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Mervyn to work undercover to identify people's problems

Dec 3 (DM) Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva told Parliament yesterday that he would disguise himself as an ordinary person and visit people to identify their problems and report them to President Mahinda Rajapaksa within a period of three months. The minister was speaking during the debate during the committee stage of the vote on his ministry. "I will mingle with ordinary people and identify their problems, right from issues between husbands and wives. more..

Sri Lanka doomed for dubious history

Dec 3 (DM) Sri Lanka is on course to making dubious cricket history where all three matches of a Test series have been sacrificed to rain as the second day’s play of the third and final Test against the West Indies proved another washout with just 41 overs bowled here at the Pallekele stadium yesterday. The extent to which the series has been ruined has not only brought into question the timing of the series but also the wisdom of investing in cricket during the wettest period of more..

Ex-CTB workers get their bonuses

Dec 3 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Cabinet had approved Rs.663 million for CTB pensioners who had not been paid their due bonuses since 2005. A large number of CTB pensioners had been complaining to him over the non-payment of bonuses for 5 years, though they were eligible for it. It was a magnanimous gesture of President Rajapaksa to respect the legitimate rights of state employees, more..

Top govt. ministers manhandle Jayalath

Dec 3 (DM) Tension and turmoil prevailed in parliament yesterday when some government members including Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane tried to manhandle UNP front-liner Jayalath Jayawardene accusing him of having instigated pro LTTE activists to protest President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Britain. Among the members who surrounded Dr. Jayawardane were Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Nirmala Kotalawala and Jagath Pushpakumara. more..

Special team to probe N’Eliya attack

Nov 3 (DM) Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya said yesterday a special team would probe Wednesday’s hand grenade explosion at the Nuwara Eliya police station where the suspect was killed and 14 policemen and two civilians were injured. He said the suspect a resident of Matale was believed to have pulled out the pin of the grenade which he had tied to his left leg. According to eyewitnesses he had threatened to hurl the grenade at the policemen who were questioning him. more..

Petition against cruelty to animals: Court of Appeal issues notice on IGP, Minister of Livestock et al

Nov 3 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on the IGP, the Minister of Livestock, Rural Development, the Minister in Charge of the subject of Animal Welfare and several other connected respondents. This notice returnable on January 14, 2011 pertains to a Writ Application filed by the Dharmavijaya Foundation and several other petitioners complaining to the Court that the rights of the animals are violated in this country due to more..

Lalith Kotelawala enlarged on bail

Dec 3 (DM) Ceylinco group Chairman Lalith Kotelawala, who surrendered to the Matara Magistrate's Court on a charge of criminal misappropriation of Rupees 430 million comprising deposits of residents of the Matara District, was enlarged on rupees 75,000/- cash bail and three sureties by Matara Chief Magistrate Udesh Ranatunga. The money had been deposited in Ceylinco Sri Ram Capital Management Services and Ceylinco Sri Ram Asset Management. more..

Manamendra quizzes on Rs.80m DNA funds

Nov 3 (AD) The JVP is now attempting to use former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva to lead them as their next leader, says Nava Sihala Urumaya leader Sarath Manamendra. Speaking at a press conference held yesterday he stated that the JVP is prepared to use and abandon Sarath N. Silva, who was once a distinguished Chief Justice just as they did to the distinguished Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka. Nothing has been revealed about the 80 million rupees, more..

Policy on SL clear -US

Nov 3 (DM) While condemning the illegal discloser of the classified memos of US on Sri Lanka, the United States today said that its policy on accountability in Sri Lanka has been made clear many times by the US. “The United States policy on accountability in Sri Lanka has been made clear many times by Ambassador Butenis, by visiting officials, and through published statements. We believe that in cases where allegations of possible violations of more..

Bringing country into disrepute abroad: Opposition to face fire

Nov 3 (DN) The Defence Ministry will take stern action against Opposition Parliamentarians who assist the Tamil Diaspora who are planing to bring disrepute to the country by making false statements while touring the western countries, said Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) Director General Lakshman Hulugalla at a press conference held at the Police Headquarters yesterday morning. more..

