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UNP, Govt. want select committee to probe Jayalath

Dec 8 (DM) The govt and the UNP handed over separate motions to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa asking for a Parliamentary Select Committees to probe allegations against UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardane. 78 MPs, including Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala De Silva, had signed the motion submitted by the govt. Mr. Gunawardane said that he had met the Speaker to discuss matters pertaining to the Select Committee. more..

President braved it to accept UK invite

Dec 8 (DM) External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris admitted in Parliament yesterday that there were requests from various quarters asking President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to visit the UK to address the Oxford Union. However, the Minister did not specify the quarters that advised the President against the Oxford Union meeting which was cancelled due to protests by LTTE activists. Also, he did not specifically respond to UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella’s question whether more..

Karu J told go before LLRC with evidence

Dec 8 (Island) The government yesterday asked UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya to go before the Lessons Learnt and Reconcilliation Commission and produce whatever evidence he had, if any on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told the UNP MP that he should have made use of the LLRC rather than issuing statements on alleged war crimes and tarnishing the image of the country. more..

Official press release: The cancellation of 2nd Address of President Rajapaksa at the Oxford Union

Dec 8 (IL) There are many misconceptions about the cancellation of the second address of HE Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa was invited by James Kingston, Michaelmas Term President of the Oxford Union to address its members for a second time by a letter dated 8th September 2010. This was in conjunction with the Oxford University Sri Lanka Society as joint organizers. more..

Lanka rules out defence agreement with Pakistan

Dec 8 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka will not enter into a Defence Cooperation Agreement with Pakistan. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that the government hadn’t even discussed the possibility of a DCA with Pakistan during the recently concluded visit to Colombo by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. President Mahinda Rajapaksa hadn’t discussed any defence related proposal with his Pakistani counterpart, more..

Sri Lanka government calls opposition MP a 'traitor'

Dec 9 (BBC) Sri Lanka's government has called a senior opposition leader a "traitor" after he wrote an article saying that the country should investigate "the many allegations against us". A no-confidence motion is planned against the deputy leader of the UNP, Karu Jayasuriya. Officials say there are also plans to investigate a second UNP lawmaker. Government MPs have accused him of helping organise protests in the UK against President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lanka rupee appreciation in 'national interest': CB governor

Dec 9 (LBO) The Sri Lankan rupee was allowed to appreciate against the dollar in the 'national interest' with the government having to balance conflicting interests, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. The previous policy of depreciating the rupee about 10 percent annually, although helping exporters temporarily, only led to the weakening of the economy, he told a forum on the outlook for exports organized by the Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka to boycott noble ceremony

Dec 9 (HT) Sri Lanka will boycott Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo to felicitate a jailed Chinese dissident. While no one from the Lankan Ministry of External Affairs was willing to comment on record, a senior official, on condition of anonymity, said the government had finalised the decision not to attend the ceremony where jailed dissident, Liu Xiaobao, will be given the award. "The decision was taken to show our solidarity with China. more..

No Wage Hike For Pvt. Sector

Dec 9 (SL) Labor Minister Gamini Lokuge has said that if the private sector is to grant a salary increase, it should be done through the wages boards. He has said that over 310,000 employees of semi government institutions were not entitled to the five per cent non pensionable salary increase or the cost of living (CoL) allowance of Rs.600 given to public servants through the 2011 Budget. Lokuge has been quoted in the media saying that it was up to the management more..

Sri Lanka runs out of chicken as tourists flock to island

Dec 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka is set to import chicken for the first time in over two decades as consumption zooms due to a tourist bonanza and rising incomes on the formerly war-ravaged island, a minister said Wednesday. Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said he had ordered the import of 2,500 tonnes of chicken and 50 million eggs to meet the demand during the upcoming Christmas holiday season. The number of foreign holiday makers has increased by 43.5 percent in more..

