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The fallout from the Oxford circus

Dec 8 (LG) He came, he saw but he certainly did not conquer. The debacle will surely result in more than one head rolling at the guillotine – some in London while others in Colombo. Personally I hope it will not be that of the learned High Commissioner Nihal Jayasinghe. Many a times I thought he defended the regime exceptionally well on the international electronic media. Some of us thought he displayed the brilliant characteristics of a lawyer with more..

President holds key to turning world opinion around

Dec 8 (LG) The events that occurred during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to the United Kingdom ought to serve as an early warning to the Sri Lankan government. There is a negative portrayal about the situation in Sri Lanka that is growing especially in the Western world as well as other parts of the world that have access to Western media. This is a problem that needs to be addressed or else there is a danger that what happened at Heathrow airport, more..

Will Mahinda learn some lessons from London 'fiasco'?

Dec 8 (TC) The events that occurred during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to the United Kingdom ought to serve as an early warning to the Sri Lankan government. There is a negative portrayal about the situation in Sri Lanka that is growing especially in the Western world as well as other parts of the world that have access to Western media. This is a problem that needs to be addressed or else there is a danger that what happened at Heathrow airport, more..

The Snake is dead; why still keep awake looking at the Roof?

Dec 8 (TC) The snake is dead. This is what the authorities have been emphasizing from May 17, 2009 and we believe so without any reservation. Road check posts are removed in many places and identity card is asked for randomly by the soldiers who are seen in few points. The Galle Face Green is open to strolling public and one should see the local crowd of all ethnicity especially the minority Tamils and Muslims in a joyful mood, in addition to few Indian and other country tourists. more..

Let’s be real about WikiLeaks, shall we?

Dec 8 (LB) First some caveats. I am not gung-ho about WikiLeaks. As someone pointed out, much of the pernicious intent of US diplomats and the atrocities committed against innocent peoples all over the world and especially in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent times, is known. Even a regular browsing of mainstream media by someone emboldened with an iota of intelligence and the most rudimentary of skills in reading between the lines would have been sufficient to more..

'Support from NGOs crucial for Lanka'

Dec 8 (NS) After observing the events that unfolded last week, if someone mistook Sri Lanka for still being a colony of the British, it would be unfair to criticise that assumption. Initially, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited to address the prestigious Oxford Union in the United Kingdom, but then bringing back memories of colonial harassment from over 60 years ago, Sri Lanka’s First Citizen was told that he was no longer wanted at the Oxford Union, and more..

Debt and deficit may undermine development strategy

Dec 8 (LB) Economic policy has set off in a new direction; that’s the underlying message of the 2011 Budget. The government’s new game-plan is obviously not the same as the inward oriented self-sufficiency model of Mrs B’s coalition, nor the populism of SWRD, Premadasa and for that matter Chandrika’s early period. What is more interesting is that though the new policy signals a rightward turn, it is not a return to JR’s neo-liberalism either more..

On being Tamils and Sri Lankans

Dec 8 (NS) With his speech in Jaffna on November 27 Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna seems to have touched the hearts and minds of the Tamil people. Tamil media has commented favourably about Krishna’s speech and the reaction from the Tamil public is positive. Krishna touched the heat strings of the Tamil people by referring to Arumuga Navalar and C W Thamotharampillai and their services to the Tamil language and people in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. more..

SL Navy celebrates Diamond Jubilee

Dec 8 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee on 9th of December, giving prominence to religious activities and time-honoured naval customs and traditions. The Naval and Maritime Exhibition organized in view of the SLN's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, commenced on 04th December at the Colombo Light House premises. The exhibition is open for the public from December 4th to the 12th. The exhibitions includes educational stalls showcasing more..

Editorial : Vital democratic struggle of our times

Dec 8 (DM) Proponents of the globalized market economy system in the West argue that this system is a natural evolutionary process which brings prosperity and growth embracing all people and knitting them into a global village. These experts also say the people of the developing Third World countries are given an opportunity to join the global village. It is argued that only by participating in global markets do the Third World people get access to jobs and livelihood. more..

