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Sri Lanka paves way for India-Pakistan Naval Chiefs to meet

Dec 14 (SLN) At the invitation of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarsinghe, Navy Commanders and representatives of 21 navies arrived in Sri Lanka to participate in the Sri Lanka Navy’s 60th Anniversary Celebrations. War ships from China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Thailand and Russia too arrived in the island to take part in this historic event in response to his request. Sending of their ships for this event by more..

Sri Lanka denies move to ban national anthem in Tamil

Dec 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka denied on Monday plans to outlaw the singing of the national anthem in Tamil after the main minority party raised strong objections to the mooted ban. The status quo will remain, said public administration minister John Seneviratne, who is in charge of managing the code of conduct for the national anthem as well as the national flag. "There is no decision to make a change with regard to the anthem and we will continue what we have been doing," more..

Karunanidhi slams Sri Lanka for scrapping national anthem in Tamil

Dec 14 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Monday condemned Sri Lanka's decision to abolish the Tamil version of its national anthem. Citing news reports about the decision, Karunanidhi issued a statement saying: 'If the news is true, then it should be strongly condemned.' He said such a move would further hurt the sentiments of Sri Lankan Tamils. According to him, the island nation had its national anthem in two language since both Sinhalese and Tamils lived there. more..

Sri Lanka said keen on public-private partnerships

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka is keen on partnerships between the public and private sectors in developing its economy, the International Finance Corporation, which is supporting the initiative, said in a statement. “Sri Lanka is actively considering options to increase private participation in development," it quoted Sarath Amunugama, Sri Lanka’s Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation as telling a forum. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.12.2010

'LTTE ordered killing surrendees'

Dec 14 (BBC) Karuna Amman a former Tamil Tiger militant in Sri Lanka, now a government minister, has admitted that his comrades killed more than 600 policemen 20 years ago in the part of the country he then controlled as a Tiger leader. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, commonly known as Colonel Karuna Amman said, he was in a different part of Sri Lanka at the time. Testifying before a government-appointed commission looking at the Sri Lankan war, blamed Tiger’s leader and intelligence chief for killings. more..

Sri Lanka frees 'pro-Tamil Tiger' doctor T Satyamoorthi

Dec 14 (BBC) One of five Sri Lankan government doctors who was arrested at the end of the war in May 2009 has been acquitted by a Colombo court. The doctors were accused by the government of exaggerating civilian casualties while treating Tamils in the final stages of the conflict. They were arrested when they crossed into government-controlled territory. The doctors were accused of aiding Tamil Tiger rebels and distributing untrue information to foreigners. more..

Rifts in UNP

Dec 14 (BBC) Divisions in the main opposition UNP came into light less than twenty four hours after the party’s special general assembly endorsed a new constitution unanimously. Leader of the opposition, Ranil Wikramasinghe, in a press briefing held at his official residence said that he had done his duty by endorsing the new constitution. “Yesterday’s party conference brought a new energy and we must unite to bring down the government” he added. more..

Sumana Thero to be released on bail

Dec 14 (LT) Colombo High Court released Ven. Uwatenne Sumana Thero of Bodhirukkaramaya released on bail who was in remand prison for more than one year on charges of possessing explosives. Judge Ms. Deepali Wijesundere ordered to release Ven. Sumana Thero on Rs.100,000 cash bail and Rs.1 million personal bail. Ven. Sumana Thero supported former Commander of the Army Gen. Sarath Fonseka and the police after raiding Bodhirukkarama temple said they found arms and explosives from the temple. more..

Drunken monk arrested

Dec 14 (NN) A Buddhist monk who was under the influence of liquor was arrested by the Puttalam police this evening on the charges of being drunk and assaulting a young boy. The monk attached to the Sri Vidyarama temple in Thabowa, Puttalam, was arrested after the chief priest of the temple lodged a police complaint. The chief priest also presented the young boy, who works at the temple, to the police with blood oozing from his face following the alleged assault. more..

