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Cometh the hour, cometh the man

Dec 22 (LB) In what could be the creation of a brand-new political culture in Sri Lanka, two key players of a mainstream political party gave separate press conferences last week on the same issue — to thank those who made their party convention a success. Ranil Wickremesinghe current UNP and opposition leader, gave one press conference in Colombo, while UNP leadership aspirant Sajith Premadasa gave a separate press conference at Hotel Sapphire in Wellawatte. more..

Are traditional Marxist parties pushed against the wall?

Dec 22 (NS) As the entire world today is in the clutches of strong imperialist forces and America being described as the ringleader, serious questions are raised regarding the role of the traditional Marxist parties and their contribution to the society. If the left parties, known to be the traditional Marxist parties, inspired by the principles of socialism were in the forefront in the early 50s and 60s, today, in this new century, they are trampled underfoot by the capitalists and more..

SLIIT introduces new Software Engineering specialization

Dec 22 (ST) Software Engineering plays a pivotal role in today's IT-driven landscape, bridging the constantly evolving gaps within rising industry standards. It serves to provide lucrative career opportunities which span diverse fields of business and ICT, integrating significant components and practices whose origins lie in engineering. SLIIT now offers students a new specialization for the BSc (Hons) in Information Technology degree, more..

Editorial: Best person to meet Moon Panel

Dec 22 (Island) Separatists living in clover in Colombo and overseas used an aggressive school dropout called Velupillai Prabhakaran as a military hit man to achieve their goal of secession. They expected him to carve out Eelam by hook or by crook and perish in the process so that they could enjoy the fruits of his labour. But, he was too smart to fall for their wiles. He trained his gun on those who had used him and created a leadership vacuum in the North and the East more..

Editorial: Sound of silence at Sri Lanka Cricket

Dec 22 (DM) Amid mega development boasts by government leaders and unprecedented political fire or pressure on Lanka by the international community, in two months time Sri Lanka will be co-hosting the Cricket World Cup along with India and Bangladesh. While most people will be focused on who will make the 15-member players’ squad or whether government interference will have a say in the final selections, there remains uncertainty over the completion of more..

'If anyone wants to blame me for the Oxford fiasco let him'

Dec 22 (ST) Galle district MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena who is also a coordinating secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed as “Monitoring MP” to the Ministry of External Affairs last week. In an interview with the Sunday Times at his new office at the Ministry, he spoke of the duties entrusted to him in the sphere of foreign affairs as well as about the Oxford Union fiasco to which his name has been linked. more..

The 13 Sri Lankan sailors captivated by Somali pirates will reach home this week

Dec 22 (GDI) The 13 Sri Lankan sailors of the oil tanker MT Al Nisr Al Saudi who were under captivity under Somali pirates for nine months will arrive in Colombo this week. Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah has announced that they will be replaced by a new crew from Colombo. At the time of seajack, the Saudi Arabian-flagged tanker had 13 Sri Lankan sailors with a Greek captain. The Sri Lankan Consul General in Jeddah Mr.Sabarullah Khan has told Saudi Arabian media that more..

Sri Lankan bishop lives again in sermon book

Dec 22 (UCAN) Chilaw diocese on the west coast of Sri Lanka yesterday launched a book of sermons written by the late Bishop Frank Marcus Fernando. Bishop Fernando, known as a writer and rights activist, died on Aug. 24, 2009, at 77, after an illness. “This was the one and only retirement dream of the bishop. I am sure he must be joyful, seeing from above the effort we have made to bring his publication to a successful completion,” said Bishop Valance Mendis more..

Dress code for cultural, religious sites

Dec 22 (NF) The government plans to introduce a dress code for places of cultural and religious interest. The mechanism would especially be implemented for those visiting sites of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Triangle. The Minister of Culture and Aesthetic affairs, T. B. Ekanayake said that a special committee had been appointed to look into the matter and the dress code would be implemented from next year. more..

