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Sri Lanka may play four seamers at Durban

Dec 22 (DM) Lankan selectors are contemplating playing four seamers against South Africa in the second Test starting on Boxing Day at Kingsmead, Durban. According the reports received from Durban, South Africa is planning on yet another green top which may showcase speed and bounce from day one. Hence the national selectors are of the view that playing a sole spinner in such conditions is not going to be helpful to the team. more..

Wijedasa Vs Tirantha Vs Independence of the judiciary

Dec 23 (CT) UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakse has officially announced that he will be in the running for the post of President for the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). So, last week The Sunday Leader journalist Raisa Wickrematunge met with him to discuss his reasons for stepping forward and his thoughts on what needs to be changed. Raisa asked him; you have been involved with both the government and the UNP, in fact you are still a Member of Parliament. more..

A political solution is the first condition in the struggle for democracy and freedom

Dec 23 (CT) A political solution that recognizes the right of self-determination of the Tamil nation cohabiting in the North and East, along with recognition of the national-democratic rights of the Hill Country Tamil and Muslim nationalities and other national minorities and communities, is the first condition to be achieved in the struggle for democracy and freedom. This is due to the fact that, one of the main forms of domination and control exercised by more..

The expired ‘new’ report

Dec 23 (DM) The report of the LLRC was presented by the govt to Parliament last Friday. The govt has opened its ‘magic box’ which it claimed had answers to all the accusations that were levelled against it during the two-and-a-half year period since the end of the war. However, this has been exposed before society as just an empty box that could not perform any tricks. The only trump card the govt held as an answer to the international accusations regarding more..

Towards a UN without US

Dec 23 (DM) The United Nations, since the collapse of Soviet Russia (USSR) and the end of cold war was more or less functioning as an arm of United States of America. During the last 20 years this situation prevailed at the UN climate Change negotiations as well. Climate Change threatens all living species on earth. The climate negotiations started way back in 1990 and climate talks continued for a 20 year period across 17 climate summits without any significant progress. more..

A Petition to President Barack Obama

Dec 23 (GV) The breaking news that JR Jayawardana had won the 1977 general election by a 5/6 majority is one of my vivid childhood memories. Perhaps, the fact that my father was an ardent supporter of the United National Party led by Junius Richard Jayawardana, commonly known as JR, compounded the significance of that memory. JR Jayawardana asked for a mandate to build a just society (“Dharmishta Samajaya” in Sinhalese) and an open economy. There was no TV at that time, but more..

The urgent need for Sri Lankan muslim marriage law reform

Dec 23 (SL) Zainab* was a woman stuck in an abusive marriage. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she decided to divorce her husband, and, as per the law governing Muslims in Sri Lanka, Zainab approached a Qazi (a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic law) with her problems. In what came as a complete shock to her, the Qazi did not give her a fair hearing. At first, he even told her to return to her husband, and simply refused to give her a divorce, despite more..

Namal’s disclosure of family embarrassment

Dec 23 (Island) Among the important matters that came up during the committee stage discussion on the media last week was young MP Namal Rajapaksa’s candid disclosure about the embarrassment caused to his family as a result of inordinate media coverage given to the members of the Rajapaksa family. Agreeing with the opposition charge that the ITN channel has become a Rajapaksa family channel, he said the relentless publicity given by the state run TV channels to the events more..

The National theatre: Who did what

Dec 23 (Island) I thank Mr. Bandu De Silva for his prompt response to my letter on the National Theatre. It affords me the opportunity to say something more on this matter and related things, which I could not include in my earlier short letter. I do not what to embroil myself in an argument with Mr B De S over the semantics of the words "moot" and "Conceive" because it is not directly relevant to the matter at hand. Nor do I want to contest his facts that the idea of more..

A chief is the best-known Sri Lankan in Australia

Dec 23 (Island) The current best known expatriate Sri Lankan in Australia surely is Peter Kuruvita, a chef. His weekly My Sri Lanka television show broadcast nationally across Australia by Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), now into its fifth episode in a ten-part series, is drawing record audiences at peak viewing time. He is winning the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Australians …through their stomachs. more..

