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Outstation students grab most top honours

Dec 28 (Island) Outstation students have won top honours at this year’s GCE (A/L) exam, except in the Bio Science stream. Two of the top performers were girls. The sources said that Ishara Dilhani Gamage of the Debarawewa Central Collegem in the Hambantota District obtained the best results in the Commerce stream while Sachinthani Kaushalya Senanayake, of St. Joseph’s Balika in Kegalle, secured the top position in the Arts stream. more..

'Tamils to blame for Lanka solution delay'

Dec 28 (AA) Brushing aside the criticism that he is nowhere near delivering a political solution even 30 months after ending the Eelam war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has blamed Tamils, within the country and outside, for the delay by refusing to participate in the consultative process authored by him. “The parliamentary select committee [PSC] is a good approach to what has been a vexed problem. Its members are legislators and their proposals could find wider acceptance,” more..

'Lankans enjoying peace dividend'

Dec 28 (DN) Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed yesterday commended the massive development projects that were implemented in the North and East with the coordination of Security Forces after the elimination of terrorism, bringing peace dividends. He did so while speaking to the Daily News after participating in the commissioning parade of Officer Cadets at the Sri Lanka Military Academy in Diyatalawa as the chief guest. The Maldivian President stated that more..

Dissidents won't be JVP members from Jan.1

Dec 28 (DM) JVP dissidents will cease to be members of the party on January 1, 2012 with their decision not to participate in the party’s special convention scheduled for that day in Tissamaharama, Hambantota. The JVP decided to have this special convention on January 1 in the backdrop of nine out of the total 23 central committee members defecting from the party and demanding changes in the ideological base of the party. more..

RDA earns Rs 68m in toll charges during first month

Dec 28 (DN) The Road Development Authority (RDA) has earned a revenue of Rs. 68 million as toll charges from vehicles which used the Southern Expressway during the first month of its operation. About 245,513 vehicles entered the expressway through the eight interchanges to travel to their destinations within a month of its opening. Accordingly, 82,598 vehicles entered the Expressway through the Kottawa interchange, more..

Bhikkus to be trained to preach in English, Tamil

Dec 28 (DN) Novice Buddhist monks will be trained in propagating the teachings of the Buddha in English and Tamil languages and 500 such Bhikkus would be sent to foreign countries to propagate the teachings of the Buddha during the next three years, said Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne. He was addressing the gathering at Ganegoda Maliga Raja Maha Vihara in Bingiriya, Kurunegala after laying the foundation stone for the two-storeyed Dhamma preaching hall at the temple. more..

‘GMOA to strike if SAITM report un-released’

Dec 28 (DM) The GMOA yesterday threatened to go on an all-island strike if the Health Ministry does not release an inquiry report on the controversial South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) by the end of the month. Addressing a press conference today GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe said the union had refrained from taking trade union action in September after Health Minister more..

Further confusion over A/L results

Dec 28 (Island) GCE A/L exam results bungling should not be allowed to go off easily but the govt must consider paying compensation for the affected candidates, demand the Movement for People’s Struggle. Operational Coordinator of the MPS, Duminda Nagamuwa addressing a media conference held yesterday said that the government must cancel the results released on Sunday night in toto and rescrutinize the answer scripts and release anew the right results. more..

Call to eradicate fear from Tangalle tourists

Dec 28 (BBC) All planned events and festivities for tourists in the southern Sri Lankan resort of Tangalle has been cancelled following the killing of a holiday maker, say local tourism promoters. “Normally, tourists move around and visit other venues in the area, but now they are afraid to go out in the night” President of the Tangalle Tourist Hoteliers Association Keerthi Priya Wedaarachchi said. According to President Wedaarachchi tourists avoid using guest houses in the area. more..

SB assures no mess up of results

Dec 28 (Island) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday assured that there was no mess up or contradictions in the just released GCE (A/L) exam results and if some students were not satisfied with their results the ministry was ready to take them individually to see their respective evaluated answer scripts. He said that there was a minor technical error in calculating district ranks which was given with students’ results, but it was corrected by the Examination Department more..