Fuel permits suspended

Dec 14 (DM) Permits to open new fuel stations in the island have been suspended until further notice, the Petroleum Industries Ministry said today. Minister Susil Premjayantha said the issuing of permits would be put on hold till a market survey is conducted by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) was completed. “A preliminary study by the CPC has revealed that opening filling stations in a haphazard manner without more..

Now is the Time to Observe Silently

Dec 14 (LG) I respond to your article under the heading ‘Now is the Time to Act’, in today’s Sri Lanka Guardian. I tried to read with an open mind, looking for some democratic facility that you may be spelling out. But I could not find any. You state in the opening paragraph ‘Sri Lanka is still a democracy and the Constitution specifies certain rights - among them the right of the citizens to exercise their franchise without being intimidated or persecuted. more..

War Crimes:The global psywar against Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (LG) Let’s confront the issue of "war crimes" and all that jazz. In the first place, where is it an issue and among whom? Hardly among the states in our neighbourhood or on the continent to which we belong. Is that because the standards of democracy are lower in Asia than elsewhere? It is true that in Asia, democracy is not always equated with liberalism, and there is sometimes differentiated from it, but that is a legitimate and fairly old debate in political theory and practice. more..

75 Military Officers graduate at Staff College - Batalanda

Dec 14 (MoD) Seventy five senior officers of the tri – services who successfully completed the course in Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) were awarded degrees at the convocation held at the Staff College auditorium this morning, 13th December. Minister Prof G.L Peries graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. 47 officers from Sri Lanka Army, 11 officers from Sri Lanka Navy, 11 officers from Sri Lanka Air Force and more..

Administration, Facility & Ownership : Buddha, Dharma & Sangha

Dec 14 (LG) Chapter 3 of the Sri Lankan Constitution states “In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable.” Chapter 9 states “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e)." Chapter 18 states: (1) The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala. more..

What national reconciliation by discussing to prevent national anthem in Tamil?

Dec 14 (LG) Reported attempt to prevent national anthem being sung in Tamil language is yet another ill attempt that alienates Tamil speaking people in this country. We wonder what national reconciliation the government is talking of by discussing such divisive attempts at a time when Sri Lanka needs more endeavors towards reunion. We fail to understand why the government leaders cannot accept the our national anthem also in Tamil as a symbol of more..

White tea magic

Dec 14 (NS) Sri Lanka is known the world over for multiple reasons; its beautiful unmatched sandy beaches attract the fair-skinned and plenty from the West, the upcountry hills, the waterfalls and its majestic history as the last kingdom of the country. It attracts tourists, historians from all walks of life and the fact that the island has got the best of both worlds is a fact loved by all. It was in 1824 that the first tea plant was brought to Ceylon. more..

Prayers at three Mosques in Galle and the signing of a petition to save Rizana Nafeek

Dec 14 (LG) Prayers were held in three Mosques in Galle for saving the life of Rizana Nafeek. Those who attended the prayers also signed a petition addressed to the King of Saudi Arabia for her pardon. A Campaign under the caption of 'Save Rizana', organized by Janasansadaya and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) based in Hong Kong, took place in Galle on December 10th, 2010, which is International Human Rights Day. more..

SLA tightens security in Jaffna

Dec 14 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is employing new measures in the last several days to increase security in Jaffna, civil sources in Jaffna said. SLA has increased search operations during nights and has increased checking of motor vehicles including motor bikes. Passengers traveling in night buses are being subjected to delays as they searched in the proximity of four or five SLA camps. In addition, reports from Jaffna say SLA soldiers are constructing more..

'Wimal’s comments prove his ignorance'

Dec 14 (AD) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the government is attempting to kill the Tamil culture within the country while adding that Tamil areas that were liberated during the war are being exposed to a cultural invasion. He claimed that Temples were also being erected in purely Tamil areas as a part of the government’s plan to divide the people again. In reply to Minister Wimal Weerawansa who called the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil a ‘joke’, more..

