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True and lasting peace yet not a reality: Bishops

Dec 24 (DM) The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Sri Lanka in a Christmas day message said yesterday the celebration of Christmas in the post-war context of Sri Lanka had its distinctive challenges. It said Christmas challenged all of us to meet the Lord among the suffering people of our society -- the poor and the afflicted and to bring them comfort and solace. more..

Mass protests over suppression of students’ rights: IUSF

Dec 24 (DM) The Inter-university Students’ Federation (IUSF) yesterday warned that student unions at all universities in the country would march to Colombo for a massive protest over the government’s suppression of students’ rights. IUSF President Sanjeewa Bandara said 30 student unions had been suspended by the government in an attempt to suppress the university student body. more..

Norway: Loss of civilian lives during military action not IHL violation

Dec 24 (Island) In the wake of a section of the international community seeing holes in Sri Lanka’s LLRC, NATO member Norway has acknowledged the impossibility in avoiding mistakes and civilian deaths during an intense military campaign. Norway joined several countries, including the UK and France, in carrying out air attacks targeting Libya. The Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo told The Island that a recent Norwegian language statement, more..

Sirikotha polls rigging allegation: Tissa offers to quit if Dayasiri proves claim

Dec 24 (Island) The UNP’s General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, who had functioned as the presiding officer at last Monday’s elections to the posts of Leader, Deputy Leader and National Organiser, said they had been free and fair and there was no truth in the allegations of rigging levelled by Dayasiri Jayasekera MP. Attanayke said that the agents of all candidates had been present at the counting conducted in a transparent manner. more..

Editorial: Christmas - From selfishness to other centredness

Dec 24 (DM) Today the world celebrates Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. In human society only a few individuals have single handedly changed the course of history and Jesus Christ ranks at the top of this list. He was an enigma at the time of birth and at the time of his death and continues to be so even today. Napoleon Bonaparte, imprisoned on an island and reflecting sadly upon the ruins of his empire whilst waiting for death, speaks of this enigma in the most amazing more..

Philander strains left knee

Dec 24 (CI) Vernon Philander has suffered a mild strain to his left knee and will be monitored before being cleared to play in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Durban that starts on December 26. Philander picked up the injury while bowling in the nets on Saturday and was treated immediately. "He came off and received the necessary treatment from the physiotherapist, including icing and strapping," Mohammed Moosajee, South African team manager said. "He will be treated overnight and more..

High living cost stressed Sri Lankans despite growth prospects

Dec 24 (Xinhua) Anoma Weerasinghe, 38, bought gifts from a street vendor in Pettah ahead of Christmas but the festivities are marred by the increased costs in essential items even though Sri Lanka's post-war economy has been stable. The island nation is readying for its third post-war Christmas after the govt defeated the LTTE ending a bloody three decade war in 2009. Even though the majority of people in Sri Lanka are Buddhist many celebrate Christmas and more..

Sri Lanka cricketers to swim or sink

Dec 24 (DM) When Kepler Wessels made that humiliating statement of "We could beat them with our SA ‘A’ side” there were number of patriots to question the wisdom of former South African skipper. Within days, they had to hide their heads as the centurion test was over in three days. Tomorrow, on the Boxing Day, Sri Lankans get on to the field at Kingsmead, Durban, with their reputation is at stake, just nine months after being the finalists of World Cup. more..

Arrests as missing children found

Dec 24 (PA) Two young children who went missing, sparking a nationwide alert, have been found safe and well. Ports and airports were alerted on Thursday after Sri Lankan nationals Mohammed Fayzed and Shikiri Wahab, both 30, broke a court order by taking the youngsters from a supervised visit. West Yorkshire Police said a nine-year-old girl called Afra, and her brother Ahmed, two, were taken from an address in Roundhay Road, Leeds, on Thursday afternoon. more..

A/L results to be released tomorrow

Dec 24 (ST) Results of A/L Examinations will be released tomorrow (25), the Department of Examinations announced short while ago. The results will be available on the Examinations Department website tomorrow afternoon. Principals of Colombo and Sri Jayawardenapura schools will be able to collect the result sheets from the Examinations Department in Battaramulla on December 25 from10.00 a.m. Result sheets will be posted to outstation schools. more..

