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Forced reconciliation?

Jan 1 (SL) Some of the Tamil females, who were recruited to the army and reportedly suffered mental distress after their training course, are said to have gone back to the camps fully recovered. Military Spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, said the women have been cleared by psychiatrist to be in perfect health and fit to continue with their jobs in the army. Psychiatrist, Sivasubramaniam Sivadas, based at the more..

'Litre of petrol can be sold at Rs 99'

Jan 1 (LB) JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake says that the govt has already brought in three ships containing petrol in the past month or so. He said from each of those three ships the price of a litre of petrol that is unloaded at the Colombo Port would work out to Rs 89. He charged that it was this same litre of petrol, costing Rs 89, that is being sold at petrol stations at Rs 159 per litre. He said that once the Port charges and more..

'Impeachment crisis: Prorogation of parliament not the only way out'

Jan 1 (Island) The prorogation of parliament was not the only way to overcome the crisis resulting from the impeachment inquiry against the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranyake, the UNP said yesterday. Senior UNP MP, Kabir Hashim, when asked what his party’s position on the call by certain sections of the UPFA to prorogue parliament to overcome the Impeachment crisis was, said that the UNP had not been consulted and more..

Attempt to de-list Pigeon Island as a National Park blocked

Jan 1 (Island) The attempts to de-list Pigeon Island, from the National Parks list has failed as environmentalist had warned of possible destruction to the country’s biodiversity in case of any damage to the Pigeon Island. Wildlife Conservation Department, Director General H.D. Rathnayake said that the Pigeon Island, in the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka, would not be removed from the National Parks list. He added that more..

President decries political mud slinging

Jan 1 (Island) Mud-slinging was not politics, but political bankruptcy, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said after declaring open the new building of the Pathadumbara Pradeshiya Sabha on Saturday. The President noted that there was a large scale politically motivated mud slinging campaign in the country. No political advantage could be achieved by mud-slinging, he said adding that political success depended on the more..

Calendar omission creates uproar

Jan 1 (DM) The failure to designate Poya Days as mercantile holidays in the official calendar printed by the govt has created uproar among the Buddhist clergy and trade union leaders. Inter Company Employees Union President Wasantha Samasinghe said it would be a serious problem if holidays for public servants and private sector employees were approved based on this calendar. “The govt should declare its stand. more..

National Health Policy from today

Jan 1 (CT) The newly drawn up National Health Policy is to be implemented from today, the Ministry of Health said. Minister Maithripala Sirisena declared the policy will be implemented from 1 January 2013 to 2017, and it will focus on improving the standards in the health sector. The policy, which had been in the pipeline for two years, was formed by the Planning Division of the ministry, under the guidance of Minister Sirisena, more..

Gas and electricity price hikes likely

Jan 1 (DM) An increase in electricity rates is likely in the coming days in the wake of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) increasing the price of fuel, a Public Utilities Commission (PUC) source said. A Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) spokesman said a request by gas companies to increase gas prices was being reviewed by the CAA Price Committee. The CPC in February increased the price of diesel and furnace oil which is more..

Editorial: A lot like the old year?

Jan 1 (CT) As the sun rises over a new dawn, bringing with it a promise of change, reality keeps chipping in, reminding us of the surfeit of reasons why it is difficult to look forward to 2013 with any degree of hope. Needless to say, most of these despairing reasons stem from the fact that the New Year could well look a lot like the old year. 2012, as we all know, has been a pretty much forgettable one on various fronts. Internationally, it had us hanging our head in shame as the ghosts of more..

Divineguma Bill will be passed on Jan 8

Jan 1 (DN) The Divineguma Department that would cater to the poor will be established with the passage of the Divineguma Bill into an Act in Parliament on January 8, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywadana said. He said any high official could be removed from his or her position by following the laid down procedure. Parliament is the supreme institute and the Select committee has been vested with powers to act, he said. He denied allegations that the CJ was subjected to more..

