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HiCorp case: De Hoedt granted bail

Dec 4 (DM) Colombo High Court yesterday released on bail Wellington Trenton De Hoedt, the second accused in the Hicorp case pending his appeal against the five-year sentence imposed on him in October by the same Court. Judge Sunil Rajapaksa granted Mr. De Hoedt cash bail of Rs.100,000 with two sureties of Rs.100,000 each and ordered him to surrender his passport to court. The Judge observed that the accused was granted bail considering the fact that more..

INSIDE STORY: Rajapakse's personal trip to London

Dec 4 (LG) As far as I know, Sri Lanka High Commission in London has warned MR not to do this trip. They have vehemently opposed from the beginning giving all details to Sri Lanka about the current security lapses in the UK. SLFP UK branch had requested and begged the President not to come. In Oxford University, there are so many pocket associations and sangamayas set up by the students who have come from different ethnicities and countries. more..

Mahinda denied right of free speech by Oxford Union

Dec 4 (DBS) Journalists James Harding and Ben Macintyre of the UK “Times” were about to leave the Dorchester Hotel in London on December 1st 2010 when an aide of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa came down hastily to the lobby and contacted them. “President Rajapaksa wants to see you urgently. Can you come please?” asked the Presidential emissary. Both journalists had just completed an hour long interview with more..

Sri Lanka yard told of Indian fast ferry opportunities

Dec 4 (LBO) An emerging requirement for fast passenger ferries to link Indian island territories with the mainland could be an opportunity for Sri Lanka's Colombo Dockyard, a visiting Indian official said. Jitendra Kumar Dadoo, the Administrator of the Union Territories of Lakshadweep, India, said faster passenger craft were needed to transport people between the islands and the mainland much quicker than existing vessels. more..

Expecting too much from your expectations of others?

Dec 4 (GV) I had an ‘aha’ moment this morning about my own patterns of habits when I was reflecting on an incident when I felt let down by someone close to me. I have always been secretly pleased (and smug) with myself about the fact that I can eventually learn to let go of the expectations I have of people close to me. I can over time learn to let them be free from my neediness and therefore have a more freer relationship. more..

Rousing welcome for President

Dec 4 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who arrived yesterday in the country was given a warm welcome by thousands of people who thronged the BIA despite the drizzle that prevailed the entire day. A special SriLankan Airlines flight carrying President Rajapaksa touched the runaway at 2.55 pm. The motorcade of President Mahinda Rajapaksa first came to the area where thousands of people and well wishers were cheering waving national flags. more..

Envoy praises SL workers in Israel

Dec 4 (DN) The Sri Lankan Ambassador in Israel Donald Perera, together with senior representatives of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry visited several Israeli farms where Sri Lankan workers are employed. The workers are part of a group consisting of 300 Sri Lankan agriculture workers who arrived in Israel over a month ago under a joint pilot project between the Governments of Israel and Sri Lanka. The workers will stay in Israel for six months, after which more..

Colombo floods: Lies, damn lies and excuses

Dec 4 (Island) Flooding of Colombo is an issue that has attracted many excuses, guesses or even damn lies during the past 20 years or so. In the late 1970s, I recall, the standard excuse was: "We hope to solve the problem by next year." Nearly two decades passed since Mother Nature decided to expose that lie by causing a 493 mm rainfall on June4 and 5, 1992. The end result is now history. The excuse thereafter changed to "unprecedented rainfall" and more..

Dengue larvae found in 90% of govt. offices

Dec 4 (Island) Dengue prevention week conducted recently (02) by the Ministry of Health for the fourth time has found that 90 per cent of government offices have an environment conducive for dengue mosquito breeding, according to a press release issued by the Ministry. During the third week of dengue prevention nearly 22,194 mosquito breeding grounds were identified and notices issued to more than 11,000 places to clean up. more..

Chamal sad over unruly behaviour

Dec 4 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday expressed regret over the unruly behaviour of some MPs in the House. He sought the co-operation of all MPs to maintain the dignity and decorum of the House and asked them to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. Tension and chaos prevailed in parliament on Thursday when a group of government MPs led by Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena attempted to manhandle UNP front-liner Jayalath Jayawrdena alleging more..

