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Editorial: Lanka should be wary of its ‘friends’ in west

Dec 5 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to the United Kingdom to address the University of Oxford has caused a furore: the address was cancelled because of ‘security concerns’, the British government has denied it had a hand in that decision and government MPs have accused United National Party MP Jayalath Jayawardena of orchestrating events, and manhandled him in parliament. The exact reasons for the cancellation remain unclear. more..

Editorial: Oxford, Wikileaks imbroglios - ugly sides of the same coin

Dec 5 (LB) The Oxford union abruptly decided last week to cancel President Rajapaksa’s speaking engagement, which was by invitation of the union. Oxford, has thereby come across as what the institution really is —- a highly overrated scholastic ivory tower which makes a show of principles it does not abide by, and which is peopled by absolutely overestimated academic pretenders for whom the main qualification to be at Oxford is often money — or money and some family connections. more..

Luxury brothel in Kollupitiya raided: 3 locals, 2 Uzbekistani women arrested

Dec 5 (NF) Police raided a luxury house of ill fame located in Kollupitiya today and took into custody three local and two Uzbekistani women. The raid was conducted by the Walana Investigation Unit on a special warrant obtained from the Fort Magistrate's Court. According to a high ranking official of police, the illegal operation was being conducted on the 7th and 8th floors of a marketing complex in Kollupitiya, Colombo. more..

Editorial: Let the truth prevail on Oxford Union non-event

Dec 5 (Island) Some People’s Representatives have, once again, let down the silent but moral majority of this country by resorting to rowdy, outrageous behaviour within the House of Parliament. The disgraceful conduct was apparently triggered by issues arising out of the cancellation recently of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the Oxford Union. As reported, MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena was confronted and manhandled by some government MPs more..

The Oxford debacle was avoidable and could have been avoided

Dec 5 (TC) Call it a result of hubris, blinding, stupefying hubris. The Oxford fiasco need not have happened, if President Rajapaksa did not have an insatiable appetite for such inane encomiums as, ‘The Leader who Conquered the World’; or if his ministers, officials and other hangers-on were a little less inclined to lie, cheat and exaggerate in order to please their Lord and Master. Unfortunately the President needs regular ego-boosters and to fulfil this need, more..

When Sirimavo made history

Dec 5 (ST) Five years ago in a market in China, a strange conversation is taking place. The moment Sri Lanka is mentioned, an elderly Chinese merchant, eyes lighting up, says immediately, “Bandaranaike”. When the merchant is told that this is the daughter, he erupts in giggles. How could someone with short-cropped hair, wearing trousers be her daughter? When the merchant is told that this is the daughter, he erupts in giggles. more..

Tamil groups protest against Sri Lankan delegation's visit to Coimbatore

Dec 5 (ANI) Tamil groups protested against a Sri Lankan delegation here on Saturday. The delegates, who were in the city to attend the Global India Textile Show, were forced to leave the venue. Protestors shouted anti-Sri Lanka slogans against the two-member delegation comprising Sri Lankan Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and a Sri Lankan MP Kasim Faizal. The protest was organised by more..

Editorial: Bluff and blunder in Britain

Dec 5 (ST) For the right reasons or otherwise, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has dominated the news at home for some time now. This week, he succeeded in doing so abroad as well. His 'private' visit to the United Kingdom was enveloped in controversy from the beginning. What seemed like a 'burning desire' to address the Oxford Union, one of the world's oldest debating societies, established in 1823, eventually took its toll. Sri Lankan leaders have considered speaking in its hallowed halls next only to more..

What ails sports? Arjuna reveals the five causes

Dec 5 (NF) Like the other sectors in the country, the sports sector is also in an abyss, said the DNA MP Arjuna Ranatunga. He made this statement when the expenditure head of the Sports Ministry was taken up in Parliament during the committee stage debate. “As with every other sector in the country, the sports sector too is in an abyss. I would like to present the five major causes which led to the deterioration of sports sector in this country.” more..

Fresh hope as Zardari and Krishna boost Colombo ties

Dec 5 (NS) Last week was politically significant to Sri Lanka with two important personalities visiting Colombo for bilateral talks. Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna preceded the visit by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari who arrived in Sri Lanka on a four-day visit. India being the closest neighbour and the proponent for a viable settlement for the ethnic question bore much significance to many including the Tamil diaspora outside Sri Lanka. more..