Colombo to witness overhaul

Nov 3 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said unauthorized structures blocking the waterways and reservation lands caused floods in the Colombo city. He said that lack of proper drainage system has also contributed to this situation. The Defence Secretary was delivering the 7th Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. The theme of the memorial lecture was Development plan for the city of Colombo. more..

'Disband armed groups in NE'

Dec 3 (DM) The Committee on Inter Government Agencies (CIGA) has asked the government to disband private armed groups operating in the North-East, prosecute ex LTTE combatants and release those who did not have a prima facie case against them. The CIGA headed by Attorney General Mohan Peiris was appointed on a cabinet memorandum presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and with a mandate to implement the interim recommendations of the LLRC. more..

British govt. says it has no involvement in Sri Lankan President's cancelled event

Dec 3 (DM) The British government yesterday said that it had no involvement in the cancellation of the scheduled address by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Oxford Union in London. "The UK government had no involvement in the planning of this meeting, or the decision to cancel it. The planned event was a private one organised by the Oxford Union and the Sri Lankan High Commission in London." more..

UN calls for probe into Sri Lankan troops' war crime video

Dec 3 (IANS) The UN has sought a fresh probe into alleged war crimes against Sri Lankan troops after Britain's Channel 4 News released a video featuring soldiers executing naked men and women. The video, which was broadcast Tuesday, shows government troops executing civilians in the last few weeks of the 26-year Sri Lanka war, which ended last year when the island government declared victory over the Tamil rebel group LTTE. more..

Ranil willing to support a probe on allegations against Dr.JJ

Nov 3 (ST) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today that the UNP would support the appointment of a Select Committee of Parliament to probe if its MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena had acted in contravention of his Parliamentary oath of office. “If there is an inquiry, we will support it”, Mr. Wickremesinghe said. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said they would also support the appointment of a more..

Anti-British protests in Sri Lanka over Oxford snub

Dec 3 (AFP) Hundreds of ruling party activists demonstrated at the British embassy in Colombo Friday to denounce Oxford University's debating society for cancelling a talk by President Mahinda Rajapakse. "Down with anti-Sri Lanka policy!" shouted activists led by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who spearheaded protests against the United Nations in July that temporarily shut the agency's offices. "British imperialists, we will never surrender to you," more..

44 Uni students suspended

Dec 4 (DM) Forty four students including 12 monks from the Sri Jayawardena University were suspended for taking part in a protest last week, General Secretary of the Arts Faculty Students Union Ven. Kuburupitiye Gnaniswara Thero said today. “44 students including 12 monks were suspended today when they were informed by a letter which said their suspension will last until further notice”, General Secretary of the Arts Faculty Students Union Ven. Kuburupitiye Gnaniswara Thero said. more..

Unrelenting rain washes out third day

Dec 4 (CI) It was all one-way traffic at Pallekele Stadium as rain dominated proceedings on day three. An intense period of sustained drizzle, highlighted by two spectacular, heavy downpours meant that most of the players didn't even arrive at the ground and the media twiddled their thumbs for much of the day. The inclement weather struck early, taking out any chance of a prompt start with a light shower that petered out into an extended period of drizzle at around 9 am. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.12.2010

Sri Lanka power regulator proposes green tariffs; cross subsidies

Dec 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power regulator has called for public responses on proposed new tariffs for next year, which indicate steep rises for some domestic users and low prices for industry and government offices and a new green tariff. Even under the current scheme larger domestic users paid the highest per unit charge of 25 rupees per unit above 181 units and 30 rupees above 600 units, while industry continued to get a subsidized rate. more..

David Miliband's gift to Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (Guardian) On Thursday morning I opened the newspaper to a photograph I have seen before. One lone, damaged coconut palm and a handsome Singhalese soldier against an explosive-blackened sky. Beneath was the story of a diplomatic scandal. Nothing unusual, only this time it was, to my surprise, about a country that I love. So, thank you David Miliband for bringing Sri Lanka back into the news. While some may be outraged at your seemingly artful ploy to win Tamil votes, I, as a Sri Lankan, am delighted. more..

