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Five bus engines handed over to Jaffna CTB depot

Dec 16 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that during his visit to Jaffna, he promised to provide a better transport service for the resettled people. Keeping his promise the Minister handed over five bus engines to the CTB Jaffna district manager K. Ganepillai recently to operate in Jaffna. Minister said that the resettlement process was nearing completion and a large number of displaced people had returned to their original places. more..

Liam Fox's Sri Lanka trip makes Foreign Office furious

Dec 16 (Guardian) Liam Fox, the defence secretary, is planning to defy the Foreign Office by making a personal visit to Sri Lanka this weekend to deliver a speech in honour of a former foreign minister. The Foreign Office is debating whether to appeal to Downing Street to prevent Fox from visiting Sri Lanka, whose government is facing allegations of war crimes during its final assault on the Tamil Tigers last year. more..

Somali pirates seize two Lankan fishermen

Dec 16 (DM) Two Sri Lankan fishermen were taken hostage by Somali Pirates while the remaining four of a crew of six managed to escape to India, the Fisheries Ministry said yesterday. A ministry spokesman said the two fishermen had been identified as Lal Fernando and Sugath Fernando who had gone fishing from Beruwala in the boat “Lakmali” on November 20. They were taken hostage ten days later while in international waters. more..

District Secretary post to be scrapped soon

Dec 16 (DM) The Public Administration Ministry had consulted the Attorney General on the proposal to scrap the District Secretary post and to rename them Government Agents while giving them more powers, Minister John Seneviratne said. “We have consulted the Attorney General who is now working on looking into the matter. We would be giving Government Agents more powers to supervise Additional District Secretaries (who in future would become Asst. Govt. Agents) and more..

'Lanka thwarted LTTE attempt to destabilise region'

Dec 16 (Island) The LTTE’s separatist war in Sri Lanka could easily have destabilized the region. The fact that it did not happen is because of the preventive actions taken by Sri Lanka during and after the war to ensure stability. This is the regional significance of the current situation in Sri Lanka. In a wide-ranging address, on Tuesday night, to a representative gathering of journalists, diplomats and INGO and NGO officials at more..

Sri Lanka hotels, industry to face higher power tariffs

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's industries and hotels will face sharply higher power costs of around 25 to 100 percent under new tariffs proposed for 2011, industry representatives told a public hearing called by the regulator. Sri Lanka's industry has been getting subsidized power, though most of the subsidies went to domestic users below 90 units a month. Sri Lanka's manufacturing industries in ceramics, rubber and others will have to bear extra power expenses more..

GNOA to strike if Minister does not give in to its demand

Dec 16 (Island) The Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) temporarily called off their strike at Hambantota, Karapitiya, Matara, Kalubowila, Ratnapura and the National Hospital Colombo on Health Minister Maithreepala Sirisena’s assurance to solve their problems. GNOA President Saman Rathnapriya told The Island that Minister Sirisena requested them to stop the strike and enter into discussions on Wednesday (14). more..

Hip hop artiste Mizz Nina in Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (DM) Singing from the age of 8 years, the Malaysian born hip hop artist Mizz Nina has achieved what most people only dream of. With the release of her debut solo album ‘What you waiting for’ and a collaboration track with Colby O’Donis with the same name, Mizz Nina is one of the hottest artiste in town. Tracing her footsteps in singing, and excited Mizz Nina explained her introduction to music, more..

Hakeem to meet polls chief to discuss Muslim IDPs’ voting rights

Dec 16 (Island) SLMC leader and Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem will meet the Commissioner of Elections to discuss on the voting rights of 27,000 Jaffna Muslims, now displaced and living in Puttalam, in view of the forthcoming local government and the Northern Provincial Council elections. It had been decided to have talks with the Elections Commissioner following complaints by the displaced Muslims that more..

CMB-Jaffna bus permits from Jan.

Dec 16 (DM) The National Transport Commission (NTC) will issue permits for Colombo -Jaffna route by January 10 at an annual fee of Rs. 1.1 million each for super luxury and luxury coaches and Rs. 700,000 for semi luxury coaches, Minister C.B.Ratnayaka said. He said only a handful of route permits have been issued up to now to operate services between the two towns and the cabinet approval had been granted to issue new permits. more..

