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'I don’t belong to any faction'

Jan 5 (NS) In an interview with our sister paper Rivira, UNP media spokesman Gayantha Karunatillake talks on the UNP’s internal crisis and the party’s plans for the future. Q: We understand a new crisis has developed in the UNP over the party’s future leadership. In fact, it is a main talking point in political circles as well as in the public domain. Is there any truth in this general talk? more..

Rs 250 m industrial park at Atchuvely

Jan 5 (DN) An industrial estate will be set up at Atchuvely at a cost of Rs 250 million by the Indian Government. The Indian Government will release Rs 230 million as a donation. The balance Rs 45 million will be met by the Sri Lanka Government. This estate will be sited on a 65 acre land. Four industrial ventures - MAS Holdings, Oris Apparels Lanka, Timex and Shore to Shore (Pvt) Ltd will invest on 25 acres land. The balance 40 acres will be leased to small scale industries. more..

Out-of-form Minister son in under-19 cricket squad

Jan 5 (Island) The inclusion of out-of-form Royal College batsman Ramith Rambukwella in a 16-member Sri Lanka Under-19 squad for the Youth Series against England Under-19 has raised many an eye brow as his inclusion comes at the expense of St. Anthony’s, Katugastota opener Hiran Wickramasekara, who has been in-form in the current First XI season. Although Junior National Selectors tried to defend Rambukwella’s inclusion due to his experience, more..

A Tribute to Gratian Ananda

Jan 5 (Island) Popular singer, musician and music director Gratian Ananda passed away two weeks ago after a brief illness at the Colombo National Hospital. Gratian was my childhood friend who lived in Kolonnawa and we used to hang around and go to school together in the same bus from Wellampitiya. I met Gratian in our early teens and even at that time music was in his blood. In early ’70s, Gratian used to come to my home carrying his acoustic guitar and more..

Editorial: Ceylon is colonial

Jan 5 (ET) The power of generic brand equity can be perceived in the fact that Ceylon tea is likely to be exempted from the Sri Lankan government's New Year resolution to eschew use of the old colonial name. While Ceylon was officially renamed Sri Lanka in 1972, many institutions have continued to use the old name. As per the latest New Year resolution, the people will now be served by the Bank of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Electricity Board. more..

Environment endangering life in Jaffna

Jan 5 (TN) News reports from the south of the island, Saturday, said that Colombo government had yielded to the protests of fishermen and Church in the south, and had dropped a project to have sea planes in the Negombo lagoon. The fishermen in and around Negombo feared affliction to fish catch by the sea plane project. But on the same day, a budding young environmentalist having concern for the sand dunes and the drinking water of his people was shot dead in Jaffna. more..

Selectors should pick the best team for World Cup – President

Jan 5 (Island) Meeting Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials at Temple Trees last morning, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said it was the responsibility of the national cricket selectors to pick the best team for the forthcoming Cricket World Cup. President has also mentioned that everyone in the country expects victory for Sri Lanka in the forthcoming World Cup and therefore it was the responsibility of all to heighten morale of the Lankan players. more..

Sri Lanka declares venues ready

Jan 5 (DM) Cricket World Cup tournament director of the Sri Lanka segment Suraj Dandeniya declared yesterday that there was no hitch towards the completion of the three hosting venues in the island which will be ready without any doubts. “The stadiums are up and running. Come January 31st and the stadiums will be ready. The ICC will not reject any venue and Sri Lanka is ready for the World Cup”, Dandeniya said yesterday at the launch of final countdown to more..

Chinese investment zone in troubled waters

Jan 5 (ST) Work at the 161-acre dedicated Chinese Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Mirigama has come to a grinding halt due to some disagreements between the Chinese investor entrusted with the task of setting up and managing the zone and the Sri Lanka Board of Investment (BOI), informed sources said. The Chinese conglomerate Huichen Investment (Holdings) (Pvt) Ltd is planning to abandon the project due to the failure of the authorities to fulfill their requirements, more..

