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Each time he was abducted, he returned

Dec 23 (LB) For over a week, since his son Lalith Kumar Weeraraj went missing in Jaffna, his father, A. Weeraraj has been visiting government agencies, rights groups, and as the last resort, the United Nations offices, to seek the safe return of his son, Lalith Kumar and his colleague, Kugan Muruganandan who went missing and are feared to be abducted (some say by the military, but no one knows...) on Dec 9 night while the two were engaged in political work in Jaffna. more..

Statement on the report of Sri Lanka's LLRC

Dec 23 (ICG) The International Crisis Group welcomes the public release of the report of Sri Lanka’s LLRC, presented to the Sri Lankan parliament on 16 December 2011. The report acknowledges important events and grievances that have contributed to decades of political violence and civil war in Sri Lanka and makes sensible recommendations on governance, land issues and the need for a political solution. more..

Pera undergrads boycott lectures

Dec 23 (Island) Undergraduates of the Peradeniya University boycotted lectures yesterday in protest against the suspension of the students’ council and student unions on Wednesday by the university administration. University sources said that students had held a protest opposite the Senate building demanding the withdrawal of the suspension order, but they had to disperse as the university administration refused to do so. more..

‘LLRC report stumped pessimists’

Dec 23 (Island) The govt presented the LLRC report to Parliament earlier than expected to the surprise of many pessimists, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said that these pessimists had earlier said that the LLRC report would never be forwarded to Parliament. “When the LLRC was appointed, these narrow minded international and local organisations said the commission was partial and biased. Hence, there would not be any fruitful outcomes. more..

Private Buses to transport empty plastic crates

Dec 23 (GDI) The Private Bus Operators Association and the Inter Province Bus Owners Association have come forward for re- transport of plastic crates used for transport of fruits and vegetables. A discussion in this regard was held with the Minister of Private Transport C. B .Ratnayake was held yesterday at the Ministry of Private Transport. About 50 percent of the private buses operated in the country belong to these two Associations. more..

Budget projects country’s forward march - President

Dec 23 (DN) This year’s budget is a budget which explained the govt’s successful march forward as indicated by the people’s response shown to it said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on Wednesday. President made this observation joining the committee stage debate of the Appropriation Bill in relation to the finance heads of the Finance and Planning Ministry in his capacity as the Finance and Planning Minister. more..

Sri Lanka among highest-risk financial systems: Fitch

Dec 23 (LBO) Rapid credit growth and rising asset prices has put Sri Lanka among the highest-risk financial systems, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings which has cut its growth forecast for emerging Asia. The report on the Asia-Pacific sovereign credit outlook said there were growing concerns about bank credit in the region. "While many advanced economies “de-lever”, the speed of credit growth and rising asset prices has led to more..

State Christmas Celebrations at Temple Trees

Dec 23 (GDI) The State Christmas Festival was held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa last night at Temple Trees. The Archbishop of Colombo Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith speaking at the annual Christmas celebration said that the the final LLRC Commission report has made number of decisions that will direct the country towards genuine peace and unity. The Archbishop said that all citizens, including Christians, have more..

First shots fired by Bharatha’s bodyguard: CID

Dec 23 (DM) The CID informed the Colombo Magistrate yesterday that, according to the observations and evidence, the first bullets fired during the Mulleriyawa shooting were from a weapon entrusted to Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s bodyguard. CID ASP Shani Abeysekara informed court that the Govt Analyst’s report had identified one of the weapons from which shots had been fired during the shootout as being the one issued to Randunuge Gamini, more..

Editorial: The spirit of sacrificial service

Dec 23 (DM) Kings, national leaders and nations have sought to build dynasties. Their goals are to perpetuate a succession of rulers, who are either family members or those affiliated to a particular group or party in power. History has however shown that such dynasties do not last long. Powerful nations, conglomerates and influential families have fallen along the way. When one aspires to build an empire for personal gain, glory or plunder of another's resources, it is doomed to collapse. more..

