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The overbearing Brits

Dec 23 (SG) IT was during Sri Lanka’s difficult do-or-die battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that former British foreign secretary David Miliband burst into the scene spouting unsolicited strictures on how the government and military should conduct themselves. Tensions between the two nations grew as London exerted pressure on Colombo to stop the offensive citing, among other things, rising civilian casualties. more..

Domestic economic units to be set up

Dec 23 (DN) A special discussion on establishing one million domestic economic units was held with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s participation at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. The meeting was held to plan a program with the support of all stakeholders of the Government. This program is not oriented for short-term results. Each and every segments of the project should be equally responsible to make this program a success, more..

War–time Trinco-KKS ‘lifeline’ venue for New Year bash

Dec 23 (Island) Sri Lanka’s largest passenger vessel, ‘Jetliner’, which helped the Sri Lanka Navy to sustain Jaffna-Trincomalee lifeline during the Eelam War IV will be the venue for a mega New Year party on Dec. 31 night. The Colombo Factory, a reputed entertainment agency will bring DJs from the UK and Turkey for the event, the first New Year party organised onboard Jetliner since the conclusion of the war in May 2009. more..

CTU concerned over arrangements at A/L exam

Dec 23 (DM) Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) expressed their concern over the manner in which arrangements were made for students who sat for the 2010 A/L examination under the special requirements (SR) category. According to CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin a total number of 250 candidates who sat for the A/L examination this year had faced the examination under special requirements. more..

Better deal for OPD patients

Dec 23 (Island) The National Hospital will soon have a state-of-the-art Ambulatory Care Centre instead of the Out Patient Department (OPD). The new facility will be able to treat around 10,000 patients a day and will be provided with facilities such as seating accommodation for all, drinking water and toilet facilities. At present the OPD treats about 5,000 patients, but due to inadequate space and congestion, many are unable to get treatment, more..

200 Indian eng. to build 200 km-rail track

Dec 23 (DM) Around 200 Indian Engineers would be employed in the construction of the three railway lines in the Northern Province which runs into 200 kilometres, officials said yesterday.The three projects are being implemented by India Railway Construction Company (IRCON). IRCON General Manager S.L. Gupta told Daily Mirror yesterday that another 100 technicians would also be brought from India to work on these projects. more..

UNP questions basis for Sanath’s inclusion in Cricket World Cup squad

Dec 23 (Island) The inclusion of Sanath Jayasuriya MP, in the 30-man squad for the forthcoming Cricket World Cup, indicates the extent to which cricket has been politicised, the UNP said yesterday. UNP MP, Harin Fernando, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that Jayasuriya was no longer the great cricketer that he was and his recent poor form does not merit inclusion in the Sri Lankan cricket team. more..

Trade deficit expands 79.2%

Dec 23 (Island) The trade deficit expanded 79.2 percent to US$ 4,357.1 million during the ten months up to October 2010 from US$ 2,431.4 million a year ago as imports grew faster than export earnings. Workers’ remittances grew by 21.9 percent to US$ 3,380.4 million during this period. But, it was insufficient to cover the trade deficit as it did a year earlier when remittances amounted to US$ 2,773.8 million, more..

North projects on track, no dispute over standard of ‘housing units’

Dec 23 (Island) S. B. Divaratne, a senior official involved in re-building the war devastated Northern Province says the country can be justly proud of progress in reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconstruction of former battle-fields. Citing newest data available from State agencies and INGOs/NGOs, Divaratne asserts that their efforts are on track, though some may not want to accept or agree. more..

Sri Lanka invitation to UN panel opposed

Dec 23 (BBC) A proposed meeting between the United Nations and a Sri Lankan presidential commission has evoked opposition from international human rights watchdogs and Sinhala nationalists within the ruling coalition. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called upon the United Nations to be cautious in sending its investigators to meet the LLRC in Sri Lanka. Ruling coalition partners JHU and NFF along with opposition JVP announced its anger more..