Highway circling Colombo gets extra interchange

Jan 1 (LBO) A road circling Colombo which connects to a new expressway network will get an additional interchange to accommodate projected traffic from a fast developing area. The outer circular highway will get an extra interchange near Athurugiriya town. The outer circular highway connects to an expressway to the South of the island and the High Level Road, a key trunk route leading out of Colombo at Kottawa. more..

Exemplary healing touch from young volunteers

Jan 1 (Island) Child cancer patients at the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama, were transported into whoops of joy and laughter on December 28, when they were visited by a group of senior students of Royal Institute, Nugegoda (RI) and other well wishers, who wanted to go very much more than the extra mile to bring ample good cheer into the lives of children affected by ill health. The RI student volunteers’ large-heartedness and capacity for caring accorded perfectly with the prevailing more..

On Gota’s comment: ‘Using the judiciary to destabilise Sri Lanka’

Jan 1 (CT) This week, newspaper reports quoted Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother accusing foreign elements of ‘using the judiciary to destabilise Sri Lanka’. This is a classic instance of doublespeak. It is abundantly clear that, rather than so-called foreign interests, it is the Govt itself which is destabilising the country. Its sheer brute force in ramming an arbitrary impeachment of Chief Justice through Parliament against the express injunctions of more..

Narayanasamy blames TN govt. for fishermen’s plight

Jan 1 (PTI) Union Minister of State V. Narayanasamy today blamed the Tamil Nadu govt for its “inaction” to facilitate a dialogue between Indian fishermen and their counterparts in Sri Lanka. Though the External Affairs Ministry Secretary had written twice to the Tamil Nadu govt recently for a dialogue to ensure protection of fishermen, the State govt had not shown any response to the Centre’s initiative, Minister Narayanasamy more..

Mini-cyclone damages 25 houses

Jan 1 (E24|7) Sri Lanka, which is already reeling from widespread floods and earth slips, was hit by another natural disaster on Sunday, when a tornado swept through the southern part of the country, damaging 23 houses. No deaths or injuries were reported from the twister that struck the Habaraduwa area towards the evening. The tornado occurred around 4pm, and warned these types of little tornados can occur when there are thunder showers during the inter-monsoonal season. more..

Wish list for 2013

Jan 1 (ST) Cheaper prices; cheaper prices; cheaper prices! This wish will certainly echo across the nation in 2013, more particularly among urban and middle-class communities. Soaring prices of essential commodities including rising fuel costs have been the hallmark of Sri Lanka’s economy this year and would most likely continue next year. For middle-class people, particularly those living in Colombo and the Western Province and also those commuting to work from outside into these more..

Army Commander assures more training opportunities for troops

Jan 1 (SLA) With the dawn of the New Year – 2013, as the Commander of the Army, I am very pleased and privileged to issue this message of greetings for the fourth consecutive time. You, all as members of the Sri Lanka Army in the past three years after dawn of peace to the motherland, are now commendably orientated to perform your duties in a peaceful milieu. As it was stated in my 2010 New Year message to you; more..

'Rising per capita doesn’t mean development and poverty reduction have worked'

Jan 1 (ST) Though countries like Sri Lanka use per capita as a measurement of the country’s development and individual progress, this theory has been debunked by a UN official. At a recent poverty alleviation symposium in Colombo, Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Director General, Economic and Social Development Department, UN FAO, responding to a question said a country’s development and poverty could not reflected by its per capita status. more..

Pictorial warnings on cigarette packs from March

Jan 1 (DN) Arrangements have been finalised to include pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets from March 2013, the Health Ministry said yesterday. The pictorial warnings will underline the risks and dangers associated with tobacco smoking, a ministry spokesman said. Health Minister Maithiripala Sirisena said the gazette notification in this regard will come into effect from March 2013 and he would not be influenced to change his decision by any power. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Polls for Central and Wayamba PCs in April?

Jan 1 (DM) Elections for the Central and Wayamba Provincial Councils are most likely to be held in April this year, informed sources said. Meanwhile, the sources also said the govt was planning to make wide-ranging changes to the powers vested with the Provincial Councils during the coming year. Accordingly changes are to be made to laws pertaining to Police powers vested in Councils together with amendments to the law which states that in the event an Act regarding more..

