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High speed internet assured within fortnight

Dec 12 (ST) Following a long line of complaints, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission yesterday assured customers that the speed of the broadband services would be increased up to 70-80% within a fortnight, helping internet users speed up their connectivity. “Three months ago, most operators were provided services 70% less than the speed rate advertised in the package”, TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said. more..

In a nutshell

Dec 12 (ST) Double Standards: So the Professori made a most eloquent speech when the Country of Kings failed to honour the freedom of expression of our Presidente. To understand that and to set an example that we don’t say what we mean and don’t mean what we say. Both Jay Jay and Bah Hoo got their just desserts in the name of freedom of expression. Sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander in paradise land! more..

Reformists seek clout

Dec 12 (NS) The stage is being set both literally and metaphorically for the crucial opposition UNP convention. When these words are being read, the convention should be underway, barring any unforeseen circumstances in the intervening period. Indeed, there was considerable interest as to whether the convention would be held at all, with speculation that a faction or an individual loyal to UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would obtain an injunction against the meeting. more..

School shuttlers pay almost one lakh for Singapore tourney

Dec 12 (LB) A group of 40 school badminton players will leave for Singapore for a tournament this week and the observers point out that the badminton officials have violated an education ministry circular by collecting Rs 95,000 each from players. Li-Ning Singapore Youth International will be played from December 13 to 19 and reportedly the team got the approval of the sports ministry on Friday. more..

Editorial: The private university issue

Dec 12 (Island) The private university issue is fast becoming a storm centre in the politics of this country and it is best that broad agreement is arrived at within Sri Lanka on the rights and wrongs in this thorny question. The government has given the ‘green light’ for the establishment of foreign universities in this country, beginning April next year, and the absence of a national consensus on the justifiability of setting up this category of universities, more..

Editorial: Lesson in hospitality

Dec 12 (ST) The controversy over the President's misadventure in Britain last week is not quite over. A senior lawyer who supported to the hilt, the President's role in eliminating the LTTE has written to this newspaper on the visit aptly titled 'Learning lessons at Oxford'. There are two ways that people look at what happened. Some feel that the President exhibited bravado in going to the Tigers' den so to say, in spite of a virtual no-welcome sign by the host nation; more..

India calls for home-grown solution for Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (SO) India’s National Security Adviser (NSA), Shiv Shankar Menon said that Sri Lanka should have its own home-grown solutions for the problems of its people in the North and the East and that other parties elsewhere including in Tamil Nadu should not worry if those people are happy. Menon said India would never meddle with Sri Lanka’s internal matters and it is up to Sri Lanka to decide on the best solution to meet the aspirations of its people. more..

D-Day for the UNP

Dec 12 (Island) As the debate on the budget for 2011 drew to a close, the Opposition, which should have been trying to capitalize on its shortcomings, was doing anything but that. As far as the country as a whole was concerned, last week was nothing but a week of red herrings, ironically, thrown across the trail by the main Opposition party itself, which seemed intent on deflecting attention from the main issue at hand. more..

Convention beginning of end for Ranil?

Dec 12 (LB) The UNP convention gets underway today with the Sajith faction managing to beat back a challenge by the Ranil camp, spearheaded by Vajira Abeywardene, to stall the convention via a court injunction. However, the Sajith faction foresaw the sinister turn of events, as was reported exclusively in the lead story of this newspaper some weeks ago. Sajith’s backers managed to get proxies served on Ronald Perera and Maithree Guneratne, two lawyers on their side, and more..

Devadatta quoting sutta

Dec 12 (LB) Over the past two decades, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris has shown no difficulty in adapting himself and his politics to diverse situations. Having grasped early on that one must necessarily sing for one’s supper without being the least shy about it, the learned professor has glided smoothly from one mantra to another without any heed to consistency, principle or, indeed, reality. more..

'By trying to sabotage party convention'

Dec 12 (Island) The UNP leadership yesterday accused what it termed "persons close to the government" for the attempt to prevent the party holding its special convention scheduled for today. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the government is trying to sabotage the party’s convention by using "ruling party contractors" to disrupt this important meeting. He claimed that it was on the instigation of "persons who were very close to the government" more..

