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Boat floorboard shaky, only two could go...

Dec 26 (LB) After a boat tragedy in which six members of the same family were drowned, police discovered that the boat which could only accommodate two people had accommodated no less than six. In addition it has been found that the floorboard of the boat had been shaky and could never have accommodated the weight of six persons. An investigation carried into the tragedy by the Welikanda police has revealed this, and more. more..

LLRC rules out meeting UN panel abroad

Dec 26 (NS) Speculations that the advisory panel appointed by the UN Chief will meet the LLRC outside Sri Lanka were scotched by the commission last week, saying it would not meet any UN team outside the shores of the country. The LLRC, The Nation reliably learns, has no legal mandate to meet any foreign or local team outside Sri Lanka and hence has no plans to meet the panel appointed by secretary-general Ban Ki-moon more..

Brothel blackmail

Dec 26 (LB) The bid to keep the notorious brothel at the Liberty Plaza closed hit a new snag this week, with the woman who runs the brothel threatening to reveal a list of names of top politicians who have regularly patronized her prostitution den. Though several previous efforts were made to close down this notorious facility, powerful politicians came each time to the owner’s rescue. This time the brothel was closed after a raid ordered on the more..

65 MPs earn millions from sale of vehicle permits

Dec 26 (ST) As many as sixty-five new Members of Parliament, or nearly one-third of the entire Parliament have sold the duty-free permits given to them free by the Government to mostly businessmen for prices ranging from Rs. 12 million to Rs. 17 million, the Sunday Times learns. Each MP gets to keep that much as a cool profit in the transaction. They will be entitled to another permit in five years time. more..

UN panel: Diplomatic tunnel after tunnel

Dec 26 (ST) Ten months ago, Sri Lanka flexed its diplomatic muscles to flashpoint to muster 118 countries at the United Nations to pressure Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call off moves to set up an Advisory Panel. This panel was to probe 'accountability issues' with the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas. These countries belonged to the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), the largest regional bloc representing two thirds of the UN membership. more..

Jayalath’s Medical Show, a Guinness world record

Dec 26 (Island) Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has been confirmed to have set the new Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest-running TV medical show’. Jennifer Robson of the London-based Guinness World Records says in a letter to Dr. Jayawardena: "Details of your achievement have been entered into our records as follows: "Longest-running TV medical show". "Although the certificate does not automatically guarantee an entry in our world-famous annual book, we do consider more..

Damage control on UN panel

Dec 26 (LB) The Government plans to douse the growing opposition against inviting the UN Expert panel appointed to inquire into war crimes in Sri Lanka, by meeting with the panel abroad. The Panel of Experts appointed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is likely to meet the LLRC members in Singapore, sources claim. The government expects to pacify coalition members of the UPFA such as National Freedom Font, Hela Urumaya and many other more..

Looking back at the 2004 Tsunami devastation

Dec 26 (NS) Exactly six years ago the people, who dwelled in the coastal areas, went on with their daily chores knowing little of the deadly wave which was to arrive. Within not more than an hour after the earthquake which hit the Sumatra Islands on December 26, 2004, the blue green ocean which we admired so much churned and hit the shores with massive speed and energy destroying thousands of lives. more..

TNA wants clarity on Congress stand on Lankan Tamils

Dec 26 (NS) The TNA says there is a need to discuss with the Congress Party on its recent comments on the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. General Secretary of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi had recently told Tamil Nadu intellectuals that the Tamils were not adequately supported by the government. TNA MP Mavai Senathiraja said that the party needs to discuss with the Congress Party leadership on the stance of more..

SLMC for closer ties between govt & TNA

Dec 26 (NS) The SLMC has informed the TNA in no uncertain terms that prior to talking to them the TNA should meet the President. The SLMC, during a recent meeting with the TNA, has said that the Congress was willing to continue dialogue with the TNA provided the TNA met the President and clarified its current status quo. The SLMC and the TNA met the previous week to discuss day-to-day issues faced by the Tamil-speaking communities. more..