Only 1.9 m attend Dhamma schools - PM

Dec 28 (DN) Social deterioration can only be reversed by promoting religious and spiritual well being. Public support is essential for the government to undertake this task, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said. He said that even though many point the finger at the government over the murders and robberies in the country, the government can do little to control these incidents without public support. Only 1.9 million schoolchildren of the 4.3 million total schoolchildren more..

Facilities to serve customer needs at railway stations in 2012

Dec 28 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama emphasized that all railway stations would be refurbished and equipped with modern technology to cater to the needs of the general public. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) of different banks would be installed and fresh fruit stalls, trade complexes and shops for consumer needs would be opened. Many train commuters who reached stations were forced to visit far away shopping complexes, more..

Reformists’ plot: Ranil to pursue German NGO’s role

Dec 28 (Island) UNP Assistant Leader Joseph Michael Perera said yesterday that the decision making Advisory Committee of the party would decide next week on further action on UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s allegation that a German NGO had conspired with a section of the party to oust him from the leadership. Asked by The Island whether the party intended to pursue the matter, more..

Sri Lankan ambassador promises accountability from war-crimes defendants

Dec 28 (WT) Sri Lanka will hold accountable every person accused of war crimes during its decades-long civil conflict, the island nation’s ambassador to the U.S. says. The Obama administration and human-rights groups have questioned Sri Lanka’s commitment to accountability after its government released a 387-page report on the conflict that does not identify any war-crimes suspects. more..

Twenty nine private universities

Dec 28 (CT) “There are 29 private universities in the country for approximately nine years now,” said S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education. “Why are people making a fuss over private universities now? It will not affect the State universities anymore than private hospitals affect State hospitals. “The reason to bring in the private University Act is to increase the amount of university entrants, and to raise the quality of private higher education.” more..

UNP wants high level probe, fresh A/L exam results, rankings

Dec 28 (Island) While the Education Department maintained that the Advanced Level Examination results which were released on Monday will not be reversed, the main Opposition UNP said yesterday that a thorough investigation should be launched into the mix up with regard to the district and national rankings and the outcome released afresh by adhering to proper procedure. more..

Fines for public spitters in Colombo

Dec 28 (SM) Chief municipal medical officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam proposes a fine for persons who spit at public places in Colombo city. He noted that way back in 1914, there was such a system for public spitters in the city, with the fine being Rs. 2.00. Colombo being a city inhabited by a large number of people on a daily basis, public spitting can cause a further spread of tuberculosis and other diseases, he said. more..

Sri Lanka plans remote aerial, underwater marine research

Dec 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's marine researchers are planning to use aerial and underwater unmanned vehicles with remote sensing technology to study the oceans around the country, officials said. Sri Lanka's National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA) wants to team up with the island's air force to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for marine search. "They have experience from the war, which matches with the research needs," more..

Prisons overflowing

Dec 28 (CT) Prisons Commissioner G.W. Kodippili declared at Galle that even though the Sri Lankan prisons have the room only to accommodate 11,000 to 12,000 prisoners at a time the prisons were overflowing with 25,000 prisoners at the moment. “In most of the countries around the world only 2000 or 2500 resident prisoner are accommodated in one prison complex at a given time, but we are compelled to allow more than that in one single prison complex,” more..

'Hasty release cause for blunder'

Dec 28 (DM) Pressure exerted by various quarters including highly influential authorities and others who expected to enroll students at overseas universities triggered the hasty release of the 2011 GCE A/L results that contributed to the ranking mess-up, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said yesterday. He said President Rajapaksa met him along with Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana and officials of both ministries on several occasions, and more..