PSM in 4-hour strike today

Dec 16 (Island) The Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) has warned of a four-hour strike today if the Health Ministry fails to grant their five demands, including an allowance equivalent to 25 percent of the basic salary from January 2011. President of the PSM Ravi Kumudesh said on Wednesday that they too should be included in the professional category for which the 25 per cent allowance is to be paid as proposed in Budget 2011. more..

'No harm in Sinhalese settling in N & E'

Dec 16 (Island) Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan on Monday said that there was no harm in Sinhalese settling down in the North in the post-war era. Testifying before the LLRC, the former LTTE Commander recalled how those Sinhala families were forced leave their homes during the early stage of hostilities. The National List MP said that many Sinhala families had been engaged in various businesses in the North. more..

Sri Lanka should transform the country: US

Dec 16 (PTI) With the end of civil war and defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lanka has significant opportunity to transform the country, the US said on Wednesday. "We've said many times, it has a significant opportunity to transform the country, lift it above and beyond the recent conflict, and we certainly hope that the government will take advantage of that opportunity," the State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley, said. more..

Court issues notice on AG, Army chief, CM II members, Judge Advocate

Dec 16 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice, returnable on January 20, 2011, on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, the members of the Court Martial II, the Judge Advocate W.J.S. Fernando and the Attorney General. The notice is pertaining to the Writ Application filed by General (retired) Sarath Fonseka, challenging the decision of the court martial II against him and the sentence it imposed on him. more..

Lanka strengthens Armoured Corps, eyes more UN missions

Dec 16 (Island) The government is boosting the strength of the Armoured Corps, with a view to securing more UN peace keeping missions in which AC can play a leading role. This was revealed by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, who is also Colonel Commandant of the Armoured Corps, at the 55th anniversary of the Corps held at its Regimental Headquarters, Rock House, Muttwal on Wednesday (Dec.15). more..

Now UNP, UPFA PC members on China jaunt

Dec 16 (Island) Amidst Opposition allegations that there is a move by the ruling coalition to deprive the Provincial Councils system of revenue, a group of UNP and UPFA members of the Western Provincial Councils are on a week-long foreign jaunt. At least 40 members are on a visit to China at the taxpayers’ expense. Sources revealed that some of the UNPers had delayed their departure by 24 hours to more..

Thamilchelvan statue removed

Dec 16 (DM) The External Affairs Ministry has learnt that the statue, of former LTTE Political wing leader Thamilchelvan erected in a French Town, has been removed from the place it was first erected. “Our Ambassador in Paris briefed the Mayor and members of the Municipal Council of the town of La Courneuve, about the atrocities committed by Thamilchelvan. He further had extensive discussions with the French Foreign Ministry on this matter,” more..

New passports NIC from 2011

Dec 16 (DM) Defense authorities have decided to introduce numerous laws and regulations regarding the public and national security next year such as the restriction of the importation of dynamite and the regularization of private security agencies, Parliament was informed. The Defense Ministry’s Progress Report says that a less dangerous explosive called ‘Water Gel’ would be manufactured locally next year as a substitute for dynamite. more..

Sri Lankan group in legal limbo

Dec 17 (SMH) The federal government is facing another immigration crisis over a failed promise made to a group of Sri Lankan refugees from the Oceanic Viking who were sent to an emergency transit centre in Romania for resettlement in third countries. Almost half of the group of 17 refugees - including two children - have been rejected by countries including Canada and US on security grounds, and are stranded in legal limbo. more..

Sri Lanka gets US$500mn worth tourism proposals for 10 islets

Dec 17 (LBO) Eleven leisure firms have submitted proposals worth 500 million US dollars to build hotels and other leisure facilities in 10 islets off Sri Lanka's North Western coast, an official said. Chairman of Sri Lanka's tourism development authority Nalaka Godahewa said the bids closed on December 03 and successful parties will be notified next January. The islands off the coast of Kalpitiya will be given on 30 to 50 year leases, more..

