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And it’s party time… again

Nov 4 (SL) It was not long ago that cabinet appointed a special committee to organise the next Independence Day celebrations on a ‘grand scale’ complete with what is now the standard military parade. But whatever this committee may come up with is not going to be a patch on what Sri Lankans will be witnessing in exactly 15 days from now, when celebrations kick off to herald Mahinda Rajapaksa taking oaths as the President of Sri Lanka for a second time. more..

Violence in universities strongly condemned

Nov 4 (SO) It was Weerasuriya, an undergraduate of the University of Peradeniya who was the first student to be murdered in an incident involving the university students of the country in the post-independence era in 1976. From that incident onwards, from time to time the university system underwent a series of violent incidents in the 1980s, 1990s and in the first decade of the 21st century; the worst period was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. more..

SLA soldiers try to evict resettled Tamil families in Jaffna

Nov 4 (TN) A group of TNA members of Jaffna Municipal Council who visited Tuesday the resettled Tamil families in Vasanthapuram, Ma’niam Thoaddam area in Jaffna said that the families complained to them that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are trying to evict them saying that the area has not been cleared of landmines. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka government has decided to settle the Sinhala families claiming resettlement in Jaffna on the coastal areas of Jaffna Fort and more..

Interdicted worker stabs hospital officer

Nov 4 (NS) An interdicted worker of the Ragama Hospital allegedly stabbed the administrative officer of the institution on Tuesday over his dismissal from service that day. The officer, however, was miraculously saved from suffering grievous injuries as his family members, who heard the commotion, pounced on the attacker immediately. The worker had been interdicted eight months ago pending an inquiry for robbing money from a visiting provincial councillor by force a year ago. more..

Local elections amended bill before Supreme Court

Nov 4 (TN) Supreme Court Tuesday granted time to the petitioners and the intervenient petitioners to file their written submissions before November 8 in regard to two Bills-Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill that seeks to amend the Municipal Council Ordinance, the Urban Council Ordinance and the Pradeshiya Saba Act No 15 of 1987 and the other entitled “Local Authorities Elections (Amendment Bill)” that seeks to amend more..

'Tuk tuk' saves time- German Ambassador

Nov 4 (SO) If you spot a three-wheeler running around Colombo with the red, black and yellow stripes of the German flag, don't be surprised. It belongs to the German Ambassador in Sri Lanka Jens Ploetner, who says it is now the 'easy mode' of transport for him. The colourful 'tuk tuk' that is parked along side the fleet of Benzes and BMWs at the Embassy is ideal for short distance travel, says Ploetner. "As the saying goes: When in Rome, do as the Romans do! more..

Great walls, great halls and great falls

Nov 4 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam and assalamu alaikkum.You entered the vital November in the commercial capital of China. Behind great walls and great halls is the monstrosity of the biggest, most powerful and the most dangerous dictatorship in the world. In China's commercial capital of Shanghai, centre of the potent brew of hard line Marxism and blatant capitalism, Sri Lanka negotiated huge trade aid and business deals. more..

Solheim to mediate between SL Govt. and co chairs?

Nov 4 (DM) ‘…have to co operate with Rajapaksa ‘ was the declaration of Erik Solheim, Norway development Minister and peace coordinator of the failed peace process when he was speaking at an interview with ‘Attenposten’, the newspaper with the largest circulation in Norway following his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New York. A section of the Tamil Diaspora had taken offence at this announcement and expressed resentment. more..

Editorial : Traitors and patriots

Nov 4 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa divided all Sri Lankans into two main categories after the conclusion of the war––patriots and traitors. He also claimed that there were no minorities in this country. His government has drawn heavy flak from its critics for branding its opponents traitors and harassing them. Ironically, some UNP politicians seem to have adopted the same method to deal with their rivals within the party. more..

