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Sri Lanka researchers told of dangers of romanticism

Dec 13 (LBO) Researchers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere should not be guided by romanticism but approach an issue with an open mind and be prepared to change traditional ideas if their findings suggest otherwise, a top economist has said. "There are certain qualities and prerequisites which a researcher engaged in scientific inquiry should possess," W A Wijewardene, deputy governor of Sri Lanka's central bank said. more..

Doc struck from register

Dec 13 (TM) An overseas-trained doctor accused of bungling a series of operations has been removed from the medical register. Doctors at the Royal Hobart Hospital complained that Dr Nandalal Gunaratne, who was employed as a specialist urology consultant, had trouble performing even basic procedures such as circumcision. It is alleged other surgeons were required to step in to stem major bleeding in patients. more..

Sri Lankan air force bombs rebels in north

Dec 13 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed Tamil separatists in the island's embattled north Saturday, a day after clashes with troops left 10 rebels dead near their de facto northern capital, the government said. Fighter jets bombed six locations to the west and northwest of the Tamil Tiger rebel headquarters in Kilinochchi, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. It did not give casualty details. more..

'Sri Lankans should plan early for retirement'

Dec 14 (LBO) With recessionary fears looming the need to secure one's financial future has become even more important, though recent double digit inflation is eating almost all the disposable income of most average Sri Lankan, says a top analyst. To most Sri Lankans the idea of financial security is limited to a pension, state run provident funds, savings and insurance policies. But they tend to provide returns well below the high rate of inflation which is called negative real returns. more..

We for all, or Land for all?

Dec 14 (LG) The picture of Sri Lankan Guardian where the handsome Secretary Defense Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa accompanied by Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera Thursday (11) morning conveying his best wishes to Wanni ground Commanders who lead brave soldiers in the ‘war fronts’ and the Senior Police Officers serving in Wanni areas during his visit to Security Forces Headquarters Wanni (SFHQ-W), is a good photo to ponder. more..

Changes vital for regaining Sri Lanka’s future

Dec 14 (FI) Sri Lanka has been confronted by many mounting problems since the early 1970s. The ethnic problem is not the only one that denied peace and balanced development of all sectors and regions beneficial to the people in the different communities. The disparity between the rich and poor has also widened in the past three decades. The breakdown of good governance, law and order and the democratic process is now quite visible. more..

Hedge now – in a proper way

Dec 14 (LG) Hats off to The Sunday Times for blowing the lid off the disastrous CPC hedging fiasco. Your paper has exposed the amateurish, unethical and sleazy nature of this deal and the subterfuge used to dupe the Nation and the dreadful drain it would be on our meagre foreign reserves. However, while the post-mortem is still going on, let me be the devils advocate and extol the virtues of hedging and disclose a window of great opportunity. more..

Global crisis – are we ready?

Dec 14 (LG) Day after day, week after week, the global crisis appears to be hitting Sri Lanka faster than one could expect. Exports are slowly being affected, the foreign exchange markets have been ruffled, made worse by the turn of events over the oil hedging deals which have created payment problems for banks. Tea, garments and migrant worker remittances – the main earners and collection of foreign exchange – have been adversely affected. more..

A voters’ dilemma

Dec 14 (LG) Karu Jayasuriya waltzed back into Ranil Wickremesinghe’s arms last week, warbling, we think: Mamma mia, here I go again, My, my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My, my, just how much I’ve missed you. And we believe Ranil Wickremesinghe was standing at the door with a bouquet of premium roses, imported (of course), to welcome him back. Oh, the tear-jerking, gut-wrenching, heartrending beauty of Sri Lankan politics. more..

Editor sacrificial goat for Tamil Nadu jokers

Dec 14 (LG) Some Sri Lankan editors and other varieties of journalists entertain the mistaken belief that even though anyone on two legs is fair game for them, not so themselves. Two weeks ago UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe came under attack from a fair cross-section of the media for being harshly critical of a columnist in the Daily Mirror and on the next day for coming down on the editor of the paper. more..