Power for the people

Dec 5 (NS) The dust may be settling on the Cabinet reshuffle but the re-allocation of ministries in the wake of the President’s assumption of his second term of office has left many questions unanswered-and provided more than a few headaches for President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his close advisors. A major irritant has been the appointment of the so-called ‘senior ministers’. These personalities are currently at the butt end of jokes, with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe claiming that more..

British police turned blind eye while Tamil protesters waved LTTE flags

Dec 5 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in the UK aboard SriLankan Airlines UL509 on Monday night amidst protests by pro-LTTE Tamils in London. He was here to deliver a talk at Oxford University at the invitation of Oxford Union. Scores of Tamils thronged the Heathrow Terminal 4 where the aircraft carrying the Sri Lankan leader and his 40-member entourage touched down. Although the LTTE is a proscribed terrorist organization in UK, more..

Pak, Sri Lanka to boost bilateral trade to $1b

Dec 5 (APP) Minister of State, Saleem H. Mandviwalla termed the visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Sri Lanka very successful and said that both the countries would boost bilateral trade from existing US $ 300 million to $ one billion in near future. Saleem H. Mandviwalla visited Sri Lanka with the President to finalize the possibility of enhanced commercial and economic cooperation and the potential of two-way investments between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. more..

Praba and Digambaram rap diaspora protesters

Dec 5 (NS) The actions of the Tamil diaspora will lead to further misunderstanding between the communities in Sri Lanka and would affect the reconciliation process, Colombo District MP Prabha Ganeshan said. He made this observation during a press conference in Colombo yesterday, which was also attended by Nuwara Eliya District MP and National Workers Congress leader P Digambaram. He made this statement with regard to the protests by more..

Malini to introduce yoga to fellow MPs

Dec 5 (Island) UPFA MP Malini Fonseka plans to start a yoga class for her fellow law-makers. MP Fonseka told "Sunday Island" that she would obtain the services of well-qualified yoga instructors for the task. She met with a group of instructors in the parliamentary complex for initial discussions. MP Fonseka said that the classes will be conducted with the collaboration of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. more..

Police hunt for rapists

Dec 5 (NN) The Mawanella police have launched a manhunt for ten men including a rest house owner over the rape of a teenage girl in the area. According to the Mawanella police Officer in Charge (OIC) M. Ekanayake, the main suspect, who was the boyfriend of the girl, has been arrested over the incident. Speaking to News the OIC said that the main suspect, a drug addict, had befriended the young girl and was dating her for a period of time. more..

Despite Opposition denials: Anti-Lanka role exposed

Dec 5 (SO) Despite attempts by UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena to escape condemnation following the ‘London drama’, a prominent member of the Tamil Diaspora told the Sunday Observer that the MP made an inflammatory speech at a gathering in London just one week before President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to London. The UNP has denied any involvement by Dr. Jayawardena in the events in London, but welcomed the appointment of a Parliamentary Committee to probe the matter. more..

Doctor caught taking nude photos of school girls

Dec 5 (LB) A doctor serving at the Hemmathagama hospital who is alleged to have taken nude and semi-nude photographs of female patients, has told Police that as he was unable to enjoy sex with his wife, he resorted to fulfilling his sexual desires by masturbating while looking at semi-nude pictures of his female patients. He said that he had then been able to collect his sperm into a tube and with that had impregnated his wife. more..

Jaffna don comes down hard on Oxford Union

Dec 5 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa should not have been prevented from addressing the Oxford Union. A university means, an institution of ideas. Therefore, the President should have been allowed to speak instead of preventing him from addressing the Oxford Union Forum according to Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole, one of the contenders for the post of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna. Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole was elected as the Vice Chancellor of more..

'Private sector pension fund a good idea'

Dec 5 (Island) It is correct that an unemployed aging population will ultimately be the responsibility of the state and substantial funds will have to be set aside to maintain them through their old age. It is also correct that if they are yet productive at say, 60 years, and considering their usefulness, it could be that such productivity could be used for mutual benefit of both employers and employees, says Secretary General Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Ravie Peiris. more..