Bungalows for local tourists

Dec 26 (ST) Local travellers visiting sites of historic interest in the hill country, mid-regions or just to relax on the the beaches would soon be able to use affordable holiday bungalows for accommodation. Sri Lanka Tourism is preparing a comprehensive plan for accommodation for domestic tourists in collaboration with the Central Bank, with the formation of a state-owned company being considered to market and promote a new form of accommodation. more..

Record deaths of migrant workers in 2010

Dec 26 (ST) A Sri Lankan woman was reported dead in Jordon a few days ago, just two weeks after she went there to work as a domestic aide, raising the death toll among Lankan migrant workers to its highest level this year. Her post-mortem examination showed poison in her blood. While the police in Jordon continued investigations, the foreign ministry officials here said indications were that the 21-year-old woman from Kandy committed suicide. more..

JVP blasts govt for ‘about-turn’

Dec 26 (NS) JVP international affairs spokesman Vijitha Herath berates the government for making an about-turn on the Ban Ki-moon’s advisory panel on Sri Lanka by extending it an invitation, but says they will never change their stand and will not tolerate any foreign body interfering in the internal affairs of this country. On the matter of the party’s sudden low profile, he says they are quite active in rural areas, more..

'Tamil diaspora were losers in engineering London protest'

Dec 26 (LB) UPFA Colombo district MP Praba Ganesan says that the recent protests held in London by the Tamil Diaspora were a case of them being ignorant of the reconciliation measures undertaken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa between the Sinhalese and Tamil people in Sri Lanka, since the end of the ethnic conflict in 2009. He noted that the government led by the president has been able to win over the minority communities since the war ended last year. more..

Tourist arrivals to reach new peak next year

Dec 26 (SO) Sri Lanka will account for the second highest number of tourist arrivals in the South Asian region next year. With the ‘Visit Sri Lanka 2011’ initiative and co-hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, Sri Lanka anticipates over 725,000 arrivals which places the country ahead of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. Only India is ahead of Sri Lanka. more..

LLRC invites Ranil to explain CFA

Dec 26 (ST) The LLRC will write to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, inviting him to testify before it. The move comes after the commission’s secretary S.B. Atugoda telephoned Mr. Wickremesinghe to inquire whether he could arrange for a date. Mr. Wickremesinghe told the Sunday Times, "I told him that I am answerable to Parliament. If the commission wants me to appear, the Chairman and the members will have to make a request to me." more..

Sri Lanka remembers tsunami victims on sixth anniversary

Dec 26 (IANS) Sri Lanka marked the sixth tsunami anniversary that claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people with a host of religious events Sunday. A two-minute silence was observed throughout the country at 9.25 a.m., the time the killer waves first hit the eastern coast. Most coastal areas in the island nation were hit by the tsunami that displaced more than one million people and destroyed over 100,000 houses. more..

Industrial opportunities in Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (LG) With the return of peace in Sri Lanka after a long period of turmoil, the present time is right to make a big leap forward in the industrialization of Sri Lanka. At the same time, the growth of economic and industrial investment opportunities in Sri Lanka should be planned with great care, so that the ecological and environmental issues that may arise due to industrial activities would not mar the beautiful landscape of Sri Lanka and more..

Illegality ---True Prisons Part 13

Dec 27 (LG) Allawaladevage Sanath Kalhara is a 23 years old youth. He is married. On 29.07.2010 he was remanded. He was detained in the H ward at Galle prison. He was arrested by the police saying there was a warrant against him. While he was taking closer to the Balapitiya Muslim church he was tortured by the police. There were 225 detainees at the H ward. But the space is enough for only 150 detainees. Over crowding is a severe problem. more..

Govt steps up coconut cultivation

Dec 27 (SO) Encouraging people, especially the younger generation on the importance of replanting coconut trees is the only solution to ease the shortage. A gazette notification, issued by the Government even at this juncture on the ban of felling coconut trees is also commendable and if this is strictly monitored, nobody will talk about import of coconuts. Except for a few people, majority do not plant coconut trees even at their own home gardens who more..