Editorial: The Crusaders' Crimes

Dec 23 (Island) "The United States urges the United Nations to end, once and for all, its actions in relation to the Goldstone Report … As we made clear when the Goldstone Report was first presented we did not see evidence that the Israeli govt intentionally targeted civilians." This is what US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice told the apex world body in April, 2011, urging it not to be preoccupied with the Goldstone report which accused Israel of committing war crimes during more..

Enervating the language through verbicide

Dec 23 (Island) Language is a social phenomenon. It’s a tool for performing a complex variety of functions including, among other things, establishing goodwill, solidarity, and cooperation between the members of a community, resolving intrapersonal and interpersonal issues, generating ideas and thoughts, and exchanging these with others, and seeking and disseminating knowledge, and gratifying the human sense of beauty. It is its communicative function that we identify more..

Chandimal set to make Test debut in Durban

Dec 23 (Island) After being blown out inside three days at Centurion to lose the first Test against South Africa by an innings and 81 runs, the Sri Lankans will have little consolation when they hear that Kingsmead in Durban is South Africa’s bounciest pitch. However, the tourists, who have lost seven of their eight Tests played in South Africa so far, managed their only draw in this country in Durban 11 years ago in the Boxing Day Test Match. more..

‘Bribe me or I will send you to court’

Dec 23 (TC) “Help (bribe) me or go to court” was the persistent demand of a Police sergeant 26926 at Colpity checkpoint last Sunday. An 18 year old with a full British driving licence was driving a vehicle with her mother sitting next to her. The Mother had a full Sri Lankan driving licence and was helping her daughter get familiar with the Colombo roads. At Colpity checkpoint in front of Methodist College, they were stopped. A Police officer requested driving licences and more..

Behind the veil of white van abduction

Dec 23 (MoD) The parents of Danushan, a resident of the Chunnagam area in Jaffna, recently lodged a complaint with the Chunnagam Police, claiming that their son was abducted by a gang of persons who arrived in a White van. Pro-LTTE websites and newspapers pounced on this as an opportunity to discredit the Security Forces by giving wide publicity and coverage by publishing reports regarding this incident. However, once he returned home, four days after he went missing, more..

City Hotels predict 45% increase in revenue next year

Dec 23 (Island) The President of the City Hotels Association M. Shanthikumar yesterday predicted an increase of 45% in revenue next year in the city hotels, up from a 35% growth rate this year. He said that 2012 would prove to be one of the best seasons that the City Hotels have had and would continue with a rapid growth pattern with more high end tourists. He attributed the increase in revenue to adhering to the minimum room rates which was more..

BoC achieves asset base of over Rs 800b

Dec 23 (DN) “Bank of Ceylon (BoC) is the bank with the best ratings in Sri Lanka with an over Rs 800 billion asset base,” BoC chairman dr Gamini Wickramasinghe said. He made these comments after briefing the media on the first ‘premier local centre’ which opened last Wednesday to cater to the needs of high end customers. The new BoC ‘Premier Centre’ is at 21, Flower Road, Colombo 7 and will provide a personalized service to customers from the moment they enter the centre. more..

Ragging victim serious

Dec 23 (DN) A first year female undergraduate of the Ruhunu University Arts and Social Science Faculty was transferred from Matara General Hospital to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital as her condition was critical after being ragged by senior students of the university. It is reported that she had been severely ragged at the university canteen before a gathering of senior and junior students. Wathsala Kumudini de Silva, 21, a resident of Balapitiya had earlier faced another mishap, more..

Rs. 100 mn allocated to buy furniture for CMC

Dec 23 (Island) The budget of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) was presented yesterday by Mayor Mohamed Muzammil. Muzzamil said, in his budget speech, that the CMC’s expected expenditure for 2012 was Rs. 7, 750.8 million and the Council would earn a total estimated revenue of Rs 7, 751.3 million from capital receipts, rates and taxes and many other sources to develop the city. He said he would prepare a corporate action plan for the next four years and more..