Editorial : Let the deserving be promoted

Dec 8 (Island) The Sri Lanka Navy, which has done this country proud, is preparing for its 60th anniversary celebrations on a grand scale. The role that the Navy played in defeating terrorism is only too well known to merit repetition. But, a fact that usually goes unstressed in discussions on Sri Lanka’s victory over terrorism is that though Prabhakaran had been planning to fight the final battle in the sea, the Navy crippled his much flaunted naval capability more..

'Biggest betrayal of war heroes was jailing of SF'

Dec 8 (Island) The biggest betrayal of the war heroes was the jailing of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday. He made this comment during the tense moments that cropped up over a statement made by UNP Deputy leader MP Karu Jayasuriya, published in The Sunday Island, which quoted him as saying that war crimes committed in Sri Lanka must be investigated. more..

WikiLeaks? Rajapaksas can keep cool, unless…

Dec 8 (SL) President Rajapaksa’s London visit with his historic second address before the Oxford University Student Union handled by the London based Bell-Pottinger group’s PR outfit, in a bid to boost his rusty international image, ran into massive “war crimes” protests from Heathrow Airport to Oxford, compelling the Oxford Student Union to cancel the oration on December 2, “on security reasons”. The cancellation ruffled the Presidential confidence so much, more..

Miracle In The Making

Dec 8 (SL) It is the first week of December and what has been quite an eventful year is coming to a close. As such, a little reminiscing of the year that was, is in order. Kicking off the year 2010 was the acrimonious presidential election, which was held on January 26. Mahinda Rajapaksa comfortably won that election but contrary to what he promised pre-election he has done the opposite January through to December. The budget, the icing on the presidential cake for 2010, more..

Interview III - Ibrahim Hussein Mohamed

Religious leaders take to the streets in Sri Lanka

Dec 8 (UCAN) Religious leaders are instrumental in solving problems in society, say religious leaders at an interreligious peace rally organized by the Catholic Church’s social arm in Sri Lanka’s central province. “Religious leaders could play a pivotal role to bridge differences and create mutually useful relations,” said the leaders, who joined the silent peace walk organized by Caritas Kandy on Dec. 2 to address issues in post-war Sri Lanka. more..

Caritas builds jungle homes for displaced Hindus

Dec 8 (UCAN) A Caritas Belgium home building program near Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka is enabling displaced landless Hindu families return to their traditional home regions. Caritas officials have cleared a jungle and are now carrying building materials along dirt roads to build 45 houses at a cost of 19 million rupees (US$170,000) said Samithamby Oliver Jeyanandan, coordinator of Caritas Batticaloa. A Caritas Belgium team has visited the four remote jungle villages more..

Traditional Sri Lankan Christmas play preserves culture

Dec 8 (UCAN) Chilaw diocese in Sri Lanka’s western coastal area has launched this year’s Christmas celebrations with a traditional Nativity play. The historical play Rajathun Kattuwa (Three Kings) tells the story of the Magi’s visit to the infant Jesus. Performers singing classical hymns and playing drums in the Nadagam play mesmerized the large audience at the Chilaw diocesan theater on Dec. 1. more..

Major shake up at Prisons Dept, but gates wide open for heroin at Welikada

Dec 8 (NS) Despite recent changes made to several high positions in the Department of Prisons, the Welikada Prison continues to be a hot spot in the heroin traffic in the country, according to reliable reports. The authorities concerned have so far miserably failed to dismantle the conduits enabling the passage of millions-worth of heroin into the high walled Welikada Prisons on a regular basis. Prison officials who are keen on seeing an end to the peddling of more..

MPs families to get big insurance cover

Dec 8 (Island) The government is considering extending the one million-rupee insurance cover given to the members of parliament to their immediate family members as well, Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena told Parliament yesterday. She said MPs had made a request that the insurance cover be extended to cover their spouses and children. The matter is still under discussion, Minister Jayasena said during the committee stage debate on the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry. more..

