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Editorial : Why target Assange?

Dec 2 (Island) President Barack Obama is getting into deeper trouble over the WikiLeaks expose. But, strangely, his political rivals and critics like Sara Palin are hauling him over the coals not for the war crimes committed on his watch or Hillary Clinton's illegal order to US diplomats to spy on their host countries and UN bigwigs and obtain their passwords, encryption keys etc, but for his failure to have stopped the release of the controversial diplomatic cables! more..

Sri Lankan president regrets Oxford Union cancelling talk

Dec 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka's President expressed regret after the Oxford Union cancelled a scheduled speech by him amid security concerns, his office said in a statement. Mahinda Rajapakse had travelled to London on Tuesday ahead of an address to the prestigious Oxford Union on Thursday, but the organisers said security considerations forced them to cancel his appearance. "I am very sorry this has had to be cancelled, but more..

The Chindia Paradigm

Dec 2 (DM) No one will deny that Sri Lanka has experienced dramatic changes over the past 18 months. The military defeat of the LTTE came as a surprise to many defence and security analysts, including myself. But the issues that gave rise to the vicious rebellion – and in some ways provided it with the fuel to persist and expand – have basically remained untouched. Even the former General and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Sarath Fonseka believed that the LTTE could be defeated in a more..

A mile high: Helping citizens and saving families

Dec 2 (DM) Addiction is a disease that has a profound effect on the addicted individual, as well as on his/her loved ones. Alcoholism and drug addiction are a family disease. Teenage and young adults are becoming alcohol users and ultimately abusers. They begin by experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Some develop mental health disorders. While others are driven into dependency by peer pressure. Use of heroin, Corex D, benzodiazepine and psychoactive drugs, more..

'Sri Lanka may use extra forex reserves in Exim bank'

Dec 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka may use extra foreign reserves in a proposed export import bank to be set up next year to finance exporters and contractors. Governor Cabraal said earlier this year that an export import bank (Exim Bank) will be set to promote trade. "We may use some of the reserves in the Exim Bank," Cabraal said. The central bank is now sitting on 6.7 billion US dollars of foreign reserves which the central bank says is more than the targeted level. more..

Mahinda is not content!

Dec 2 (LG) The BBC announced that Mahinda’s visit to the UK was unofficial and has been organised by the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. The UK government has finally been drawn into providing unwilling security to him in the face of ferocious objections to his visit by London’s Sri Lanka community. Little did he know that he would face mass protests and draw negative publicity to his visit to London which appears to have no purpose other than image building and setting records? more..

Whither SL –Pak defence pact ?

Dec 2 (DM) The Indian Foreign Minister Krishna’s was in Sri Lanka (SL) to make India stamp its presence here, at the time when the Pakistan President Zardari was arriving in SL is something which is as intriguing as is interesting. Krishna, when issuing a statement while in SL on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Mumbai terrorist attack urged, ‘to dismantle the Terror machine operating from Pakistan territory’. There will be severe consequences if more..

Navy on alert despite peace

Dec 2 (DN) The Sri Lanka Navy which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year is actively involved in the country’s national development effort following the return of peace, said Navy Commander Vice Admiral Tisara Samarasinghe. Addressing the gathering at a ceremony at the Navy’s Rangala Camp, the Navy Commander said however the Navy had not relaxed its high alert on the security front since such relaxation would enable terrorism to raise its head once again and more..

Editorial : Rebuilding the trust lost

Dec 2 (DM) The recent controversy over the release of a large quantity of classified US State Department documents pertaining to its relations with identified governments, private individuals and members of the Non Governmental Organizations, has raised several significant issues. It questions the role of governance that relates how global super power carries out its affairs and adds a brand new dimension to international relations. more..

Arrest of doc on child abuse charges; GMOA unaware who he is

Dec 2 (Island) Vice President of the Government Medical Officers’ Association, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that he was unaware of the identity of the doctor arrested for sexually abusing some of his patients,including children. However, if he was a doctor of western medicine the Sri Lanka Medical Council would have to take action against him if found guilty of the charges, he said. The suspect attached to the Kegalle District was arrested on Monday more..

