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High Court awaits SC interpretation

Jan 15 (DM) Colombo High Court yesterday postponed the Hi Corp inquiry till February 14 until the Supreme Court pronounces its decision whether the Court-Martial which inquired the Hicorp case and sentenced former Army General Sarath Fonseka was a Court or not according to Judicial Interpretation. When the matter was taken up for inquiry before High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse Counsel Asela Rekawa appearing with more..

Sirisena admits his Ministry a den of corruption

Jan 15 (Island) Healthcare Minister Maithripala Sirisena recently admitted that his Ministry was a bottomless pit of corruption and vowed to clean it up before relinquishing his portfolio. He said corruption, malpractice and irregularities were the order of the day at the Ministry and a drug could not be registered without a bribe being given. Nothing could be done at the Ministry without bribing some official or another, more..

Ban says Panel Finalizing Sri Lanka dates

Jan 15 (ICP) For the four weeks since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on December 17 announced his Panel of Experts would visit Sri Lanka and praised the “flexibility” of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his Spokesperson's office has refused to answer questions about Rajapaksa officials' statements that they were unable of any trip, that Ban's Panel would get only “conditional visas,” not to investigate but more..

UN ramping up aid to thousands of flood-affected Sri Lankans

Jan 15 (UN) United Nations agencies in Sri Lanka are stepping up efforts in cooperation with the Government to help the over one million people affected by the severe floods that have struck the South Asian nation in recent weeks. The world body will launch an appeal for emergency funds in the coming weeks, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today. Meanwhile, the UN team in the country is supporting more..

Thou shalt not wear sweaters - Principal

Jan 15 (DM) The Director of National Schools Douglas Ranasinghe instructed principals of Colombo girls schools not to prevent students from wearing sweaters following complaints made by parents that certain leading girls school authorities had allegedly asked students to remove sweaters before entering the school. The health authorities, advised the public to keep the body warm at all times to prevent various ailments including respiratory problems and influenza by more..

Lives in turmoil after Sri Lankan floods

Jan 15 (BBC) Driving into Kalmunai we saw choppy waters on both sides of the road, something like an inland sea. The water gave way to flooded coconut plantations. On Friday, as the Muslim faithful went to midday prayers, the rain was starting up again in this mixed Muslim-Tamil town on Sri Lanka's isolated south-eastern seaboard. Life here has been turned upside down. In normal times this is a land peppered with lagoons but now it is as if they have taken over the land. more..

Sri Lanka lacks true leaders – Dullas

Jan 16 (AD) There is a shortage of true leaders presently in Sri Lanka, says Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. He states that in the past leaders were elected to the Parliament through various unjust means. Speaking during a leadership training program at the International Center for the Training of Rural Leaders, Embilipitiya the Minister stated that even if being elected to Parliament through such unjust methods is approved of or not, those persons have been baptized as leaders. more..

Shooting in Pettah

Jan 16 (NN) A man was shot dead by suspected underworld members at mihindu mawatha in Pettah a short while ago. The victim was identified as Kithsiri Rajapaksa, a businessman and member and area organiser of the opposition United National Party. According to the police the victim was shot dead near his house by armed men riding a motorbike. A few months ago a brother of the victim was also shot dead and following the he had requested for police protection. more..

Mervyn bans sale of four vegetables in Kelaniya

Jan 16 (AD) Green Chillies, Tomatoes, Gourd and Lady Fingers will not be sold in the Kelaniya area during the New Year as residents of the area will be pushed to growing these vegetables in their home gardens, Minister of Public Relations and Public Affairs Mervyn Silva stated. He further added that this campaign will be enforced strictly in order to encourage people to be self-sufficient as vegetable prices increase due to bad weather conditions. more..

US assisting flood victims

Jan 16 (DM) The US today said that it is in the process of helping and will further assist those affected by floods in Sri Lanka. US Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis announced that the United States Government is donating nearly $300,000 in assistance to provide a variety of goods and services to the people hardest hit by the flood disaster. Further, a US press release noted “In order to help the nearly 1 million Sri Lankans affected by the recent floods and landslides, more..