Budget of UPFA-ruled Mihinthale Pradeshiya Sabha defeated

Dec 23 (NF) At the inaugural budget of the UPFA ruled Mihinthale Pradeshiya Sabha was defeated Thursday. A secret ballot was held and out of the votes cast only the Mihinthale Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman had voted for the budget. The Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha consists of five members from the UPFA, two representatives from the UNP and one representative from the JVP. When Newsfirst made an inquiry from the Chairman of the Mihintatle Pradeshiya Sabha U.B. Sirisena he stated that more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Stocks close up one percent

Dec 23 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed higher for the second straight day after several days of losses with turnover boosted by deals in index heavyweight John Keells Holdings and Commercial Bank, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 1.07 percent to 5,982.58, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.43 percent to 5,189.86. Turnover was rose to 1.15 billion rupees. Share prics rose sharply at the opening but then tapered off towards midday. more..

Grease Devil case: SC refixes FR pitition for Feb. 2

Dec 23 (DM) The Supreme Court refixed for support on Feb 2 for leave to proceed with the 61 fundamental rights petitions filed in respect of the alleged ensuing reprisals on the residents by military and police at Navanthurai, Jaffna in the aftermath of the incidents of 'Grease Devil' phenomenon. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justices Chandra Ekanayake and Suresh Chandra. Counsel Kanag Iswaran appearing for the Petitioners moved for more..

WikiLeaks: Rajapaksa is very conscious of his lower class roots

Dec 23 (CT) “This was a somewhat disjointed but nonetheless useful conversation between second and third grade musical and dance performances. The President was at ease and mused that he was happy to have someone to talk with during what he jokingly called ‘this annual agony’ that he loyally attends to recognize his wife’s efforts.” the US Ambassador to Colombo wrote to Washington. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and more..

Sri Lanka's brand image has to outshine larger countries: economist

Dec 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will have to showcase better indicators than larger countries in the region to attract investments as a global downturn remains in place, an international economist who has a special focus on Asia said. To draw large volumes of foreign investment macro-economic stability and a good business environment was needed, Razeen Sally, a longtime London School of Economics professor who will shortly move to Singapore's Lew Kwan Yew School of more..

Ill-effects of smoking in pictures on cigarette packets

Dec 23 (CT) The govt has promised to implement a promise made in 2008 to include pictures depicting ill-effects of smoking on cigarette packets, said chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Prof. Carlo Fonseka. He was speaking at a public awareness seminar yesterday (22) at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. Prof. Fonseka said he has been assured by health deputy minister Lalith Dissanayake about the speedy implementation of the promise as law. more..

Sri Lanka in sand nourishment to prevent sea erosion

Dec 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will use sand nourishment to shore up defences against sea erosion in Marawila, a fishing and tourism area, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. In the past Sri Lanka has used hard structures including rock, which disfigures beach areas and could also shift erosion to adjacent areas, by redirecting energy. Sri Lanka's Western Coastal areas which face strong monsoon winds have been particularly susceptible to sea erosion in the past. more..

Floods displace thousands in North

Dec 23 (UCAN) The Catholic Church has joined relief efforts to provide aid for up to 38,000 people displaced by severe flooding that has hit the north of the country this week. More than 11,000 families have been affected in Northern Province, according to the govt-run Disaster Management Center, which has set up 41 welfare centers to help the victims. Caritas-Vanni and Don Bosco centers are also providing aid to victims who fled their homes in Kilinochchi and more..

Collection for murdered Huyton shop worker stolen

Dec 23 (BBC) Thieves stole a collection box full of cash donated to help the family of a murdered shop worker on Merseyside. The box was taken from the counter of Stanley News in Huyton, where Mahesh Wickramasingha, 30, was stabbed to death last month. It had been set up to raise money for his wife and two children, who he supported back home in Sri Lanka. Police want to trace two white youths, aged about 16, after the box was stolen at about 09:45 GMT. more..

Sri Lanka October exports fall

Dec 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's export earnings in Oct 2011 fell 4.9 percent to 882 million US dollars from a year ago mainly owing to a fall in earnings from tea shipments, the island's main agricultural export. Imports in Oct shot up 41 percent to 1.75 billion dollars over the same period largely owing to inflows of investment goods and higher petroleum prices, the central bank said in a statement. The trade gap in Oct 2011 widened 180 percent 869 million dollars. more..

