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Lanka urges EU not to be a platform for LTTE rump and the allies

Dec 20 (Island) Sri Lankan Ambassador Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinath Ariyasinghe says an influential section of the European Parliament is collaborating with those seeking to discredit the country. Ambassador Ariyasinghe told The Island that the LTTE rump and its overseas supporters were working overtime to undermine the government’s reconciliation efforts in the post-war era. more..

Sri Lanka bans cutting down coconut trees amid severe shortage

Dec 21 (PTI) Sri Lanka today announced a total ban on felling of coconut trees as the country was gripped by a severe shortage of the commodity which is a dietary staple. Coconut Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said the government was invoking provisions of a 1971 Act to slap a total ban on the cutting down of trees. "Only trees affected by any disease can be cut down with our special permission," the minister said, more..

Will Govt. allow UN panel to meet SF?

Dec 21 (DM) The main opposition UNP today asked whether the government would allow the UN Panel, which expressed willingness to visit Sri Lanka, to meet former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told a news conference that the government should make a clear decision on the matter, as the former Army Commander had expressed his readiness to answer any international panel without bringing any harm to the country or the security forces.

'Ministers enjoy all the comforts while not even half a coconut for the people'

Dec 21 (DM) The government has created a situation where people are unable to consume even half a coconut says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. Speaking at a media briefing held by the JVP in Colombo today Mr. Herath said a coconut that was Rs.12.00 in 2005 has gone up to Rs.60.00 today and the prices of several essential commodities too have gone up he added. more..

Tamil-Muslim joint front on the cards in Lanka

Dec 21 (EB) A joint front of Tamil and Muslim parties is on the cards in Sri Lanka, to fight for a political solution to the 60 year old ethnic question, which continues to exist despite the military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. On Sunday, Hassan Ali, a top leader of the SLMC, had suggested that the Tamil parties should include the Muslim parties in the joint committee they had set up to formulate a political solution to the ethnic question. more..

IUSF protest in South Africa

Dec 21 (SL) A group of JVP affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) members yesterday (19) held a protest in South Africa against the alleged movement by the government to privatize the country’s higher education sector. The protest was organized alongside the 17th World Festival for Youth and Students currently underway in South Africa. IUSF Convener Udul Premaratne who was released on bail by courts last week also participated in the protest. more..

Watch out for CCTV cameras from today

Dec 21 (DM) Police will begin monitoring Colombo City from tomorrow with CCTV cameras as the installation of 108 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in 28 locations has now been completed. Colombo City will come under the eyes of the law through CCTV cameras installed in the city. These CCTV cameras which have been placed at various vantage points in the city will be commissioned tomorrow by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

SF is a political prisoner says UNP

Dec 21 (SL) The UNP has said that while there were thousands of political prisoners in the country, former Army Commander and DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka was also such a political prisoner. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella has said that according to the United Nations there are 9,000 political prisoners in Sri Lanka. He has observed that it was the fervent hope of everyone that these prisoners will be freed at least during the 2600th Sambuddha Jayanthi celebrations. more..

Keerthi fears naming names but is happy to point the finger

Dec 21 (LG) "If I mention his name he will make place me in danger," Mr. Keerthi Waranakulasooriya, a self-appointed defence columnist in the Divaina newspaper, told his collogues when they were asked about recent attacks on Mr. Nilantha Ilangamuwa, editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian, the Lanka News Web learns. Mr. Keerthi Waranakulasooriya published a series of articles under the guise of 'defence columns' that targeted Mr. Nilantha Ilangamuwa and more..

'Outgoing foreign exchange on Education to remain in Sri Lanka '

Dec 21 (LP) Minister of Higher Education, SB Dissanayake stated that the foreign exchange spent on higher education will be saved in the country by setting up private universities. Further the Higher Education Minister added that the Government will not privatize the State Universities. He stressed that the opening of private universities in the country, will not permit private universities to pose a threat to the state universities. more..

A breif open letter to the GA- Jaffna

Dec 21 (LG) Your comments condemning the demonstrations by the Diaspora Tamils against the President Mahinda Rajapakse in London resulting in the cancellation of his speech at the prestigious Oxford Union and the abrupt ending of his visit is politically motivated and clearly reflects the decadent paramilitary mindset of the Minister, Douglas Devananda. I write this open letter as a Tamil, who had experienced the pressures of the confrontational politics of Sri Lanka, more..

