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Sri Lanka deports Indian reporter covering ex-warzone

Dec 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka has deported an Indian journalist arrested on a charge of working in the island's former war zone without media credentials, police said. The 24-year-old, who was working for a magazine based in the Indian city of Chennai, was arrested on Christmas Day for photographing military installations in Sri Lanka's north, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. "We deported him this evening without pressing charges," Rohana said. more..

Lankan refugee commits suicide

Dec 28 (CG) A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee allegedly committed suicide by setting himself afire near a refugee camp at Thuraimangalam in Perambalur, India on Friday, The Hindu newspaper reported today. The Indian police identified the deceased as K. Govindasamy, aged around 40. According to the police, Govindasamy had been staying in the camp with his mother, while his three children were staying at a camp in Tiruvannamalai along with his mother-in-law. The Perambalur police are investigating.

Audio: Excavation on Mannar grave

Dec 28 (CG) Excavation work was carried out at a mass grave in Mannar today in the presence of the Mannar Magistrate and other officials, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said that no new skeletal remains were found at the grave site today during the excavation. The grave site which was stumbled upon this month had at least 10 skeletal remains buried inside. Following its discovery an investigation was launched and forensic examinations were carried out. more..

JVP pitches into private ‘Teaching Hospital’

Dec 28 (Island) The JVP yesterday claimed that the Dr. Neville Fernando Private Hospital in Malabe could not go as a ‘Teaching Hospital’ as the Health Ministry had yet to grant it the status. JVP Western Provincial Council member Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa told The Island that Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, also announced it in Parliament on November 22, in answer to a question raised by their Colombo District MP Sunil Handunnetti. more..

Over 5,800 untrained teachers

Dec 28 (Island) There are 5,833 teachers, who had not undergone any sort of training, currently teaching in govt schools, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Education. The Education Ministry publication titled ‘A transformation in Sri Lankan Education’, presented to Parliament recently, revealed that those teachers had been given appointments without any type of training. There are 223,333 teachers in the govt schools of whom 86,751 are graduates, more..

Local and foreign investors interested in Colombo

Dec 28 (Island) As Colombo was rapidly developing in the South Asian region, many local and foreign investors had come forward to assist the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil said. He said that the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), UDA, Ministry of Disaster Management, Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy and foreign private investors have had encouraging discussions with the CMC and he would strive hard to enlist more..

Vasu calls for new constitution

Dec 28 (CG) Democratic Left Front General Secretary and Minister Vasudeva Nannayakkara today called for a new constitution. Speaking at the 14th anniversary of the Democratic Left Front at Town Hall today, Nannayakkara said that his party will push for constitutional reforms next year. He said that while pushing for constitutional reforms the Democratic Left Front will also oppose the existing electoral system and the Executive Presidency. more..

Mullivaikkal west revisited

Dec 28 (ST) Two mischievous boys tackle each other to the ground while another dashes madly around the freshly-painted classroom. The girls wait quietly for the teacher to come for lessons. Children will be children, wherever they are. The setting is a school in Mullivaikkal West, a village where intense fighting had driven everyone from their homes not long ago. Lives were shattered, but normalcy is slowly returning. Outside, there is a steady drizzle and more..

CPC owed Rs. 108,116 mn for fuel supplied on credit

Dec 28 (Island) Public sector institutions, departments and other organisations owe the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Rs. 108,116.52 million, for fuel supplied on credit during the first six months of this year. The Annual Performance Report of the CPC, for the year 2013, released to Parliament recently, pointed out that the Ceylon Electricity Board had obtained fuel on credit running to Rs 31,203.98 million from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013. more..

Sri Lankan culture goes on display at high commission

Dec 28 (CT) It is a terracotta artwork that took three months to complete, stands 6.3 metres tall, weighs 1750 kilograms and contains 380 tiles. The newly installed clay mural at the Sri Lankan high commission has been created by one of that country's leading artists, Professor Sarath Chandrajeewa. The artwork, called Sri Lanka's Countryside, features images celebrating the country's vast cultural heritage over thousands of years. more..

