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President’s ‘Oxford Speech’

Dec 20 (LG) It is unfortunate that Oxford University cancelled President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech for fear of street protesters from London. It’s a great loss of face for Oxford University’s 800 year old traditions. I can recall a similar situation that arose when Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew came to address the Cambridge University Student’s Union in 1969. His speech was to criticise the British Government for gradually distancing away from the Commonwealth and more..

New water supply projects for Jaffna, Kilinochchi

Dec 20 (MoD) Jaffna District Secretary Imelda Sukumar said that a mega water supply project to benefit 350,000 persons in Jaffna and Kilinochchi Districts will be implemented at a cost of Rs. 2,070 million. The proposed project is to be carried out in several phases and the first phase of the project is to be completed by 2015. She said that Sri Lanka Government and ADB has allocated the funds for the proposed project. more..

Christmas Celebrations Begin in Jaffna

Dec 20 (Cimic) To celebrate oncoming Christmas 2010, 523 Brigade in Nunavil and 524 Brigade in Point Pedro organized Christmas Carols for Tamil Catholics residing in respective areas this week. Choirs of Kadol Uyana Church in Negambo, Church of Nunavil and Church of Chavakachcheri sang Christmas songs while dancing teams of Nunavil Church and Kaithady Salvation Army presented performances on the occasion. more..

Jaffna school girls visit delhi

Dec 20 (MoD) A 10-member team of school girls of the Holy Family Convent, Jaffna, concluded their visit to India today. The visit took place under a student exchange programme, organised by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation. The team arrived in India on December 10, accompanied by the school's Principal Sister Mary T Ladislaus and a teacher, Mrs Y J Anna Maria Josephine. The group was hosted by St Francis de Sales Senior Secondary School, Janakpuri, New Delhi. more..

Jaffna dairy farmers receive formal training in Anaradhapura

Dec 20 (Cimic) Eleven Jaffna farmers, who successfully completed a residential training course on dairy farming at Seeppukulama Agriculture Training Centre in Anuradhapura, returned home this weekend. With blessing of Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander Security Forces – Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe has implemented many livelihood promoting projects for the people in the north. more..

Mannaar Muslims brought back from Puththa'lam stranded without facilities

Dec 20 (TN) 900 displaced Muslim families brought down to Mannaar by Rishad Bathiyutheen, a minister in Rajapaksa's cabinet, are stranded without proper assistance or basic facilities in their villages in Mannaar for the past three days, the Muslim IDPs complain. Many of the IDPs brought to Thaaraapuram chose to return to Puththa’lam as there have been no preparations, but only promises extended to them by the minister, who is locked in a campaign against more..

Hathurusinghe, Imelda, deny existence of ‘High Security Zone’

Dec 20 (TN) Addressing media in Jaffna Friday, the Jaffna Government Agent (GA) Mrs Imelda Sugumar said that according to the briefing she had from Sri Lanka’s military commander in Jaffna Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe, the nomenclature High Security Zone (HSZ) is inappropriate in the present context. According to the General, in the past as there was war between the LTTE and the SL government, people were evacuated from that area in order to save the public from more..

What I said at the LLRC?

Dec 20 (LG) First of all, I would like to thank the honourable members of this Commission and the President for according me an opportunity to present submissions before this LLRC. I am here before this Commission this afternoon as a person who has served first as a Priest and now serving as a Bishop, as a person who has lived in the Vanni region for several years, as one who has experienced the war and sufferings for many years, more..

Editorial: A Trojan horse

Dec 20 (Island) One's mind boggles at the government's volte face on the Moon Panel, which it dismissed as a launching pad to a war crimes probe. It also denied visas to the members of that panel to visit Sri Lanka to ascertain information. Now we are told that they have been allowed to come here to meet the LLRC. The government claims that they will make representations before the LLRC, but according to what UNSG Ban Ki-moon has told the media, they will only have discussions. more..

