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Sri Lanka’s own goal

Jan 1 (LMD) In September 2009 I wrote about the Sri Lankan government’s failure to convey a positive image of the country to the world after its impressive victory over the LTTE, which ended the national nightmare that began in 1975 when Vellupillai Prabhakaran shot dead the mayor of Jaffna. Prabhakaran went on to be leader of the LTTE, a ruthless terrorist group which began to seem invincible in its fight for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka. more..

Madam ‘Jeena’ to be indicted

Jan 1 (DM) The Attorney General is expected to indict the wealthy woman known as Madam ‘Jeena’ who ran a star-class brothel in the heart of Colombo, on charges of prostitution and human trafficking. The key suspect Rosemary Felicia Perera also known as ‘Madam Jeena’ who was evading arrest in another case was arrested by a special police team at a brothel in a shopping complex in Kollupitiya. The suspect had kept away from inquiries at the more..

On Sri Lanka, amid confusion about Ban's panel, UN has nothing further to say

Jan 1 (ICP) At the UN at the end of 2010 confusion reigned, not only on Cote d'Ivoire but also concerning Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka. Rather than answer if the Panel or its staff would travel to the country and under what conditions, Ban's Spokesman on December 31 told Inner City Press “We are aware of your keen interest. If and when there is something to add we will let you know. more..

SLCG says 1,200 die due to drowning annually

Jan 1 (Island) The Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) will establish a life saving unit in Mount Lavinia in 2011 in addition to units at Mirissa and Galle Face. SLCG spokesman Lt. Cdr. Chandana Bulegoda Arachchisaid that Life Saving Training Wing of the SLCG is in the process of conducting awareness programmes aimed at minimising accidental deaths due to drowning. The official further said that for want of awareness and negligence, many people drown. more..

Computer campus: Degree courses online

Jan 1 (DM) University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday announced it would soon take steps to facilitate foreigners and Sri Lankans living abroad to study online for external degrees from Sri Lankan Universities. “In this era where modern technology is combined with academic activities, we too believe that it is time we made our degree courses accessible to a larger number of students. more..

Join hands to end misery: Ranil

Jan 1 (DM) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called on all sectors to work towards ending misery and creating a society where good qualities and discipline is preserved. In his New Year message Mr. Wickremesinghe said it was not difficult to overcome this challenge if the strengths and abilities of all sectors are put together. He also said that preserving justice, fairness, democracy and more..

New Year message of the JVP

Jan 1 (LT) Let’s make this new year a Happy New Year! People of Sri Lanka begin this New Year confronted with many challenges. The traditional greetings of ‘Happy New Year’ would not make the new year a happy one. We could make this year a happy one only if we identify challenges before us correctly and access a new political path that could overcome these challenges. more..

Fuel supplies: SLPC gets tough

Jan 1 (DM) State institutions that obtain fuel from the Sri Lanka Petroleum Corporation (SLPC) will have to sign a memorandum of understanding every year indicating their annual requirements, Petroleum Industries Ministry said yesterday. “This will be a departure from the current spot buying method, which has aggravated the financial woes of the SLPC,” Minister Susil Premjayantha said. more..

Sri Lanka government heads for mid-term test

Jan 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka will hold its first nationwide local elections since the crushing of Tamil Tiger rebels, a minister said, with the mid-March vote seen as a key test for the ruling party. Health minister Maithripala Sirisena said all local government bodies would be dissolved by mid-January, about two weeks before they complete their terms, and fresh elections would be called by mid-March. more..

Rajapaksa greets Lankans on new year through SMS

Jan 1 (PTI) For the second time in a row, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent his new year greetings through SMS to all mobile phone users around the country. The message reads "Wishing you all a prosperous new year-Mahinda Rajapaksa". It has been sent in three languages -- Sinhala, Tamil and English. The Sinhala and Tamil messages have been typed using English letters phonetically. more..

