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Weather sows confusion ahead of ODI series

Dec 9 (CI) Confusion surrounds the fate of the five-match one-day series between Sri Lanka and West Indies, which is scheduled to begin in rain-hit Hambantota on Thursday, with reports today suggesting the two national boards were working on rescheduling the series for January. The confusion was heightened by the circulation of an "official statement" by Sri Lanka Cricket, which was later denied, and by the absence of more..

Defence budget passed by a large majority

Dec 9 (DM) The defence vote was passed in parliament yesterday by a majority of 132 votes with 144 members voting in favour and 12 against. The main opposition UNP abstained from voting while the TNA voted against. DNA members were not present in the chambers during the voting. The UNP however voted against the extension of the emergency but it was passed by a majority of 130 votes with 145 members voting in favour and 15 against. more..

Court: IGP failed to inform the Defence Sec. properly

Dec 9 (DM) The Supreme Court observed that if the Defence Secretary was properly informed by the Inspector General of Police, the Defence Secretary might not have taken the decision to send SSP Chandana Kudahetti on compulsory leave in the absence of cogent evidence. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices Chandra Ekanayake and Suresh Chandra listed the matter to be mentioned on March 9 next year. more..

'We were attacked just off Ja-ela'

Dec 9 (NF) We were attacked just off Jaela, says the Leader of the NLF Dr. Wickremabahu Karunaratne. He was addressing a meeting convened to brief the media on the incident that he had to face at the Katunayake airport after returning from a tour in the UK. “I went to London on a private vist in response to an invitation I received to attend a forum in connection with the 88th birthday of Professor Reggie Goodwyn, more..

Female MPs want 25% of Parliamentary seats reserved for women

Dec 9 (Island) The Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus wants political parties to increase the number of female legislators, Chairperson of the group, Minister Sumedha Jayasena says. Minister Jayasena says 25 per cent of the 225-member parliament should be female legislators. She said that female representation was as low as 6.5 per cent. She regretted that political parties had failed to address that issue, though various groups made representations over the years. more..

Protest in Peradeniya for convener’s release

Dec 9 (DM) The students of Peradeniya University staged a protest at Galaha junction, demanding the immediate release of the convener of the IUSF, Udul Premaratne. More than 1000 students participated in the protest which also asked the government to refrain from suppressing the student movement and privatizing university education. They pointed out that if private universities were allowed to operate in the country it would endanger the free education system. more..

Rajapaksa's support still strong in Sri Lanka despite setbacks

Dec 9 (National) Support for President Mahinda Rajapaksa remains strong and his opposition weak and divided despite protests in the UK that forced the visiting president to cancel a planned speech to the Oxford Union. Hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates and supporters of former Tamil rebels protested in London against Mr Rajapaksa's visit, prompting Oxford University to cancel the president's talk, scheduled for December 2. more..

Relics of religious value to be excavated in North and East

Dec 9 (DM) Speaking at the inaugural meeting for the officials of departments and statutory bodies on Tuesday (7), Minister of National Heritage, Jagath Balasuriya promised to restart excavation projects abandoned in the North and East due to the war. Archeological exploration and excavations which were abandoned for 30 years in the North and the East would be restarted soon and would be funded by the government, as well as UNESCO and other private organizations, he said. more..

Ravi K lauds President on appointing Senaratne to fisheries

Dec 9 (Island) UNP frontline Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake praised President Mahinda Rajapaksa for appointing a man of Rajitha Senaratne’s caliber as Minister of Fisheries. Speaking at the opening of a fisheries sales outlet at Nugegoda, Karunanayake said that despite the high cost of living, where a loaf of bread is sold at Rs 50 and kilo of rice around Rs 75, Senaratne was able to reduce the price of fish significantly. more..

