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Three Lankans serious

Jan 4 (NN) Three Sri Lankans who were among four people injured following an accidental blast at a can manufacturing plant in Dammam, Saudi Arabia last week are in a serious condition, the Saudi media reported. According to the Saudi Gazette the accident took place when the maintenance workers – three Sri Lankans and one Indian national - were fixing a leaking gas converter at a plant at the United Arab Can Manufacturing Company in the Second Industrial City, Dammam. more..

Probe on abduction

Jan 4 (NN) The police is investigating claims that an “armed group’ had abducted over 25 youth and later released all except one in Kilinochchi yesterday. One youth had visited the Kilinochchi police station with his father today and lodged a complaint over the alleged abduction. The youth had claimed that he and another boy were forced onto a bus by an armed group of about six men yesterday and in the bus there were over 25 other young boys also being held by force. more..

Coconut import suspended

Jan 4 (DM) The government has shelved its decision to import coconut for the time being following objections by the Coconut Research Board (CRI) on possible quarantine problems involved in the matter, informed sources said today. After the Trade Ministry decided to augment the coconut imports after a shortage in the market with imports from Kerala, India, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the Plant Protection Act did not provide for such imports. more..

The uselessness of learning

Jan 4 (LG) We do not know what is it about Sri Lanka that’s different from other countries where newspapers are sold. A veteran newspaper editor used to tell me that three things usually sell newspapers in other countries: sex, finance and crime. But, in Sri Lanka, he used to add, only one thing sells newspapers: politics. It may have been said half in jest and for effect, but it is mostly true. Half the newspaper articles in Sri Lanka are about politics. more..

Spongers of migrant relatives and work-shy younger generation in Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (LG) A friend of a woman living in London visited the woman’s sister in Colombo taking with her a parcel for her. The sister invited this friend to stay for dinner. Strangely there was no smell of cooking coming from the kitchen and as the friend sat down with the family at the table it was laden with string hoppers, pol sambol, mutton curry, prawns and the whole works. When she complimented her host on the delicious meal she laughed and said more..

Partiality of the Boston Globe: Lankans in Boston Respond

Jan 4 (USL) As a reader of the Boston Globe, it is very disheartening to witness a continuing negative publications regarding Sri Lanka, including its December 29th Editorial, “Probe both sides in Sri Lanka.” Although the Editorial tactfully neglects LTTE’s ruthless indiscriminative atrocities for thirty years that led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese, at the end the article, it puts forth, yet another speculation about more..

Make peace with Tamil Diaspora in New Year

Jan 4 (LG) The importance of forgiveness, reconciliation and renewal were recurring themes at religious services on New Year’s Day. It is unlikely that those sermons by religious clergy and prayers of the faithful were motivated by considerations of national politics alone. It is more likely that these religious sentiments reflected the wisdom that has come down through the ages to make human life on Earth more sustainable and bearable. more..

Development plans for what?

Jan 4 (LG) According to former Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka, the government appears to have no effective plans. I think that there are plans but these are not effectively implemented or some plans are not effective. He cited the ‘Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu’ project as an example. That programme promotes the cultivation of crops but there is no effective plan to market the produce. The National Agricultural Policy, with 22 strategies was brought out in 2007. more..

Diaspora – fully owned subsidiary of the LTTE?

Jan 4 (LG) Those last days of May 2009 in the Wanni must have brought the greatest exposure of a prolonged nature to this little island in its entire post-independence history – with the exception of the Tsunami. The majors of international electronic media of the day pitched camp for weeks here. President Rajapakse was contacted on the phone by virtually every major political leader in the world India, UK, EU, more..

Lunawa Lagoon opens for public

Jan 4 (MoD) The Lunawa Lagoon was opened for public including for those interested in water-sports following extensive renovations by Sri Lanka Navy on Sunday. The project was initiated under the Land Reclamation and Development Cooperation on advice of Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The project comes under purview of the 'Colombo Development Plan' - a vision set by Mr. Rajapaksa since conjunction of the UDA and SLLRDC to the Ministry's line of institutions. more..