First Lady’s Xmas in Jaffna cancelled

Dec 14 (TN) As most of the local priests and Christians in Jaffna were not interested in participation, the programme of Mahinda Rajapakasa’s wife Shiranthi Rajapakasa presiding over an Xmas fete in Jaffna as its chief guest was cancelled. However, Buddhist monks, Sinhalese visitors and some Muslim religious leaders who were brought from the south for this purpose, along with military personnel in Jaffna, celebrated Christmas at the Methodist Church in Jaffna on Saturday. more..

Army strengthen with more Special Forces

Dec 14 (MoD) Eleven officers and four hundred and forty-three other ranks of Special Forces joined to serve the motherland after passing out from Special Forces Training School (SFTS) at Maduruoya yesterday, (11 Dec). This glamorous passing-out ceremony was more dignified by the presence of Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, participating as the chief guest. The Secretary Defence was accorded with a special guard of honour, and later he inspected more..

Would Karu Jayasuriya have asked for 'investigation' if Sarath Fonseka had been elected President?

Dec 14 (TC) Can a senior, experienced and responsible politician be taken seriously when he asks the government to investigate allegations of war-crimes levelled by protesting pro-LTTE/separatist groups when that politician is one who seriously believed that the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka should become the President of Sri Lanka not so long ago? Having defended and supported Fonseka to the hilt, more..

Counterproductive Confrontation or positive transformation?

Dec 14 (LG) The Oxford Union may have dealt the government an unexpected blow by unilaterally withdrawing the invitation it had extended to the President to speak at the university. There was the possibility of a mass protest campaign against the President’s visit escalating due to action by the Tamil Diaspora as well as some Sinhalese expatriate supporters of imprisoned former Army Commander and Presidential candidate former General Sarath Fonseka. more..

JJ has every right to oppose MR anywhere in the world?

Dec 14 (LB) Don’t you and I have the right to go on marches, oppose invitations and participate in activities condemning Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe or any other mother’s son of a politico anywhere in the world? Is it unlawful to censure the Oxford Union for inviting Rajapaksa? I have no idea whether Jayalath Jayawrdena engaged in any such thing, but if the issue is that he engaged in activities opposed to Mahinda Rajapaksa and joined a call for more..

Nita Ambani to buy 25K pieces of crockery from Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (ToI) India's richest person, Mukesh Ambani, may have built the world's most expensive house, Antilia, in South Mumbai's tony Altamount Road, but his wife Nita seems quite a bargain hunter. She would have to be, especially when her shopping list includes 25,000 pieces of chinaware for her high-rise home. She's settled for 106-year-old Japanese brand Noritake, whose 22 carat gold/platinum-trimmed porcelain crockery has fans round the world. more..

Editorial: Lessons from UNP for Rajapaksa regime

Dec 14 (DM) The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime – facing unprecedented international pressure over alleged human rights violations and failure to find a just political solution to the ethnic conflict – needs to take a lesson from what happened in the main opposition UNP and especially at the UNP’s much awaited and highly controversial convention last Sunday. Since 1978 especially the UNP constitution has been much like the all powerful executive presidential system with more..

Editorial: Children as horses

Dec 14 (Island) This country is considered home to several great religions, which discourage mindless quest and contest. They teach us that we can derive happiness not by trying to have what we want but by trying to want what we have. But, our collective psyche is characterised by the very obverse of these teachings if our lemming-like rush or the clichéd rat race is any indication. Minister Bandula Gunawardena said the other day that parents and politicians had robbed our children of their childhood. more..

Four Hydro Power plants open for public viewing from today

Dec 14 (GDI) The public will be offered the opportunity to view four major hydro power plants in the country. The public can view the Kelanitissa, Victoria, Samanalawewa and Wimalasurendra hydro power plants from today, Media Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy told The Ceylon Electricity Board has appointed Coordinating Officers to facilitate the visitors who turn up to view the power plants. more..

Sri Lanka draws Mövenpick Hotels in management deal

Dec 14 (LBO) The Swiss hotel chain Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has won a management agreement to operate the Mövenpick Hotel Colombo, a 180-room property in Sri Lanka. The property, located next to Liberty Plaza in the heart of the city, will occupy half an acre in the prime downtown district, surrounded by commercial businesses, high-end residences and prestigious restaurants, it said. The 19-floor hotel, owned by Sri Lanka's SoftLogic Holdings, expected to open by mid-2013. more..