Govt to import coconut

Dec 17 (DM) The government has decided to import coconut with immediate effect from several Asian countries to control the ever increasing coconut market. “The government will permit traditional coconut exporters and the Coconut Development Board to import coconut from Malaysia, Kerala and Indonesia before the festive season starts considering the exorbitant prices prevailing in the local market,” more..

'Sri Lanka Shangri-La leisure project would be US$500mn'

Dec 17 (LBO) Hong Kong based leisure group Shangri-La will invest 500 million US dollars in a hotel project on the main beachfront of Colombo. "The Shangri-Lanka group has come forward with an investment of 500 million US dollars," deputy minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. The managing director of Pyramid Lanka, the local partners of Shangri-La said the initial memorandum of agreement has been signed with Sri Lanka's government. more..

Leaders trumpet coming prosperity

Dec 17 (GP) Leaders in Sri Lanka can claim what much wealthier and better-armed nations cannot: the country’s terrorism movement has been thoroughly vanquished. Situated off India’s east coast, Sri Lankan authorities spent more than three decades battling the LTTE. The guerrilla separatists were finally defeated last year in an all-out army assault. One year later, Sri Lankan leaders are trumpeting the dawn of a vibrant, terrorism-free society. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 16.12.2010

Sri Lanka Bairaha to expand broiler production with new farm

Dec 17 (LBO) Sri Lankan poultry firm Bairaha Farms aims to increase production by more than half in three years with a total estimated investment of almost 360 million rupees on a new farm, a statement said. The poultry producer, which owns and manages a large-scale chicken processing factory and it also operates breeder farms, will set up the new farm on 48 acres of land in the Anamaduwa area in the north-western Puttalam district. more..

Sri Lanka to set up Disaster Warning Network

Dec 17 (GDI) Sri Lanka has taken steps to set up a disaster warning network with island wide warning towers. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has taken steps to setup Disaster Warning Network island-wide. The DMC which operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, implemented the Disaster Management Communication and Capacity Development Project at a cost of Euro 6.5 million. Under this project 50 Early Warning Towers. more..

Mervyn to be on call

Dec 17 (NN) Controversial government figure and Minister Mervyn Silva says that he will be on call between 7am-11pm daily for the public to call him when they face a crisis situation. The Minister said that the public can call his hotline 011 2381555 and he may come personally to address the issue if the need arises or he will send one of his officials. He warned that he will use a barber’s knife and cut off the mouth of the person who gave false information about more..

My kind of place: Galle, Sri Lanka

Dec 17 (National) Galle is a historic and now hip 17th-century Dutch fort town in southern Sri Lanka, a three- or four-hour drive from the capital, Colombo. If your flight arrives at Bandaranaike International Airport in the early hours, you can dodge the daytime congestion and shave an hour off the journey by jumping in a car and driving down the coast road at night, arriving in Galle for breakfast. Within the rampart walls of the 36-hectare fort, more..

Sri Lanka ready to assist India in combating LTTE

Dec 17 (LP) Sri Lanka is to consider assisting India in combating the threat posed by LTTE elements said Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella. Answering a query of a journalist at the Cabinet media briefing, he said that Sri Lanka will consider on the issue if such a request is made and the country will share all its experiences in combating terrorism. India is the neigbhouring country of Sri Lanka who has had strong ties for centuries mentioned the Minister. more..

Cabinet Decisions

Dec 17 (GDI) Enhancing National Emergency Response Capacity in Sri Lanka: The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) which operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, implemented the Disaster Management Communication and Capacity Development Project at a cost of Euro 6.5 million. Under this project:- 50 Early Warning Towers. Radio Communication Network covering ten Districts a ten seater capacity call centre have been established. more..

Development, miracles and promises of prosperity

Dec 17 (SL) Have you seen the new roads? And the number of new buildings that are coming up everywhere? Whatever said and done, there is a lot of development happening, no? ” commented a friend recently. What my friend said was nothing new or particularly surprising. This after all, is what we are constantly being told these days. This government is about ‘development’. We are told that the goal is to become the fastest growing economy in South Asia. more..