Job opportunities for Sri Lankans in Gadafi-land

Dec 14 (AT) Sri Lanka is to build two hotel schools and a nursing school in Libya. Already Libyan Government has entered into an agreement with Sri Lanka, for the construction and running of two hotel schools, in Tripoli as well as in Bengasi and also to train Libyans in the hospitality trade. The proposed nursing school is to train nurses and paramedics needed in Libya. more..

The first aid and rider development workshop II at Pannala

Dec 14 (LP) The second First Aid and Rider Development Workshop was organized by the Sri Lanka Racing Riders Association along with Sri Lanka Motorcycle Association, held on the 09th of December 2008 at the Pannala International Circuit. The workshop was held in order to give opportunity new riders in Sri Lanka. The winners were awarded with medals and certificates and evaluation list of the events held is as follows. more..

Why are we wasting our lives in traffic jams for corrupt politicians?

Dec 14 (GV) “You should not let these men (politicians) to come out. Their presence in public places itself threatens the common men. I do not know why it has become a matter of prestige for them to move with 10-15 uniform security personnel carrying lethal weapons” a High Court in New Delhi observed in October 2007 during a Court hearing into inconveniences caused to the public by politicians in that country. Observing they were not a “national asset”, more..

Human rights - What human rights?

Dec 14 (GV) We never had human rights in the past, at least not in the sense we know it today. We probably had a better record of animal rights in our glorious past before 1505 when foreign aggressors corrupted our ancient culture. True those other countries too had practiced similar or even worse forms of torture. But the difference is that they don’t glorify their past. The Human Rights declaration of 1948 was signed by the members of the UN. more..

The Jokers – Carriers of the Comical Gene

Dec 14 (AT) Some politicians in the state of Tamil Nadu were up in arms against a remark made by much-loved Sri Lankan army commander, Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, this week. Vaiko, a vociferous supporter of ‘Tamil Eeelam’, went on to say that the entire Tamil Nadu had been insulted by the use of the term, joker; however, Chief Minister Karunanidhi took a more cautious approach: he partially vented his fury while taking a swipe at his arch rival, Jayalalithaa, by saying she was not Tamil – more..

Searching For Enemies

Dec 14 (AT) According to media reports a principal in a Galle school had ordered the father of a Muslim pupil out of his office for wearing a prayer cap. This act of bigotry demonstrates that the toxic anti-minority propaganda of Sinhala supremacists has begun to poison the social soil in Sinhala society. Last week posters and banners appeared (by a hitherto unknown organisation) exhorting Buddhists to save Buddhist schools. more..

'Act now to curb the LTTE front organizations in Europe'

Dec 14 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, sufficient evidence was available that the operations of front organizations are an integral part of the LTTE, as seen in recent action against the LTTE fronts in the US and Canada. Taking concerted action against such entities who act for, or on behalf of, or at the behest of terrorist organizations, is an obligation countries have voluntarily undertaken under the numerous UN conventions on terrorism. more..

Sri Lanka prints money to buy tea in Zimbabwe-style move

Dec 14 (LBO) State-run Sri Lanka Tea Board has spent over 200 million rupees to buy tea, using printed money from the Central Bank, in a Zimbabwe-style inflationary quasi-fiscal move, the latest information reveals. Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said last week that it had bought almost a million kilograms of tea worth 232 million rupees with a credit facility provided by state-run Bank of Ceylon via central bank 're-finance'. more..

'Sri Lanka cricket should be free of politics'

Dec 14 (CI) Lanka de Silva, the former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman who became only the tenth player in his country's history to pass 10,000 runs in first-class cricket, has said Sri Lankan cricket will not improve unless it breaks free of politics. de Silva has been on the domestic circuit for nearly two decades, which leaves him well-placed to assess what ails Sri Lankan cricket. more..

'No force can reverse our military victories'

Dec 14 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday reiterated that no force can reverse the unparalleled victories achieved by the Security Forces against LTTE terrorism as they are fighting a war setting an example to the entire world without facing a single drawback since the Mavilaru battle to the Wanni liberation operation. He made these observations while participating at the annual War Heroes Commemoration ceremony of more..

