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Victimized judges may be reinstated

Dec 25 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to appoint a three member committee which will look at the possibility of reinstating a group of Judges and Magistrates who were victimized by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva. UPFA MP Janaka Priyantha Bandara said that the committee, once appointed will look into the grievances of 42 former Judges and Magistrates who were unfairly removed from service by the former Chief Justice. Bandara said that several victimized judges had migrated more..

UNP, TNA prevent PSC solution - Dinesh

Dec 25 (NS) The govt feels the TNA’s failure to nominate its representatives to Select Committee of Parliament to address the issue of the North is a reversal of the earlier agreement to reach an agreement among all political parties. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the govt has announced the appointment of a Select Committee of Parliament following the LLRC report to find solutions on any other relevant matters in relation to the problem of the North and East. more..

Sajith takes on Ranil over attack on Sirasa

Dec 25 (Island) Parliamentarian Premadasa is on a collision course over Wickremesinghe accusing Sirasa of conspiring with Reformists to take over the party leadership. At the behest of Sirasa, the newly elected UNP Deputy leader and his colleague, MP Dayasiri Jayasekera who failed in his bid for the position of the party’s national organizer, lashed at Wickremesinghe while reiterating their unstinted support for the media group. more..

Vegetable sellers offer conditional support for Manning Market shift

Dec 25 (ST) The govt’s decision to relocate the Manning Market — Colombo’s premier vegetable and fruit market — to Peliyagoda has drawn mixed reactions from vegetable sellers. Shiran Lasantha, a vegetable seller, said he was against the move because the manning market was centrally-located and close to the main bus stand and the railway station and therefore convenient to the people. “If we move to Peliyagoda people will find it difficult to come there,” he said. more..

Vegetable prices stable for X’Mas

Dec 25 (NS) The housewife hype that vegetable prices would soar up this X’Mas and New Year season has been allayed. Vegetable prices at the Manning Market had returned to average by the X’Mas season following the uncertainty that hovered a week ago due to the farmers and traders protests. From the staggering Rs. 250 a kilo the prices have been dropped to around Rs. 100, Rs.70 and Rs.50 depending on the varieties. On X’Mas eve, a wholesale price of a kilo of carrot at the manning market more..

CB Governor pooh-poohs Fitch warning

Dec 25 (ST) Sri Lanka has been listed as among a group of high-risk financial systems in Asia and the Pacific by Fitch Ratings, a claim rejected by the authorities but endorsed by economists and stock market analysts. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said it was an insignificant statement given that all the countries mentioned as high risk – India, China and Sri Lanka – had all achieved high growth. “There is huge unemployment in Britain, Europe and the US. more..

UNP provided names of those arrested: Maithree

Dec 25 (Island) Rebel UNP Provincial Councillor Maithree Gunaratne yesterday alleged that the majority of those taken in by the police for their alleged involvement in Monday’s chaos at Siri Kotha had surrendered to Mirihana police through his intervention. He alleged that he was arrested after he rushed to the Mirihana police on the advice of UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa to inquire into the arrest of three party men, namely Kotte Municipal Councillor Chandima Nayanajith, more..

Minister warns unruly students

Dec 25 (NS) Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said the Govt was ready to take bold decisions against unruly students as the Govt worked only in the national interest and not on personal political agendas. Minister said he had already instructed the Open University of Sri Lanka to take stern action against the students who did not perform well repeatedly. “Open University allows students who didn’t reach the cut off marks to enter other universities. They should follow a foundation course first more..

2012: ‘Year of the Fire Brigade’ for Govt.

Dec 25 (ST) Sri Lanka ushers in another New Year in just six days, with some of the most difficult challenges staring in the face of the govt. Matters arising from the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas in May 2009 will no doubt be one of them. The end of the separatist war has rid the countrywide fear psychosis and brought about an unprecedented wave of development activity. Yet, the peace dividend arising from the victory is still to be declared. more..

Raid on ‘Prem Nivasa’: An unseen force seeking to arouse religious disharmony?