The bogeymen on parliament road

Dec 21 (DM) The rain poured down in torrents and the late evening traffic moving along Parliament Road in fits and starts came to a stop in a line of headlights pointing more or less in one direction–homewards. This was no surprise because it is generally accepted that traffic snarls happen when there is rain– a drizzle or a storm–or when traffic cops direct traffic. But today though both culprits, rain and traffic cops were much in evidence the length of time of more..

Living in the global glass house: An open letter to Sir Arthur C Clarke

Dec 21 (GV) Dear Sir Arthur, I write this on your 93rd birth anniversary. Just over a thousand days have passed since you departed. Like all true rationalists, you didn’t believe in any afterlife. So I don’t expect you to be somewhere there, ‘keeping an eye on us’. You did enough of that during your 90 years on this planet! But as the first decade of the Twenty First Century draws to a close, more..

Yet another invidious comparison!

Dec 21 (SL) Since I’ve already been accused of making invidious comparisons between the country of my conscious adoption, Canada and that of my birth, Sri Lanka, let me go to that well one more time, with no apologies! Let me first reproduce below, with only some minor editing, primarily to ensure privacy and confidentiality, a communication I received very recently from a friend with whom I shared an activist role in the Cooperative Housing Federation of more..

Celebration and Jubilation!

Dec 21 (SL) Menika’s old heart was warmed by the sight of the Leader of the UNP and the young ‘un who wants to oust him, stand next to each other in total amenity (at least in appearance) and wave to the cheering crowds, a jumbo gathering. Maybe Menika needs to beg pardon for pronouncing a truth which may be unpalatable to powers-that-be, but Menika is not Menika if she does not speak the truth and in the rush get branded as a traitor. more..

'LSSP has no programmes or agenda'

Dec 21 (NS) Seasoned politician and a veteran trade unionist Batty Weerakoon told The Nation that the LSSP has no programme and that the party is almost thrown out of the mass movement. “I think today it is unfortunate I had to state it that we have in fact got thrown out and no more than a piece of bathkade (shop selling rice parcels) paper for others to wipe their fingers after a satisfactory meal. Following are excerpts: more..

As Tamil parties come together…

Dec 21 (DM) The Sri Lankan Government could not have asked for anything better. Neither could the otherwise divided Sri Lankan Tamil parties have timed it better. Guided in the right direction, for which both the initiative and encouragement still rests with the Government, the coming together of the latter, to work on a common programme on the ethnic issue, should wrest the residual initiative of the pro-LTTE sections of the Tamil Diaspora, which has become hopeful and more..

Pawn jewellery heist - robbers meet their Waterloo

Dec 21 (SO) The six-member armed gang in uniforms similar to those worn by the Army and police personnel entered a jewellery pawn shop at Anguruwella, Warakapola last week on the pretext of attending to some work. The shop employees became somewhat suspicious when they were told that they wish to examine the pawned jewellery, in the safe. It soon dawned on the shop employees that they were not soldiers but a gang of robbers who were heavily armed. more..

Lakshman Kadirgamar deceased is as potent as alive

Dec 21 (DM) He called Aussies ‘sissies” when they feinted excuse to play us in Colombo at the World Cup which sledged them in Lahore. Now from his grave he turned the Brits to ashes over a talk to commemorate his memory, by out foxing the Con-Lib government to send a sob letter with a lame plea, parents make to schools when children play truant. The Defence Minister’s letter of excuse carries a protocol phrase more..

On washing Butenis’ kunu redi

Dec 21 (LB) Someone is a Tiger. Someone is a Tiger supporter or sympathizer. Any person who belongs to any of these categories cannot be called a friend of Sri Lanka. On the other hand, is it the case that all Sri Lanka’s foes are necessarily Tigers or Tiger supporters/sympathizers? No. Dayan Jayatilleka, however, in one of his more horrendous (and hilarious) slips, this time in the LakbimaNews titled ‘Butenis cable came downstream’, makes the argument that more..

