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Can Non-Tamils buy land in Jaffna?

Dec 10 (TC) There is often a general outcry in the South that non-Tamils cannot buy land in the Northern Province. It is commonly believed in the South that Thesawalamai lays down restrictions in transferring the ownership of immovable properties to non-Tamils. They articulate that Sinhalese and Muslims cannot buy land in the Northern Province and urge now and then that the Law of Thesawalamai should be amended or repealed. more..

R. Swaminathan who inspired me

Dec 10 (LG) Dreams give us what reality denies us. There are many issues which mankind deal with until the end of our days. Yesterday I received email from Mr. B. Raman which deeply shocked me. The email informed me that Mr. R. Swaminathan passed away yesterday morning in a hospital in New Delhi due to a heart attack. I felt was deeply affected by the news and still cannot believe that he has left us. I got in touch with Mr. Swaminathan after I started more..

Indian assisting housing project inaugurated

Dec 10 (MoD) The ground braking ceremony for the housing project to construct 50,000 housing units for the people in Northern Province with Indian assistance was held recently under the patronage of Indian External Affairs Minister Mr SM Krishna. Laying a foundation stone for a house which will be built in Ariyalai, Indian External Affairs Minister inaugurated the first stage of the project to construct 1000 houses. more..

Attack on journalists at BIA, State sanctioned attempt at suppressing media freedom

Dec 10 (LG) The Free Media Movement (FMM) unequivocally condemns Tuesday’s attack on journalists at the BIA and views it as yet another serious blow to media freedom, ethical and democratic right to impartial reporting. Lanka E News journalist Shantha Wijesuriya and Sirasa TV Airport correspondent Premalal were attacked by a group of persons purported to be BIA employees. more..

Moving into another millennium

Dec 10 (LG) As Sri Lanka moves into the new millennium, it’s time to reflect on the happenings in the past decade and the lessons that could be learnt. The biggest lesson one needs to learn however is yet to be learnt, and never will be: Unbridled corruption and an increasing favours-for-deals culture, which is also running parallel to a culture of impunity and brazen openness. It’s not only politicians who are involved but also influential sections of business. more..

Why fuss over Oxford and Wikileaks

Dec 10 (LG) The so-called educated people are wasting their time and energy over the cancellation of the speech that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to deliver at the University of Oxford. It is said that the Oxford Union, a mere debating society of another University, however much inflated by the English establishment and English media, had invited the President to address them but it had to be cancelled on the advice of the Police due to protest by some LTTE terrorists. more..

Value of De-mining in the North - a minimum of US$ 2 billion!

Dec 10 (MoD) Central Bank Governor commends efforts of the Sri Lankan security forces during war and post-war period. Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal stated that the de-mining process in the Northern Province, had it been entrusted to an outside agency, would have cost the country a minimum of US$ 2 billion, and that such massive sum was saved because of the de-mining exercise carried out by the Sri Lankan security forces. more..

There cannot be ethnicity-based solutions to the displaced people

Dec 10 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a meeting with the leaders of the Tamil political parties on November 26 had reportedly questioned as to how they find fault with the Sinhalese settling in the North when Tamils and Muslims dominate Colombo. Next day UNP parliamentarian Sujeewa Senasinghe participating at the Parliamentary debate on the second reading of the 2011 budget had suggested that the Thesavalamai law should be amended so that Sinhalese and more..

Reflections on some Sri Lankan journalists and their particular brand of invective

Dec 10 (SL) If the fact that some of the premier apologists for the current regime have devoted several of their columns in recent Sunday papers to personal attacks against me is anything to go by, I appear to have ‘arrived’ in Sri Lanka’s English newspaper world! That some of the Rajapaksa Sycophancy (RS) having chosen me as a target, is as close to a badge of honour as anyone with an ethical bone in his body could aspire to. more..

Tamil families not ready to move to the North

Dec 10 (SL) Families living in slums and other temporary shelters in Colombo have resisted the government’s move to relocate them to areas out of Colombo as part of the Colombo City development plan. The Colombo city development plan that has been mapped out by the Urban Development Authority (UDA), which is under the purview of the Defence Ministry, has identified that about 60,000 families would have to be relocated from Colombo. more..