Sirikotha fracas: Injured can seek treatment through President’s Fund

Dec 23 (Island) The UNP was a strong political party and its future would be determined by its members and supporters, the government said yesterday. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly Cabinet press briefing, that the Rajapaksa regime would not interfere in the affairs of the main opposition political party. Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne told parliament on Wednesday, that they would protect the UNP headquarters, ‘Sirikotha’, from any unruly elements. more..

E-waste: a threat in the future

Dec 23 (DN) The flood of electronic waste such as discarded information and communication equipment as well as other electronic products is a growing concern, Central Environment Authority Chairman Charitha Herath said. He called on the public, organizations and other stakeholders to support the govt's efforts at responsible e-waste disposal and environmentally sound e-waste management. He said so at the national e-waste forum at the BMICH on Monday held to review more..

Connections | December 19, 2011

No infrastructure to take care of floods displaced genocide victims of Vanni

Dec 23 (TN) 11,000 people belonging to 2,556 families have been displaced from the low-lying lands of Ki'linochchi district this week following heavy rain and floods. Of these, only 1,443 persons of 349 families have been provided refuge by the SL administration. The remaining families have been struggling to find space with their relatives and friends elsewhere. Most of the ‘re-settled’ victims of genocide were living in temporary huts in the low-lying lands. more..

HSTUA complains to Bribery Commission

Dec 23 (Island) The Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) yesterday urged the Bribery Commission to look into the fraud of Rs. 700,000 which allegedly took place at the Postal Unit of the Health Ministry in 2007. HSTUA President Saman Ratnapriya said that the HSTUA had submitted a written request to the Bribery Commission requesting an inquiry into the matter. The alleged fraud was revealed by the Auditor General’s Department (AGD) in August and a written submission had more..

'Sri Lankan govt risks squandering hard-won opportunity'

Dec 23 (RC) The end of a three-decade long civil war in Sri Lanka has given the country an incredible opportunity to address the war's root cause — long-standing ethnic tension — and forge ahead with its plans for an open, democratic and prosperous future. The war between the govt and the LTTE was devastating to all Sri Lankans: Countless lives were lost, individuals were stripped of their livelihoods and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. more..

Govt to develop townships in Mahaweli zone

Dec 23 (DN) The govt will develop every town in the Mahaweli zone, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He was addressing the inaugural ceremony to provide deeds for the first colonists of the Rambaken Oya Irrigation Project at Mahaoya. All benefits of the project will be provided to the public. The authorities will analyze information on the deeds that have been given by previous govts. The people who do not have deeds will be provided with deeds after inspecting more..

Post-war road development projects receive French boost

Dec 23 (Island) In line with an ongoing accelerated post-war project to develop the road network, the Treasury on Dec. 20 finalized an agreement with France to finance the widening and reconstruction of bridges. French Ambassador Ms Christine Robichon end Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundara signed the agreement at the Ministry of Finance and Planning. China, India, Japan and UK are involved in both road and railway development projects. more..

Promising ‘Sri Lanka Peace Collection’ gets US backing

Dec 23 (FT) The promising Sri Lanka Peace Collection has successfully garnered the US Govt’s nod. ‘Sri Lanka Peace Collection’ is the Govt’s initiative to provide livelihood support for war widows through the country’s handloom sector. “The Sri Lanka Peace Collection has very high potential,” US Ambassador Patricia Butenis said after a special presentation and a discussion facilitated by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen recently. more..

RC Church welcomes LLRC report

Dec 23 (DN) The Catholic Church yesterday stressed that the voice of the people who had been caught in the conflict for more than 30 years, is clearly embedded in the final report of the LLRC rather than in the report of the experts panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. According to Colombo Archbishop Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, all citizens, including Christians, have dual challenges ahead of them though the war is ended. more..

Senior Army Officer arbitrarily arrested

Dec 23 (AHRC) Mr. R.D Wickramasinghe (51) was an army captain until 2003 and afterwards taught at Gurudeniya Maha Vidiyalaya. He taught Political science and Economics, in addition to being a Cadet Officer in the school, as he graduated from the Peradeniya University. He is married and has three children; two sons and a daughter, aged nineteen, sixteen, and twelve. His wife, Chandrika Jayaratne, is also a teacher at the Ambatenna primary school. On the 26th of June, 2006, more..