The slow crawl to Kilinochchi

Dec 14 (LNP) On Sunday December 7, the security forces were within `kissing distance` of the outer defence lines of Kilinochchi, announced the defence spokesman. On Monday, December 8, it became `Troops in Kilinochchi are targeting the town and they are in the vicinity of the town.` However, by December 9 it seems the security forces` strategic focus had shifted from Kilinochchi to Mullaitivu according to the defence ministry. more..

Ministers to protest meddling by Basil

Dec 14 (SAMN) Several senior ministers have decided to protest against the corruption within the government and their inability of ministers to act independently in their ministries without interference by members of the Rajapaksa family. Informed sources said the move has been prompted by former Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya’s resignation from the government. A key reason for his resignation was the inability to function independently at his ministry. more..

Nurses hold cancer patients to ransom

Dec 14 (SAMN) Chemotherapy has been halted completely at the Maharagama Cancer Institute for the fifth consecutive day, with staff resorting to trade union action to win their demands. These include: a Rs. 10,000 allowance; international training and a safe work environment. The nurses claim they have been campaigning for these demands for the past six months, but that authorities had ignored them, thereby forcing them to resort to trade union action. more..

Underworld gang received LTTE training

Dec 14 (SAMN) Details have emerged of an underworld gang receiving training by the LTTE on carrying out assassinations of senior military officers in the South. The members of the gang, who were arrested recently, are alleged to have trained in the Wanni jungles. The gang has been identified as a breakaway faction of the underworld gang led by Mohamed Niyaz Mohamed Naufer alias “Potta Naufer.” more..

SB says he’s not a threat to Ranil

Dec 14 (SAMN) UNP National Organiser and newly appointed Central Province Chief Ministerial Candidate S.B. Dissanayaka said nothing whatsoever could prevent him from becoming the President of the country in the future. Dissanayaka in an interview said although he was not appointed the Deputy Leader of the UNP, he is the ‘most popular’ man in the party as well as among the government ministers. more..

'I am taking on the Rajapakse regime'

Dec 14 (SL) The UPFA administration has an abysmal record with rampant corruption and economic mismanagement at peak level claims UNP Hambantota District Parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Premadasa spoke in support of the formation of a broad coalition to defeat the government and said it was important to strategise and come up with the most people friendly policies and programmes that could achieve national objectives. more..

To house Port Authority staff Chamal looks to buy five star hotel

Dec 14 (SL) In an act of brigandage of gargantuan proportions the Sri Lanka Ports Authority is attempting to purchase the five star Ceylon Continental Hotel to house an administrative office complex sources say at a massive negotiable price of US$ 45 million (Rs.5 billion) ostensibly for no other reason than that the hotel rooms have a nice view of the South Harbour Terminals. more..

President takes on judiciary as CC and Indian nightmares return to haunt govt.

Dec 14 (SL) It was a week President Mahinda Rajapakse would rather forget which purely in political terms was an absolute nightmare. In sharp contrast, for Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe whose stars are said to be on the ascendant from December 9 things were looking up after years of hopelessness especially with the return of Karu Jayasuriya into the party fold and the progress made in forming a broad political alliance with the SLMC, SLFP (M) and Mano Ganesan's WPPF. more..

CB hedges over hedging as CPC hits back

Dec 14 (SL) While the hedging scandal has now become fair game for public interest litigants and politically motivated elements alike causing a flurry of fresh Fundamental Rights applications and intervenient petitioners, more evidence surfaces on the tight reign of control over the issue exercised by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Further to our exposes on the subject in the past two weeks, evidence in our possession suggests that more..

NGOs vapourise 40.1 billion tsunami money?

Dec 14 (LB) Non governmental organizations received a staggering amount of nearly Rs 40.1 billion for tsunami-related activities but it cannot be determined whether this money had been properly utilized, according to the parliamentary select committee investigating NGOs and their impact. The select committee report was submitted to parliament last week. It states that Rs 40.1 billion had been received by 256 NGOs. more..

