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Govt. debt up 11.5%

Dec 6 (Island) Total outstanding government debt has increased by 11.5 percent to Rs. 4.5 trillion as at end September from Rs. 4.04 trillion a year ago, Central Bank data showed. Total outstanding domestic debt increased by 11.86 percent to Rs. 2.62 trillion from Rs. 2.34 trillion a year ago, and total outstanding foreign debt increased by 10.99 percent to Rs. 1.88 trillion from Rs. 1.69 trillion. more..

CB turning a blind eye-Ravi

Dec 6 (DM) The Central Bank had not carried out any investigation into the incident where foreign financial institutions defrauded Rs.1.9 billion from depositors and closed their operations in the country, the UNP charged yesterday. The issue was taken up in Parliament recently and the government agreed to look into it, the party said. However, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the Central Bank was turning a blind eye to many other financial scandals taking place in the country. more..

Victorious Navy still awaits field promotions

Dec 6 (Island) Controversy surrounds the inordinate delay in field promotions to nearly 70 officers and men of the Sri Lanka Navy for their role in the war against the LTTE. Sources say none of the personnel, recommended for promotions by former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, have been promoted. Immediately after the conclusion of the war in May last year, about 700 officers and men of the Sri Lanka Army received promotions. more..

Two killed, 62,000 affected by floods

Dec 6 (DM) Two people have been killed and 64,349 persons of 20,929 families have been affected as a result of the floods in many parts of the island, the Disaster Management Centre said. DMC said that 6, 244 persons who were affected due to floods were in 56 camps situated in the island. Two deaths were reported from Matara and Welimada who were drowned while eight others were injured. Altogether 265 houses have been fully damaged and 1664 houses partially damaged. more..

Double standards of foreign nations: DM

Dec 6 (DM) The double standards of some European and Western countries on terrorism should be revealed to the world, Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne said. He said in a statement that no democratic nation in the world should stay in silence with regard to the incident in London, where some LTTE sympathizers held demonstration against the visiting President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. more..

Sri Lanka police seize pirated software

Dec 6 (LBO) Sri Lankan police found pirated software worth 7.5 million rupees in raids on an 'international group of companies' as part of a crackdown on software piracy, a statement said. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software group, said the raided firm, which it did not identify, had been suspected of infringing the intellectual property rights of the BSA members. "Amongst the pirated and unlicensed software found included those from Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft," more..

Sri Lanka economic growth projected at 8.0-pct in 2010

Dec 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's full-year economic growth for 2010 is estimated at 8.0 percent is based on the latest data, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said, firming an earlier forecast of 7.5 to 8.0 percent. "It is estimated by our statistics team that Sri Lanka will record a growth of 8.0 percent for the year 2010," Cabraal told Sri Lanka's top bankers Monday. "It is a very high growth when compared to the rest of the world. more..

6 ministers for health, why can’t ‘National Drug Policy’ be implemented yet?

Dec 6 (LT) Six years have gone by since ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ was introduced, the ‘National Drug Policy’ set up according to ’Prof. Senaka Bibile’ policy that had been included in ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ has not been implemented yet says JVP MP Vijithe Herath. He said this speaking at a media conference held by the JVP yesterday (5th) on issues confronted by the health sector due to the failure to implement the ‘National Drug Policy’ and more..

Govt. plans wide range of new laws

Dec 6 (ST) The Government is planning to enact several new laws next year, among them being one to introduce DNA tests to decide on parentage issues as well as provide relief to those charged in statutory rape cases. The bill to provide for parentage tests will enable DNA tests to be done to determine the paternity or maternity which will assist in matters such as custody of children, maintenance proceedings, and inheritance. more..

