal to cyclic remembrance. However, are we able to say with equal certainty that we are good at making sure that sort of damage never repeats regardless of the type of event that occurs? more..

Mega development projects under way in Wellasse

Dec 26 (SO) The Economy of Moneragala district is based on agriculture. Since the kingdom era it was famous for agriculture and self-sufficient in paddy production. There had been a well-developed irrigation system in the Moneragala district. The name 'Wellasse' clearly highlights this fact, I.S.D. Dayaratne, Secretary of Minister of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Jagath Pushpakumara said. more..

JHU: A cynical personification of communal politics

Dec 26 (CT) It looks like the JHU, the self-acclaimed guardian of the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, and the apparent and ever-so ready instigator of hatred towards all other faiths, has realized that they have outspent their usefulness to the current ruling clan. With no pre-defined political niche or a definite voting bloc attached to it, the JHU calls itself a political Party without a proper mainstream base. Their sympathizers hail from the Sinhala-Buddhist background whose affiliations, more..

Beware of Gods bearing Gifts

Dec 26 (Island) I was in UK during CHOGM and followed the event in both electronic and print media in that country. The Daily Telegraph of 16 Nov carried out a report by Peter Dominiczak, Political Correspondent in Jaffna with a photograph of a beaming PM Cameron and three young and one middle aged women. The headline read "Tamil refugees praise Cameron, the god". It also had a sub heading "Prime Minister has a heated discussion with Sri Lankan president about more..

'Govt needs a responsible Media Minister'

Dec 26 (CT) Monitoring MP on Highways, Arundika Fernando, said he will take legal action against those who implicate him over the scandal in the importation of ethanol. Excerpts. Q: Are you a businessman? A: No. I have never engaged in business. I entered politics in 2004 when elections to the North Western Provincial Council were held. Before that, I served the Air Force. Q: Are any of your family members in business? more..

A monk’s fight against extortion in Pettah

Dec 26 (NS) Chairman of the Deshamamaka Three-wheel Operators’ Association, Ven Uvathenne Sumana Thera recently made a statement that all traders in Pettah are forced to pay protection money to groups operating in the area. Sumana Thera claimed that not even a Pirith chanting vehicle was spared by the extortion gangs. “We have to pay Rs. 4,000 per day as security money for chanting Pirith in streets,” declared Sumana Thera, speaking to The Nation. more..

Miracles happened at Buddhist Conference

Dec 26 (CT) The totally deaf man has been participating in previous Buddhist Research Conferences when held in Colombo. This was the ninth. He has even presented papers earlier and participated actively in them. This time too he was an invitee but had attended with some hesitation because of his medical condition – a perceptive deafness but which the organizer and one close to her has pronounced on their own as “Total deafness”. This is where our story derives more..

Another Hafeez century gives Pakistan series

Dec 26 (CI) Mohammad Hafeez became the second Pakistani after Zaheer Abbas to make three hundreds in a bilateral ODI series as his side took an unbeatable 3-1 lead over Sri Lanka. Victory was set up by Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, who limited Sri Lanka to 225 on a docile Abu Dhabi pitch after Angelo Mathews chose to bat following two losses while chasing. The change of strategy did not work as Sri Lanka's batting floundered, more..

Gul's set-up, and Priyanjan's start

Dec 26 (CI) Umar Gul was fortunate to pick up his first wicket with a short and wide ball but he set up the second one superbly. He first beat Tillakaratne Dilshan on the drive with an outswinger. The next one pitched around the same length and Dilshan preferred caution this time, shouldering arms. To his horror, this one jagged back in and hit the top of off stump. Gul immediately took off on a celebratory run, arms spread wide. At 36 for 3 with an experienced fast bowler in rhythm, more..

The Grim Reaper vrooms

Dec 26 (Island) There has been an alarming increase in the number of people killed by drunk drivers, according to the latest police statistics. The figure has jumped from 171 last year to 279 up to mid December this year and it is expected to go up further during this festive season when Bacchus worshippers run wild. The situation has taken a turn for the worse in spite of all efforts by the police to combat the menace. The general consensus is that they enforce the law strictly where drunk more..

‘Disability is possibility’

Dec 26 (ST) Under the multi-coloured lanterns in the arcade on the beach at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, silver-draped chairs faced a stage lit in blue. Celebrities in the entertainment industry and compassionate fans were all present to support the ‘Disability is Possibility’ cause championed by Australian X’Factor star Emmanuel Kelly. On his second visit to Sri Lanka, Emmanuel performed live on December 16, more..

