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Mr. Wickremesinghe’s Mother of all Jillmarts

Dec 26 (LB) After the 2010 Presidential Election the UNP accused the UPFA government of vote manipulation. They stated that President Rajapaksa defeated the common opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka with a ‘computer jilmart’. However at the election to choose the party leader held last week, the UNP dissidents learnt that their own leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is the best in the game when it comes to voter manipulation. more..

Day of mayhem at Sirikotha

Dec 26 (ST) An estimated 3,000 people turned up outside Sirikotha, headquarters of the UNP, to listen to the results of an election to elect the leadership on Monday. It was the first such election after the party's constitution was amended earlier this year, to elect -- rather than select -- the party's hierarchy. Most of those who turned up or were transported by bus to the location at Pitakotte were more..

Children for whom Santa never comes

Dec 26 (SL) It is three in the afternoon and the little ones stumbled sleepily into the dark little hall of the Singitha Niwasaya of the Vajira Shri Home in Kotte. Little girls and boys all under five years of age – all wore clothes belonging to other children. And to those ‘too large’ or ‘too small’ for the clothes, the only accessory they wore – on their faces, was a look of worry and pain. It is Christmas everywhere and as coloured balls glinted in the light, the tears in the eyes of more..

Tsunami anniversary highlights early warning gaps

Dec 26 (IRIN) Seven years after a devastating tsunami struck Sri Lanka, more work still needs to be done to secure an effective early-warning system, officials say. More than 30,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 that struck 13 countries and left more than 200,000 dead across the region. "We need to improve communication between the agencies," Pradeep Kodippili, assistant director, more..

MR’s cutouts in the city worry CMC

Dec 26 (Island) Those who had put up massive cutouts and billboards of President Mahinda Rajapaksa all over the city came under fire at the recently concluded CMC budget debate. It was pointed out that there was a campaign to install large cutouts and billboards of the President near roundabouts in the city. This was a negative trend that would not be approved by the president himself, asserted MMC Ananda Witharana of the UNP, which controls the CMC. more..

Wettimuny proposes revamp of Sri Lankan cricket

Dec 26 (CI) Sidath Wettimuny, the former Sri Lanka batsman, has suggested a radical restructuring of the country's domestic cricket structure, which involves promoting provinces over clubs. The financial uncertainty surrounding Sri Lankan cricket and the upcoming board elections could, however, overshadow Wettimuny's proposal. As a member of Sri Lanka Cricket's now-dissolved interim committee - appointed in July to more..

Presidential Pardon in the offing?

Dec 26 (LB) Former army commander Sarath Fonseka’s wife Mrs. Anoma Fonseka says that it would be unlikely her family would go before the President, to obtain any official or unofficial pardon, thereby facilitating the release of her husband. The former army chief’s spouse stated that as her husband was imprisoned by levelling which she termed ‘baseless, spurious and concocted’ charges against him, more..

Hyatt hotel soon in Celestial Residencies

Dec 26 (ST) Celestial Residencies, one of the premier iconic properties of the collapsed Ceylinco group and the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC), both recently acquired by the govt under expropriation laws, will be revived soon under the directions of Competent Authority Attorney-at-Law Kalinga Indratissa, a 5-member Ministerial Sub Committee and a 6-member Officials' Committee. more..

Norachcholai a big disappointment

Dec 26 (Island) The 300MW power plant in Norachcholai which has the capacity to produce more than six million units of electricity per day if operated fully, has, however, generated only half of its capacity during most part of 2011, causing millions in losses to the CEB. CEB officials told The Island yesterday that as a result they were compelled to go for power purchases costing Rs. 50.00 per unit from other sources. more..

Errors in A/Level results

Dec 26 (DM) The Advanced Level results which were released late last night contain errors in the calculation of district and island ranks. Sources at the ministry of education stated that there is a strong possibility of the results that were issued being suspended. There have been many reports from the different parts of the country that even the Z score and the results of certain students are erroneous. more..

Editorial: To stand against the tidal waves of fear

Dec 26 (DM) Today, Sri Lankans, along with people from other Asians regions who witnessed the fatal Boxing Day tidal waves in 2004, remember the victims of the most cataclysmic natural disaster ever to have hit the country’s annals. The waves not only swept away thousands of lives, rendered many homeless and damaged numerous properties, but also left a shadow of fear in the minds of those who survived to tell their tale. The deathly wave taught us many things besides more..

