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Lankan group holds symposium

Dec 24 (TP) Sri Lankan Majlis Qatar (SLMQ), a socio-cultural organisation in Doha, hosted its annual symposium at Al Ghazal Club. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Qatar, Vijesiri Padukkage, was the chief guest at the event, which was sponsored by Qtel. Dr Shaukat Chandna delivered the keynote speech on Building Bridges of Conviction. He thrilled the audience with his explanation of the word ‘BRIDGES’ — Bonding, Reaching out, Initiative, Dream, Grab the opportunity, Enthusiasm, and Smile. more..

58-2 Brigade batters through LTTE defences at Kunchuparanthan a.k.a. Sinnaparanthan

Dec 24 (TC) Soldiers belonging to the 58 – 2 brigade of the Sri Lankan armed forces have succeeded in battering through LTTE in the area of strategic Kunchuparanthan that is also known as Sinnaparanthan. The 58 division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva is also known as Task Force – one. 58- 2 brigade soldiers were continuing with their phase of the five – pronged offensive launched on Monday December 22nd. more..

President and cabinet preparing for showdown with Chief Justice and Judiciary

Dec 24 (TC) The on going confrontation in Sri Lanka between the executive and judiciary shows no sign of abating with the Government of Sri Lanka led by President Mahinda Rajapakse resolving not to give in to the ruling by Chief Justice Sarath Silva that the price of petrol be reduced to 100 rupees per litre. The cabinet meeting on Tuesday December 23rd 2008 that was presided over by Mahinda Rajapakse adopted a hostile approach towards the issue and more..

A third ‘party’ joins the fray

Dec 24 (ML) The confusion in the east with regard to the TMVP deepened last week with reports in the media that Member of Parliament Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna was in the process of forming another party, Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Koottani (TMVK), meaning Tamil People’s Liberation Alliance. Muralitharan on an earlier occasion had said that the party would go for a name change in the near future. more..

Sajith asked to run for NWP Chief Minister

Dec 24 (ML) The UNP has invited Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa to run for the Chief Ministership of the North Western Province. Premadasa was asked to rise to the challenge in keeping with the challenge accepted by UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake to contest for the Central Province Chief Ministership. Both Dissanayake and Premadasa are aspirants for future leadership of the party. more..

CPC’s oil derivative incompetence

Dec 24 (ML) Oil, an essential commodity which is by far the most significant component in the Sri Lankan economy, accounts for more than USD 2 bn exposure to the world market. Hence it has to be handled with great care and needs the right financial infrastructure coupled with good experience to administer fuel price risk management effectively to protect against wild price shifts in the world futures market, and most of all to protect the economic interests of our country. more..

A Chinese curse of a New Year

Dec 24 (ML) It is already looking like an interesting new year in the sense of the Chinese curse. Scenarios wise, the options range from protracted and devastating conflict on the battlefield to a simmering constitutional crisis reaching a climax to a not so slow death, economically or any combination thereof. And of course on top of all of this are the two provincial council elections. more..

Four years on Sri Lanka still grappling with post tsunami reconstruction

Dec 24 (BL) The tsunami left its devastating impact on the lives of many on the 26th of December 2004, but four years on, NGOs and government institutions are still racing to complete the homes required to shelter the 516 520 internally displaced people who were left destitute. Recently published figures by the UN Habitat’s Tsunami Housing Monitoring programme, showed that the need for proper homes was still very much present, more..

Judicial creativity and its limits

Dec 24 (BL) I covered the first Justice Siva Sellaiah Memorial Oration delivered by Prof. G.L. Peiris, then Minister of Constitutional Affairs in Chandrika Kumaratunga government, on January 12, 1998 for the Daily News. Prof. Peiris spoke about judicial creativity and its limits. One of the judgments he gave as example for the lack of creativity of our judicial system was the ruling given by the Supreme Court and upheld by the Privy Council on the celebrated case of Kodakanpillai vs. Madanayake. more..

