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'Met Dept should pay more attention'

Dec 30 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday stressed the need to forewarn and educate the masses about natural disasters before they really occur. He said the Meteorological Department in particular should pay added attention towards possible climate changes to enable it warn the public before hand. The President expressed these sentiments when he chaired a meeting of the National Council for Disaster Management at Temple Trees. more..

Solheim responds to allegations targeting Norway at LLRC

Dec 30 (Island) Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan says Sri Lanka should investigate the role played by Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim in the peace process launched in 2002, particularly his alleged involvement in financial transactions with the LTTE on behalf of the Norwegian government. He was responding to a statement attributed to Minister Solheim in more..

AH1N1 vaccine at pvt. hospital Probed

Dec 30 (DM) The health ministry has initiated an investigation to identify the person who had allegedly sold a stock of highly expensive AH1N1 vaccine to a leading private hospital in Colombo after it was discovered that this particular hospital only charged a “nurse’s fee” of Rs. 100 for a single shot of A H1N1 vaccine though its market price was around US$ 100 (or nearly Rs. 12,000) a ministry spokesman said yesterday. more..

Tangible gains for public servants

Dec 30 (DN) Nearly 1.3 million public servants as well as pensioners will stand to benefit from the 5 percent interim salary increase announced in the 2011 Budget, Co-Chairman, Salaries and Cadres Commission M N Junaid said. This will cost the Government an additional Rs 50 billion annually, he said. The five percent increase when added to the Rs 600 CoL will entitle an employee in the office works assistant grade to a total monthly salary increase of Rs 1,200, more..

Sri Lanka to drop references to colonial 'Ceylon'

Dec 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka is to drop all remaining references to its British colonial name "Ceylon" from state institutions, a government spokesman said. The cabinet considered a proposal to rename the Ceylon Electricity Board and decided it should be extend to other official organisations. "The cabinet decided to bring in legislation to effect the name change not only for the electricity board, but other organisations which still have 'Ceylon' as part of their name," more..

Sri Lanka says U.N. panel can not conduct own war crimes probe

Dec 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka said on Thursday it would not allow a U.N. panel to conduct an independent probe into the country's 25-year war, a few weeks after reversing a ban on U.N. members taking part in a controversial, local investigating body. The government said in a statement the U.N. panel can only testify before the LLRC, a state-created body that human rights groups say lacks the credibility, and impartiality, more..

Sri Lanka removes construction fee to boost investment

Dec 31 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is to remove a one percent fee charged on the construction cost of buildings other than homes in an effort to encourage investment. Media minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Cabinet has decided to remove the charges imposed under Urban Development Act to help increase foreign and private investment. "At present one percent of construction cost, other than for construction of houses, has to be paid to the UDA," more..

Jayawardenapura uni in Maldives

Dec 31 (NN) The Sri Lankan government is looking at the possibility of establishing a management faculty affiliated to Sri Jayawardenapura University in the Maldives. Accordingly, The Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayake had talks with Maldives High Commissioner Mr. Hussain Shihab at the Ministry of Higher Education today. The Minister and the High Commissioner discussed to establish a Maldivian Higher Education Institute in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka bans BBC again from war inquiry panel

Dec 31 (BBC) The BBC has been banned for a third time from covering an official panel's investigation into the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war. The panel visited Tamil prisoners at a top-security jail in Boosa in the south of the country. But the BBC correspondent and a number of Sri Lankan journalists were turned away at the prison gates. The 26-year conflict ended in May last year with victory for government forces over the Tamil Tiger separatists. more..

Sri Lanka Central Bank says met all end-December IMF targets

Dec 31 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has met end-December IMF targets for net domestic financing, net international reserves, and reserve money required under a $2.6 billion loan, its central bank governor said on Thursday. "We have met the targets," Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters, referring to the December targets without elaborating on the numbers. The quarterly targets are important for the IMF to decide on the next tranche of its loan. more..