Editorial : Government ventures

Nov 4 (DM) Taking over private companies and converting them to profitable government enterprises is a sign of a progressive government with a socialist bent. The whole purpose of buying over private companies however will be lost if the government hands over responsibilities of managing newly acquired businesses to political appointees instead of technocrats and business-savy individuals. It goes without saying that buying over of Shell Gas and Shell Terminals more..

'LG bill is death trap to smaller parties as both SLFP and UNP are acting like LTTE'

Nov 4 (TC) The apprehension on the minority representation has been one of the major the core issue debated over the years in respect of electoral system under the chairmanship of minister Dinesh Gunawardene. But today the proposed LG elections amendment bill goes against the national consensus reached. It is nothing but a death trap to minor and minority parties. Democracy should pave way for new ideas and new blossoms. more..

Dispelling mutual fears and suspicions

Nov 4 (NS) Last week I highlighted the grievances and worries of the Tamil people through the evidence Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan gave before The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. I showed that the grievances were mutual. The Sinhalese are aggrieved that the Tamils had massacred 600 policemen, attacked the holy places like Anuradhapura Maha Bodhi and Kandy Sri Maligava and slaughtered several Sinhalese villagers. more..

'Sri Lanka push for roads after ending war'

Nov 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka plans to spend a billion dollars in foreign aid to rebuild roads as the island emerges from nearly four decades of ethnic fighting, a top official said Wednesday. Sri Lanka's Highways Ministry Secretary Wasantha Karannagoda said they had secured funding to rebuild and repair nearly 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) of roads over the next two years. "Some of these roads had not been maintained for the past 25 years or more because of the conflict," more..

Now, Sinhalese in Jaffna complain, no one as neglected as they are

Nov 4 (LB) The ‘Society of Sinhalese Displaced People in Jaffna’, a determined lot, are fighting back to get their lands in the Jaffna peninsula. The latest category of ‘displaced people’ are the Sinhalese who lived previously in Jaffna and have now been displaced due to the LTTE and ethnic convulsions in the peninsula. A section of that Sinhalese population who had left their dwellings due to the war which more..

Lanka Lion enthrals Doha music lovers

Nov 4 (TP) Sri Lankan’s turned out in large numbers at the Ramada Plaza for the Lanka Lions Nite Dinner Dance and Musical Extravaganza which was held on October 28 and 29. The proceedings began with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the chief guest, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Qatar, Vijayasiri Padukkage; Minister Counselor at the Sri Lankan embassy A Tharmakulasinghaml; SriLankan Airlines Country Manager, Fawzan Fareid; more..

Full-scale, islandwide war on drugs mafia

Nov 4 (ST) As the war on narcotics intensifies, the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) has made several key arrests of those who have been involved in the trafficking of narcotics to several parts of the island. PNB sleuths are currently probing those who have been arrested in a bid to apprehend the main drug suppliers who are evading arrest. Police have arrested 20 key drug peddlers who have been working under more..

Labour minister challenges trade union confederation

Nov 4 (BBC) Labour minister Gamini Lokuge said that the government has honured all it‘s commitments on labour conventions ratified by the government of Sri lanka. He said that the government has honured all it‘s commitments on labour conventions ratified by the government. Responding to alegations made by the ITUC minister Lokuge said that when ever violations of the labour law has been reported the offenders have been punished . more..

BOI reassures investors

Nov 4 (Island) In view of press articles to the effect that the Board of Investment (BOI) has suspended the acceptance of investment applications for new projects pending the 2011 Budget and the speculation surrounding the continuance of BOI concessions granted, the following clarifications were made by the Board of Investment in a statement yesterday. "The BOI continues to entertain and accept new applications for investments. more..

India holds bilateral talks with Sri Lanka on petroleum sector

Nov 4 (ANI) While holding talks with Sri Lankan Minister for Petroleum and Industries Susil Premajayantha, the two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the progress in cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. The Sri Lankan Minister stated that the presence of Lanka IOC a subsidiary of IOC which operates marketing infrastructure in Sri Lanka including 152 retail outlets could be strengthened. He added that the decision on petrol and diesel price revision more..