SCI invites bids to start India-Sri Lanka ferry service

Dec 24 (PTI) State-owned Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) has invited bids for commencing a ferry service between India and Sri Lanka from January next year, a move aimed at encouraging tourism between the two countries. This move comes in the wake of restoration of peace in the island nation after the fall of LTTE. "Shipping Corp has issued Expression of Interest (EOI) for bids for the ferry service between Tuticorin (India) and Colombo (Sri Lanka)," more..

Sri Lanka Six Years after the Tsunami

Dec 24 (salon) At 0.58 UTC, 6.58 Sri Lanka time, December 26 2004, there was a seismic subduction on the sea bed off the west coast of Sumatra. Scientists called it the great Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake. An earthquake moved a 1,200-km section of the sea floor, releasing energy equivalent to 550 million Hiroshima atomic explosions. The earthquake was the second largest ever recorded – between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale. Lasting up to ten minutes, the earthquake had more..

Achala may quit NFF

Dec 24 (NN) National Freedom Front (NFF) Administrative Secretary and a former Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda says he will decide his fate with the party over the next two weeks following a rift with his party leader Minister Wimal Weerawansa. When contacted by News, Jagoda confirmed that there were “issues” in the party and as a result he will decide his position over the next two weeks. more..

Sri Lanka forex reserves fall

Dec 24 (LBO) Remittances by migrant Sri Lankan workers rose 22 percent in the first 10 months of 2010 but foreign reserves have fallen slightly after central bank dollar sales, latest data showed. "During the first ten months of 2010, workers’ remittances increased by 21.9 percent to 3,380 million US dollars after adjusting for revisions by commercial banks over that of the corresponding period of 2009," the central bank said in a statement. more..

N’eliya trees stolen

Dec 24 (NN) Hundreds of trees planted in Nuwera Eliya as part of the events to coincide with the swearing in ceremony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his second term in office have been stolen. The Nuwera Eliya District Secretary D.P.G Kumarasiri said that over 50 percent of the trees planted in several areas in the district on 15 November have been removed by local and foreign tourists. Sri Lanka last month put forward a claim to a Guinness record for the most number of trees planted in a day when more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.12.2010

'India will also turn away from Sri Lanka'

Dec 24 (AD) Despite the President’s claims that Sri Lanka only needs the support of India, ties between the two countries have been strained as of late, UNP Provincial Council member and Chief organizer of the Divulapitiya electorate, Kithsiri Manchanayake said. These comments came in reference to Indian Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi raising concerns over the lack of help being given by the government of Sri Lanka to the Tamil people. more..

U.S. Embassy donates five ambulances to SLA

Dec 24 (NN) The United States today noted the “heroic efforts” of the Sri Lanka army in its demining efforts in the North and East just days after the US envoy in Colombo was quoted by the Wikileaks website as accusing President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka for most of the killings during the war which ended last year. U.S. Ambassador Patrecia Butenis today said that due to the heroic efforts of the Sri Lankan Army and Sri Lankan and international demining organizations, more..

Sri Lanka to get first onion shipment next Monday

Dec 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to get its first ship load of imported 'big' onions next week as traders claimed they had run out of stocks Thursday after an export ban imposed by India, the main supplier. The Pettah Wholesale Traders' Association vice chairman Nihal Seneviratne said stocks of 'big' onions, previously known as 'Bombay onions', had run out by Thursday. India on Monday suspended exports of onions, a key food staple, more..

Boat topples, 6 dead

Dec 24 (NN) At least six people were killed when the boat they were travelling in toppled in the Mahasen river in Welikanda this afternoon, the Welikanda police said. According to the police the boat toppled after it got damaged while transporting a group of people on pilgrimage in the area. Four women, a man and a child were on the boat at the time of the tragedy. A search operation was launched to locate the missing people after just three bodies were initially found,

Lack of prison staff -True Prisons 12

Dec 24 (LG) Sumithra De Silva is a 40-year-old unmarried woman. She resides at No 33, Chinamini Houses, Welimathugoda, Balapitiya. The Ahungalla police arrested Sumithra, claiming that they had a proper warrant to do so. According to the Police Sub Inspector, the policemen assaulted Sumithra’s head and legs during her arrest. On October 10, 2010, she was remanded to the Balapitiya remand prison. The police, using fabricated charges, filed case number 72316 against Sumithra. more..

