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Sri Lanka cloves exports seen hitting new high

Aug 27 (LBO) Exports of cloves from Sri Lanka are seen hitting a record 5,000 tonnes this year with earnings exceeding three billion rupees, said Gulam Chatoor, a spokesman for the trade. Sri Lanka has already exported 4,838 tonnes of cloves during January-June 2008 and earned 2.7 billion rupees, he said in a statement. It was issued by the Spices and Allied Products’ Producers’ and Traders’ Association which represents growers and exporters of spices. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to re-fleet from Dec; Etihad main code-share partner

Aug 27 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines expects to replace its older fleet of short haul Airbus A320s with new deliveries starting December and will also make Etihad its main code-share partner, a top official said. SriLankan now operates four A320 aircraft on its short-haul flights, which the airline is expects to replace by March 2009. The first delivery of replacement aircraft is expected in December. more..

Sri Lanka to call for port terminal tenders in next 2-3 weeks

Aug 27 (LBO) Tenders for the long-delayed first container terminal in the planned new Colombo south port will be called in the next 2-3 weeks. Janaka Kurukulasuriya said construction work on the new Colombo breakwater will start as soon as the current south-west monsoon ends. A loading point is being built at Waskaduwa, south of Colombo, to supply the huge amount of quarry material by barge to the project site off Colombo. more..

Speech given by Manoranjan Selliah, at the 'Call of the Conscience' exhibition

Aug 27 (IL) Dear friends, Even as we welcome you to this important exhibition, I want to begin by remembering those civilians who are at this very moment suffering from a brutal war in Sri Lanka. So many have been displaced and are living in desperate conditions. Many have lost relatives and continue to live in uncertainly about their own lives as the war around them escalates. more..

Vaas takes 400th one-day wicket

Aug 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka left-arm fast bowler Chaminda Vaas took his 400th wicket in one-day internationals when he dismissed Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh for a duck in the fourth one-day international on Wednesday. Vaas had Yuvraj caught by Mahela Jayawardene at short mid wicket in his seventh over of the innings. He lifted his head to the skies and raised his arms as his team mates rushed to congratulate him. more..

Returns in the east but new displacements in the north

Aug 27 (IDMC) The protracted armed conflict in Sri Lanka between government forces and the rebel LTTE has led to 70,000 deaths and the internal displacement of over one million people. At present almost half a million people, out of the country’s popula-tion of 21 million, remain as internally displaced person (IDPs). After a sharp escalation of the conflict in the Eastern Province between April 2006 and March 2007 led to more..

Sri Lanka says regional deal will help combat terrorist financing

Aug 27 (LBO) A legal co-operation deal signed by south Asian leaders at a summit in Sri Lanka earlier this month will help combat terrorist financing and cross-border crime, the foreign affairs ministry said Wednesday. The SAARC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters will establish a legal basis for regional cooperation among member states, it said in a statement. more..

Newly displaced, rising food costs prompt UN, NGO plea for more aid

Aug 27 (IRIN) The rising cost of food and the urgent humanitarian needs of newly displaced people in Sri Lanka's war-torn districts have forced the UN and other aid organisations to appeal for increased donor funding. The UN's resident representative in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne, told IRIN the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is asking for US$190 million - up from about US$145 million sought at the beginning of 2008 more..

India seal maiden series triumph in Sri Lanka

Aug 28 (CI) India made the most of the toss, a vicious turner in the second innings and Sri Lanka's feeble batting to record their first bilateral one-day series triumph on the island, completing a stunning turnaround from the crushing defeat in the opener in Dambulla. Mahendra Singh Dhoni led from the front with his batting and on-field captaincy but this was a team performance as India recovered from a shaky start to choke Sri Lanka out of the match. more..

Jayawardene blames inconsistent batsmen

Aug 28 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, blamed inconsistent batting for his side's defeat in the ODI series against India. Sri Lanka needed to avoid a loss in the fourth ODI to stay alive in the series, but went down by 46 runs, handing India the trophy with one more match left in the contest. "I was disappointed the way we played. We had our opportunities," Jayawardene said after the match. more..

