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LG bodies dissolved

Jan 7 (DN) The one year extension given to Local Government Authorities on April 1, 2010 was curtailed at midnight yesterday ending terms of office. The curtailment was done by Minister ALM Athaulla issuing a special gazette notification in term of the powers vested in him. Accordingly, 268 Local Government Bodies out of 330 Municipal Councils, Town Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas stands dissolved enabling the Election Commissioner to more..

Big onions at Rs. 129– Johnston

Jan 7 (DM) A kilogramme of big onions will be sold at Rs. 129 at all Laksathosa outlets since the first consignment of onions from Pakistan arrived on Wednesday, Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday. “Laksathosa will sell big onions at the lowest price of Rs. 129 a kilo and the wholesale price will be Rs. 105, Minister Fernando said yesterday. The first consignment of 200,000 kilogrammes of big onions arrived from Pakistan and more..

Bail granted for alleged Tamil Tiger supporters

Jan 7 (CTV) Two men who have been ordered extradited to the U.S. to face terrorism-related charges have been granted bail pending an appeal to Canada's top court. Suresh Sriskandarajah and Piratheepan Nadarajah are both wanted in the United States to stand trial on unrelated charges they provided assistance to the Tamil Tigers. The Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed their appeals last month but released a decision Thursday granting them bail pending more..

Mystery delay in publishing SLC audited accounts

Jan 7 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket’s acting Chief Executive Ajit Jayasekera has clarified some points on our article titled “cricket officials get Rs 12 million in pocket change” published on December27. In response to a query from “Daily Mirror”, Jayasekera promised that SLC would publish the audited accounts and the Report of the Auditor General for years 2008 and 2009 within a “week or two”. However he added it is not clear why they had not been issue to more..

Action to provide new composition for fertilizer

Jan 7 (DN) Action has been taken to provide a new composition for fertilizer as per the recommendation of the Tea Research Institute taking into consideration the views of the Tea Small Holder Sector, Plantations Industries Deputy Minister Earl Gunasekera said in Parliament. He said that measures are being taken to provide samples of fertilizer suitable for this purpose. The Deputy Minister noted that the root cause for the reduction of the tea harvest in the year more..

Unethical says Opposition

Jan 7 (DM) The UNP yesterday charged in Parliament that it was unethical and unnecessary for a deputy minister to appear for Minister Susil Premajayantha who is a respondent in a case filed in the Colombo District Court. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said this deputy minister had appeared for Mr. Premajayantha on Wednesday. “We have never seen this kind of incidents in the past. This is something detrimental to the dignity of all MPs in this august assembly. more..

Proper road network essential for development - President

Jan 7 (DN) The Highways Ministry has to play a major role to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people by making the development program a reality, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa presiding over a special conference held at the Highways Ministry yesterday. The President said the maintenance of a proper road network is most essential to carryout the development program in an efficient manner to deliver the fruits of development to the people. more..

Govt. to establish 1000 fully equipped secondary schools

Jan 7 (Island) A thousand fully equipped secondary schools are to be established countrywide within four years, the government said on Thursday. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing in Colombo said that Asian Development Bank funds have already been received to construct 100 of the 1,000 secondary schools, under the governments "National Education Programme." more..

SF’s party out of mini polls, JVP goes it alone

Jan 7 (Island) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s faction of the DNA will not contest the forthcoming local government elections. DNA President Tiran Alles MP told The Island yesterday that they would not contest the elections, but their ally, the JVP, would contest alone with their consent. The JVP and UNP joined Fonseka’s presidential campaign, but Fonseka and the JVP had to form the DNA to contest the April General Elections after UNP quit the alliance. more..

Development Diaries - 1

NSSP prepares new trap for Tamil workers and youth

Jan 7 (wsws) Last November Vikramabahu Karunaratna, leader of the NSSP, paid a visit to Britain. Despite his occasional claims to still being a “socialist”, he gave full support to bourgeois Tamil political groups that operate in close alliance with British and American imperialism—the very forces engaged in wars of neo-colonial conquest in Iraq and Afghanistan, and whose only interest in Sri Lanka is the exploitation of its human and strategic assets. more..

Orphaned jumbos get new home

Jan 7 (Island) The next batch of orphaned elephants, from the Elephant Transit Centre in Uda Walawe, would be released into the new sanctuary in Mulaitivu, Agrarian Services and Wildlife Minister S. M. Chandrasena said. He said that the jungles of Mullaitivu, a region situated on the northeastern shores had been declared a wildlife sanctuary. The area encompassing more than 100,000 acres had been anLTTE stronghold, he said. more..

Govt. losing popularity: UNP

Jan 7 (DM) The main opposition UNP expressed shock at the government’s decision to postpone the local government elections in urban and sub-urban areas claiming that the decision was based on the government’s fear of losing the elections. “In the past six months the government said changes should be made to the local government system to which we agreed. However recently in Parliament the government said amendments to more..

Mervyn’s phone buzzing

Jan 7 (NN) The hotline of Minister Mervyn Silva has been buzzing with complaints since it was launched last month and has received over 50 complaints so far, an official from the Minister’s office said. The official told News that most of the complaints were related to domestic issues where assistance was sought from the Minister to solve the problem in order to maintain peace in the domestic front. more..

