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Geneva determination creates tricky problem for government

Aug 10 (Island) Last week’s decision of the UN Human Rights Committee sitting in Geneva on the S.B. Dissanayake case has created a tricky situation for the Sri Lanka government with implications for the extension of GSP+ as well as legal questions on whether a foreign body could be permitted to upset/modify a judgment of the Supreme Court. "That would be doing violence to our sovereignty," senior legal sources said. more..

‘Finis’ for the Sri Lankan Cinema?

Aug 10 (Island) A once beautiful damsel is dying. There have been a veritable army of villains who have bloodied their hands in contributing to her present distress. Those responsible for her do not seem to have any clue as to what treatment is necessary, circling around her, tut tuting gravely about what is to be done. That maiden is the Sri Lankan cinema. All her facets- exhibition, distribution, import and production, are in shambles. more..

Most Tamils are not Tigers

Aug 10 (Island) It has often been said that while all Tigers are Tamils, all Tamils are not Tigers. However threadbare the cliché may be, this is almost wholly true although it is increasingly evident that some Sinhalese are very much in the pay of the Tigers. But it is a fact of life in this civil war-torn country, where a terrorist strike by the LTTE at anytime, anywhere, is a stark possibility, extraordinary security measures that burden ordinary people, have to be taken. more..

SLAF UAV makes emergency landing in Anuradhapura

Aug 10 (Island) An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on a reconnaissance mission over the Vanni region has made an emergency landing near Nuwarawewa in Anuradhapura on Friday morning as a result of a technical failure, an SLAF spokesman said. "We are investigating the incident and possible cases for the technical failure," SLAF spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara told The Sunday Island. more..

After SAARC, whither goes Lanka?

Aug 10 (ST) Bi-lateral issues on the sidelines, more than regional issues within the conference hall, dominated the South Asian leaders' summit that ends today in Colombo. Yet, the 15th SAARC conference that began last Sunday was both a scintillating spectacle and a frightening fallacy. Some of the streets in Colombo and Kotte were spruced up for the event with most buildings there receiving a new coat of paint. Entire palm trees were planted on roundabouts. more..

SAARC safe, but heavy battles loom

Aug 10 (ST) Sri Lanka's most fortified event in the new millennium, the summit of South Asian leaders in Colombo, ends today. Not only 12,000 police officers and 7,000 troops crowded the City of Colombo and the immediate suburbs to ensure security. There were additional measures from participating countries too. Preventing possible attacks by Tiger guerrillas was the primary aim though other threat perceptions figured to a much lesser degree. more..

Deserters warned: No more amnesty

Aug 10 (ST) As the war reaches the crucial point, the government has decided that in future no amnesty will be offered to any security forces deserters and warned some 12,000 deserters that they will be arrested and court-martialled if they do not return. The move was aimed at preventing more desertions and getting deserters back to the battle front. He said the government hoped the decision not to offer amnesty in future would reduce desertions and help bring the deserters back to service. more..

Rs. 450 million bribery bombshell involving minister

Aug 10 (ST) A Bribery and Corruption Commissioner allegedly told the police officer investigating a charge against a minister, with undeclared assets of Rs. 450 million, to conduct the inquiry in a manner so that the case could be wrapped up at his level as the minister concerned “had a future,” according to a sworn affidavit to the Supreme Court. The affidavit has been given by Chief Inspector S.A. Weerasinghe, who is the officer-in-charge of the Investigations Unit of the Commission. more..

Catfight over SAARC luxury cars

Aug 10 (LB) Ministers are battling over the bulletproof cars which were imported to transport SARRC dignitaries who attended the 15 SAARC summit. Political sources said that there are 31 such bulletproof cars and over 100 other jeeps and cars which were imported —- spending millions to transport SAARC VVIPs. Sources said that some Ministers who are close to high ranking Police officers had requested their names be included in intelligence reports in order to qualify for luxury bulletproof cars. more..

Prosecute the culprits

Aug 11 (LG) Discerning members of the public value greatly the work done by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), during the chairmanship of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe MP, in inquiring into a number of alleged acts of corruption. To date, the government has not shown any interest in getting the relevant authorities to investigate these misdemeanours thoroughly and have the culprits prosecuted. more..