Interview III - Sanja Sarnavka

LRH doctors strike after assault

Nov 4 (Island) Doctors at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s hospital yesterday staged a token strike after the father of a child who passed away at the hospital assaulted a doctor at the hospital, a spokesman for the Government Medical Officers' Association said. A senior GMOA spokesman told The Island that the doctor had been assaulted by the parent and he was in possession of a knife. The suspect was arrested by the Police. more..

Counterfeit fags flood local market

Nov 4 (Island) The number of counterfeit cigarette consignments brought into the country for sale have increased, officials of Excise Department told The Island. "Recently a consignment of 1.6 million cigarettes from Dubai was confiscated while it was being smuggled into the country," Commissioner General of Excise Wasantha Hapuarachchi said. The confiscated cigarettes had been of a brand not approved in Sri Lanka. more..

The price of ignoring Rajapaksa

Nov 4 (IE) As India and the United States prepare for President Obama’s trip, China’s expanding economic and military influence is at the top of the agenda. Nowhere is that influence more clear than in Sri Lanka, where its growing clout is leaving in its wake a weakened and corrupted democracy, diminishing respect for human rights, and increased ethnic tension. Since the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, China has quietly supported the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, more..

Medicinal Drugs Bill before SC in Feb. 2011

Nov 4 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday (3) listed to be mentioned on February 22, 2011 the fundamental rights petitions seeking that the Court direct the Health Minister to present the Draft Bill titled “An Act to Regulate Medicinal Drugs and Devices, Cosmetics, Neutraceuticals and Functional Foods.” Senior State Counsel Viveka Siriwardane informed Court that the Act would be brought in within three months. more..

Sangupidi Bridge to lessen distance to Jaffna

Nov 4 (DM) Construction work on the Sangupidi Bridge connecting Pooneryn with the Jaffna peninsula on the A-32 road would be completed by November 20, Deputy Minister of Highways Nirmala Kothelawala said. Work on this bridge started in March this year. The bridge, which cost over 1 billion to build, was 288 metres in length and had a width of 7.5 metres. The two stretches of road which make up the A-32 main road – from Puttalam to Mannar and more..

Sri Lanka stays in place in Doing Business 2011 ranking

Nov 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka was retained its place at 102 in a ranking of 183 countries for ease of doing business, by the World Bank group for 2011 though some of its neighbors made gains. Maldives moved up to 85th place from 96, Bangladesh moved up to 107 from 11, and India improved one place to 134. Pakistan which was ranked higher at 83, fell back from last year's 75, despite making a positive reform. more..

Human development record improves

Nov 4 (DN) Sri Lanka’s Human Development Index (HDI) has progressively increased up to 0.659 in 2010 compared to 0.513 in 1980. This increase is mainly due to favourable social indicators of literacy and life expectancy. Sri Lanka is also recorded to have a considerably high level of gender equality, with a GII of 0.599. While this shows high levels of gender equality, especially regarding maternal health standards and educational opportunities for women, more..

UNICEF donation for mine risk education

Nov 4 (DN) UNICEF handed over Rs 30 million worth supplies and equipment to the Economic Development Ministry. The donation will be used to strengthen the mine risk education activities of the Ministry's Humanitarian De-mining Unit (HDU). Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that UNICEF donations will help expedite the mine risk education activities and ensure zero mine related casualties. The Minister thanked UNICEF for their collaboration and support. more..

'Only a political solution could address grievances of minorities'

Nov 4 (Island) Chairman of the LLRC C. R. de Silva onemphasized that Sri Lanka wasn’t the only country to bring in special laws to combat terrorism. The former Attorney General said that the UK and India were among the countries dependent on special laws to deal with terrorism. The LLRC chairman asked whether it would be possible to rescind both Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations, though the LTTE had lost its conventional military capability. more..

NWSDB chairman denies privatization moves

Nov 4 (Island) National Water Supply and Drainage Board chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi, responding to an article on page one of yesterday’s The Island, titled ‘NWSDB Unions protest against ‘privatization bid’, denied that such moves were afoot. In his response to the article, the Chairman said: "The NWSDB will not be privatized. This has been stated very clearly in the Press Conference held on the 28th of October 2010 by the Minister of more..