LTTE rump’s protest against President MR a flop – Govt.

Dec 2 (Island) A senior spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat said that an estimated 300 plus Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates and their supporters in the UK had been involved in the protest at the Arrivals Point at London’s Heathrow Airport, UK on Monday night to protest against the arrival of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa is on a special visit to address the Oxford Union, and also hold discussions with political leaders. more..

Size not integration obstacle - German Ambassador

Dec 2 (DN) Economic integration in the South Asia region will be facilitated with political integration in the region, said German Ambassador in Sri Lanka Jens Uwe Ploerner. He was addressing the 7th South Asian Economic Students' Meet (SAESM) 2007 which commenced in Colombo last Monday. SAESM will continue until December 4 with the participation of undergraduate economics students from universities from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan detainees “resettled” in appalling conditions

Dec 2 (wsws) Following the defeat of the separatist LTTE in May last year, the Sri Lankan government detained about 280,000 Tamil civilians from the northern Vanni region in huge military-controlled camps. After many months of incarceration, in violation of their fundamental legal and democratic rights, detainees were later “resettled” in designated areas or consigned to “transit camps”. Around 20,000 people are still living in the military-run detention camps. more..

UNP reforms: Reformists confident, Sajith keeps his options open

Dec 2 (Island) With the UNP planning to sanction a new Constitution unanimously for the party on Dec. 12, the stage is now set for the ‘Reformists’ to take on the Wickremesinghe Camp in an intense political battle, which may end by late April next year. Political sources say contrary to recent reports in a section of the media, the ‘Reformists’ group is confident of taking control of the situation. more..

Sri Lanka's top hydro power reservoir near spill

Dec 2 (LBO) A large reservoir in Sri Lanka's central hills which is also used for power generation is near spill level as the island experienced heavy rainfall causing floods and landslides elsewhere. The Victoria reservoir in Sri Lanka's Kandy district is one meter below spill level with heavy inflows continuing, an official said. The reservoirs part of a series built in the 1980s and is operated by the Mahaweli river development agency. more..

Indian Cabinet nod for India-Sri Lanka ferry service

Dec 2 (Hindu) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the proposal for a passenger ferry service between India and Sri Lanka that will strengthen economic and cultural ties. A MoU will be signed soon between India and Sri Lanka for providing a joint mechanism for passenger transportation between the two countries. According to a release, it is proposed to start the passenger ferry service initially between Tuticorin and Colombo and subsequently extend it to other destinations, more..

Power generation facilities open to public

Dec 2 (DM) Minister of Power and Energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka, had instructed CEB officials to provide facilities for the public and school children to visit three reservoirs and a thermal power plant during the upcoming school vacation. The Victoria, Wimalasurendra and Samanalawewa Reservoirs, which were the main hydro power plants supplying power to the national grid, together with the Kelanitissa Thermal Power Plant would be open to the public and more..

Pottery no longer a viable industry

Dec 2 (Island) Nearly sixty pottery craftsmen in the Thiththawella village in the Ganewatta D.S. division are faced with the difficulty of marketing their products. Pottery has become a dead art as these craftsmen find it difficult to make ends meet. They complain that sales of their products did not even cover the cost of production. E. Wijedasa (56) said he could not make ends meet as there were no regular sales. "We have to transport clay from Hettigama, more..

Govt commences identification of Northern land owners

Dec 2 (Island) In its bid to expedite the 50,000 houses programme by the Indian government, the Sri Lankan government has commenced a pilot project to identify owners of lands in the Killinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts. Killinochchi District Secretary Ms Rupawathi Ketheeswaran yesterday said that once the titles were cleared the ownership of some of the lands which belong to persons who are presently living in Colombo or abroad would be announced to enable the actual owners, more..

Talk more, pay less-TRC

Dec 2 (DM) The monthly land phone and mobile phone bill is expected to come down between 10% to 15% from January as a result of the tax cuts of the budget 2011, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) said yesterday. A sharp increase of mobile and land phone users and a speedier progress in the telecommunication industry is also envisaged from this tax cuts, TRC Chairman Anusha Palpita said yesterday. more..