MP Jayalath raises an issue of propriety with the South!

Aug 11 (LG) UNP Parliamentarian Jayalath Jayawardena has raised an issue of propriety for which the South must respond according to the dictates of its conscience. The issue he has raised is an issue of great significance. He questions the propriety of taking a large number of devotees to Madhu Church and holding the annual festival, while the people in the environs of the Church are displaced and living as refugees without proper shelter to live, food to eat and more..

Alleviating sufferings of the affected is a humanitarian gesture

Aug 11 (LG) Reports reveal that as a result of the continuing military operations, a large number of people have become refugees and they don't receive adequate aids or basic facilities. Nobody is worried about the innocent Tamil people, who are facing crisis. Reports reveal that children, women, mothers, patients and elders have taken refuge under trees in jungles. more..

Media can still fight back

Aug 11 (LG) Where oh where is that tribe that once took great pride in calling themselves the watchdogs of the nation? Being still a member of that tribe – but now long in the tooth – we have watched helplessly as the battered and bashed newspaper canines whine, whelp, bark and run with the tails in between their legs seeking help and solace from government leaders. These all knowing media leaders do not seem to know — or prefer to ignore the fact – that more..

Printing text books in excess!

Aug 11 (LG) Who is accountable for the printing of 25,000 text books in excess by the Department of Publication incurring a heavy expenditure of one crore rupees? Who is going to reimburse this heavy loss? The Minister of Education has ordered for an inquiry to be held as to who is responsible for this trend that has been going on for years and to take action against the errand officials even if they are on retirement. more..

Feature story: Cries for help from Puttalam

Aug 11 (GV) Less that a kilometre away from a cluster of government offices in Puttalam dedicated to the welfare of Muslim IDPs is the home of thirty one year old Madeena, her jobless husband and six children. The small, completely cadjan thatched hut, teeters upon the mercy of the weather. It is one of the temporary shelters in the string of camps for the DPs, which dot Puttalam. more..

Lt. General Sarath Fonseka: military dictator, saviour or both?

Aug 11 (GV) Lt. General Sarath Fonseka was interviewed in the Daily News and Sunday Observer recently. This wasn’t just an interview with an Army Commander; this was a man with political aspirations, who just happens to control an armed force of 162,000 soldiers with another 3000 joining every month. The purpose of a military is to protect the nation and the democracy-in essence, to protect you and me. more..

Cheap Kills

Aug 11 (SP) The LTTE is losing the support of expatriate Sri Lankan Tamils. Even in India, where the Tamils originally came from, more and more LTTE operatives are being hunted down and arrested. In the last two years, India has arrested 55 LTTE operatives. In the last week, key members of a gunrunning operation were arrested. In Europe, there are now public demonstrations against the LTTE, something that would have been impossible a few years ago, because LTTE enforcers were present to punish those Tamils who were "unpatriotic." more..

Sri Lanka makes new push into Tiger territory: military

Aug 11 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops launched a fresh advance into territory held by Tamil rebels Sunday, killing 15 guerrillas, while another 27 combatants were killed in other clashes, the defence ministry said. The latest push was in the Jaffna peninsula, which is partly held by the rebel LTTE, the defence ministry said in a statement. "Fifteen LTTE terrorists were killed when the army made a daring advance ... this morning before first light (and) without sustaining any damage to (our) own troops," more..

Kandamby to lead Sri Lanka A

Aug 11 (CI) Thilina Kandamby, the left-hand batsman, will lead Sri Lanka A on the tour to South Africa. The 15-member team comprises both players with international experience and young talent. Upul Tharanga and Jehan Mubarak, who were left out of the team for the home ODIs against India, were included in the squad. Tharanga was named vice-captain of the side, while Mubarak will play only the first three matches of the tour, as he will join the Sri Lanka team for the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. more..

