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Rajapaksa strengthens blueprint of Sinhalicisation in East

Dec 27 (TN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has re-appointed former Sri Lanka Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral (Rtd) Mohan Wijewickrama as the Governor of Eastern Province for the second term on Dec 22. Wijewickrama's re-appointment is considered as a move by Mr. Rajapaksa to keep the civil administration of the Eastern Provincial Council under the control of Sri Lankan military. The former SLN officer is being in charge of implementing ‘Mahinda Chindana’ policy and more..

SL military appropriates 54 acres of Palaali Training College

Dec 27 (TN) Defence Ministry has set afoot plans for grabbing the lands of Palaali Teachers Training College, one of the two key academic institutions of Tamil teachers in the North, for military purposes. The latest move by Colombo to appropriate the 54 acres of the land situated near the Palaali airport in the High Security Zone and to possibly annex the personnel of the institution with Koappaay training college, has drawn severe reactions from the educationalist more..

Northeast still unsafe for maritime activities as cyclonic conditions remain

Dec 27 (Island) The Meteorological Department said that the northeastern sea area was still not safe for fishing as the cyclonic storm had still not deactivated. Meteorologist Chaminda de Silva said that they would have to monitor the situation for two more days and fisheries and naval communities were asked to suspend their activities in those areas off the coast extending from Mannar to Batticaloa via Jaffna and Trincomalee, as more..

More than 150,000 stray cattle saved by the Army

Dec 27 (AT) More than 150,000 stray cattle in the Vanni region have been safeguarded by the Sri Lanka Army since from the last stages humanitarian operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and presently arrangements are being made to hand them over to the rightful owners. Recently, I was in Vanni for an on the spot survey of the region and while travelling in the nights from Vavuniya via Nedunkerny to Mullaitivu and from Mullaitivu via Paranthan to Jaffna, more..

Library open for Lankans in Riyadh

Dec 27 (DN) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia opened a library for stranded housemaids in Riyadh on Saturday. The library located in the mission's safe house meant for the housemaids, will enable its inmates to spend their leisure in reading books and magazines. Books were donated by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, (SLBFE) which looks after the interests of the island's overseas workers. Around 2,000 books including novels, magazines and newspapers were more..

Natural disasters more dangerous than man-made disasters - PM

Dec 27 (DN) Natural disasters are more dangerous than man-made disasters. Man-made disasters can be prevented. Sri Lanka is the best example on how to counter man-made disasters like the LTTE was crushed in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister DM Jayaratne said. The Premier said natural disasters have shown a significant increase over the last decades-not only in Sri Lanka, but all over the world. more..

Editorial: Lankan lessons - War crimes and Rajapaksa regime

Dec 27 (ET) Given scepticism about the intentions of the Rajapaksa regime, the big question mark over Sri Lanka's LLRC was if it would impartially probe alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army during the last phase of the war with the LTTE or if it was part of Colombo's prevarication. On the war crimes front, the LLRC's report, made public recently, is a disappointment. It has attracted criticism from UN-affiliated and other more..

Air pistols instead of firearms

Dec 27 (DM) The Defence Ministry has decided to issue air pistols instead of firearms to farmers and cultivators to protect their cultivations and poultry farms. In its progress report, the ministry said more controls would be introduced in the issuance of firearms to civilians and that an environment of competition would be created among importers so as to bring down prices of air pistols. Under the provisions of the Guns Ordinance, an air pistol is not considered a firearm. more..

'Tangalle killing highlights LLRC concerns'

Dec 27 (Island) The UNP yesterday said that Sunday’s killing of a foreign tourist, Kuram Shaika, an Arab-Israeli holding British citizenship and causing injuries to his female companion, at Nature resort at Medilla, Tangalle underscored the failure on the part of the govt and the police to disarm politicians as recently pointed out by the LLRC. UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said initial investigations had revealed that those responsible more..

Russia hails LLRC

Dec 27 (DN) The Russian Govt on December 22, said that the recommendations of the LLRC will help accelerate the national reconciliation process and strengthen peace in Sri Lanka. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich in a statement said the commission has made serious work on all aspects of the conflict that ended in 2009. The statement: “The final report of LLRC has been revealed in Colombo. The Commission made serious work on all aspects of the long-standing conflict more..

