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Deadline for UN Panel extended

Dec 18 (DM) The deadline for the submission to the UN Panel of Experts appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sri Lanka to look into alleged violations of international law will be extended, UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said. “There will be some extension of the deadline”, UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq had said the Inner City Press reported. An official announcement had not yet been made regarding the extension. more..

World Bank removes Sri Lanka from underdeveloped list

Dec 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is no longer an underdeveloped country after surpassing 2,000 U.S. dollars per capita income, a World Bank official said here on Friday. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank, said Sri Lanka is no longer qualified for International Development Association loans that provide interest free financial assistance to the underdeveloped countries. more..

UNP: No Candidates For Leadership

Dec 18 (SL) The UNP today said that no member has yet come forward to contest for the post of party leader. UNP MP for Gampaha District Joseph Michael Perera told a press conference that an election for five senior posts in the party would be held only if an official request was made by more than one person to be appointed to the respective post. He said that in such an event a secret ballot would be held to elect the members. He added that the party convention was not held with the aim of holding elections for more..

SriLankan Airlines gets another Airbus A320

Dec 18 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has taken delivery of another Airbus A320 aircraft as it continues to expand its global route network, a statement said. The A320 will join the narrow-body fleet serving the Indian subcontinent region, where SriLankan plans to re-launch services to the southern city of Kochi next March. This would be the airline’s seventh destination in India, to which SriLankan Airlines increased its number of frequencies from the winter 2010 tourist season. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 17.12.2010

'Ranil will be UNP leader as long as he's alive'

Dec 18 (AD) The UNP is an enormous party comprised of great gentlemen, however presently it has suffered an astonishingly miserable fate due to the actions by the party’s leader, says Earl Gunasekara. It was those same actions that led to us having to leave the party, he expressed. The United National Party’s recently held convention and the so called democracy they achieved through it was just another farce, these are what I call ‘Seeni Bola’ solutions, more..

Outstanding Academics and researchers of Universities recognized

Dec 18 (LP) Six outstanding academic staffers in the Sri Lankan University system were recognized by the Government for their accomplishment and contribution. The awards were given away at the third awards of Committee of Vice Chancellors and Director of Sri Lanka (CVCD) at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, for those who showed exemplary performances and made remarkable achievements in the fields of Health Science, Technology, Biological sciences, more..

World Bank MD calls on President: Acknowledges Lanka's improved economy

Dec 18 (PRIU) Surpassing the USD 2000 per capita income, Sri Lanka is no longer an underdeveloped country and as a result not qualified for International Development Association (IDA) loans that provide interest free financial assistance to underdeveloped countries, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank Group stated. She made this statement when she called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (17). more..

Greatest victory to Sri Lankans

Dec 18 (LG) As the President Mahinda Rajapakse discussed in the latest cabinet meeting about scraping of the National Anthem sang in Tamil in the North and East by Tamils living in the area for decades, just trying to portrait himself as a Hardcore Sinhala Nationalist and a savior of Sinhala language in the south as a measure to save his popularity eroding and his slogan of victory over Terrorism as his personal achievement diminishing due to his mistakes committed more..

Anulawathi’s case: Kasbewa MC ordered the Government analyst report 54 times

Dec 18 (LG) One day Anulawathi went to the police station because her husband was arrested. She spoke to the policemen in a challenging manner so they threatened to investigate and press charges against her as well. The police then filed a B report before the court, parts of which are discussed below. On September 16, 2008, the police found a suspicious woman in Nivanthidiya who had in her possession more..

Sri Lanka turns to heritage homes

Dec 18 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is encouraging owners of heritage homes to convert them into tourist accommodation as it gets ready to meet an influx of visitors after the end of a war, officials said. The government is considering linking investors with owners of old bungalows and houses to convert them into tourist accommodation under government standards, said Nilmin Nanayakkara, president of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators. more..

'Social movements must compete for attention, conflict in Sri Lanka is no different'

Dec 18 (TC) Why do some conflicts attract more attention than others? Why, for example, did throngs of celebrities hold rallies and concerts to shed light on the atrocities occurring in Darfur, while dozens of other conflicts and human rights violations are ignored by the international community? The Tibetan fight against Chinese domination is, for example, a cause célèbre around the world. Northwest of Tibet, the Uighurs, numbering around 7 million people, more..

'The reality may be that there is little the United States can do to influence Sri Lanka'

Dec 18 (TC) With great pomp and amid massive government-sponsored celebrations, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka just started his second term. In the coming months, he and his many relatives in senior government posts will no doubt trumpet Rajapaksa's re-election as proof of his popular appeal and democratic credentials. But while Rajapaksa may enjoy the support of the country’s large Sinhalese majority, he is leading his country in anything but a democratic, more..

Ex-LTTE cadres well looked after - IOM Chief

Dec 18 (MoD) Former LTTE combatants at rehabilitation centres are well looked after and there had been no complaints, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka, Richard Danziger stated. Addressing the media, on the eve of the International Migrants' Day, Danziger said that the IOM had provided opportunity for ex-LTTE combatants to reintegrate into civilian society by providing job opportunities and more..

