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SLC-PPSSI to protest demanding salary increases

Dec 22 (Island) The Sri Lanka Centre for Public and Private Sector Salary Increments (SLC-PPSSI) warned that they would commence countrywide protest campaigns demanding that the President and govt heed their demand for a salary increase. Convener for the SLC-PPSSI, Ravi Kumudesh warned they would stage their first protest in Kandy today demanding a minimum Rs. 2,500 increment to the basic salary of public sector employees and minimum increase of Rs. 12,000 in the more..

Karu: ‘I’m still Deputy Leader’

Dec 22 (Island) Karu Jayasuriya has informed UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that even though his term as Deputy Leader ends only at the end of this month, he has vacated his office in parliament. "Mr. Jayasuriya moved out around 4 p.m. today," a spokesperson said, adding that the keys had been handed over to Naufel Abur Rahuman, the Secretary to the Opposition Leader. The spokesperson said that though Jayasuriya had lost more..

Lankan court orders release of 22 Indian fishermen

Dec 22 (PTI) A local Sri Lankan court has ordered the release of the 22 Indian fishermen who were taken into custody by the Lankan Navy earlier in the day. The fishermen from Jagadapattinam and other coastal villages in Pudukottai district had been detained early on Wednesday morning by Lankan Naval personnel when fishing near Katchatheevu in the Palk straits. Inspector of Fisheries, Ramamurthy, had said they had informed the Indian Coast Guard about the detention. more..

'Hunt for dissidents in the UNP'

Dec 22 (BBC) Dissident group of the main opposition UNP accused the leadership of efforts to investigate the attack on the party headquarters as a witch-hunt with the aim of taking revenge from the individuals who did not support the current leadership. In a statement to the media in Colombo, dissident provincial council member Rohana Gamage, accused the leadership of conspiring with the govt to crush the dissident group. “The police never stopped the attack,” Gamage told the media. more..

'Opposition has failed to carry out its duties and functions'

Dec 22 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Budget 2012 had shown the nation the failure on the part of the Opposition. Making the winding up speech in the third reading stage of the budget debate, the President said that the main Opposition UNP instead of bringing out constructive criticism and participating in the budget debate had been engaged in a struggle to oust the party leader. more..

Nearly 10,000 educated, differently-abled youth to get jobs

Dec 22 (Island) The Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry will commence a programme with the backing of around 30 private and public sector institutions, to provide employment to over 10,000 educated, differently-abled youth. The statistics reveal that nearly five percent of Sri Lankans were physically or mentally retarded. The Govt has also commenced programmes to rehabilitate the youth from the Security Forces, who were disabled due to the conflict situation and more..

Editorial: Experiment with truth

Dec 22 (Hundu) The much-awaited report of Sri Lanka's LLRC, tabled in Parliament recently, has established a key fact — that there were “considerable” civilian casualties in the final stages of the military operation that ended in the total defeat of the LTTE. This is a step forward from the Sri Lankan govt's earlier insistence that there were “zero civilian casualties.” The LLRC has avoided the more difficult task of fixing blame for these casualties wherever it seems more..

Extending the drive

Dec 22 (SL) Marine Drive is the ideal route to cut the traffic, take a more scenic drive, and watch the roll of the sea as you pass by, glinting blue, green, grey in synchronisation with the weather. Perhaps if you are lucky, you might be able to bask in the occasional breath of fresh air, a world away from the fumes of the Galle Road. That is until you reach Wellawatte and turn off through Ramakrishna Road to Galle Road. more..

CEB decides to call tenders for 100 MW emergency power

Dec 22 (LBO) Fearing a serious supply shortage in the first half of 2012, the CEB has decided to call tenders for supplying 100 MW of emergency power from March 2012. CEB General Manager Nihal Wickramasooriya has informed the Ministry of Power and Energy, by letter dated December 9, 2011, that the emergency power purchases would cost around Rs. 13,000 million based on auto diesel and Rs. 8,000 million if more..