Fonseka to join UNP soon - Hiru FM

Dec 28 (SM) DNA leader Sarath Fonseka and several civil society activists are due to join the UNP soon, Hiru FM reports. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has told a group of party MPs recently about their decision. Also, DNA MP Jayantha Ketagoda is to be given the position of co-organizer for Kaduwela electorate, said the radio. His appointment is one of a series of measures by the party leader to introduce new faces to politics and to appoint electoral organizers anew. more..

‘The Tamil diaspora does not want peace’

Dec 28 (DH) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated the LTTE, ending the 30-year-old ethnic war. But a political settlement eludes the country. In this interview with Bhagwan Singh at his Temple Tree residence in Colombo, the President spoke about relations with India and China, and the difficulties in relation to the Tamil question. Q: The Western countries are demanding a probe into “war crimes” in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 1.3-pct

Dec 28 (LBO) Stocks closed higher for the fourth straight day Wednesday with more deals in a bank helping to prop up turnover that fell to low levels. The main All Share Price Index rose 1.30 percent to 6,093.39, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.89 percent to 5,272.64. Turnover was 550 million rupees. Commercial Bank accounted for the largest turnover with 2.1 million shares traded and the share ending at 100.30 rupees, down 20 cents, after rising to 101.40. more..

Sri Lanka should be prepared for slow global economy: economist

Dec 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka should be prepared for a slow external environment with stimulus by deficit spending having failed in advanced economies and China and India also losing momentum, an international economist said. "Many of the policy interventions in wake of the crisis (2007 banking panic) have made matters worse rather than better," Razeen Sally, a longtime professor at London School of Economics, said in Colombo. more..

WikiLeaks: Poaddala Jayantha has been a key contact for the Embassy

Dec 28 (CT) “Poddala is well-known to the Embassy, and has been a key contact for PAS for years. PAO has remained in close contact with Poddala about the increasing threats, including visiting him in the hospital after he was attacked and seeking DRL assistance for him under the Human Rights Defenders Fund.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and discuses the media suppression situation after winning more..

Editorial: Examination department walks away with three F's

Dec 28 (DM) Like in any other examination, the recently released Advanced Level results have bred achievers and failures. Yet, the biggest failure, no doubt, is the Examinations Department itself and the manner in which it handled the process of releasing results. The most recent quandary with the release and the haphazard revision of the A/L results show that Sri Lanka’s education system is going from bad to worse. The department has been indifferent towards the eager more..

Sri Lanka: Attempts to Join ASEAN

Dec 28 (SAA) S R Nathan has served the Republic of Singapore with great distinction in several capacities. When Singapore became independent suddenly on August 9, 1965 Nathan joined the fledgling Ministry of Foreign Affairs and rose very high in the organization. He became the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, served as Ambassador to the United States and High Commissioner in Malaysia, in addition to heading the Department of Intelligence. Nathan later became more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 28.12.2011

Lankans among 400 workers stranded by company closure in UAE

Dec 28 (LP) Sri Lankan migrant workers are among 400 South Asians who have been stranded in UAE after their employer’s companies went bust.Joseph D’Souza who founded System Engineering LLC, a steel fabrication and engineering firm with offices in Sharjah and Dubai, fled after business failure leaving men from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh without food, shelter or pay, according to an Abu-Dhabi based newspaper The National. more..

Indonesia to relax visa restrictions to Sri Lanka

Dec 28 (GDI) Indonesia is to relax its visa policy to Sri Lanka from next year. Bangladesh is the other country they have decided to relax their Visa policy from next year. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are currently on the immigration red list of 13 countries whose citizens are feared to have the potential to create trouble for Indonesian law enforcers and intelligence officers. Only 10 percent of Sri Lankans legally entering Indonesia exited the country, while more..

Remanded for misappropriating property of Hollywood actress

Dec 28 (DM) A Sri Lankan who had allegedly misappropriated Rs.17.8 million from Sri Lankan properties belonging to popular Hollywood actress of X-Files fame Gillian Anderson, was remanded till January 4 by a Colombo Court. Making a complaint with CID, a British national complained that the suspect Anura Rathne Herath had been entrusted to administrate the American actress’ properties located in the Pasyala area and thereby committed this offence. more..