Fonseka pardon only by President: PM

Dec 26 (DM) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne said though various factions were campaigning for the release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka by petitioning Obama, the UN and Geneva, they would be of no avail as only President Mahinda Rajapaksa could pardon him. He was addressing a function organised by the Joint Organisation of the Govt Pensioners and the Kandy District Public Servants’ Pension Association to felicitate pensioners at the Up-country Arts Society Hall. more..

Sri Lanka calls bids for Mattala aviation fuel terminal

Dec 26 (CT) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had recently invited bids from interested parties to construct a jet fuel terminal at Hambantota International Airport at Mattala. In a public notice issued, the Chairman of Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) on behalf of CPC stated that it invited sealed bids from eligible international bidders, who have carried out construction works for Turnkey Projects at more..

Jayalalithaa flags attacks on fishermen

Dec 26 (PTI) Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to strongly take up the attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen with Sri Lanka during the talks to be held with the island nation in January 2012. Insisting that these attacks should be viewed as attacks on the country, she said that there have been 30 incidents of attack, harassment and apprehension by Lankan Navy/miscreants against the fishermen since the AIADMK took charge in May 2011. more..

Rape suspect released on bail

Dec 26 (DM) The Moragalla tourist police OIC who had been remanded for the alleged rape of a woman, was released on bail by the Kalutara Chief Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne. The suspect was arrested by the Aluthgama police on December 22 and remanded following a complaint by a 28 year old mother of two that she was raped by him in a bedroom of the police station. The suspect was produced before the Magistrate the following day by Prison Officers to consider his bail application. more..

The Minister of higher Edu. should resign immediately: Sujeewa

Dec 26 (DM) UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe said that the Minister of Higher Education should resign forthwith due to the fiasco surrounding the Advanced Level results. “In a country that is governed by sound principles the Minister in charge would resign immediately, the Advanced Level exam is a turning point in any child's life and it is the future of these children that the authorities are playing with,” he said. more..

'President’s immediate task is to win over Tamils'

Dec 26 (SM) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree reiterates that the immediate task for president Mahinda Rajapaksa should be to win over the Tamils. In a letter to the president sent today, the TULF leader says, “The people of the North and the East want a gun-free atmosphere to live in peace for which all countries that supported the government to win, should give full cooperation to bring back absolute peace in the country.” He also stresses the need for the more..

Cyclonic storm about 750km east of Jaffna

Dec 26 (NF) The Department of Meteorology says the depression in the South West Bay of Bengal has intensified into a cyclonic storm and it was centred about 750 kilometers east of Jaffna at 2 a.m today. The Met Department noted that it is likely to move northwest ward from its centre. Therefore it added that rain, very strong winds and very rough seas will continue to prevail in the sea area off the coast extending from Mannar to Batticaloa via Jaffna and Trincomalee. more..

Cairn to start Sri Lanka oil exploration 2nd phase

Dec 26 (Reuters) Cairn India said it intended to start the second phase of oil exploration in Sri Lanka's offshore Mannar basin after completing the first phase and successfully discovering gas and condensate. "Cairn Lanka's successful drilling programme ... has established a working petroleum system in the frontier Mannar Basin," Cairn India said in a statement on Monday, referring to its wholly owned subsidiary in Sri Lanka. more..

Woman in British man murder raped?

Dec 26 (SM) The woman, said to be the wife of the British man who was murdered in Tangalle, had reportedly been raped by the assailants, according to Hiru FM. The woman, identified as 24-year-old Victoria, has been admitted to the ICU of Karapitiya Hospital in serious condition. Two suspected have surrendered and another arrested over the killing of the 27-year-old Khuram Shaikh. The arrested man is the owner of the vehicle used by the assailants, police said. more..

Tsunami victims smile through tears

Dec 26 (UCAN) Today people in Asia mark the seventh anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 that killed more than a quarter of a million people. Sri Lanka is remembering the 35,322 people it lost during the worst natural disaster ever to hit the island nation. Thanks to some timely and long-term assistance by the Catholic Church’s social service arm, Caritas, thousands of people have managed to smile through the tears, and seven years on, they are leading more..

