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Sri Lanka port handles largest container ship

Dec 21 (LBO) Colombo port has handled its first ship capable of carrying 10,000 containers and will soon be the only port in south Asia to handle even bigger cargo vessels given new deep-water terminals under construction. APL Chongqing docked at the state-run Jaya Container Terminal, the main transhipment facility in Colombo, Monday, a statement said. The vessel is operated by APL, the container shipping arm of the Singapore-based more..

Attack on UNP MP: Dy Speaker promises probe

Dec 21 (Island) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said that an inquiry would be conducted into the assault on UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara by Govt MP Arundika Fernando in Parliament on Monday. UNP MP Range Bandara yesterday, raising a privilege issue in Parliament, said that Government MP Fernando had assaulted him in the lobby. I left the Chamber after speaking in the Defence Ministry debate. Soon after that MP Arundika Fernando hit me. I received minor injuries. more..

Drunk driving major cause of road deaths

Dec 21 (Island) Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr. Palitha Maheepala last Friday said that when driving under the influence of liquor a person would lose the ability to make sound and responsible decisions. He said the ability to shift attention from one point of action to another, to understand situations, signs and signals, to coordinate motor skills, hearing clearly and to see and understand a situation and then take action, would be affected by consuming liquor. more..

First floating restaurant in Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (FT) Colombo’s first-ever floating restaurant was launched on Monday, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the invitation of JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake declared open the Cinnamon Lakeside’s latest innovation – 8°on the Lake, an investment of Rs. 100 million. The opening was also attended by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Civil Aviation Service Minister Piyankara Jayaratne, more..

Three separate incidents of currency smuggling in one day

Dec 21 (Island) Adding to the recent spate of detections, two Sri Lankans and an Indian national have been apprehended for smuggling currency in three separate incidents on Tuesday morning at the Bandaranaike International Airport and the Chennai airport. As a result, nearly 11 million rupees worth of undeclared foreign currency has been confiscated by authorities. The first was a Sri Lankan man hailing from Geli Oya who was caught with 33,000 Euros (Rs. 5 million). more..

Norochcholai closed for 35 days

Dec 21 (Island) The Norochcholai Thermal Power Plant had broken down and had been closed or inactive for 35 days intermittently since its launching up to yesterday, Parliament was told. A document tabled by Deputy Power and Energy Minister Premalal Jayasekera, in response to a question raised by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said that the power plant had been shut down for 35 days due to the delays in the supply of coal and planned and unplanned maintenance activities. more..

Floods affect life of resettled families in Vanni

Dec 21 (BBC) Heavy rain and floods have made life miserable to thousands of resettled families in the Vanni. Over 6500 families in the Killinochchi and Mullativu districts have been badly affected. Irrigation tanks are over flowing and Shivapuram village in Killinochchi is inundated with flood water. Affected families have sought refuge in public buildings and schools. GA, Killinochchi, Rupvathie Ketheeswaran said that most of the more..

Kuwait Funds extends $ 10.5 m for development of South Eastern University

Dec 21 (FT) The Development Policy Framework of the Govt of Sri Lanka has identified the necessity to develop essential academic infrastructure and introduce new demand driven degree programmes at the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka to reflect regional and national needs of the country and thereby support the social and economic development in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, financial assistance is sought from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development for this purpose more..

Heart surgeries resume at Karapitiya

Dec 21 (DN) The cardiology unit of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital in Galle will be in a position to resume heart operations from December 24, hospital Director Dr Jayampathy Senanayake said in a report submitted to Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. Minister Sirisena who looked into the situation at the Cardiology unit which had stopped heart operations earlier directed the Director of Health Services on Monday to look into the matter and submit a report to him. more..

