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'India has urged Rajapaksa to begin dialogue with Tamils'

Dec 7 (Hindu) India has urged Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to begin a structured dialogue with Tamils and other communities with a view to finding a permanent solution. In a letter to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said that the Sri Lankan Government, during his visit to the island nation, had reaffirmed its commitment to resettle most of the IDPs, numbering around 16,000 to 17,000, before the end of this year. more..

Convention: first shot to be fired at Ranil

Dec 7 (LB) Southern Provincial Councillor Maithree Gunaratne interviewed by LAKBIMAnEWS warns that certain elements in the party are trying to jeopardize the much awaited UNP reforms on December 12 by means of a court order. He says that the persons most effected by the the new constitution would be Ranil Wickremesinghe and his henchmen. ‘So they are exploring possibilities to go to courts but we are also watching out’, he asserts. more..

President lauds Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith’s service to country

Dec 7 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said Catholics as a peace loving fraternity in the country should extend their maximum support to protect and promote the peace won by the country. He added that the true state of affairs related to the country should always be disseminated to the world if peace is to prevail in the country. The President said no one can be honest to the world, if he does not truly love his native land. more..

No price increases in essential goods: Govt.

Dec 7 (DM) The Ministry of Co-operatives and Internal Trade yesterday assured there would be no price increases in essential goods while predicting a drop in rice and onions prices by mid next week. Minister Johnston Fernando said when new rice and onion imports started coming from next week prices of the two commodities would come down after December 15. He said measures were being taken to maintain the price of essential commodities such as chicken, eggs, more..

17% of S’gamuwa teachers report for work late

Dec 7 (DM) A latest survey revealed that about 17% of the teachers in the Sabaragamuwa province report to their work place late, the Director of Education of Sabaragamuwa Province, R. Abeysinghe said. Addressing a seminar on education matters in Ratnapura, he said that 70 schools in the province and 1,170 teachers had been taken in this ‘case study ’. The teachers leaving their work stations before time, leave without prior approval, failure to be present in more..

'Doubling GDP? Rubbish, numbers doctored'

Dec 7 (LB) Senior lecturer of the Department of Economics, University of Colombo Professor Sirimal Abeyratne in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS said that many economists in the country and even foreign investors are sceptical of the economic indicators released by the government authorities. The government is claming that they will double Gross Domestic Product in five years to 14 percent from the projected growth rate of 7 percent in 2010. more..

Ministry to use more locally produced drugs

Dec 7 (DN) The Health Ministry will purchase 2536.7 million tablets in 26 varieties from the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) for next year, a Ministry spokesman said. The spokesman said that Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had ordered Ministry officials to buy the entire production of the SPMC to use at local medical institutions. Earlier, a part of the SPMC drug production was exported to some foreign countries. more..

Swine flu vaccination

Dec 7 (NS) With swine flu (AHINI) figures steadily climbing towards the 200 mark, the Health Ministry early this week sent out instructions to vaccinate all individuals with potential high risk of developing severe disease and complications in the second wave of pandemic influenza to hit the country. The circular giving instructions to make necessary arrangements was sent all Provincial and Regional Directors of Health Services, Directors of Teaching Hospitals and more..

'Has UK become vulnerable to the machinations of LTTE rump?'

Dec 7 (Island) Deputy Minister of Technology and Research Faiszer Musthapha referring to the Oxford Union’s cancellation of the scheduled address by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on December 2, queried whether the United Kingdom had become vulnerable to the machinations of LTTE remnants and its lackeys. Musthapha has issued the following statement regarding the cancellation of President Rajapaksa’s address: more..

Rains to continue, over 66 thousand affected

Dec 7 (Island) Due to the disturbed condition in the atmosphere, showers or thunder showers are expected in most parts of the country during afternoon and night today, Deputy Director of the Department of Meteorology, S. R. Jayasekara said. "Showers will occur mostly in the Northern, North Western, North Central and in the South Western coastal areas," he said. This disturbed condition in the weather will last for the next four days. more..