'We can look after our damsels'

JJan 5 (Island) Foreign experts are not needed to preserve the Sigiriya frescoes and to study the reasons for their discolouration, Director General, Department of Archaeology, Dr. Senarath Dissanayake says. "Sri Lanka has enough local experts to analyse the state of frescoes to take necessary measures to preserve them," he said. A source from the Ministry said that two Italian experts on ancient art were due to arrive in Sri Lanka to more..

Lanka donates corneas to Myanmar

Jan 5 (DN) Minister Mervin Silva donated two human eye corneas to the Myanmar Government during his visit from December 29 to January 1. Myanmar's Health Ministry Director General Dr U Win Myint receiving the eye corneas on behalf of the Myanmar Government commended Sri Lanka. International Eye Bank of Sri Lanka is one of the world's largest eye banks, supplying human eyes to restore vision to people in as many as 57 countries, more..

Maharagama UC member challenges UPFA

Jan 5 (DM) Ruling party UPFA member of the Maharagama Urban Council yesterday filed a civil suit against the UPFA in the District Court seeking a declaration that UPFA was not a political party. The plaintiff K. C. Chandrasenaka, a UPFA PC member who had voted against the last budget of the Municipal Council also asked for a ruling against the alleged move to remove him from the Urban Council. He had cited the UPFA, its secretary Susil Premajayantha and more..

As Sri Lanka speaks of conditional visas for Ban's Panel, UN switches to potential visit

Jan 5 (ICP) Eighteen days after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said his Panel on Accountability would go to Sri Lanka, his spokesman Martin Nesirky now openly called it a “potential visit,” and refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about who Ban spoke with before his December 17 announcement, and if even the Panel's staff would visit Colombo. Each work day between Christmas and New Years, Nesirky refused to answer six questions more..

'The Pope's message on religious freedom crucial for Sri Lanka'

Jan 5 (AN) "The Pope's message is very important to highlight the situation in Sri Lanka. If mistakes were made in the past, then Christians should be humble and ask for forgiveness, just as Pope John Paul II did on March 12, 2000, the first Sunday of Lent. " Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando, coordinator of the Young Christian Workers Movement in Sri Lanka, a political analyst and human rights activist, spoke to AsiaNews about how the Pope’s message for more..

She abducted infant in her care and used him to beg for four years

Jan 5 (Island) A frantic search by the grief stricken parents for their only child drew a blank. The father sustained serious injury in a mishap while looking for his little son and is now confined to a wheelchair. Their domestic aide who ran away with the infant had left no traces. But, four years later, the child’s mother sighted the suspect while she was travelling in a bus in Colombo … more..

More CDF personnel to protect electric fence

Jan 5 (DN) The Government will deploy 3,000 Civil Defence Force (CDF) personnel, in a bid to protect the 1,400 Km stretch of electric fence to prevent elephants from entering villages. According to Minister S M Chandrasena a CDF personnel will have to keep vigilance on a stretch of 3 Km live fence. Over 300 CDF personnel are engaged in protecting the live fences in many areas where elephant - human conflict is rampant. more..

CBK invited to testify before LLRC

Jan 5 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is to testify before the LLRC, its Secretary S.B Athugoda said yesterday. A letter signed by LLRC chairman C.R.De.Silva was sent on December 31 inviting the former President to come before the commission but there has been no response from her, he said. Earlier the Commission invited Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on the phone to testify before the commission but he had refused the invitation. more..

Sri Lanka to bring in further foreign exchange relaxation

Jan 5 (N360) Sri Lanka today announced plans to bring in further foreign exchange relaxations covering travel and shipping related businesses and the education sector along with several other areas. The country is also planning to permit residents to make payments to non residents in respect of purchase of real estate. Presenting the “Monetary and Financial sector policies for 2011 and beyond”, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka also said, students living more..

Ranil wants AP delegation to visit Jaffna

Jan 5 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that he had written to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa requesting the latter to make arrangements for an all party parliamentary delegation to visit Jaffna to assess the current situation there. Wickremesinghe said that a full-day debate on the current situation in Jaffna was needed and it should be held in Parliament as soon as possible. more..