IPL franchises allowed to retain up to five players

Dec 26 (CI) IPL franchises will be allowed to retain up to five players ahead of the 2014 auction, and have the option of buying back additional members of their squads at the auction via "right to match" cards, according to the rules released on Tuesday. The auction will be on February 12, and carried into February 13 if required, at a venue yet to be decided. The right to match essentially gives a franchise the first right of refusal to its players, allowing it to buy its player back after more..

What about a Lankan cricket High Commission in China?

Dec 26 (ST) China has given Sri Lanka a helping hand on many fronts so perhaps it might be timely if this gesture can be reciprocated in the form of much-needed help to lift the fortunes of cricket in China. Cricket is as unfamiliar to the Chinese as chopsticks might be for many Sri Lankans. But that hasn’t prevented the ICC and its Asian counterpart, the ACC, from gamely trying to promote the sport in the mainland. Like most people, the cricketing governing bodies are also enraptured by more..

SL visit could prove crucial to hosting Asia Cup, World T20

Dec 26 (CI) Sri Lanka's tour of Bangladesh could be crucial to the host's prospects of holding the Asia Cup and the ICC World Twenty20. Sri Lanka are scheduled to arrive on January 24 for a month-long tour, which is the first of three major international cricket events in Bangladesh, stacked one after another. Four days after the Sri Lanka tour, the Asia Cup is scheduled to begin on February 24. The Asian Cricket Council, the tournament's more..

SLIM signs first MOU with University of Ruhuna to look beyond education

Dec 26 (FT) Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) signed a MoU with the Faculty of Management and Finance of the Uni of Ruhuna with a view to develop the marketing profession, its theories and practices; contribute knowledge within the country and share resources between the two institutes. In addition, the SLIM will award the SLIM Gold Medal to the student who performs best specialising in Marketing at the Bachelor of Business Administration Degree Program. more..

Union Bank to sell off its finance arm

Dec 26 (ST) Union Bank has plans to dispose of its finance arm, UB Finance, officials said. “The primary objective of acquiring this was to dispose of the entity after restructuring efforts are carried out,” a senior official said, adding that the bank is expected to gradually dispose its stake in the medium term, thereby recording capital gains over the same period. This has come on the back of the govt’s budget proposal stipulating that any finance company which are subsidiaries of banks, more..

World’s tallest vertical garden in Sri Lanka

Dec 26 (ST) Sri Lanka is certainly not short of many firsts in the world, with many dubious distinctions during the conflict and now some, more respectable ones. The latest is a brand new apartment complex, Clear Point Residencies, being touted as the tallest vertical garden in the world. It is being built at Rajagiriya at a cost of US$ 55 million (Rs. 6 billion), according to Milroy Perera, Chairman and CEO of more..

Budget 2014: No charges banned or prohibited in shipping

Dec 26 (FT) Attempts are continuing to indirectly threaten the Government of Sri Lanka to stop it establishing of a transparent mechanism for shipping and logistics that will be driven by market forces. Stating that Sri Lanka is banning various charges by intervention is completely an erroneous and a mischievous statement. The fact remains that no one has banned any charges or surcharges, provided they are within the market driven demand-supply mechanism of pricing. more..

Documentary to promote Hambantota as a developing hub of tourism in Asia

Dec 26 (ST) A documentary has been prepared to profile the benefits of Hambantota and develop it as a tourism hub in Asia, its promoters said. The concept was envisaged by Presidential award winner for tourism in 2009 – Ralph Gunawardane and initiated by a team including Ex Banker and tourism promoter Nishan Herath and prominent media personality D.M.W. Dissanayake under the guidance and advice of the Director General of the SLRC Chandrapala Liyanage. more..

Puttalam: Power shark caught in fishers’ net

Dec 26 (Island) With fishermen in Puttalam backed by local politicians blocking the CEB’s efforts to construct a high tension power line, to supply electricity from the second phase of the Norochcholai Power plant to the National Grid, it would be advisable for Minister Basil Rajapaksa to immediately intervene to settle the dispute. A senior engineer said that the issue should have been settled by the CEB or the Ministry of Power more..

Indian arrested for taking pictures

Dec 26 (CG) An Indian national has been arrested in Kilinochchi for taking photographs of military installations, the BBC Sinhala service quoted the police as saying. The Indian national had arrived from Tamil Nadu and had met the TNA while in the North. The police said the Indian High Commission in Colombo will be informed regarding the arrest. When the BBC had asked the police if the Indian was a journalist, the police had replied saying investigations were still ongoing. more..