Sri Lanka shares gyrate after forced-selling scare

Dec 31 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed lower Thursday after recovering from sharp losses in early trade on panic selling by investors confused over a regulator order for brokers to force-sell equities of buyers in default, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 6,614.13, down 0.49 percent (32.79 points) while the more liquid Milanka index dipped 0.34 percent (24.15 points) to close at 7,050.68, according to stock exchange provisional figures. more..

Govt. allocates Rs. 400 million to clear backlog of 650,000 cases

Dec 31 (DM) A heavy backlog of about 650,000 cases had been pending in Courts countywide for a long period and it was increasing at alarming proportions, and government had allocated Rs. 400 million to expedite the hearing cases. Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Secretary of the Reconciliation Board Commission D.A.D. Arandana said that the government was planning to find quick solutions to this national issue. more..

Over 12,000 arrested for throwing garbage

Dec 31 (SL) IGP Mahinda Balasuriya has said that police environment protection units located across the country in almost all the police stations have arrested more than 12,800 persons during the last month for throwing garbage in public places. Most of the garbage throwers had come in their vehicles and thrown the garbage on the wayside. The IGP has also said, “We also arrested 840 suspects for putting up unauthorized structures, 720 for illegal felling and more..

Opening ceremony by the President costs Rs.1.5 million

Dec 31 (LT) It is reported that the estimated cost for the opening ceremony of the library premises of the Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha is Rs.1.5 million. This library will be declared open by the President on the 7th of January. The Pradeshiya Sabha has made it compulsory for all the business establishments in the area to contribute for the cost of the ceremony and certain businessmen had been forced to bear the cost of certain items in a list. more..

Tamil, Sinhala detainees clash in Vavuniyaa remand prison

Dec 31 (TN) Two were injured in a clash that erupted between detainees in the Vavuniyaa remand prison Tuesday around 5:30 p.m. when Tamil detainees assaulted a Mannaar-based Christian priest and a long-time humanitarian worker, who was recently held in remand over alleged charges that he had sexually abused Tamil girls displaced due to the Vanni war. Altercation ensued as a group of Sinhala detainees rushed in defense of the priest and more..

Floods ruin 60,000 acre paddy crops in Batticaloa district

Dec 31 (TN) Sixty thousand acres of crops have been affected in the Batticaloa district due to flood following incessant rain since last week, according to District Deputy Commissioner of Agrarian Services (DDCAS) Dr.R.Rushanthan. More than one hundred fifty thousand acres were planted with paddy crop Maha season, and the crops damaged were nearing releasing grains. 28 minor irrigation tanks have breached in the district. more..

New tourist guidelines

Dec 31 (NN) The government is to introduce new tourist guidelines for those visiting Sri Lanka from next year especially regarding their conduct and a dress code when they are outside of designated tourist zones. Culture and Aesthetic Affairs Minister T B Ekanayake said that the dress code will look at ensuring that tourists respect the local culture and traditions when visiting certain places. He said that the matter is still under discussion and more..

Less anti-media violence in 2010 but more obstruction and self-censorship

Dec 31 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders condemns the new forms of censorship and obstruction being used by government to prevent diverse and freely-reported media coverage of the situation in Sri Lanka. The fall in the number of physical attacks, threats and cases of imprisonment is to be welcomed, but it is worrying that the authorities are blocking the return of real editorial freedom. more..

What can the Tamils do in Sri Lanka?

Dec 31 (LG) Well, we made terrible mistakes, We never trusted each other, stayed divided and furthered our selfish goals. We have this sea sickness syndrome. We were crabs that pull each other down and fish that does not know the importance of community. A fish will only discover water last but too late. But the good news is we can come back. We have to go back and rebuild, we assume our family like a nation and our home and land as our country. more..

LLRC: Can reconciliation be achieved through a veil of secrecy?

Dec 31 (LG) The Centre for Human rights (CHR) strongly criticizes preventing journalists from covering the LLRC session in the Boossa Detention Centre today (30) the LLRC was to meet around 100 hardcore LTTE cadres detained in the camp. The LLRC has the ultimate responsibility to make their actions transparent and accountable. It is widely accepted that openness of the process and the accessibility to information is important in achieving reconciliation since more..