Editorial: Women should preserve traditional values

Dec 20 (DM) Today is Uduwap full moon Poya the day that Sanghamitta Therani came to Sri lanka to start the Bhikkuni sasana or the order of Buddhist nuns and also brought with her a sapling of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha had sat at the time of his Enlightment. Her arrival was due to the fact that the King's sister-in-law Anula Devi, after listening to three or four of Mahinda Thera's expositions of the Dhamma had expressed a desire to renounce the lay life and more..

'Growth must be inclusive, people must have a voice'

Dec 20 (Island) The World Bank Group Managing Director Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who recently concluded a two day visit to Sri Lanka, told journalists in Colombo that Sri Lanka was moving in the right direction to improving its status and becoming a middle-income country, but said growth must be inclusive and the majority of the people’s lives must be lifted up. She was confident Sri Lanka was in a period of lasting peace, but more..

Narayana Guru's visit to Sri Lanka commemorated

Dec 20 (Hindu) A global convention on universal brotherhood opened here on Sunday to commemorate the visit of Sree Narayana Guru to Sri Lanka and to deliberate on his vision of an egalitarian and just society. The radical social revolutionary from Kerala, known for his saying, “one caste, one religion, and one god for humankind” visited the island nation in 1918 and in 1926. The Sree Narayana Guru Society was established here as per his advice. more..

A tragi-comedy? The UN Advisory Panel and war crimes in Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (GV) There is nothing to scratch heads for, to find the reason why Moon at the UN and Mahinda in Colombo agreed to have the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka, make a sudden visit to Colombo and meet SL President’s LLRC. Its simple logic. They both could wash their hands off mounting international pressure for an independent investigation on war crimes and crimes against humanity accusations, international organisations now seem to feel, more..

Inside America: Eranga & Prianga

TNA-TPPF reach consensus on nominees to SC to formulate political proposal

Dec 20 (Island) The Joint Forum of Tamil Parties consisting of the TNA and the Tamil Political Party Forum (TPPF) has finally reached consensus on the six nominees to the Sub–Committee tasked to formulate a political proposal acceptable to all parties to be presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in early 2011, Senior member of the TPPF and PLOTE leader, Dharmalingam Siddharthan said that the final decision was reached at a meeting on Friday. more..

TISL faces challenges with success and visibility

Dec 20 (Island) The formal handing over of the baton to the newly appointed Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), Dr Wijaya Jayatilaka took place at a simple ceremony recently amidst a distinguished gathering including members and directors of TISL, ambassadors, civil society representatives, donors and TISL staff. Tracing the history of TISL over the past eight years, the outgoing Executive Director J C Weliamuna pointed out how TISL more..

Stuart Law ready to take up Sri Lanka head coach role

Dec 20 (IC) Sri Lanka's assistant coach, Stuart Law, said it would be hard to turn down the position of head coach if it was offered to him. Law, 42, was named in October 2009 as assistant to Sri Lanka's head coach, Trevor Bayliss, and is expected to be his successor. In October, this year, Bayliss announced he would not be seeking an extension to his contract, which ends after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. more..

'BMICH branch in Kandy soon'

Dec 20 (DM) Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa said that within the next two years a branch of the BMICH would be built on the top floor of the Kandy Municipal Car Park and that an agreement had already been signed in this regard. The governor was speaking in Kandy after he assumed office for the next five year term as the governor of the Central Province on Friday. He had taken his oaths before President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Thursday. more..

Lanka will prosper - Japanese delegation

Dec 20 (DN) Sri Lanka will prosper in leaps and bounds under the gallant leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Sri Lanka Friendship Parliamentary League Chairman Hirano Hirofumi said. He said he was delighted to visit Sri Lanka where peace and harmony is thriving throughout the island following the total eradication of terrorism which prevailed for 30 years. He was speaking at a reception accorded to the DPJ and more..

Tuticorin to Colombo ferry service in two months

Dec 20 (Hindu) Following the consent of the Ministries concerned from India and Sri Lanka, the ferry service to Colombo from Tuticorin is expected to commence in two months. Passenger reinforcements were heading for completion by December end. Adequate arrangements, including waiting room, counters for immigration, customs, cabins for officials and Port Health Officer and others were being made to ensure facilities for the passengers, more..