Umpire Benson calls for HotSpot in review system

Aug 11 (CI) The review of umpiring decisions, being trialled in the series, has already generated a lot of attention and did so again on Saturday, when a confident appeal by India for an lbw against Thilan Samaraweera was turned down initially by the on-field umpire and then on review. Samaraweera was struck on the pad by a ball from Anil Kumble but it appeared as if he might have got an inside edge. more..

Sri Lanka in firm control as India stutter

Aug 11 (CI) Sri Lanka firmed their grip on the Test, and the series, as India lost five wickets while barely managing to wipe out the first-innings deficit. Dammika Prasad once again struck at the start, removing both the openers, before the spinners took over. At close, India's hopes hinged on Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman: they have five wickets in hand and are 14 in front. more..

Denville sees Sri Lanka for its beauty, troubles

Aug 11 (DR) The township held its 33rd annual Sri Lanka Day on Saturday, an international celebration drawing local residents and immigrants from the South Asian nation. The baseball diamond at Gardner Field was transformed for a game of cricket, Sri Lanka's most popular sport, and vadai doughnuts and other treats were displayed on a table. Denville resident Jay Liyanage, named an honorary consul of Sri Lanka in 1990, was among those in attendance. more..

Sri Lanka says it is close to taming Tigers

Aug 11 (FT) Brigadier Udaya Perera, Sri Lankan army director of operations, presents a map of the island nation comparing the military situation two years ago with that of today. In July 2006, territory occupied by the Tamil Tiger insurgents, shown on the brigadier’s map in red, dominated the north and east of the teardrop-shaped island and extended down its coasts, almost enclosing the government-held south. more..

The Karuna Syndrome

Aug 11 (LG) Once upon a time, not so many years ago, Muralitharan Vinayagamoorthy alias Karuna was not only a self confessed member of the LTTE and the undisputed leader of that gang of terrorists in the East, but also their principal `killing machine’ who led most of their major campaigns to the great detriment of our Republic. more..

A 'Primary Role' for India?

Aug 11 (LG) "India's role (in Sri Lanka) is primary, and India should play that role," reports quoting TNA leader R Sampanthan have said. "Colombo has never come up with a political solution that could pose a 'political challenge' to the LTTE. If that comes up they cannot say no," he is believed to have said further, after talks with visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Colombo. more..

The Scope of Sri Lankan Conscience & Responsibility

Aug 11 (LG) One is entitled to their opinion, but not to change the facts. It is not worth my time to dispute the poisonous, libellous and convulsive content of your letter [National Post, July 11, 2008]. I’m not surprised that The National Post published a letter so studded with factual inaccuracies, but I am surprised that the slanderous contribution was actually made it to print without being checked for quality. more..

Tamil Nadu, the Indian Model and devolution

Aug 11 (FI) The devolution debate has been sharpened by the highly interesting and significant results of the public opinion poll recently conducted in Tamil Nadu, with regard to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue and its internal arrangements. The poll has had the effect of strengthening both pro and anti-devolution camps in their chosen opinions. I suggest that a realist reading should result in a more nuanced approach to devolution, which more..

Tailenders' batting swung match - Sangakkara

Aug 11 (CI) The fanatical India optimist will lose sleep harbouring visions of another Kolkata turnaround, but the truth is Sri Lanka have put this match beyond India. They have played more sensibly and professionally, showing an indication to hold back instead of accelerating, and while it hasn't been the most authoritative of performances, it has put them on course for an emphatic series victory. more..

Sri Lanka apparel exporters urged to get closer to markets

Aug 11 (LBO) A European expert has advised Sri Lanka's apparel industry to get closer to their markets and focus on a limited number of customers to survive the threats posed by growing competition and rising costs. Michiel Scheffer, who has been a consultant to the European Union on the GSP market access scheme, said buyers were no longer travelling as much as they did to visit suppliers and instead expected business to come to them. more..

Masses teach Govt. thugs a good lesson

Aug 11 (LT) The masses enraged by the attempt of a group of thugs led by Minister Premalal Gunasekera to attack an agitation organized by the JVP at Nivithigala drove away the thugs after beating them severely. The agitation had been organized by the JVP to protest against the inaction of the police regarding the escalating violence carried out against its supporters and failure to arrest any of those responsible for those crimes. more..