Naval and Maritime Exhibition extended

Dec 12 (Island) The Naval and Maritime Exhibition now held in Colombo has been extended due to numerous requests from the public, Navy Headquarters announced yesterday. The exhibition, which began on December 4, was originally planned to continue till the 12th but due to the keen interest shown and the overwhelming requests from the public, especially from parents of school going children, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe has instructed more..

The big Diaspora hoax: Money raised in UK on pretext of charging MR for war crimes

Dec 12 (Island) London-based sources say the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) had launched protests in the UK targeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit primarily to raise funds, in the backdrop of dwindling financial support for their sordid operations. Sources told The Sunday Island, that the vengeful anti-Rajapaksa campaign had been nothing but a ruse to collect money from the gullible Tamil Diaspora. more..

Treachery charge a red herring at debate

Dec 12 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have lost the opportunity to address the Oxford Union due to protests by his detractors but when he came to Parliament on Friday to wind up the debate on the 2011 Budget, he did not shy away from pointing the finger at whom he thought was responsible for sabotaging the event. Though the President did not name anyone, the inferences were obvious when he referred to, “those who worked with external forces to have more..

O/L exam on schedule

Dec 12 (NS) The GCE Ordinary Level examination will begin as scheduled tomorrow and special steps are being taken to conduct the test in flood affected areas, a top official announced yesterday. The commissioner-general of examinations, Anura Edirisinghe, also said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had advised the department to take any measure required to conducts the exams on schedule. “Due to the heavy rains many students are still in relief camps. more..

Eight die of swine flu

Dec 12 (NS) Predictions by health authorities that the second wave of pandemic influenza to hit Sri Lanka would be worse than the first which occurred last year, seem to be coming true. The cumulative number of confirmed cases as of yesterday was 232 – a steep jump from just two cases recorded between September 22- Oct 10 when the second wave of this flu broke out in the country. Up to December 5 the cumulative number of cases was 209, more..

Iran gives green light for Ceylon Tea bags

Dec 12 (SO) Sri Lanka has received the green light to export tea bags to Iran from next year. The country is presently exporting tea to Iran in bulk form and retailers in Iran re-pack them under their brand names, erasing the Sri Lankan identity. This also shaves off profits for the island. Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe met the Minister of Economic Affairs in Iran recently and obtained the clearance to export tea bags. more..

Probe on PSD men’s spending spree at BIA

Dec 12 (ST) Customs authorities have ordered an investigation into allegations that members of the Presidential Security Division (PSD) purchased goods from the duty free shops at the Airport (BIA) exceeding their duty free allowance on return to Sri Lanka following the recent visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to London. Customs Director General Ms. Sudharma Karunaratne said that the investigation had been launched following a report filed by more..

At Oxford: A high degree of conspiracy

Dec 12 (ST) It was past noon on December 1, the day when the countdown to Christmas begins. Freezing temperatures and thin sheets of ice on the streets, some covered with snow, lent the ideal storybook backdrop for a white Christmas in Britain. At London's plush Mayfair district, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was in the Harlequin Suite at the five-star Dorchester Hotel. It was in this very suite that Elizabeth Taylor received the news of more..

World Cup venues running behind schedule

Dec 12 (Island) The writing is on the wall for Sri Lanka Cricket. After months of fooling around and appointing incompetent ‘nobodies’ to key positions of the administration, SLC is facing the bitter truth, which is the consequence of appointing misfits to run key events. The results can be severe. All three Sri Lanka’s venues that will host the 2011 World Cup matches are way behind schedule and one can bet his bottom dollar that Suriyawewa Stadium will not be ready more..

Who’s lying? Peiris or Nepal?

Dec 12 (ST) Nepal said yesterday that it would raise issue with Sri Lanka through diplomatic channels over remarks made for a second time in Parliament by External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris. Dr. Peiris reiterated on Tuesday a comment he had made earlier that Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav had indeed requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to help resolve the political problems in his country. Dr. Peiris said the Nepali President had cited the manner in which more..

