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Expired AH1N1 vaccine

Dec 16 (NN) The vaccine distributed to State hospitals to treat patients with the AH1N1 virus, expires at the end of this month, the All Ceylon Government Medial Officers Union said today. President of the Union Gishantha Dasanayake claims that the vaccine was gifted to Sri Lanka from a foreign country some 11 months ago but was never used. He said that the authorities have now instructed State hospitals to use the product despite its scheduled expiry at the end of this month. more..

UNICEF to exit Trinco

Dec 16 (NN) The UNICEF will close down its Trincomalee office by the end of this month, officials were told at a meeting in Trincomalee today. During the meeting attended by officials from humanitarian agencies held at a hotel in Trincomalee it was announced that the area office of UNICEF will close as funding for the operations will cease. However a UNICEF official said that the agency is continuing its operation in areas in and around Trincomalee and is not halting operations. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 15.12.2010

TNA appoints team

Dec 16 (NN) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has appointed a three member committee to formulate proposals together with the Tamil Parties Forum to address issues faced by the Tamil community. TNA MP Sivasakthi Anandan told News that TNA MPs Mavai Senathirajaha, M. A. Sumanthiran and Suresh Premachandran have been named to be in the TNA committee which will formulate the proposals with another three members representing the Tamil Parties Forum. more..

Colombo cripples traders in Jaffna to bring in Sinhala trade

Dec 16 (TN) The Government is alleged to have been involved in crippling the business activities of the Tamil traders in Jaffna peninsula to make way for the Sinhalese to capture it, Jaffna traders who have been subjected to harassment by officers from CID of Colombo Police. A team of intelligence officers from Colombo was interrogating the traders in Jaffna during the first week of December at the office of the traders association in Jaffna more..

Madam ‘G’ remanded

Dec 16 (NN) The lady known as madam ‘G’ who operated a luxury brothel at a leading shopping mall in Colombo was remanded till next March by the Colombo High Court today. Appearing on her behalf in Court today four leading lawyers including Rupavahini Chairman Sarath Kongahage appealed for bail but the Court rejected it and placed her on remand. She was arrested and produced in Court today just days after her brothel was raided by a special police team and at more..

Sri Lanka to protect Buddhism with low power tariffs

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka has further cut tariffs to places of worship in proposed new rates for 2010 to protect Buddhism, which was an obligation of the state, power ministry secretary M M Ferdinando said. Under proposed tariffs for 2011 the lowest tariffs for religious establishments would go down from 2.50 to 2.00 rupees a unit and above 180 units a month, the rate would come down to 9.50 from 12.50. "The government has an obligation to protect Buddhism," more..

Reduce emergency regulations - US

Dec 16 (DM) The US called on Sri Lanka to trim down emergency regulations and to reveal an account of the number of IDP's being held in camps, already released and those to be charged. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O' Blake acknowledged that the majority of IDP's had been released. However a proper account was necessary of those IDP's to be charged, in order for their families to be at peace. more..

LTTE may attack PM during his Tamil Nadu visit

Dec 16 (IBN) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunandhi are on the hit-list of LTTE. Sources have told CNN-IBN that Intelligence Bureau has warned that LTTE might attack Singh and Karunanidhi when the Prime Minister visits Tamil Nadu in January 2011. The sources claim that some LTTE terrorists have entered India through the southern coast and are hiding in Tamil Nadu. more..

Why ape the West in trampling free speech?

Dec 16 (LG) To continue from where this column left off last week, the Oxford fiasco was born out of a desire to pull off a publicity coup. It was a gung-ho move to leave for England, thump the tub and say ‘catch me if you can.’ And it backfired. But good money was spent, and it was decided that if certain opposition MPs could be scapegoated, all would not have gone waste. Therefore, Jayalath Jayewardene was attacked in Parliament, and Bahu was nearly mauled as he left the airport upon arrival. more..