Sri Lanka military to renovate key locations in Colombo

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's military will renovate key locations in the capital Colombo as part of continued efforts to modernize the city, under a master plan of the country's urban development agency, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. "The construction work will be entrusted to the engineering services divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force so that construction costs would be kept to the minimum," more..

Two hacked to death in Nochchiyagama

Dec 22 (DM) The bodies of two persons were found by villagers and police last evening in the Navakkulama-Aluthwewa area in Nochchiyagama. They had been hacked to death. One body was found stuck in the spillway and was discovered by a farmer who immediately informed the police. With the arrival of the police, the other body was also found few metres away in the same canal. The victims were identified as Nilanka Ratnayake (24) and more..

Undergrads seek President’s intervention to stop ragging

Dec 22 (Island) Students of the Peradeniya University yesterday appealed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene to stop brutal ragging. Addressing a press conference in Colombo, an Arts Faculty student of the University, Yukthi Ekadeera said that the Ministry of Higher Education and University administration’s efforts to stop ragging, which takes place especially in university hostels, had been in vain. more..

LLRC – a job done, but now what?

Dec 22 (Island) The government on Friday made public the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, ending weeks of speculation on its contents-speculation that, for the most part, has turned out to be imprecise. Many observers commended the government’s move in releasing the full document. Not only was it presented in parliament and distributed among MPs and journalists there, it was simultaneously uploaded on the web. more..

'If posts were exchanged clashes could have been avoided'

Dec 22 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera today charged that the clashes at Sirikotha on Monday could have been avoided had the suggestion made by some members including himself to exchange the posts of party leader and leader of opposition between current party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former Deputy Leader Karu Jaysuriya was accepted. more..

Drunk drivers beware this season: Police

Dec 22 (DM) The police warned drivers not to drive after consuming alcohol during the Christmas and New Year season. If found they will be dealt severely by the traffic police. These steps are taken as the number of road accidents have increased significantly due to speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that they will take more action against such traffic offenders. more..

'Lecturers involved in stirring up students'

Dec 22 (DM) Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake stated that certain lecturers were behind yesterdays protest and had instigated the students to behave in the way they did. He further stated that the students involved in acts of intimidation must be expelled. The Minister said that during yesterdays protest four persons including two lecturers and two members of the non academic staff were assaulted by the students and are currently receiving treatment more..

Sri Lanka state enterprise workers to get bonus

Dec 22 (LBO) Workers of Sri Lanka's state enterprises will get a 7,500 rupee bonus, but those in loss making enterprises will get less, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. "Workers in loss making enterprises will get 1,000 rupees and workers in state enterprises that reduced losses would get 2,000 rupees," he told reporters. Profitable state firms where employees were not given incentive payments could get up to 10,000 rupees as bonuses. more..

Editorial: A hospital can't be a heaven when the vicinity is a hell

Dec 22 (DM) The recent revelation by the Western Provincial Council's Environment Ministry that there is high prevalence of cancer among the residents living adjacent to the Maharagama Cancer Institute sent a shockwave around the country. According to the research, the clinical waste matter that contains radioactive substances has been identified as the main reason for the said high prevalence. Several newspapers went on to reveal that the water resources available to more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 1.3-pct

Dec 22 (LBO) Stocks closed higher after several days of losses albeit in thin turnover as most investors kept away as is usual towards the year-end, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 1.31 percent to 5,919.35, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 1.56 percent to 5,167.81. Turnover was a low 349 million rupees. There were no crossings. Sri Lanka Telecom gained 1.70 rupees to close at 46, Hatton National Bank went up six rupees to end at 150 and more..

Photographs of the serious surgery performed on MP Dumindha Silva

Dec 22 (HN) The photographs showing the severe surgery performed at the Intensive Care Unit of Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital on MP Dumindha Silva who sustained deadly gun shot injuries on his head in the Mulleriyava shooting incident have been received by us now. These include the photographs taken at the time of performing the severe surgery on the MP's head and the Xray photographs showing more..