Dhanuna’s grandmother’s trial fixed for March 9

Dec 2 (DM) The trial of Dhanuna Tillekeratne’s grand-mother Ellen Wimala Tillekeratne for allegedly having provided place of refuge for Dhanuna was postponed for March 9, 2011. When the case came up for trial before Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday, the CID informed Court that the witness list needed to be amended with the police officer who executed the warrant as witness numbers five. Two domestic aides of Mrs. Tillekeratne have also been summoned to give evidence. more..

Hospitals without venom serum

Dec 2 (DM) Snake bites had claimed as high as 165 lives for four years from 2004 to 2008, Parliament was informed yesterday. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena revealed this information in response to a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. Mr. Gunawardena said that Health Authorities carry out a campaign to educate people in this regard. “People are also educated about first-aid to be given to snake bite victims,” he said. more..

Mahinda suffers political Waterloo at Oxford

Dec 2 (DBS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa suffered an ignominious political embarrassment at the stately university town of Oxford when his scheduled address to the prestigious Oxford Union was cancelled unilaterally. A statement issued by the Oxford union stated- “Due to security concerns surrounding Mr. Rajapaksa’s visit which have recently been brought to our attention by the police, the Union has regretfully found that the talk is no longer practicable and more..

$90M project to address water, sanitation issues in Sri Lanka's conflict-affected areas

Dec 2 (EB) The Asian Development Bank will provide $90 million in loans to help Sri Lanka restore water supply and sanitation infrastructure to the conflict-affected Northern Province. ADB’s Board of Directors approved the loans and technical assistance for the Jaffna and Kilinochchi Water Supply and Sanitation Project. The funds will help rehabilitate and expand water and sanitation infrastructure in target areas of the Jaffna Peninsula. more..

Accidents at unprotected level crossings highest in 2009

Dec 2 (Island) Accidents at unprotected level crossings during 2009 numbered 66 and this was the highest recorded in the past 10 years, Parliament was told yesterday. Twenty persons were killed and 83 injured in those accidents, according to an answer tabled in the House by Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama. The number of accidents had seen an increase since 2005 with 60 reported in that year, 65 in 2007, dropping to 43 in 2008 but reaching 66 last year. more..

David Miliband called for Sri Lanka aid 'to win votes'

Dec 2 (Independent) The former Foreign Secretary David Miliband's campaign to champion international aid and human rights during last year's humanitarian rights crisis in Sri Lanka was driven largely by the need to win the votes of the UK's large Sri Lankan Tamil population, according to the latest Wikileaks releases. Richard Mills, a political officer at the US embassy, reported: "He said that with UK elections on the horizon and more..

Heartbreak office for Seniors

Dec 2 (DM) A number of senior ministers expressed reservations on the government’s move to house them all at an office complex and said on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons that they would consider twice before moving to the new offices. The newly appointed Senior Ministers would be given offices at the three storied building at Galle Road, Kollupitiya. “I do not know what I am going to do in there. I have been told that senior ministers are to coordinate work and advice subject ministers. more..

London Symposium: JJ, Wickremabahu lambasted for Lanka bashing

Dec 2 (Island) UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena and NSSP leader Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne incurred the wrath of a Sri Lankan audience last Thursday in London, when they started bashing Sri Lanka, making allegations of human rights violations etc. at a debate on ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka.’ Sources said they had been interrupted and asked to substantiate their allegations or stop making them. more..

Sri Lanka fight back after Nash, Chanderpaul stand

Dec 2 (CI) Only 41 overs of play were possible on the second day at Pallekele, before rain intervened once again to bring a premature end to play. A charged up Sri Lanka made two quick breakthroughs after lunch to even things up after Brendan Nash and Shivnarine Chanderpaul capitalised on a flat Sri Lankan bowling effort and a comical missed run out opportunity in the morning session. Sri Lanka's resurgence in the nine overs after the break had West Indies at 245 for 5 more..