Lankan among victims

Jan 16 (NN) A Sri Lankan has been identified as among the over 100 people killed in the stampede in Kerala, India last night, the Indian media reported this evening. Kerala's Sabarimala tragedy has claimed 104 lives so far and an Indian government report today said the stampede in the Pulumedu forest was caused after a tiff between taxi, autorickshaw drivers and pilgrims turned violent. More than 70 victims have been identified as of today and of them one was from more..

Sri Lanka floods: UN calls for emergency aid

Jan 16 (BBC) The UN is to launch an appeal for emergency flood aid for Sri Lanka, where at least 32 people have died and more than 300,000 have been displaced. "I urge donors to generously support priority needs such as mosquito nets, clean water and food," UN humanitarian co-ordinator Neil Buhne said. Flood waters are now receding in the worst-hit areas in eastern and central Sri Lanka. But aid agencies are warning of the danger of water-borne diseases. more..

Lane for the blind

Jan 16 (NN) Sri Lanka’s first lane for blind people was declared open at Rawatawatte in Moratuwa today, officials told News this afternoon. The lane for the visually handicapped was constructed at a cost of Rs. 800,000 and will help blind people using a white cane to walk safely on the street. Officials said that they hope to construct more similar lanes in other parts of the country as well in an attempt to make the environment friendly towards blind people. more..

Sri Lanka securities watchdog to revamp governing law

Jan 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will modernize its governing law to meet market trends and introduce civil sanctions for market offenders, an official said. SEC chairwoman Indrani Sugathadasa said the 1987 SEC law has been change three times but there had been "no overall review of the provisions to align it to the global market trends". The law will be changed to regulate demutualized stock exchanges, central depositories and central counterparties. more..

Sri Lanka frees ex-Tigers to mark harvest festival

Jan 16 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities on Saturday released 78 suspected Tamil Tiger rebels from an internment centre to mark the Tamil harvest festival of Thai Pongal, an official said. A total of 48 women and 30 men left a military-run facility in the northern town of Jaffna, the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe said. Sri Lanka's minority Tamils celebrate Thai Pongal Saturday, but the festivities have been marred by floods that more..

Sri Lanka expects US$1.5bn in hotel starts in 2011

Jan 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expecting 1.5 billion US dollars of mainly hotel project starts in 2011 as investors pour money into the sector in the wake of booming tourist arrivals following the end of a war, economic minister Basil Rajapaksa said. "We expect 1.5 billion US dollars of hotel projects to start this year," Rajapaksa said. "Investors are looking for a stable power supply, infrastructure and political stability. more..

Ambassador meets new Country Director of the World Bank for Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (MoD) Sri Lanka Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya held discussions with the World Bank’s newly-designated country director for Sri Lanka earlier this week prior to her departure to Sri Lanka. Ambassador Wickramasuriya briefed Ms Diarietou Gaye, the new country director, on the political and economic situation of the country. He also explained the importance of the support of development partners like the World Bank in implementing the Government more..

Floods hit harvest festival in Sri Lanka former war zone inundated

Jan 16 (AFP) Sri Lanka's minority Tamils would normally celebrate their annual harvest festival Saturday, but instead they are struggling to survive the worst flooding in living memory. With a handful of rice and a couple of incense sticks, Sadairani Kumar is keen to mark the festival of Thaipongal, popular among the Hindu ethnic Tamil community who offer thanks to the sun god for a bountiful harvest. more..

SLA soldier on rape attempt attacked by Neerveali villagers

Jan 16 (LG) A Sri Lanka Army soldier who attempted to rape a young Tamil woman in Neerveali in Jaffna district in the early hours of Friday was caught and severely beaten by the villagers, who heard the woman shout. The soldier, from a camp belonging to Achchuveali section of the SLA, was handed over to Koappaay Police by the villagers. The police has not produced the soldier in the courts, but admitted that a soldier was heavily beaten by the villagers more..

The cold truth about Colombo weather and commentary

Jan 16 (LG) The recent spate of bad weather events serve to drive home more home truths than one. Floods in Sri Lanka have been phenomenally bad, displacing almost 300,000 people, but yet the chill over Colombo with temperatures hovering in the low 20s and dipping below 20, is getting almost more media coverage that the floods that have caused so much devastation in the outstations. That is called news. Cities in three continents, Australia Asia and South America more..