Stiff challenge for openers on South African tracks

Dec 24 (CI) If Sri Lankans have nightmares, there's a good chance what they dream of is 22 yards long and green. And the chance of that object appearing in real life soon is imminent. The Kingsmead pitch will likely be another seamer-friendly surface, with bounce that could end up rivalling a trampoline. The humidity will ensure there is swing in the air and South Africa's hungry pack of bowlers will be on the hunt for another early finish. One thing no Sri Lankan wants more..

Weerawansa says no unemployment problem

Dec 24 (DM) It is sad to witness that today's youth have absorbed only the negative effects of the TV and run for a world of dreams which is hollow and tasteless, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said.addressing a ceremony held in connection with the signing of a bilateral agreement between the National Construction Association of Sri Lanka (NCASL) and the Sri Lanka Vocational Training Authority (SLVTA), Minister Weerawansa said some 340,000 children enter schools more..

SLC back on track soon - Upali

Dec 24 (BBC) The main contender for the presidency of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) says that he is confident of taking the cash-strapped body back on track if he wins the elections on 03 January. Upali Dharmadasa told BBC Sandeshaya that said the main reason for the SLC to be “bankrupt” was the building of new stadiums for the cricket World Cup which was co-hosted by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. “This is a bit serious situation but more..

Editorial: Christmas is all about giving, sharing and caring

Dec 25 (SO) Millions of Christians around the world celebrate Christmas today, the birth of their saviour Jesus Christ in Bethlehem some 2011 years ago. The Christmas season gives an opportunity for all of us to unite in peace. We in Sri Lanka, expect that the true meaning of Christmas would strengthen national reconciliation and bring prosperity to our beautiful island. Especially at a time when the country has been united after the eradication of terrorism, it is the duty of more..

Editorial: The Yyear that was

Dec 25 (SL) When we reflected on the year that is ending, our thoughts went back to a person whom we like the least but had said an absolute truth about a pathetic failing of Sri Lankans: ‘You fellows just cannot remember a thing beyond two weeks’. We won’t spoil the festive season by recalling his name but it is true that most of us just cannot recall events beyond two weeks or even less. What happened in 2011? We went to our archives to refresh our memories and it all began falling into place. more..

'Tamil politicians must discuss millennium goals'

Dec 25 (SO) Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said reconciliation has to be carried forward in this post- conflict scenario. He said that Tamil politicians must come out with a reconciliatory approach regarding the problems faced by the people in the North and East. Recalling the past would not serve any purpose. Instead of discussing millennium goals, even today some Tamil politicians were talking about age-old goals which has no relevance. more..

Global Tamil Forum statement on LLRC report

Dec 25 (TC) Global Tamil Forum (GTF) welcomes the long delayed publication of the LLRC report. Its findings only serve to emphasise the importance of establishing an international, independent accountability mechanism to investigate whether Govt forces and the LTTE breached any international law, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last months of the war. Whilst the LLRC has received extensive criticism, it must be stated that some of its judgments and more..

End Upali-Thilanga rivalry for Cricket’s good

Dec 25 (SL) Despite the pompous fanfare with which Thilanga Sumathipala announced last month his intentions to run for Sri Lanka Cricket presidency, there was more than one reason to believe that he was only blowing hot air. And so it was: the controversial one-time cricket boss dropped out, supposedly of his own accord, from the January 3 elections, last Monday, claiming that as a govt MP “I may not find that amount of time’’ to devote to cricket –as if realisation that more..

Christmas and New Year Greetings and Wishes Everybody

Dec 25 (DBS) Hello Friends; Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! For Sri Lanka the war ended officially in May 2009. However it is not over yet for many of the victims or families of victims. It is also not over for some people in whose hearts there still exist warring passions. I hope and pray that the war will be over in a real sense for all of us soon and that the war affected people will be on the road to effective recovery. more..

Editorial: A second 88-89 unaffordable!

Dec 25 (NS) There are two moments in recent history that stand out, both for what they meant to the general population and for what followed: 1977 and 2009. In 1977, the UNP was swept to power after a 7 year hiatus and with a commanding majority. Things would be better, the people hoped, after having lost patience with Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s import-substituting, inward-looking, live-within-means efforts which may have worked but in the end turned out to be half-baked. more..