The Sinhala (Mahavamsa) Buddhism Revisited

Dec 27 (LG) The Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka, better known as Sinhala-Buddhism (or Mahavamsa-Buddhism) is different from the Theravada Buddhism practiced in other countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and so on. The Buddhists in these countries follow only the Buddhist scriptures Tripitaka (Viniya, Sutta, Abhidhamma), whereas in Sri Lanka the 'Mahavamsa,' which was written by one of the Mahavihara monks (Ven. Mahanama) more than 1000 years after the passing away of more..

UN panel calls for fresh definitions of patriotism and treachery

Dec 27 (DM) When the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on June 22 appointed a three member panel of experts “to advise him on accountability issues relating to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka,” Sri Lankan leaders were furious. They even dared to announce that visa will not be granted for the UN panel members to visit the country. more..

Pro-Tiger elements in the Tamil diaspora are helping Rajapaksas stay in power

Dec 27 (TC) The war is won, has been won for one a half years. The Tiger is dead, and has been dead for one and a half years. Why do the Rajapaksas resist accepting this reality? Why do they talk and act as if the Tiger is only hibernating, not dead, and the war is still on at some indefinable, invisible, intangible level? Why do they want to keep the Sinhala South entrapped in a universe of fear, seeing in every passing Tamil, the shadow of the Tiger? more..

The panel’s a-coming and a miracle in Hambantota

Dec 27 (SL) Menika’s poor head is spinning. It is definitely not due to the extra G&T she has been imbibing in celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus in a manger with lowing cattle and all that. No! It’s all because of the mixed news items on Baka Moons’ panel of peaceful Nosey Parkers or secret-ferreting-out intruders. Some say this and some say that but the government says nothing definitely. And if the government spokesman is the FM, then one day he will say one thing in more..

The absence of accountability

Dec 27 (SL) It has been just two weeks since the final budget vote was taken and already the entire exercise is a distant memory in the collective Sri Lankan psyche. Such is the importance we accord to issues that affect us directly, the stomach to be precise, so less said the better of things that do not directly affect us, like say Ban Ki-Moon’s Expert Panel. Budgets come and go and we Sri Lankans have taken it for granted that it is an annual ritual and basically leave it at that. more..

A book that defies all definitions: A review of the end of war in Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (GV) From 19–27 May 2010, Groundviews ran a special edition on the end of war in Sri Lanka. Over this week alone, the site received over forty-thousand readers and exclusively featured over eighty-thousand words of original content, one video premiere, over a dozen photos, generating over one hundred and fifty-thousand words of commentary. Download the 162 page compilation of content as a PDF in high quality more..

Let’s dissect a grimace

Dec 27 (LB) I don’t watch TV much. My daughters don’t let me. They complain to their mother that I watch ‘adult’ thing when there are children’s programmes running in other channels. Their whines terrify me and I quietly slink away, guilt written all over my face. In any case, without an antenna and living in the middle of what could pass off as a jungle in the Colombo District, the reception is so poor that I prefer checking scores on cricinfo than actually watch more..

The National Anthem saga – In defence of the President

Dec 27 (NS) A National Anthem should be sung in its original version in the original language it was composed. All citizens should learn the meaning whatever race they belong. The national Anthem should be sung in Sri Lanka only in Sinhala. One national anthem, one nation. Article 7 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka states “The National Anthem of Sri Lanka shall be “Sri Lanka Matha,” the words and music of which are set out in the Third Schedule”. more..

HARDtalk 2010: A year on the road

Dec 27 (BBC) The talking is done for another year - no more inquisitions, no more interjections - after all, 'tis the season of goodwill. And so, full of the Christmas spirit, it is time to recall the highlights of a remarkable HARDtalk year. A year which saw me playing cricket with child soldiers in Sri Lanka, striding down a red carpet with the President of Venezuela and blushing a delicate shade of beetroot in the presence of a couple of my musical heroines. more..

Building on foundation laid this year

Dec 27 (NS) It is customary for columnists to review the year in their last column of the year. Looking back, I get the feeling that 2010 is a very productive year for Sri Lanka as the foundation for the future advance had been firmly laid. The year had produced a powerful presidency, a strong government with a two-thirds majority, a firm basis for national reconciliation and a sound foundation for economic advancement. more..