‘India’s silence saddening as plight of civilians worsens’

Aug 11 (TW) The indiscriminate attacks over civilian areas are continuing to displace hundreds of thousands in Vanni. Many have died and injured due to artillery fire and air attacks, says Mavai Senathirajah MP, Deputy Parliamentary group leader of the TNA. International community and the United Nations must take measures to assist the suffering people; in the meantime the silence by India as the plight of the civilians is worsening is saddening, more..

They have what it takes to make eco-friendly paper

Aug 12 (Hindu) For keepers and mahouts alike, it was always a messy problem that defied solution. We are talking about the roughly 180 kg of waste an adult pachyderm generates a day. And imagine the pile if it were from a herd of 60 staying and sauntering about in one place. That is simply a problem of elephantine proportions at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage here in Sri Lanka, especially for the poor keepers. more..

Sri Lanka cites abuse, decides to send fewer maids to Middle East

Aug 12 (AN) Sri Lanka is planning to trim the number of maids employed in the Middle East, a labor official has reportedly said. Kingsley Ranawaka, chairman of the SLBFE, was recently quoted by an international media source as saying that Lankan labor officials have decided to curb the number of housekeepers due to the number of complaints of ill-treatment received from Lankan maids in the region. more..

Maithripala slams Mahinda

Aug 12 (BBC) Cracked have appeared in government as a senior minister has publicly criticised President Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Agriculture Minister Maithreepala Sirisena has told a public meeting in Polonnararuwa that the conduct of his government is 'not 100 percent correct'. He does not agree with many policies of Rajapaksa administration, the minister has added. more..

Injured JVP men remanded

Aug 11 (BBC) Five supporters of a major opposition party have been remanded in custody by the judiciary in Sri Lanka. The supporters of JVP were arrested by the Nivithigala police on Sunday. Ratnapura acting magistrate, MLD Ranasinghe, ordered the police to remand them until Monday for their own safety. The party activists were arrested after a clash between a group of JVP supporters and another group at a JVP protest march in Nivithigala. more..

Madhu statue returned

Aug 11 (BBC) A much-loved statue of the Virgin Mary in Sri Lanka has been returned to the site from which it had to be removed because of fighting in the north of the island. The Bishop of Mannar, Royappu Joseph, said the statue, known as Our Lady of Madhu, has now been re-installed at what is the country's most revered Catholic Church. The Virgin had been removed to spare her from possible destruction as fighting between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels raged around the building earlier this year. more..

Call for the removal of restriction to fish in the Palk Bay region

Aug 11 (AT) Call for the immediate removal of the restriction to fish in the Palk Bay sea region is gathering momentum, as the security situation along the country’s Northwest coastline is gradually stabilizing immediately after Mannar district falls under the Government control. The restriction to fish in the Palk Bay region was imposed on 27 March 2006, and the sea region was declared a security Zone. more..

Sangaree: Stop air raids to avoid Civilian Causalities: LTTE must lay down their arms

Aug 11 (AT) In an appeal V. Anandasangaree, President of the TULF has urged the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Government to act with restraint in the ongoing war where thousand are being displaced and languishing in the Vanni region under the control of the Tamil Tigers. He further urged the Sri Lanka Government to stop forthwith the air-raids at least now to avoid further civilian causalities. more..

JVP should practice inner party democracy before expecting democracy from others

Aug 11 (AT) General Secretary of the National Freedom Front Nandana Gunathilaka said the JVP must follow democratic path before asking others to follow the path of democracy. “They must follow democratic practices within their party, said Mr.Gunathilaka in a press statement. A number of NFF members were assaulted by the JVP members, he alleged. However JVP strongmen Anura Kumara Dissanayake said NFF have made false allegations against the JVP to obtain cheap publicity. more..

LTTE operative died in a suicide operation has been subsequently claimed as a missing person

Aug 11 (AT) Extensive investigations conducted by number of detectives have concluded that a name of a suicide cadre who died in an attack few months ago has been used as a missing person’s name in a human right’s campaign against the government, the Ministry of Defense said. “The man died in an attack carrying forged identity cards as a Moslem but the suicide cadre’s real name has been used by elements close to the LTTE as a name of a person who had been abducted by pro-government goons and now missing,” more..

