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'Clear distinction in Constitution on Courts, tribunals'

Dec 10 (Island) To be disenfranchised, from voting and sitting in parliament, one must be convicted by a normal Court, which covers all the citizens. The court martial covers only the military personnel, said Romesh de Silva PC, counsel for retired General Sarath Fonseka. The Supreme Court yesterday heard the reference, by the Court of Appeal, to interpret whether the term ‘any court’ in article 89/d of the Constitution, of Sri Lanka, includes a court martial. more..

Budget neglected farmers - JVP

Dec 10 (Island) The JVP accused the government of having failed to allocate enough funds for the agricultural sector upon, which depended the livelihood of 7 million people. MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that 38 per cent of the work force were involved in agriculture but their problems had not been addressed by the Budget 2011. He said the agricultural sector was as important as the armed forces as food security was an integral part of national security. more..

Sri Lanka slain customs officer given integrity award

Dec 10 (LBO) A Sri Lankan customs officer who was gunned down after he exposed corruption in the customs service was posthumously awarded the National Integrity Award by the corruption watchdog Transparency International. Assistant Superintendent of Customs late Sujith Prasanna Perera was given award for the work he carried out in investigating frauds at Sri Lanka Customs before his death in 2001, more..

Matara PS and Tangalle US 2011 budgets defeated

Dec 10 (DM) The budget proposals for 2011 of two local authorities in the Southern Province were defeated yesterday when majority of the ruling party members voted against the proposals. The budget proposals of the Matara Pradeshiya Sabha were defeated by three votes without a debate. Chairman and three members of the ruling UPFA voted for and seven others including the opposition members voted against. more..

Wikileaks: SL denies NK arms charge

Dec 10 (Island) Sri Lanka says the country never purchased any arms, ammunition and equipment from North Korea during the war against the LTTE. A senior official involved in procurement of arms said that there hadn’t been any transactions with NK for a long time. He was responding to information in diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks of US diplomatic protests about North Korea’s alleged sale of rocket-propelled launchers to Sri Lanka in early 2009. more..

Fund shortfall slows post-war development

Dec 10 (IPS) Some 19 months since the end of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war, over 325,000 civilians displaced by the final bout of fighting between late 2007 and May 2009 have returned to live in their villages or with their relatives. But despite numerous pledges to help these survivors, including the Indian government’s offer of an 800 million U.S. dollar loan for the redevelopment of northern Sri Lanka and promises to rebuild 150,000 houses destroyed by the fighting, more..

Rains cause havoc, 28,000 families affected

Dec 10 (Island) Heavy rains have caused considerable damage to private property in many parts of the country, including the Jaffna, Mannar, Killinochchi and Mullaithivu districts. Officials say about 28,000 families have been affected over the past two weeks. Director Meteorological Department S.H. Kariyawasam said though the ongoing intermittent rains could ease shortly, the North-East monsoon could take effect after the second week of December. more..

2011 Budget passed in Parliament

Dec 11 (AD) The 2011 Budget passed in parliament a short while ago with a majority of 116 votes, with 156 voting for and 40 voting against. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also arrived in Parliament today (December 10) prior to the third reading vote on the budget. The second reading debate on the proposed 2011 budget was started on November 23 while the second reading vote was taken up on November 29. Accordingly the third reading of the budget began on November 30 and more..

President warns of moves to cause division within military

Dec 11 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa disclosed in Parliament today that there are moves by certain elements to create divisions within the armed forces and said the Government is keeping a close eye on such activities. The President who wound up the debate on the Budget appealed to those engaging in such activities not to pursue them. In his 50 minutes address to the Legislature, the President also said that after 26 years of violence this is the first more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 10.12.2010

Telling Sri Lankan story with puppet

Dec 11 (Xinhua) With her talent and hard work, a young Sri Lankan lady is trying to tell the island's folk tales with Indonesian puppetry Wayang Golek that involves intricately carved three dimensional wooden rod puppets. Wayang Golek evolved from shadow puppets that originally came to Indonesia from India. The puppets are operated using the two rods affixed to their hands and a movable wooden torso. more..