Sri Lanka belongs to all - Prime Minister

Dec 20 (DN) Prime Minister D M Jayaratne participating in the 10th anniversary of the Kandy Ahadiya Islam Dhamma school held at Kandy Hindu Cultural Centre Saturday said that Sri Lanka belongs to all its citizens and all should work together with devotion and determination to develop the motherland. The Prime Minister expressing further views said he was born and bred with the Muslims community and played in the Gampola Mosque premises with Muslim friends during his childhood. more..

Minister Chandrasena vows to boost carbonic fertilizer production

Dec 20 (Island) Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister S. M. Chandrasena said the government would launch a special project in January next year to reduce the use of chemical fertiliser by at least 25 per cent. The Anuradhapura District MP said that move would help the government to promote carbonic fertiliser in all parts of the country. He said that the government annually spent Rs. 30 billion for chemical fertiliser. more..

Price of having Fox -- only pal in UK

Dec 20 (LB) Relations between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka are at their lowest point in recent times and may worsen if the underlying cause of this growing estrangement is not addressed, foreign policy analysts say. Their warning comes amidst a conspicuously last minute “postponement” of a visit to Sri Lanka by UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox-apparently over an urgent commitment that arose during a tour of the United Arab Emirates. more..

France helps SL development

Dec 20 (DM) The French government was always ready to give its fullest support to Sri Lanka, which was working hard to develop the nation, French Ambassador Ms. Christine Robichon said. During a meeting with the Mahanayake of the Malwatta Chapter Most Venerable Sri Sumangala Thera on Saturday, the Ambassador said “the French government is ready give its assistance in the development of Sri Lanka. We are already giving our help including electricity, more..

Customs earned Rs. 284 billion in 2009

Dec 20 (Island) The Customs Department earned Rs. 284 billion in 2009. The revenue collected by way of taxes amounted to Rs. 320,079 mn, which included Rs. 7, 9810 mn from import duty, Rs. 36,286 mn from the port and airport levy, Rs. 26,939 mn from Cess levy on imports and Rs. 18,965 mn from special commodity levy. Excise duty on cigarettes brought in Rs. 37,581 mn besides Rs. 23,018 mn from duty on petroleum, Rs. 3,192 mn from duty on motor vehicles and Rs. 67619 mn from VAT on imports. more..

'We assaulted students at Dehiwala; stripped them naked in Peradeniya'

Dec 20 (NF) We assaulted the protesting students at the Dehiwala Higher Technical Institute and chased them away leaving them only with their underwear and in Peradeniya, we stripped the fasting students naked and chased them away, said a beaming Minister S.B. Dissanayake. He made this statement attending a workshop held in Colombo yesterday on the theme 'Preparing for a strategic plan to develop skills', more..

Indian chickens to Sri Lankans’ rescue; local producers peeved

Dec 20 (Island) The first consignment of 500 MT of chicken and a stock of eggs is to arrive in the country from India tomorrow (Dec. 21) to help arrest the soaring prices and shortages facing the consumers during the festive season. The chicken will be priced below the stipulated Rs. 350 per kilo and even eggs will be sold at Rs. 12 or less. At the moment, Lanka Sathosa sells eggs at Rs. 14.25 (red) and Rs. 13.75 (white) but they are not feely available while more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 20 (ST) Even if he was forgiven for tying a Samurdhi animator to a tree, Public Co-ordination and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva, learnt what he did this time turned out to be unpardonable. He attended last Wednesday night's weekly Cabinet meeting wearing a short-sleeved batik shirt with a floral design. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not pleased. He asked Mr. Silva to leave the meeting and return properly attired. more..

Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickera to step down

Dec 20 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Anglican Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Duleep Kamil De Chickera, announced that he will step down from the mantle of the ‘See of Colombo’. Bishop Chickera who is learnt to step down effective from December 31, 2010 had also said that he would leave the country once a successor is found for his office. Ven. Diloraj Kanakasabei, currently the Archdeacon of Nuwara Eliya is said to be the probable contender for his post, more..