Teaching of English

Aug 28 (LG) The President wants to get down teachers from India to teach English in Sri Lanka. Why have we to do this? It is because of politics. We have had "Sinhala Only in 24 hours" with everything being done in Sinhala. This unwise move however helped those in power to win elections. Now the time has come when we have to seek the assistance of another country, which did not make the mistake our rulers made. At the time this backward move was made, some said that the move was a bad one. more..

What is Sri Lankan art?

Aug 28 (EI) The art of Sri Lanka is in many ways similar to that of India in its temperament. However, there are some differences that occur as a result of cultural history and local practices. Traditionally, Sri Lanka is an agrarian society and much of this reflects in their art and culture. The art also shows their love for nature and oneness with the environment. The temple paintings and carvings used birds, elephants, wild animals, flowers and trees. more..

Sri Lanka rail answer to freight transport problems, say official

Aug 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's long-neglected railway system is a useful complement to roads and could take bulk freight transport off the roads, reducing traffic jams, a senior official said. P P Wijesekera, additional general manager, Sri Lanka Railways, said rail is the best way to move export and import containers in and out of Colombo port. "For taking containers to and from Colombo port, there's no other solution than railway," he told more..

Politicians and their wealth: before and after

Aug 28 (LG) Very many of the species known as politicians dabble in politics with the sole intention of making use of the positions and portfolios they hold to establish a sort of family business involving their kith and kin. They take to politics by making an initial investment for their political campaign with monies raised from their cronies and businessmen around them. more..

Seeing is believing

Aug 28 (LG) Mervyn Silva has become the talk of the town. On private electronic and print media we see and hear much about the latest dastardly act of this notorious non-cabinet Minister also known as Vermin. He is the number one terrorist in the cabinet where all government members are ministers. The irony of it is that the Prime Minister says that the SAARC leaders who met in Colombo pledged to defeat terrorism in the region; but more..

'Government to end conflict with honour'

Aug 28 (LG) The government is committed to end the conflict in an honourable and sustainable manner as soon as possible, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona said in a speech at the Asian Aviation training centre. Dr. Kohona said that the terrorist threat will be countered, using the military forces of the State and the inevitable result of this approach will be recognised more..

Relevance of private universities

Aug 28 (LG) If any, it is only haif-heartedly the media has treated the issue of the private universities in Sri Lanka. Discussions have never penetrated far beneath the veneer. Yet, however muted and unstructured they may be, discussions have taken place and continue to take place although on ad hoc basis but certainly amongst various functionaries of public universities and other institutions of learning, the students of high schools and universities and their parents, and other concerned citizens. more..

A verdict against Provincial councils and Blake

Aug 28 (LG) The series on "The artificial stillborn Sri Lankan identity" has to give place to provincial council elections held on Saturday as a response cannot be postponed to next week. The government or the SLFP led coalition has won the elections obtaining about 55% of the vote in Sabaragamuwa and about 57% of the vote in NCP. The UNP managed about 40% and 38% respectively at the two provinces while the JVP managed only a miserable 2.8% and 4.7% at the elections. more..

A Call To Protect Civilians

Aug 28 (LG) People of conscience are perturbed that the current war in the LTTE occupied Vanni places the majority of civilians at tremendous risk. Unarmed and trapped in this war zone, large numbers of civilians including children are caught in the intense cross-fire of a deadly armed confrontation. Thousands are already displaced and can flee only to places of temporary safety. The situation faced by these civilians is even more desperate since they cannot act independently. more..

"Victory in PC Elections"

Aug 28 (LG) As the results of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections streamed in, it was clear that Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has turned his continued success in war to pay political dividends. The ruling UPFA scored resounding success capturing 20 of the 33 seats (securing 56.37% of votes) in Sabaragamuwa Province, and 25 of the 44 seats (securing 65.53% votes) in North Central Province. more..