Sri Lanka-West Indies ODIs to be postponed

Dec 9 (CB) After all three Tests of the Sri Lanka-West Indies series were badly affected by rain, resulting in a 0-0 draw, Sri Lanka cricket has told the West Indies board that it is willing to postpone the scheduled five-match ODI series. The series was scheduled to start on Thursday, 9 December, but the continuous rain has meant that none of the teams could hold any outdoor practice session, even though both arrived at the venue more..

'Policy of appointing best person as Principal seems to be wavering'

Dec 9 (NF) The policy I adopted in appointing the most suitable persons to posts of principal seems to be wavering, says Reginald Cooray, Minister of Minor Export Crops Promotion yesterday. He was addressing a function held to launch the website of the Alutgama Sri Gnanissara Maha Vidyalaya. Students who had excelled both in academic and extra curricular activities were also felicitated at this function. more..

Uproar forces Speaker to suspend sitting for 15 minutes

Dec 9 (NF) Following an argument that erupted between the government and the Opposition in parliament this morning, the Speaker had to suspent sittings for 15 minutes. The tense situation arose when minister Susil Premajayantha presented a ministry release regarding the Deputy Leader of the United National Party Karu Jayasuriya to the parliament. Since his name was mentioned, MP Karu Jayasuriya stood up to present facts. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief 08 12 2010

Witch hunting at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London

Dec 9 (LG) According to a confidential source in the Sri Lanka High Commission, the External Affairs Ministry following pressure from the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse has instructed the Defence Staff of the SLHC to undertake a full inquiry into the leaking of information from the Mission to the media. The embarrassment caused following revelation of the proceedings of the secret meeting of the President with his party activists and friends quoting names of individuals and more..

Professor R.A.L.H.(Leslie) Gunawardana: an appreciation of his life and scholarly contribution

Dec 9 (LG) I was saddened to hear the news of the death on 16 November of Leslie Gunawardana, someone whom I knew from our Peradeniya days and with whom I have maintained a long friendship even when I, unlike Leslie, lived and worked in the US for much of the time. He was ill for a long period and was undergoing daily dialysis and all of us knew, as indeed he did, that he would not last very long. more..

'Proficiency in Sinhala and Tamil will be a must for public sector recruitment in future'

Dec 9 (TC) ‘A bilingual capability, or a knowledge of Sinhala and Tamil, will be a prerequisite for those aspiring for recruitment to the country’s public sector in the future. Right now, however, emphasis will be placed on public servants acquiring proficiency in Sinhala and Tamil and incentives, such as salary increments, will be granted those officials who acquire this bilingual capability’, more..

When the powerful lose their marbles

Dec 9 (DM) After spending a long and suffocating night shackled to a chain of apprehension, it was a relief for the people of the village when dawn came. The occasional sound of shots and the regular calls–strange man made calls–in the exchange of messages in some type of code in the darkness had made the night tense and nerve racking. All nights were like that. Though parents prod their children awake to go to school when it becomes just light outside, today they refrained from doing so. more..

Londons lessons learnt

Dec 9 (DM) I don’t know about you but what struck me most about the recent drama in London was the ubiquity of the Tiger flag, with its 32 bullets and crossed rifles. This was not a protest by ‘suffering’ Tamils and associated solidarity groups. This was a protest by Tiger supporters, waving the Tiger flag. The Tigers are a proscribed and notoriously terrorist group which has fielded more suicide bombers than any combination of Islamist fanatics. more..

Measures taken to assist the Fishing Community during off-seasons

Dec 9 (GDI) Alternative measures have been taken to safeguard the economy of the fisher community during the off season. Funds from the revolving account will be provided to them for engagement in income generating activities during the off season. This was stated by the Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday. He said that the Fisheries Ministry has also implemented several programmes aimed to improve the livelihood of fisher women as well. more..

Clarification relating to the appeal for pardon for Rizana Nafeek

Dec 9 (LG) The campaign to seek pardon for Rizana Nafeek needs to be continued as there has been no change in her situation. Her file is now pending before His Royal Highness the King of Saudi Arabia who can make one of the following three decisions: * To pardon and release her, * To reconfirm the death sentence, in which case the execution will be imminent, * To leave the file without a decision. more..