Inflation, chicken and eggs

Dec 16 (LG) "Politicians are talking a load of bull….", commented an irate housewife this week when told that inflation is coming down. "They should go to the vegetable and fish markets and see what consumers are buying and what they are (actually) eating," she said, and noted (jokingly): "Some consumers are sharing an egg between three to four people when purchasing in the markets." The good news this week however is that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has more..

'Will govt take care of the Tamil population in North, as much as it does with Sinhalese in the South?'

Dec 16 (TC) Sri Lanka’s 25-year war is over but aid groups on the Indian Ocean island say strict government controls are hampering their ability to help hundreds of thousands of survivors rebuild their lives. More than 70,000 people were killed and over 1 million forced to flee their homes during the civil war between the army and separatist Tamil Tigers rebels. more..

Whither Sri Lankan Democracy?

Dec 16 (LG) After the momentous Presidential election and much controversies, Sri Lanka appears to have now settled down with President Rajapaksa firmly in the saddle. Does this mean that the democracy in Sri Lanka has won ? We need to keep in mind that President Rajapaksa was criticized on several counts including ushering in a family rule and introducing measures to perpetuate himself in power for long time. more..

We are the People; We are the Govt

Dec 16 (LG) These days I tend to observe more and more and marvel at the perfection of Karma. I am happy that I am able to find the connection between cause and effect. When we slow down in consciously producing effects to show others, we start accepting Nature/Karma. That helps us complete the cycle within. There was much discussion on the issue of ‘Sinhala Only National Anthem’. Even though as per the latest report, President Rajapakse has decided to not abolish the more..

Pillaiyar Perunkathai: To echo glory and eternal bliss

Dec 16 (HA) “Pillaiyar Perunkathai” (Story of Lord Vinayagar) ends today, 10th of December 2010. Devotees used to gather at Pillaiyar temples and read “Pillaiyar Perungathai” as a group. Normally 21 days of fast is observed and special poojas are performed are performed during this period. “Gajamugasoora Samhaaram” is held at the end of the “Pillaiyar Perunkathai” at Lord Vinayayagar temples. more..

Does Parliament reflect the aspirations of the people?

Dec 16 (DM) Parliamentary democracy in Sri Lanka was once a concept respected and admired not only by local political analysts but even by other world leaders. In 1948 when Sri Lanka then Ceylon received Independence her first parliamentarians perhaps dominated by their pride of being the first elected representatives of the people or maybe guided by the experiences they had obtained in the State council acted as if Parliament was a sacrosanct institution in more..

Repeal the 13th amendment

Dec 16 (DM) A recent article of mine on the above subject has resulted in my receiving a large number of letters which has prompted me to return to the subject. I called for the repeal of the Amendment as it does not, in the first instance, accord with our own politcal culture and history, secondly it does not suit this small country and finally, it was a so-called solution imposed on this country. We have had systems of local government for centuries, what I suggest is that more..

Northerners & Southerners join hands together to felicitate Gusi Prize laureate

Dec 16 (Cimic) Sri Lanka’s ‘Gusi International Peace Prize – 2010’ laureate, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander, Security Forces Jaffna upon his return home was showered with voluminous felicitations at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on Monday before a galaxy of appreciative audience of religious dignitaries, President’s Secretary, Ministers, Secretary Defence, Army and Navy Chiefs, more..

On incorporation non- violence into good governance

Dec 16 (DM) Few religions will advocate the taking of life. On the other hand history is repeated with innumerable examples where religious leaders have sanctioned war, often in the name of the religion itself. And so we have Pope Nicholas V issuing the first Bull Dum Diversa in 1452 conferring genocidal-rights to King Alfonso of Portugal, i.e. to ‘invade and conquer, to reduce to slavery Saracens, Pagans, other unbelievers and enemies of Christ’ in more..

Oxford: Double degree for spin doctors

Dec 16 (DM) Ayubowan, vanakkam, asalamu alaikkum and best wishes as your political battle of Britain continues, with the plot thickening and a puzzle within a puzzle as to who was trying to do what against whom. The diplomatic debacles with double games and double agents make the episode like a 007 spy thriller filled with spills and chills. According to the latest dramatic revelations from reliable inside sources, the chartered SriLankan airlines plane carrying you more..