Post war Buddhist revival in NE Lanka

Dec 31 (LB) A renaissance of Buddhism in the north and east of Sri Lanka, (the theatre of 28-years of civil conflict) now ended, is gaining ground, Chairman All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) Jagath Sumithipala said. As part of the 2600 th anniversary celebrations of the birth of the Buddha next year, ACBC is intent on intensifying this Buddhist revival, and extending it to the east of the country where Buddhism up to medieval times, was majority faith. more..

The fracas in the LSSP

Dec 31 (LB) It is time to celebrate and felicitate the grande dame of Sri Lankan politics as the LSSP ripened to 75 on 18 December. However, the heirs of that gallant band of young men and women who set out in 1935 to bring independence, socialism and Marxism to Lanka have run into an unfortunate problem. The pendulum swung way out to the right just a month ago, but now it seems to be returning to the centre. The party held a conference at the end of October at which more..

Politics of the Budget And the Left

Dec 31 (Island) It was the late Dr. Colvin R De Silva, a leader in the glorious days of the LSSP, who said that the Budget is a document that not only states the economic objectives of a government and how it propose to achieve them but also provides the political orientation that shaped its preparation and in the process gives away the class character of the government. The 2011 Budget of the UPFA government is identical to other budgets presented by the Rajapakse administration and more..

Russia better than China and India to explore oil in Sri Lanka: Expert

Dec 31 (N360) Former Deputy General Manager of CPC S.K.M. Cyril says Sri Lanka should invite Russians to explore oil in the country as they are the most suitable party do so. Cyril told when compared with India and China; Russians have the best expertise and the equipment to engage in deep sea oil exploration activities. He said they produce the “best crude oil and refined oil”. more..

SL Tamils’ issue : Singh’s exit, Rahul’s entry

Dec 31 (DM) When Rahul Gandhi visited the Tamil Nadu recently, he declared ‘Sri Lanka (SL) is not doing enough for the Tamils’. The Government of SL cannot dismiss this statement as another of those of the Indian Congress Govt. on the ground that it is an announcement of Gandhi to please the Tamil voters in Tamil Nadu. Despite Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister echoing the same sentiment, and the Indian Foreign Minister as well as the more..

2010- Year of responding to pressures and skulduggery in Sri Lanka

Dec 31 (LG) For Sri Lanka, Year 2010 is a year in which unfair and dishonest practices were carried out in a secretive and systematic way in order to trick the Sri Lankans and the international community. Democracy took its ugly directions when the opposition, media, judiciary, human rights etc., took the severe beating from all fronts. Corrupt money was buying over MPs and contemptible characters that behave in a grovelling way and were promoted to more..

Anti porn cop out

Dec 31 (NN) The OIC of the police women and children’s bureau who filed several cases against pornographic content on the internet and mobile phones is among 100 OICs who will be transferred with effect from January next year. According to well informed police sources, OIC Buddhika Balachandra has been informed that he will be transferred to the Police Training School (PTS) from the 1st of January but his duties once transferred have yet to be defined. more..

To be a leader, be a servant

Dec 31 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vannakkam, asalamu alaikkum and best wishes for the New Year, with propagandists proclaiming it as a year of mega development, but others including some prophetic voices warning it could be a year of mega disaster. Colombo’s Anglican Bishop the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, speaking at a Christmas meeting, said leaders or those who wish to be leaders must be ready and willing to be servants of the people. more..

Protest over fishing

Dec 31 (NN) Fisherman and their families staged a protest today in Iranawila, Chilaw against what they claim is large scale fishing operations being carried out by some businessmen. The protestors claim that large scale fishing using sophisticated equipment is hurting the ordinary fishermen and their daily income. According to the fishermen the large scale operations are conducted using illegal means and they urged the Fisheries Minister to intervene. more..

A statement from the son of a White Flag victim Mr. Nadesan

Dec 31 (LG) A statement from the son of a White Flag victim Mr. Nadesan. Mr. Nadesan was the head of the political wing of the LTTE. and A statement from the wife of Col Ramesh. Col Ramesh was recently shown on Channel 4. In that video statement he was seen being interrogated by the Sri Lankan security forces in an undisclosed location. The Government now claims that he has been killed. more..