International Naval ships arrive at Colombo

Dec 8 (SLN) Naval ships of the participating Navies at the International Fleet Review and International Sail Past have arrived at the port of Colombo. The eight Naval ships from Bangaladesh, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Russia and Thailand Navies were ceremonially welcomed upon their arrival at the Colombo harbor. The International Fleet Review and Sail Past held in view of the Sri Lanka Navy’s 60th anniversary will be held on 09th and 11th of December more..

Over 15,000 cancer patients identified yearly

Dec 8 (DN) A total of 15,000 cancer patients are identified in Sri Lanka a year, of which 24 percent are women with breast cancer, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Addressing a ceremony to mark the commissioning of the Mammography Machine at the Cancer Early Detection Centre yesterday, the Minister said that a large number of women suffer from breast cancer and most are between the ages of 25 and 45. "Most women are unaware of the danger of breast cancer," he said. more..

Woman posed off as man and married: Police

Dec 8 (ST) A woman who posed off as man and married another woman in Matara was produced before the Matara Magistrates court today. The woman had married a year back, but had kept it a secret to the woman she married until recently. After it was revealed that a woman was posing off as a man she had left the house. Few weeks later she was arrested for a robbery in the Kadawatha area which she had carried out again posing off as a male. more..

Govt. to revise bus fares, establish concessionary rates: Minister

Dec 8 (DM) The Minister of Private Transport Services C.B. Ratnayake told Parliament yesterday the government was considering revising bus fares to introduce a concessionary rate during the peak hours for the private and public workers. Speaking during the committee stage debate on the Budget in the House yesterday, Minister Ratnayake cited an example stating the concessionary rate would come into force from 6 am to 8 am. more..

Voluntary Retirement Scheme for port workers

Dec 8 (Island) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has taken precautions against repeating its 2003 mistake of retiring all employees under the Voluntary Retirement Schemes resulting in the Port losing the majority of its technically qualified personnel and professionals, Managing Director of the SLPA Capt Nihal Keppettipola said. He said that SLPA Chairman Dr Priyath Bandu Wickrema has stipulated certain conditions for the VRS. more..

60% of Lankans would be dependants in two decades

Dec 8 (DM) The Minister of Productivity Development informed Parliament yesterday that 60 percent of Sri Lanka’s population would be dependants in two decades. Speaking during the committee stage debate of the budget in the House yesterday, Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said the dependents are currently 30 percent of the population. This level of dependents in the population will not remain at this level for many more years, as it is gradually increasing”, he said. more..

Chinese destroyer Lanzhou arrives in Sri Lanka

Dec 8 (Xinhua) Chinese missile destroyer Lanzhou arrived at Sri Lanka's Colombo port on Tuesday for a five-day visit. The destroyer Lanzhou, just ending a five-month escort task in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, would attend the celebrations for the Sri Lankan navy's 60th anniversary, which falls on Thursday. Warships from India, Pakistan and Russia also arrived at the Colombo port Tuesday to attend the anniversary celebrations. more..

On Sri Lanka, ICC prosecution could be an option for state party nationals

Dec 8 (ICP) With International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo at the UN on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked him about the killings in Sri Lanka and if and when the ICC could take action. Ocampo began with the obvious, that Sri Lanka is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. But as Inner City Press pointed out in its question, several of those suspected of war crimes in Sri Lanka have dual citizenship, some with countries that ARE members of the ICC. more..

New power tariffs worry hospitality industrialists

Dec 8 (Island) A section of the hospitality industry is concerned over the proposed increase in the electricity tariffs targeting the industry from next month. President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka Anura Lokuhetty yesterday told The Island that the new electricity tariffs would cause an increase of 60-70 per cent. The official said it would have an adverse impact on the industry at a time the government was making a determined bid to attract more tourists. more..

Latest destination for adventure cruise company Zegrahm: Sri Lanka

Dec 8 (UT) Looking for an off-the-beaten-path cruise destination in 2011? You'll want to take a look at the latest offerings from Zegrahm Expeditions. The adventure cruise operator is rolling out a series of voyages that include stops in little-visited Sri Lanka -- a first for the 20-year-old company. Zegrahm says the new itineraries will give adventure travelers the chance to explore Sri Lanka's lush tropical forests, more..