Sri Lanka batsmen put up improved show

Dec 26 (CI) Twenty-one-year-old tearaway Marchant de Lange joined the flood of exciting bowling talent coming into Tests this year, but he couldn't prevent Sri Lanka from having their best day of the series in Durban. The oldest and youngest members in Sri Lanka's squad, Thilan Samaraweera and debutant Dinesh Chandimal, added 111 in the second half of the day after de Lange troubled the visitors with a pacy spell. more..

Inquiry into Sirikotha incidents imperative

Dec 27 (NS) An inquiry into the ugly events at UNP headquarters, Sirikotha on Monday, as requested by Opposition Leader Ranil Wikremesinghe seems imperative. Such an inquiry would show how faithfully the cherished principles of democracy and concepts of justice, fair play and integrity had been observed in conducting the leadership election of the party. In the election conducted in a fair manner, as claimed by UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake, Ranil more..

Nothing new in UNP power struggles

Dec 27 (NS) Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely they say. What we are looking at today is the aftermath of the power struggle of the present UNP. Yet when one goes back to the political history since independence the struggles for power or for the leadership of the UNP is remarkably nothing new. When one harks back to the formation of the UNP one cannot forget that it was not a homogeneous political party but a merger of two political parties, more..

German TV documents efficacy of Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (SO) Nowadays we are living in a too complicated and advanced world in each and every way. It is not possible for us to get about without mobile phones, computers and satellites even for a day. It doesn't' really matters whether we are in a third world country or in a developed country and day by day we are being distanced from the natural environment and getting more and more into an electronic and digital world. more..

LLRC: An inevitable reminder of APRC

Dec 27 (DM) Whatever the wordings in the title of the Commission may be, the real motive of the government behind the appointment of it is somewhat confusing when considering its terms and the title together. Also when the UPFA govet’s stand with respect to the 2002 ceasefire agreement and the terms of the commission are taken together, the purpose of the government is far too perplexing. The title of the Commission suggests finding out the lessons that the nation has more..

The rock and the hard place

Dec 27 (SL) The govt has a problem acknowledging reality, but so do its critics. The war was not all good and the Rajapaksas are not all bad. That is the middle ground. With the LLRC report, the govt has admitted that civilians were killed, that hospitals were shelled and that people were detained and at times disappeared. They explain this as saying it was proportional (the cost of war). That is, the LTTE was hiding amongst civilians and, to end the war, this is what the military had to do. more..

Thilanga pulls out but his faction is still ‘alive’ and hopeful

Dec 27 (ST) Last Sunday (18), hours before the deadline for nominations to close for the upcoming Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections, one of the favourites, Thilanga Sumathipala withdrew from the race for the top post. Sumathipala cited personal reasons for his eleventh-hour pullout. However the remaining members of his faction are still very much ‘alive’ and were confident that all their candidates will come out winners for their respective posts more..

Economy in 2011: A balanced scorecard

Dec 27 (ST) Economic growth is expected to be around 8 per cent this year. The agricultural, industrial and services sectors of the economy have all contributed to this growth that has been supported by growth in exports, increased tourist earnings and continued higher inflows of remittances. The rate of inflation has been modest and the budget disclosed a declining fiscal deficit. There have been improvements in infrastructure that should contribute to the productivity of more..

Editorial: Towards a desperados' paradise

Dec 27 (Island) Sunday's brutal attack by a gang of ruling party thugs including a local govt politician on two foreigners at a tourist hotel in Tangalle has left us shocked and dismayed. They came, they saw, they slew! A British national was killed and his female Russian companion seriously injured in the savage attack, where, the police said, a firearm had been used by the assailants. The govt has vowed to bring the killers to justice but its vows are not to be taken seriously. more..

Squabbling leaders unite for the UNP resurrection!

Dec 27 (SL) UNP stalwarts who had virtually written off Ranil Wickremasinghe from party leadership would have visualized his emerging ghost in the Siri Kotha counting room when his pile of votes kept mounting. Wickremasinghe was expected to be knocked out at Tuesday’s vote but the spunky fighter came back in the traditions of his ancestor J. R. Jayewardene who had staged many such comebacks from political wilderness. more..