Spanish-Thai forgery probe reveals new links to LTTE

Dec 4 (PTI) Spanish and Thai police investigating a gang that supplied forged passports to al-Qaeda linked groups have found new evidence of links to Sri Lanka's defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, Spanish authorities said today. Spanish and Thai police are analysing material seized late on Tuesday in a joint operation in which 10 people -eight Pakistanis, a Nigerian and a Thai national - were arrested in the two countries, more..

Sri Lanka seeks $2.7 bln post-war tourism investment

Dec 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka aims to attract $2.7 billion in investments to upgrade its post-war tourism capacity, with the goal of growing revenue by more than 700 percent by 2016, the state-run tourism board chief said on Friday. Since the end of a 25-year war in May 2009, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism industry has been surging with arrivals in the first 10 months climbing near a new peak and revenue reaching a record of $437.9 million. more..

Weerawansa at last speaking (a) truth

Dec 4 (LG) The Colombo media has published: ‘Government Minister Wimal Weerawanse today slammed the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Nihal Jayasingha saying he had failed to warn President Mahinda Rajapakse over the security concerns in London prior to his departure to address the Oxford Union’. Retired Justice Nihal Jayasinghe’s acumen to deal with diplomatic issues came under severe criticisms and based on this, questions were asked about more..

52 division organizes medical camp for Chava civilians

Dec 4 (Cimic) A team of doctors and nurses attended to medical requirements of approximately seven hundred civilians in and around Chavakachcheri, who are unable to afford necessary medical attention when the 52 Division of Varani organized a medical camp at Chavakachcheri Hindu College on 27th November. This one day medical camp including clinics for eye, dental and physical care brought a great relief to people whose more..

Threat of Mahaveli reservoirs overflowing

Dec 4 (Island) There is a threat of the major Mahaweli Reservoirs overflow and causing floods if heavy rains continue for a few more days, according engineers in-charge of the projects. Victoria is brimful with only half a metre to reach the spill level. Chief Engineer S. R. K. Aruppola responding to an inquiry said yesterday (03) if rains continued, the Victoria Reservoir would overflow by Sunday or Monday. more..

Parallel world’s short circuit in Oxford

Dec 4 (TC) Wimal Weerawansa, who survived a fast on to death outside the UN compound in Buller’s Road, amidst voodoo style devil dancing, has accused the Sri Lankan High Commission in London of failing in their duty to warn President Rajapakse of the security risks of his recent trip to London. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to London is a political appointee, hand picked by the President and a former judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. more..

Rizana Nafeek appeal reaches the critical stage

Dec 4 (LG) The Asian Human Rights Commission has reliably learned that Rizana Nafeek's appeal has reached the critical stage as her file, which was pending before the External Affairs Ministry has now been handed over to the office of His Royal Highness the King of Saudi Arabia for his Majesty's final decision. The decision could be 1) to pardon her and order her release, more..

Another crime by Narcotics Branch

Dec 4 (LG) R. Mangalika is a 30 years old mother with one child. Her husband, who was working in a hardware company abandoned her when she was sent to prison. Her only child, a 5-year-old daughter, is under the care of her mother. Managalika gave a friend Rs.50, 000/= as a loan. One day this so called friend sent a message to Mangalika and asked her to visit her home so that she could repay the debt. However, when she arrived at her friend's house she found narcotics officers there. more..

Building a professional international relations formulae

Dec 4 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address planned for Wednesday. "Due to the sheer scale of the expected protests, we do not feel that the talk can reasonably and safely go ahead," the organization, an independent debating society which is not part of the University of Oxford, said. Thousands of people were expected to protest in the university town to express their outrage at the event. more..

Forth batch of the three-wheel and two wheel repair course successfully completed

Dec 4 (MoD) Another 30 Rehabilitees successfully completed Motor mechanic Training Course, facilitated by David Pieris Motor Company. The certificate awarding ceremony was held at Bandaragama David Pieris Auditorium on today, 03 December. The course is specially designed on mechanical based training to train rehabilitees as motor mechanicals to start their life new once reintegrated. more..