'Health TUs play with lives'

Dec 14 (DN) A union consisting of a small number of members was playing with patients' lives by carrying out strikes in a few hospitals and claiming that patients were dying and operation theatres and labour rooms were closed, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. The Minister was speaking at the presentation of new appointments to 550 Family Health Services Officers (FHSO) at Navarangahala in Royal College, Colombo. more..

The new Healthy model school bag available

Dec 14 (LP) The New Model School bag, designed by the Ministry of Education in association with the Ministry of Health is now being made available in the market. The bag is recommended to be used by all school children in Sri Lanka from the new school term next year. The new school bag has been introduced with after taking into consideration the problems faced by children in the use of school bags. more..

Tornado strikes Jaffna

Dec 14 (DN) A tornado struck Navaly West and Kalundai low lying areas around noon on Sunday making people in the area run helter skelter in fear. Some took cover inside buildings thinking that another tsunami was going to take a heavy toll. The tornado hit the water bodies and kept the people in jitters. A noise similar to water being sucked up was heard at noon on Sunday. Water in the fields was sucked up in a spiral for nearly half an hour, eye witnesses said. more..

Oxford blunder: SL society president evades answers

Dec 14 (ST) Oxford Union Sri Lanka Society President Dilan Fernando offered to answer questions from the Sunday Times this week. He however did not respond to the supplementary questions that were sent to him by the newspaper. (ST): Did the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Nihal Jayasinghe ever advise you to postpone/cancel President Mahinda Rajapaksa's address to the Oxford Union? (DF): As you are aware, the President was invited by James Kingston, President – Oxford Union. more..

'Convention was a critical turning point in UNP’s political history'

Dec 14 (AD) Sajith Premadasa says he believes that yesterday’s special UNP convention was a ‘critical turning point’ in the party’s political history. The reformists and those who supported the democratization process of the party made multifarious sacrifices in order to achieve this end, he said. We as reformers and movers of democratic change within the party are extremely happy and vibrant about the UNP’s future prospects, more..

Sri Lanka seeks to promote finance business process outsourcing

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's investment professionals body has tied up with the island's software trade group to promote finance business process outsourcing, a statement said. The deal aims to exploit growing demand for Sri Lankan financial professionals from BPO and information technology firms in India and other outsourcing destinations. The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) has signed an agreement with more..

Transit Home at Maharagama for cancer patients

Dec 14 (Island) Around 350 to 500 cancer patients from far corners of Sri Lanka visit the Maharagama cancer hospital each day and they arrive at the hospital in advance. Since they do not have a proper place to stay, they are forced to stay in wards creating congestions and disturbing patients already undergoing treatment. The Healthcare Ministry, with the assistance of Children Cancer Care (CCC) organization has constructed a Transit Home Complex in more..

World Bank's MD, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala arries on Friday

Dec 14 (NF) The World Bank Group’s Managing Director, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will arrive on Friday for an official two-day visit to Sri Lanka. During her stay, she will be meeting with senior government officials and visiting the World Bank Group’s supported projects. “The World Bank has been an active partner in supporting Sri Lanka in its transition from a low income country in conflict to a middle income country in peace,” more..

Nurses’ strike temporarily called off

Dec 14 (DM) The strike by nursing staff at several main hospitals in the island was temporarily called off taking into consideration the Health Minister’s appeal, President of the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) Saman Rathnapriya said. The protest was held against the alleged arbitrary transfer of several nurses. The Association demanded that the transfers of 34 nurses of the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital be withdrawn. more..

Steps to net Cyber criminals in Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (LP) The Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) has requested the public to immediately inform them on any Cyber criminal activities. The number of Cyber criminal activities in the country is on the rise special crimes related to the world famous social network Facebook said Chief Executive of the SLCERT, Lal Dias. In recent times however Facebook has also become a favourite hunting ground for internet hackers resulting in people with malicious intent more..