Tariff structure alteration leads to Rs. 400 million loss to CEB

Jan 1 (Island) Non commercial government institutions such as universities, hospitals, schools, technical and technological institutions are entitled to a 25 per cent discount on energy charges under the new tariff structure that will come into effect from tomorrow – January 1, 2011. Public Utility Commission of Sri Lanka Chairman Dr. Jayatissa De Costa said that energy charges from religious premises have been reduced by 25 per cent. more..

Customs uncover Rs.1 bn foreign exchange fraud

Jan 1 (DM) The Customs yesterday unearthed a Rs.1 billion foreign exchange fraud at a private bank in Pettah. Two suspects were arrested by the Customs for producing fake documents and fake identities and registering a company that did not exist. Customs Deputy Director Athula Lankadeva said among the arrested were the bank manager and a businessman. “We don’t know what they tried to import to the country but we are investigating to uncover it and more..

Free rein for bribery and corruption

Jan 1 (DM) Dealing another blow to the country’s independent bribery and corruption investigative mechanism, 56 experienced investigation officers including the OIC attached to the Commission to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption, have been transferred overnight from yesterday. Although 56 new police personnel had been sent to the Bribery Commission they could not be appointed as investigative officers or given the responsibility of handling bribery and corruption inquiries more..

Hardcore Tigers held at Boosa want police probes expedited – LLRC

Jan 1 (Island) Hardcore LTTE cadres detained at Boossa want the government to expedite investigations into their alleged involvement in terrorist activities. They urged the LLRC on Thursday to intervene on their behalf. A spokesperson for the LLRC said that they had had an opportunity to meet 20 detainees between 10.30 a.m. and 4 p.m. as part of the on-going consultations in keeping with its mandate. more..

Our recent foreign relations disasters

Jan 2 (LG) In recent times we have experienced three setbacks in the execution 0f our foreign affairs, a luxury we certainly cannot afford as there is too much at stake. Whom should we hold responsible for this mess, the latest being the matter of allowing Ban ki-Moon’s panel to visit Sri Lanka? This followed the Oxford disaster. The Liam Fox affair has also served to indicate the state of our relations with Britain, a country with which we have had relations from 1776! more..

Agenda 2011: Click east, not west

Jan 2 (LG) Agenda 2011, twines around two strings to a bow to weather poison arrows darted from a westerly quarter- (i) brisk attendance to Minority Grievances (ii) make progress on Good Governance. Legitimate Tamil Grievances, is a matter for identification by the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission after hearing representations. It’s time the Sinhala Commission sitting under Raja Wanasundera (eminent jurist as chairman) look futuristic, more..

Missing boat sighted off Indonesia

Jan 2 (MoD) A Sri Lankan multiday fishing boat Sankara Putha - 2 with four fishermen on board- reported missing since November 23 was found in Indonesian waters by fisheries trawler belonging to Taiwan yesterday(31). The boat had left the Hambantota Harbour on November 12. On being informed of the loss of contact with the boat, the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry had alerted the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Merchant ships and more..

Editorial: A significant New Year

Jan 2 (SO) The first year of the new decade would be most significant in Sri Lanka’s development drive to be the ‘Wonder of Asia’. With the dawn of another New Year yesterday, let’s take stock of our achievements and failures during the past year and gear ourselves to face the challenges this year. It has been the practice over the years to send greetings during the New Year. However, it’s now opportune for us to ponder whether these greetings are restricted to mere words. more..

Editorial: Interesting overture for new decade

Jan 2 (LB) A brand-new decade is heralded in the country with tumultuous sentiments of hope, and curiously some strange feelings of confusion. The hope is natural, but the confusion is about why a panel of supposed interlopers known as the UN panel has now been welcomed into the country, with the promise of visas, when they had been previously branded as usurpers of national sovereignty? Government policymakers may think that they have lent some clarity to more..

'Fonseka treated worse than Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi'

Jan 2 (LG) Even Myanmar’s military junta had not treated the country’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi the way the Sri Lankan government had harassed and jailed Sarath Fonseka, the war hero who saved the nation from the clutches of the ruthless LTTE, UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said yesterday. Myanmar had placed its opposition leader under house arrest but the Rajapaksa government had more..