Caritas prepares migrant workers for the worst

Dec 22 (UCAN) Hundreds of Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle East experience problems ranging from non-payment of wages, work without rest to food deprivation and forced confinement not to mention physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Seventeen-year-old Rizana Nafeek was sentenced to death recently after being found guilty of killing the four-month-old baby of her Saudi employer. And local doctors removed 13 nails and five needles from another house maid, more..

Sports minister proposes exclusive TV channel for sports

Dec 22 (Island) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage proposed to have an exclusive local television channel for sports when he met representatives of 16 sports bodies at a meeting to discuss Sri Lanka’s bid to host the 2016 Asian Games, yesterday in Colombo. Minister Aluthgamage’s proposal had been enthusiastically received by the representatives of different sports bodies who had gathered at the sports ministry auditorium on the request of the minister. more..

Sri Lanka registers Ceylon tea intellectual property claim

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka has registered a claim locally for intellectual property protection for Ceylon tea under global 'Geographical Indicators' rules that would help market its main export product, a senior official said. The government has also registered the logo for ozone friendly pure Ceylon tea to certify its tea is grown without use of any ozone depletion substances, Tea Board director - promotions Hasitha De Alwis said. more..

Sports medicine units in hospitals

Dec 22 (DN) The Government is planning to establish sports medicine units in all major hospitals in the country. The Sports Medicine Unit’s aim is to support athletes to reach and maintain their optimum physical health. This can mean a fast response to minimise damage from traumatic injury, or a timely diagnosis and design of a personal rehabilitation program to avoid future sports injuries and musculo-skeletal problems. more..

Sailor rescues damsel from sea

Dec 22 (Island) Able Seaman G. S. R. Soysa rescued 23-year-old Fathima Inaya when she was swept away by a sudden wave at the Galle Face last Friday evening. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Commander Chandana Bulegoda Arachchi told The Island that Soysa had reacted swiftly after seeing the woman in distress. The official said: "…a sudden wave had dragged her towards the sea beyond the reef. She was about to be submerged, when Soysa intervened." more..

Minister tells expatriates to defend Lanka

Dec 22 (DM) Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has urged Sri Lankan expatriates to work against the propaganda carried out by the remnants of the defeated LTTE terrorists. “Though you live away from your motherland, you must always render your duty and responsibility to your country. Hundreds of thousands of your relatives and friends who live in that island expect you to perform your duty to Sri Lanka,” more..

Wayside restaurants catering to bus commuters to be kept in check

Dec 22 (Island) A survey conducted by the Healthcare Ministry has revealed that there were over 150,000 wayside restaurants and eateries, on main bus routes, at which buses stop for the passengers to have refreshments. But the food served by the majority of them restaurants are said to be unfit for human consumption, according to the survey. Health officials will visit every such restaurant and eatery to grade them according to their cleanliness and more..

Rs. 350 mn Saudi Arabia grant to exploit deep sea fish resources

Dec 22 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Fisheries Corporation would commence a massive project in collaboration with Saudi Arabia's Al-Faizal Foundation to reap an adequate fish harvest. The project would include deep sea fishing in international waters. He was positive that with the application of modern technology such as modern trawlers and fishing gear, Sri Lanka would be able to increase fish production and even export fish. more..

Shortage of anesthetists curb surgeries at KTC

Dec 22 (Island) Acute shortage of anesthetists at the Kandy Teaching Hospital has resulted in the suspension of renal transplant, neuro, cardio thoracic and orthopedic surgeries. At least 15 operations are put on hold each day, Deputy Director of the Hospital Dr. Susil Siriwardena said. Kandy Teaching Hospital has 11 operating theatres and 8 intensive care units but the dearth of anesthetists has severely affected surgeries. more..