Rice flour and dosai mix products to come down: Minister

Dec 4 (DM) Sirilak rice flour and dosai mix produced by the Ministry of Agriculture will be available at all Lak Sathosa outlets from today in an attempt to control the prices of similar products, Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs Johnston Fernando said yesterday at the launching of the products. “The Agricultural Ministry produced these products and we will be selling it at all Lak Sathosa outlets at the lowest prices in the market,” more..

Dayasiri lashes out at govt. over drug shortage

Dec 4 (Island) One of the reasons for the recent drug shortage was government’s failure to supply required amount of funds allocated for the purchase of drugs, Parliament was told yesterday. The government had failed to provide around one billion rupees out of the total allocation promised in the budget 2009 for the purchase of drugs. Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake, in response to a question raised by more..

TID to take over Lasantha murder investigation

Dec 4 (NF) Submitting a report yesterday, the CID told the Mount Lavinia court that the case pertaining to the assassination of veteran journalist Lasantha, a veteran journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga had been handed over to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). Earlier, the investigation was carried out jointly by the CID and the TID. The CID added that the investigations on the owner of a garage and an Army intellegence officer, more..

Possible trade union action in schools

Dec 4 (SL) Government school work is likely to come to a standstill during the first school term next year unless the government fails to rectify the longstanding teacher / principal salary anomalies, Ceylon Teacher Services Union (CTSU) said. General Secretary CTSU, Mahinda Jaysinghe said that unless the government rectifies the 2006/ 6 salary circular immediately the CTSU is compelled to bring all the government school work to a standstill during the 2011 first school term. more..

TNA silent on Butenis pointing finger at SF over ‘war crimes’

Dec 4 (Island) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran yesterday declined to comment on US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A. Butenis’s allegation that the responsibility for many of the alleged war crimes rests with Sri Lanka’s senior civilian and military leadership, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brothers and defeated Opposition presidential Gen. Sarath Fonseka, whose candidature received the support of the TNA at the Jan. 26 presidential election. more..

Wickramabahu did not participate

Dec 4 (DM) The NSSP yesterday vehemently rejected the claims made by certain cabinet ministers that Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne participated in the pro-LTTE protest campaign held in the United Kingdom. The party said that though Dr. Karunaratne, the party's General Secretary is currently in the UK he had not participated in the protest organised by LTTE supporters. "He went to take part at a meeting that was scheduled by the London branch of the party and more..

Sarath Fonseka's health condition is deteriorating''

Dec 4 (NF) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka's health condition is deteriorating, says UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella. He urged the government to provide Sarath Fonseka with the required medical facilities. UNP MPs Lakshman Kiriella, Ravi Karunanayake and P. Harrison visited the Welikada prison yesterday, to look into the well being of Sarath Fonseka. “His health condition is deteriorating. His life is in danger as well. Therefore, we urge the government to provide him more..

An insult on Test cricket

Dec 4 (Island) Yet another day at cricket, yet another wash out! That has been the norm of the current Test series between Sri Lanka and West Indies. We are into the fourth day of the final Test match today, but the series hasn’t produced a result and just two centuries have been scored. Due to bad light and rain a total of 537 overs have been lost so far, that’s three overs short of six full days of cricket. The game has been the loser. more..

Speaker reprimands Azwer

Dec 4 (DM) UPFA MP A.H.M. Azwer was forced to eat humble pie and take his seat in the House yesterday when Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa reprimanded him. The Speaker ordered Mr. Azwer to sit down when he tried to raise a point of order on an issue with regard to UNP front-liner Jayalath Jayawardane whom government members alleged had connived with pro LTTE activists to protest President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Britain. more..