Ranil asks for leadership for another year

Jan 2 (SL) The unending twists and turns in the battle for leadership in the UNP took a new turn this week with Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya admitting to the need for a change in the party leadership. Last week was filled with action for the UNP seniors with many meetings and decisions being made on the party’s future leadership. On Monday, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe met with UNP MP Kabir Hashim, who had returned to the country after a tour in more..

Editorial: Issues for Govt to reckon with

Jan 2 (NS) It is not often that ministers are openly critical of the government. And when they are, they are often quite circumspect in their words, being careful enough not to ruffle important feathers and limiting their criticism to one particular issue or personality. This week though, we heard former Prime Minister and now Senior Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake speaking his mind. He warned the government that the prices of essential items were sky-rocketing and more..

A vision inspirational

Jan 2 (NS) In the words of Helen Keller, ‘the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision’. Her words cannot be truer when taking the first glimpse of Nayanaloka Model Village (Nayanaloka Aadarsha Gammanaya) in Demanhandiya, off Negombo. Its inhabitants robbed of sight, the most precious among all human faculties, make us ‘open our eyes’ and question our conscience as to how many of us gifted with sight, are endowed with a vision? more..

Editorial: ‘Sacrifices’ should go in tandem with good governance

Jan 2 (Island) On the face of it, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s New Year call for more ‘sacrifices’ on the part of the public for the ushering of Sri Lanka’s progress in the future, is most appropriate and timely. To be sure, gains are impossible without pains but the grouse harboured by the majority of the public is that these hardships are not borne equally by the rulers and the ruled of this land at present. more..

Editorial: Forgotten builders of Lanka's economy

Jan 2 (ST) The Minister of Economic Development in a statement issued this week has correctly pointed out that 2011 will need to be a year of economic growth for Sri Lanka and that this was an essential corollary to the defeat of terrorism in 2009. He has proudly stated that 2010, the first full year without the menace of terrorism in more than quarter of a century saw the country posting an impressive 8 percent growth rate; that tourist arrivals hit a record high and more..

This country is not a political plaything

Jan 2 (LG) A couple of years ago, engaging in a chance conversation with an avowed defender of the government’s foreign policy, his insistence that Sri Lankan democracy would improve once the war ended, provoked a most contentious argument. My response was that once the Pandora’s Box is proverbially opened and politicians are given virtual blanket power to bypass the law, to subvert the courts, to manipulate the media and public opinion to frightening levels, more..

‘Seniors’ cry for power

Jan 2 (NS) A different political landscape awaits Sri Lanka in 2011 with a government trying to maintain its stranglehold on power both in parliament and outside while a disunited opposition is making an attempt to regroup and challenge the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA). These are sequel to events in 2010 which were consumed by elections, with presidential polls in January and a general election less than three months later. more..

UNPers look for stability after a year of setbacks

Jan 2 (NS) Year 2010 had been a landmark year for Sri Lanka politically, socially and economically, though there were a few setbacks, from time to time. The year saw several political upheavals from the beginning, after President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to hold an election seeking a second term of office in late 2009. The decision to hold elections at the most favourable time for the President, having defeated the LTTE convincingly, sent the main more..

Where big brother won’t see

Ranil swamped by ‘ground realities’

Jan 2 (Island) The term ‘ground realities’ has become the newest buzz-word in UNP circles. On Wednesday evening, a 12 member delegation of reformists led by Sajith Premadasa and comprising of Imtiaz Barkeer Markar, Talatha Atukorale, Maithri Gunaratne, Dayasiri Jayasekera Rosy Senanayake, Sujeewa Senasinghe, Bodhi Ranasinghe and lawyer Ronald Perera among others visited Karu Jayasuriya at his home. The reformists explained their position to more..

Will illegal flow in Sri Lanka also increase after the Central Bank liberalizes foreign exchange transactions?