Dec 25 (Island) While acknowledging the right of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and the Police to conduct investigations, the Catholic National Association of the Laity last week strongly condemned the high-handed and brutal manner in which they acted to question the Sisters and subsequently arrest and obtain a remand order from Court to detain Reverend Sister Mary Eliza the Superior of "Prem Nivasa" at midnight on 25th November 2011 without more..

Rain and storm warning: Two fishermen dead

Dec 25 (ST) Two fishermen from Palammadhu in Batticaloa were believed drowned at sea yesterday when their boat capsized due to bad weather, police said. Navy personnel have been called in to recover the bodies of the fishermen who had gone to sea despite the bad weather warnings. The Department of Meteorology said fishermen in the eastern and northern coastal areas should be vigilant due to the low pressure atmosphere around Sri Lanka. The department said heavy showers and strong winds were more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 25 (ST) A Defence Ministry official yesterday described as 'frivolous' purported claims by a onetime Major General that the Army higher-ups were ordered to kill civilians who surrendered during the final stages of the separatist war in May 2009. "We know the officer concerned who had to leave on disciplinary grounds. His purported claim is only to back up his appeal for asylum in the United States," the source said. more..

LTTE arm funds Amnesty Int’l

Dec 25 (NS) The world’s self-proclaimed human rights watchdog – Amnesty International (AI), was now being bought over by the pro-LTTE organisations in Canada, reports from Toronto said. The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), an ardent supporter of the LTTE, has now completed collecting a first grant of US $50, 000 for AI. This grant has been confirmed by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International in Canada. more..

War heroes receive houses from President

Dec 25 (MoD) Under the seventh phase of the 'Api Wenuwen Api' project for war heroes, 29 houses completed in Kalutara district were given ownership today (24) in the presence of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The main event was held at Rajawatta ground in Kalutara district. Beloved wife and the child of the soldier Sandaruwan KGR who sacrified his life in liberating our country from the terrorism lasted for three decades, more..

TNA behaves like LTTE – Basil

Dec 25 (NS) Like the LTTE, the TNA was difficult to deal with, Minister Basil Rajapaksa told Tamil journalists whom he met at the Parliamentary Complex. “The former at least agreed to hold discussions with the govt and starting from Thimpu talks and the LTTE held several rounds of talks with successive govts” Minister recalled. He said the TNA having secret talks with the SLFP alone will not help find a solution to the Tamil problem. more..

'The fewer excuses we make, the better'

Dec 25 (CI) As a new year approaches, there is usually a desire to reflect on the one that is about to come to an end. For the Sri Lankan cricket team, that reflection has been both a want and a need. Since losing the World Cup final, the zip of their bridesmaid's dresses has been caught and they have been unable to escape from them. They ended second best in the series against England, Australia and Pakistan. more..

Corruption delayed drug policy : Minister

Dec 25 (ST) Health Minister Maitripala Sirisena has accused his own officials of corruption whereby essential drugs are not reaching patients though as much as Rs. 21 billion was spent this year on the import of a thousand varieties of drugs. He told a seminar in Kurunegala that he would implement the much-delayed National Medicinal Drug Policy from next week despite objections from pharmaceuticals companies. more..

'Parliamentary SC should be appointed to probe SJGH’s malpractices'

Dec 25 (Island) The appointment of a Select Committee of Parliament to probe COPE’s findings of widespread irregularities and malpractices at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) is of critical importance as it relates to a medical facility which deals with human lives, a key Opposition member said last week. "Unlike the other state institutions taken to task by the COPE, SJGH is a hospital, more..

Fonseka Omitted From Mahawamsa

Dec 25 (SL) Sarath Fonseka, who was removed from the history of the army, has now lost his place in the new chapters to be added to the Mahawamsa. A new volume, with three chapters dedicated to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, will be added to the Mahavamsa. The chapters will highlight the President’s role in ending a 30 year war in the country. However sources said that Fonseka will not be mentioned in the new chapters. more..

Malabe Medical College loses students; they proceed to Uni’s overseas

Dec 25 (LB) A spokesman for the parent-student union of the Malabe Medical College said that their union, of late, has received threats from a powerful govt minister. These threats, the spokesman alleged, had begun to intensify after the minister had forced certain parents to remove their children from the Malabe Medical College. The spokesman also noted that they have decided to institute legal action against more..