Nominations for elections start tomorrow

Dec 24 (BL) Filing nominations for the upcoming North Western and Central Provincial Council elections will begin tomorrow and will continue till the end of this month. A Spokesperson of the Elections Commissioner’s Department said independent candidates can start submitting deposits from twelve noon on December 30. According to him there are 40 seats in both Provincial Councils and each Council will be given two bonus seats. more..

Tsunami: Four years on...

Dec 24 (BL) The tsunami caught the world by surprise and killed more than 225,000 people in eleven countries. Sri Lanka was one of the worst hit nations with an estimated 35322 dead and 516150 displaced after the killer wave hit our shores on the 26th of December 2004. Aid agencies immediately mobilized their activities to help the victims and amassed close to US$ 7 billion to conduct rehabilitation operations worldwide. more..

EPDP gunmen killed Red Cross employee alleges Citizen's Group

Dec 24 (TC) A citizen’s group from the Vadamaratchy area in the Jaffna peninsula has alleged that gunmen belonging to the EPDP were responsible for the killing of an employee of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Jaffna on Tuesday December 23rd. The organization called VACRA has in a letter sent to the ICRC, several diplomatic missions, human rights and media organizations charged that the EPDP was responsible for the assassination of 42 year old Sivasundaralingam Gangatharan. more..

Supreme Court is one man show, says Minister Dilan

Dec 24 (LeN) Ports Development Minister Dilan Perera, a lawyer by profession, says that the Supreme Court that ruled a month ago that the parliament had the powers to decide on the matters of fiscal management has acted in contrast to what it stated. He says that the Supreme Court is a one man show today and parliament cannot be allowed to be made a puppet. Stating that he could not avoid saying this, He said that the decisions regarding fiscal management would be taken by the parliament and more..

Protest over Violence in Kalmunai

Dec 24 (MG) Following the attack on the house of the Municipal Engineer by an unidentified armed group on Monday the 22nd instant, all the employees along with the Commissioner and the Mayor of the Kalmunai Municipal Council went on a protest against the violence leased out on them at Kalmunai town this morning. It is said the Municipal Commissioner and an employee were also the victims to this kind of violence by armed gangs before. more..

LTTE killed more than 826 persons: JHU

Dec 24 (SAMN) The United Kingdom branch of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had a year- end meeting and a fund raiser recently in West London and Essex with the JHU ideologue and Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka as the Chief Guest of both events. He said the LTTE had killed 826 civilians during the period spanning from July 2006 to December 2008 and more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Dec 24 (GDI) Cabinet approved a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Industrial Development, Kumara Welgama, to reserve the land area from Nilaveli to Mullaitivu exclusively for exploration and mining of heavy beach mineral sands by Lanka Mineral Sands Limited. Since Lanka Mineral Sands Limited was established in 1960, operations have been limited only to mining and processing ilmanite, rutile and zircon. more..

University of Kelaniya to award Aviation degrees

Dec 24 (LP) Vice Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya Prof. Sarath Amunugama said that one of the main objectives of a University to focus on development and improve the knowledge of every citizen. He made these observations addressing the media on the occasion to sign the certificate of accreditation of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Academy with the University of Kelaniya held recently in Trincomalee. more..

Swadeshi wins Award for Karuvala Gedera

Dec 24 (LP) Sri Lanka’s pioneer in herbal products, Swadeshi Industrial Works PLC, has won admiration for sponsoring of quality teledramas that depict traditional values. This is the second award won by Swadeshi in recent months for sponsoring the teledramas of cultural and historical importance. The award was won by Swadeshi for sponsoring “Kaluvara Gedera Teledrama” directed by Sudath Rohana. more..

Indika de Saram stars for Ragama CC

Dec 24 (CI) Indika de Saram showed that even at the age of 35 he has not lost his thirst for runs when he made twin hundreds for Ragama CC in their drawn Premier Tier A match against Moors SC at Braybrooke Place. Two new leaders emerged over the weekend in both Tier A and Tier B standings. de Saram, a former Sri Lanka middle-order batsman, followed his first-innings score of 125 with an equally satisfying 150 not out in the second innings. more..