Sri Lanka to invite investments for Trinco port

Jan 7 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) plans to invite investors to make proposals for investments in the eastern port of Trincomalee where large tracts of land are available by March, its chairman Priyath Wickrema said. "We're developing Trincomalee and plan to issue a request for proposals to develop land," Wickrama said, delivering the annual P B Karandwala Memorial Lecture. "We plan to issue the RFP by March." more..

Crime wave: TNA unhappy

Jan 7 (DM) The TNA yesterday expressed concern over the failure on the part of the govt to give a detailed reply to a question raised under the 23-2 Standing Order regarding the crimewave in Jaffna. TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told Parliament the govt agreed to give an answer today, and insisted that it be given. However Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the government had consented to have a full day debate on the issue in the House. more..

'Anti- government groups tarnish its image'

Jan 7 (DM) The government yesterday charged that it had become a trend of certain anti government elements and pro LTTE lobbyists to spread false propaganda aimed at discrediting the government when important international conferences are to be held. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the claim by some opposition parties and other disgruntled groups that the government was responsible for the abductions and killings in the North was a part of such a campaign. more..

Call to probe video

Jan 7 (NN) The JVP has called on the authorities to probe the authenticity of a controversial video showing a man allegedly involved in the killing of two police officers at Warakapola recently, being handed over to the police by villagers despite the police claiming the man was among seven other gunmen shot dead in a crossfire inside a jungle. The man shown in the video tied to a tree and being assaulted and questioned by villagers before being handed over to the police was believed to have more..

Sri Lanka expects renewal of lapsed US trade benefits

Jan 7 (LBO) A United States trade facility allowing duty free Sri Lankan exports that lapsed is likely to be renewed with retroactive effect as has happened in the past, officials said. The US Congress has not renewed the GSP program before its conclusion of business and therefore GSP expired from December 31. "The Congress considered legislation in December 2010 to extend the facility but ultimately adjourned without taking action to extend it," more..

TN refugee camps becoming empty as more Tamils return home

Jan 7 (Island) Close on the heels of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation, reconstruction and re-settlement efforts in the post-war era, the UNHCR says that Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in South India are keen to return home. "The number of refugees wanting to return home since the end of the conflict in 2009 is clearly on the increase; in response, we have streamlined our procedures and introduced some new measures to make the return process quicker and easier," more..

Army to sell vegetables to fight CoL

Jan 7 (DM) The Army will purchase vegetables from farmers who are closer to army camps in the country and sell them at cheaper prices in the Colombo district from today in a bid to control the rising vegetable prices. Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya implemented this programme under the directions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as the prices of vegetables are escalating. more..

'UNP wanted radio equipment for LTTE'

Jan 7 (DM) A top secret diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks makes a revelation that the then former UNP govt, had requested Norwegian assistance in the importation of radio equipment for the LTTE in a bid to give legal recognition to the “Voice of the Tigers”. “Norwegian Ambassador (Jon) Westborg told us that the Sri Lankan govt had specifically requested his Embassy’s assistance (for the importation of radio equipment) several months ago,” more..

Sri Lanka to closely watch conglomerates linked to banks

Jan 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank will keep a closer eye conglomerates with interest in banks and finance companies, governor Nivard Cabraal said. Financial institutions connected to diversified conglomerates can have greater risks, requiring higher degree of supervision, he said in a speech on the central bank's monetary policy for 2011. "New mechanisms will be devised to monitor and supervise diversified groups with financial interests," Cabraal said. more..

LTTE in Malaysian Uni's

Jan 8 (NN) Amidst reports that some groups are attempting to promote radical ideologies at Malaysian universities including the agenda’s of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan envoy in Malaysia said that such a possibility does exist with so many private universities operating in Malaysia. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Malaysia Dr. D.D. Ranasinghe said that the Malaysian Home Ministry is carefully monitoring any attempt by terrorist groups including the LTTE to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.01.2011

Parliament suspended for half hour

Jan 8 (NN) Parliament was suspended for 30 minutes following a heated argument between government members and the opposition over the role of Senior Ministers in the government. The argument took place after UNP MP John Amaratunga questioned the role of Senior Ministers who were appointed by the government and the need to have such Ministers in the first place. Amaratunga said that these so called Senior Ministers should have specific ministries under them instead of more..

Governor wants probe

Jan 8 (NN) The Eastern Province Governor Mohan Wijeywickrama has cancelled the appointment of 20 minor staff to schools in the area over allegations the appointments were illegal, and has ordered a special probe. An initial investigation had found that recruitments made to fill 51 minor staff vacancies at government schools in the Eastern Province were carried out illegally. Following the revelations the Eastern Province Governor today instructed the more..

Jayasuriya, Vaas out of SL World Cup squad

Jan 8 (CI) World Cup-winning veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas were left out of Sri Lanka's final World Cup squad of 15 players named on Friday by the national selection committee headed by Aravinda de Silva. The squad consists of 11 members who represented Sri Lanka in the three-match one-day series in Australia, which the visitors won 2-1, giving them their first ODI series win in Australia. more..