Protect the people of Wanni

Aug 28 (LG) Wanni has been the eye of the war storm for the past two years. Deaths, injuries, displacements and attendant misery pervade the lives of the innocent Tamil Civilians. The Draconian economic embargo imposed slyly on Wanni has become a monstrous obstacle even in giving relief and solace to the 170,000 persons recently displaced. Day and night, Wanni is thundering with Artillery Guns, Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, Supersonic fighter jets and Naval gun boats. more..

Saudi who died in Lanka buried in Jeddah

Aug 28 (AN) The 28-year-old Saudi man, who died of heart attack in Sri Lanka on Friday, was buried on Tuesday evening in Jeddah soon after his body arrived from Colombo. The body of Thameer Saeed Al-Zahrani arrived at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah by SriLankan Airlines flight UL 281 on Tuesday afternoon. Saeed Yahya Al- Zahrani, father of the deceased received the body from the airport authorities, more..

Sri Lanka woos Kuwaiti tourists

Aug 28 (KT) Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism Faiszer Musthapha said yesterday in a press conference held in the Sri Lankan embassy that his country is aiming to build better ties with the Middle East. The minister is on a short visit to Kuwait, where he says he will be spreading the truth about the safety and beauty of his country. "We are focused on encouraging investments in Sri Lanka through tourism," he said, more..

The Sri Lankan Solution

Aug 28 (WSJ) Sri Lanka's military is now two months into a full-on offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels in their northern base. An end finally may be in sight to the war that has roiled the country for a quarter century. The government claims control of large areas in the region and could soon take the Tiger "capital" at Kilinochchi, an important symbolic victory. The operation, which has made surprisingly fast progress, could be over within six months to a year. more..

Bogollagama strongly refutes canards let loose by 'Cassandras of doom'

Aug 28 (AT) The Provincial Council election results are, without a shadow of doubt, a ringing endorsement of President Rajapaksa’s policy to finally rid this country of the scourge of terrorism, which has blighted the lives of millions of our people for more than two decades, and pushed back the country’s forward march to achieve rapid economic and sustainable development. more..

Housemaid Rizana’s case back again to the High Court

Aug 28 (AT) Sri Lanka Housemaid Rizana Nafeek’s case is coming up again on the 30th of this month at the High Court of Dawadmi. Hussein Bhaila, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs speaking to "Asian Tribune", said that the Supreme Judicial Council has directed the High Court of Dawadmi to inquire into the objections of the lawyers of Rizana, into the first alleged confession made through (a) interpreter/s. more..

UNP election stunts & The aftermath-Isn’t it time to think?

Aug 28 (AT) Politics in Sri Lanka saw many facets during the NCP & Sabaragamuwa Elections held recently. The most unfortunate phenomenon witnessed was the fact that JVP finally showed their true colours when they decided to side with UNP and attack the GOSL and even our Indian neighbours. The results proved we hope to the JVP, that they are no longer the “cock of the walk” and that they are fast losing their grip as well as more..

Fair and free elections: A reply to Ambassador Robert Blake

Aug 28 (AT) The elections to the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils have been held and it is reported that there were no major incidents of falsification. The actual results, specially the manner in which the elections were held is a sharp reply to the American Ambassador’s statement made recently that “the United States is interested in assuring a free and fair election” and more..

Elephants, Ceylon Tea, and Kandyan dancers become the main attraction at the Washington national Zoo

Aug 28 (AT) Two performing Sri Lankan elephants- mother Shanthi and son Kandula joined by the Indian elephant Ambika, and a generous tea party given by Walter’s Bay international –the US subsidiary of Bogawanthalawa tea gardens at the tune of 70 staggering gallons of iced and hot tea on a sweltering summer day in Washington DC to 15,000 spectators became the main attractions of the “Asian Elephant Day” celebrated by the Washington’s national Zoo, August 23. more..

The Muslim Problem?

Aug 28 (MG) A few months ago after the fall of the East, a prominent Sinhalese expatriate had toured the area and a luncheon meeting was arranged in an Indian restaurant in a five star hotel in Colombo. There were four of us for lunch including a senior government official. The expatriate explained his observations and concluded that everything was fine but for one factor which was of concern. The government official inquired what it was and the expatriate answered that it was the "Muslim issue". more..