LG polls: the first acid test for the UNP reformists

Dec 18 (DM) Considering the amount of opposition to the call for reforms within the organizational set-up of the UNP that was seen some weeks back, it was amazing to hear party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe saying that only one out of thousands of UNP members who attended the party convention on December 12 voted against those reforms. The constitutional reforms of the UNP were pushed forward by a group of party leaders led by party’s Hambantota leader Sajith Premadasa more..

National Anthem and National Identity

Dec 18 (LG) That was from the concluding remarks of Professor Romila Thapar when she delivered this year’s Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture on ‘Of Histories and Identitiies’. Her comment seems so appropriate to us when a Sunday newspaper last week reported that the Cabinet under President Mahinda Rajapakse’s chairmanship had made a decision that the Sri Lanka National Anthem will hereafter remain only in Sinhala and that the Tamil language version will no longer more..

Tourism products to be promoted through Visit Sri Lanka 2011

Dec 18 (GDI) Sri Lanka Tourism is set to achieve the target of 700,000 tourists next year with the launch of the “Visit Sri Lanka 2011” by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Under the programme the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority will promote twelve themes during each month in 2011, symbolizing the twelve letters in "Wonder of Asia". This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Economic Development more..

Muthurajawela Fuel Storage Complex will be declared open this month

Dec 18 (GDI) The new fuel storage complex of the Petroleum Corporation at Muthurajawela will be declared open on the 31st of this month. The government has invested Rs. 7,000 million for this project. Under the new project the Petroleum Corporation will be able to pump fuel from ships directly to the storage, reducing the transport cost drastically. The pipeline system was constructed from the buoy, situated about six kilo metres away from the coastline, more..

Blackout of news about maid from Akkaraipattu

Dec 18 (SL) A Sri Lankan maid from Akkaraipattu has been taken into custody for the death of her newborn in Saudi Arabia, according to a source in Saudi Arabia. The maid named as Nagarajah Wijekumari from Akkaraipattu, according to the source, had given birth to the baby prematurely — after seven months of pregnancy. Authorities however allege that the maid may have taken its life due to fear of reprisal, according to the initial report. more..

Visitors to zoo name newborn Orangutan as Sakifo

Dec 18 (NF) The new arrival in the Dehiwala Zoo, Sakifo, the newborn Orangutan, was making his first public appearance yesterday. And it was a busy day for the Zoo staff with the ceremony including the chanting of seth pirith, amidst which, the little one was brought before the eager public. Incidentally, it's the first such birth at the Dehiwala Zoo after 28 years. Sakifo was born to Aki and Yufo on November 3. more..

Editorial: Forgive them, Kadir!

Dec 18 (Island) Time was when Britain's democratic values earned it much admiration even from its bitterest critics. But, today, they have manifestly fallen by the way side. Britain is becoming more and more intolerant of dissent while hypocritically extolling the virtues of free speech etc. About two weeks ago, a visiting Head of State was denied his right to expression at the Oxford University, much to the shock and dismay of the civilised world. more..

Editorial: Mother nature: The weeping widow

Dec 18 (DM) While the Rajapaksa regime proclaims it is on a fast track to mega development with super highways and flyovers, international ports and airports we also need to be aware that planet earth including Sri Lanka appears to be on a faster track towards self destruction. This is happening mainly through climate change and global warming with most of Europe yesterday going through not a winter wonderland but a winter nightmare with most of the continent like the arctic. more..

CCTV from next Tuesday

Dec 18 (LP) The Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) camera system will be launched in the Colombo District, from next Thursday said Police Spokesman, SSP Prishantha Jayakody. The project which would help in bringing down the number of crimes taking place in the city, will be launched by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The CCTV system would be assisting in controlling the traffic congestion in the city and also during disaster situations. more..

Veddah youth who went in search of greener pastures back in island

Dec 18 (DM) A youth from the Veddah community in Sri Lanka, who languished in Jordan for four years without employment, after arriving in the country yesterday said that he would revert back to his indigenous way of life. He said that he had gone to work at a garment factory in Jordan but had been forced to remain idle without finding work. He said that the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau had finally taken steps to bring him back to the country. more..

Use Decentralised Funds sparingly: UPFA MP

Dec 18 (DM) Matale District UPFA MP, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, said that the people of Matale had not benefited enough from projects launched in their district in the past, using funds from the Decentralised Budget of the government. Mr. Perera, who is also Chairman of the Matale District Development Coordinating Committee, made this observation at a discussion with the participation of the Divisional Secretaries and the Heads of Departments, more..

Docs urge govt. to issue them vehicle permits

Dec 18 (DM) Doctors now say they too should be given vehicle permits by the government while also requesting the government to remove the stipulated six years’ work experience needed to be eligible for a permit. The All Ceylon Government Medical Officers Association (ACGMOA) made this request yesterday saying that this was not so much a luxury but a necessity in their line of work. “We work on weekends and on Poya Days and we are always on call for emergencies more..