Partners negotiating with Govt. Wither DNA?

Jan 8 (AD) A few political parties presently under the umbrella alliance of the DNA headed by Sarath Fonseka are negotiating with the government to contest the upcoming Local Government elections as coalition partners of the ruling party. Three political parties have been highlighted as being involved in these discussions. The Nava Sihala Urumaya headed by Sarath Manamendra, another party and a Tamil political party are said to be the main negotiators, more..

Sri Lanka shares up on retail buying; rupee edges down

Jan 8 (Reuters) Heavy retail buying on Friday drove Sri Lanka's stock market higher for a sixth session and deeper into overbought territory, while the rupee ended down on importer dollar demand. The island's main share index .CSE rose 1.21 percent or 82.23 points to 6,891.96, its highest close since Oct. 5, and has gained 3.9 percent in the last six sessions. It has been Asia's best performer with 3.86 percent gain in the first week of 2011 more..

Sri Lanka, India to relaunch ferry service after three decades

Jan 8 (NN) India and Sri Lanka today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on passenger transportation by sea which will see the commencement of ferry services between the two countries, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said this evening. The High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha and the Secretary of the Ministry of Ports and Highways, Mrs. Sujatha Cooray signed the MOU in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at Temple Trees. more..

'Highest Allocation to the Highway Ministry'

Jan 8 (GDI) The Government made the highest allocation of Rs.102 billion to the Highways Ministry and as such it has a major role to play in making the development programme a reality said the President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a special conference held at the Highways Ministry yesterday (06). President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Highways Ministry officials at the Ministry premises yesterday and discussed the work carried out within the past six years and future plans. more..

'Radio equipment for LTTE by SL worried India'

Jan 8 (HT) India had expressed concerns after the Sri Lankan government imported radio equipment from Norway for supplying to the separatist Tamil Tigers, a new US cable leaked by Wikileaks has revealed. The secret cable sent by the US Embassy in Colombo claimed that the UNP, which was in power in 2002, had requested and received radio equipment which was then handed over to the LTTE through the government departments. more..

JVP with the masses to turn the country towards a new path

Jan 8 (LT) A movement to make the masses aware of the inability of the Rajapakse government and the prevailing social system to find solutions to the existing burning issues of the people and to show a path that could find solutions for such issues was launched today said the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said this talking to the media after a campaign of distributing leaflets held this morning in Colombo Fort. more..

Lessons to be learnt from hatred and intolerance

Jan 8 (LG) Pakistan has gone through yet another political assassination. Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, was gunned down by one of his own bodyguards. Taseer was an outspoken liberal critic of the religious intolerance that is fast becoming a part of Pakistan’s political culture. Last year, when a mosque of the minority Ahmadi sect was bombed in Punjab, Taseer condemned it in no uncertain terms. more..

Moon's Panel & Rajapakse's Panel

Jan 8 (LG) During the last few weeks media institutions, commentators and political spokespersons have discussed the United Nations Secretary General’s (UNSG’s) Panel’s visit to Sri Lanka to ‘share’ information with the LLRC. The fast changing and conflicting statements make it difficult to track them. So much so, by the time this article is published two days after writing, the stances of the parties could change along with my conclusions! more..

New bus service via Thanankilappu facilitates hundreds of villagers

Jan 8 (Cimic) Residents in Thnankilappu, Maravanpulo, Kovilakkandy and Kachchanthoppu areas, who lacked the facility of Public transport for many years, will hereafter be able to move between Chavakachcheri and Jaffna conveniently using the new bus service commenced with the beginning of the new year. The new bus service started on the 1st of January after the difficulty of transport faced by schoolchildren, sick and elderly persons and more..

The Tamil Canadian website and Tamil Hinduism

Jan 8 (LG) The Tamil Canadian website is not accessible in Sri Lanka due to internet censorship. The Government of Sri Lanka has done no disservice in blocking this website. The political leadership of the Sri Lankan Tamils has made numerous blunders in the last 60 years. We need to now strategize afresh. Whereas the Rajapakse administration may not be helpful in my view, this does not mean that Tamils should persist with the failed politics of the past. more..

Defence Counsel for Hicorp arms dealer’s pathetic threats to media freedom

Jan 8 (LG) Asoka Weerasooriya, Senior Defense Counsel for arms deal suspect Trenton Dehoed, a director of HICORP (Pvt) Limited, made some unpleasant comments about my personality and cast aspersions on my journalistic integrity yesterday in Sri Lankan Guardian in response to my article, Miniskirts and myopia; is the government barking mad? First of all, I would like to point out that I am a practising Catholic and my faith never wavered. more..

Keerimalai: A Land of sacred springs & spirituality

Jan 8 (TC) “Keerimalai” natural springs is known for its water and rituals. The water with mineral contents has curative value. Hindus believe the water here has miraculous powers to cure many diseases. According to many legends, the sage “Nagula Muni” was born with mongoose face and meditated in a cave in “Keerimalai”. He bathed in “Keerimalai” springs and his mongoose face turned into a human face. more..