Prosecution wants charges related to Deniyaya mansion case amended

Jan 5 (LT) The counselors for the prosecution in the case against journalists of ‘Lanka Irida’ newspaper who had photographed the mansion built by a relative of the President spending funds of the ‘Maga Neguma’ project stated before the Court today that charge sheet filed against the journalists should be amended. When the relevant case was heard at Kotapola Magistrates Court today counsel for the prosecution Kalinga Indratissa made this request from Court. more..

Sri Lanka to dissolve local government bodies tomorrow

Jan 5 (NN) Government (LG) bodies will be dissolved tomorrow and not next week. According to the government the local government bodies will be dissolved with effect from midnight tomorrow January 6 while the elections for the new bodies will be conducted next month. Around 300 municipal, urban and village councils, except for a few local government bodies in North and East, will face elections after a three-decade old war ended in May 2009. more..

Years of seeking leads St. Petersburg woman to life as Buddhist nun

Jan 5 (TB) Sandra Steers dressed in white one recent Saturday morning and drove to Clearwater for one of the most significant moments of her life. Hours later, the 68-year-old grandmother of five returned to her St. Petersburg home to begin a new life. If neighbors had been peeking through their windows, they would have seen a petite woman with a shaven head wearing saffron robes. more..

Jaffna re-settlement: Dr. JJ urges JHU not to exploit ‘Sinhala IDPs’ issue

Jan 5 (Island) The UNP alleges the JHU is seeking to exploit the issue of those Sinhalese (who were forced to leave the North, particularly the Jaffna peninsula, and who are now seeking their property back) to cause chaos in the post-war era. The UNP says the JHU is trying to involve Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, thereby the Catholic Church, by demanding that the Cardinal reveal his position on the displaced Sinhalese. more..

Liberty Plaza brothel raid: Gina and others re-remanded

Jan 5 (Island) Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne re-remanded, till January 18, the six women suspects including two foreigners of Eastern European origin, who were arrested from an alleged up-market brothel on the eight-storey the Liberty Plaza shopping complex in Kollupitiya. The Magistrate refused an application filed on behalf of the sixth suspect Rosemarie Perera (Gina) by Attorneys-at-Law Kalinga Indatissa more..

CBK not invited to the LLRC

Jan 5 (NN) Contrary to media reports, the office of Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said that she is yet to receive an invitation to make submissions before the LLRC. Officials from the former President’s office said that since Kumaratunga had not received any invitation they would not comment if she would consider testifying before the Commission in the event an invitation is made. more..

'LG Bill a draconian piece of legislation'

Jan 5 (DM) Asserting that the proposed Local Authorities Electoral Reforms Bill was a draconian piece of legislation, DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told parliament yesterday that his party was happy about the government’s decision to postpone the passage of the Bill. He thanked the government for deciding to merely debate the Bill in the House yesterday without passing it. more..

Shangri La to push MoD, Army Hq. out of Colombo city

Jan 5 (Island) The Defence Ministry and the Army are in the process of being shifted to alternative locations to pave the way for Sri Lanka’s first 7-star hotel facing the Galle Face green promenade. Some sections of the Army Headquarters would begin moving out shortly to temporary ‘locations’. The Defence Ministry and the SLA headquarters would hand over six acres encompassing the SLA grounds. more..

Sri Lanka aims for US10bn forex reserves by 2013

Jan 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka is improving its foreign reserves management system with more modern trading systems and practices and aims to build up foreign exchange reserves to over 10 billion US dollars in the next few years, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. "Gross official reserves are projected to increase to around 10 billion dollars by 2013," he said in a speech on monetary policy for 2011. more..

'Fear psychosis in Jaffna'

Jan 5 (DM) Government Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda told Parliament yesterday a fear psychosis had gripped the people in the North due to the alarming crime wave prevalent in the area. Mr. Devananda who is the Leader of the EPDP told the House in a statement that people looked forward to a peaceful environment after the end of the war. However, the Minister said people were in fear whether their areas would slip back to violence again. more..