Lanka, Iran discuss prisoner exchange scheme

Dec 27 (Island) Sri Lanka and Iran are exploring the possibility of setting up a prisoner exchange scheme. Newly appointed Iranian Ambassador in Colombo, Dr Hassani Pour recently discussed the issue with Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem. The Iranian envoy had raised the prospect of having Iranians held in Sri Lankan prisons released on humanitarian grounds. The 8 Iranians held in Sri Lanka for for various offences, two had been released and the remaining was more..

Participate in special convention – JVP tells Dissidents

Dec 27 (DM) The JVP today challenged its dissidents to participate in the party’s special convention scheduled for January 1 at the Debarawewa Public Stadium in Tissamaharama, Hambantota and prove its strength if possible. The JVP called for this convention in the backdrop of a group of central committee members breaking ranks with the party and forming a new political movement. Already, nine members out of the 23 member central committee have defected. more..

'Numbering ballot papers intimidated voters'

Dec 27 (Island) The numbering of the ballot papers at the recently concluded UNP elections would have led to intimidation of those who voted and does not show a true view of the position of the voters, Colombo District UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe charged. The mere fact that the ballot papers were numbered meant that the voters and the candidate to whom he or she voted could have been identified and that could have been a source of intimation and pressure to vote for more..

Haggala gardens; 150-years-old

Dec 27 (ST) The Haggala Botanical gardens which attracts thousands of visitors who come to Nuwara Eliya on vacation, marks its 150th anniversary this year. The character of King Ravana is part of our ancient history and the salubrious Nuwara Eliya region is replete with stories about his escapades. Some identify him as an efficient physician king whose medicinal garden was close to Haggala. He is reputed to have cured Seetha his bride at Seetha Eliya, where she was administered with more..

Tourism decries Tangalle tragedy as biggest setback

Dec 27 (FT) A shocked leisure industry yesterday decried the deadly attack on tourists in Tangalle over the weekend as the biggest setback for the sector which was rebounding following the end of the war. They urged the Govt and law enforcement authorities to ensure harshest punishment against those responsible whilst calling for adequate measures to ensure safety of tourists. An alleged argument leading to a fracas saw the alleged murder of more..

Opposition to re-naming Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha grows

Dec 27 (ST) The decision to re-name part of Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha (formerly known as Green Path) to ‘Nelum Pokuna Mawatha’ following the opening of the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Performing Arts Theatre has not been well received. Several persons have written to newspapers expressing their displeasure and opposing the re-naming of the road. The road was named in memory of the Sri Lankan-born art historian Ananda Coomaraswamy --a well-known more..

UNP rebels question wisdom of their leader’s actions

Dec 27 (Island) With the most bitterly fought out election for the UNP leadership over, the blame game has begun among the rebels with a section distancing themselves from the failed modus operandi that had been adopted. Harin Fernando MP, while admitting that he had voted for both Sajith Premadasa and Dayasiri Jayasekera, the contestants for Deputy Leader and National Organiser posts respectively at the Dec 19 leadership polls, said that more..

GCE (A/L) results mess-up triggers public outcry

Dec 27 (Island) A wide array of teachers, students, undergraduates and opposition political parties has been irked by what they call a mess-up of the GCE (A/L) results issued by the Examinations Department on Sunday night. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union Joseph Stalin said that district ranks and countrywide ranks of the students of most districts could not be accepted as they were contradictory. more..

More violent incidents this Christmas

Dec 27 (Island) Accidents during the festive period had seen an increase compared with the same period last year according to the latest records of the Colombo National Hospital’s Accident Service, while four of the victims were found dead on admission. Accident Service Director Dr. Prasad Ariyawansa told The Island that there were 580 accidents related cases treated by their OPD, up from the 551 cases recorded on Dec. 24 and 25 last year. more..