If we really want sustainable peace then we must face the violent demons of Sri Lanka’s past

Jan 4 (TC) Due to Sri Lanka’s geographically strategic location coupled with its natural and economic resources the absence of war will give us a chance to move in the direction of a vibrant South Asian economy based on a fiscal program concentrating on exports, tourism, self sufficiency and Post War infrastructural development. However, this cannot be achieved by one section of Sri Lankan citizens alone and it will take inter community cooperation and more..

How The West and India are letting Sri Lanka slip into China's orbit

Jan 4 (TC) That old habits die hard is clear from the way in which the functionaries of the European Union seek to influence the developing economies on the best way to manage their nations. And woe betide those leaders from the former colonies who explain that their knowledge of local conditions may be a tad better than the EU officials jetting in from Paris, London, Berlin and other exquisite capitals to advise the locals. more..

Inexorable march of bribery and corruption

Jan 4 (DM) An undercurrent of iniquities seems to bedevil our society unabated underneath the surface of comparative peace and tranquility. Bribery, corruption, fraud, abuse of power, selfishness, greed, hatred, delusion, duplicity and other vices pervade all spheres of activity today despite apparent efforts to transform the country into a virtuous and righteous state. The rampant and most bothersome among these vices is bribery and corruption that cause political and social problems, and disrupt public life. more..

Feeding a ‘post-war LTTE’ ?

Jan 4 (DM) The avoidable controversy over the continued singing of ‘National Anthem’ in Tamil is fraught with possibilities that the chauvinistic elements in the Sinhala polity, un-ex-posed to the ways of the world, may come to regret in a future generation. If there was no ban on the same, as the Government was slow in clarifying in one more instance of responding to propaganda, it also means that the ‘LTTE type’ of machinery is still intact, and has been able to make an impact. more..

Sri Lanka’s first Natural Museum opens

Jan 4 (SO) The room is filled with numerous animals. The leopard is in an attack mode in one corner of the room and in another corner two palm cats and a black monkey sit in one group. You may find a rare and precious animal - the black leopard, inside a big glass compartment. Part of a movie? Not really. This is what you may find inside Sri Lanka’s first natural museum at Giritale. Last week, Minister S.M. Chandrasena opened this for public view and more..

Editorial: Beggars busting beggars

Jan 4 (Island) The best way to eliminate poverty, cynics say, is to get rid of the poor. Much as sarcasm is said be the lowest form of wit or humour, one cannot but be sarcastic in describing what our political pundits do. They slash excise duty on SUVs but jack up taxes on essential commodities sending their prices through the roof. Duty free vehicle permits are showered on politicians and some public officers while the vast majority of workers cannot afford a measure of rice and a coconut. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka needs servant leadership

Jan 4 (DM) With government leaders, some of them like fiddlers on the roof, proclaiming repeatedly that Sri Lanka would soon become one of the foremost developed countries in the world they need to be aware of one of history’s most important lessons and spiritual truths. Any outward mega development will be of lasting value and for the common good of all the people only if there is also inward transformation of the nature and attitude of leaders. more..

How Sanath’s retirement story has been botched

Jan 4 (Island) Welcome to 2011 and while the "Sprinkler Dance" craze, as exhibited by the England team at the G&G at the end of the fourth Ashes Test, has not caught on here as yet, it is time to reflect on more serious subjects. First, Yahaluweni, there is this question of selection policy for this year’s World Cup; followed by the over-hyped image of the so-called "Final Frontier", then there is something emerging called the X-Factor. more..

A critique of the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill

Jan 4 (GV) This briefing paper highlights some of the key aspects of this Bill and attempts to provide the reader with a basic introduction to the issues and implications of the Bill in its current form. We first examine the change in the electoral system and some of the implications it will have on the exercise of franchise (point 1) and then discuss the implications of the changes being made to the amount required as a deposit and the way it could affect the more..