Oxford fiasco: Who misled the President?

Dec 5 (ST) Last Monday evening, London's Met Office issued severe weather warnings. Mostly cloudy, temperatures had hit near zero. Many couldn't go to work; some were trapped in trains for hours because the tracks were covered with snow and ice. The city's Mayor Boris Johnson was in Zurich trying to win the FIFA World Cup football bid assuring Londoners there was enough salt to clear the mush-like slippery streets. more..

Inquiry into president’s London visit organizers

Dec 5 (LM) An inquiry is likely into the organizers of president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to London, where he had been due to deliver a lecture at the Oxford Union. The tour had been planned without giving consideration to the ground situation and in violation of diplomatic procedures. Chairperson of the SLFP London branch Rani Bulathwala has called for an investigation into the organizers of the president’s visit to the British capital, more..

Jayalath Jayawardena: scapegoat of the London debacle?

Dec 5 (LB) At a Tamil Tiger ‘mahaveerar’ commemoration held in London on November 26, Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma said: “Next week the most unwanted, undesirable, individual is coming to Britain.” He was referring to the impending visit of the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. “We [must] make sure that the Tamil people and all those people who believe in democracy and freedom come out next week and show our protest and anger to Raja and his sympathisers in this country,” more..

'JVP swindled Rs 80m of funds to release SF'

Dec 5 (LB) The JVP has swindled about Rs.80 million that was raised by conducting protest campaigns abroad, to apply pressure on the government to release former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, Nawa Sihala Urumaya (NSU) leader Sarath Manamendra charged. “The bankrupt JVP is using these funds to carry out party work and now it is not giving priority to the Fonseka release campaign in Sri Lanka”, Manamendra further charged. more..

'Millions earmarked for key projects'

Dec 5 (NS) Excerpts from a recent speech made by Minister Basil Rajapaksa during the budget debate in parliament. I am happy that I could wind up the debate on the budget on behalf of the government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his first budget after his second swearing-in showed the direction in which he would lead the country. I am also happy that the TNA decided not to vote against the budget and to support the government’s resettlement programme. more..

Wheeler-deals on duty-free vehicle permits

Dec 5 (ST) The Inland Revenue Department’s (IRD) scheme of issuing duty concessionary motor vehicle permits for genuine tax payers maintaining tax compliance has now been tainted with malpractices at a high level, officials said. This vehicle permit scam came to light with the revelation of details on the issue of concessionary motor vehicle permits for two taxpayers in Kurunegala and one in Colombo. more..

Ranil invites 13800 to Sirikotha to save his skin

Dec 5 (LB) Rebel UNP MPs charged that despite the party having sent invitations for some 13800 activists to participate at its forthcoming convention at the party headquarters, Sirikotha is only actually able to house a crowd of less than 4000 persons. These MPs charged that there were serious questions about the manner of sending those invitations and that they are suspicious of the UNP leader’s moves to invite such a large crowd to Sirikotha even for a convention. more..

Wake-up call for ‘foreign office’

Dec 5 (NS) The cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Oxford Union speech and the events leading to that controversial decision is a good wake-up call for the External Affairs Ministry to get their act together to develop a proper communication strategy and plan, international terrorism expert Prof Rohan Gunaratna said. “I think this is a good reminder to the Sri Lankan Government that the country needs to develop proper counter propaganda strategies. more..

Top British official's Sri Lanka visit postponed

Dec 5 (PTI) A top British official's planned visit to Sri Lanka next week has been postponed indefinitely, following protests against the UK in this country after cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's speech at the the prestigious Oxford University. Alastair Burt, Secretary of State of Foreign and Commonwealth office for South Asia, was due to visit the island nation next week, alongside his tour of two other countries in the region, Bangladesh and Maldives. more..

Playing poker with public funds

Dec 5 (ST) A casino which came into the limelight after President Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for bringing to his notice of its unauthorized existence, is in the news once again. Instead of being penalized or closed down permanently, the casino which illegally operated from a government premises, will be back in business, the Sunday Times learns. Raising issue in parliament on November 10, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara asked more..