Colombo under security siege for South Asian summit

Aug 11 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government kept Colombo and its immediate suburbs under a week-long police and military siege for the SAARC summit on August 2-3, placing unprecedented restrictions on the public. The country is already under emergency rule as a result of the ongoing civil war against the LTTE. Some 12,000 armed police officers and 7,000 troops were deployed. more..

Large-scale vegetable cultivation to be promoted

Aug 11 (GDI) According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, self sufficiency in vegetables could be achieved through the massive large-scale vegetable cultivation projects that are to be launched shortly. With this in view the Ministry has allocated Rs 17.5 million for large-scale vegetable cultivation in several districts. The ministry is hopeful that this would bring down vegetable imports. more..

Chinthana tops "C" category in weightlifting

Aug 11 (GDI) Sri Lanka's premier weight lifter Chinthana Geethal Vidanage was the most successful competitor of Group "C" of the Olympic weightlifting under 69 Kg category. Chinthana had an aggregate of 293 kilograms in the 'snatch' and 'clean and jerk', which is a newSri Lankan record. Chinthana, who clinched the gold medal in 62 kg weight lifting event at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 in Australia also more..

Information Director refutes Sunday Times allegations

Aug 11 (GDI) Director of Government Information, Anusha Palpita, refuted the contention that foreign media was ‘disappointed’ with press packs provided during the recently concluded SAARC Summit. Responding to a comment appearing in the Sunday Times of August 10 claiming that foreign media was not provided adequate background information, Mr. Palpita said that not only was relevant information provided, not a single journalist, foreign or local, more..

Coconut pillage by DM's wife!

Aug 11 (LT) A racket of 'robbing' coconuts for a penny from estates belonging to Coconut Research Institute (CRI) has been revealed. According to the exposure Minister D.M. Jayaratne's wife buys these coconuts for her 'Lalanasaviya' organization at the rate of Rs.15 a nut. It is reported that the coconuts are transported to Gampola by a lorry belonging to CRI Negombo office without any transport charges. more..

Sri Lanka sees Gresham's Law come alive amid high inflation

Aug 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka is melting its coinage and minting less valuable coins amidst booming commodity prices and rising inflation at home, continuing a tradition of monetary debasement that dates back to ancient monarchies. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal says the monetary authority is cutting the cost of the coin issue by melting existing coins and re-striking new and lightweight ones. more..

LTTE losing support of expats

Aug 11 (LNP) While underscoring the recent LTTE losses at the Northern ad Wanni battlefront, `Strategy Page`, a web based military news source on Sunday (August 10) said that the increasing public demonstration against the LTTE in Europe and the sting operations carried out by the Tamil Nadu police resulting the arrest of 55 LTTE operatives had surfaced the loss of expatriate support for the outfit. more..

Three drown in Kandalama tank

Aug 11 (LNP) Three youth drowned at Kandalama Lake while batching yesterday around 2.15pm and later the bodies were found at around 3.35pm following an extensive search operation by a team of police divers. The victims were from three different families who were on their way to Dambulla on a trip together with friends, Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said. The three youths are Praneeth Samarasekare (22), Isuri Lakmal (17) and Malinda Samarasekare (18) from Araliya Uyana, Depanama, Pannipitiya. more..

Parties raise campaign pace

Aug 11 (DN) Key political parties contesting the North Central Province and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections yesterday said their campaigns have come to the final stage with only 10 days remaining for electioneering. UPFA General Secretary and Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told the Daily News yesterday that 75 per cent of pocket meetings held as part of their election campaign had been completed. more..

Life jackets for fishermen soon

Aug 11 (DN) Wearing life safety jackets will be made compulsory for fishermen and the related regulations will be drawn up shortly, said Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera. He was addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony of rehabilitated and improved Puranawella Fishery Harbour on Friday. An internationally recognized identity card will be issued to overcome the difficulties faced by them in sudden natural disasters as well as for statistical requirements too, more..