Editorial: LLRC said 'no such thing' on Channel 4…

Dec 25 (LB) For those who are now debating the pros and cons of the LLRC Report, anything including obscenely frenzied prevarication seem to pass muster. For those who did not think that the state appointed LLRC commissioners could be quite so open about mistakes made by the Govt of Sri Lanka, there is a certain level of bewilderment they can hardly conceal. This seems to have prompted some of these desperados to give the most amazing spin to some of the conclusions made by the Commission. more..

'No corruption charges against CEB and LECO after 2010'

Dec 25 (SO) Minister Champika Ranawaka complained that the media is slow to pick on the positive developments in the CEB and LECO adding the great hype over an electricity tariff revision cutting down the low income 90 unit concession was just a opposition gimmick to rouse the masses. He said the CEB is now in a stable position to meet the current demand for energy in the country and action to streamline LECO operations resulted in more..

Editorial: UNP’s need to unite

Dec 25 (Island) The violence seen outside Siri Kotha, the UNP headquarters, after the challenge mounted against Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership of the party failed abjectly, would certainly have left a bitter taste in the mouths of those who wish the green party well. Some dissident activists, elected on the party ticket to Provincial Councils and local bodies, were briefly remanded but later bailed despite police objections with the magistrate taking the more..

Editorial: LLRC's New Year gift for Lanka

Dec 25 (ST) The LLRC report that was made public last week has attracted mixed reactions, both domestically and internationally. Predictably, global human rights groups found the report wanting because not only did it not meet their expectations with regard to the investigations on allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by the Security Forces during the last stages of their military campaign against the LTTE back in early 2009, but more..

In Sri Lanka Cricket anything is possible

Dec 25 (ST) The Lankan cricket was and will always be lost in this masquerade. At one point of history no one, barring a dedicated few and may be another minute faction who had an axe to grind, got involved in cricket. As a matter of fact, though Sri Lanka was admitted to the level of a full Test playing member of the International Cricket Council the Lankan game was still afflicted with amateurism and an on going internal strife that more..

The UNP: Where to from here?

Dec 25 (NS) The drama that constitutes the UNP reached its climax on Monday when Ranil Wickremesinghe regained the mantle of leadership with a convincing 42-vote majority. His challenger Karu Jayasuriya emerged only a distant second. Wickremesinghe was tipped to win. Yet, the margin of his victory took many by surprise. It suggested that even some of those who had publicly postured as ‘reformists’ aligning themselves with Sajith Premadasa had not voted for Jayasuriya who totalled only 26 votes. more..

Full scale purge in UNP imminent

Dec 25 (NS) There are strong indications that neither Karu Jayasuriya who unsuccessfully contested for the UNP leadership nor any of his loyalists will be appointed either to the Working Committee or to any other responsible position in the party despite the assurance Ranil Wickremesinghe gave the Ven. Bellana Sri Gnanawimala Thera, Viharadhipati of Valukaramaya, Kollupitiya to treat equally both those who voted for him and against him. Wickremesinghe gave this assurance to more..

'Being flexible is not agreeing with govt'

Dec 25 (NS) The TNA has said it was still committed to proceed with the talks with the government. TNA Parliamentary Group Leader, R. Sampanthan says there was no truth in allegations that it was acting on instructions of the Diaspora, adding that the party had clearly stated their position on the solution to the ethnic crisis. Sampanthan speaks to The Nation on the state of the TNA-govt talks and the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). more..

5th column: The fracas, the fallout and the message

Dec 25 (ST) My Dear Green Man and the new Deputy Green Man, I didn't think a time will come when I would be writing to you together, but after what happened this week when you were elected as leader and deputy leader of the Greens, I thought I must do so, especially after seeing what took place after the elections. I suppose congratulations are in order for both of you especially to the Green Man because he was able to survive the most serious challenge to his leadership until now. more..

The politics of Christmas and the Sisters of Charity

Dec 25 (Island) It will not be Christmas as usual for Sister Mary Eliza and her fellow sisters at Prem Nivasa, the children’s home run by the Missionaries of Charity nuns at Rawatawatte in Moratuwa, after the November ordeal of a police raid and charges now withdrawn under the auspices of the National Children Protection Agency. The raid and the slanted coverage in sections of the media baselessly accusing the nuns of partaking in baby sales besmirched their reputation and more..