Sri Lanka October tea exports hit new high

Dec 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea export earnings hit a new high in October 2010 as shipments rose to their highest level in four years amid high prices, brokers said. "Rupee earnings from exports are at a highest ever 14.5 billion rupees," Asia Siyaka Commodities said in a report. "In US dollars too the figure of 130.4 million dollars is a highest ever for the month. This figure is also the highest in any month this year and second only to the 142.7 million dollars earned in July 2008." more..

Judges tell defence to file ‘Cader case’ order

Dec 2 (Island) The Trial-at-bar Judges, in the ‘White Flag Case’, yesterday directed the defense to file the order in the Abdul Cader case, where Cader was acquitted on Tuesday due to non-availability of original documentary evidence in relation to misappropriation of 690 bags of rice valued at Rs. 1 million. The Defense Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty pointed out that similar to the Abdul Cader case, the White flag case too didn’t have the original evidence. more..

'Make Agriculture attractive to present day youth'

Dec 2 (Island) Since the present generation is not interested in agriculture it is of paramount important to take measures to make agriculture attractive for our youth, the most Venerable Mahanayaka of Asgiriya told the Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister S. A. Chandrasena when he called on the prelates on Sunday 28. Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakhita Thera said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had chosen Minister Chandrasena be be Minister of more..

Act of President cannot be questioned by Court - DSG

Dec 2 (Island) Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluwihare told the Court of Appeal that the conviction and the sentence, imposed by the court martial II on General Fonseka, has already been confirmed by the President, who has legal immunity by Article 35 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Hence, a Court of Law could not question an act of the President. He also said that the petitioner has appealed to the Supreme Court pertaining to more..

Uproar in Sri Lankan parliament over protests against president

Dec 2 (DPA) Sri Lanka's Parliament was disrupted for an hour on Thursday when ruling party members attempted to manhandle an opposition politician, accusing him of organizing protests in London against President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is in Britain on a private visit. At least 15 government members surrounded opposition UNP lawmaker Jayalath Jaywardena, claiming he instigated members of the Tamil minority to protest against Rajapaksa. more..

UK is a failed state; Wimal to lead protest tomorrow

Dec 2 (AD) Britain is a failed state that could not even provide adequate security to a visiting leader of a foreign nation, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. He added that a massive protest will be held tomorrow in front of the British High Commission in Colombo tomorrow against the treatment meted out to President Rajapaksa. He also claimed that the Government will employ Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP’s help to arrest pro-LTTE elements. more..

'Rajapakse, Fonseka responsible for alleged Lankan war crimes'

Dec 2 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and his former Army chief Sarath Fonseka were responsible for alleged war crimes and killing of Tamil civilians during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war, according to a secret US cable made public by WikiLeaks. Seven months after the LTTE rebels were decimated, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A Butenis, in a secret communication to the US Government, said that more..

Govt. has major plan to develop tourism

Dec 3 (DM) The government’s intention is to involve at least seven percent of the population in the flourishing Tourism Industry within the next few years, said Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena in Parliament yesterday. He said that a major plan was now in place to develop the tourism industry. The deputy minister said that the government planned to create 500,000 employment opportunities in the tourism sector. more..

President meets UK, EU Parliamentarians

Dec 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa met UK and EU Parliamentarians in London yesterday. The meetings were friendly and cordial and matters of bilateral interest were discussed. Among the UK and EU Parliamentarians were, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Naseby of the Conservative Party who is also the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka (APPG-SL), Lord Sheikh of the Conservative Party the House of Lords, Lord Dholakia of the Liberal more..

US Lanka Headlines: Dec. 2, 2010

Sri Lanka heritage hotel to lure ship passengers again

Dec 3 (LBO) Big Sri Lankan operators and international chains have responded to a call to restore the original charms of a colonial-era hotel overlooking Colombo port once popular with visitors who came by ship, an official said. "We want to bring it back to its original form," said Gamini Wickemasinghe, chairman of state-owned Bank of Ceylon which is seeking an international hotel chain to manage its subsidiary, Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH). more..