Indian police hunt on for racketeers luring Sri Lankan refugees

Dec 27 (TOI) Q' branch police personnel have launched a hunt for job racketeers who target Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps, promising them jobs in Australia. "The racketeers lure refugees with promises to help them migrate to Australia on illegal ferryboats. We have placed signboards in front of all refugee camps, asking them to alert us about such racketeers. But most of them approach us only after they are conned," a senior Q' branch officer said. more..

'Scrapping free health to alcohol, tobacco addicts not so easy'

Dec 27 (NS) Although the government’s recent decision to stop free treatment to those addicted to tobacco and alcohol has been hailed by forward-thinking policymakers, a top academic warns of repercussions in its implementation. Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), Professor Carlo Fonseka told The Nation that except for lung cancer patients it could not be pinpointed with certainty as to what caused a particular disease. more..

Editorial: Fastening belts

Dec 27 (Island) The government has been asking people to tighten their belts all these years and now they are being told to fasten their ‘belts’, while driving. This directive has come from, of all places, the President's Office! Over 2,000 people reportedly die in road accidents every year and action must, no doubt, be taken to prevent these avoidable deaths. However, it is puzzling why the government has made the new law applicable only to the vehicles bearing more..

Editorial: A Tsunami of compassion

Dec 27 (DM) The country yesterday commemorated the sixth anniversary of the devastating Tsunami, possibly the worst human tragedy the world witnessed in this millennia. As nature leashed its wrath on the innocent lives of an approximate 40,000 men, women and children in Sri Lanka alone, the families left victim are still looking for ways to come to terms with the devastation to lives and property. Yet,in a strange twist of fate, those that lived to tell and endure the pain of more..

The case of the missing ‘golden gifts’

Dec 27 (SL) Startling revelations have now come to light that the Chairman, National Gem and Jewellery Authority, (NGJA) Anil Koswatte demanded free gold from a gem miner to craft the gem-studded golden replica of President Mahinda Rajapaksa prior to the ‘Jewels Sri Lanka 2010’ exhibition. In addition the Chairman also bought gold gifts worth several lakhs of rupees to be presented to VVIP invitees at the exhibition. more..

Consumption of rice increases this year

Dec 27 (LP) In contrast to last year, rice consumption has increased this year according to a report by the Department of Census and Statistics. In the year 2009 the requisite was 2.249 million metric tons while in 2010 it has increased to 2.354 million metric tons. Further in 2009 the total rice production amounted to 3.652 million metric tons. It has increased to 4.04 million metric tons during this year. In the mean time, the increase in production is believed to more..

Dr. Jayalath visits Sarath Fonseka on Christmas day

Dec 27 (NF) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena says that he hopes former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka will be granted an early release. He visited the Welikada prison yesterday to look into the well being of the former Army Commander. “Christians world over celebrate Christmas today. Today is the the day that Lord Jesus brought the message of peace to the world. “I visited former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who liberated the country and achieved peace, more..

A sterling idea, getting ostriches and camels for Sri Lanka!

Dec 27 (LB) It is an extraordinary achievement on its own that we today have a cabinet large enough to rival only our bloated egos. And in this cabinet we have ministers like Armugam Thondaman and his deputy, H.R. Mithrapala. One wants to import ostriches while the other wants to import camels. Thondaman feels that in introducing ostriches to Sri Lanka, we will have eggs large enough to nourish entire families in one go. more..

Lanka urged to sign

Dec 27 (Island) Sri Lanka has been urged to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which came into force on Wednesday. The Secretariat of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) in an email to News said that last year some 100 cases of enforced disappearances were reported in Sri Lanka, an issue which had been brought to the attention of the government. more..

Editorial: Rehabilitating Tamils in Lanka

Dec 27 (KT) A small but significant step taken by Colombo can go a long way in furthering the agenda of rapprochement with the Tamil minority. The decision to release 100 former Tamil Tiger rebels to mark Christmas Day was magnanimous, indeed. According to estimates more than 5000 rebels are under detention camps in Sri Lanka, and the government is holding them under various pretexts of security and prosecution. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has vowed to rewrite a more..