Sri Lankan Porn girls branded for life

Dec 24 (LNP) Moves by the Police Children and Women's Bureau to publish photographs of girls some of them minors who appear in pornographic films have drawn flak from several quarters including the National Child Protection Authority. The PCWB had last week informed Court that as a means of having the girls identified it was prepared to publish photographs of 21 girls most around the age 18 who were alleged to have posed in the nude in pornographic films. more..

Of those quarreling three arms

Dec 24 (LNP) Man has not yet fully evolved as an intelligent being. His animalistic traits urge him to dominate others like pack animals. Therefore, even a nincompoop put behind a counter, as Camus has wisely said, begins to put on airs and graces. Nowhere else is this more discernible than in politics where every blockhead considers himself or herself a king or a queen and indulges in empire building and suppressing others so as to perpetuate their hold on power. more..

Police confirm recovered remains were that of Sri Lankan maid

Dec 24 (Bernama) Police have confirmed that the remains recovered from the rubble of the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide in Hulu Klang near here on Tuesday were that of the Sri Lankan maid who had been reported missing following the Dec 6 mishap. Ampang Jaya district police chief ACP Abdul Jalil Hassan said Wednesday that the decomposed remains of the maid, known as Mary, with the head separated from the body, was found in a metre-deep cavity at 6.30pm during clearing-up work. more..

Bribery squad nabs Principal, Deputy

Dec 24 (SAMN) The principal, deputy principal and a clerk of a school in Kotahena were arrested by the Bribery Commission for allegedly soliciting a bribe of Rs.10,000 from a pregnant teacher, in order to recommend to the Ministry of Education that she be granted maternity leave. The Commission’s Investigation Division’s director, SSP Neville Guruge said the principal, his deputy and a woman clerk were arrested while taking the money from the teacher on Monday. more..

Govt. conspiring to slur judiciary - JVP

Dec 24 (LD) The government is conspiring to connect the Supreme Court ruling to the war and insult the judiciary as the latter has become an obstacle to its anti-democratic acts, JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. He was speaking at a media briefing held at the National Library and Documentation Services auditorium, Colombo today. more..

Voters must prove their identities

Dec 24 (SAMN) The Elections Secretariat said in a statement Tuesday that voters would have to prove their identities by means of identity cards which carry their photographs, at the forthcoming elections to the Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils. For this purpose a National Identity Card, a Valid Passport, a Driver’s Licence, a valid Postal Identity Card, a Railway Season Ticket with a photograph, a Pensioner’s Identity Card more..

SL mission seeks Consular access

Dec 24 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai has sought consular access to the newly-married Sinhala couple from Colombo, now locked up in jail in Madurai for arriving in Tamil Nadu without passports. As soon as the Tamil Nadu government grants consular access to the mission, an official will be sent to meet the couple, Dushra Chandana (30) and his 17-year-old bride Sharuha Bilkani, a spokesman of the deputy high commission said Tuesday. more..

Ministers to submit views on SC ruling

Dec 24 (LD) The Cabinet has unanimously decided to study the Supreme Court ruling for the reduction of the petrol price and express their views at their next meeting scheduled to be held on Jan. 07th. They also decided not to revise the price of petrol until then. These decisions were taken at the cabinet meeting last evening (Dec. 23rd), chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

More corruption of CPC revealed

Dec 24 (LD) Steel sheets worth Rs. 80 million imported from China to renovate the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery have been concealed in a building after the consignment has been found to be of low quality, Spokesman of 'Corruption Watch', Shiral Laktilake said. It is reported that an investigation conducted by the Engineering Faculty of the Colombo University has found this out, he further said. more..

New O/L Maths II paper on Jan. 17

Dec 24 (LD) Ending protests that candidates have been wronged by the controversial G.C.E. O/L mathematics question paper, the Ministry of Education has decided to cancel the paper and hold a fresh one in its place. Speaking to 'Lanka Dissent', a senior official of the Ministry of Education said that the Education Minister has directed the Commissioner of Examinations to hold the Maths II paper under the new syllabus on Jan. 17th.

