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The language controversy over Sri Lankan National Anthem

Dec 18 (DBS) A National Anthem is a song of patriotic sentiment affirming loyalty to one’s country or nation adopted officially by that Country or Nation. An anthem becomes a national anthem through Constitutional provision, specific legislation or long – standing tradition. Stylistically the majority of anthems are marches or hymns.They are usually written or composed in the most common language in the Country. more..

Ministry aims 75 percent IT literacy

Dec 18 (DN) The Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry aims at making Sri Lanka become 75 percent IT literate while turning the IT industry into a major export earner, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He was speaking at a ceremony inaugurating the new Ministry yesterday. The Minister emphasised the challenge placed before the Ministry by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, of making Sri Lanka reach the 75 percent mark in IT literacy in 2016 and optimising IT as a foreign exchange earner. more..

Govt allowed LTTE to run prostitution racket in Lanka

Dec 18 (HT) A secret diplomatic cable disclosed by Wikileaks have revealed that the US believed the Sri Lanka government had allowed paramilitary groups to run kidnapping, extortion and prostitution rackets in camps for the Tamil displaced in the east and recruit 14-year-olds as soldiers. Another leaked cable said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) used draconian conscription methods to recruit Tamil civilians to its forces. more..

Ban says his panel will travel to Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (ICP) Less than a month before its report of war crimes in Sri Lanka is due, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Panel of Experts “is now able to visit Sri Lanka and meet with the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation,” Ban told the Press on Friday. While dodging Inner City Press' question of whether he will make public his Panel's report, due on January 15, Ban praised “the flexibility of President [Mahinda] Rajapaska on this issue.” more..

'Hand over the reins in North East to Tamil speaking public'

Dec 18 (AD) The administrative affairs in the North East provinces within this united Sri Lanka should be provided to the Tamil language speaking public, the General Secretary of the TNFA M K Sivajilingam says. The Tamil people have faced many injustices in recent times and the time has come to change all of this, the former Parliamentarian pointed out. As such take steps should be taken to also protect the rights of the minority nationalities in other areas as well, more..

Indian fishermen rescued by SL counterparts

Dec 18 (DM) Four Indian fishermen, who lost their bearings and saw their boat damaged by a gale in the deep sea were saved by Sri Lankan Fishermen and handed over to China Bay Police in Trincomalee with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Navy. Gajendra Ramesh (35), Selvam Rajesh (26), Pandiyan Dasappan (26) and Raji Jeyakumar (34), the four Indian fishermen who survived the terrible ordeal had told police that they were residents of Indira Nagar and Kasimedu in Channai. more..

'Judges conduct on the Bench contributes towards the public confidence in the judiciary'

Dec 18 (NF) The way judges conduct themselves on the Bench will in no small measure contribute towards the public confidence in the judiciary, says G.P.S. De Silva, a former chief justice. He made these observations addressing the two-day Annual Judges' Conference held in Colombo yesterday on the theme, 'Judicial Ethics and Pivotal Role of a Judge'. “The way you conduct your judicial business, more..

'New UNP constitution to devolve power not change leadership'

Dec 18 (Island) The UNP had adopted a new constitution with a view to devolving power and not for the specific purpose of changing its leaders, Senior MP Joseph Michael Perera said. Perera, who was the Chairman of the Reforms Committee, which had recommended changes to the UNP constitution, told a news conference, that the new features would enable further democratization at the grassroots level. more..

Half of Colombo dengue prone

Dec 18 (Island) The Health Ministry says that fifty percent institutions and schools within the Colombo City area have mosquito larvae and possible mosquito breeding places. 55 institutions and 58 schools within the Colombo City had been inspected by thirty inspection units during the National Dengue week (Dec. 1 –7). 35 of the 55 (63.3 percent) institutions had mosquito breeding places and mosquito larvae. They were both government and private sector institutions. more..