Jayalath Victim or Villain?

Dec 16 (NS) Conflict, conceit, concealment or promiscuity is the order of the day in today’s politics in Sri Lanka. The Oxford Union’s annulment of a scheduled address by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday December 3, following fears that pro-LTTE activists might disrupt the lecture has now become the latest political fiasco. A number of groups and organisations, claiming to be human right activists, joined hands to protest against more..

Editorial: 'Anthem for doomed jumbos'

Dec 16 (Island) The Rajapaksa government is apparently adept at one thing. No other regime has been able to market patriotism for politico-military purposes the way it does. It may not be able to arrest the ballooning prices of coconuts, rice and other essential commodities but it has managed to put the people on a solid diet of patriotism and get their votes in return. There is much hullabaloo about the UNP's irreverence or disrespect for the national anthem at more..

Editorial: Voter freedoms challenged and stolen

Dec 16 (DM) The media yesterday reported the misuse of car permits issued to Members of Parliament by certain MPs. According to the report several MPs have transacted their duty free car permits by handing over the possession of the vehicles to be imported to their dealers. This is hardly news and leaves the tax payer with little choice but to enjoy the shock and deprivation of a well known antic of our representatives in the House. more..

Caritas seeks better life for tea workers

Dec 16 (UCAN) Caritas Kandy has submitted a proposal to Sri Lankan parliamentarians aimed at improving the lives of tea estate workers. Politicians and rights activists joined 500 people from local tea estates at a Dec. 12 event to raise awareness of the problems faced by tea industry workers. “Every Sri Lankan begins the day with a cup of tea. But very few know tea workers shed blood and water all day before retiring to houses built centuries ago,” more..

Hidden surprises by Elephant House ice cream

Dec 16 (BL) What better way to usher in the holiday season than been given the option of wider choice which is not only good for the taste pallet but also natural in flavour. Elephant House has always been in the forefront in marrying innovation to excitement. Keeping its promise to the consumer, they have now introduced a whole new range of stick based ice creams which takes their entire sticks range to a total of 16 exciting flavours. more..

Colombo activists seek justice for disappeared

Dec 16 (UCAN) Christians and human rights defenders joined 600 parents and relatives of people who “disappeared” during Sri Lanka’s long civil war in a street demonstration in Colombo last week. According to United Nations figures, more than 12,000 went missing during the long conflict. Standing close to riot police, protesters carried photos, placards and banners and shouted slogans in Tamil and Sinhala. “Where are our relatives, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children?” more..

UK police gave 800 men

Dec 16 (NN) The British police had deployed approximately 800 men around the area where President Mahinda Rajapaksa was travelling during his recent visit to London to address the Oxford Union, the British House of Commons was told. British Minister for Police Nick Herbert has told the House of Commons that approximately 800 officers were deployed across the Metropolitan Police area for the visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Food security in northern Sri Lanka remains fragile

Dec 16 (IRIN) Food security in northern Sri Lanka remains fragile, according to preliminary findings by the World Food Programme (WFP). Of 1,755 households surveyed in five districts - including Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Killinochi and Mannar - the majority spend more than 65 percent of their income on food. Although dietary intake of returnees was remarkably good, maintaining that over time will prove difficult given low income levels, more..

Dr. Mrs. Fernandopulle denies involvement in duty-free permit racket

Dec 16 (Island) Apropos our news item in Tuesday’s issue, captioned ‘MPs using luxury vehicle permits to earn a fast buck?’, UPFA Gampaha District MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernnadopulle told The Island, "she was the only woman UPFA MP elected from the entire Western Province and wasn’t involved in any irregularity in relation to duty-free car permits issued to newly elected MPs. MPs representing both the UPFA and UNP are accused of selling their duty free permits. more..