John Keells to take Tourist Board to court

Dec 25 (SL) John Keells Limited has filed legal action against the Sri Lanka Tourist Board over its failure to pay their dues for the IIFA awards staged in Colombo last year amounting to over Rs. 45 million. Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel and Walker Tours, all part of John Keells Limited, are taking the Tourist Board to court for failing to make payments connected to the IIFA awards over the past one and a half years, sources at John Keells Limited said more..

Editorial: More growth prospects for the economy in 2012

Dec 25 (BL) The last two years have been good years for the economy. The growth rate was 8% last year and this it is expected to repeat the performance although the IMF projection is 7.5% instead of 8%. This is certainly good considering the little or low growth in the developed countries. Our external reserves are at an all time high of US$ 7 billion fuelled by the growth of exports, tourism and remittances of our workers abroad. Inflation has also come down and more..

Leasing faces challenges

Dec 25 (BL) The Chairman of the Leasing Association of Sri Lanka, Nishaman Karunapala says that despite the leasing industry recording a high growth rate in recent years, one of the main challenges faced by the industry is the lack of medium-term fixed rate funding as 99% of leases offered are at fixed rentals. He says that this issue is mainly due to the underdeveloped debt market and needs to be addressed at macro level. "Leasing companies operate through funding from more..

A year of moderate success and devastating failures

Dec 25 (Island) As the year 2011 dawned, there was optimism looking ahead of the year as Sri Lanka were the co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup and had 11 Test Matches in the year, a significant rise from the six they played in 2010. But as the year progressed, Sri Lanka’s performance slumped from bad to worse and from being world’s number two ranked team in both forms of the game, Sri Lanka fell to number six in Test cricket and four in ODI cricket. more..

Sri Lanka will 'definitely fight back' in Boxing Day Test: De Villiers

Dec 25 (ANI) South Africa should not take Sri Lanka lightly during the Kingsmead Test, Proteas batsman AB de Villiers has said. His statement comes in the wake of Sri Lanka still smarting from itsnnings and 81 run defeat in the first Test at the Centurion inohannesburg. De Villiers pointed out that the Sri Lankan side includes world-classlayers like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who canhallenge South Africa in the second Test. more..

Uni “Mafia” behind ragging

Dec 25 (SL) The administration of the Ruhuna University said that a student “mafia” was behind some of the ragging incidents at the campus. A fresher was admitted to the Matara hospital and later transferred to Colombo for treatment after she fainted following a ragging incident on Thursday. The Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Ruhuna University, Prof. Gamini Senanayake said that this year, out of the seven Faculties at the Ruhunu University, two had reported incidents of more..

Female ex-rebels faces uncertain future

Dec 25 (Xinhua) For 27-year old Niyangaraj Sudharshani, joining the Tamil Tiger rebels to fight for a separate state in Sri Lanka was a sacrifice for her family. At the height of hostilities with the Sri Lankan govt forces in 2006, the LTTE forced every family in the north and east to contribute to the struggle for a separate homeland by sacrificing a member to the guerillas. Sudharshani had no choice but to take the difficult and dangerous decision to more..

Norochcholai plant incurred Rs. 80 mn loss

Dec 25 (SL) The Power and Energy Ministry says the Norochcholai coal power plant has not been in operation for 35 days since it was commissioned in March this year and generated power sporadically during that period. Minister Champika Ranawaka said the plant had not been operating for 35 days due to various reasons and the loss incurred by the CEB as a result amounted to Rs. 80 million per day. He said that one of the main reasons for the non-functioning of the more..

Sri Lanka islet eyed by Canada firm for US$300mn leisure project

Dec 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka is in talks with Sapphire Bay, a Canadian based leisure firm to develop an islet off the northwestern coast of the island in a 300 million dollar investment golf course and hotel development. Sri Lanka has a received a detailed proposal to develop a part of the islet of Uchchimunai off Kalpitiya, an official source knowledgeable about the matter said. The project involves building three hotels and a golf course on 400 acres of the 1,000 acre islet. more..