S.Kajendren MP urges the Tamil Diaspora to act to prevent humanitarian tragedy

Aug 28 (LG) Selvarajah Kajendren Member ofParliament from Jaffna District, on Tuesday, urged the Tamil Diaspora to provide assistance to local aid agencies working among the IDPs in Vanni and to campaign in their host countries to exert pressure on the GoSL to remove restrictions on the transport of emergency supplies to Vanni and urge the International Community to support the Tamil people’s right to live in peace in their homeland. more..

Sri Lanka found guilty of serious human rights abuses by UNHR

Aug 28 (LG) In a case brought by leading Sri Lankan human rights lawyer Mr V.S. Ganesalingam of the NGO Home for Human Rights, together with international NGO INTERIGHTS, Sri Lanka has been held to account for the torture and arbitrary death in police custody of an 18 year old student, Sathasivam Sanjeevan. Mr Sanjeevan's parents brought the claim to the Human Rights Committee, the body which monitors compliance with more..

'Partnership for our People'

Aug 28 (LG) It gives me great pleasure to deliver the inaugural address at the 1st South Asian Economic Summit organised by the Institute of Policy Studies in collaboration with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka. The South Asia is just emerging from the successful conclusion of an extremely significant and momentous regional integration exercise – the 15th SAARC Summit - held in Colombo in the latter half of July and early August. more..

'Govt. scared to go for Gen. Election'

Aug 28 (LG) Addressing the media today, UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella said, the Govt. converted its defeat which was writ on the wall before election into a victory by election law violations, violence, deception and manipulation. Like how the President won the last Presidential elections by the illicit pact with the LTTE which came to light only later, after one and half years in power, when his own Ministers exposed the fraud; more..

President opens Kataragama Museum

Aug 28 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened a multi-religious museum in Kataragama this morning, a special representative of the Presidential Media Unit informed the Official Government News Portal, The President attended and obtained blessings from a special ceremony at the Ruhunu Kataragama Mahasen Devale prior to opening the museum. The Ambassador of the Netherlands, the Basnayaka Nilame of the Devale, Shashindra Kumar Rajapaksa, more..

'Terrorism is a problem common to both Sri Lanka and Spain'

Aug 28 (GDI) Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama in a meeting with the new Embassador for Spain, said that terrorism is a problem that is common to both countries and one which has caused much suffering to the respective peoples. Observing that terrorism has to be defeated in order to enshrine democracy, the minister further said that it is imperative that the world should be clearly informed about the true situation in conflict-ridden areas. more..

Accelerated development of projects after liberation of un-cleared areas

Aug 28 (GDI) The road network in the liberated areas in the Northern Province will be expanded and re-built in order to expedite the development activities of the region immediately after the humanitarian missoon upon the total liberation of the region, Government sources said. Basil Rajapaksa yesterday expressed confidence that the government could re-gain the entire Northern Province from the clutches of the LTTE and will restore democracy in the region soon. more..

First South Asia Economic Summit begins today

Aug 28 (GDI) Representatives of the private sector in the South Asian region will meet in Colombo today (28) at the first South Asia Economic Summit to discuss several key issues pertaining to the SAARC region. The representatives of the private sector in the region including academics, economists and corporate heads will meet government representatives and officials of the official regional organization SAARC in the four day summit, more..

Fleeing civilians seek Security Forces’ protection

Aug 28 (GDI) Twenty nine Tamil civilians from Mullattiuvu and Kilinochchi Districts arrived in the liberated areas yesterday (27), seeking protection from the security forces at Pulmoddai (Eastern coast) and Iluppaikkadavai (Western coast) military detachments, Defences sources said. The group including women, children said that the continuous terrorist intimidation and harassment led them to escape to Government controlled areas. more..