'IDPs neglected, defence spending rises by Rs.13 billion'

Dec 16 (Island) The Dambulla Economic Center has been reporting the highest ever retail prices for vegetables in the last few weeks, the UNP said. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillaka told The Island that never before have such exhorbitant prices been experienced. There was a big difference between retail and wholesale prices. This had resulted in the poor being unable to purchase vegetables for their daily consumption, he said. more..

Plea to help repatriate maid's body

Dec 16 (GDN) AN urgent appeal has gone out to help repatriate the body of a Sri Lankan housemaid stranded in Bahrain as she was living here illegally for the past two years. Marasingha Arachchige Kalyanawathie collapsed and died of heart attack in her flat early this month. The 66-year-old came to Bahrain 30 years ago to work as a housemaid for a Bahraini sponsor. She never went back to Sri Lanka since and got married to a Bahraini man, who is also believed to be her sponsor, more..

CBI raids Radia, Raja kin, Kanimozhi-linked NGO

Dec 16 (IANS) In a coordinated crackdown as part of the 2G spectrum scam probe, the CBI Wednesday raided 34 houses and offices of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, associates of former communications minister A. Raja and an NGO linked to DMK MP Kanimozhi here and in Tamil Nadu and seized 'incriminating documents', officials said. As the government widened its inquiry into what is being described as India's worst corruption scandal, more..

'Flood victims of N & E will be resettled soon'

Dec 16 (Island) The Ministry of Resettlement had allocated Rs. 45 million as relief to the people displaced by the recent rains and floods in the North, Minister of Resettlement Gunarathne Weerakoon said. "Each of th ten thousand families displaced in the Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Vauniya districts will receive a pack of essential items worth Rs. 4,500 in the coming week," he said. more..

Kelaniya girls in boys’ dorm.

Dec 16 (DM) Female students of the Kelaniya University expressed their displeasure over the various hardships they are made to face due to being accommodated in hostels which were previously used by boys. Kelaniya University Student Union member Shyamalee Liyanarachchi said that following the reopening of the university recently, the female students have been made to accommodate themselves in the boys hostels located within university premises, more..

More attractions at zoo

Dec 16 (DN) The Dehiwala Zoological Gardens is being modernised and developed with added attractions in view of the tourist and December school holiday season. This follows a directive issued by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa during an inspection tour of the gardens recently. Under this program paving and beautification of the internal road network and the gardens is now being undertaken to enable visitors to view the animals comfortably. more..

Future of Sri Lankan Politics and Budget

'Changing leader not objective of new UNP Constitution'

Dec 16 (Island) The North Central Provincial Council, Opposition leader Kasthuri Anuradhanayaka, says that the UNP had adopted a new constitution with a view to democratizing the party and not to change the leader. He said that the rank and file had voted for a new UNP constitution, with the objective of democratising and uniting the party, so that they could defeat the dicatatorial Mahinda Rajpaksa regime and not to oust the UNP leader. more..

Australia resumes hunt for refugee boat victims, toll rises

Dec 16 (AFP) Australian rescuers scoured the seas Thursday for survivors of a horrific asylum boat tragedy that killed at least 28 people, renewing heated debate on the grim plight of boatpeople from Asia. The wooden craft, believed to be crowded with up to 100 Iraqi and Iranian asylum seekers and their children, hit rocks at Christmas Island Wednesday and was shattered by huge waves as traumatised residents looked on helplessly. more..

Sri Lanka’s economy expands 8%, faster than expected

Dec 16 (BN) Sri Lanka’s economy expanded faster than analysts estimated, stoking price pressures that may force the central bank to raise interest rates. Gross domestic product rose 8 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier after advancing 8.5 percent in the previous quarter, the statistics department said. The median of five estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 7.6 percent gain. more..

LSSP works for everyone

Dec 16 (DN) Social welfare programs such as free education and free health became a reality due to the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), party secretary and senior Cabinet Minister Professor Tissa Vitarana said. The LSSP has strived throughout history to build a society where everyone enjoys equal benefits, Prof Vitarana said. The Minister addressing a press conference at the Dr N M Perera Centre in Colombo Tuesday said the Party struggled to build a just society. more..