US aware of Sri Lanka’s human rights situation

Dec 12 (Island) The US is aware about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka", US assistant secretary for democracy human rights and labor Michael Posner said on Saturday. "We continue to engage directly with the Sri Lankan Government on those issues of looking at the past. The UN, as you say, has an expert that’s now doing its work. We’re going to watch that closely," he said at a state department news conference, more..

'Sri Lanka moving in right direction'

Dec 12 (SO) India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that Sri Lanka is moving in the right direction after eradicating terrorism and added that there are “unique opportunities” for Sri Lanka and India after terrorism was defeated by the Security Forces. In an exclusive interview with a group of media heads from Sri Lanka at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi last week, Rao said that everybody is enjoying the dividends of peace. more..

Anti-Jayalath petition ‘in order’

Dec 12 (NS) The petition signed by 78 government MPs, requesting the speaker to appoint a select committee to investigate the alleged links of UNP MP Dr Jayalath Jayawardana with pro-Tiger groups has already been published in the order paper. The Speaker will announce in parliament on January 4, the terms of reference contained in the petition to seek parliamentary consent for future course of action. more..

211 ex-LTTE cadres pass in competitive exam to enter varsities

Dec 12 (PTI) More than 200 former LTTE cadres have cleared the most competitive examination which selects students to enter universities in the country, officials said. Two hundred and eleven candidates out of 360, who are still undergoing rehabilitation, sat for the advanced level examination and have passed all three subjects they appeared for. "32 of the total ex caders sat for the exam failed in all three subjects in their respective streams," more..

Golden Key directors to submit repayment plan on January 15, 2011

Dec 12 (Island) Two years after its collapse, the directors of Golden Key have agreed to submit a re-payment plan by January 15, 2011 to settle thousands of distraught depositors who continue to languish sans either their investment or interest. With the modalities pertaining to the repayment structure now in the process of being worked out, the final draft will be placed before the two separate Golden Key depositor’ associations for more..

Tiger flags in London: Lanka protests to Britain

Dec 12 (ST) Sri Lanka will officially protest to Britain over the display of the LTTE flag by protestors who demonstrated against President Mahinda Rajapaksa in London recently. The Sri Lankan High Commission in London has sought an appointment with officials of the British Foreign Office to lodge the official complaint on the basis that the LTTE is a banned organisation in Britain. more..

National Anthem only in Sinhala; Tamil version out

Dec 12 (ST) Sri Lanka's national anthem will remain only in Sinhala. The move will mean that the current Tamil version will no longer be played at any official or state functions. At present, the Sinhala version of Sri Lanka Matha is used in all parts of the country with the exception of the North and the East which have a large Tamil population. The decision came after a lengthy discussion at last Wednesday night's Cabinet meeting. more..

Youth delegation on South African jaunt

Dec 12 (ST) A specially-chartered flight loaded with some 180 passengers, mostly government politicians and youth, left Colombo on Friday night to attend an international Marxist-oriented student/youth festival in the South African capital of Pretoria—but the JVP has slammed its jumbo delegation as a farce. On board the chartered Sri Lankan airline flight were some 20 MPs, an equal number of provincial councillors and more than 40 local council members, more..

‘Untouchable’ brothel raided on Gota’s orders

Dec 12 (NS) Believe it or not! A brothel located in a posh landmark building in a high security zone in the city was having a roaring business day and night for more than a decade until Police raided it early this week. The Madam `G’ who ran this flourishing trade on seventh and eighth floors of the Liberty Plaza building at Kollupitiya wielded such political and police clout that non dared to raid it. more..

UNP approves new party constiution

Dec 12 (ST) The UNP new constitution was passed at the Sirikotha, party headquarters, a short while ago, a party spokesman said. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today addressing the Special Convention of the party called UNP supporters to rally round to defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa before he completes his second term. “We should wait until he becomes the President for the third time, but defeat him in the second term itself”, he said. more..