Yugayata Nimavum 2011 exhibition opens today

Dec 22 (GDI) Yugayata Nimavum 2011, new design handicraft exhibition and workshop will be held at the Kekirawa Divisional Secretariat Auditorium today and tomorrow. The exhibition will be inaugurated this morning by the Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda. Deputy Minister Weerakumara Dissanayake and several Parliamentarians in Anuradhapura District and provincial politicians also will attend the opening ceremony. more..

Sri Lanka expropriation law prompts rating watch

Dec 22 (LBO) A new Sri Lankan law to expropriate certain businesses has prompted RAM Ratings to put Bimputh Lanka on 'Rating Watch' with a negative outlook while confirming the microfinance firm's BB/NP ratings. Concerns arose over Bimputh's exposure through cultivation loans given to sugar cane growers of Sevanagala Sugar Industries, which is earmarked for expropriation, with both firms part of the Daya Group, a family-held concern with diversified operations more..

Heavy rains severely affect North & North Central provinces

Dec 22 (GDI) The Disaster Management Centre informs that 10,225 families have been displaced due to the inclement weather situation and majority of them are from the Kilinochchi District. The situation has also affected holding of the GCE O/L exam in some areas. Over 40 tanks including the Iranamadu, Kalmadukulam and Akkerayankulum in the North are reported to be over flowing. 4,957 displaced persons of the Killinochchi disrict have been housed in 27 camps. more..

Sri Lanka to collaborate with Japan, China for oceanography

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka is collaborating with Japan and China to study oceanographic conditions and weather in the Indian Ocean, the head of the island's aquatic resources agency said. "We have established collaboration with Japan," Hiran Jayewardene, chairman of Sri Lanka's National Aquatic Research Agency said. "A Japanese vessel will be coming here shortly." "We will work across the bay of Bengal down to and Perth in Australia to understand the surrounding Ocean." more..

Center uses arts to build cultural bridges

Dec 22 (UCAN) A Catholic cultural center is using the creative arts to help forge closer relationships between Sinhalese and Tamil communities and create what they call ambassadors of peace and development to heal rifts created during years of civil conflict. The Center for Performing Arts (CPArts) has organized arts festivals aimed at helping the two communities to better understand each other’s cultural and religious backgrounds and to lay the foundation for more..

SriLankan Airlines resumes flying to Zurich

Dec 22 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines began flying to the Swiss city of Zurich Thursday, the latest destination in the national carrier's expanding global route network. The service will initially be twice-weekly on Monday and Friday and would be increased in the future. The Zurich-Colombo flight will operate via Male in the Maldive Islands, another highly popular tourist destination where SriLankan Airlines has traditionally been the largest airline, more..

China calls for creating good environment for Sri Lanka's stability, construction

Dec 22 (Xinhua) China called on the international community to create a good environment for the stability, construction and development of Sri Lanka. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks when asked to give comment on the post-war reconstruction and economic development of Sri Lanka. Liu also appealed to the international community for support and cooperation to the Sri Lankan govt. "As Sri Lanka's friendly neighbor, China has been more..

Protesters want end to disappearances

Dec 22 (UCAN) Street protests yesterday in Colombo reflected growing anxiety about the disappearance of dissidents following the apparent abduction of two activists last week. Activists joined relatives of ‘disappeared’ and political prisoners to demand that authorities release suspected inmates long held in custody without being charged at unknown destinations throughout the island. More than a thousand protesters carried photos and placards and called for more..

'Suspending of Unions is first step to privatisation of Education'

Dec 22 (DM) The JVP alleged that the suspending of Students Unions of the Peradeniya University is the first step towards creating a conducive environment for the introduction of Privatisation of free education in the country. The JVP stated that the govt’s suppression of the democratic rights of students would lead to bloodshed. Politburo member of the party Sunil Handuneththi alleged that the suspension was a clear political move by the govt. more..

Sri Lanka to get more World Bank help for ICT

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka will get more support from the World Bank to boost the use of information technology and increase access to state services online for business and people. Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said the cabinet had approved the borrowing of 11 million dollars to extend the island's E-Sri Lanka development project. An existing 53 million dollar financing is to end on Dec 31. The new programme will end on June 2013 and will be implemented by the state ICT Agency. more..