Hashan seeks deed

Dec 18 (DM) Days after the Urban Development Authority (UDA) decided to take over plots of lands gifted to cricketers of the 1996 World Cup team, team member turned UNP politician Hashan Tilakaratne had asked for a permanent deed for his block of land instead of the lease agreement. The UDA is yet to respond to Mr. Tilakaratne in this regard. Earlier, the UDA informed all members of the team that their lands would be taken over if more..

UN cites serious funding shortfall: GOSL responds

Dec 18 (Island) The government has spent approximately Rs. 40 billion of its own resources for relief, early recovery and infrastructure development of the Northern Province during August 2009 to November 2010, says S B Divaratne, Secretary to the Presidential Task Force. Divaratne was responding to our front-page news item captioned, "UN cites serious funding shortfall for 2011," on Dec. 16, based on more..

No more houses on Lanka’s peaks

Dec 18 (DM) In a bid to protect sensitive environmental zones rich in water resources, the construction of houses and buildings on land 5,000 feet above sea level has been banned, the environmental Ministry said yesterday. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told an environmental protection workshop that there was a need to pass laws to protect the forest cover in reservoir catchments. more..

Hand over KP to India: Ranil

Dec 18 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) should be handed over to India as he was wanted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Addressing a UNP meeting in Kelaniya on Thursday Mr. Wickremesinghe said the government should tell the country on the position of the LTTE as it was associating closely with its new leader KP. more..

US lawmakers urge Sri Lanka rights probe

Dec 18 (AFP) Dozens of US lawmakers on Friday urged a global probe into alleged rights violations by Sri Lanka in the last stages of its civil war, saying Colombo's own efforts do not ensure accountability. In letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 17 senators and 30 members of the House of Representatives called for the United States to seek a United Nations role investigating last year's finale of the Tamil Tiger insurgency. more..

Sri Lanka allows UN to 'share' war crime evidence

Dec 18 (AP) Sri Lanka has backtracked and will now allow a United Nations team to visit the country and share evidence gathered during an investigation into whether war crimes were committed during the final phase of the island's bloody civil war, a Cabinet minister said Saturday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a three-member panel last June to look into alleged human rights abuses during more..

Large crowds at ‘Ashirwada Pooja’ despite obstructions from govt.

Dec 19 (LT) A large crowd participated, despite obstacles by the government, at the special religious ceremony held at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy to invoke blessings on the former Commander of the Army and Leader of the DNA Gen. Sarath Fonseka today on his 60th birthday states our reporter in Kandy. The leaflets carrying Gen. Fonseka’s photograph distributed by the DNA to those who had arrived before the religious ceremony commenced were seized by the police. more..

Sri Lanka's jailed ex-army chief celebrates birthday in court

Dec 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka's jailed ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka marked his 60th birthday by cutting a cake smuggled into the court while attending a hearing, officials and witnesses said. Birthday celebrations are not allowed inside the high security Welikada prison where he is serving a 30-month sentence of hard labour, but his supporters managed to bring in a cake to court as he turned up for a hearing yesterday. more..

'Expert Panel should not be allowed to enter the country'

Dec 19 (AD) If the Expert Panel, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to probe in to Sri Lanka’s so called human right violations is preparing visit Sri Lanka to carryout investigations, then they should not be given any space to do so, says Wimal Weerawansa. The External Affairs Ministry previously was on this standpoint, they should continue with the same stand and more..

Jayalath informs Mahanayakes on troubles

Dec 19 (AD) United National Party MP Jayalath Jayawardana says that he has informed the Mahanayakes in regard to the various prejudices he had undergone in recent times. The Parliamentarian stated that he had an audience with the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha, Mahanayake thero of the Asgiriya chapter and also with the Mahanayake of the Malwathu chapter, Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala thero. more..

Eight hunters nabbed at Somawathi

Dec 19 (DM) Eight suspects led by an army deserter who used several kinds of explosives to hunt animals at the Somawathi National Park were apprehended by Wild Life officers. After the suspects were arrested, 20 high explosives known as “Hakka Pattas” and other items used to hunt animals were recovered. The suspects had buried the explosives in tree trucks to hunt tree truck dwelling animals such as porcupines. more..