Samurdhi and dependency culture

Dec 10 (LB) Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, of the Point Pedro Institute of Development, told IRIN, the UNHCR newsletter: “The Vanni will remain a perpetual basket case” if the people are not weaned away from “over 25 years of dependence on relief and welfare handouts from the government, NGOs, donors, et al”. That is an unusual description of the plight of people who suffered great hardship under LTTE dictatorship for so long. Many people have regarded the UK welfare state as more..

Australian and Bangladesh Naval chiefs call on Defence Secretary

Dec 10 (MoD) Vice Admiral Russell Harry Crane the chief of the Royal Australian Navy and Vice Admiral Zahir Uddin Ahmed, the Chief of the Naval Staff of the Bangladesh Navy paid courtesy call to Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (07). Vice Admiral Russell and Vice Admiral Zahir have arrived Sri Lanka on the invitation of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral TSG Samarasinghe to attend the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sri Lanka Navy. more..

Two priceless gems on display at the BMICH

Dec 10 (NF) The two prized possessions of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA), a blue star sapphire and a cat's eye, will go on display at the 'Jewels Sri Lanka – 2010 gem and jewellery exhibition to be held from December 10 to 12 at the BMICH. The two priceless gems, naturally, are provided maximum security and even at the NGJA, the permission of three officials are required even to view these two precious stones and more..

The London Trip that Failed and the Pro-ltte Statement that Followed

Dec 10 (Island) As an ordinary citizen, like my barber above, (i.e. the most vital constituent of the civil society in a democracy) I believe that the recent turn of events involving the unilateral cancellation of the Sri Lankan President’s scheduled address before it by the Oxford Union in the UK on grounds of alleged security concerns due to feared or threatened excesses of a potentially violent mob of expatriate protestors bent on more..

SLT broadband quality, speeds improved

Dec 10 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) announced that it has successfully improved quality of broadband and data speeds resulting from changes in bandwidth control and from substantial upgrades in international internet capacity. "The International internet backbone capacity serving SLT broadband customers has been increased by 30% and now totals 8+Gbps, which is unmatched by other local ISPs. SLT has improved its direct connectivity to Global ISPs in Asia, more..

Bliss in Bentota

Dec 10 (KT) The southern coastal city in Sri Lanka and its surrounding areas offer the ideal getaway for those looking to soothe frazzled nerves. “Madam, madam,” the therapist gently nudges me out of my slumber, a blissful state induced by rhythmic pummeling and a coconut scrub-massage so divine that it triggers dreaminess. The Jiva Spa at the Vivanta by Taj in Bentota, Sri Lanka, is indeed a spa lover’s haven. more..

Editorial: Women, don't settle for less!

Dec 10 (Island) It is heartening that the female legislators of Sri Lanka have joined forces to fight for the rights of the womenfolk underrepresented in Parliament. The Women Parliamentarians' Caucus chaired by Minister Sumedha Jayasena has said 25 per cent of 225 seats in Parliament should be reserved for women. She says female representation at present is as low as 6.5 per cent, but all political parties have failed to address the issue. more..

Editorial: If we sow hybrids, we will reap the whirlwind

Dec 10 (DM) Traditionally farmers in Sri Lanka and developing countries have grown their crops for countless generations. Plants produce seeds for the same reasons humans produce children – further continuance of the race. Diversity in form and genetic makeup are natural traits to native seeds that a farmer grows in a particular area for generations. These seeds also have built in adaptations to the existing physical, biological and environmental conditions of the area. more..

'Shortage of Lecturers, a key shortcoming'

Dec 10 (NF) Today is the 15th day of the budget debate and the expenditure head of the Ministry of Higher Education is being debated. The debate was initiated by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. “There are many shortcomings in the university education system and that the shortage of lecturers is key among them,” he said. Expressing his views on private universities the MP noted that opening such institutions would result in more..

Devi Balika launches school newspaper

Dec 10 (DN) Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo launched a school newspaper yesterday. Named Devi Diadem, it aims to encourage students' creativity and to improve their writing skills. A new era has dawned for Devi Balika Vidyalaya with the publication of this newspaper, according to school authorities. It is a product of the school's Writers' Club. It will be published once a term, said Devi Diadem teacher-in-charge Nirmala Kaluarachchi. more..