A fertilizer pitfall for farmers

Dec 27 (LT) The fertilizer subsidy given for farmers is being gradually abolished. A 50 kg bag of fertilizer is available for Rs.350. However, 250 kg given for a land of 2 acres earlier has been reduced to 212 kg in Kurunegala District and 200 kg in Ampara District. Also, MOP distributed as an unmixed fertilizer has been reduced from 90 to 60 kg while TST unmixed fertilizer has been reduced from 90 to 70 kg. Meanwhile, farmers in Nachchaduwa area in Anuradhapura more..

Human rights action plan: Nice try, but...

Dec 27 (LB) The govt will study the Prevention of Terrorism Act to identify “possible inconsistencies” with internationally recognized human rights norms and amend the law accordingly within two years, says a document to be launched in January. The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, an advance copy of which was obtained by LAKBIMAnEWS, also pledges to adopt more..

From combatants to criminals

Dec 27 (ST) Investigations into recent crimes, have revealed a disturbing trend of the involvement of members of the armed forces who have deserted as well as those still serving. From the killing of MP Bharatha Lakshman, grease devils who instilled fear in elderly women, to the murder of a popular doctor in Karandeniya and other killings in Udawalawe and Homagama, those who were arrested were military deserters and soldiers. more..

Sri Lanka gets new tax chief, Mallika Samarasekara - first female head

Dec 27 (ST) Mallika Samarasekara, in a smooth transition at the helm of the Sri Lanka Inland Revenue (Tax) Department, assumed duties on Monday as the new Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, with the retirement of K.M.S.Kandegedara who was functioning in that position, since 2010. There were no protests or concern over the appointment this time. more..

'Karu J victim of Sajith-led conspiracy'

Dec 27 (Island) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa on Sunday alleged that former UNP Co-Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya had been a victim of a conspiracy spearheaded by the other Co-Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa to secure the No 2 slot in the party hierarchy. Minister claimed that Premadasa had created a major crisis at Sirikotha paving the way for so-called secret vote to get the post of the Deputy Leader. more..

Ranil says no shortcuts to power

Dec 27 (Island) UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday declared that there were no shortcuts to power. One should act with a plan, patience and tolerance to gain power, he said. Addressing the 12th death commemoration of late Dr. A.C.S. Hameed, Foreign Affiars Minister in the President J.R. Jayewardene govt, at St. Anthony’s College Hall in Katugastota, Wickremesinghe identified the late more..

Opposition to Carlo being appointed SLMC head

Dec 27 (Island) Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President Prof. T. Lamabadusuriya, on behalf of several medical associations, has asked for a discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the appointment of Prof. Carlo Fonseka as SLMC President. The GMOA said yesterday that Prof. Lamabadusuriya would try to convince the President the responsibilities and commitments involved in the post. more..

'Police probe on abducted Lalith, Kugan dubious'

Dec 27 (Island) DNA Galle District MP Ajith Kumara has written to the IGP complaining that the police conduct in the face of complaints related to the alleged abduction of his party activists Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Murugananthan was dubious and demanding a correct explanation after proper investigations. The MP in his letter to the IGP yesterday said that three complaints had been made with regard to the abduction to police stations in Jaffna, more..

The Govt is playing with the lives of Children: CTU

Dec 27 (DM) The Ceylon Teachers Union today called for the suspension of all A/L results that were issued. Treasurer of the Union H.D. Nishantha said that the Govt is currently playing with the lives of innocent children."The Advanced Level exam is the most decisive exam for any student having toiled for 13 years in school. They have currently made a mess of the whole results with total disregard to the lives of the children. more..

Sri Lanka to launch first-ever Piloting Degree

Dec 27 (GDI) Gateway Graduate School - Sri Lanka’s leading private educational establishment is to sign contracts with a United Kingdom-based university in February to offer air travel degree with pilot training. The aviation degree will be the first in Sri Lanka. With the introduction of Sri Lanka’s first-ever air travel degree programme obtaining academic qualifications in piloting will become much more affordable for students. more..

India wants Sri Lanka to probe rights abuse charges

Dec 27 (Hindu) India wants an “independent and credible mechanism…to investigate allegations of human rights violations” during the end stages of Eelam War IV. This needs to be done in a “time-bound manner,” India has told Sri Lanka. Belatedly commenting on the Sri Lankan LLRC report, tabled in Parliament on Dec 16, the Indian External Affairs spokesperson said: “The present situation provides a more..