Building the Nation: Public servants dedication crucial

Jan 4 (DN) Public servants have an enormous task to fulfil in this development decade and they should assist the Government to implement its objectives to make Sri Lanka a wonder nation of Asia, Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. "We are able to speak of a tomorrow and hold hopes of a future because President Mahinda Rajapaksa removed all barriers that obstructed our future development. more..

Illicit phones may be disabled

Jan 4 (ST) The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) will move to block the use of illegally imported mobile phones after offering a grace period to their traders, TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said. Mr. Palpita told the Sunday Times that those who fail to comply with the TRC’s regulations will have their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) blocked which will permanently disable these phones. more..

Jaffna to get SOS village

Jan 4 (DN) The Jaffna district will get an SOS Children's village soon. SOS Children's Villages International President Helmut Kutin said the construction of the Jaffna center would be completed within this year. Kutin was speaking at a press conference at the Piliyandala SOS children's village. Every child needs a loving home to flourish in and SOS villages have helped many to have a home,a family to belong to and a means to grow up with long care in the country since 1979. more..

Shangri La gaga over Lanka

Jan 4 (Island) Hong Kong based Shangri La Asia Limited issued an official announcement of the purchase of six acres of government land facing the Galle Face green promenade, a prominent landmark in Colombo, Sri Lanka. "The development will be a multi-use complex with high-end retailing, deluxe apartments and 500-key luxury hotel to open early 2014. The purchase marks the entry of the hotel group in Sri Lanka, often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Indian ocean’," more..

Released Tamil Tigers 're-arrested'

Jan 4 (BBC) The Sri Lankan authorities have admitted that there have been some problems rehabilitating former Tamil Tiger fighters into society. They say some have been taken back in for police questioning after being released. But they say the numbers are not great and that the process of releases is continuing. The army says more than 11,000 Tamil Tigers surrendered and were taken into military custody in the war’s final stages. more..

Imelda accuses police, prefers military

Jan 4 (TN) The Sri Lanka Police has failed in its duty to arrest killings, abductions and anti-social activities in Jaffna, Imelda Sugumar, the Sri Lankan government agent in Jaffna accused on Monday. She briefed the journalists about her preference to induct the occupying SL military to police the situation further in Jaffna. The police are corrupt and no ‘development’ work is possible in the district under the current circumstances, she claimed. more..

'New Bill to make proper packaging compulsory’

Jan 4 (DM) The Ministry of Trade will pass a bill to make it compulsory for poultry and vegetable farmers to correctly package when transporting their goods, Minister of Trade Johnston Fernando said yesterday. “The farmers try to cover the cost of the broken eggs from the consumer. Therefore, I will bring a law making proper packaging compulsory,” Minister Fernando said. The prices of the eggs had also increased due to this reason and more..

Srilal M. Perera Ph.D

Enough funds for upliftment of traditional industries

Jan 4 (Island) A huge quantum of funds has been allocated from the Budget by President Mahinda Rajapakse for the upliftment of traditional industries and other village based small enterprises, said Weerakumara Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, when he opened the common service centres for kitul related products at the Neluwa Katukenda Village in Galle district and Walakada Village in Kalutara District recently. more..

Work on Sri Lanka’s first ever irrigation museum begins

Jan 4 (Island) Work on Sri Lanka’s first ever irrigation museum, to be established by the Ministry of lrrigation and Water Resources Management, will commemence this month. This is being done with a view to educate the public on the country’s unique centuries-old irrigation technology and it’s history. The concept of this museum was the brain child of Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and the project will be implemented in three stages, under the guidance of National Museums Department. more..

‘Eyes’ wide open for road offenders

Jan 4 (ST) It is a weekday evening. A Fort-bound private bus stops in the middle of the road, near the Liberty Plaza junction, and – breaking a road rule – lets passengers off. The driver and the conductor are not aware that they are being watched by a team of specialised police officers, as well as the Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Images of traffic behaviour are beamed by a surveillance camera set up a couple of miles away, more..