We have so little time to think of the Disabled

Dec 9 (DM) The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is annually observed on December 3, with an objective to promote an awareness of disability issues, the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities and integration of persons with disabilities in the main stream of each aspect of the social, political, economic and cultural status of their communities. Sri Lanka has yet to take cognizance of the fact that as a country we tend to sympathize with the disabled, more..

'Karuna group behind more abductions, cash demands for release'

Dec 9 (LB) The desire of ordinary womenfolk in the war affected areas to talk about their loss and grievances was more than obvious at the LLRC sessions in Trincomalee. Despite the heavy rains and the fact that many villages, including Thambalagamuwa and Kappathurei, had not received information about the LLRC sessions and venues hundreds gathered to give submissions at the first session held at Trincomalee Kachcheri. more..

Editorial: Assange arrested, terrorists pampered

Dec 9 (Island) Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in the UK on a Swedish warrant and he is resisting an attempt to extradite him to Sweden to stand trial for an alleged sex offence, which he dismisses as part of a witch hunt against him because of his expose of US defence and diplomatic files. He demands to know why the messenger should be shot. Whether Assange has committed such an offence one may not know, but one thing is patently clear; more..

Editorial: Celebrating the ‘defenders’ who fail to protect the innocents

Dec 9 (DM) As the world celebrates the World Human Rights Day tomorrow, it is a fitting celebration for us in Sri Lanka to appreciate the grant of pardon to young Rizana condemned to death in Saudi Arabia. It is indeed a welcome gesture on the part of the Saudi authorities to grant her basic right to life; one denied many hundreds of thousands of men, women and children due to war, terrorism and other forms of violence. more..

To overcome energy shortage: No choice, but alternatives poor

Dec 9 (LB) Deputy Director General of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) Harsha Wickremasinghe says that there are many resources which could be used for power generation and one such resource to be exploited is wind power. Q: What is the prime task entrusted to the SLSEA with regard to the power and energy sectors? A: The two main tasks entrusted to the SLSEA are the development of indigenous renewable energy resources and more..

Sri Lanka a ‘Unique Frontier,’ Guardian Fund’s Fernando says

Dec 9 (BN) Ruvini Fernando, chief executive officer of Guardian Fund Management Ltd., which yesterday re- launched the U.S. dollar-denominated Sri Lanka Fund, comments on the South Asian island’s stock market and economy. Fernando spoke in a telephone interview from Colombo. Sri Lanka’s benchmark Colombo All-Share Index has climbed more than 90 percent this year, lagging behind only Mongolia among global benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg. more..

Coming to terms with causes and effects

Dec 9 (Island) Those designated ‘minorities’ because of ethnicity, religion and/or language all have a genuine and long-standing grievance against every government that has ruled this country since 1948 and more especially after 1956. All the people inhabiting this Island and calling it ‘home’ were discriminated against in varying degrees by the colonial powers who ruled it for 443 years. No single foreign power ever acknowledged or treated the people of this country as its equals. more..

The Disappeared

Dec 9 (NS) The smell of half burnt bodies running raw into nostrils, the sights of tyre pyres and the endless weeping of families are not so hard to recall because it is not so long ago Sri Lanka was smeared with tears and blood due to the insurgencies in the 70s and 80s. The tension that prevailed in this island which was once called the paradise of tears is unforgettable as many suffered the trauma and ordeal it left behind. more..

Forgetting the poor in the development process

Dec 9 (ST) Budget debates on development come and go, but poverty remains in spite of the rhetoric of economic objectives being to reduce poverty. The development policy of the Mahinda Chintanaya places considerable emphasis on poverty reduction and reduction of urban rural income differentials through overall economic growth, rural development agricultural strategies and development of rural infrastructure. Yet there are some concerns as to whether the more..