Tigers bought Japanese Coast Guard vessels

Dec 6 (Island) The LTTE is believed to have acquired at least four utility vessels formerly of the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency/Coast Guard through an agency handling sale of used ships. Sources say ‘Blue Hawk’, ‘Magamai’, ‘Rakuy’ and ‘Expor’ had been used by the LTTE to move arms, ammunition and equipment from floating warehouses over many years in its war against Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan government moves to evict more Colombo shanty residents

Dec 7 (wsws) Socialist Equality Party supporters recently visited many slum areas in Colombo, where the government has intensified its plans to evict more than 70,000 residents in order to clear land for commercial development. With the political assistance of the SEP, residents from some districts have formed the Action Committee to Defend the Right to Housing (ACDRH) to fight the eviction scheme. more..

Sri Lanka targets low inflation, low poverty, high employment: CB Governor

Dec 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is hoping to bring down unemployment lower than the current 5.2 percent and keep inflation and interest rates low to bring down poverty with higher growth, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. According to preliminary census office data Sri Lanka's poverty has come down to 7.6 percent from 15.2 percent in 2006 and 22 percent in 2002. The data was first revealed in the 2011 budget and later posted on more..

‘German Bakery blast accused was trained to assemble explosives in Colombo’

Dec 7 (PTI) The alleged mastermind of the February 13 German Bakery attack, Himayat Baig, was trained to assemble explosives in Colombo by two of the co-accused in the case when they visited the Sri Lankan capital in March 2008, the Maharashtra ATS has contended in the chargesheet submitted to the Judicial Magistrate in Pune. A copy of the 2500-page chargesheet, was handed over to Baig who was produced in the court on Monday. more..

Ornamental fishing to be uplifted

Dec 7 (SL) The government says that steps have been taken to uplift the ornamental fish industry in the country. Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had said that experiments had been conducted to explore possibilities in ornamental fish breeding and many projects were currently underway. The Minister had made this statement at a function held at the Beruwala Divisional Secretariat. more..

Govt on witch-hunt- UNP

Dec 7 (DM) The government is pointing fingers at the opposition and conducting a witch-hunt trying to cover themselves by taking action against opposition members, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. In response to the government’s move to bring a no confidence motion against UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya for his comment on war crimes, Mr. Attanayake also said that the UNP never blamed the military for eradicating the LTTE or said they engaged in any war crimes at any time. more..

Govt to bring no confidence motion against Karu

Dec 7 (SLBC) The UPFA says the statement made by the Deputy Leader of UNP Karu Jayasuriya to the Sunday Island Newspaper which was published yesterday cannot be taken lightly. It is a statement made against the security forces of the country. UPFA Minister Susil Premajayanth said the main objective of making such a statement was to create the necessary background for the pro-LTTE elements who are in attempt to hatch conspiracies against Sri Lanka more..

Govt. to implement National Drug Policy next year

Dec 7 (SL) The government says that a National Drug Regulatory Commission (NDRC) will be set up by next year. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told parliament today (6) that the the National Drug policy founded by Prof. Senaka Bibile will be implemented in 2011. Sirisena had stated that the government would provide a value oriented health service through the drug policy. However, the Minister had added that the Senaka Bibile drug policy would be more..

Shelter tops returnees' needs as rains continue

Dec 7 (IRIN) Heavy rains continue to wreak havoc on the lives of thousands of returnees to Sri Lanka's conflict-affected north, aid agencies say. "At this point the immediate needs are food and shelter," Thaya Thiagarajah, a senior official with the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India, told IRIN, noting even schools in the Jaffna area were unable to function properly. "Everything is flooded, including roads, fields and homes. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 06.12.2010

Sajith: War Crimes Committed Only By LTTE

Dec 7 (SL) UNP’s Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa today (6) said that war crimes in the country were committed only by the LTTE. Premadasa had made this comment in parliament in response to a question posedd by NFF Leader and Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa. Premadasa had said that if war crimes had been committed in Sri Lanka they were only committed by the LTTE. more..

Police teargas protesters

Dec 7 (NN) The police used teargas a short while ago to disperse a group of protesters who were staging a demonstration on top of the roof of the Ceylon Electricity Board office in Kandy. At least 30 contracted employees of the CEB were staging the protest since this morning on the CEB Kandy office roof demanding that they be given permanent employment. The police had earlier this afternoon warned the protestors to disperse but more..