'UPFA sure of victory'

Dec 14 (SO) Several more political parties would form an alliance with the UPFA to ensure a landslide victory for the government at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections, UPFA General Secretary and Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said. A National Operations Committee was set up last week to kick off the UPFA campaign for the North Western and Central provincial Councils, and more..

The inside look at the return of Karu

Dec 14 (LB) Karu Jayasuriya was no doubt the man of the week, and he left everybody wondering why he left the government almost as suddenly as he had decided to join it. It’s now known that he had various grievances, and that he had a huge difference of opinion with president Rajapaksa about the appointment of Grama Sevakas, when the president reprimanded him for appointing UNP men... even though he had strictly gone on merit i.e: examination results. more..

President’s intentional violation of Constitution dangerous, unprecedented

Dec 14 (LB) The Sri Lankan judiciary at last seems to have realised its fundamental obligation to ensure that the supremacy of the constitution is upheld. When President Kumaratunga violated the Constitution several years ago by refusing to appoint the Constitutional Council nominees to the Election Commission, the Supreme Court, in an appalling abdication of its responsibility, rejected a petition that sought to ensure the activation of the Elections Commission. more..

Bogols bombarded

Dec 14 (LB) The Sri Lanka Foreign Service Association (SLFSA) has declared war on the foreign ministry by disassociating itself from an official media release that defends political appointments to Sri Lanka’s missions abroad. After an extraordinary meeting last week, attended by senior and junior career diplomats, the SLFSA wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama contradicting the contents of a December 8 communiqu‚ issued by the foreign ministry. more..

Brawl over mistress ends proprietor's life

Dec 14 (SO) The investigations into the death of a proprietor of a tourist inn Ranjith Rajapakse in Mount Lavinia began a fortnight ago. At the very outset, the sudden death looked as if it happened under normal circumstances; an accidental death at his home. But subsequently police unearthed evidence and found that it was a murder. Earlier, police thought that the 57-year-old victim had sustained head injuries as a result of a fall at his hotel on November 21. more..

The role of the Speaker of Parliament

Dec 14 (SO) As the budget comes to an end, we the people should be aware of the importance of the budget vote and the role of the Speaker. When Sri Lanka's 13th Parliament met on April 22, 2004 it took nine hours to elect a Speaker. After the final vote count, the tally was 110 for the candidate of the United National Front (UNF), the main Opposition group, and 109 for the ruling combine. Five Buddhist-Monk MPs abstained and one Tamil MP was absent. more..

Education to benefit many

Dec 14 (SO) My memories of Mr. Mahinda Ranaweera are most pleasant. I feel privileged to have been asked to deliver this address in his memory. I thank the organisers for this, and also thank Mrs. Ranaweera, my friends and those who cherish his memory who are here today to share some ideas that may be consonant with Mr. Ranaweera's own ideas. Having grown up in Peradeniya during much of my working life, Colombo was like a foreign country for me. more..

Mukherjee visit a big mystery

Dec 14 (NS) Although the pro-LTTE political factions in Sri Lanka and South India have been hopefully waiting for an ‘immediate visit’ of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Colombo to arrange a ceasefire, since December 4, there has still not been any confirmation by either governments of such a visit so far. These hopes were triggered by remarks made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi following his meeting with Indian Premier Manmohan Singh. more..

Karuna tipped to enter cabinet

Dec 14 (NS) Representations have been made to the government to accommodate an Eastern Tamil to make use of the opportunity which has come in the form of a vacancy created by the resignation of Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya early this week, authoritative sources said last night. These eastern lobbyists have pointed out the importance of including a Tamil from the region as it would help them to readily identify with the government. more..

Ailing UNP gets new lease of life

Dec 14 (NS) What Jayasuriya’s re-appointment as Deputy Leader effectively does, is to at least temporarily erase the battle-lines that were being drawn between the Dissanayake and Premadasa factions. In that sense, it unifies the party which has the serious business of contesting the Central and North Western Provincial Council Polls confronting them early next year. more..