First in GCE A/L Arts stream in Matale

Dec 10 (DM) A student of Dankanda Maha Vidyalaya , in Rattota, Pradeep Nishantha De Silva came first in the Matale district in the Arts stream at the GCE Advanced Level Examination this year. His father Wasantha Ranjith is a carpenter by profession. His mother Shanthi Mallika is not employed. Educated from primary level at Dankanda Maha Vidyalaya Nishantha had taken a keen interest in subject wise studies and in the extra curricular activities as well. more..

Direct flights between Lanka, Switzerland soon

Dec 10 (DN) Swiss Ambassador Thomas Litscher said he would work towards establishing a direct airline connection between Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Litscher who called on Prime Minister D M Jayaratne at Visumpaya Tuesday, said over 10,000 Swiss tourists arrived in Sri Lanka last year. Welcoming the Ambassador, Prime Minister Jayaratne referred to the long-standing relations between the two countries that existed over decades. more..

Abandoned tour an accident waiting to happen

Dec 10 (IC) What an embarrassment. And Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) cannot say they were not warned when they boasted how the three venues for the next year’s World Cup would be used for the West Indies tour. There is a major difference though between jingoist chatter and reality. No one, however, can do anything about the rain which has hung around like the proverbial stench from the pile of metaphorical garbage on the doorstep of the government premises in Maitland Place. more..

SL hit by brain drain

Dec 10 (DM) Sri Lanka is one of the worst hit in terms of brain drain with 27.5 per cent of academics leaving the country each year, the main opposition UNP said yesterday. UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam who spoke during the committee stage of the Higher Education Ministry vote said the percentage was high when compared with 4.2 per cent in India; 9.2 per cent in Pakistan, 4.7 per cent in Bangladesh, 2.7 per cent in Nepal and 2.2 per cent in Maldives. more..

Govt re-imposes price control on rice

Dec 10 (GDI) Sri Lankan government has decided to re-impose the control price on rice from midnight today. The maximum retail price of one kg of Samba is Rs 70/ and the price of Nadu, white and red raw will be Rs 60.00 per kg. Government had earlier removed the control price it had imposed with bumper harvest recorded in the last Yala season as more than one hundred thousands acres of paddy land were brought under paddy cultivation more..

Bus turns into classroom

Dec 10 (DN) A bus that have been discarded as non-roadworthy has been transformed into a music classroom in Baddegama St Anthony’s College. It had been donated to the school by Minister Dullas Alahapperuma when he was the Transport Minister in line with his concept of using broken and not roadworthy buses as libraries. The classroom has been named Pansilu Arama. Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said full credit for this new venture has to go to Principal Nihal Gurusinghe. more..

Students faint in freezing conditions

Dec 10 (DM) Ten female students who were part of a group of students who had come to observe the bio – diversity of Ambuluwawa, Gampola on Thursday had fainted due to the severe cold being experienced in the area and have been admitted to Hospital for treatment. The students were from the Embilipitiya and Walasmulla areas and had come for tuition classes, Police said. It was revealed that the freezing temperatures at the zenith of the mountain range had become too much for more..

Sri Lanka’s Dialog tradenet among 8 world summit award winners

Dec 10 (Island) The WSA Awards held in Abu Dhabi UAE, saw Sri Lanka’s ICT sector securing one of 8 Mobile World Summit Awards (WSA) with Tradenet powered by Dialog Axiata, winning Gold in the Mobile-Inclusion and Empowerment Category. BBC Janala, the Wikitude World Browser and the mobile commerce engine of Marks & Spencer UK, featured among the other World Summit Award winners. more..

Return of the ‘Red Hat’ victim

Dec 10 (Island) Following representations made by parliamentary correspondents on Thursday, a State media institution yesterday re-assigned a journalist who had been taken off the parliament round owing to pressure from a government MP. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera on Wednesday alleged that an UPFA National List MP, who wore a ‘red hat’ within the House, was exerting pressure on journalists covering Parliament to give him special treatment. more..