Sri Lanka delays local polls for World Cup

Jan 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka postponed council elections near three cricket World Cup venues as the nation seeks to put on a flawless show as co-hosts of the prestigious event. The CMC will not go to the polls as scheduled in March while four other councils in the central and southern provinces will also be delayed to avoid clashing with the tournament. "There will be no elections in these areas while World Cup matches will be played," an information department official said. more..

'US threatened Lanka with sanctions during final stage of war'

Jan 5 (DM) The United States had threatened Sri Lanka in 2009 with costly sanctions if weapons deals were carried out with both Iran and North Korea during the final stage of the war, a secret US cable revealed. Oslo newspaper Aftenposten, which continues to churn out stories related to the content of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables that the US had intended to keep secret, stated that “any arms purchase contracts entered into by Sri Lankan more..

'Appoint UNP office bearers prior to LG polls'

Jan 6 (DM) UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara said yesterday that the new office bearers of the party should be appointed before the local government elections. Mr. Bandara raised this matter at the party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday. He said that all the political reforms incorporated at the party's convention should be implemented prior to the elections. Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had reportedly agreed to look into more..

Wasps attack students

Jan 6 (NN) Over 70 female students of a school in Pilimatalawa were injured following a wasp attack this afternoon, Police Spokesperson SP Prashantha Jayakody said. He added that the incident happened when a wasp hive located behind the Pilimatalawa Central College was disturbed resulting in the wasps launching an attack on the students. The police said that 71 female students sustained injuries in the wasp attack were admitted to two hospitals in the area for treatment.

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 05.01.2011

Ganja for cancer

Jan 6 (NN) Researchers in Sri Lanka have found that ganja could be used as a substitute medication to cure serious illnesses including cancer and therefore have urged the authorities to clear the restrictions imposed on growing ganja for medical purposes. Senior Researcher from the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurvedic Research Institute, Piyal Marasingha said that ganja could be used to rejuvenate the nervous system, help people with sleeping disorders and more..

Refugees want to return, says UNHCR

Jan 6 (IRIN) The number of Sri Lankan refugees wanting to return home since the end of the conflict in 2009 is increasing significantly, the UNHCR says. Thousands fled abroad because of the decades-long conflict between government forces and the now defeated LTTE, which had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland. "Many of these refugees have been away from Sri Lanka for years and want to come back, be reunited with their families and pick up the threads of their lives," more..

'AH1N1 immunization programme ends on Jan 8'

Jan 6 (ST) The immunization program against the AH1N1 influenza will end on January 8 with the expiry of the existing stock of medicine given to the Ministry of Health by the WHO, Parliament was told today. However there are ample stocks of medicine to treat the illness, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. “The disease is on the decline and most of the vulnerable groups have been covered by the immunization program,” more..

Murali named in the Greatest ODI team of all time

Jan 6 (DM) World record holder Muttiah Muralitharan became the only Sri Lankan among in the Greatest All time One Day International Team chosen by cricket fans around the globe in a vote conducted by the International Cricket Council to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first ever One-Day International. Murali was chosen as the only spinner in the team ahead of Australia’s legendary leg spinner Shane Warne by cricket fans from almost 100 countries more..

Kaduwela Mallika writes to the Attorney general

Jan 6 (LG) I think you have already read my story which was published in the Sri Lanka Guardian, Sinhala website. The heading of it was ‘Thalangama police arrested a heart patient’, to take revenge when a bribe of Rs. 300,000/= demanded by the police was denied, now the patient has been detained in the Welikada remand prison for more than two and half years. I was remanded on 05.06.2008 and still I am in the Welikada remand prison. more..

51 Division Distributes Gifts Worth over Rs. 1 m among Civilians

Jan 6 (Cimic) Christmas 2010 was a happier and prosperous one to Catholic community in the areas under the 511 and 513 Brigades of Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna since the 51 Division distributed parcels of gifts among children and adults on the Christmas day. On guidance of General Officer Commanding 51 Division Major General Janaka Walgama, Civil Affairs Officer of the Division Lieutenant Colonel E.H.S.R. Silva more..