Public help sought to nab rogue job agents

Dec 24 (DN) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) yesterday appealed for public help to identify rogue foreign employment agents. This appeal comes in the wake of a number of illegal activities being bared recently. The Daily News also learns that the growing number of such frauds involving foreign employment had been brought to the notice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and, he has directed the SLBFE Chairman to take stern action to arrest the trend. more..

All police stations to contribute to Agricultural Development programme

Dec 24 (DN) Every Police station in the North Central Province is to contribute actively to the Government's "Let's cultivate Let's develop the country - Agricultural Development Programme from the 2008/2009 Maha season. In future all police stations in the province will have a homegarden which will be exemplary to other provinces and the public who visit these police stations for various day-to-day transactions, more..

New CEB chairman wins workers’ hearts

Dec 24 (Island) Newly appointed Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman K Edirisinghe yesterday instructed the CEB management to release the additional Rs. 5,000 given along with the bonus to the CEB employees. The Ceylon Electricity Board’s United Trade Union Front on Monday halted their picketing campaign following the new Chairman’s assurance that the additional Rs 5,000 would be paid along with the bonus as in the past. more..

Ceylinco chairman manhandled by depositors

Dec 24 (LD) Enraged depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Company Ltd had reportedly manhandled Lalith Kotelawala, the chairman of parent company Ceylinco Consolidated, at a meeting in Colombo to discuss the liquidity crisis facing the company. CC issued a newspaper advertisement on December 22nd that it had terminated the services of the company's chief executive officer S. Kavan M. Perera, after more..

Royal Vishaka top Grade 5 schols list

Dec 24 (Island) The Education Ministry yesterday released the marks to select students to popular schools under the Grade 5 scholarship examination 2008. Royal College, Colombo tops the boys school list. The marks to admit students to the Royal College are 157. The top girls schools is Visakha Viyalaya, Colombo with the marks of 156. Taxila MMV Horana tops the mixed schools with 138 marks. The second places went Kandy schools, Dharmaraja College (152) and Mahamaya Balika (152). more..

Law Society backs SC ruling

Dec 24 (DM) The Colombo branch of the BAR Association, the Colombo Law Society, yesterday, called on the government to comply with the Supreme Court decision and reduce the price of petrol to Rs 100 a litre. The society which held an emergency meeting on Monday, unanimously passed a resolution calling on the government to comply with the Supreme Court Decision. Inasmuch as the honorable Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has, more..

Cabinet to consult AG on fuel prices

Dec 24 (DM) Cabinet, yesterday, put off its decision on the revision of the price of petrol for another two weeks, so that the government could consult the Attorney General on the Supreme Court ruling that the price be reduced to Rs. 100 a litre. The court ruling was delivered on December 17. Cabinet met on the same day, and again on December 18, but did not revise the price in compliance with the order -- on the grounds that the government had not been officially notified of the ruling. more..

Pakistan push to salvage tour after Sri Lanka overhaul

Dec 24 (Reuters) Pakistani cricket officials will meet with their new Sri Lankan counterparts later this week in a bid to salvage their planned home series following the sacking of the country's interim cricket board. Pakistani representatives will hold talks during the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur, where they hope to convince Sri Lanka to go ahead with the tour amid concerns it will be scrapped by the new administrators. more..

Sri Lankan troops capture rebel airstrip

Dec 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan troops have captured an airstrip of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's north, defence officials said Wednesday. The airstrip was located 15 km east of Mankulam town that was captured by Army's Task Force 3 this week. 'This was the third rebel airstrip captured by the troops in their latest operations (in the country's north),' military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told reporters. more..

Sri Lankan fighter jets pound rebels

Dec 24 (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets bombed rebel positions along the front lines in the north Wednesday as ground forces captured a hidden runway used by the Tamil Tiger air wing, the military said. Fighting between the two sides has escalated in recent months as the government pressed ahead with an offensive aimed at forcing the Tamil Tiger rebels out of their de facto state in the north. more..