Colombo floods: HC issues notice on CMC head, Minister A’weera, CEA, AG, UDA

Dec 4 (Island) The Provincial High Court of the Western Province, yesterday issued notice on Omar Kamil the Chief Executive Officer of the Colombo Municipal Council, Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Disaster Management, the Urban Development Authority, Central Environmental Authority, the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation and the Attorney General, returnable on February 21, 2011. more..

UNP’s UK branch rejects allegations against MP Jayalath

Dec 4 (LM) The UK branch of the UNP has categorically rejected the government allegations against party MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena. Media secretary of the branch Harshaka Kannagara, in a statement, said Dr. Jayawardena was not even in the UK when president Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in London. The UNP branch of the UK strongly condemns the false accusations made government ministers against the MP, said the statement. more..

UNP pushing govt. for Rs. 10,000 pay hike

Dec 4 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday urged the government to grant a salary increment of Rs.10, 000 to employees as there was no credible salary increment given in the budget. Participating in a protest campaign in front of the Fort Railway Station, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said everyone had to join hands and push the government for the much needed salary increment. He said the government gave a salary increment of a mere Rs. 400 to soldiers more..

Diamond Jubilee Naval & Maritime Exhibition open for the General Public

Dec 4 (SLN) The Naval and maritime exhibition organized in view of the SLN’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, got underway today at the Colombo Light House premises in Chaithya road, Colombo 01. Prime Minister D M Jayaratne will declare open the exhibition today. This historic event is the first Naval & Maritime exhibition since the dawn of peace in the Island which encompasses the Sri Lanka Navy’s customs, more..

Govt. allocates Rs. 18 mn for LLRC

Dec 4 (Island) The government has allocated Rs. 18 million for the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and further allocations will be made, if necessary, Parliament was told yesterday. Answering a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, Chief Government Whip Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that as at November 30, this year the LLRC had had 52 sittings. more..

Mervyn ready to teach white folks lessons

Dec 4 (AD) Minister Mervyn Silva stated that he invites all the white folks ‘Suddo’ in the world to come to Sri Lanka and learn about the ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’. He says that he will educate all Englishmen from the highest officers to the lowest on Mahinda Chinthanaya and will advise them to follow it. Attending the inauguration of the ‘Dr. Mervyn Silva Challenge Trophy, Bicycle Tour’ earlier today more..

A Housing Secretariat’s office to be set up

Dec 5 (AD) To obtain information regarding houses within Sri Lanka, a Housing Secretariat’s office will be established on January 05, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said in reply to a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake at Parliament today. The Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities had presented to Parliament statistics of homes built in the past, which Sajith Premadasa claimed were incorrect. more..

Herath shines on another frustrating day

Dec 5 (CI) A sizeable crowd arrived at the Pallekele Stadium to finally see some action after rain washed out yesterday's play, but only 20 overs were possible before the clouds opened up once again to frustrate fans and players alike. Rangana Herath struck three times in the morning and West Indies' tail seemed set to capitulate quickly once again before the weather intervened to force an early lunch. Herath might not have expected a wicket when he fired one down more..

Plans to reactivate Elephant Pass Saltern

Dec 5 (SL) The government is looking into the possibility of reactivating the Elephant Pass saltern next year. Currently, there are no readily available water supplies in the area. Water has to be transported from Iyakkachi, a report from the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development said. Situated in Kilinochchi, the Elephant Pass saltern produced salt for both industrial and household purposes. more..

21 year-old poor Tamil lady hanged and beaten in the Busa Army Camp

Dec 5 (LG) A Tamil lady from Badulla in the plantation sector, working as domestic servant was arrested in Colombo following a complaint by her master and his wife that she is associated with the LTTE. Sadashivam Krishnameni came to Colombo to earn a living and help ease her parents’ financial difficulties. She found a job as a domestic servant in a house in Seeduwa in the suburb of Colombo. more..

The need of the hour is for reconciliation through justice

Dec 5 (LG) That was from the report of the Presidential Commission on Youth released over two decades ago, The Commission was appointed in the aftermath of the second southern insurgency. But its conclusions are relevant even today as we struggle to recover from the long northern insurgency and come face to face with the beginnings of another round of student unrest across our university system. more..