Don’t politicise Hajj pilgrimage, say Committee members

Dec 7 (DM) Hajj committee members yesterday requested UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe not to allow party members to politicise hajj pilgrimage and related issues. The organizers of the press conference held yesterday at the Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana’s office in Colombo, showed a video clip to Journalists in which Western Provincial Councilor A. J. M. Muzammil criticizing this year’s Hajj arrangement at a UNP press conference weeks back. more..

UNP annual convention may spring a surprise

Dec 7 (ST) Political shadow boxing between rival factions is reaching a peak as the UNP holds its annual sessions next week to adopt a new Constitution. Barring a formal endorsement of a new Constitution, already approved by its main policy making body, the Working Committee, no contentious issues are on the agenda. However, charting a trouble free course during the sessions has become a headache for leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe and his loyalists who form the majority. more..

Sri Lanka port container volume hits new high

Dec 7 (LBO) Container volumes handled by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) hit a record two million in the 11 months to November 2010, up 26.5 percent from a year ago. Total containers handled by the port of Colombo would reach four million TEUs (Twenty-foot container Equivalent Units) before the end of the year, also a new high, the SLPA said. There has been a 37 percent increase in local import and export containers handled by the state-run SLPA terminals and more..

MP hits out at Priyani

Dec 7 (DM) The government yesterday asked what right the former Parliament Secretary General Priyani Wijesekera had to make a statement attributed to her in the Daily Mirror page one report headlined, “Resolution cannot unseat an MP.” United People’s Freedom Alliance MP A.H.M. Azwer raised the matter in parliament whilereferring to a copy of the ‘Daily Mirror’. He said it was unethical for a parliamentary staff officer to make such statements. more..

'No LTTE plot' in UK parliament

Dec 7 (BBC) Organisers of a meeting on Sri Lanka in the House of Commons deny charges that it was a conspiracy against the Sri Lankan government. 'There was no plot hatched,' convener of the meeting, former mayor of Medway Dai Liyanage told BBC Sandesaya. Mr. Liyanage was responding to allegations by Sri Lankan government that its opposition politicians met in the British parliament premises with Tamil Tigers for a conspiracy against Sri Lanka. more..

Mahaweli canals also overflowing

Dec 7 (DM) All canals connected to the Mahaweli reservoirs in the 10 Mahaweli zones have reached overflow level after the sluice gates of the reservoirs were opened. The Victoria reservoir released 900 cubic meters of water a second from the four sluice gates which were each opened 74-centimeters. This was the first time in ten years that such an opening had taken place and farmers in the Mahaweli zone would be able to cultivate the Yala and Maha seasons next year without more..

Sri Lanka's forgotten horrors

Dec 7 (NP) Last month, the National Post published an excerpt from Bob Rae's new book, Exporting Democracy, in which Mr. Rae explained the roots of Sri Lanka's civil conflict. "The stubbornness of the Sinhalese majority created the conditions for a turn to violence by the Tamil minority in the 1970s, and a militant cult of personality and exclusionary nationalism on the part of the LTTE set the country on a course of conflict that proved irreversible," Mr. Rae wrote. more..

Boston Lanka News: Dec. 07, 2010

Court Martial a court or not: SC decision on Thur.

Dec 7 (DM) The Supreme Court will decide on Thursday, whether the Court Martial is a Court after the Court of Appeal sought a constitutional interpretation from the Supreme Court following a writ application filed by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Although the ruling was to be delivered yesterday, it was re-fixed as Chief Justice Asoka De Silva could not attend Court proceedings since he had to attend a State function. more..

Top public servants warn of TU action

Dec 7 (DM) More than 50,000 public sector professionals have warned the government they would resort to tough trade union action to obtain a salary in line with their academic and professional qualifications and the service they rendered to the country. Professional associations told Daily Mirror the five per cent non pensionable salary increase and the Rs.600 increase in cost of living allowance offered in the 2011 budget did not come anywhere near the minimum salary increase more..