සංවර්ධන සටහන්: Dec 14, 2011

TNPF slams LLRC report

Dec 21 (TN) In a press briefing following the public release of the LLRC report, the by the Tamil National People Front (TNPF) said it totally rejects the report and added that the report is a deliberate attempt to whitewash the egregious crimes committed against the Tamil people. "The report places the blame on the LTTE and other tamil groups. We can no longer remain patient. There is urgent need for the International Community to conduct an independent investigation. more..

Mohan Pieiris to be called before court

Dec 21 (BBC) Sri Lankan court allowed to call in Former Sri Lanka attorney general Mohan Pieris as a witness before court to inquire into the disappearance of Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Homagama Magistrate Court gave the order to call him as a witness despite objections by attorney general when a petition filed by the wife of Journalist Ekneligoda was taken up for hearing on Tuesday. Lawyer appearing for Mrs. Sandya Ekneligoda told court that more..

Ranil asks govt. to probe Monday’s clash

Dec 21 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe asked the govt to conduct an independent inquiry into the incidents that took place in and around Sirikotha, on Monday. In a special statement in Parliament, Mr. Wickremesinghe made an open apology to the party and the people regarding Monday’s incident. “I assured Parliament earlier that there would be no change in the opposition leader’s post. I can reassure it today,” more..

Govt clear about future steps - GL

Dec 21 (DN) How the govt should be dealing with issues mentioned in the LLRC report has already been explained to the public by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, when he submitted the report to Parliament last Friday, Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris said yesterday. Referring to a US State Department statement, he said that the said statement had mentioned that the Sri Lankan govt ‘had left open’ the issue of accountability in the LLRC report. The statement had gone on to say that more..

Vote for new electoral system in January

Dec 21 (DM) The two legislations which provide for the introduction of a new electoral system for the local govt bodies will be put to a vote on January 17, 2012 when Parliament meets for the first time in the New Year. According to the party leaders’ meeting, the Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill and the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill will be taken up by the govt. The two bills seek to introduce a mix of the Proportional Representation System and more..

Malwatte Mahanayake says Govt. ignored his pleas to release Fonseka

Dec 21 (Island) The Mahanayaka Thera of Malwatte, Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera, told a group of UNP stalwarts to proceed with their campaign to secure the release of imprisoned former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka as authorities had ignored the moves by the Sangha to get him out of prison. The UNP group of MPs called on the Mahanayake Thera to inform him of one million signatures that had been placed on a mammoth petition calling for more..

Mahanayake says it’s a joke to take Fonseka appeal to world

Dec 21 (Island) Forwarding petitions with one million signatures seeking the release of Sarath Fonseka would not serve any purpose. Only President Mahinda Rajapaksa was capable of releasing Sarath Fonseka from jail, Mahanayake Thera of Asgiriya Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha said yesterday when a deputation from the association of Private Secretaries of Ministers called on him. The Prelate said sending petitions to Geneva to get Sarath Fonseka released was a joke. more..

'Sirikotha Attack: Protesters funded by German NGO'

Dec 21 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that a German NGO funded the protesters who attacked the UNPheadquarters, Sirikotha. He said he had sought the help of German Ambassador in Colombo to put an end to financial assistance to troublemakers. He urged the govt to conduct a probe to find out whether the German funds had been utilised for Monday’s attack. The UNP leader apologized to his party members and countrymen for his failure to more..

16 financial institutions to be taken to courts

Dec 21 (DM) The Central Bank will take legal action against 16 financial institutions that were operating without the authorisation of the monetary board, Parliament was informed yesterday. Three other unregistered financial institutions -- Janatha Pragathi Investments Company (Pvt) Ltd, Varuna Investments Ltd., and Deshiya Sampath Sanwardena Ha Ayojana Sangamaya have been asked to return the funds deposited by the customers. more..

MR condemns attack on UNP HQ

Dec 21 (Island) Strongly condemning Monday’s mob attack on UNP headquarters Sirikotha following the re-election of incumbent leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for another term, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday expressed hope the main Opposition party would be able to settle its longstanding leadership dispute and stage a political comeback. President Rajapaksa was responding to a query raised at yesterday’s meeting with editors of national newspapers and representatives more..