Conjoined twins successfully separated at LRH

Dec 25 (LB) Manori Udayangani and Rasika Manoharan – both from Matara, had got married after a long relationship, and with much expectations, in 1999. Speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS Udayagani said that when she had got married she was just 19 years and Manoharan was 20. She was employed in a hotel while he had been doing odd jobs. Once they married, they had decided to live at her ancestral home. more..

Record year ahead for Sri Lankan economy

Dec 25 (SO) Sri Lanka will have the fastest growing economy in 2012 after China, predicts Capital Economics, a leading independent macroeconomic research consultancy in a note distributed to investors yesterday. “Capital Economics expects the Sri Lankan economy to grow eight percent in 2012, making it the fastest growing economy in emerging Asia after China,” the note prepared by Gareth Leather, Asia economist at Capital Economics, said. Capital Economics has offices and more..

Couple arrested over major job scam

Dec 25 (SL) A couple who managed to dupe people to the tune of over Rs. 9.2 million, have been arrested and were to be produced in court today. The police headquarters said that the couple were evading arrest for a year and were finally arrested yesterday by a special unit of the Colombo Fraud Bureau. The police said that the couple had taken money from several people promising them jobs overseas and had even bribed some police officers to evade arrest. more..

Ask the HK High Commissioner

Foreigner killed in tourist resort – Local politician incolved

Dec 25 (LT) A foreigner was killed and his wife injured when a fight broke out in a tourist resort in Tangalle today at about 3.00 a.m. The wife of the foreigner has been hospitalized with severe injuries. A group including a Local Govt politician had attacked the foreign couple. The sources say the fight had broken out between the foreigner and the local group led by the politician when the wife of the foreigner was abused and harassed at a musical show in the resort. more..

No alliance with UNP - JVP

Dec 25 (SM) The JVP has said that it was not prepared to form any political alliance with the UNP or its faction that engages in a media war against the party leader. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, instead, his party would form an extensive union with the common people soon to topple the ‘traitorous Rajapaksa regime.’ He was making comments regarding an article in ‘Divaina’, which claimed a new opposition political alliance was to be formed before the next parliamentary polls. more..

Wife appeals for Kugan’s release for Christmas

Dec 25 (SM) The wife of the missing Jaffna political activist Kugan Muruganandan has sought his release in view of Christmas. The appeal by Muruganandan Chanda came at a media briefing today convened by relatives of Kugan and Lalith Kumar Weeraraju, who disappeared several days ago. Chanda said her husband had abandoned the LTTE in 2010 and has sold firewood to make a living for the family, also including a daughter aged eight years. more..

Navy rescues Indian Fisherman from run-aground Boat

Dec 25 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy rescued an Indian fisherman whose fishing boat had run aground in the Sri Lankan waters north-east of Delft on 24th December 2011. He was brought ashore safely and handed over to the law enforcement authorities for legal formalities. The Indian fishing boat on which the fisherman had been onboard is named “Ratta” and bears the registration number TN/08/FRPV/834. It had left from the Jagathapatnam Fishery Harbour in Tamil Nadu on 22nd December and more..

What is wrong with Ranil? Did the UNP win because of John’s charisma or John’s smile ?

Dec 25 (CT) The UNP has over the years been reduced to a Colombo-centric pressure group, run by an elitist cabal whose members usually catch a cold if the Queen happens to sneeze in London. The UNP of yore used to be a vibrant political movement backed by the elite and the masses alike. It will have to regain its lost image and vigour if it is to gain enough political traction let alone, win elections. Ranil has his work cut out because President Rajapaksa is well more..

WikiLeaks: Fonseka and IGP labelled journalists as traitors – Four journalists came to Embassy

Dec 25 (CT) “Since the Govt’s victory against the LTTE, GSL officials have begun openly criticizing journalists that it claims were on the LTTE payroll. Public comments by the Army Commander and IGP have heightened concerns among journalists for their safety. Since May 26, four journalists have come to the Embassy to relay their concerns for their safety and to request Embassy assistance.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. more..

President Nasheed here to witness a passing out parade

Dec 25 (DM) Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed will arrive to Sri Lanka on an official visit today, External Affairs Ministry sources said today. The official said that Maldives President Nasheed would attend to a passing out parade at the Diyatalawa Military Academy as a chief guest. The visiting President will also meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa, External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peries and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..