Mervyn gives advice

Tamil freedom rests on fundamental unity

Dec 19 (LG) I defended the struggle of Tamil nationality for democracy and freedom, since 1974. However, I never advocated separation; on the contrary I appealed for voluntary unity in one country. This is the position of Marxism. I believe Tamils have a right to take up arms to defend and resist oppression and brutality. At the same time I condemn violence against innocent people, in particular violence against children and women. more..

Solheim - modern missionary rides again

Dec 19 (LG) Solheim is back on track, scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka in early January 2011 leading a Norwegian delegation. This is Norway and Eric Solheim’s first official visit since the defeat of the LTTE. The visit has significance in view of Solheim’s latest project reported in the Norwegian News of 16 November 2010. “Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim is launching the project “Religion and Development”. more..

Tuk Wars

Dec 19 (SL) Lining Colombo’s streets are the latest phenomenon in Tuk Tuks: Meter Taxis. They have been around since 2009 and the number has mushroomed from a handful to a total of 4,000 taxis at the end of 2010. Most people seem to be switching to this mode of transport, which they describe as cheap and convenient. “The demand is really good,” said CEO, Three Wheel Lanka Auto Tech (Pvt) Ltd, Kelum Jayasumana. more..

LSSP: 75 Years of Struggle and Achievement

Dec 19 (LG) Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) is the oldest political party in Sri Lanka and the first to be able to celebrate its 75th Anniversary. It grew out of the Suriyamal Movement and was established on 18th December, 1935, when the inaugural Conference was held. Dr. Colvin R de Silva was elected as the first and only President (as that post was abolished thereafter). The LSSP began as a Socialist Party that introduced the Marxist tradition of politics to Sri Lanka, more..

Ten years after: The first decade of the millennium

Dec 19 (LG) Is it only me, or is not sad that there is no review in the Sri Lankan public space, of the first decade of the 21st century and the new millennium? Should we not be looking back at the road that has been travelled by the world, by our country and ourselves as individuals? At the global level, we experienced 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the overstretch of the USA and the West due to the Iraq war, the rise and fall (and now the incipient return in a vicious grassroots form) of more..

Unarmed separatists hurting Lanka’s image

Dec 19 (NS) According to media reports, governing party members of the Sri Lankan parliament handed in a motion to the Speaker requesting for the appointment of a select committee to probe into UNP MP Dr Jayalath Jayawardana. The motion was said to be signed by 78 governing party members and has called for a select committee to probe Dr Jayawardana’s alleged involvement in anti-government protests. more..

Editorial: Wither Morality

Dec 19 (SL) Moral politics no longer makes sense. Would any moral policy have worked against the LTTE, now reportedly to be planning zombie attacks against Indian PM Manmohan Singh? Is the US really a moral model, with its 21st century legacy of torture and war? Yet, morality persists. Why? more importantly, how? The poet Rumi said “We have been secretly fed from beyond space and time. That’s why we look for something more than this.” more..

Editorial: Indo-Lanka unity could crush terrorism

Dec 19 (SO) Sri Lanka achieved a significant milestone in the global battle against terrorism over one-and-a-half-years ago when its valiant Security Forces crushed the world's most ruthless terror outfit - the LTTE. At the time, barely anyone believed that the LTTE could be crushed militarily as the Tigers seemed to be so powerful, holding on to land with sea and air power. They not only unleashed untold misery on millions of innocent civilians with more..

Shouldn't vehicle parking charges be reasonable?

Dec 19 (SO) During the early days when the Government implemented the one way traffic system in the city, parking vehicles on either side of the road came to a halt. This resulted in the establishing of vehicle parks in the city. During that period a few vehicle parks were seen in Bambalapitiya and Colombo Fort. Considering the daily turnover, brought in from vehicle parks more and more people began establishing more..