SriLankan commences door delivery service in UK

Dec 28 (GDI) SriLankan Cargo has recently expanded their range of facilities with another value added service - Door delivery service of unaccompanied baggage from the Colombo City Cargo Office to any destination in the UK effective from 1st Dec 2011. This SriLankan Door Delivery Cargo Service will be providing its customers a speedy delivery of their personal baggage, gifts and sample shipments right up to their doorstep in the UK. more..

Three more arrested in tourist’s killing

Dec 28 (DM) The CID arrested three more suspects in connection with the killing of a British tourist at Medilla, Tangalle early Sunday morning. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that with these arrests, the number of suspects in custody is now seven. The CID took over the investigations from the Tangalle police following the incident. The CID is now conducting investigations into arresting another ten suspects in connection with the incident. . “We will arrest the rest of the suspects in the near future,” he said. more..

Coldest weather in '90 years'

Dec 28 (BBC) The meteorological department of Sri Lanka has predicted a historically low temperature for the capital, Colombo, as a result of cyclonic storm 'Thane.' The storm over Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify further and move North-westward towards Indian east coast, it said. The temperature in Colombo may be dropped to 18 degrees, according the forecast. The temperature recorded in the capital on Wednesday is 18.2 Celsius, said Daily Mirror newspaper. more..

Election for Mullativu PS’s postponed

Dec 28 (DM) Elections for the Pudukudairippu and Muhudubada Pattu Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Mullattivu District were once again postponed by Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya today. A meeting has been called by Mr. Deshapriya among secretaries of all political parties and independent groups fielding candidates at the election on January 13 to determine whether elections to the two Pradeshiya Sabhas could be held on March 3, 2012, he added. more..

Gathering of information on damaged vehicles comes to a halt

Dec 28 (NF) It has been decided to conclude the gathering of information pertaining to providing compensation to vehicles which were damaged owing to the use of substandard petrol on January 6. The Ministry of Petroleum Industries stated that all applicants were granted six and a half months to file the documents in this regard. The granting of compensation has been delayed as applicants have not submitted information on time submitted fraudulent documents, more..

First foreign president to attend a PoP at Diyatalawa SLMA

Dec 28 (MoD) At a time Sri Lanka-Maldives bilateral relationships and developmental cooperation are on a very strong sound footing, His Excellency, the President Mohamed Nasheed of the Republic of Maldives arrived at the BIA yesterday (26) to a warm welcome, following a cordial invitation extended to him by the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya to be the Chief Guest (Reviewing Officer) in Tuesday's Officer Cadet Passing Out Parade more..

Controversy over ragging claimat Ruhuna Campus

Dec 28 (DM) The Ruhuna University ragging victim’s mother Nirmala De Soyza (52) blamed the members of the Ruhuna University Students’ Union for ruining her daughter Wathsala Kumudini’s life, but student union leaders denied the allegation and said the girl’s mother was being used by the government to divert attention from its move to set up private universities. Ms. De Soysa told a news conference organized by Minister S.B. Dissanayake that ragging was cruel, more..

Not served with court notice says JVP

Dec 28 (SL) The JVP today said the party has not received notice from Courts to show cause as to why an enjoining order should not be issued against the party convention to be held on January 1, 2012. JVP Propaganda Secretary and parliamentarian Vijitha Herath told The Sunday Leader that the party has not received any court notices although the media has reported of a case filed by the JVP dissidents seeking an enjoining order against the party convention. more..

EPDP sees motive in Lessons report

Dec 28 (Hindu) The only political party that has come in for serious adverse notice in the LLRC report, the EPDP, wonders if there was any ulterior motive in retaining the comments against it in the final report. “We regret to note about the comments made as regards the EPDP in the report. Whilst we deny the allegations about the EPDP, we wish to emphasise that while the leader of EPDP was giving evidence before the commission, he had brought to the notice of more..