CAA to monitor rice prices

Dec 11 (SL) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has said that retail shops that sell rice above the maximum price imposed by the government would be raided. The CAA is to carry out the raids under the Cooperatives and Internal Trade Ministry. The government yesterday imposed a maximum retail price for samba rice, which is Rs. 70. The maximum retail price for nadu, white and red rice is Rs. 60. The Cooperatives and Internal Trade Ministry removed the price ceiling of more..

Govt.: 696 varieties of drugs imported

Dec 11 (SL) The government has said that the country imported 696 varieties of drugs while only a small number of drugs have been locally manufactured. The government has tabled these details in parliament in response to a question posed by DNA parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti. The government response has stated that the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation has manufactured only 44 varieties of drugs. more..

Suspension issued on 109 J’pura students removed

Dec 11 (SL) The University of Sri Jayewardenepura has removed the suspension on several of its students. Vice Chancellor of the University, Dr. N. L. A. Karunaratne has told the media that the suspension on 109 students has been removed. Dr. Karunaratne has said that the suspension was removed on sympathetic grounds since the university was currently conducting examinations. The JVP affiliated IUSF has however, claimed that the suspension was removed due to more..

Arjuna Ranatunga reckons Aussies can succumb when pricked

Dec 11 (MD) The Australians are masters when it comes to mind games. Not quite when they are up against sharp opponents like Arjuna Ranatunga. Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to their one and only World Cup cricket triumph in 1996, revealed yesterday how he got under the skin of Mark Taylor's men who were good enough to reach the final at Lahore, but not quite up to it to win it. However, Australia won the next three World Cups (1999, 2003 and 2007) and more..

Sri Lanka diplomats in Europe under fire

Dec 11 (SL) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has today (10) faulted Sri Lankan diplomats in Europe for the issues faced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recent visit to the UK. He has said at a function today that it was the failure on the part of certain Sri Lankan diplomats in Europe that had resulted in the cancellation of President Rajapaksa’s speech at the Oxford Union. more..

Mentally Ill Psychiatrists?

Dec 11 (LG) I refer to the 7th International Mental Health System Development Conference on the basis of Mental Health Crisis in Sri Lanka, organized by the University of Melbourne and held on 28th and 29th October 2010. I provide my feedback as a Common Australian Tamil without any formal qualifications in Mental Health, but with experience as a victim of Government Administered Mental Health system here in Australia as well as in Sri Lanka. more..

WikiLeaks and Sri Lanka

Dec 11 (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..

Farmers educated on safe & effective use of pesticide

Dec 11 (Cimic) One day seminar for paddy farmers in Thenmarachchi and Vadamarachchi areas, who have cultivated their paddy-fields for the Maha Season, was organized by the Security Forces - Jaffna on Thursday to educate them on the safe and effective use of pesticides and other chemicals used in cultivation. The programme was coordinated by the 52 Division of Varani to promote agriculture economy in Jaffna under more..

EDITORIAL: No X'mas & new year cheer to the GKCC depositor thousands

Dec 11 (LG) A government under siege from many directions – both natural and man made – is forced to throw to the wolves, as it were, tens of thousands of children, men, women, the old and the sick who were all until recently part of the middle and upper class. Thrown into virtual poverty since December 2008 for the “crime” of trusting Lalith Kotelawala and the name of his family with their life’s savings placed with the Golden Key Credit Card Company (GKCC) more..

A challenging task

Dec 11 (NS) New Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has vowed that he will be remembered by the people as the best Sports Minister the country has ever had. Well, well, well that seems like a stiff target the Minister has set himself. But he is prepared to accept it. “It’s a huge challenge but I’m ready to face them” he said in an interview. The Minister has also stated that it would take him at least five years to achieve that. more..