Editorial: Amid the festivity, let us not miss the reality

Dec 27 (DM) In the afterglow of Christmas day – though the deep meaning of it was again marred worldwide, what Pope Benedict the XVI described as commercialisation and superficial glitter – the Rajapaksa regime in Lanka needs to address urgently and effectively some vital issues to establish a true and lasting peace. Reports indicate that talks between a govt delegation and the main Tamil party, the TNA have come to a breaking point with TNA leaders more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.5-pct

Dec 27 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed higher for the third straight day with the main index climbing back over the 6,000 point mark and large deals in a bank accounting for most of the turnover, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 0.54 percent to 6,015.09, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.70 percent to 5,226.11. Turnover was 996 million rupees. Commercial Bank trades accounted for the bulk of the day's turnover, generating almost 796 million rupees, more..

The Public has lost trust in the entire Exam. system: JVP

Dec 27 (DM) The JVP said today that one of the only departments that the public had kept its trust in was the examination department and the actions by the department has resulted in the public losing trust in the body and the entire system. DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the govt should take responsibility for the fiasco. The actions of the examination department has caused distress and frustration among the students, parents and more..

Applications for re-correction of A/L results open from 29th Dec

Dec 27 (DM) The Department of examinations said today that applications for recorrections of the results of the A/L exam would be open from the 29th of Dec 2011 to the 9th of Jan 2012. The Examination Department issued results of the A/L exam concluded in August on the 25th of December. There were continuous reports of the exam results being inaccurate. The Department of examinations have continued to maintain that the only error that occurred was with more..

We are blocked but we will not be stopped - Colombo Telegraph

Dec 27 (CT) Access to website and its mirror site have been blocked in Sri Lanka by Dialog broadband Internet connections permanently from December 24,2011. Colombo Telegraph has been blocked all Internet Service Providers randomly and news base since November 4, 2011. Several journalists, academics, lawyers and human rights activists based in Sri Lanka independently confirmed more..

WikiLeaks: Sri Lanka is a cricket-mad country

Dec 27 (CT) “The fact that a major cricket tournament is taking place in Sri Lanka at all is a pleasant surprise to many here. Sri Lankans had grown used to their cricket-mad country being overlooked as a host for major events because of the conflict and the danger of terrorism.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written on September 26, 2002 by the Charge D’Affaires W. Lewis Amselem. more..

T56 used by suspects recovered

Dec 27 (DM) Police found the T-56 assault rifle today, that was used by the main suspect arrested in connection with the killing of a British tourist at Medilla, Tangalle early Sunday morning. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that he had used the firearm at around 12 midnight to celebrate Christmas and had shot a few rounds into the air. The main suspect, Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman surrendered to the police Monday evening along with his driver. more..

Australian MP says a long way to go for Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (AD) The head of a recent Australian parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka says there is a long way to go on the issue of reconciliation as many feel the government is yet to address the issue of accountability. The five-member group with representatives from the Australian govt and the main opposition parties travelled to Sri Lanka at the invitation of the govt. Delegation leader -- Australian Labor Party MP, Maria Vamvakinou says they had good access to more..

Britain confident SL govt. will bring perpetrators to justice

Dec 27 (DM) The British High Commission in Colombo expressed confidence that the Sri Lankan authorities will bring to book those responsible for the murder of a British national in Tangalle on Sunday. “This is a very serious incident which we are extremely concerned about,” Acting British High Commissioner Robbie Bulloch said. “We have been in close touch with the Ministry of External Affairs in this regard and they have assured us more..

Britisher bites off ear of Lankan

Dec 27 (DM) In a Tyson-style attack, a British national had allegedly bitten off an ear of a Sri Lankan at a star class hotel in Colombo. He was arrested by the Fort police and produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate who released him on bail. Fort police said the complainant who resided in Kalubowila alleged that he was assaulted by a foreigner and further alleged that his right ear had also been bitten off at the hotel party. The complainant had told police, that more..