India: Our big brother

Dec 17 (SL) As with all regional superpowers, the idea of playing ‘Big Brother’ with its neighbours is rampant. The United States likes to play the role of overseer when it comes to Latin America, whilst China adopts a similar role in relations to Indo-China. As India’s military and economic might grows, so too does its role in the sub-continent. As poor relations continue to exist between Pakistan and India, Bangladesh and Nepal have avoided falling under the Indian sphere of influence. more..

Sajith on the constitution and war crimes

Dec 17 (SL) In light of the new UNP constitution being released today (12), The Sunday Leader spoke with Sajith Premadasa on his views on the document, and his recent statement in Parliament on war crimes. Excerpts: Q: What is the essence of the new constitution? Are the changes radical? A: Certainly they are radical. We are in a situation of going from an autocratic, power concentrated system to power dilution and a more democratic system. more..

The Oxford debacle, the Diaspora and the TPF

Dec 17 (DM) The political debate of the past weeks has been the fiasco at Oxford with regard to the cancellation of the speech by President Rajapaksa to the Oxford Union. The recriminations are freely flowing but the decision to attend was taken by those in the very inner circles of the Presidential sanctum and seemingly against the advice of professional foreign service operatives. The Oxford incident highlights the crisis of legitimacy that more..

Butenis and the ‘un-leaked’ transcripts

Dec 17 (LB) Butenis has done what Butenis is used to doing and probably what Butenis was commissioned to do when posted to Sri Lanka. We are talking about Patricia Butenis folks, a person with a terrific ‘diplomatic’ track record which includes trying to buy off silence from victims of a genocide-ridden, IDP-creating, illegal invasion that had nothing to do with WMDs (that’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’, the kind US and allied troops are yet to discover more..

Alleged Police brutality claims another life

Dec 17 (SL) The hamlet of Paragahadeniya looked like a mini battlefield last Tuesday. Villagers staged a protest in the middle of town, carrying placards and shouting slogans. Traffic too came to a standstill. The cause? A coffin, placed in the middle of the main road. The police riot squad was promptly called in to ease the tension. The situation had arisen as the family of the deceased had accused the Mawathagama police of murder. more..

Economic policies for rapid growth

Dec 17 (ST) Does the Budget for 2011 give a clear indication of the direction of the economic policies of the government for the rest of its regime? The answer to this question is more important than the details of the Budget proposals. Whatever be the ideological orientation of the government or its promises at election time; and no matter what the expectations of the people are, the stark reality is that the government has accepted basically the economic policies that it condemned earlier. more..

Drug dealer blows himself up

Dec 17 (SO) Police launched a countrywide campaign two months ago to eliminate the dangerous drug menace that has plagued the country. Drugs have become a serious problem with schoolchildren and juveniles getting hooked on dangerous drugs such as heroin and Ganja (Cannabis sativa). Several raids have been carried out in cities and rural areas to apprehend those linked to the drug trade. IGP Mahinda Balasuriya said recently that the campaign against drugs have been successful. more..

Christmas bells chime in Jaffna

Dec 17 (Cimic) Belles of Peace chimed and Songs of Peace were sung to celebrate the Happy Christmas that is to dawn within a few days when Security Forces Headquarters-Jaffna (SF-J) organized CIMIC CHRISTMAS CAROLS 2010 Wednesday (15) evening in the Jaffna town. Popular artistes from the south and Jaffna, choirs of Jaffna churches and schools sang famous English, Tamil and Sinhala Christmas songs along with members of the Sri Lanka Army band. more..

Editorial: Monster turns on surrogate mother

Dec 17 (Island) Terrorism comes home to roost and devours its creator. This is an eternal truth. Rajiv Gandhi, who helped fertilise the egg of Sri Lanka's separatism, which was then deposited in the womb of Mother India to create the LTTE monster, finally paid for his blunder with his dear life. Prabhakaran thanked him for the services rendered by sending a 'child of fire'. Appapillai Amirthalingham et al, who took the monster under their wing in its infancy, more..