Land dispute ends in tragedy

Dec 27 (SO) It looked as if Eppawela, a village in the Anuradapura district was the killing fields with several murders and suicides taking place during the past ten days. Two weeks ago two young girls and their lover, an ex-army soldier committed suicide by hanging from a branch of a Margosa tree. Last week three women and a man were butchered to death by their younger brother owing to a land dispute. The dispute revolved around a paddy field owned by a family at Eppawela. more..

Through Christmases past and present

Dec 27 (ST) The air is crisp and nippy and the stillness that engulfs the area will certainly make any passer-by ponder on the splendour of nature. Slightly away from the Hatton-Norwood Road, standing sentinel with a solemn air on a steep hill with a sweeping view of the vast expanse of the still-waters of the Castlereigh reservoir below shimmering in the morning sunlight and the green carpet of tea along its adjacent slopes, is the Anglican Christ Church of Warleigh, Dick Oya. more..

Karu licks wounds: ‘I lost but won’

Dec 27 (LB) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya spoke to LAKBIMAnEWS about the UNP Working Committee election, and the coming year under Wickremesinghe, who has a habit of going after those who opposed him -- which many claim spells dark portends for both the UNP and Jayasuriya. Q: You competed for the UNP leadership against Ranil Wickremesinghe and lost by a significant margin (68-26.) However everyone expected that result since the UNP more..

Mashreq lead arranger for Sri Lanka bank loan

Dec 27 (GN) Mashreq bank successfully closed its second syndicated facility in 2011, for Sri Lanka's largest bank, Bank of Ceylon (BOC). "The $140 million facility, which was successfully concluded during a time of substantial disruption in financial markets, reflects the syndicate members' faith in the financial standing of BOC," Mashreq said in a statement. The deal involved 10 participating banks from around the region, namely Bank Sohar, Doha Bank, more..

A breakthrough for Sri Lanka - Marsh

Dec 27 (CI) As the Sri Lankan score trickled over 200, Thilan Samaraweera's body language changed. He took the team there with a classy clip through midwicket and then relaxed a little. A good player of spin, he latched on to Imran Tahir, coming down the track with more authority. Dinesh Chandimal joined in, bringing up a half-century that proved his potential. The pair took Sri Lanka to within eight overs of ending the day in control, before Chandimal threw his more..

Exports’ agony and ecstasy!

Dec 27 (FT) The country’s exports sector faced both agony and ecstasy in October, with the month experiencing the first year-on-year on dip as well as overtaking 2010 full year performance. As per latest data, exports in October dipped by 5% to $ 882 million, a development which the Central Bank said was on account of the higher base a year earlier. However, first 10 months’ performance at $ 8.7 billion had already overtaken 2010’s full year performance of more..

Side mirror thief caught

Dec 27 (Island) The 81 unsolved vehicle side mirror thefts in the Kollupitiya area, for almost one year, finally came to an end when Kollupitiya Police recently apprehended a suspect. In the course of interrogations, information regarding 35 thefts were elicited from the suspect identified as Mohamed Rizwi, the police, filing a ‘B’ report told the Fort Magistrate last week. Police recovered a large haul of side mirrors that the suspect Rizwi had allegedly sold in Panchikawatte. more..

Legal action again five private security firms

Dec 27 (DM) The Defence Ministry says that legal action has been instituted against five private security firms which carried out their operations without registration. The Ministry, in its progress report submitted to Parliament recently, says that an awareness programme has been launched to educate the general public to alert the Ministry about the activities of unauthorised private security agencies. The Ministry says that there were miscellaneous national implications more..

Mahela Jayawardene:10000 runs in Tests

Dec 27 (CI) Less than a month back, Mahela Jayawardene became the second Sri Lankan batsman after Sanath Jayasuriya to reach the 10,000-run mark in ODIs. But in the second Test against South Africa in Durban, he scaled an even greater landmark- that of 10,000 runs in Tests. He becomes the ninth player overall and the first Sri Lankan to reach the mark. Jayawardene reached the 10,000-run mark in his 210th innings, making him the fifth-fastest more..