Sri Lanka defend day off ahead of SCG Test

Jan 1 (AAP) Sri Lankan coach Graham Ford has defended the decision to ditch training just two days out from the Sydney Test by saying his team deserved a break. If their Melbourne capitulation was anything to go by, the Sri Lankans certainly looked like a team in desperate need of a return to the training paddock. But on Tuesday, their only official engagement was an afternoon tea with the Australian team at Kirribilli House, hosted by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. more..

'No person with self-respect will agree to be appointed new CJ'

Jan 1 (DM) Q: Why exactly do you oppose the current impeachment motion? A: It’s not a question of opposing a motion as such, but it’s a question of opposing a move to impeach the Chief Justice from becoming a political circus and the procedures that are used in this circus. There must be fair play and to my mind there is no fair play at all in this entire process. Whether she is guilty or innocent of these charges I don’t know, but more..

Opening university will be decided after Pongal

Jan 1 (OU) Information received from the Jaffna university arts faculty circles states, the decision to resume operating the university will be decided after Thai Pongal. Jaffna university students Bawanthan, Tharshanth, Jenemey Jayanth and Solaman were arrested under Terrorism Prevention Law and are detained. In this state to resume operating the university has become a major problem which currently exists. Concerning this, yesterday Monday a discussion was held more..

'No arm of Govt. superior to the other'

Jan 1 (DM) Senior Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake said the people would lose confidence in the judiciary if the judges were unable to deliver their judgments independently. He told a public meeting after the opening of the Millewa–Puwakwattta Road in Horana that there was a crisis between the Judiciary on one side and the Legislature and the Executive on the other. “It is the duty of all those concerned to avoid such crises. We must not attempt to convince all and more..

Proving charges not a crucial factor: Susil

Jan 1 (DM) The impeachment inquiry by the PSC against CJ Shirani Bandaranayake was not a legal probe but a legislative process and therefore proving of charges was not necessary, PSC member and Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday. He said after the two-day debate in Parliament on Jan 10 and 11, President Rajapaksa will decide on further actions including the appointment of a panel to advise him on more..

Deficit bungle!

Jan 1 (DM) The govt is likely to overshoot yet another overambitious fiscal deficit target of 5.8% of the GDP, set out in the 2013 Budget to reach not below 6.5%, due to the overly optimistic revenue assumptions, according to a German global banking and financial service company. “Given that economic growth has slowed substantially in 2Q12 and the future outlook also not indicating any sharp recovery, it will be indeed an uphill task for the authorities to achieve next year’s more..

River valleys to be reconstructed in 2013

Jan 1 (DM) The Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry will launch a project this year to reconstruct valleys in 103 rivers for the first time, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. “The valleys of almost all rivers in the country have not been subjected to a proper survey or development and therefore there is an urgent need to develop them. The haphazard use of river water, lack of water management and illegal sand mining had done much damage to river valleys,” Minister said. more..

Clean up your surrounding to avoid being Dengue victim

Jan 1 (Island) The National Dengue Control Programme urged the public to clean up their premises as soon as the rains ceased to prevent the increase of dengue. Chief of the National Dengue Control Programme (NDCP), Dr. Ranjith Batuwanthudawa said that heavy showers caused by north eastern rains would reduce mosquito density and the number of dengue patients as mosquito larvae would be washed away. more..

Where does Sangakkara sit in the 10000 Club?

Jan 1 (CI) There is a French proverb that states that “to compare is not to prove”. At a time when so many great cricketers are nearing the twilight years, that proverb may remind us that it is almost impossible to compare cricketers from across the history of the game because there are just too many variables to factor in. So let’s keep it contemporary and ask ourselves this question: is Kumar Sangakkara is the best of the “10,000 Club batsmen” of the modern era, bracketed more..

Russian Nuclear Power Team arrives this month

Jan 1 (GDI) Russia is to enhance its support to Sri Lanka in the New Year in many fields including trade, energy, economic and socials sectors. Accordingly a Russian nuclear power team with scientists will arrive in January to study Sri Lanka’s energy sector outlook. Sri Lanka-Russia bilateral cooperation has been growing from strength to strength since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1957 under the people’s govt of the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. more..