Top public servant held over Aug. 2006 killing of colleague

Dec 20 (Island) The Trincomalee police over the weekend arrested a senior public official based in Eravur on a murder charge. The police say the suspect was taken into custody at Valaichenai following a thorough inquiry into the killing of a woman public servant on Aug. 31, 2006 by pouring kerosene on her body and setting her ablaze. The police said that the suspect, a father of three, at the time of the killing had been a minor official, though he received appointment as more..

London UL flights hit by snow

Dec 20 (DM) Two departure flights from Colombo to London were delayed yesterday because of the closure of Heathrow Airport in London due to heavy snow. The authorities of the BIA told Daily Mirror that two SriLankan (UL) flights were delayed yesterday. In addition one Sri Lankan flight which was due from London via Male was also delayed. A spokesman for the airline said the hotline numbers were given to avoid any rush at the airport. more..

'Cultivate more local crops'

Dec 20 (DN) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa who handed over 1,500 Ranbima land title deeds among landless people Saturday, called on them to manage their lands productively to simultaneously enhance their livelihoods and increase contribution to national agricultural output. During the eight stage of the Ranbima title deed presentation held at Hambantota, over 1,500 landless people received title deeds. more..

Sri Pada season begins: Holy Mountain declared liquor free zone

Dec 20 (Island) The annual Sri Pada season begins today with the dawn of Unduvap full moon Poya Day. Chief Incumbent of the Sri Pada Temple Ven Dampahala Seelananda thero said that a record number of pilgrims were expected this year. The prelate requested the pilgrims to be dressed in white and refrain from carrying polythene, paper, plastic cans and bottles of liquor and more..

Ranil invites SF for a joint opposition

Dec 20 (DM) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had stressed the need for a joint opposition alliance to defeat the present government when he met jailed former army commander Sarath Fonseka at Welikada Prison on Saturday. According to UNP sources the former Army commander had also stressed the need for the same but no elaborate discussion had taken place between them. more..

Eateries, restaurants to be classified

Dec 20 (DN) A classification process would be initiated islandwide in canteens, restaurants and food processing places and other shops which sell food items. A mechanism will be implemented to recognize the short and long- term deficiencies in such places, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. The Minister was speaking at a function at the Polonnaruwa hospital auditorium recently. more..

Breakthrough in Rs. 70 mn ATM heist

Dec 20 (DM) Four persons including a police constable had been taken into custody by the Colombo Terrorist Investigation Division on Saturday in a major breakthrough in the Rs. 70 million robbery of cash that was being transported for ATM machines of a foreign bank in September this year. The arrested police constable had been attached to a police station in the Colombo area and more..

Jordan govt. alert after Lankan women fake nail swallowing

Dec 20 (DM) The Jordanian Government had notified all its hospitals to inform the government regarding any foreigner who was admitted with complaints of nail insertions, after another Sri Lankan woman had alleged that her employer’s family had forced her to swallow nails and was later found to have lied, Sri Lankan Embassy sources in Jordan said. The latest incident was the fourth incident of a similar nature, where more..

'We do look after War Heroes'

Dec 20 (DM) Sri Lanka finished a war in a short period of time, which the international community said was impossible, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Saturday. “Some are trying to show that the government is not looking after the War Heroes now, but that is not true. We continue to look after our soldiers and that is why we are giving houses to our War Heroes today,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. He made these comments at a ceremony donating a newly built house funded more..

Call for probe unwarranted -Govt.

Dec 20 (DM) The Ministry of External Affairs yesterday said that the US lawmakers’ call for a global probe into alleged rights violations by Sri Lanka in the last stages of the conflict , were ‘unwarranted’. “We have a robust domestic mechanism in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself has said the Commission must be given time and space to complete its task,” more..

Parliamentary Committees: Shocking state of affairs 2009

Dec 20 (Island) For want of supervision, most of the Consultative Committees in Parliament haven’t met regularly, according to 2009 annual performance report released by parliament. The Consultative Committee on Education did not meet at least once during the entire period, while Defence, Finance and Foreign Consultative Committees met on 2, 4 and 3 occasions, respectively. more..