Rain a greater threat to SA than Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (SAPA) The weather could prove a greater threat than Sri Lanka to South Africa’s chances of earning their first home series win in three years when the teams clash in the second Test at Kingsmead in Durban on Monday. Considering the Sri Lankans were routed by an innings and 81 runs inside three days — in fact, in less than eight sessions — in the first Test in Centurion, the Proteas will go into the match outright favourites. But the rain that has been forecast for more..

Kanneliya forest reserve in danger says environmentalists

Dec 23 (BBC) Sri Lanka's rich biodiversity hotspot,Kanneliya forest reserve is in danger due to felling down of trees for tea cultivations, says the Environment Conservation Trust (ECT). Kanneliya situated in the Galle districts is one of large remaining rainforests in Sri Lanka other than the Sinharaja forest. Director, ECT, Sajeeva Chamikara told Sandesaya that people living in the borders of the forest reserve continue to clear lands for tea cultivations more..

Sri Lankan tourism takes to gambling

Dec 23 (FT) You’ve done the elephant safari. You’ve been on the snorkelling trip. Now what you want is a few hours at a blackjack table. Or so believes the Sri Lankan govt as it looks to boost tourism by throwing open its arms to foreign investment in its gambling sector. With its economy chalking up annual growth of 6 per cent over the last five years, the odds are in Sri Lanka’s favour as it tries to join the ranks of Asia’s success stories, more..

Commission of inquiry defends Rajapaksa against UN

Dec 23 (AN) The LLRC set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to shed light on the 2002-2009 period released its report today. The 400-page report found that Sri Lankan Security Forces “did not deliberately target civilians in the last stages of the war against the Tamil Tigers”. Its conclusions appear to contradict a UN report, released on 26 April, that accused the govt of Sri Lanka of killing more than 40,000 civilians through aerial bombing and coldblooded executions more..

Couple missing with two children from Leeds

Dec 23 (BBC) Ports and airports are on alert for a couple who have gone missing with two young children in Leeds. Sri Lankan nationals Mohammed Fayzed and Shikiri Wahab, who may also go by the name Fatima Shikiri Wahab Aftab, are both 30 years old. West Yorkshire Police said the couple had broken a court order by taking the youngsters from a supervised visit. A girl and boy, aged nine and two, were taken from an address on Roundhay Road, Leeds, on Thursday afternoon. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.12.2011

EROS will stand by Govt on LLRC report

Dec 23 (MoD) The EROS wishes to thank His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa for expediting and releasing the LLRC report within a remarkable 18 month timeframe. EROS also wishes to congratulate the panel of distinguished experts who were party to the LLRC report for drafting an exceptional and yet robust report based on the actual facts that led up to the final decimation of the LTTE in Sri Lanka under the Sri Lankan Army's rescue mission in May 2009. more..

New Examinatio​n Commission​er appointed

Dec 23 (LS) Senior administrative officer W.M.N.J Pushpakumara has been appointed as the new Commissioner General of Examinations. He is to assume duty on January 1st. The service period of the present Examination Commissioner Dr. Anura Edirisinghe ends on December 31 and the govt has not extended his service. Some education sector trade unions protested extension of the service of Edirisinghe beyond the retiring age of 60 years. The cabinet has approved the appointment more..

Bus strike on several routes over illegal bus

Dec 23 (AD) A private bus strike commenced today on several bus routes, including the 138 route, in protest to the ‘illegal’ admission of a new bus. President of the Private Bus Operators’ Association (PBOA), Gemunu Wijeratne said that private buses on routes 138, 171, 698, 697 and also the Homagama -Padukka route have withdrawn from transport. He also pointed out that private buses of several more routes are scheduled to join in on the strike. more..

No let-up for Sri Lanka’s struggling batsmen

Dec 23 (AP) There will likely be no let-up for Sri Lanka’s under-fire batting lineup in next week’s second test, with rain in Durban on Friday hinting at another field day for South Africa’s buoyant fast bowlers. Having been bowled out for 180 and 150 to lose the first test by an innings, Sri Lanka’s misfiring batters look set to face another green-tinged, seamer-friendly surface at Kingsmead from Monday as they aim to fight their way back into the three-test contest and more..