Looking for Raja and losing Parakrama

Dec 11 (ST) The 'Find Raja' team searching for the missing Uda Walawe tusker was greatly saddened last week, by the news of the death of the magnificent tusker known as "Parakrama" by some or as "Deerga-Dantu"(long teeth) or and as the "Galgamuwa Tusker" by others. The prevailing heavy rains and gloomy weather in Uda Walawe, further dampened our spirits, and completely de-motivated the team. We could not but help think that perhaps Raja was also gone. more..

Coconuts drive MPs nuts

Dec 11 (LP) UNP MP, Palitha Ranga Bandara tried to draw the attention of the House on the high prices of coconut in the market today, displaying two halves of coconut. However Government MPs and ministers protested against this incident using Parliament as a stage for such display. Minister Bandula Gunawardhena raising a point of order stated that Parliament is not meant for this type of jokes and that such an act is unparliamentary. more..

A post mortem of a snub

Dec 11 (NS) The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was snubbed. Well and truly snubbed. Perhaps it was Sri Lankan generosity, perhaps it was ego or perhaps it was just seizing of an opportunity to present his case, his vision or his credentials, perhaps a reaching out, a going of an extra mile with respect to the pro-Eelam/LTTE sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, we don’t really know why he accepted this invitation. He opened himself to a snub and snubbed he was. more..

Scarred For Life

Dec 11 (SL) Fourteen year old Sriyani of Nawalakanda, Kalawana has been a domestic since she was 11. Although still a teenager she looks older, bearing scars of her hard life. Ranasinghe Arachchige Sriyani and her brother Padmasiri are victims of a merciless employer who burned their palms with camphor. Forty one year old Shiran Niroshan Illesinghe, the owner of Thalagala Garments stands accused of this heinous act, more..

Only freedom of positive expression is valid for all

Dec 11 (DM) The two most eye-catching topics discussed in the media for the past two weeks or so in Sri Lanka have been the one related to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s trip to London to deliver a lecture at the Oxford Union and the one pertaining to the WikiLeaks affair, rather than the national budget that would affect the very lives of the people of the country. Interestingly, both topics have an aspect of freedom of expression. more..

Perverted bus encounters

Dec 11 (SL) An ordinary journey to the airport via bus turned into an absolute fiasco this Tuesday. Certain individuals, in fact, acted as though women on a bus were a rare treat to be indulged in. The sad fact, however, is that this behaviour is not unusual in any way, and can even be said to have become the norm, particularly on crowded buses. Katunayake bound bus 187 slid next to a bus full of school children. The young boys, spotting the two female reporters seated more..

Sri Lanka tea prices, output at new highs

Dec 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea production is expected to hit a new high this year, exceeding 320 million kilos despite recent shortfalls owing to bad weather, while prices are also at record levels, brokers said. The average tea price at the Colombo auctions up to end-November of 369.38 rupees a kilo was the highest ever, and almost 10 rupees or 2.75 percent above that of the same period last year. more..

Editorial: Johnston: Deliver or Depart!

Dec 11 (Island) What goes up usually comes down. But this truism does not apply to the prices of essential commodities in this country. Once they skyrocket, they remain orbiting the earth forever! We saw what happened to the prices of rice which suddenly increased manifold a few years ago. They have not yet come down to the previous level. The government has slapped a price ceiling for rice––Rs. 70 for samba and at Rs. 60 for red kekulu. more..

Editorial: People-centred development and distributive justice

Dec 11 (DM) Professor Senaka Bibile is well known as the founder of the concept of national drug policies based on the principle of essential drugs. However, he also carried out some pioneering work on malnutrition, poverty and the uneven distribution of wealth. As a young lecturer in the University of Ceylon in 1947, Prof. Bibile together with Prof. Columbine pioneered a large scale field survey on the, “Health and dietary practices of the Sri Lankan”. more..

Government’s Hajj Comm. under heavy flak

Dec 11 (Island) Four members of the Western Provincial Council are seeking an independent inquiry into the conduct of a government appointed Hajj Committee accused of alleged financial irregularities. A. J. M. Muzammil, Mohamed Firooze, Mujubur Rahuman and M. Yoosuf on Thursday wrote a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa calling for his intervention. The following is the full text of their letter to the President: more..