United we stand, divided we fall

Dec 29 (SO) People prayed for peace and harmony during the three decades of LTTE terror. In days gone by, when the curtain came down after a calendar year, our New Year wishes were concentrated mostly on peace and liberating over 20 million people from the scourge of ruthless LTTE terrorism unleashed by Tiger terrorists. Now that peace has dawned, such wishes are no more. Although terrorism has been eradicated, dark clouds still hang over us. more..

Dipped Products throws in the towel

Dec 29 (Island) It is now ten days since Dipped Products PLC (DPL), the Hayley’s subsidiary which has over a period of more than 30 years built up a world class manufacturing business producing rubber gloves used for a multitude of hand protection purposes, announced that it was moving its factory at Rathupaswala, near Weliweriya, to the Biyagama Export Processing Zone. This is being done although the available evidence strongly suggests that the problem of polluted more..

'Infrastructure development reaches dizzy heights'

Dec 29 (SO) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Opposition is not in a position whatsoever to pose any challenge to the Govt and it they would achieve a historic defeat at the next Presidential Election. He said the people are not interested in the candidate to be fielded by the Opposition at the next Presidential Election and what they are going to do. As far as the Govt is concerned, we are quite sure at we will more..

Ask not what you can do to win elections but how to save the country

Dec 29 (SL) As the year ebbs away it would be more profitable to look to the future than hark back to the glories and disasters of the past. Come April next year Sri Lanka will once again be in the dock at the sessions of the UNHRC fighting desperately resolutions moved by the United States and this time Britain too, for not implementing earlier resolutions adopted against this country. This has now become an annual event like Christmas and New Year. The hounding of this little nation by more..

The ‘dark’ of sunshine stories

Dec 29 (NS) The recent claim by a Director attached to the Accounts Division of the Department of Census and Statistics to the effect that he was asked by the Deputy Director-General to change the economic growth rate calculated by the Division (from 5.4% to 6.0%) has shocked one and all. He alleges that this was a directive of the Director-General. The Director-General has countered that the said Director had not followed standard procedure. more..

'UNP Leadership Council an utter failure'

Dec 29 (SL) UNP Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunarathne, who is strongly critical of the party leadership says the recently concluded conclusion of the UNP can only be construed as an utter failure. He says, “The convention has not done anything for the party other than just maintaining the status quo. What the party needs at the moment is a radical change and not a mere convention to maintain the status quo.” more..

Mining the family silver

Dec 29 (ST) Doomsday scenarios have been predicted for the Sri Lankan economy for some time. Yet to descend from the high of the victory over terrorism to the ridiculous low of having to cut trees to pay EPF/ETF is a sorry indication of what the Govt has climbed down to from 2009 to 2013. That the country is living on borrowed money is a constant refrain from independent economic analysts, but surely the decision by the Cabinet to cut down trees to settle EPF and ETF dues more..

Plenty of pain in the annus mirabilis

Dec 29 (ST) My Dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you to say, “Suba Aluth Avuruddak Weva” now that this year is coming to an end and another one is fast approaching-and also because you have already announced that next year would be an ‘election year’. Looking back at the year that is just ending, Mahinda maama, I think you should consider it quite a good one for you. At the end of it, not only are you still firmly in charge but there is no challenger in sight either more..

'UNP in a strong position to be victorious'

Dec 29 (SL) Head of the UBF Meetiyagoda Gunarathana Thera is someone who strongly pushed for reforms in the UNP. His organisation was of the firm belief that leadership council should be the topmost decision making body of the UNP. Today, with the Leadership Council being unanimously endorsed by the 55th Convention of the UNP, Gunarathana Thera says the party is in a strong position to re-emerge as a victorious more..

Those ‘critical’ last days of the conflict

Dec 29 (NS) First of all, Sri Lanka’s war did have witnesses. The witnesses were however NOT – Gordon Weiss, Francis Harrison, Channel 4, the Darusman Panel, Charles Petrie and a whole list of others who have promoted themselves as witnesses. The people named here were never inside the war zone. They were only passing between themselves a version they have contrived that fits well within a different agenda that has nothing to do with what they claim it is. more..