Mastermind behind Thelangapatha robbery arrested

Dec 22 (DM) The leader of the gang allegedly responsible for the Rs 70 million robbery at Thelangapatha was arrested in Kaduwala yesterday. Police said the suspect, who is an army deserter, had claimed a large share of the proceeds for planning the robbery. He had purchased a land in Gampaha for Rs 4.5 million and had laid the foundation for a new house. The suspect had also bought new furniture and electrical appliances for his existing house in Ganemulla and more..

Rain, rain, much too much for the drain

Dec 22 (DM) Colombo Municipality Special Commissioner Omar Kamil said yesterday Colombo’s drains which had a low capacity were one of the major causes of flooding. He told the media the drains could only hold some 50 mm of rain water at a time whereas Colombo and the suburbs experienced a rainfall of 66 mm. He said the Colombo Municipality had decided to reconstruct the city drainage system next year at a cost of Rs.60 million. more..

Boston Lanka News: Dec. 21, 2010

JICA assists local communities in Jaffna

Dec 22 (Island) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) handed over renovated irrigation tanks and fishing jetties to the Department of Agriculture Development (DAD) and to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) in the Jaffna district recently. The handing over of the fishing jetties took place under the patronage of the Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda, more..

Compulsory training for teacher recruits

Dec 22 (DN) On President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s directive the Education Ministry has taken a policy decision to deploy new teachers to the school system only after they have undergone at least one year’s teacher training program, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. The Education Ministry has taken such a decision since it has been revealed that certain newly recruited graduate English teachers lack teaching capabilities though they were well educated. more..

Govt. lashes out at UNP over SF, UN meet call

Dec 22 (Island) Responding to the UNP demand that defeated presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka should be allowed to meet the UN ‘war crimes’ panel, investigating so-called accountability issues during the last stages of Sri Lanka’s 30-year military offensive, the government on Tuesday said the UNP was still playing politics at the expense of the country. Senior officials said that the UNP had conveniently forgotten that those pushing for a ‘war crimes’ probe, more..

Postal Dept. to exceed stamps quota next year

Dec 22 (Island) In spite of strict guidelines to issue only 35 postage stamps per year, the Postal Department will issue 45 stamps next year. The good news for philatelist is that the advisory board, on the issuance of stamps, had recommended an excellent choice of personalities, national events, international events and incidents of pride to Sri Lanka in a number of sectors, apart from the usual annual issues. more..

Prison Inmates to get a psychological change

Dec 22 (GDI) The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms has taken steps to launch a special programme to reintegrate prison inmates into society. Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera pointed out that the programme aims to make a psychological change in the inmates preventing them from being marginalized in society and returning to the prison once again. He stated that by engaging them in various activities socio-economic benefits can be achieved. more..

Security contracts: Private firm affiliated to MoD seeks lion’s share

Dec 22 (Island) The entry of Rakna Defence Lanka Pvt., A company affiliated to the Defence Ministry, has increased competition among private sector security firms for lucrative security contracts. The company, which launched services on Feb. 7, 2009, has recruited about 2,000 retired security forces and police personnel. In spite of fierce competition, Rakna Defence Lanka Pvt. Company had taken over security at the BMICH, more..

Sri Lanka apologises over false claim on Nepal peace

Dec 22 (HT) A Sri Lankan minister has apologised to the Nepal government over the false claims that the President of the Himalayan Republic has invited his Sri Lankan counterpart to help build peace in Nepal‚ a Sri Lankan news site reported on Wednesday. Earlier‚ Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris had time and again claimed that President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav sought help from Mahinda Rajapakse asking him to more..

Rahul says Sri Lanka not giving justice to Tamils

Dec 22 (IE) Voicing concern over Sri Lanka government "not doing enough" for the Tamils there, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he would ensure that they get justice. "We are concerned that enough is not being done for Sri Lankan Tamils by the government there," the AICC General Secretary said during a brief interaction with a group of intellectuals here. more..

Inquiries about camels

Dec 22 (DM) The Livestock Development Ministry had made inquiries about the prices of camels in Middle-Eastern countries through the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions, Deputy Minister H.R. Mithrapala said. Mr. Mithrapala, during the budget debate earlier this month, said that the government decided to farm camels and ostriches in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, he said that inquiries were made about the prices of camels in some countries such as Saudi Arabia. more..