Many thousands taste the largest Pongal rice at gateway to Jaffna

Jan 16 (Cimic) Elephant Pass, once was a base for heavy fighting between terrorists and valiant soldiers who shed their blood and laid their lives to secure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland, this Saturday turned a traditional Hindu village where the same Army troops served Pongal rice to Jaffna people and thousands of others visiting Jaffna. On concept of Commander Security Forces – Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, more..

Religion & Cricket: From the sublime to the ridiculous

Jan 16 (LG) Predictions made in this column last week that 2011 was going to be a ‘Fruitier and Nuttier’ year than those years that preceded it appear to be pointing in the right direction because just two days later, the front page of a daily newspaper had two Buddhist monks wrapping a cricket ball with pirith nool (sacred thread), the paper said. There was another religious dignitary presumably a Hindu with a pottu seated alongside. more..

It’s show time: time to prove the government can feed its people post-war

Jan 16 (LG) For forty years since the 1971 JVP (Sinhala Marxist) insurrection, Sri Lanka profited from a war economy. The ending of the protracted secessionist war did not bring in the expected post war economic boom. On the contrary, the 287,000 strong military is now compelled to barter its fighting skills for trading in agricultural produce, mostly from the war battered North and East to supplement their stagnant pay. more..

Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe bids Farewell

Jan 16 (SLN) Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe bade farewell at a formal ceremony which was held at the Naval Headquarters in keeping with the Naval traditions this morning (15). Admiral Samarasinghe was accorded a Guard of Honour and was ushered out mounted on a colourfully decorated traditional vehicle amidst cheers from the Naval personnel who stood in two street lines attired in their ceremonial dresses. more..

Thai Pongal a celebration of Hindu civilization - President

Jan 16 (GDI) Thai Pongal is a celebration of the Hindu-Tamil farming community that highlights the core values of their culture and civilization, President Mahinda Rajapaksa states in a Thai Pongal message. The message: "It is a sacred day when gratitude is expressed to the Sun God for the bountiful harvest gathered. "As such, it is a day for Hindus in Sri Lanka who march towards development in the golden rays of the sun, to join in celebration with those of their faith worldwide. more..

Editorial: Lanka, a shining example

Jan 16 (SO) The Northern and Eastern Provinces are regaining their pristine glory as the Government is making every endeavour to develop infrastructure facilities for those who have been resettled in the area. One may, perhaps, wonder whether the Western and Southern Provinces have got preferential treatment in the allocation of funds. Nevertheless, these two provinces have got relatively less funds compared to the Northern Province, which is on a fast track towards a new era of development. more..

Conjoined twins: Born together to live separately

Jan 16 (SO) For Champika and her husband Amith, of Pitabeddara, Matara it was the happiest time of their life, a time to dream beautiful dreams. They yearned for a token of their love to symbolise the special bond they shared. To have healthy babies, to hold, cuddle and grow old together watching them grow! Finally 25-year-old Champika showed signs that her dream was about to come true. more..

Editorial: A rainy day

Jan 16 (SL) Sri Lanka has been hit by the worst floods in years, destroying homes, livelihoods, and crops. This comes as world food prices are rising and the World Bank predicting declining growth in 2011. Just out of the war zone and entering an Asian century, Sri Lanka already finds itself sailing into stormy waters. In July 2010, floods submerged around one fifth of Pakistan, affecting 20 million people (over 10% of the population). more..

Editorial: Be prepared for natural calamities

Jan 16 (NS) Nasty weather has taken its toll not only in Sri Lanka but in geographically diverse regions such as Australia and Brazil and the weather gods, it appears, have chosen not to be partial in their unkindness. In our country, floods extracted a heavy price, rendering thousands homeless and snuffing out a few lives. The globe is apparently experiencing a ‘climate change’ phenomenon. All predictions are that these unpredictable weather fluctuations are more..

Ripe time for organic farming

Jan 16 (NS) ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away;’ our ears are well tuned to the cliché, despite the fact that the fruit is non-home grown. In an era where the west is frantically craving for what is labelled ‘organic food’, Sri Lanka – a paradise for such natural sources of food is focussing gradually on the value of home-grown crops, majority growing in any home compound or in wilderness, devoid of any external aids such as more..