Riot was pre-planned – John

Dec 21 (Island) Mobs that went on the rampage after the re-election of Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader was announced, on Monday afternoon, had caused heavy damage estimated at Rs. 600,000 to Wickremesinghe’s official bullet proof vehicle, Chief Opposition whip and staunch Ranil loyalist John Amaratunga said yesterday. He told The Island that the estimate of the damage caused to the Opposition leader’s vehicle had been revealed in police investigations. more..

Mohan Lal Grero, education and our children

Dec 21 (SL) Therefore I decided that on behalf of the children of this country and in consideration of the deep desire and concern within me for education, that I will, without fear of doubts, do what is necessary for education in this country. I offer my pledge to all those in the opposition and the govt, that I will commit myself totally to making a success of the education development plans, without consideration of more..

'Will not cave into crate culture'

Dec 21 (LB) Colombo’s Manning Market fruit and vegetable transporters, wholesalers and retailers vowed last Wednesday to recommence their agitation if the govt reintroduced the use of plastic craters for the transportation of consumer perishables. Colombo’s Olcott Mawatha, Pettah – the main artery of commerce and transport in the island was paralyzed with zero movement of traffic. more..

Batsmen can adjust - Jayasuriya

Dec 21 (CI) Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya has urged the country's current crop of batsmen to take more responsibility on their tour of South Africa. Sri Lanka lost the first Test at Centurion inside three days after being bowled out for under 200 in both innings and Jayasuriya expects them to regroup strongly. "They know what the expectations on them are and they know what responsibility they have," Jayasuriya told ESPNCricinfo. more..

Tackle threat posed by Tamil Diaspora-LLRC

Dec 21 (Island) 9.233 All parties should recognize that the real issue of sharing power and participating in government is the empowerment of the people and making the political leaders accountable to the people. This applies to Sri Lanka as a whole and includes the needs of citizens of all communities, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and others. The effective functioning of the democratic system which fulfils these needs, more..

UPFA’s opposition to devolution of police, land powers reiterated

Dec 21 (Island) The one-time LTTE mouthpiece TNA would have to change its mind-set to facilitate a permanent settlement to the national issue, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Emphasizing the urgent need on the part of the TNA to name its representatives to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to formulate a solution to the national issue, the President likened its behaviour to that of the LTTE. more..

Sacked by one Minister, hired by another

Dec 21 (Island) Dr. Geethanjana Mendis, who was sacked as the head of the Sports Medical Unit by Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage, has been appointed an advisor to the Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake, who is a former Minister of Sports. The Sports Medical Unit which also housed Sri Lanka’s Anti-Doping Unit came under heavy criticism from various quarters following a series of positive doping cases more..

'They didn’t recognise what I did for the party'

Dec 21 (DM) UNP MP and contestant for the post of National Organiser, Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking to Daily Mirror said that the vote did not reflect the true will of the people. He further went on to point out that despite the repeated assurance that the ballot would be secret in actual fact the vote was not a secret ballot. “The decision of the working committee does not reflect the view of a majority of people in this country. more..

Court prevents university students’ march to Colombo

Dec 21 (NF) An interim order has been issued by the court preventing a march organised by the Peradeniya University Students Council against the Private University Act. The Kandy additional Magistrate issued this order after considering the facts presented by the Police. Police stated that the order was obtained as information had surfaced that certain events were being planned which in turn would disrupt the peace. more..

Sri Lanka post-war growth stays above 8%

Dec 21 (BN) Sri Lanka’s growth accelerated, exceeding 8 percent for a second straight quarter and reducing the scope for the central bank to cut interest rates. Gross domestic product rose 8.4 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, the statistics department said on its website today. That compares with an 8.2 percent expansion in the previous quarter and the 8.1 percent median of five estimates more..