SF’s Writ application against CM II: AG objects to notice on respondents

Nov 4 (Island) The Attorney General yesterday objected to notice being issued on the respondents in respect of the Writ Application filed by retired General Sarath Fonseka, against the proceedings, conviction and sentence imposed on him by the Court Martial II. Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluwihare appeared for the Attorney General and the other respondents. The objections were that (1) the application was affiliated with the Principle of res-judicata, more..

Wheat flour shortage; WFP cuts rations

Nov 4 (DM) As a result of a shortage in wheat flour, the World Food Programme (WFP) has reduced its ration to resettled people by 50 per cent, officials said yesterday. The WFP said it was compelled to cut down the wheat flour ration after a careful review of the resources available to them. “We hope this is only a temporary measure, and new contributions will be forthcoming to allow the WFP to continue assisting more..

Parliament building to be extended

Nov 4 (DM) The Cabinet yesterday unanimously endorsed a cabinet paper calling for the extension of the parliamentary complex by constructing another building in the adjoining land at a cost of Rs.750 million. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne submitted the Cabinet paper based on a decision of the parliamentary advisory committee. According to the Cabinet paper, it is noted that the present parliamentary complex is insufficient for the smooth functioning of official duties. more..

German evaluation can strengthen Lanka’s bid to tackle adverse reports - Govt

Nov 4 (Island) Sri Lanka is confident that a visiting German parliamentary delegation can clear misconception about the post-war situation in the country. Authoritative government sources told The Island that the German delegation could assess the situation, particularly in the North, including the Vanni, where resettlement, reconstruction and rehabilitation were proceeding apace. more..

'PUCSL to decide on electricity tariff structure soon'

Nov 4 (Island) Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday said that Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) would shortly decided on the electricity tariff structure. He told The Island that the Treasury, the Ceylon Electricity Board or the consumers would have to bear the cost of the residual fuel provided by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. more..

University crisis:Dons blame students, state and themselves

Nov 4 (DM) University lecturers yesterday blamed themselves, students and the government for the collapse of the country’s university system which had gone into the extent of a national crisis. President of the University Lecturers for Democracy Chandana Abeyratne said that there is no way one could condone the violence carried out by the students and the counter violence carried out by others including the state. more..

Murdered UK-based transsexual immigration solicitor represented LTTE

Nov 4 (Island) David Burgess, a top immigration solicitor, who was pushed under a train by a person identified as Nina Kanagasingham on Oct. 25 at the King’s Cross tube station, had represented the LTTE for many years. He is believed to be one of the first British lawyers, approached by the LTTE. The British press described Burgess aka ‘Sonia’, as a transsexual. At the time of his death he was dressed as a woman. more..

11 TN fishermen arrested by Lankan Navy on poaching charge

Nov 4 (PTI) Eleven fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been taken into custody by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly fishing in the island's territorial waters near Neduntheevu, police said here today. The fishermen hailing from Mandapam, Thangatchimadam here and Jegadhapattinam in Pudukkottai District were detained by Sri Lankan naval forces along with three mechanized boats near Neduntheevu island yesterday, 'Q' Branch police sources said. more..

'Sri Lanka may cut rupee debt amount foreigners can buy'

Nov 4 (BN) Sri Lanka may reduce the amount of government rupee debt available to foreign buyers to channel more overseas funds into private companies, Central Bank Deputy Governor Dharma Dheerasinghe said. “We want there to be a shift from government debt to corporates issuing debt and subscriptions coming from outside,” Dheerasinghe said in an interview in Colombo yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka bishop accuses forces over missing priests

Nov 4 (BBC) At least two Roman Catholic priests have gone missing in Sri Lanka in the past four years, the church says. Kingsley Swampillai, the bishop of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, said one of the priests vanished after security forces took him in for questioning. Bishop Swampillai and his colleagues were testifying before a commission looking into the country's civil war. more..