A restless President, MPs and ‘Monitors’

Dec 21 (SL) Recall, President Mahinda Rajapaksa insisted that all government MPs should be present in the chambers at the time the vote was being taken. Mahinda too was expected to be in the chambers and therefore the house was filled to capacity with the government MPs, bar one vacant seat. It was a significant moment. That this was the first budget to be presented after Mahinda took oaths on his second term in office as president. more..

Local bodies in debt to Water Board

Dec 21 (ST) Local authorities in the Western Province are in arrears of over Rs. 350 million to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), its Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi told the Sunday Times. He said people living in shanties and slums depend on roadside taps, which the local authorities are expected to pay for. “The responsibility of the local authorities is to provide services to the people” Mr. Hettiarachchi said. more..

First lunar eclipse for 2011 visible to Sri Lankans

Dec 21 (LP) The last eclipse of the year 2010 is a total lunar eclipse and it would begin at 10.59 am in Sri Lanka standard time today (21). The fulleclipse occurs at 1.47 p.m. and the eclipse ends up at 4.35 p.m said Dr. Chandana Jayaratne, Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Colombo. However the eclipse would not be visible to Sri Lanka as it occurs during day time, but would be visible to areas such as more..

Susanthika awaits reply

Dec 21 (NN) Former Sprint queen and Olympic silver medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe says she is still waiting for a response from President Mahinda Rajapaksa and new Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to see if she will be permitted to return to the track. Susanthika had said on 28 November that she has decided to return to the sport and will take a final decision after seeking the consent of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. more..

UN team not sure of Sri Lankan visit

Dec 21 (BBC) The United Nations says it is not yet clear that its own investigators will travel to Sri Lanka to look into allegations of war crimes in the final stage of the government's conflict with Tamil Tigers rebels last year. In an interview with the BBC's Sinhala service, a spokesman, for the UN secretary general, Farhan Haq said a team would meet members of the government's own commission of inquiry, but he said he wasn't sure where. more..

Editorial: Backlash from the battle with Britain

Dec 21 (DM) While Sri Lanka is preparing to host the Commonwealth Summit in 2013, Sri Lanka and Britain are virtually embroiled in a political war. Effective diplomatic steps need to be taken to sort out this conflict if the summit is to be of value to Sri Lanka and other countries. Recently, Sri Lanka suffered one of its worst political debacles when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was virtually humiliated during his visit to Britain. more..

Editorial: A ventriloquist's dummy

Dec 21 (Island) British Foreign Secretary William Hague has, in an interview with Sky News, asked Sri Lanka to probe alleged war crimes. Why doesn't he make specific charges instead of hurling wild allegations at his whims and fancies? It is over one and a half years since the conclusion of Sri Lanka's war and he must be able to gather enough evidence to support his call for a war crimes probe. Mr. Hague's prejudice against Sri Lanka is monumental and it stinks to high heaven. more..

Police remove furniture from ‘Cey Nor’ casino

Dec 21 (ST) Police yesterday said they raided a controversial casino set up in a government building at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha and removed its gambling tables, furniture and other items to the police station. An Anti-Vice Squad officer said that although the casino was not in operation at the time of the raid on Thursday, they acted on the basis that it was illegal to keep gambling items at the Fisheries-Ministry owned Cey-Nor building. more..

TNA to offer party membership to youth

Dec 21 (DM) The Tamil National Alliance is to launch a programme to offer membership to youth, as currently the party has very small number of youth, TNA MP Mavai Senadhiraja said. The MP said this when the TNA representatives addressed the Local Government Organisations in Trincomalee. Mr. Senadhiraja emphasised on the need to take the problems of the Tamil people to the Parliament and the necessity to start Party Offices in Trincomalee and Mutur. more..

Nurses Assn. protest against appointment

Dec 21 (DM) A senior nursing officer who had been found guilty of financial fraud had been appointed as the head Nurse of the National Hospital Colombo, GNOA charged yesterday. Government Nursing Officers Association President Saman Ratnapriya, in a statement, called on the Director National Hospital to appoint another suitable person for the post instead. Mr. Ratnapriya charged that this appointment had led to serious unrest in the hospital administration. more..