UN General Assembly speech: Cuban Envoy thanks President Rajapaksa

Dec 8 (DN) The people and the Cuban Government are thankful to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the speech he made at the UN General Assembly regarding the lifting of economic blockade against Cuba by the United States, said Cuban Ambassador Nisrsia Castro Guevara. She was speaking at a discussion to explain the changes and new development of the Cuban economy to members of Sri Lanka-Cuba friendship Association, Matale Branch. more..

Govt. hails Sajith’s statement

Dec 8 (DM) The government yesterday hailed UNP MP Sajith Premadasa for his statement that only the LTTE had committed war crimes. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the UNP had taken such patriotic stances under its former leaders D.S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake and R. Premadasa. “The UNP should change its outlook as a party. Otherwise, it will not be able to make headway in politics,” he said during the committee stage of the budget debate in parliament. more..

President at launch of commemorative volume: Mrs B saved people’s victory

Dec 8 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the victories won by the people in 1956 could have been reversed if Late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike did not come to power. He added that Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike strengthened the victories won by the people in the 1956 renaissance under the leadership of Late Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike. He said the people who under went untold hardships under the colonial rule for more..

Judge ill; Udul’s bail plea put off for today

Dec 8 (DM) The inquiry into the bail application by Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) convener Udul Premaratne was put off for today as the inquiring High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse was ill yesterday. Mr. Premaratne has spent about 60 days in remand over allegations of having damaged public property valued at Rs.152,834 during the October 14 demonstration at the University Grants Commission premises. more..

GL refutes Opposition claim British Embassy pulling out

Dec 8 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris refuted the opposition’s claims in parliament that the British High Commission in Colombo may close down soon. "This is a blatant untruth. The British High Commission is not closing down," Prof. Peiris said. He was responding to a claim by UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella that he had reliable information that the British High Commission in Colombo may close down. MP Kiriella said the Swedish mission in Colombo had been closed down in June as well. more..

UNP Files motion calling for PSC on CGW’s allegations

Dec 8 (Island) The UNP yesterday handed over a motion, to the office of Secretary General of Parliament, seeking the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to verify the truth behind a statement made by the Chief Government Whip Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on MP Jayalath Jayawardene’s alleged involvement in pro-LTTE protests in London leading to the cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the Oxford Union. more..

UN report next month

Dec 8 (Island) The panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to advise him on matters related to Sri Lanka will submit its final report to the UN Chief next month. The Secretariat of the Panel of Experts said that once the report is handed over to the UN Chief it will be upto him to decide if he wants the contents of the report to be made public. The Secretariat noted that the identity of those who put forward submissions to the panel, however, will be kept confidential. more..

Thai police arrest 45 Sri Lankan migrants

Dec 8 (AFP) Thai authorities said Wednesday they had arrested 45 migrants from Sri Lanka in the latest of a series of crackdowns in recent months. The Sri Lankans, who were rounded up at a crowded apartment in a Bangkok suburb, appear to be economic migrants hoping to travel to a third country, said Police Major General Manu Mekmok, of Thailand's Immigration Bureau. "They either overstayed their visas or entered illegally," he said. more..

Govt cash flow deficit expands 3.5%

Dec 8 (Island) The government’s cash flow operations during the first nine months of the year saw revenue increase and outflows reduce including investments, except for operational activities, which resulted in the expansion of the overall cash deficit. The overall cash deficit of Treasury operations expanded 10.3 percent to Rs. 62.1 billion during the first nine months of this year, from a target of Rs. 56.3 billion. This deficit was a 3.5 percent increase more..

West didn’t help to end war: Nimal

Dec 8 (DM) The government could not have successfully completed the war had it listened to Western nations, Leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said in Parliament yesterday. “If we had listened to the west, we could not have achieved anything through these humanitarian operations,” he said. The Leader of the House was responding to a statement made by UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya. more..