UNP also calls for salary increase

Nov 5 (SL) The UNP has also joined the fight for a salary increase for the working masses by calling in the government to grant the increment in the 2011 budget. The UNP today (4) called on the government to increase the salaries of the public sector employees by Rs. 10,000 and a similar increase in salaries for the private sector employees. UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera has said that the trade unions affiliated to the UNP will join all other trade unions to more..

JHU to propose amendments to gaming bill

Nov 5 (SL) A coalition member of the UPFA government, the JHU, has said the party would propose amendments to the Gaming Levy Bill that would be taken up in parliament next week. The JHU has said the party would vote against the Bill unless the amendments proposed by the party were included. The party has called on the government to include the amendments proposed by the party to the new legislation during the committee stage of the debate when more..

Sri Lanka to build park for romantic young lovers

Nov 5 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government says it will construct a park for romantic young couples who want freedom to be together without being victimised by police. Earlier this year hundreds of couples in two towns were arrested for associating with each other in public. The government expressed some embarrassment about the arrests. Sri Lanka is a conservative country where public displays of affection have traditionally been frowned upon. more..

Don’t make students scapegoats of Govt’s anger at opposition parties - Parents

Nov 5 (LT) Parents of university students ask the President and the government not to make innocent children of innocent parents scapegoats by harassing and victimizing them to take vengeance from political parties. Parents of university students carried out a demonstration opposite the University Grants Commission today demanding the government to release all students who have been taken into custody. more..

Agents 'promise Tamils boats to Australia'

Nov 5 (TA) AS a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seeker who was on a boat originally bound for Australia was charged in Canada with war crimes yesterday, reports from India said agents attempting to send more Sri Lankan Tamils to Australia on boats had been arrested. Three agents are being questioned by Indian police in Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, on suspicion of people-smuggling. They are thought to have promised Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in South India more..

Sri Lanka seek first series win in Australia

Nov 5 (CI) Losses don't come much more demoralising than the one-wicket defeat Australia suffered on Wednesday. To fail having had the opposition at 8 for 107 chasing 240 is a massive confidence-sapper. Australia have now lost six internationals in a row since July, and three weeks from the first ball of the Ashes that's a worrying position to be in. More immediately, they must find a way to bounce back at the SCG, or more..

Sri Lanka to rehabilitate former combatants at a cost of US$ 14 million

Nov 5 (GDI) The government is to launch a post rehabilitation program to train nearly 10,000 ex-combatants surrendered to the security forces during the last stages of the war in May 2009. Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centres have been established in the Northern and Eastern Provinces under this programme. According to Govt sources around 12,000 ex-combatants have been provided with rehabilitation programmes, consisting of education, more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Nov 5 (GDI) Cabinet decides to implement the recommendations of Finance Commission on Provincial Development: The Finance Commission is mandated with the responsibility of recommending the financial needs of the Provincial Councils and governing fiscal management aspects of Centre-Province relations. In terms of Article 157 (R) (3) of the Constitution, the government allocates funds from the Annual Budget to meet the needs of the provinces on these recommendations. more..

President Rajapaksa opens Upper Kothmale Hydro-power Plant Tunnel for the public today

Nov 5 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the Upper Kothmale tunnel which is considered to be the longest tunnel in the country this morning (Thursday) on 04 November. This tunnel is 12.9 km in length and has a diameter of 5.2 meters to carry water from the Kothmale stream to the Kothmale Hydro-power plant which is an underground powerhouse located at Niyamgamdora. more..

'Prerogative on land is with Govt'

Nov 5 (AD) Not a single square inch of Sri Lanka belongs to any particular religion, caste or race, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said this in reply to a question posed by a journalist regarding the statement made by the Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith at the LLRC yesterday. BBC earlier reported that Cardinal Ranjith had made a statement to the LLRC that attempts were being made to change the demographic make-up of northern and eastern Sri Lanka, more..