'London fiasco despite hiring Bell Pottinger for 3 mn pounds'

Dec 7 (Island) Even after hiring Bell Pottinger, an international PR firm, at a cost of three million pounds, the government had made a total mess of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to London, last week, to address the Oxford Union, which was cancelled at the eleventh hour, the UNP said yesterday. UNP MP Harin Fernando said that instead of trying to make the UNP a scapegoat, the Rajapaksa regime should turn the searchlight inwards and admit its stupidity, more..

Rizana Nafeek’s death sentence suspended

Dec 7 (AD) The Death Sentence of Lankan House maid Rizana Nafeek has been suspended by the Saudi King following the request for amnesty by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Dilan Perera said in parliament a short while ago. Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera stated in Parliament that according to the Sharia law there is no amnesty for the offence however the death sentence has been suspended. more..

British Defence Secretary to visit Sri Lanka

Dec 7 (PTI) British Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox is to visit Sri Lanka later this month to deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture, a local media report has said. The widow of the late foreign minister has confirmed to one of the local TV channels, that Dr Fox will deliver the memorial lecture in Colombo on December 18. Kadirgamar was assassinated in 2005 despite the government and the LTTE then observing the Norway brokered ceasefire. more..

EU, UN to continue supporting SL

Dec 7 (Island) Visiting Europeaid Asia Director Dirk Meganck yesterday said the European Union and the United Nations had not only supported Sri Lanka during times of difficulty and war but would continue to assist the country in its post-conflict development. Speaking at the launch of EU-UN Documentary, at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies in Colombo, he said the joint partnership between UN and the EU has proved to be successful. more..

Karu replies to the paper which missed quotes him

Dec 7 (LG) In the absence of the Editor in Chief of The Sunday Island, I have made several attempts to contact you on Sunday, December 4, 2010. Since you were not responding to my telephone calls, I subsequently spoke with Mr. Shamindra Ferdinando of your Editorial Staff. I lodged my protest in the strongest possible terms with Mr. Ferdinando, over the page headline in The Sunday Island of December 4, 2010 more..

Sri Lankans offered Indian medical tourism packages

Dec 8 (LBO) A range of medical treatment presently unavailable in the island will be made available to Sri Lankans in neighboring India at an affordable cost, a newly launched health tourism company said. "Our aim is to offer high quality health care at an affordable cost to middle income families," Manilal Fernando, chairman, Comfort Health Care said. "What we are offering is a home to home service, where the patient leaves home, gets the treatment in India and comes back home safely," more..

SLC’s senseless decision forces Hathurusinghe to migrate

Dec 8 (Island) Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara may have admitted that in the post Trevor Bayliss era after next year’s Cricket World Cup, Chandika Hathurusinghe had the credentials to take over as the Head Coach of the national cricket team, but after the administrators removed him from the position of Shadow Coach of the national team, the former opener has made up his mind to migrate to Sydney, Australia in search of greener pastures. more..

Sri Lanka's displaced: Numbers dwindling, says UN

Dec 8 (BBC) The UN in Sri Lanka says that the number of internally displaced people living in camps outside the former war zone has dropped drastically. The announcement comes 18 months after the war ended and a year after camp-dwellers in the north were given some freedom of movement. There are now about 20,000 refugees who are still not resettled and living in the Menik Farm camp. That compares with more than 300,000 people when the fighting ended. more..

Sri Lanka may permit foreign investments in short tenor debt

Dec 8 (BN) Sri Lanka may allow overseas investors to buy “shorter tenor” corporate debt as part of measures to ease foreign-exchange controls, central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka last month allowed foreign investors to buy listed and rated corporate debentures, a step aimed at developing its capital markets and accelerating economic growth as the South Asian nation emerges from a 26-year civil war. more..