'Relief and rehabilitation operation in full swing'

Dec 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Wednesday sought to assure India that the relief and rehabilitation measures for the Tamils displaced in the ongoing heavy fighting in the country's embattled north were in full swing. “The government is sending enough of relief material including essential items to the displaced people in Wanni continuously,” Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Sri Lanka bleeds - with no peace in sight

Dec 24 (IANS) Sri Lanka's dragging ethnic conflict is at a decisive phase, with the military determined to crush the Tamil Tigers and the guerrillas adamantly refusing to give up. The Indian Ocean island nation is spending millions of dollars to give an annihilating blow to the LTTE as troops try to seize the last of two rebel bastions: Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. Having captured the eastern province from the LTTE in 2007 after nearly two decades, Sri Lanka is inching towards taking control of Kilinochchi, more..

Sri Lanka southern businesses get IFC help

Dec 25 (LBO) The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, said it is helping streamline business licensing in southern Matara district. The Matara Municipal Council and the IFC are making it easier for small businessmen to get licenses to start businesses, an IFC statement said. It said the project could "help promote entrepreneurship and economic growth in an area that is home to one-fifth of the country’s population." more..

Sri Lanka rates spike amid uncertainty: dealers

Dec 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's rates spiked, liquidity tightened and uncertainty heightened amid problems at a Ceylinco group company in a market that was already hurt by unpaid inter bank hedging contracts, dealers said. Bonds maturing in June 2009 which were trading at 18.75/19.00 percent two days ago spiked to 20.00 percent as a private name unwound positions in a search for liquidity, dealers said. more..

Sri Lanka port terminal project moving slowly

Dec 25 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is trying to expedite a long-delayed project to call for private investors to build a new terminal in Colombo port, a senior ministry of ports and aviation official said. Ministry secretary Thosapala Hewage the attorney-general, the chief government legal officer, recently gave his opinion on the request for proposals (RFP) for the new terminal project. more..

Commercial Bank offers Saturday services in northern Jaffna

Dec 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Commercial Bank said it would offer 'Saturday banking' services at its Nelliady branch in the northern Jaffna peninsula, once a hot-bed of Tamil Tiger insurgency. With effect from January 1, 2009, the branch located in MMV Road, Nelliady, will be open on Saturdays from 9.00 a.m. to 1.30. p.m. for the convenience of customers, the bank said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan executive and judiciary at odds

Dec 25 (UPI) The sharp reduction in the world price of oil would be a cause for relief to people in the great majority of countries that are oil importers. The price of oil in the world market has fallen by more than 200 percent. But in Sri Lanka this serendipitous outcome of the global economic downturn has not been passed on to consumers in full or even adequate measure. So far the reduction given has been about 20 percent. more..

'Coming to America' documentary follows foreign princes searching for love

Dec 25 (TMG) The four part documentary is reminiscent of the 1988 film Coming to America which features Eddie Murphy as an African prince who goes to New York City in search of a wife who wil love him for himself, not his royal position. Like Prince Akeem, the three bachelor princes will conceal their aristocratic heritage and pose as ordinary bachelors in the hope of meeting their perfect partners. more..

Violence as a catalyst or an obstacle for peace: The case of Sri Lanka

Dec 25 (TW) Does a ceasefire bring a complete end to violence? A ceasefire is neither surrender nor a victory. It is an agreement, as proof of the conflicting sides’ will to stop violence for a certain period of time, however it does not guarantee that there is no turning back to arms. A peace process, starting with the ceasefire agreement, might be completed if all things go well and violence may be eliminated from the scene. more..

What Sri Lanka can learn from the tsunami

Dec 25 (AN) I can remember it as if it were yesterday. At 4.30am on the 26th of December 2004, my phone woke me up ... It was my mother on the line from Colombo frantically saying there was severe flooding in the east of Sri Lanka and my grandmother had been affected. The rest of that snowy Boxing Day will always be a blur to me as reports came in of the tsunami. more..

U.S. State department updates Sri Lanka warning

Dec 25 (USDS) The Department of State warns American citizens traveling to or living in Sri Lanka about the continuing danger of terrorist attacks throughout the country. The Department of State urges American citizens to evaluate carefully the risks of travel to Sri Lanka and specifically warns Americans against travel to the Northern Province and most of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. All of the Northern Province remains dangerous. more..