Blackmailing Sri Lanka’s friends

Dec 19 (Island) British Defence Secretary Liam Fox finally did not turn up for the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial oration he was due to deliver yesterday. This despite the fact that his aide, Adam Verity, was in Colombo ahead of him and even the topic of his oration ‘International Security’ had been announced. Fox has been a friend of Sri Lanka for many years and the reason why he accepted the invitation to deliver the Kadirgamar memorial oration is more..

Pension scheme discussion on Tuesday

Dec 19 (ST) A new pension scheme approved in last month’s budget has raised concerns amongst employers and workers over its implementation impact and will be the subject of discussion at Tuesday’s National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meeting. The NLAC brings together Labour Ministry officials, employers and workers in a collective effort to find a consensus on labour reforms. “All labour reforms traditionally get the advice of the council and more..

Interview with Liam Fox - way back in April 1997

Dec 19 (Island) Further I quote from the BBC Monitoring International Reports March 17, 2009 "British shadow Defense Minister Liam Fox at a press briefing held in Colombo on 14 March said that a political solution is essential to resolve the ethnic conflict, and the solution offered should grant an opportunity for all Sri Lankans to contribute without any ethnic disparities for the development of the country." more..

Editorial: End of story

Dec 19 (LB) Liam Fox has been rudely prevented from delivering the 2010 Lakshman Kadirgarmar Memorial lecture by the British government. If any more proof is necessary, here it is, that the British government was complicit in the refusal two weeks ago to provide adequate security to the Sri Lankan President, to deliver a simple lecture at the Oxford Union. This is despite furious British High Commission denials on this matter in Colombo. more..

Editorial: Fox’s predicament

Dec 19 (NS) The decision by British Defence Secretary Liam Fox to postpone a visit to Sri Lanka for the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture was because he apparently caved in to pressure from the British Foreign office and Foreign Secretary William Hague, if we are to believe media reports from the United Kingdom. It is no secret that Sri Lanka’s relations with Britain are at a new low. It could be compared with the crisis nearly 20 years ago when more..

Sri Lankan arrested in US over insider trading charges

Dec 19 (Reuters) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) fired a manager who had been arrested on charges of leaking confidential information, with the world's biggest contract chipmaker saying he had violated company policies. Manosha Karunatilaka, an account manager for TSMC in Burlington, Massachusetts, was one of four people arrested on charges of leaking secrets about technology companies to hedge funds, more..

UNP activists jubilant after Sirikotha success

Dec 19 (NS) The UNP activists are jubilant over their successful convention held last week at the party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’. It signified an overwhelming success to the grand old party that was limping since last April and probably for many years since 2004. At the parliamentary general election, which concluded few months ago, the UNP did not fare well and many members who were elected by the UNP membership shifted their allegiance on the pretext of more..

Lobbying for power

Dec 19 (NS) The cynosure of all eyes this week was the much-awaited and controversial special convention of the UNP that was expected to ratify a new constitution for Sri Lanka’s major opposition party. Given the tension-filled build up to this meeting, there were fears that there could be chaos at the gathering especially if either of the rival factions aspiring for leadership decided to resort to strong arm tactics. Fortunately for the UNP, that did not materialise. more..

Sri Lankan housemaid believed dead, surfaces

Dec 19 (SL) The family of Badal Muhandiram Gamlathlage Hemalatha who left Sri Lanka 10 years ago in December believed that she was dead. But two weeks ago the family received news that this mother of three was very much alive, but was allegedly kept imprisoned in a house in Al Guiyar on the Mecca Road in Riyadh. “She wanted to go to Saudi so that she could feed her three children. Her husband, a farmer is still ailing and more..

Editorial: The smile on the face of the Tiger

Dec 19 (Island) So Liam Fox, the British Defence Minister, was not here yesterday to deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture. He was very keen on coming and all indications were that he was standing up to the various pressures mounted on him to keep off due to Britain’s current attitude towards Sri Lanka. The foreign office, where he was junior minister when he brokered the so-called Fox Agreement for the UNP and the CBK government to present a more..