Financial costing of President's confrontational Diplomacy

Dec 13 (LG) The full cost of the failed Oxford Union speech of the President will never be brought to the public knowledge. The failure at the Oxford Union is a symptom of progressively breaking down international diplomacy of Sri Lanka. It clearly amplifies the consequences of the dictatorial way path of Sri Lanka, whilst it attempts to portray its failures as an international and opposition conspiracy for internal consumption purposes. more..

Did we have to leap at Oxford’s invitation?

Dec 13 (LG) Certainly, the unholy glee displayed by this government when the Oxford Union invited President Mahinda Rajapaksa to address the Union for the second time around, sat oddly with its much vaunted homespun rule from Medamulana, not to mention the manifest dismissal of all things western with immediate contempt. Leaving aside the atrociously bad timing of the visit, such hasty acceptance amounted to genuflection at the ‘altar of western learning’, more..

More than 100,000 persons affected by rain in the North

Dec 13 (TN) More than hundred thousand people were affected by rain in Jaffna, Mannaar, Ki'linochchi and Mullaiththeevu district, according to civil society sources in the Northern province. Menik Farm camp used as an internment camp to hold Tamil civilians, is surrounded by flood. More than 20,000 remaining refugees have been struggling with toilets submerged in flood. Dengue and malaria are spreading rapidly, according to medical sources. more..

The 'Godayata magic' of Oxford

Dec 13 (GV) There is a storm engulfing this country not the incessant rains and consequent floods that have brought much suffering especially to the rural poor and urban slum dwellers. Rather, it is a storm over the failure of our Head of State (somehow President seems inadequate to describe Our Great Leader) to gain access to the podium of a student debating society in a distant foreign land a debating society that does not even speak our languages at that! more..

Improving University System

Dec 13 (LG) Lunch time meeting of the university teachers at the Arts Theatre of the University of Peradeniya was definitely an eye-opener. The meeting was convened by the FPUTA with the objective of discussing the salary proposals of the university teachers included in the budget 2011 presented to the Parliament by President Mahinda Rajapkasa. The well attended meeting unanimously expressed displeasure of the university academic community at those proposals. more..

523 brigade organizes English language seminar for O/L students

Dec 13 (Cimic) Lending a helping hand to G.C.E. O/L candidates of Jaffna, 523 Brigade in Nunavil arranged a seminar on English Language and Literature for the students of schools in the 523 Brigade area on 6th December at Kaithady Muthukumarswamy School. An experienced English Language teacher at Ragama Basilica Maha Vidyalaya Mr. J.M.H.M. Pieris conducted the lecture targeting question papers of the O/L examination to commence soon. more..

LTTE Scored its first goal after Prabhakaran's death while Mahinda sulked at Dorchester

Dec 13 (TC) Lessons Learnt and Reconcile. It's not the commission sitting at Horton Place rather a lesson of a lifetime learnt at Oxford. Pilgrimage to Oxford is a trek to a colonial bygone; paying homage to an educational enclave for kittens of fat cats with stuffed purses mostly of mid-eastern breeds that attracts more gravitation than heavy academic magnets. A President that showed the world the art of defeating terrorism and more..

Heritage minister sees ‘multi-religious’ institutes in Trinco, Mannaar

Dec 13 (TN) Hindu temples like Thirukeatheesvaram in Maanthai, Mannaar and Thirukoa’neasvaram in Trincomalee were identified as multi-religious institutes and steps were being taken to name them as World Heritage sites, said Colombo’s National Heritage Minister Jagath Balasuriya. Colombo is yet to declare the Dalada Maligawa complex in Kandy where temples for Siva, Vishnu, Murukan, Ka’n’naki and also Dadi Mu’nda are found as a multi-religious institute. more..

Former CJ on human rights situation in Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (LT) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. de Silva spoke on 10-12-2010 regarding the present human rights situation in Sri Lanka. He did so delivering the keynote address at the ceremony organized by ‘Intellectuals for Human Rights’ at the BMICH to commemorate the International Human Rights Day. Former Chief Justice said: The 10th of December is commemorated throughout the world as the International Human Rights Day. more..