Govt. ready to act on RW’s call for NGO probe

Dec 23 (Island) In the wake of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s unprecedented claim that a German NGO had thrown its financial weight behind those seeking to oust him from the party leadership, the government is now contemplating a comprehensive inquiry into NGO activity. Although the govt initiated an inquiry early this year on three recipients of over Rs. 618 million during a three-year period since 2008, it wasn’t pursued. more..

Int. rates cool down as CB pumps in Rs. 15.8bn

Dec 23 (Island) Overnight money market rupee interest rates cooled down on Thursday from Wednesday’s high levels after the Central Bank pumped in around Rs. 15.8 billion into the system in a bid to ease liquidity tightening caused by seasonal demand and defence of the exchange rate. The Central bank tried to Rs. 20 billion into the domestic money market via a reverse repurchase cash auction. Bids amounted to Rs. 15.77 billion and the bank accepted them all at 8.16 percent. more..

Sagara University launches whale observation boat service

Dec 23 (Island) The Sagara University has launched a boat service, in association with a private tourism institute, for local and foreign tourists to observe dolphins and whales in close proximity. Sri Lanka Sagara University was set up twelve years ago by the then Fisheries Minister and present President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Currently it is under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development. The dolphins and whales observation boat service commenced its service from more..

TNA: will soon take a call on talks

Dec 23 (Hindu) The talks between the Sri Lankan govt and the TNA, an umbrella group of Tamil political parties representing the Northern Tamils, is headed for another trough, with both sides levelling a series of allegations against the other. It began soon after the TNA expressed its views on the LLRC on Monday. The TNA said the LLRC report “categorically fails to effectively and meaningfully deal with issues of accountability” and called for the establishment of more..

Indian devolution model cannot be replicated in Sri Lanka – Govt.

Dec 23 (Island) The govt said that it was not prepared to adopt the Indian devolution model in Sri Lanka. Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle said that ITAK which claims to represent the Tamil people,was trying to create a de-facto state by laying down conditions such as the re-merger of the North and East and land and police powers for the two provinces. "If we grant their wishes the President and other leaders in the South, would have to obtain permission to visit the North-East" more..

A third of south Asians made to pay bribes: survey

Dec 23 (AFP) More than one in three south Asians say they were forced to bribe officials in the last year, mainly for services they were legally entitled to, an international anti-graft watchdog said on Thursday. A survey released by Berlin-based Transparency International in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu showed bribery has become so endemic that the region is second only to sub-Saharan Africa as the corruption hotspot of the world. The watchdog surveyed 7,800 more..

Business cartel taking over govt., warns Ranil

Dec 23 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says a business cartel was trying to takeover the govt and that Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera could face the same fate as the former Chairperson and Director General of the SEC of Sri Lanka. "Who is making the decisions? It is true the private sector is the engine of growth, but in Sri Lanka what I find very alarming is that a business cartel is trying to take over the Govt. more..

Pettah Manning Market to move to Peliyagoda

Dec 23 (Island) The Pettah Manning Market, along with its warehouse, is to be relocated in Peliyagoda, under the government’s programme to modernize Colombo and its surroundings. The market premises in Pettah would be expanded to accommodate a bus terminal and a commercial complex, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Renovation of the old Marketing Department building at Fort, development of the Race Course and Bloomfield grounds and refurbishment of the Pettah Central more..

Only family member’s appeal can secure Fonseka’s release

Dec 23 (Island) The former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka could be released from prison, only if one of his immediate family members made an appeal, the govt reiterated. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella saidthat for a reprieve to be granted, the proper procedure according to the country’s laws has to be followed. In an obvious reference to American pressure that was being exerted on the Rajapaksa regime, he said that resorting to unconventional methods would prove futile. more..

Dilantha lies to Colombo Court

Dec 23 (SL) Sensational information has come to light in the aftermath of Dilantha Malagamuwa’s court appearance on his return to the country. The racing motor champion originally from Kurunegala, returned from Malaysia amidst great controversy and went straight to the Court complex and surrendered as he was ordered to last week. In his application for bail, he gave his permanent address as 415 Mihindu Mawatha Kurunegala. more..