Thriposha production zooms to 1.85 million packets in July 2013

Dec 29 (Island) In a remarkable achievement, Sri Lanka Thriposha Limited recorded its highest ever production of more than 1.85 million packets in July 2013. This was a significant increase from 896,040 packets produced during the previous month. The upward production trend continues when looking at year in and year out month by month with previous years 2012 and 2011. "It has been a big turnaround for this key govt institution after the appointment of Kiran Atapattu, a dynamic private sector more..

Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe with Beyond Boston

Geneva, March 2014: The hunt begins

Dec 29 (Island) In the international criminal justice system, there is a hierarchy of establishments. At the very apex is the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) not just because it was the very first such tribunal to be set up but also because it has UN Security Council sanction. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was also formed with Security Council sanction and comes a close second. All UN member states including Sri Lanka has to pay more..

Fishing in troubled waters

Dec 29 (SL) The UNP is still struggling to finalize a Chief Ministerial Candidate for the Western Provincial Council election where it expects to pose a strong challenge to the govt. Last week was a politically uneventful week for the govt with many members of the Cabinet abroad after the vote following the third reading of the Budget, spending time with their families. While the govt ministers were having a good time spending Christmas holidays with their loved ones, more..

Scrapping of grade 5 scholarship exam

Dec 29 (SL) Minister Bandula Gunawardena recently declared that the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam would probably be cancelled from 2016 as a result of the 1000 secondary school development project which would, according to him, lessen the need to get into a popular school. The pressure given to students due to the high competition of the exam is being debated constantly among educationalists of the country. more..

Can past glories be recreated?

Dec 29 (NS) Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic movie Gladiator that won multiple awards including five Oscars had plenty of political themes which are of great relevance to our present day political scene. In the movie, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, after reaching the pinnacle of power by establishing Rome’s authority across Europe, and despite being old and feeble, makes one last wish to his top general Maximus Decimus Meridius to succeed him as a regent and turn Rome back into a republic. more..

Sri Lanka back among the giants

Dec 29 (NS) Sri Lanka’s resurrected rugby Sevens team has been rewarded with a slot at the world famous Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens in March next year following its overwhelming success at the recent Asian series showdown. As one of the pioneer teams at the Hong Kong Sevens which began in 1976, Sri Lanka lost its status and clout due to a rapid development of the format despite lifting the Bowl title in 1984 under the captaincy of Hisham Abdeen. more..

How do we solve a problem like Malinga?

Dec 29 (ST) Lasith Malinga was not happy. In the first One Day International this baby faced Pakistani rookie opener Sharjeel Khan had treated him with utter disdain. It hurt his pride. After an uneventful opening over by Suranga Lakmal, Malinga taking the other new ball at the other end bounced at the young man. The ball was a scorcher. It bounced steeply and took Khan’s shoulder while passing him. more..

Jayampathi leads SSC to victory in final

Dec 29 (CI) Charith Jayampathi spearheaded Sinhalese Sports Club's (SSC) defence of a formidable total against Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC), taking four wickets to secure the Premier Limited Over Tournament title at the Premadasa Stadium. Defending 278, Jayampathi knocked over NCC's openers inside seven overs, and then dismissed Sandun Weerakkudy to reduce them to 44 for 3. Jehan Mubarak steadied the chase with a half-century but he was run-out soon after more..

An international star on the horizon?

Dec 29 (Island) Prior to the 1990s, Sri Lankan athletics had very little to boast of at international level. Duncan White, the Olympic silver medalist, is indubitably numero uno. Nagalingam Ethirveerasingham’s Asian Games gold in the high jump was another land-mark. The 1974 Asiad produced a 400 metre gold for W. Wimaladasa. For good measure, he added another gold in the longer relay event, together with Sunil Gunawardena, O. K. Hemachandra and Kosala Sahabandu. more..

Sri Lanka’s CECB explores Myanmar’s construction boom in 2014

Dec 29 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB), the country’s foremost engineering consultancy body, is guiding leading local construction companies to secure foreign construction contracts. A fully fledged CECB international base office will be opened in Myanmar in the new year to undertake construction contracts and consultancy services with the aim of taking full advantage of the current more..