Sri Lanka's top hydro reservoir starts to spill

Dec 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Victoria reservoir in the Mahaweli river started to spill Saturday for the first time since 2006 amid heavy rains lashing the island, raising the possibility that downstream reservoirs may also spill. Victoria is one of a series of reservoirs coming under Sri Lanka's Mahaweli Authority which built the country's largest irrigation and power generation complex to together with state-run Ceylon Electricity Board. more..

High Commission meeting jettison President’s trilingual policy

Dec 5 (LG) The hurriedly arranged meeting (2/12) to substitute the aborted Oxford Union speech of the President was held at the Sri Lanka High Commission. Key speaker at the meeting was the battered President Mahinda Rajapakse. The meeting was held whilst the Tamil demonstrators gathered at both end of the Hyde Park Garden, where the High Commission is located. Heavy presence of the police prevented demonstrators reaching the High Commission. more..

Word of advice to President Rajapakse: Restore the Rule of Law

Dec 5 (LG) Today, in the UK, the former Labour MP David Chaytor pleaded guilty to three charges relating to his expenses claims before the Crown Court. He was charged with false accounting totalling just over £20,000. He was suspended from the Labour party and did not contest as an MP at the last general election after media (Daily Telegraph) published about false expenses claims by the MPs. more..

The President's visit to Britain should be an eye-opener to this regime

Dec 5 (TC) The events that transpired during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Britain have filled the people of this country with dismay and caused significant embarrassment to the Sri Lankan state and its citizenry. The President was beleaguered from the moment of his arrival in Britain, with protesters flocking to the airport and causing disruptions to every aspect of his programme, more..

Editorial: If you can't speak, then leak

Dec 5 (SL) While The Sunday Leader is encouraged to see WikiLeaks picking up where the Western media fell off, we wonder where the leakers are in our own island. America, the country exposed by the latest leaks, is already one of the most transparent in the world. What of Sri Lanka, where so much goes on behind closed doors, or worse, everyone in the Colombo elite knows who is giving and whose is taking. more..

Editorial: Protecting the consumer, Govt's top priority

Dec 5 (SO) The Government has taken several steps to reduce the cost-of-living and stabilise the prices of essential commodities. This is most welcome as traders could resort to all business tactics under the sun to burden consumers during the forthcoming festive season. Protecting local farmers and the country's agro industry has been a top priority of the Government, which has been spending millions of rupees on the fertiliser subsidy. more..

Disappointment at LLRC at Trinco

Dec 5 (BBC) Proceeding of Learnt Lessons and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) should be transparent if it was meant to bring about national unity, some disappointed members of the public in Trincomalee have said. The LLRC began its sessions in Trincomalee on Friday. President of the Association of Parents of the Disappearances and Abductions, S.Devi told the commission that although she appreciated the opportunity to present her grievances more..

Sri Lanka credit to business up 15.5 in Sept

Dec 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's loans to private citizens from commercial banks grew 15.5 percent to 1,361.5 billion rupees in September from a year earlier while credit to government grew at a slower 6.8 percent. After contracting in 2009, credit to private business had grown 165 billion rupees. In the month of September credit to private business grew 35.3 billion rupees almost as much as the previous month. August and September has seen the higher volume of credit being extended. more..

Mankulam Police station opened after 15 years

Dec 5 (MoD) Several development projects have been launched to uplift the living conditions of all communities, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said. The Government aims to enhance the living standards of people in all parts of the country, he said. A number of development projects are under-way aiming to uplift living conditions of all communities, he said after opening the Mankulam police station in the Kilinochchi district. more..

Birth certificates for Sri Lankan refugees

Dec 5 (Hindu) Chandra had a reason to smile. The Sri Lankan Tamil at the refugee camp in Vembakottai, Virudhunagar district, on Saturday received the birth certificate of her daughter Sitradevi from the Government of Sri Lanka after 16 long years. This was made possible by mobile consular services, a new initiative jointly organised by the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka and the Government of Tamil Nadu, with the assistance of the OfERR. more..