Pelwatte Milk Foods to enter the market shortly

Dec 11 (GDI) Pelwatte Milk Foods is a locally produced Milk Food brand that would enter the local market shortly. Liquid milk for this factory is collected from the Districts of Moneragala and Ampara amounting to 150,000 litres per day. The Pelwatte Dairy Industries Ltd., has been establised with an investment of Rs. 1.4 Billion. The factory presently produces Yoghurt and Ice cream and research on producing milk food is in the final stages at the moment. more..

142,381 students have passed the GCE A/L Exam

Dec 11 (GDI) 269,000 school and private candidates sat for the Advanced Level examination and of which 142,381 students have passed the Exam. 4,384 candidates who sat the examination have received ‘A’ pass in all three subjects. 404 candidates from the Maths stream, 1,576 in the Commerce stream, and 367 in the Science stream have received 'A' passess in all three subjects. 2,037 students have received 3As in the Arts stream, more..

Young UNP MPs to act unified

Dec 11 (SL) MP Harin Fernando is the youngest member of the UNP. Representing Badulla, he is a representative of the UNP’s youth faction. Several key opposition members have spoken on the importance of youth involvement within the party. The Sunday Leader caught up with Harin Fernando in the Opposition Leader’s office at parliament on Wednesday. Excerpts: Q: You earlier said it was unethical for the President to use public funds on his trip to New York. more..

Welgama to increase current CTB fleet to 7000

Dec 11 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that he would increase the current CTB fleet of 5,300 buses to 7,000 and compete with 18,000 private buses in passenger transport services. When he assumed duties the CTB had only 4,500, but at present the CTB had 5,300 buses. The Aluthgama CTB depot had set an example in repairing 24 buses which had been kept in garages without spare parts. But today those 24 buses were operating on different routes and more..

Two police sergeants killed in Ambepussa

Dec 11 (DM) Two police sergeants were killed and two others critically injured when a gang of robbers fired at a police vehicle giving them chase in Ambepussa last evening. The gang which had robbed a pawning shop in Warakapola had fled the scene when the police started giving a chase. The suspects then had fired at the police vehicle killing two officers and injuring two more. The pawn shop is situated in front of the Warakapola police station. more..

President Rajapaksa initiates political dialogue with TNA

Dec 11 (DBS) TNA leader, Rajavarothayam Sampanthan underwent heart surgery at a hospital in New Delhi on December 7th. The surgery according to TNA sources was successful and the veteran Tamil Parliamentarian from Trincomalee is likely to be discharged this week. The septuagenarian Sampanthan will not however be returning to Sri Lanka soon. Given his age and state of health, Sampanthan will be recuperating in Chennai with his family and not more..

Lanka Lions veterans roar at Dubai Sevens

Dec 11 (e247) Sri Lanka’s veteran rugby stars sparkled at the IRB World Sevens Series opener during the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament held at The Sevens. The Aramex sponsored Lanka Lions Veterans team pulled off a sensational win over their much fancied opponents Al Khobar Quins by 21-12 to win the ‘Plate’ in the Gulf Veterans competition. Regulars at the annual Dubai tournament, the Lions comprising UAE-based Sri Lankans who more..

UN helps Govt respond to widespread floods

Dec 11 (UN) United Nations agencies are helping the Government of Sri Lanka address the humanitarian needs of more than 100,000 people affected by flash floods and landslides over the past month as heavy rains continue to fall. The UNICEF is providing hygiene kits and water purification tablets as rising floodwaters threaten an outbreak of dengue fever. Measures have been taken to spray mosquito breeding sites. Over 105,000 people are affected, more..

India and Sri Lanka step naval cooperation

Dec 11 (HT) India and Sri Lanka on Friday continued to step up defence cooperation with navy chief admiral Nirmal Verma leading two Indian naval ships to participate in Sri Lanka navy's diamond jubilee celebration. Indian naval ships Mysore, the largest indigenously built largest destroyer of the Indian navy and Tarangini a sail training ship took part in the celebrations, which began on Wednesday. more..