Editorial : Let them be pitied, not punched

Dec 4 (Island) It looks as though the government were overreacting to the cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Oxford Union address in view of LTTE protests. It was not a comedown for the President at all as we argued yesterday in these columns. By taking the trouble of going to London in spite of threats to have him arrested and hauled up before a war crimes tribunal, the President has demonstrated to the world that Britain is more..

Editorial : How the ‘last bastion of free speech’ failed its own ethical foundations

Dec 4 (DM) The former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan referred to the Oxford Union as “the last bastion of free speech in the western world”. Ironically it is the same Society that on Wednesday cowardly refused the same right to a country’s leader. The disappointment of those British nationals like him who believed in such powerful traditions that were essentially British, as they weigh the low ebbs the Society has now come to must be immense. more..

National Unity and Sustainable peace

Dec 4 (LG) Once again I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your assumption of office as President of Sri Lanka, for a second term. It is very unfortunate that I could not participate in any of the functions related to your taking of oaths, like thousands of others because I am still mourning the death and disappearances of thousands of civilians. Most of them had been either known to me or kith and kin of those who are very close to me. more..

Rehabilitation with a twist

Dec 4 (SL) Pools of water from the previous night’s heavy rainfall puddle near the OPD doorstep. It is 6 am — visiting hour at the Nagoda Hospital. In Ward 5B, a father from Matugama is anxiously waiting for his son to be released. Lying in a hospital bed, Hasitha Dulanjana looks older than his 14 years. But this air of maturity is only a mask. Young Hasitha was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome at an early age. He often suffers epileptic fits, and more..

Band On The Run

Dec 4 (SL) Kamil Kuthubdeen, the 46-year old wanted by the Colombo High Court in connection with forgery and fraud in the infamous VAT fraud scandal, and his band of fugitives are on the run again. This time round, various authorities in Dubai, the glitzy Gulf capital, are on their trail. That trail has seen Kamil Kuthubdeen and his relative Hamza abandon two Dubai city hotels and their staff, and quite literally take off. more..

Housemaid who romised children box of chocolates to come home in a box

Dec 4 (SL) Selladorai Pushpavalli (36), had made a promise to her four children that she will bring them each a box of chocolates when she returned home, after completing two years in Dhamman, Saudi Arabia. In the coming week, Pushpavalli will return to her makeshift home in Harispathuwa — in a box. “We have no money to buy her a coffin. My sister went to Saudi Arabia because she had no husband. more..

Domestic bank loans to private sector up 17.4%

Dec 4 (Island) Total credit to the private sector increased by 15.5 percent to Rs. 1.36 trillion year-on-year in September with domestic banks increasing their lending by 17.4 percent to Rs.1.21 trillion and foreign banking units increasing their lending 1.8 percent to Rs.150.1 billion. A year ago, total credit to the private sector had declined 5.3 percent amounting to Rs. 1.17 trillion, with domestic banking sector loans decreasing by 4.4 percent to Rs. 1.03 trillion. more..

Teardrop of Joy

Dec 4 (Gulf) Civil war is never good for business. But even when hostilities between government forces and the Tamil Tigers were at their bloodiest, there was still a trickle of people determined to visit this stoical Indian Ocean island. Then, suddenly, that old image of Sri Lanka being a teardrop fallen from the face of India took on a macabre new meaning as the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami swept an estimated 60,000 people to their deaths, wiping out most of the tourist industry in the process. more..

'British community life threatened to silence President Rajapaksa'

Dec 4 (MoD) "Is threatening the life of a community in a British city, to prevent the expression of a point of view, acceptable in a functioning and vibrant democracy" asked the Minister of External Affairs Prof. GL Peiris addressing the Media in London yesterday (2). Speaking at a Media Briefing at the Sri Lanka High Commission , London, to explain current political developments in Sri Lanka, and more..