Those involved in thuggery can bring no glory, says Sarath Fonseka

Dec 8 (NF) The deliberations scheduled to be held by a panel of five Supreme Court judges on whether or not the court martial is a court established through the Constitution, which was scheduled for yesterday, has been postponed for the 9th of this month. Accordingly, former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, arrived in court. However, the proceedings were postponed since Chief Justice Ashoka N. De Silva had to participate in other official work. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.12.2010

Govt allocate Rs. 45 Million for flood and landslide relief

Dec 8 (RW) The government has allocated Rs. 45 million for flood and landslide relief activities. The number of persons affected as of this morning amounts to 94,862 belonging to 24,075 families. The Additional Director of Disaster Management Mr. Pradeep Kodippili said 7,784 persons belonging to 2,059 families are presently housed in 48 Welfare Centres throughout the island. The number of houses damaged amounts to 3,989 of which 309 houses have been completely damaged and more..

Four deaths and 235 A (H1N1) cases reported since September

Dec 8 (LP) Nearly 235 A (H1N1) patients have been reported from the island since 20th of September 2010 up to date said the Epidemiology Unit. Four deaths have occurred during this period said Dr Sudath Peries. He also said that 61 A(H1N1) patients have been identified since the 22nd of November this year. There is a tendency of more reports of A (H1N1) influenza cases since the month of September said Dr Peries. more..

UNP cannot discipline its MPs supporting govt. - court

Dec 8 (AD) Today the enjoining order issued preventing the UNP from canceling the membership of A.R.M. Abdul Cader was extended till January 11 with conditions by the Colombo District Court. The respondents, the UNP, had raised initial objections requesting that the enjoining order be removed. However the objections were dismissed by the District Court which then pronounced that the enjoining order will be extended. more..

Vickramabahu’s supporters assaulted after greeting him at BIA

Dec 8 (AD) A group of Vickramabahu Karunarathne’s supporters were assaulted today after they left Bandaranaike International Airport(BIA), Vickramabahu said. He added that the group had held a welcoming ceremony at the airport when he returned to the country today and after which they were attack outside the airport. Karunarathne claimed that the gang that assaulted his supporters was backed by a government MP and that he had informed the police of the incident. more..

Secretary Defence ceremonially opens the Naval and Maritime exhibition

Dec 8 (SLN) Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa ceremonially opened the Naval and Maritime exhibition held in view of the Sri Lanka Navy’s 60th anniversary, yesterday (05) around 05p.m. He was received by the Commander of the Navy upon his arrival at the Light House exhibition venue. The Secretary Defence was accompanied by Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasooriya, more..

G.L reiterates Nepal invite

Dec 8 (NN) External Affairs Minister G. L Peiris today reiterated that Sri Lanka was invited by Nepal to mediate in the crisis in that country, despite the Nepal government denying that such a request was put forward. He said that the invitation was put forward by the Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Minister Peiris had made a similar claim recently but the claim was swiftly rejected by the Nepal government calling it baseless. more..

Ignorance of looming threat of UN backed war crime trial and indulgence in rule by deception

Dec 8 (LG) President Rajapakse was forced to return home from his bitter trip to London in disgrace amidst real possibility of being arrested in the UK; the first victim on whom the issuing of arrest warrant was imminent for alleged war crimes was one of the Major Generals who was in the President’s entourage. The criminal law set in motion by the British Tamil Forum (BTF) would have been a certain success if not for more..

Meeting a crucial need

Dec 8 (LG) A lawyer who doesn’t like to go to court, Harshi Chithrangi Perera is a human rights activist who spends her time helping victims of torture. Despite the seriousness of her profession, Harshi comes out to those who meet her as a chatty, bubbly person who is dedicated to her work. The treasurer of Janasansadaya or People’s Forum that is situated in Panadura, Harshi’s work involves the rights of torture victims and also women’s and children’s rights. more..

Naval representatives from many countries meet Secretary Defence

Dec 8 (MoD) Naval representatives from UAE, France, and Iran paid courtesy calls to Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa at his office today evening (07). Accordingly, the Chief of UAE Navy Naval Staff Brigadier Ibrahim Salim Al-Musharrakh, Vice Admiral Marin Gillier Mission in Charge to CDS of French Navy, and Rear Admiral Gholam Rezalohadem Bigham Iranian Naval Representative meet the Secretary Defence. more..