Editorial: Does anything matter to our media?

Jan 16 (LB) Doesn’t it matter to the Sri Lankan press that the president of the country says that there is no problem with the national anthem, and that the government took no decision regarding that matter i.e.: how the national anthem should be sung and in what language etc., Doesn’t it matter to the Sri Lankan press that the president of this country says that Rahul Gandhi, the probable heir apparent to the premiership in India and a very formidable political more..

Editorial: No run-of-the-mill LG contest

Jan 16 (Island) The upcoming local government poll would perhaps be one of the closest watched electoral contests of its kind in recent times on account of it shaping-up as a popularity poll of both the government and the UNP. The latter is continuing to be a divided house and a deep disappointment to its die-hard supporters, but its electoral fortunes seem to have picked-up somewhat by virtue of the gathering disappointment in some quarters over the government’s more..

Duty-slashed vehicles can be sold after three years

Jan 16 (ST) The new category of public officials, who were granted permission to import motor vehicles on concessionary terms from December 15, will be allowed to transfer their vehicles after three years, down from the five-year restriction imposed earlier for transferring of such vehicles. The Motor Traffic Commissioner has been informed by the Treasury that those who import vehicles under the latest concessionary scheme should be more..

Editorial: The disease within the disaster

Jan 16 (ST) Sri Lankans in all parts of the island had firsthand experience this week of what is known in environmental circles worldwide as the 'La Nina' effect. About a million people have been directly affected, there have been 27 deaths, 12 people missing and as many as 360,000 rendered homeless. The full impact of the devastating flood waters is going to be felt countrywide in the months ahead with the destruction of thousands of acres of rice more..

Political storms intensify as rains wreak havoc

Jan 16 (NS) The torrential downpour last week pushed most of the people in the East, Central and North Central Provinces from the frying pan into the fire. They were already under the pressure of rising cost of living, being unable to meet their ends though they toiled day after day to earn a decent living. The unprecedented deluge followed by torrential rains certainly put them in a dizzy spin wondering as to what would come next. more..

Floods: Batticaloa hardest hit, EU, India, US pledge aid

Jan 16 (TN) The European Union and the United States joined India in pledging emergency assistance following the massive flooding that has submerged large parts of Sri Lanka and displaced over a million people. The hardest hit region is the war-shattered Batticaloa district. The EU is providing $2.7m in assistance to be distributed through international aid agencies. India will provide $1m, including 34 tons of emergency supplies more..

The challenge ahead for Govt. & UNP

Jan 16 (Island) When the JVP politburo met last Tuesday, Somawansa Amarasinghe summarized the issues they would be highlighting in the local government campaign - the inability of the government to respond fast to a disaster situation like the present floods, their inability to control the rising price of vegetables, and their strategy of getting the army to sell vegetables in a few locations which does nothing to bring down the prices but only insults the army. more..

SLFP and UNP nudge minority leaders into mainstream politics

Jan 16 (NS) Although the announcement of local government elections brought about a flurry of political activity and almost imperceptibly there has been a major shift in one aspect of Sri Lankan politics, vis-à-vis the attitude of the major parties towards ‘minority’ or ethnic-based political parties. It was the opposition UNP, now in the throes of a leadership struggle that first broke the ice. No politicians from other parties will hereafter be enrolled on UNP more..

Vaas is a true victim of politics

Jan 16 (ST) After much speculation and debate among the cricketing fraternity, as to the composition of Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the squad was finally announced. Selectors’ worldwide face a difficult and thankless task, since any squad selected, would come in for criticism by some. This is simply because everyone cannot be accommodated in a squad of a limited number. more..

Wistful longing to be a dictator!

Jan 16 (ST) My dear Satellite, I thought I must write to you after reading some public comments you had made recently, where you had said that you should have become a dictator for at least six months to bring in a new Constitution for the country, and then reverted to democracy. Excuse me, Satellite, but I thought all the leaders we have had under what you famously called the bahubootha viyawasthaawa have been dictators to some extent or other, the only exception being more..