Exhibition products made with handloom

Dec 23 (GDI) A unique exhibition products made with handloom woven bamboo fabrics was opened by the Minister Basil Rajapakse, at Kandygs Thirasara Island, 28/11, de Fonseka Place, Colombo 05, on 22nd December. The exhibition is open to the public on December 23rd & 24th. This unique exhibition featured the work of rural weavers from the village of Ihala madampalla in Divulapitiya. Handloom weaving in this village was revived through a pilot project initiated by more..

Fmr. AG’s speech featured in Ekneligoda case

Dec 23 (DM) When the case into the disappearance of senior journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda was taken up at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court today, the counsel appearing on behalf of Mr. Eknaligoda’s family said he intended calling former Attorney General Mohan Peiris as a witness in the habeas corpus inquiry. Counsel Chryshmal Warnasooriya appearing with Sonali Wanigabaduge, Supun Wickremeratne and Nalaka Jayasuriya for Ms. Eknaligoda, more..

Muralidharan invests in CricHQ app

Dec 23 (Stuff) Wellington start-up CricHQ has added Sri Lankan spin bowling great Muttiah Muralidharan to its investor lineup – which already includes Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum. The company's free cricket-scoring application for the iPhone allows users to record and follow live cricket scores. Marketing manager Jarred Sewell said it was a coup getting Muralidharan – who was introduced to the company through Fleming – on board and his massive profile in more..

JHU queries delay in A/L results release

Dec 23 (SM) The JHU questions the unduly delay in the releasing of the GCE Advanced Level examination results this year. In a statement, JHU leader Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera says ministers and educational officials have failed to give an acceptable clarification for the delay. The results should ensure an end to the confusion among the students as well as their parents, he says. Describing the A/Ls as the most competitive examination in the country, the JHU leader notes that more..

‘Requests not needed for presidential pardon for Fonseka’

Dec 23 (SM) Legal expert J.C. Weliamuna says a request is not required if the president wants to grant a pardon to anyone. The constitution clearly mentions how a presidential pardon could be granted, he has told ‘Ravaya.’ The senior lawyer was responding to a statement by the president that he could consider a pardon for imprisoned former Army chief Sarath Fonseka if a request is made. more..

It’s about party, not personalities - Imtiaz

Dec 24 (NS) On the today’s battle between the Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya on UNP party leadership, a former UNP Minister Imtiaz Bakeer Markar said that the issue should be viewed in the context of the country’s future. The present status of the country is not only of concern to the UNP but even among some in the ruling party. There is no proper administration. Waste and corruption is the order of the day. more..

Removal of ‘beach dogs’ dastardly and inhumane

Dec 24 (NS) In Sri Lanka, we are supposed to have a no-kill policy on dogs. We are supposed to have a national sterilisation programme which allows dogs to remain where they are, sterilised and vaccinated. But since a few days ago, dogs are being collected from Matara to Galle and taken away by people who come in vans. The govt has spent millions of rupees on sterilising these dogs to reduce the dog population humanely in conformity with its no-kill policy on dogs. more..

The LLRC, Accountability and Reconciliation Issues

Dec 24 (Island) The final report of the LLRC was unexpectedly released on Friday last week, after a lot of uncertainty as to when and how it would released - whether in full, only selected parts or not at all. In the end, good sense seems to have prevailed, in striking contrast to the reports of previous Commissions of Inquiry and of the All Party Representative Committee which still seem to be gathering dust in the Presidential Secretariat. more..

O Come,All Ye Faithful!

Dec 24 (Island) It is the Season of Good Cheer. The Santa Claus business has caught on in Sri Lanka, with numerous Santas of various shapes, skin tones and sizes at key junctions, shopping malls and shop fronts, urging people to be lavish in their spending for Christmas. Little kids are puzzled by the ubiquitous presence of Santa, often wiping out sweat under a white beard. Some advertisers are also trying to catch up with the proliferation of Santa Claus with some ads more..