Who is behind Mihin Air's scame?

Dec 24 (LG) Mihin Lanka is the budget airline of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, which was formed to cater for low cost air transportation to the traveling public. The airline was founded by Mahinda Rajapakse as part of his now famous 'Mahinda Chinthanaya'. Since its inception in April, 2007 the Airline has never shown a profit, it is, however, apparently making money by offering pilot training and charging exorbitantly for it. more..

Two massive paddy stores to be built in North

Dec 24 (MoD) The directives have already been given for the relevant officeils to build two massive stores in Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi Districts in order to facilitate storage for paddy harvest expected in March 2011. After ending three decade long armed conflict, farmers in the Northern Province have commenced the cultivation of around 80,000 hectares of paddy lands which were abandoned during the war against terrorists. more..

Vocational education and training plan for eastern province prepared

Dec 24 (MoD) The vocational education and training plan for eastern province is prepared by Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of the Ministry of vocational and Technical Training with the collaboration of Eastern Provincial Council. The final draft of vocational educational training plan has been validated under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary of Eastern Province at PDHS Auditorium in Trincomalee on 09th December. more..

The National Anthem in Tamil & the UN Experts Panel

Dec 24 (DM) Sri Lanka’s post war politics followed a predictable script with the war winning president using the popular fewous of the war victory to bring forward by two years the date of a presidential election, securing a second term, a two thirds majority in parliament and removing any restrictions on his ability to keep seeking presidential office indefinitely. What has not been as smooth a sailing for President Rajapaksa has been the post war peace policy trajectory, more..

Champianpattu civilians get Christmas gifts from Army

Dec 24 (Cimic) As the whole of Jaffna is getting ready to welcome the merriment of Christmas 2010, Commander Security Forces – Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe accompanied by his senior ground commanders of the 55 Division took Christmas gifts to recently-resettled civilians in Champianpattu area. A large number of displaced families were sent to their former homesteads in Maruthankerny, Mamunai, Champianpattu north and more..

Mrs. Anumaana unravels the coconut crisis with LankaLeaks

Dec 24 (ST) With the festive season round the corner and food prices going through the roof Mrs. Anumaana has been pounding the pavement in search of a coconut priced at less than 50 rupees. Needless to say her efforts proved futile. Sunil who has an explanation for everything, as usual had an explanation for the skyrocketing coconut prices. He says he has it from an irrefutable source. It’s what everybody’s talking about – the all-new, all-Sri Lankan whistle-blowing website, “LankaLeaks.” more..

Benchmark rates steady, inflation expectations build

Dec 24 (Island) Benchmark Treasury bill rates remained unchanged at this week’s primary auction and are expected to remain stable for the rest of the year, but inflation expectations remain with rising commodity prices, such as food and oil, dealers said. The Public Debt Department of the Central Bank reissued maturing Treasury bills amounting to Rs. 9,000 million for which bids were received amounting to Rs. 17,969 million. The Central Bank accepted bids amounting to Rs. 9,165 million. more..

Are Tamils waving LTTE flags terrorists?

Dec 24 (TC) Apologists in Sri Lanka are quick to defend Mahinda Rajapakse in pointing to LTTE flag waving protestors in London as evidence of proscribed terrorists on British soil plotting to divide the “motherland”. They are confused as to why Britain is turning a blind eye, refusing to crack down, accusing London of harbouring and even tacitly supporting secessionists to underpin a perceived master plan of colonial/European/Western domination. more..

Lanka ahead of 13% reduced poverty target by 2015

Dec 24 (LB) Sri Lanka’s poverty reduction target of 13.1 percent by 2015 is likely to be met ahead of that date. Country UNDP Deputy Director Douglas Keh in launching the UNDP Human Development Report 2010 last week, also said that since the inception of the report, 20 years ago, it had challenged purely economic measures of national achievement. The HDR had helped lay the conceptual foundation for the UN’s millennium development goals, which called for consistent global tracking of more..