A silver lining in the clouds

Jan 4 (SG) When a top industrial group opens a new showroom in any part of Sri Lanka, it consults astrologers to find out the ‘negath (auspicious)’ time for the opening. “We get what is called a ‘general’ auspicious time and are guided by the advice of the astrologer. Opening the shop at a good time is considered a good omen to ensure that our business will prosper,” a company official said. Consulting astrologers for auspicious times is an old tradition and more..

Boys 'abducted' in Kilinochchi

Jan 4 (BBC) A group of boys abducted in Kilinochchi and taken towards Vavuniya in a bus by an armed group were later released, a Tamil boy has told security officials in the north. 28 out of 30 children were released by the armed group at the Omanthai military check point, the boy has told the police. While travelling towards Vavuniya, the boy has said, at least four armed men were comparing photographs stored in a laptop computer with those abducted. more..

'Do not conduct polls during Cricket World Cup'

Jan 4 (NF) Holding local government elections during the World Cup Cricket tournament is not the right thing to do, says parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga. “If the government is keen to develop the country and project a proper image, this is not the right time to hold local government elections. “We all know that when we have elections, there can be issues within the same party and also among several parties. more..

Ranil says Mahinda may be able to claim for a Guinness record

Jan 4 (ST) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that President Mahinda Rajpakasa may be able to claim for a Guinness book of world records by importing coconut from South India to a country which had been cultivating coconuts from the ancient days. “I was reading a book in which I noticed that in the ancient days measures were taken to grow coconuts along the southern coastal belt and now we have to import coconuts”, Mr. Wickremesinghe said more..

Jim Rogers discusses disappointments in Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (DM) Jim Rogers has been carrying the flag for post war investment in Sri Lanka in the international media. He visited the island in August last year scouting investment opportunities, met stock brokers, Central Bankers and bureaucrats. However nothing came of it. "There was a major guy there who said "We would like for you to get involved', so I said "If I'm going to get involved here in a public way then I cannot invest here because it may be a potential conflict" more..

President tells Secretariat staff : Development challenges bigger

Jan 4 (DN) The challenge of development is much bigger than the challenges faced when defeating terrorism, and the staff of the Presidential Secretariat is well prepared to overcome these challenges, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President addressing Presidential Secretariat staff marking the first working day of the public sector yesterday said that this staff is fortunate to be working at the Secretariat and more..

Northern crops to be re-introduced

Jan 4 (Island) The government has taken steps to re-introduce all crops that had been cultivated n the North prior to the war. Northern Province Governor Major General G.A. Chandrasiri said that the government was planning to cultivate another 40,000 acres of abandoned lands in 2011. "We are planing to cultivate black gram on 19,786 acres across the five districts of the province and groundnuts on 7,231 acres, red onions on 4,709 acres, green chillies on 4,329 acres and more..

The Central Bank to implement Clean note policy

Jan 4 (DM) The Central Bank is to take a series of new steps to educate the masses on the importance of maintaining a high standard of cleanliness in the use of currency notes and coins in circulation, Central Bank officials said. The Central Bank implements its ‘clean note policy’ under the monetary law for this purpose. The awareness programmes such as TV and radio talk shows had already been planned in this respect, even targeting school children. more..

UNP Leadership to be decided before polls

Jan 4 (Island) Sajith Premadasa MP was yet to put forward any clear proposal with regard to his group’s demands pertaining to the UNP leadership, Joseph Michael Perera MP said. Perera, who oversaw the reform process which culminated in the UNP adopting a new constitution, said that the Sajth Premadasa group, which met him, John Ameratunga MP and Jayalath Jayawardena MP last week, had come up with various proposals, but nothing concrete. more..

What a tourist wants? Free sweets or on-arrival visa?

Jan 4 (HT) The Scottish couple snapped out of their jetlag-fuelled New Year slumber as they came out of the aircraft. Drums had begun to beat, dancers were swaying and traditional sweetmeats were laid out in front of them. They were among the first tourists to land in Sri Lanka this year and the authorities – including a minister and top tourism officials – were at the airport to extend a traditional welcome as part of the `2011- Visit Sri Lanka’ campaign. more..