Rice revolution in Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (NS) Sri Lankan farmers, along with concerned agricultural research analysts, have discovered for the first time in the world a brand new way of cultivating rice. The new method of vegetative propagation demonstrated how rice can be cultivated without the rice seedlings. Mavee rice plants have the ability to help multiply rice plants without using rice seeds alone, Attorney-at-law and a renowned environmentalist, Jagath Gunawardane, told The Nation. more..

As major battle looms ICRC to pull out from LTTE-held area

Dec 14 (Island) The ICRC, the only international agency operating in the LTTE-held territory east of A9, would have to review its presence at Puthukkudiyirippu as the army intensified operations on the eastern flank, military sources said yesterday. All other INGOs including UN agencies vacated their offices last September following a government directive. The sources said that once the army secured the road stretch between Kilinochchi and Paranthan on A9 within weeks if not days, more..

Business as usual despite cautionary judgments

Dec 14 (Island) Contrary to the perception that recent landmark judgments on several suspect deals culminating with the removal of CPC Chairman Asantha de Mel over massive oil hedging liabilities would prompt both politicians and officials to be transparent in negotiations on behalf of the government, controversial deals continue. The Sunday Island learns that an agency tasked with promoting foreign employment opportunities for Sri Lankans is planning to acquire a building for Rs 62 million without calling for tenders. more..

Woman raped within Ragama Hospital premises

Dec 14 (Island) An employee of the Ragama Teaching Hospital was arrested for allegedly raping a woman within the hospital premises, police said. The suspect, a lift operator, had accosted the victim who had accompanied a patient from Anamaduwa earlier in the day. As the patient was transferred to the Colombo National Hospital late that night, she had been left alone in the hospital premises, police said. more..

Bogollagama destroys the professional Foreign Service

Dec 14 (Island) Minister Bogollagama has made an unbelievable statement which only exposes the man for what he is. The minister has stated that he has picked ‘non-career persons to cadre positions in our missions abroad strictly on merit’. If his intention is to enthrone ‘meritocracy’ the country would be entirely with him but it is quite obvious that the man does not understand the meaning of what ‘selection on the basis of merit’ means. more..

Rare victory for UNP as Karu returns

Dec 14 (ST) A paradox in Sri Lanka's politics in the recent years has been the anger the public vent against the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration for its sheer incompetence, with the arguable exception of the military offensive against the LTTE. When their fury reaches a crescendo, ironic enough, they transform into greater anger against the main opposition UNP. The reason is simple. If the government is bad, they complain, the opposition is worse. more..

Troops capture land, but face growing resistance

Dec 14 (ST) For Imelda Sukumar, Government Agent of the besieged district of Mullaitivu, her office has become both a work place and home. She believed the District Secretariat (Kachcheri) located alongside the hospital, in the heart of this strategic northeastern coastal town, is a safe location. Troops advancing to regain control of Mullaitivu, the military nerve centre of Tiger guerrillas, would not target her office building since the hospital lay next door. more..

3 policemen arrested for aiding rebels in Colombo

Dec 14 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan police said Sunday that three policemen have been arrested for aiding Tamil Tiger rebels who are in war with government troops. "They have extorted money and terrorized people in order to embarrass the government,". The three policemen, one of them a member of the minority Tamil community, were serving in the police's counter subversive operations in the Western Province and had assisted the LTTE. more..

Intense air strikes as Sri Lankan troops move to take Tiger HQ

Dec 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military carried out an intense aerial bombardment as ground troops were poised to overrun the Tamil Tiger rebels' political headquarters, the defence ministry said Sunday. Air force planes carried out nine bombing sorties against positions of the LTTE in the district of Kilinochchi on Saturday. "The LTTE terrorists have suffered heavy damages in the string of air strikes launched by Sri Lanka air force fighter jets at the Kilinochchi LTTE defence line," more..

Something fishy in Felix’s fishing ministry

Dec 14 (ST) Fisheries Minister Felix Perera is himself doing big fishing business and owes Rs. 4.8 million to the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) for purchase of fish. Besides being the minister, he is also a supplier of fish to a number of outlets and the Sri Lanka Army through a company in which he has interests. “I owe that money. I am willing to settle the amount by tomorrow,” Mr. Perera told The Sunday Times. more..