Editorial: Moon Panel: Some ‘Jumbo’ questions

Dec 31 (Island) The UNP appears to be using the Moon Panel as a bludgeon to beat the government. It is demanding that either Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne or External Affairs Minister Prof. Peiris reveal the government’s position on that panel’s proposed visit to Sri Lanka. Former Foreign Minister of the Rajapaksa government and present UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera wants them to do so when Parliament meets on January 04, 2011. more..

Editorial: Healthcare a duty not a commodity

Dec 31 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena after taking office in April this year has repeatedly assured that beginning from 2011, he will implement measures step by step to restore a health service where the well-being of patients is given top priority. He has promised that these measures will include a National Medicinal Drugs Policy based on Professor Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concept and a Charter of Patients Rights and Responsibilities. more..

SLAF 60th Anniversary Press Conference Launch of Official Logo

Dec 31 (SLAF) The maiden press conference in lieu of the Sri Lanka Air Force 60th anniversary celebrations was held on 30 December, 2010 at the SLAF Headquarters Auditorium chaired by Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke. A highlight at the event was the unveiling of the official logo for the 60th anniversary by the Commander of the Air Force. more..

Free entrance to zoo for two days

Dec 31 (DN) Entrance to the Dehiwala National Zoological gardens will be totally free of charge for two days starting from today to children below 12 years, said its Director General Bhashwara Senanka Gunaratne. This decision had been made on the advice of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. This decision was taken to give children an opportunity to gain knowledge about animals and make the future generation love and care animals. more..

British tourist arrivals up

Dec 31 (DN) A 31 percent increase has been recorded in the number of British tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from January 1 to November 30 this year compared to the same period in 2009. From the total number of 569,849 tourists arrived in the country during the above mentioned period 17 percent are British tourists. 95,320 British tourists have visited the country during past 11 months while this number was 72, 858 in the same period of 2009. more..

Lankan iPhone app is #1 free medical download

Dec 31 (ST) Even if you have never heard of medical doctor turned entrepreneur Nayana Somaratna, it would be hard not to be impressed by the fact that an iPhone application, or generally called an ‘app’, developed by a Sri Lankan startup founded by him, and his partners Parinda Jayasiri and Sandaruwan Gunathilake, has become the "#1 free medical app" download in the US over the last two weeks. more..

Killed dugongs to be displayed at museum

Dec 31 (DN) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratna yesterday said he is determined to put an absolute end to dynamite fishing in the seas off Mannar which killed two rare dugongs, while the NARA is preparing them for public display at a national museum. Meanwhile, NARA scientists are to perform autopsies on the two marine mammals. Their carcasses are preserved in deep freezers, before they become museum specimen. more..

Amnesty pleads for Tamil asylum-seekers left in limbo

Dec 31 (TA) Tamil asylum-seekers given adverse security assessments by ASIO should not be repatriated to Sri Lanka, where they face persecution. So said human rights watchdog Amnesty International yesterday. Amnesty's concern follows calls by the Refugee Council of Australia for the government to explain whether ASIO's adverse assesssments against Tamil asylum-seekers is linked to advice from Sri Lankan military intelligence. more..

Global warming the cause of Rajarata kidney disease – Study

Dec 31 (Island) Global warming, pollution of water due to stagnation and heavy use of agrochemicals have helped the growth of an algae in Rajarata tanks spreading kidney disease, a recent study reveals. A team of scholars led by a blood diseases specialist from the University of Peradeniya, Dr. Dhammika Menike Dissanayake, has found that there are 18 types of a poisonous algae by the name ‘Bluegreen Algae’ which spread the kidney disease. more..

Sri Lanka in Tiff with EU over LTTE

Dec 31 (IDN) An "influential section" of the European Parliament has been accused of collaborating with the LTTE rump as well as its overseas supporters, and providing them a platform to spread "false propaganda" against the Sri Lankan government. Sri Lanka Ambassador Ravinath Ariyasinghe said that he had strongly protested in writing against the denial of his Government's 'right of reply' at an "exchange of views on the post-conflict period in Sri Lanka" at the more..