Christmas message from the Catholic Bishops' conference: Long road to traverse for lasting peace

Dec 22 (Island) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, in its message for Christmas 2010, says that the people have a long way to go to realize lasting peace. It exhorts all citizens to treat with dignity and respect all human beings, irrespective of caste, creed and race. It also urges the people to identify the obvious dangers on the road to peace and more..

AG to focus on filing criminal charges

Dec 22 (DM) The Attorney General yesterday informed the Gangodawila Magistrate that his main concern was to file criminal charges against the multi-million fraudster, Sakvithi Ranasinghe and others involved in the Rs 1860 million scam rather than prepare a repayment scheme. Appear for the AG, Senior State Counsel Dileepa Peiries stated this during the magisterial inquiry into the alleged fraud of Rs. 1860 million which belonged to 3421 depositors. more..

Lack of Ph.D's in Universities

Dec 22 (DM) Over 2,200 university academics accounting for 60 percent of the entire staff do not have PhD qualifications, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. Addressing a function at the Sri Lankan Institute of Post Graduate Studies, Mr. Dissanayake said that the problem was all the more acute at the universities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the ones established in recent years. more..

Sri Lanka elected to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Dec 22 (AT) Dr. (Mrs.) Hiranthi Wijemanne, Sri Lanka’s candidate to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was one of the 9 elected to the Committee from a field of 20 at the election held on 21st December, 2010. Dr. Wijemanne is a physician with a medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, a Master ’s Degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, more..

'UN panel visit not confirmed'

Dec 22 (DM) JHU General Secretary, Minister Champika Ranawaka yesterday said it was unknown that the UN panel investigating Sri Lanka on war crimes would be visiting the country until UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon made a statement last week declaring it. Ranawaka said that it is still uncertain as to whether the panel will be visiting the country or not as nothing is fully confirmed as yet. more..

Govt. planning UN Panel – LLRC meeting abroad ?

Dec 22 (Island) The government, according to reports, was now planning a meeting between the LLRC and the UN ‘war crimes’ Panel, probing allegations against Sri Lankan security forces, the UNP said yesterday. Addressing the media in Colombo, Lakshman Kiriella MP, said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime as usual had kept the country and the main Opposition party, the UNP, in the dark. more..

Road caves in again

Dec 23 (NN) A section of the road opposite the Roxy Cinema in Wellawatta caved in this morning together with a three-wheeler. The road gave way when a three-wheeler was about to turn to the opposite direction, eyewitnesses told News a short while ago. The occupants of the three-wheeler however did not sustain serious injuries. Pedestrians together with the police managed to remove the three-wheeler from the hole. more..

Sri Lanka October exports up 28-pct

Dec 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's export earnings in October 2010 shot up 27.6 percent to 802 million US dollars from a year ago, the third highest monthly value, spurred by higher apparel and commodity exports, the central bank said. Imports grew at a slower 8.4 percent to 1,131 million dollars during the month, shrinking the trade gap. Higher export earnings from the textile and garments and minor agricultural crops helped increase total exports, more..

'Governing party members to join UNP'

Dec 23 (SL) The UNP today (22) said that there are several governing party legislators who are ready to join the UNP. UNP Badulla District parliamentarian Harin Fernando told a press conference that nearly 20 disgruntled governing party legislators including senior ministers were in discussion with the UNP to join it. Fernando said that these members were ready to join the party once the leadership is strengthened. more..

LLRC open to UN

Dec 23 (NN) In the event of the government facilitating the UN Secretary General's Panel to visit Sri Lanka, the LLRC will hear such representations on the basis of its warrant and the usual procedures followed for such hearings, the LLRC said in a statement today. The Commission noted that there have been some inquiries from the national media regarding a visit to Sri Lanka by the UN Secretary General's Panel and more..