'Don’t limit numbers seeking external degrees'

Dec 10 (DM) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella in Parliament yesterday urged the Government not to impose any regulation that would limit the number of students enrolling themselves in external degree programmes. He said this in response to a government decision to regulate external degree programmes. Mr. Kiriella said that a large number of Advanced Level qualified students seek enrolment in external degree courses annually. more..

Three Naval Commands receive Presidential Colour

Dec 10 (SLN) The Presidential Colour awarding ceremony organized in paralleled to the 60th Anniversary celebrations was held today (09) morning at the Colombo Light House premises with HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the occasion as the chief guest. Cabinet Ministers, Secretary Defence and a large number of VVIPs attended this ceremony. The Naval chiefs of overseas Navies and their representatives from more..

Private sector should invest more in HR development: Rosy

Dec 10 (DM) UNP Colombo District MP Rosy Senanayake in Parliament yesterday stressed the need for forcing the private sector, to spend at least 2% of their turnover to further improve their human resources. Speaking during the committee stage debate on the budget in the House yesterday, she said that all professional and private institutions delivering educational programmes need to be monitored and regulated to prevent Sri Lankan students from being exploited. more..

Welgama promises better pay for CTB workers

Dec 10 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has assured CTB employees a salary hike if they work hard and increase revenue. Employees would be set a target and deadline before 2011 end to achieve this. Speaking at a ceremony at the Tangalle Depot, Welgama expected employees to strive hard to achieve the goals and expressed his readiness to change the entire salary structure for the benefit of employees. more..

Oxford fiasco: Govt. blames Britain

Dec 10 (DM) Sri Lanka must be given an explanation by the Oxford Union on its unilateral cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s December 2 Oxford Union speech, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said the President would consider addressing the OU again should he be invited to do so on another date. He said the entire episode displayed the weakness and inability of the British government to correctly evaluate the situation. more..

Text books old and damaged: CTU

Dec 10 (DM) Many schools have expressed concern over the number of old and damaged text books that have been given to students for the new academic year, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) said yesterday. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin said even though the inauguration ceremony for the distribution of next year’s text books was held at the Trincomalee Vivekananda Vidyalaya on a grand scale, most schools had received text books printed in 2007 and 2008. more..

Permission mandatory for using military uniform in SL media

Dec 10 (PTI) Sri Lankan actors will now need permission of Defence Ministry for donning military uniform while portraying role of a security person in movies, television serials and other media. The move aims to standardise the use of military uniforms. "The rules and regulations regarding the use of the uniform have been already imposed," the Defence Ministry said. "Any person or organisation going against this procedure would be liable to be prosecuted," more..

Kathriarachchi looking for ‘short cut’ in court case

Dec 10 (DM) The Counsel for SLFP Kesbewa Organiser K.D. Chandana Kathriarachchi yesterday informed Court that he had discussed a “short cut” with the Attorney General Mohan Peiris to end the Nampamunuwa murder trial, in which his client was an accused. Senior Defence Counsel Ranjan Mendis informed High Court judge Kumudini Wickremasinghe that he had discussed the matter with the AG and filed a written submission with an evidence report. more..

Vaiko challenges Tribunal order

Dec 10 (Hindu) MDMK general secretary Vaiko has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging a November 12 order of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal confirming a Central government notification declaring the LTTE an unlawful association. In his petition, Mr. Vaiko submitted that in the notification a reason to declare the LTTE an unlawful association was that the organisation's objective of more..

Puttalam Muslim Secretariat highlights Muslim refugee problem

Dec 10 (Island) The Secretariat of Displaced Muslims in Puttalam recently drew the attention of the relevant authorities to the plight of 27,000 displaced Muslims, who had been denied the right to exercise their franchise at the forthcoming local government polls. This involved those living in the area as well as those resettled in Jaffna, Mannar etc. The displaced Muslims were being sent from pillar to post without more..

Water theft costs Govt Rs 2.7 b annually

Dec 10 (DN) Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that illegal water tapping causes a Rs 2.7 billion revenue loss to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board every year. The Minister participating in the Third Reading stage of the budget debate on his Ministry said that some illegal consumers have even tapped several major supply lines. These tappers have been identified during recent raids. more..