Serving the nation Sri Lankan way: Luxury ride for MPs

Dec 9 (DM) The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry had issued 60 duty free permits for vehicles from January 1st to October 30th this year to parliamentarians worth US$ 3 million (Approximately Rs. 340 million) a ministry official said. MPs are now entitled to a duty free vehicle worth up to US$ 50,000, an increase of US$ 15,000 from the earlier US 35,000. Explaining the salaries, perks and other allowances paid to MPs and Ministers, more..

Sri Lanka to borrow USD760mn for roads from China

Dec 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka will borrow 760 million US dollars from two state-banks in China to upgrade more than one thousand kilometres of roads in the island including key roads in former war-torn areas in the northeast of the country, the government said. The government will borrow 500 million dollars from China Development Bank Corporation to rehabilitate 1,174 kilometres of "priority roads" with 158 million US dollars to be drawn down this, more..

Menik Farm closure unlikely by year-end

Dec 9 (IRIN) Government plans to close Menik Farm, the country's largest camp for IDP, by the end of December are in doubt. "I'm not fully sure that we can close Menik Farm camp by the end of this year. It all depends on the landmine situation," Rishad Bathiudeen, a senior government minister and former minister of resettlement and disaster relief services, told IRIN. Since the start of operations in January 2009, the government and its mine action partners have cleared almost 432 sqkm. more..

Lanka claims more territorial waters

Dec 9 (DM) The External Affairs Ministry will make oral representations before the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) next April claiming control over the seabed beyond the traditional limit of 200 nautical miles, parliament was informed. In this case, the country’s continental margin is to be delimited. The Performance Report of the Ministry which was submitted to parliament says that in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea requirement, more..

'Discarded politicos attempting to revive terrorism'

Dec 9 (DN) It is the national responsibility of Sri Lankans to work in unison to defeat the national and international forces which attempt to revive internationally the terrorists who were vanquished from the motherland, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said that the people of this country have given adequate strength to this government to work against the local and international forces who attempt to betray the freedom gained thorugh more..

‘War Crimes probe’: GL exposes Karu

Dec 9 (Island) On an inquiry as to what the position of the External affairs ministry is on the controversial statement made to The Sunday Island regarding President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Britain, by UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya, minister G.L.Peiris expressed regret at the tone and content of the former's statement and pointed out the following which he stressed, the public should take serious note of. more..

TU action to oppose Govt’s neo-liberal budget

Dec 9 (Island) The UNP has decided to launch a campaign, through its trade union wing, against what it calls the "neo-liberal" budget that has been presented by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. A spokesman for the UNP affiliated trade unions told The Island that other political parties and organizations who care for the welfare of the masses are welcome to join their struggle. more..

Hard work paid off, say top AL scorers

Dec 9 (DM) The top performers of the 2010 A/L exam said yesterday that their hard work throughout the past two years, their commitment and sacrifices have been paid off as they shared their thoughts. The Daily Mirror yesterday spoke to the students who achieved the highest results from the Mathematics, Biology, Arts and Commerce streams. Excerpts: Biology - Dasun Upamaal Kalugala more..

ODI series postponed due to bad weather

Dec 9 (CI) The confusion surrounding the one-day leg of West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka has ended with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announcing that the five-match series has been postponed to late January 2011 because of the bad weather all across the island. The decision, made after an understanding was reached by the boards and the television partner, was announced shortly before the first ODI was scheduled to begin in rain-hit Hambantota. more..

'Sri Lanka labour unions kept pacified'

Dec 9 (LBO) Sri Lankan government efforts to prevent labour trouble in recent years despite tough economic conditions should be considered part of its effort to support the business community, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. The private sector often complains of lack of incentives to doing business but some government efforts go unnoticed, he told a forum on the outlook for exports organized by the Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka. more..

Udul granted bail, completely barred from Student movement activities

Dec 9 (AD) IUSF convenor Udul Premarathne has been granted bail by the Colombo High Court today. Premaratna had been arrested and remanded for forcibly entering the Ministry of Higher Education premises and damaging government property. He was release on a cash bail of Rs. 50,000 and a personal bail of Rs. 500,000. The Colombo High Court barred Udul from participating in pasting posters and taking part in meetings related to student movements completely. more..