Repatriation of Indian fishermen from Lanka soon: Official

Dec 22 (PTI) The repatriation of 22 Indian fishermen and their boats detained by Sri Lankan Navy could take a couple of days as the process had been affected by "inclement weather", an Indian official said here today. The Indian Consul General in northern Jaffna district has asked for Tamil Nadu's help to retrieve the Indian fishing boats which have run aground off Sri Lanka's northern coast. "We have asked for rescue boats from Tamil Nadu. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 22.12.2011

'Mahela will bat more freely after 10,000 runs'

Dec 22 (PTI) Mahela Jayawardene will bat more freely after he reaches his milestone of 10,000 Test runs, feels captain Tillakaratne Dilshan. "I believe Mahela will bat with more freedom after he will get that single run he still requires to reach his 10,000 Test run mark," Dilshan told the Afrikaans daily 'Beeld'. Sri Lanka lost their first Test of the three-match series by an innings and 81 runs against South Africa in just three days at Centurion more..

2 officials to probe charges against Lankan embassy in Kuwait

Dec 22 (SM) The Bureau of Foreign Employment is sending two officials to inquire into alleged harassments of expatriate workers at the hands of the Sri Lankan embassy in Kuwait. Deputy general manager of the Bureau Mangala Randeniya said one of his officers and a welfare officer of the foreign employment promotion ministry would undertake the task. The Lankan embassy has allocated separate space for Lankans who flee their employers due to various reasons. more..

16 remanded for Sirikotha incident released on bail

Dec 22 (DM) A Nugegoda Court today released on bail the 16 suspects including Provincial Councillors Maithri Gunaratne and Shiral Laktilleka who were remanded on charges of unlawful assembly, trespassing, and criminal intimidation and damaging the UNP headquarters. Nugegoda Magistrate ordered them to report to the Mirihana Police every Sunday and warned that if they got involved in such acts in future their bail would be cancelled. more..

Canada commends LLRC report

Dec 22 (DM) The Canadian govt has commended the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) for its final report and urged the Sri Lankan govt to implement its recommendations. But Canada also opined that the report does not “adequately address” the allegations of human rights violations relating to the final stages of the war. “The final report of the LLRC released on December 16 is a potentially important contribution to Sri Lanka’s much-needed political reconciliation. more..

‘Discipline UPFA members who voted to defeat Suriyawewa PS budget’

Dec 22 (SM) MP Namal Rajapaksa has asked the executive committee of the SLFP to immediate probe and initiate disciplinary action against ruling UPFA members who voted to defeat the 2012 budget of Suriyawewa Pradeshiya Sabha. At a meeting of the executive committee chaired by president Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Dec 20, the MP has noted that their action was a breach of party discipline. more..

'Crate law' from mid-January: Ministry

Dec 22 (DM) The ‘crate law’ will come into effect in mid January and large scale lorry transporters were encouraged to use plastic, plywood or hardboard crates to transport fruits and vegetables, Ministry of Trade said yesterday. “If you see the gazette it allows for plastic, plywood and hardboard crates. There is no hard and fast rule on using plastic only,” the Minister of Trade said. According to him the large scale lorry transporters would have to comply. more..

Budget 2012: no democracy for the Sri Lankan people

Dec 22 (AN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is justifying the 230 billion rupees (US$ 2.1 billion) allocated to military expenditures in the 2012 budget by the need to maintain a 200,000 strong military and pay for debts contracted during 30 years of civil war even though the interethnic conflict ended almost three years ago. The country needs development plans to help people, especially war victims. People need housing, land, jobs and welfare. Speaking to AsiaNews, more..

Child abuse hearing in April

Dec 22 (BBC) The child abuse case against Chief Buddhist monk of Thames Buddhist temple Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana is to begin on 10th April at Feltham crown court. The monk who was intially charged with one count of rape of a female under 16 and three counts of indecent assault during his tenure at Chiswick temple. Subsequently on Friday, 11 November he was further charged with 8 counts of Indecent assault on a female under 14 between 01/01/1985 - 31/12/1986 at an address in Croydon. more..