MoD plans for 2011 submitted to Parliament: Big workload for SLN

Dec 21 (Island) In the wake of the restoration of civil administration in all parts of the country, the Defence Ministry, in consultation with the three services, police, Civil Defence Force and the recently established Coast Guard, has formulated a comprehensive plan for 2011, which envisages a major role for the Sri Lanka Navy in the post-war era. The plan has been outlined in the Defence Ministry progress report for 2010 more..

Steps to shift the Maritime University to Wellamadama

Dec 21 (LP) Arrangements have been made to shift the Maritime University of Sri Lanka to Matara in the Southern Province. At present the Maritime University is located in Modara in Colombo 15. Accordingly it will be shifted to Wellamadama area close to Ruhuna University. The Maritime University is wishing to work in close collaboration with the Universities in Iceland, Norway, Canada, New Zealand and Japan for the development of maritime and fisheries studies. more..

Sri Lanka loans to business surge in October

Dec 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's credit to business from commercial banks surged 20.3 percent in October 2010 from a year earlier, as 50 billion rupees in new loans were made in the month, official data show. Loans to private business rose 50.3 billion rupees to 1,412.9 billion rupees in October with rupee denominated loans rising 45.3 billion rupees to 1,256.7 billion rupees. Loans from foreign exchange banking units rose 5.2 billion rupees to 156.3 billion. more..

'The govt sans vision or policy buckles down to foreign pressure'

Dec 21 (LT) The government that does not have a vision or a proper policy has cowed down to international pressure says Information Secretary of the JVP MP Vijithe Herath. He said this in response to a question raised at a media briefing held today by a journalist regarding allowing the ‘Experts’ Panel appointed by the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon to visit the island to look into the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Did the bar make too much of noise?

Dec 21 (DM) A special team had been set up to investigate a shooting incident involving a SI, at a restaurant in Nochchiyagama. The team had been set up on IGP Mahinda Balasuriya order, police soureces said. The incident was reported on Sunday night. The restaurant was operating without a licence for a considerable time period. The SI, the OIC of the Nochchiyagama police, residing next to the restaurant had repeatedly informed and warned the owner of the restaurant to more..

Lankans in Italy condemn Britain over allowing LTTE rump have its way

Dec 21 (Island) The Sri Lankan Associations in Rome, the clergy, Buddhist Priests and other Associations from Milan to Catania held a massive demonstration and protest in front of the British Embassy in Rome, on December 16, to condemn the British government over its permitting a banned terrorist organization, the LTTE, to hold demonstration at the Heathrow Air port and in front of the Dorchester Hotel, where Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa was staying and more..

India to build a Saranath style Buddha statue at the Dalada Maligawa

Dec 21 (PTI) India has commissioned a 16-feet high icon of Lord Buddha, as part of joint activities with Sri Lanka to commemorate 2,600th year or the Sambudda Jayanthi of the Buddhahood, the Indian High commission here said. The Saranath style icon of the Lord Buddha from the Gupta period is proposed to be installed at the entrance to the International Buddhist Museum of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the temple of the tooth relic in Kandy. more..

'Economy of 70s 80s props today’s economy'

Dec 21 (LB) Had the Sri Lanka economy in the 1970s and 80s not been successful the economy of today would have gone into a tailspin, Dr. Sarath Amunugama Senior Minister of International Economic Cooperation said in Colombo. He also said that the budgetary gap today is astronomical. Sri Lanka’s current economic mode was the bird cage model, pioneered in China by former Chinese vice premier, Chen Yun Dr. Amunugama said. more..

A'pura water reserves to feed Trinco tanks

Dec 21 (DN) Action has already been taken to renovate and rehabilitate the water storage facilities network in Anuradhapura district to meet the need to increase the paddy harvest in the region. Anuradhapura District Secretary H M K Herath said that once the project is complete it can provide water to tanks in Trincomalee district as well. "At a recently held discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, it was agreed to release Rs 20 million for the purpose of more..

Lankan assistance to build Fijian Judiciary

Dec 21 (DN) Attention has been focused towards developing the judicial system of Fiji through the assistance of skilled and experienced officials representing Sri Lanka’s legal field. Discussions in this regard were held when Fijian Chief Justice Anthony Harold Gadas called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Expressing his views President Rajapaksa said it would be most appreciate to identify such officials through more..