Pardon plea for SF should come from family: MR

Dec 21 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he was ready to consider a pardon for former army commander Sarath Fonseka if his family makes a request to that effect. He said such a pardon would be considered under the proper procedure. He said there had been requests from several sectors towards granting a pardon to Sarath Fonseka and confirmed that there had been discussions on this matter and more..

Editorial: Democracy must be seen to be exrcised

Dec 21 (DM) For a group demanding democracy within, the violent manner in which the verdict of a democratically held vote to the UNP was opposed on Monday left much to be desired. The violence exercised by the group opposing the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, no doubt left many a serious question on the minds of the Party supporters. It is possible that the average UNPER woke up to the immature trend likely to be exercised should the reformists succeed. more..

Sri Lanka overnight rates spike to new high

Dec 21 (LBO) Overnight money rates spiked over 9.75 percent and gilt backed repurchase deals touched 8.45 percent Wednesday amid defence of a dollar peg and festival demand for cash, dealers said. Sri Lanka has a policy rate of 8.50 percent to inject money and the Central Bank announced a 12 billion rupee cash auction cool markets. On Tuesday the Central Bank injected 7.0 billion rupees from a cash auction at an average yield of 7.94 percent, up from 7.76 percent a day earlier. more..

Navy takes 22 Indian fishermen into custody

Dec 21 (PTI) Twenty-two fishermen from Jagadapattinam and other coastal villages in Pudukottai district were on Wednesday taken into custody by Sri Lankan naval personnel when they were fishing near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits, officials said. Inspector of Fisheries Ramamurthy said they had received information about the detention of the fishermen and the Indian Coast Guard had been informed. more..

Stocks close down 0.7-pct

Dec 21 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks slipped further Wednesday in a continuing slide in thin turnover with the regulator postponing an anticipated decision to allow brokers to give more credit for trading, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.16 percent to 5,842.83, while the more liquid Milanka index closed flat at 5,088.25. Turnover was a low 376 million rupees, one of the lowest in recent months, according to stock exchange provisional figures. more..

JVP sends message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong Il

Dec 21 (LT) The Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe on behalf of the Central committee of the JVP has sent a message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong Il, the Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The message states, “The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the JVP passed unanimously a resolution to express its deepest sorrow to the Workers' Party of Korea, the Govt and the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and more..

Srilankan to give up A340 aircraft: Minister

Dec 21 (DM) The national carrier Srilankan Airlines is to give up A340 aircraft which it is currently using as the company can no longer afford to maintain them, Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said in Parliament yesterday. Minister Jayaratne who was speaking during the committee stage debate on the budget in the House said the A340 aircraft would be exchanged for A330 aircraft. He however said Srilankan Airlines would have the largest fleet more..

'Non-state university bill would give drug traders the right to manipulate higher education'

Dec 21 (LT) The govt is attempting to bring the non-state university bill to hand over power of manipulating the higher education in the country to narcotic traders states the People’s Movement for the Protection of Free Education. This was stated in a media meeting held by the Movement at Colombo National Library participated by Dr. Indunil Wijenayake representing All Ceylon Govt Medical Officers Association (ACGMOA), more..

'Govt. had defamed Arjuna Ranatunga'

Dec 21 (DM) The UNP charged in Parliament today that the govt, through the accusation of match fixing, had committed the most serious assault on the fame of the ex-captain of Sri Lanka’s cricket team Arjuna Ranatunga who brought glory to the country by winning the World Cup in 1996. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that Mr. Ranatunga who is now an MP had been humiliated in this manner by making such an allegation. He demanded that an inquiry be made to clear Ranatunga’s name. more..

Prof. Peiris decries US stand on LLRC

Dec 21 (Island) Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday decried a statement attributed to US State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, as the most unreasonable statement issued by the State Department. Minister Peiris said that Ms Nuland’s statement had exposed again the double standards adopted by a section of the international community targeting Sri Lanka. more..