Jan 2 (Island) India has lost more than $460bn since Independence because of companies and the rich illegally funnelling their wealth overseas, a new report says. The illegal flight of capital through tax evasion, crime and corruption had widened inequality in India, it said. According to the report from US-based group Global Financial Integrity, the illicit outflows of money increased after economic reforms began in 1991. more..

'Work hard to develop motherland'

Jan 2 (SO) "If there is a cake it should be shared and everyone should to be satisfied with what he got. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has cut the cake in a manner to satisfy one and all. Be happy and work hard to achieve a successful outcome in the given tasks to develop a new Sri Lanka", Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He said it was a joke that some government parliamentarians including a group of senior ministers had held discussions with the Opposition. more..

Private sector, migrant workers concerned over non consideration

Jan 2 (BL) Sri Lanka’s private sector and migrant workers say they are not happy about the recent decision taken by the government to grant vehicle import duty concessions only to state officials and claim that they too should have been considered. The private sector, who are often referred to as the engine of growth and the migrant workers, who are presently the island’s number one foreign exchange earner together lament that duty concessions should have been more..

Mrs. Anumaana has a problem with New Year resolutions

Jan 2 (ST) Mrs. Anumaana was never one to take New Year resolutions seriously – either her own or those of other people. But this year Sunil’s resolution has been a cause of some concern to her. It is not so much his resolution as his reasons for setting his sights on his chosen goal that have led to her misgivings. He has resolved once again that his career goal is to become a MP. Sunil has been talking much about contesting the upcoming local government elections more..

Senior ministers ‘will get more responsibilities’

Jan 2 (NS) The political scenario is heating up as the main opposition UNP battles an internal leadership struggle and some UPFA politicians raising concerns about burning national issues prevailing. The following are the excerpts from an interview with Minister Susil Premajayantha, who shared his views about several key issues. Q: The cost of living has become one of the pressing problems in the country today. more..

Super model carpeting Galle road to cost Rs.15m

Jan 2 (BL) The carpeting of Sri Lanka’s busiest highway, Galle Road in Colombo is expected to cost an estimated Rs.15 million while work on the super model project will to be completed in the next 30 days, according to the special commissioner of the Colombo Municipal Council, Omar Kamil. The sprucing up of the Colombo city by this sophisticated modern road network which began on October 2, 2010 will cover kerb lines, foot walks, and the laying of a new duct more..

Construction Crews Threatened in Peliyagoda

Jan 2 (SL) Several incidents have been reported in the Wattala/Peliyagoda area where thugs have demanded protection fees from construction crews and subcontractors. These incidents have been going on for some time and have caused the slowing down of construction of the Colombo-Katunayake expressway. The latest spate of incidents happened on Tuesday (28) when several transport lorries bringing construction material were stopped and more..

Sex-workers: Ban them or not

Jan 2 (LB) It was an ordinary Thursday afternoon on a busy Dehiwala road... What I observed while waiting in traffic transformed this uneventful afternoon into an extraordinary one in a matter of a few minutes. Right by the roadside, I comprehensively witnessed a very interesting transaction between two parties-a prostitute and her customer. It probably took them seven short minutes to negotiate the price (Rs. 2,000), location, and more..

S’gamuwa Uni closed

Jan 2 (NN) The Sabaragamuwa university was closed indefinitely this evening over reports of an increase in ragging incidents. Vice Chancellor of the university Professor H.M.S Priyanath told News that all the students in the hostel had been informed to vacate the premises by this evening. The Vice Chancellor noted that there has been a considerable increase in the number of ragging incidents and as a result the university had to be closed until the situation could be addressed. more..

Mini tornado in Matara

Jan 2 (NN) A mini tornado hit parts of Matara this evening damaging several houses and uprooting trees, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said. The Matara regional office of the Disaster Management Center said that 40 houses were damaged when the strong winds lashed the area. According to the DMC the roofs of some houses were removed by the wind but there were no reports of casualties. Similar mini tornados had been reported over the past few years more..