Who is the black sheep?

Dec 7 (LG) UNP MP Dr Jayalath Jayawardene has become the scapegoat for the reckless behaviour of the President Mahinda Percy Rajapakse to visit London against the advice of the Sri Lanka High Commission and the intelligence sources. Disrespecting their advice not to risk a trip to London, the foolhardy President embarked on a mission even the Emperor Napoleon would have thought inappropriate. more..

Zardari in Sri Lanka: Counter-balancing India

Dec 7 (LG) President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan visited Sri Lanka from November 27 to 30,2010, at the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Among those who accompanied him were Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, his Defence Minister, and Saleem Mandviwala, Chairman of the Investment Board of the Government of Pakistan. He was also accompanied by a delegation of Pakistani businessmen. more..

Did the British intelligence alert President of impending arrest warrant?

Dec 7 (LG) The British Tamil Forum (BTF) got into action to obtain an arrest warrant under Universal Jurisdiction laws against the President of Sri Lanka on war crimes charges. Sleepless nights of work of the determined legal representative of the BTF and a leading Queens Council come to the conclusion, instead to filing an arrest warrant against the President to file one against Major General Chagi Gallage who accompanied the President. more..

Sri Lanka, at Peace, Woos Tourists

Dec 7 (WD) The view from the top of the fifth-century Sigiriya Rock fortress, reached via a 1,200-step climb in the midst of the Sri Lankan jungle, is one Matt Schmidt will not soon forget. “Literally like an oil painting,” is how Schmidt, manager of a Washington-area IT consulting firm, described the breathtaking beauty of the vista. Schmidt visited the island nation with his wife Marsha and 23 other travelers on the inaugural “ambassador’s signature tour” more..

LLRC session in Kuchchaweli: 146 Complaints

Dec 7 (LG) Critical The LLRC session at Kuchchaweli, Trincomalee, reiterated the importance of solving the land issues in the Eastern province. During the sessions a large number of people, including the Chairman of Kuchchaweli Pradeesheeya Sabha, A. Thoufeek, complained that people are prevented from going back to their lands by government authorities who have reserved large areas of lands for religious premises and hotel projects. more..

Oxford Episode: Politics in Sri Lanka becomes dangerously comic

Dec 7 (LG) Last week’s episode relating to a scheduled talk at the Oxford Union by President Mahinda Rajapakse exposed how dangerously comical Sri Lankan politics has become. It was just a matter of a scheduled talk and its cancellation due to protests. A relatively minor incident, a non-event. However, this has been magnified to be an earth-shaking national event, requiring large rallies of protest in front of the British High Commissioner’s Office in more..

What I said at the LLRC?

Dec 7 (TC) Born in 1970, I had my primary and secondary education at Kilinochchi Hindu College till 1989. Entering the Medical Faculty of the University of Jaffna in 1991, I passed out as a medical graduate in 1998 with an internship at Base Hospital, Nuwara Eliya from 1999 to 2000. I assumed duty as a Medical Officer at District Hospital, Akkarayan, Kilinochchi in February 2001. From October 2002 to October 2005, I covered the position of the Regional Director of Health Services in Kilinochchi. more..

What kind of people worship at decadent Oxford?

Dec 7 (LG) So why did President Mahinda Rajapaksa decide to lecture for a second time in two years at the Oxford Union? As they would say, you have two ask him that. As the editorial in this newspaper states, once having invited him, it was unforgivable for Oxford and the British government to snub him the way they did, so called security reasons notwithstanding. The actions of Britain, Oxford, and the perennially misled diaspora Tamil lobby are to be condemned in more..

WikiLeaks and the shrinking of democratic space

Dec 7 (LG) Leaving aside the barely voyeuristic pleasure exhibited by some regarding the WikiLeaks disclosure of more than 250,000 classified and confidential diplomatic cables sent by United States diplomats from all parts of the world, are we not overreacting just that little bit extra? This is so particularly where Sri Lanka is concerned. Confidential, (or supposed to be), diplomatic assessments that this country’s political and military leaders were to blame for more..