How Colombo forgot to smile!

Dec 24 (LB) Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen some unfortunately classic incidents which have done nothing but give weight to one fact -- Colombo has forgotten how to smile. Sri Lankans by nature are supposed to be a smiling happy go lucky crowd. It has served us well in the past, heck; it has given our national carrier and tourist board enough advertising material. But you put these smiling people behind a counter at a bank, or some more..

How we won the sea battle

Dec 24 (ST) Concern over sealane and choke point security is one that any maritime nation cannot ignore in this day. Inter dependence between nations for the smooth movement of global maritime trade cannot be denied, disruption of which will affect all nations and could be critical to some. For this reason it is paramount that the maritime community is prepared to meet any contingency that may arise from these vital sea lanes, more..

Editorial: Masses aren’t asses

Dec 24 (Island) Too much of power impairs politicians' vision. Ensconced in power, they become purblind to reality; they regain their sight fully only when they find themselves in the political dustbin aka Opposition. The first sign of politicians' visual impairment is that they begin to see masses like asses. (The only antidote to this kind of arrogance of power is a rude electoral shock.) The New Year will dawn with an electric shock. more..

Editorial: What the govt. and healthcare providers owe patients

Dec 24 (DM) If Sri Lanka is to succeed in its plan to become a highly developed or wealthy nation then the government needs to take effective steps to ensure we are also a healthy nation. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) recently rated Sri Lanka as the best in Asia in terms of curbing infant death rates and related factors. Yet that is only a small step in restoring a health service where the well-being of the patients is given top priority. more..

On a small island, a gigantic talent grew

Dec 24 (BG) Geoffrey Bawa, by any standard, was one of the most important architects of the 20th century. He built scores of private homes, 12 spectacular hotels, and a university campus. Like Frank Lloyd Wright, Bawa had legions of disciples who spread his style from Miami to Melbourne. His influence was so powerful that in many parts of the world it’s hard to imagine how buildings were designed before him. more..

IDD call charge levy to double?

Dec 24 (BL) An advertisement, which appeared in a Sri Lankan daily recently, has suggested that further to the introduction of a levy of Rs 2 through the Budget 2011 proposals, an additional levy of Rs 2 per minute (or 3.3 cents per second where applicable) will be applicable with effect from January 1 2011. This means the levy has been doubled from Rs 2 to Rs 4. However, according to some senior officials from telecom companies, the levy of Rs2 per minute which more..

Opposition should not sabotage development work-Thera

Dec 24 (DM) Development work carried out by one government should be continued by the future governments as well, Maha Nayaka Thera of the Asgiri Chapter Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakitha Thera said. Ven. Mahanayaka Thera made this point when he met UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa on Wednesday. Ven. Thera also explained that the opposition should not try to sabotage the development work carried out by the government. more..

'Ready to engage in a mechanism that will not divide the party'

Dec 24 (NF) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa says that he is ready to engage in a mechanism that will not divide the party. He said this subsequent to paying homage to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy yesterday. A group including MP Sajith Premadasa arrived at the Malwathu Viharaya yesterday morning. At the occasion, the group called on Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter the Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera. more..

Belgium has relaxed a travel advice on Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (NN) Belgium has relaxed a travel advice on Sri Lanka related to the North and East of the Country, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha said. According to the envoy Belgium has relaxed its travel advisory deleting a reference in its September 2010 travel advisory which stated “given the security situation, all travelling to North and East of Sri Lanka is not recommended”. more..

CoL to shoot up with electricity rate hike

Dec 24 (ST) Government is poised to raise electricity rates by 8 to 10 per cent and consumers are up in arms. They point out such an increase would result in a further rise in the cost of living. A cross section of people including shop-keepers and members of the general public, said the measure was extremely unfair A retired engineer currently operating his own timber mill questioned as to why the hydropower generation advantage was not being passed on to the people. more..