'Increased electricity tariff threatens viability of industries'

Dec 18 (Island) The Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) warned the proposed hike in electricity rates would render the manufacturing sector unviable and urged the government to adopt a more industry-friendly stance. The chamber said the cost of electricity was comparatively higher than in other countries in the region and that the proposed increase in electricity tariffs would vary between 24 percent and 29 percent. more..

Waterloo man to appeal extradition after terrorism ruling

Dec 18 (TR) Hours after losing a major legal ruling, a Waterloo man facing terrorism-related charges began the process Friday of appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada. Suresh Sriskandarajah, 30, has been ordered extradited to the United States for trial on allegations he worked for the Tamil Tigers in his native Sri Lanka between 2004 and 2006. That order was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal in one of six decisions released on key aspects of Canada’s anti-terrorism laws. more..

Sri Lankan health union calls off nurses’ strike

Dec 18 (wsws) Despite intense resistance among its members, the Government Nursing Officers Union (GNOU) in Sri Lanka last Monday called off a strike by nurses against the government’s attack on the basic democratic right to take industrial action. The union halted the strike in order to hold discussions with Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, but nothing has since been resolved. more..

ICC sounds red alert on Sri Lanka World Cup venues

Dec 18 (IC) The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup venue inspection team, which visited Sri Lanka earlier this month, have raised serious concern over all three Sri Lankan venues assigned to host next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup. Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium which is to host the final on April 2 and Kolkata’s Eden Gardens have also raised concerns for the 30-man ICC team that visited all World Cup venues to check the progress of construction work, more..

Sri Lanka to get funding from higher cost window: World Bank

Dec 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka has qualified to get loans from a higher cost window of the World Bank amid rising incomes, which will double access to annual funds, managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. Sri Lanka has been a so-called IDA (International Development Association) concessionary credit recipient at low interest rates, long tenors and grace periods and a high grant element. more..

Sri Lanka ready to provide necessary protocol assistance to Liam Fox

Dec 18 (GDI) Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs said that despite the private nature of the visit of Dr. Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom, it had made all arrangements to provide the necessary protocol assistance and facilitation to Dr. Fox during his planned stay in Sri Lanka. "Due to the status of the visitor and the important nature of the Oration, more..

Cardinal challenges youth to learn languages

Dec 18 (UCAN) Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has challenged Sri Lankan young people to build a “new culture of communion” through learning languages. Young people should learn both Sinhala and Tamil as well as other languages to help build a new culture of communion, Cardinal Ranjith told a Dec. 12 certificate award ceremony for students at the De Mazenod English Institute at Katuwapitiya in Negombo. more..

Houses for terror hit families

Dec 18 (DN) Arrangements are made to offer housing facilities to nearly 3,000 homeless families who were made to desert their houses and property in fear of LTTE terrorist attacks in Anuradhapura district. The Anuradhapura District National Housing Development Authority initiated the preliminary action to implement the housing program. The data and information of displaced families who are not possessing proper housing facilities in more..

The Mahiyanganaya Temple

Sri Lankan missions abroad to monitor

Dec 18 (DM) Minister Professor G. L. Peiris yesterday said the officers attached to Sri Lankan missions abroad would be made aware of the employment contracts which Sri Lankan migrant workers enter into with agencies in the future. Minister Peiris made this point addressing a ceremony organized by the Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC in Colombo. He said this was one of the steps which the government intends to take in order to resolve the issues currently more..

World’s youngest teacher in Lanka

Dec 18 (DM) The world’s youngest teacher Adora Svitak called on the children of post war Sri Lanka not to wait till they grow up to become leaders and go ahead and do it now. She made this point at a news conference where it was announced that 13-year-old Adora Svitak had taken up a noble task to help feed 90 million people in 73 countries being the ambassador for the World Food Program (WFP). She said she was happy to see conflict affected children in more..

Final electricity tariffs to be known soon

Dec 18 (Island) Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka has completed the public consultation process on the electricity tariff revision for the year 2011. This was the first ever such public consultation process which gave an opportunity to the stakeholders to express their views on electricity tariffs proposed by the Commission. The Commission published the proposed electricity tariffs formulated in consultation with the government and more..

Plans to raid illegal cable TV stations

Dec 18 (Island) The Ministry of Defence in association with the Ministry of Mass Media and Information have drawn up plans to raid illegal cable telecast stations islandwide. Minister Kheliya Rambukwella revealed this at a meeting held yesterday with representatives of independent television stations. He said information had been received about such illegal cable TV stations and more..

‘Govt. will take over repairs to Asgiri-Malwathu temples’

Dec 18 (DM) The venerable prelates of both the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters complained to the Minister of Cultural Affairs that the temples in their chapters were in disrepair with dilapidated roofs causing rain water to enter the buildings causing further destruction to these historic sites. They made this complaint when Minister T.B Ekanayake visited them after offering flowers to the Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha. more..