'Govt. should declare a disaster situation'

Dec 9 (LT) Despite a large number of people have been distressed due to adverse weather conditions prevailing in the country, the government has not taken any measures to bring relief to the affected says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said disasters are a natural occurrence but the government should have a programme to confront such situations. Hence, considering the present situation in the country, the government should declare an urgent disaster situation in the country and more..

'Áfter attacking local universities, now Oxford university being attacked'

Dec 9 (Island) After attacking all the universities in Sri Lanka, now the World's Best University Oxford is being attacked as well, says Sarath Fonseka, former Army Commander. He made this statement at the court premises yesterday. The case pertaining to the alleged statement made by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka to a newspaper about the White Flag incident was postponed until Thursday. more..

'Karu J’s statement aimed at coinciding with Ban Ki-moon panel report'

Dec 9 (Island) The aim of the controversial media statement issued by UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya was to coincide with a report due to be released by a panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to investigate alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, Minister Susil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday. He said that the headline given to statement made by the UNP MP had correctly summarised its content. more..

Sri Lankan sailors freed by Somali pirates for ransom

Dec 10 (AFP) Somali pirates have released a Saudi oil tanker along with its 14-member crew which they seized nine months ago after a ransom was paid, a maritime watchdog said on Thursday. The MT Al Nisr Al Saudi, a 5,136-tonne tanker, was seized in early March with its Greek captain and 13 Sri Lankan crew members while on its way from Japan to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. "It was freed Tuesday after a ransom was paid," said Ecoterra International, more..

Wimal to meet Liam Fox face-to-face?

Dec 10 (AD) In an interesting turn of events UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox and vociferous critic of UK, Sri Lankan Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa is scheduled to be in the same hall on December 18. Fox is scheduled to deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture on December 18. When contacted Wimal Weerawansa’s secretary confirmed that the minister was invited for the prestigious Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture and he will be participating. more..

Child thought killed in 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami is found

Dec 10 (BBC) Sri Lankan child protection officials say they have found a six-year-old girl previously believed to have been lost or killed during the 2004 tsunami. The National Child Protection Authority's Anoma Dissanayake said that the girl was living with a couple who claimed falsely to be her parents. "She was not legally adopted and her identification papers were falsified," Ms Dissanayake told the BBC. more..

Sri Lanka expressway delayed by rain

Dec 10 (LBO) The scheduled opening of an expressway linking Sri Lanka's capital Colombo with the south next year will be delayed as heavy rain has impeded construction work on low-lying sections, an official said. The first phase of the expressway from Makumbura, Kottawa to Pinnadua, Galle that was scheduled to be opened in April, 2011 will now most likely be ready only by July, said L U D Atapattu, additional director of the southern expressway project. more..

Tourists injured in a fork-spoon clash

Dec 10 (DM) Two foreigners and a local was injured when a clash took place at a hotel in Sigiriya this morning when an argument broke out between four tourists and a waiter when the waiter refused to give food items that was ordered by them. However the waiter has refused to write down the order claiming that the visitors haven’t paid for the previous order, the Sigiriya police said. A tourist had then assaulted the waiter with a fork and more..

New video allegedly shows Sri Lankan war crimes

Dec 10 (AP) New video evidence has emerged linking Sri Lanka's military to the execution of prisoners during the final hours of the country's decades-long civil war last year, international human rights groups said Thursday. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said the grisly content of a five-minute video clip aired by Britain's Channel 4 television last month warrants a United Nations investigation. more..

Indian Navy Chief in Sri Lanka to bolster bilateral military ties

Dec 10 (PTI) Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka beginning today to attend their Navy Day and meet their top military leadership, when issues of maritime security such as anti-piracy operations in Indian Ocean would be discussed. Verma, who joined the events to mark Lankan Navy's 60th anniversary, will also participate in a multi-lateral maritime symposium organised by Sri Lanka on the occasion. more..