We did not play politics: Outgoing BoC Chairman

Jan 1 (LBO) Gamini Wickramasinghe, who is stepping down as chairman of Bank of Ceylon said dealing with loan applicants who expected patronage was among the biggest challenges in managing a state entity. "A lot of people expect to get loans from a state bank and think it is easy if they have state patronage," Wickramasinghe said. "But we looked each application without involving politics. There was not patronage. more..

Parents stop traffic in Kandy town

Jan 2 (NS) When a child is born, the parents are brimming with thousands of hopes and prayers for a better future. Education and sending to a reputed school is a hope that most parents have for their child. Schooling is a major issue as parents have to go through a lot of formalities to find a ‘good school’ for their children. Parents these days, especially the mothers are the busiest of all. They are also burdened with the weight of protecting their children, be it a boy or girl as children these days are more..

Kili youth move out to see the ‘world’

Jan 2 (NS) The youth of the former war-affected Kilinochchi is now blessed with peace, which has broadened the horizons their future.They were once ruled by the gun, and had no say in their future. Every move depended on the situation prevalent in the Wanni. Their future was bleak when the war was on. The war had to conclude to create a clear path for them to move forward. It was over in 2009. Today, the youth and those who are willing to work are blessed with several paths, more..

Shot in the arm for bio-gas project

Jan 2 (SO) People used firewood, charcoal, fossil fuels or electricity for cooking purposes until the latter part of the last century. Eventually they replaced them with LP gas. Gas is a by-product of crude oil. According to current statistics 75% of the people worldwide use gas for cooking, burning and heating purposes. Sri Lanka's main Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) producer, the CPC says that the company produces only 10% of the more..

A rejoinder to Suren Raghavan

Jan 2 (CT) I have just read the article by Dr Suren Raghavan titled “Independent Judiciary in a Dependent (ill) Democracy” (Colombo Telegraph, 29 Dec) with mixed feelings, but mostly disagreeing with his prognosis and some of the conclusions. There is a single short paragraph (only two sentences) which says all. “Politically speaking the concept of law and the independence of judiciary is very infant and alien concept in Lanka. Like to the entire commonwealth, it is a British colonial more..

The conflict of interest and what the CJ has not answered

Jan 2 (CT) As the impeachment drama grinds to a close, we see that the chief justice of this country is to be impeached largely on conflict of interest related issues. Of the three charges that the CJ has been found guilty of by the Parliamentary Select Committeee, two pertain to a conflict of interest. The conflict of interest has never been an issue that has been widely discussed in this country. As such there are virtually no local precedents that we can draw on. The first charge against the CJ was that more..

Gotabhaya the prophet and the state of his dreams

Jan 2 (DBS) A fortnight after the UPFA won the 2010 parliamentary election Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa gave an interview delineating his dream-state. His ideal Sri Lanka would be a state locked in a permanent political war with its many and varied ‘enemies’; a state in which every institution must function as a weapon-of-war and concepts such as judicial independence and human rights are considered inimically alien. more..

Leaders and followers of what?

Jan 2 (SL) Ten thousand of the nation’s bright young men and women who have entered the universities are to undergo compulsory leadership training programmes commencing from Jan 12, news reports said. The Ministry of Higher Education is to spend Rs. 200 million on this effort and the 200-million-rupee question that arose in our minds was: Whose leadership are these new undergrads to follow and who would instruct them? Being a relic of the old school, our thinking is that the more..

'No going back on $20 b by 2020'

Jan 2 (FT) As global export markets continued to be more challenging, the Minister in charge of exports, holding firm on the national exports goal, vowed no dithering from $ 20 b exports by 2020 —and kicked-off this year’s official first working day routine with an appeal for direct employee involvement. “The Ministry of Industry and Commerce oversees one-third of Sri Lankan manufacturing and almost two-thirds of Sri Lanka’s exports. As we face increasing turmoil in our global markets, we need to more..