Catholics continue call for justice over priest's disappearance

Aug 28 (UCAN) Two years after a Catholic priest and a layman assisting him disappeared on the war-torn Jaffna peninsula, a group of Catholics came together to pray and call for a resolution of the case. About 60 priests, nuns and laypeople including the parents and relatives of Father Thiruchchelvan Nihal Jim Brown stood in silence and prayed in the Center for Society and Religion (CSR) in Colombo on Aug. 20, two years to the day since the disappearances. more..

I worked hard with my limited ability - Vaas

Aug 28 (CI) Chaminda Vaas, who became the fourth bowler to reach 400 one-day wickets when he had Yuvraj Singh caught for a duck in the fourth ODI in Colombo, has said he was happy he had been able to make the most of his ability. "There were a lot of guys more talented than me," Vaas told the Hindustan Times. "My game was limited but I worked harder. Nothing comes easy to you, you have got to make the most of your talent." more..

The Last Dance

Aug 28 (PISL) For many years Sri Lanka has been a recipient of aid. Initially this was to government, but over the last couple of decades aid has increasingly been given also to non-governmental organizations. However the principle has always been that such donations are with the concurrence of government. It has also been generally understood that funds are to be used in accordance with general government policy. more..

Catholic Church writes to Ban ki Moon

Aug 28 (BBC) Roman Catholic Church writting to the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon on the internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Wanni District says a great human tragedy is exploding in Wanni which is calculatedly concealed from the world outside. Fr. James Pathinathan, the President, Justice and Peace Commission - Wanni says Wanni has been the eye of the war storm for the past two years. more..

Tougher laws for rice trade

Aug 28 (SAMN) The Government has decided to bring in new measures to prevent traders from abusing stipulated rice prices by selling the same variety of rice under different brand names. Effective new laws are on the cards in the near future to prevent such abuse and selling rice at exorbitant prices under different brands. This decision was arrived at when the committee appointed to look into the Cost of Living more..

Govt fails to show party is weak: SLMC

Aug 28 (SAMN) The SLMC Wednesday said the government’s bid to show that the party is week by getting other minority parties to contest alone at the recently concluded provincial council election to show their strength had failed. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali in a statement said yesterday that the government’s effort had failed because of the miserable performance of some pro government political Tamil parties who contested alone. more..

APRC to forward report to UNP

Aug 28 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will submit a report to the UNP this week outlining the progress it had made in its deliberations so far and on the issues on which a consensus had been reached, Chairman and Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana said Wednesday. At a meeting last Monday the APRC discussed certain contentious issues on which the party representatives are yet to come to an agreement. more..

Officers inefficiency in Tamil projects

Aug 28 (SAMN) The dearth of public officers with proficiency in Tamil has hampered the development projects in the country in general and in the east in particular. This will be one of the greater problems when the government launches its resettlement and rehabilitation programmes in the north after the liberation of the province shortly by the armed forces, more..

Parents demand legal action against teachers

Aug 28 (LNP) Parents of the students who sat the GCE (A/L) examination this year have requested the Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe to take stern action against the teachers who have refused to evaluate the answer scripts of their children. They have informed him that they will be compelled to take stringent action against such teachers if the authorities fail to make them fall in line, more..

'Air, water pollutants possible cause for rise in respiratory, kidney diseases'

Aug 28 (DN) The increase in the number of asthma, respiratory and kidney diseases could be due to air and water pollutants although it is not yet confirmed, Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana said. Vehicular emissions include not only gaseous substances but particulate matter such as Codmium, Ferrous, Copper, Vanadium, Lead etc. which accumulate in the atmosphere. more..

Mihintale hit by mini-tornado

Aug 28 (DN) A mini-tornado in Mihintale following heavy rain on Tuesday night, completely destroyed a telecommunication signal tower interrupting communication. Mihintale police OIC IP Mahanama said the mini-tornado hit the Mihintale area on Tuesday at around 8.30 p.m., completely damaging the telecommunications signal tower along the Anuradhapura road. “The mini-tornado was experienced after the heavy rain which lasted for one and a half hours in Mihintale,” he added. more..