Sri Lanka to switch to natural gas

Dec 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka has decided introduce liquefied natural gas for power generation and transport and convert power plants using diesel to the new fuel in an effort to reduce costs, the government said. The move aims to reduce the country's almost total dependence on petroleum products whose prices are rising, according to a note released at a news conference after the weekly Cabinet ministers' meeting. The entire thermal energy generation of the state power utility, CEB, depends on liquid petroleum as fuel. more..

'Locals to get 20 % quota on merit to non-state universities'

Dec 10 (ST) Foreign students will be encouraged to pursue their higher education in Sri Lanka, as the country moves towards transforming itself into an international education hub in the region, Higher Education Minister S.B.Dissanayake told Parliament today. The minister said with the opening up of the foreign non-state universities in the country, five per cent of the students admitted to them will be foreigners while more..

Decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting

Dec 10 (GDI) The Aeronautical Authorities of Sri Lanka and Ukraine have held discussions in October 2010 with the view to finalize and Air Services Agreement to facilitate operations between the two countries. On a recommendation made by President as Minister of Ports and Aviation cabinet following: designate one or more airlines for the purpose of operating the agreed services on the specific routes. each party to operate 7 frequencies per week for the (lATA) International Air Transport Association Winter Season 2010/2011. more..

'Conspiracy within govt. to frame war crime charges on President'

Dec 10 (AD) Sri Lanka should give its fullest cooperation to an international inquiry into Sri Lanka to preserve the good name of President Rajapaksa, UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said today. Looking at the current trend, I suspect that there is a conspiracy within the government itself to frame war crime charges on President Rajapaksa, Samaraweera claimed. Samaraweera added that Wimal Weerawansa, G.L. Peiris, Dinesh Gunawardena will not face the consequences; more..

President initiates SLN 60th anniversary celebrations

Dec 10 (LP) The 60th Anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Navy was held in grandeur at the Colombo Lighthouse premises today (09) with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Presenting of colours as a felicitation to the Naval war heroes who were engaged in the humanitarian mission of the final phase of war followed. Accordingly naval officers of the Northern Commandment, more..

Reverse swing on the Hambantota highway

Dec 10 (CI) After the rain-plagued failure that was the Test series, hopes of an uninterrupted one-day leg were not high among the media people covering the tour. The first match was in Hambantota and most journalists chose not to make the seven-hour trip from Colombo, choosing instead to work from home. The rest did so reluctantly, having heard reports from the ground that the venue remained desperately incomplete and more..

Govt seeks to boost migrant labour skills

Dec 10 (IRIN) After a string of abuse cases against Sri Lankan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is working with the government of Sri Lanka to promote skilled labour migration - as opposed to domestic work - as a way to protect those who choose to leave the country to make a living. The new government action plan will incorporate measures to enhance workers' skills and strengthen safety measures. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief 09 12 2010

Sri Lanka keen on tourist circuit with Karnataka

Dec 10 (PTI) After successfully conducting road shows in the US, the UK and Europe to promote tourism, Karnataka is now on its way to form a tourist circuit with Sri Lanka to lure lakhs of tourists visiting the island nation to the state. As a first step, tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy and his Lankan counterpart Upali Kodikara, on Wednesday held discussions and both agreed for a joint-venture in the tourism sector. more..

WikiLeaks and Sri Lanka: Who are the real criminals?

Dec 10 (LG) Among the hundreds of secret diplomatic cables so far released by WikiLeaks, one sent from the US embassy in Sri Lanka has confirmed that the Obama administration was well aware of the war crimes committed by President Mahinda Rajapakse and his associates during the final stages of the war against LTTE in early 2009. The document highlights the fact that who is deemed a criminal, or not, is determined entirely by the US and its allies according to more..