Dr JJ praises Speaker : UNP denies hand in UK fiasco

Dec 5 (Island) The UNP accused the UPFA of blaming Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, for last week’s cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech at the Oxford Union to cover up its failure to gauge the situation in the UK. UNP wants the government to initiate an inquiry and take punitive action against those responsible for organizing the latest overseas jaunt without taking into consideration what MP Jayawardena called "Diaspora issues". more..

Single authority to control cities

Dec 5 (NS) Giving a new twist to the much speculated decision to convert the Colombo Municipal Council to an authority, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa signalled this week that such an authority is not only for Colombo but will include Dehiwala-Mt.Lavinia, Kotte and Kolonnawa. He said it is necessary to establish a single central authority to co-ordinate various administration functions of institutions that would more..

Why flaunt and feel honoured over Oxford Union visit?

Dec 5 (LB) The advance publicity for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s scheduled Oxford Union (OU) address was intense. Mystifyingly for a government that shuns the West, the event was flaunted as an honour of the highest proportions. The official press release from the presidential secretary even claimed that the president was the only head of state, in 180 years of guest speakers, to have been invited to address the OU for a second time. more..

Fifth day drowned as series ends in rainy stalemate

Dec 6 (CI) The stadium at Pallekele could have scarcely had a worse debut. After five hours of incessant rain on the final day, play was finally called off without a ball being bowled - the second completely washed-out day during the match. On the three days that play was possible, only 103 overs were bowled, in which West Indies made 303/8 after having been put in to bat. The entire series, which ends in a nil-all stalemate after rain in all three Tests, more..

Will Tiran Alles be ousted from the party too?

Dec 6 (AD) Nava Sihala Urumaya leader Sarath Manamendra questions the JVP, whether they will take necessary measures to expel the National list parliamentarian of the DNA Tiran Alles from the party. He said that he is querying on the matter due to a national newspaper today publishing an article stating that Tiran Alles had donated Rs.5 million to UNP MP Sajith Premadasa’s ‘Jana Suwaya’ project, from the businessman’s decentralized budget funds. more..

Sri Lanka drop to fifth in Test rankings

Dec 6 (CI) Sri Lanka have dropped two places to fifth spot in the ICC Test rankings following their stalemate in the rain-marred Test series against West Indies. England and Australia moved ahead of Sri Lanka who now have 109 rating points. India and South Africa remained at the top of the table with 129 and 116 points each. West Indies dominated the first Test in Galle, where Chris Gayle's triple-century helped them more..

Herath, Mendis included for first two West Indies ODIs

Dec 6 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has been rested from the Sri Lankan side for the first two one-dayers of the upcoming five-match series against West Indies. Rangana Herath, who has impressed in the Test matches, has taken Murali's place for the games that will be held at the new stadium in Hambantota. Dinesh Chandimal and Dammika Prasad, who were a part of the squad for the successful one-day series in Australia, were left out of the side. more..

Sri Lankan sailor rescued off Jazan

Dec 6 (AN) Saudi Border Guards in Jazan have rescued a Sri Lankan sailor after they received information from the captain of a ship that he was injured during his journey from Spain to Malaysia. Maj. Gen. Zameem Al-Sawat, director of the Border Guards in this southern province, said the rescue operation took place on Friday. Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al-Ayedi, commander of Border Guards in Jazan instructed Col. Yahya Jabari, commander of marine units, to save the injured sailor more..

'Govt. to import chicken, eggs and big onions'

Dec 6 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday told parliament that the government will import chicken, eggs and big onions to control their prices during the festive season. The minister said that there was a shortage of 3000 tons of chicken in the local market today, which has led to a price increase. "The production output is very low and with a new market emerging in the North, the demand has gone up," he said. more..

25% CTB profits going to waste - Welgama

Dec 6 (AD) 37 CTB busses belonging to the Tangalle depot have been modernized, refurbished and handed over to the Ceylon Transport Board for public transport. This was carried out under the program to refurbish 1000 busses to coincide with the inauguration of the President’s second term. The function was held with the participation of Transport Minister Kumara Welgama. He stated that 25% of the profit gained by the Ceylon Transport Board is going to waste. more..