School money to renovate Elephant Pass station

Dec 29 (ST) Minister Bandula Gunawardena wants to renovate and re-name Elephant Pass railway Station as Senahasaka Thotupola when train services between Kilinochchi and Jaffna are restored. For this purpose, he wants to utilise Rs. 15.5 million collected from teachers and pupils countrywide. Proposal has been accepted and the ministry is now in consultation with Army to ascertain whether its engineering troops can undertake the construction of the railway station. more..

JHU refuses to resign

Dec 29 (SL) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) says it will remain in the Government and serve the people instead of resigning. JHU member Udaya Gammanpila said that the JHU could serve people better by being in the government. He made this statement in response to a request made by the JVP and the UNP asking the JHU to resign from the government. According to Gammanpila, those who left the government had not been able to do much better that helped the people. more..

Bribery Chief lies

Dec 29 (NS) Nation reveals today that the Bribery Chief Justice Balapatabendi had repeatedly lied regarding his dealings with vehicle dealer Harsha Prabath, who was alleged to have provided kickbacks to top officials. Nation is in possession of phone records indicating that the Bribery Chief had received and taken phone calls both on his land line and mobile to Harsha Parabath among other evidence of dealings between the two. more..

Harsha Prabath in operation ‘Rescue Bribery Chief’

Dec 29 (NS) In a startling turn of events, Harsha Prabath De Silva, the vehicle dealer who UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe in parliament alleged paid kickbacks to several officials by way of providing them with vehicles, in a letter to the MP has sought to clarify the alleged vehicle deal involving Bribery Chief Justice Balapatabendi. While taking pains to trace his ancestry, Prabath defended the entire vehicle transaction going to the extent of providing every facet of the transaction more..

Chinese investor now the biggest shareholder of Blue Diamonds

Dec 29 (Island) A Chinese national here on vacation had within a fortnight bought into Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC becoming the company’s single largest shareholder. Capital Trust Securities Limited, made a disclosure to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Friday regarding the purchase of nearly 8.5 million voting shares of Blue Diamonds by Xia Liquiang last Tuesday. There was no word on the investor and his background and very little was known on whether he was making a pitch for more..

Internal hand in LG defeats?

Dec 29 (SL) A Presidential Inquiry into the budget votes of local govt institutions has revealed that several cabinet ministers should also be held responsible for the defeats of some local govt budgets. Despite the decision made by the Executive Committee of the SLFP to dismiss those who do not toe the party line, the ruling party, over the past few days, lost three more local govt institutions. A senior Cabinet Minister said more..

Sri Lanka U-19 lose to Afghanistan

Dec 29 (CI) Afghanistan Under-19 pulled off a three-wicket victory, after Zia-ur-Rehman's five-for restricted Sri Lanka Under-19 to 191 for 9. Sri Lanka had made a steady start, with opener Hashan Dumindu scoring 61, but the innings faltered after the first-wicket stand of 64. They lost wickets in clutches, with Rehman jolting the top and lower order while Sharafuddin Ashraf, who took 2 for 30, hurting the middle. Rehman finished with 5 for 33 in ten overs. Afghanistan's chase also slipped more..

Rathupaswala water issue remains

Dec 29 (SL) Rathupaswala, Weliweriya water issue is yet to be resolved, Venerable Theripaha Siridhamma Thera said. He said that while the factory which was believed to have been the source of the water contamination issue is being relocated and the authorities have laid pipelines, the people in the area are unable to pay for the water. According to the thera, the people in the area did not ask for any compensation for for the damage done by the factory but only requested access to more..

Diplomatic war over Trinco oil tanks

Dec 29 (CT) Govt is likely to review early next year, the agreement to lease 99 strategic oil storage tanks in Trincomalee, leased in the year 2002 to the Indian Oil Corporation’s local subsidiary, Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC). Govt sources said there is strong lobbying within the govt to recall the leased oil tanks, handed over under a govt-to-govt agreement in 2002, when the UNP was in office. more..