Ahinsaka Kolla Douglas to take LLRC to court

Dec 25 (LB) The EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda says that he would go to courts against the LLRC over allegations raised against the EPDP in the LLRC Report that it was responsible for operating illegal armed groups and abducting people. He alleged that the Commission had misquoted him and that the selected content of the LLRC Report, which had adverse reference to the EPDP — had been leaked to the media even before it was submitted to Parliament. more..

Postscript to the UNP fiasco

Dec 25 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe began his stewardship of the party on the wrong foot. One of his first acts as party leader was to fill a national list seat left vacant as a result of the Thotalanga bomb blast. He appointed a young reporter from Lankadeepa to the position. Thus began RW’s practice of making ‘hororscope appointees’ to various positions, a trend that was to become the bane of the UNP. The showdown at Sirikotha that we all saw last week on more..

UNP Mudslide

Dec 25 (LB) The fact that the president was open in his admission at a meeting with media heads on ‘the cleverness’ of the opposition leader in manipulating the UNP election, perhaps was the most hilarious act in last week’s absurd theatre on UNP elections. Though Mahinda Rajapaksa did not refer to Ranil Wickremesinghe by name, he made no pretence about the fact that Sajith Premedasa’s election as the deputy leader of the UNP on Monday was also manipulated by Wickremesinghe, more..

What more than Ambition and Vanity in a Name?

Dec 25 (LB) Commemoration and felicitation take many forms and guises. To get a landmark or a site named after a person of excellence or eminence in a specialized field is traditionally seen as a form of gratitude paid by the state for services rendered. The assignment of such “memorials” in the names of artistes, sportsmen, scientists, social workers who have made a noteworthy contribution is usually done posthumously more..

High Commissioner congratulates "Development Awards" recipients

Dec 25 (Island) The Australian High Commissioner, Ms Kathy Klugman, hosted a reception in Colombo last week to congratulate 27 accomplished Sri Lankans who have been awarded Australian Govt scholarships to study at Australian universities. The scholars will commence their studies in early 2012 under the Australian Govt’s ‘Development Awards’ scheme. The reception was attended by the Minister Prof G L Peiris, as well as a visiting delegation of more..

UNP to get Karu, Ravi back to the working Committee

Dec 25 (SL) The UNP is looking at getting former Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and former National Organizer Ravi Karunanayake involved in the decision making process of the party after they lost their slots in the Working Committee (WC) following the election for office bearers. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that Jayasuriya and Karunanayake should be involved in the party’s decision making process since they are senior members of the party. more..

Rs. 5 million damage to Ranil’s Mercedes

Dec 25 (ST) The damage caused to the bullet proof Mercedes Benz car allocated to UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been estimated at Rs. 5 million, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. He said the side windows and some of the lights had been damaged and would need to be imported from Germany. The damage caused to the Prado owned by Mr. Attanayake had been estimated at one million rupees with the vehicle’s body, windows and lights being broken. more..

Colombo DC quashes Dr. Bellana’s suspension in landmark judgment

Dec 25 (Island) The Colombo District Court recently delivered a landmark judgment against the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) for suspending Dr. Rukshan Bellana, a medical officer attached to the Kalubowila Hospital, from the membership of the Association in 2005 for a five-year period. The GMOA, a trade union arm consisting of medical doctors and specialists’ in the country, had suspended Dr. Bellana from his membership on March 28 2005, more..

Legal action against groups criticising LLRC

Dec 25 (SL) The External Affairs Ministry has warned that legal action will be taken against any group or institution which spreads false claims regarding the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LRRC). Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Perera said that while certain institutions had been identified as making false statements on the LLRC report, the legal department had not yet reported specific names to him. more..

Forged visas to the West for $ 1,000

Dec 25 (ST) A gang that operated for more than a year providing forged official documents to Sri Lankans to obtain visas to the United States and European countries has been busted by the CID. The detection came after a western diplomatic mission called in detectives when a couple produced suspicious documents. Detectives said that the forgers, who held fraudulent seals of various govt institutions, had charged Rs 114,000 per applicant for a visa. more..