Rule of law ‘does not apply to the North’

Dec 7 (NS) In the absence of veteran Tamil politician and Tamil National Alliance leader R Sampanthan, who was indisposed, we spoke to M A Sumanthiran, the articulate new member of the Tamil National Alliance, who was appointed to parliament on its National List after the April general election. This lawyer is also probably the new pragmatic side of the TNA, which was in the past seen as an appendage of the LTTE. more..

Editorial : The Oxford Blowback

Dec 7 (Island) An argument is being peddled in some quarters that President Mahinda Rajapaksa erred by going all the way to London last week as his visit provided the LTTE sympathisers with a rallying point and gave their anti-Sri Lankan campaign a turbo boost. This is true to some extent but the President, too, stood to gain politically in that he found a foil in the form of the protesting Tigers to project himself as a true defender of Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: Wise diplomacy the better part of valour

Dec 7 (DM) The controversy is continuing over the bluff and blunder, the fiasco, fallacy and diplomatic fallout from President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Britain last week. Amid this turmoil and conflicting reports the Rajapaksa regime needs to act urgently to set up a think tank to advise the President on how to act or not to act in the raging waters of international geopolitics. Information from reliable insiders indicates that someone for some reason misled more..

Sri Lankan war crimes suspect gets post as representative to U.N.

Dec 7 (WT) The Sri Lankan government has appointed a senior army officer accused of war crimes in the conflict with Tamil rebels as its deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva's presence in New York coincides with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon setting up a panel of experts to advise him on accountability for human rights violations during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka. more..

Non-alignment, the Rajapaksa Way

Dec 7 (DM) It is not often that high-level leaders of India and Pakistan land in a third country at the same time unless it is for a regional meet like that of SAARC or larger groupings like the UN, Commonwealth Summit or the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Yet, India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna was still on Sri Lankan soil when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari set foot at Katunayake. India also became the only country to have four diplomatic outfits in more..

There’s much to learn from Oxford

Dec 7 (DM) Kudos to Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs for doing the best anyone could do in terms of damage-control following a clear snub of the President by the Oxford Union with possible, sorry probable collusion of the British Government. A kick in the rear is of course due for whoever advised the President to accept this invitation. There are some non-negotiable caveats that ought to inform foreign policy with respect to Britain, more..

Sri Lanka Telecom reduces call charges, rentals

Dec 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom has reduced call charges and phone rentals and offered reductions for customers who chose packages with broadband and IPTV bundled together with voice services, a statement said. SLT, the dominant state-run telco, said it was offering two sets of call plans for new and existing 'Megaline' customers, one targeted at business customers and the other for residential customers. more..

Washed out series hampers Lanka's WC preparations

Dec 7 (HT) Sri Lanka cricket (SLC) would regret at least two aspects of the washed out three-Test series against West Indies. One, the incessant rains left its World Cup preparations in tatters as SLC officials are now playing against time to complete the renovation of the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo and construction of Pallekele stadium in Kandy and the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota before the International Cricket Counil's December 31 deadline. more..

Five Women suspects held for alleged prostitution

Dec 7 (DM) Five women suspects including two foreign women who were arrested at the Kollupitiya Liberty Plaza building complex for allegedly engaged in prostitution were remanded till December 13 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate yesterday. The ant-vice squad of Walana Police had raided a brothel maintained at the Liberty Plaza building complex at Kollupitiya and arrested three local and two foreign women on last Thursday night. more..

SL troops arrest Haitian criminals

Dec 7 (DM) Haiti-based Sri Lankan Peace Keeping Battalion (SRIBAT) recently arrested three notorious criminals in Haiti, the Army said. “On the eve of the much-awaited peaceful elections in Haiti, the SRIBAT made a major breakthrough when it captured three notorious criminals, with pistols, revolvers, magazines and bullets<’ the army said adding that “one of them, a much-wanted serial killer, arrested in Killik, more..