Foreign job body protests over not being invited

Dec 9 (ST) Representatives of the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) have protested that the association was not invited to Friday’s official swearing in of the new Foreign Employment Minister, Dilan Perera. ALFEA secretary Faizer Mackeen said the association has always been invited to official functions relating to foreign employment, and blamed the omission on red-tape bureaucracy and lethargy at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLFEB). more..

White Flag Trial-at-Bar: Ruling on Derana CDs containing SF’s Ratnapura speech reserved

Dec 9 (Island) The Trial-at-Bar hearing the ‘White Flag’ case on Wednesday reserved the ruling on the Derana CDs, which contained defeated Opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka’s speech at Ratnapura on Dec. 23, 2009, for Dec. 16 at 11.00 a.m. Defence Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty objected to a move by the prosecution to play an edited version of Gen. Fonseka’s speech in Colombo High Court. more..

Windfall for local contractors

Dec 9 (DN) The State Engineering Corporation (SEC) will give priority to local manufacturers and contractors when doing purchases for engineering projects in the future. State Engineering Corporation Chairman Prof Ashu Marasinghe said Cabinet approval has been granted recently to give priority to local products at the purchases made by State institutions. It has been decided that the State Engineering Corporation will follow this decision at its purchases. more..

Fresh bids called for CCC property

Dec 9 (ST) The Government has called fresh bids to close the deal on the controversial sale of the Colombo Commercial Company (CCC) property facing the Beira Lake, with a decision on the highest bidder to be made by the UDA which comes under the Defence Ministry. The Finance Ministry was also involved (along with the UDA) in the evaluation process but not anymore. These bids received from several local and foreign investors are now being evaluated, more..

Elephant Pass Sri Lanka

The East is rising and Sri Lanka is its star

Dec 9 (MC) With property markets in the USA, Europe and the Middle East suffering an unprecedented crash and financial markets in a state of flux, it is understandable that investors consider secure investments enabling recovery of losses and ongoing high yields a distant memory. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whilst the West and Middle East may be firmly stuck in the ‘Doldrums' for years to come, the East is continuing to flourish beyond all expectations. more..

Sathosa to build hotel in Jaffna

Dec 9 (Island) Lanka Sathosa Limited is planning to construct a 3-star hotel in Jaffna in a joint venture with the Building Materials Corporation (BMC) next year (2011) and also propose to expand the local purchase of green gram, cowpea and big onions. They also hope to set up 100 Lanka Sathosa outlets and 25 mega super markets, in the peninsula. Lanka Sathosa opened 70 outlets in the country between January and September this year (2010) and earned a revenue of over more..

Rains help CEB save Rs. 150 mn a day, but no relief for consumers

Dec 9 (Island) The country currently saves nearly Rs. 150 million a day owing to torrential rains that have filled reservoirs producing hydro electricity. Almost 96 per cent of reservoirs in the hydro-catchments were either brimful or overflowing with all hydro turbines working round the clock. CEB had generated 22.5 million units of hydro electricity to meet the country’s daily requirement of 27 million units. more..

Sri Lanka's first Wildlife museum in Giritale

Dec 9 (DN) The Wildlife Conservation Department will open the first ever wildlife museum in Sri Lanka on December 16 at the Wildlife Training Centre in Girithale. Earlier the museum was not open to the public. There were only a few animal skeletons, but the Wildlife Conservation Department has improved the museum. Replicas of indigenous animals and as well as foreign animals will be displayed seven days of the week, more..

Buddhist monk makes submissions in Tamil Before LLRC

Dec 9 (TC) In the mid-afternoon of Dec 1, a small group of people, headed by a Buddhist monk, was seen entering the auditorium of the Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations to give evidence before the LLRC. There were Hindu Priests, Catholic Priests, Christian Pastors and Muslim Moulavis in the group. As the vanguard headed towards the front of the auditorium, another stream of saffron robed monks, white frocked fathers, more..