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It is the elections, stupid!

Aug 29 (Island) We Sri Lankans do three things right. We watch cricket obsessively, engage in politics fanatically and view TV madly. Other things including work can always wait. That is why politicians, cricketers and television stars have become, so to speak, demigods. We are not alone in breathing cricket and sleeping cricket. That fixation is part of a colonial legacy cherished by many Commonwealth nations. more..

Govt. allocates funds for paddy purchase

Aug 29 (DM) Government yesterday decided to allocate Rs. 1 billion for each District Secretariat to purchase the entire production of paddy at the next Maha season, a spokesman of the Home Affairs Ministry said. District Secretaries must pay extra attention to purchase the entire paddy harvest paying a satisfactory price to farmers as the government is keen to provide rice to consumers at an affordable price. more..

President regrets attack on UNP official

Aug 29 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his regrets to UNP Anuradhapura district manager Rajah Johnpulle whose house and dispensary were set on fire by a mob on the eve of the recent PC polls. Dr. Johnpulle told the Daily Mirror yesterday that the President had spoken to him last Sunday and expressed his regrets over the incident. He said the President agreed to help him to recover the losses. more..

Sri Lanka ports authority boss resigns

Aug 29 (LBO) The chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Saliya Wickramasuriya said he will be resigning from his post for personal reasons at the end of this month. Wickramasuriya said ports and aviation minister Chamal Rajapaksa had accepted his letter of resignation a few days ago. He said a previous report that he had been asked to leave was incorrect and that he had resigned of his own accord. more..

Police team probing arson attack replaced

Aug 29 (LD) IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne has appointed a special police team to investigate the assault of UNP Anuradhapura District Manager, Dr. Raja Johnpulle and the arson attack on his house and medical dispensary by a group of rival political party supporters. The deployment came after courts expressed doubt over investigations conducted by Anuradhapura Police, whose conduct have been the centre of much controversy lately. more..

Politicians' media attacks already a bad precedence

Aug 29 (LD) Attacks on the media by politicians in recent times are already giving a bad precedence, said Five Media in a statement. The statement referred to an assault on three media personnel by medical students of the Colombo University yesterday. Janaka Galapatti and Yamuna Harshani of 'Lankadeepa' were attacked after they tried to photograph a medical student who had volunteered to give his opinion for an article in the Sinhala daily. more..

Mervyn present - Mervyn absent

Aug 29 (LD) Police have been severely reprimanded for failing to produce Labour Minister Mervyn Silva before court in connection with a poll-violence incident in Polonnaruwa. Taking up a case pertaining to an attack on a shop during the recent provincial polls, Magistrate Ruwan Pathirana also asked the OIC of Dehiattakandiya Police as to how Attorney General's advice could be sought without court permission. more..

No timeframes for north offensives - Gotabhaya

Aug 29 (LD) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says giving timeframes for the completion of northern military offensives would be a pointless exercise. The commanders of the three armed forces are having a clear-cut war strategy, and the operations to liberate the north are progressing successfully, he told the media at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo yesterday (Aug. 28th). more..

Sri Lanka August inflation falls to 24.9-pct

Aug 29 (LBO) Consumer prices in Colombo fell to 24.9 percent in the 12-months to August from 26.6 percent in July, government statistics showed. Sri Lanka's Central Bank has kept monetary policy tight from the beginning of the year under a strict reserve money targeting regime, which was further tightened mid-year. The statistics office said a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) remained flat in the 30-days to August. more..

Air force fighter jets bomb rebel base

Aug 29 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel base in the embattled north on Friday, and ground battles across the region killed 34 rebels and one government soldier, the military said. The fighter jets pounded a training base for Sea Tigers, the naval wing of the separatist Tamil Tigers, deep in the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara. more..

End looms for Tamil Tigers as army push is set to take final stronghold

Aug 29 (TC) AGGRESSIVE Sri Lankan government forces continue to push deeper into the Tamil Tiger heartland and are now within reach of their administrative capital, raising hopes that the end of a brutal 25-year civil war may be near. The military campaign has benefited from an international crackdown on the Tigers' fundraising and smuggling networks, and high-level defections that have undermined grassroots Tamil support for its iron-willed chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Tigers accuse military of bombing civilians

Aug 29 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels Friday accused government forces of setting off a roadside bomb and killing two civilians inside guerrilla-held territory. A man and a child died when their motorcycle was caught up in the bomb attack at Nedunkerni in the vast Wanni region on Thursday evening, the LTTE said in a statement. "A farmer and a boy were killed in a claymore attack by the Sri Lanka army in Olumadhu in Nedunkerni on Thursday," more..

Lanka military leaflets civilians

Aug 29 (BBC) Sri Lanka's air force has begun dropping leaflets urging civilians to leave northern areas controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. The move comes ahead of what is expected to be a fight to the finish in Sri Lanka's protracted civil war. Aid agencies say 134,000 displaced people are in Kilinochchi district alone, where the rebels have their administrative headquarters. More than half of them have abandoned their homes in the last three months. more..

NCC aims to boost Kegalle handicraft

Aug 30 (F2F) Handicraft products produced in Kegalle District of Sri Lanka is quite renowned among craft lovers across the world. In order to make this sector more proficient, the National Crafts Council (NCC) has decided to take the exquisite craftsmanship of the region to newer heights. According to Mr Buddhi Keerthisena, the Chairman of NCC, construction work for two common facility centres has already been started, to provide training to craftsmen of the region. more..

Malaysians in Colombo await Merdeka cheer

Aug 30 (NST) There may be tension in some parts of Sri Lanka as a result of the prolonged insurgency but for the 100 or so Malaysians in this country, they have been counting the days to celebrate Merdeka or Independence Day on Sunday. Like at many other Malaysian diplomatic missions abroad, the celebrations in Colombo are expected to be modest due to cost-cutting. But the embassy here has been preparing to hold a few activities to commemorate Merdeka. more..

Tigers in decline

Aug 30 (HM) Over the past three decades, the LTTE has been portrayed as a brutal organisation, with its structure, motivations and strategies all shrouded in secrecy. Some have rejected the force as politically bankrupt and irredeemably nihilist, while others have claimed (and continue to claim) it to be the only entity that has a chance of steering the political future of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. more..

LTTE's Air Raid on Trincomalee and the Offensive Operations

Aug 30 (TC) The night raid by two light aircraft of the LTTE air wing on the Trincomalee naval base on August 26, 2008 may be termed as moderately successful. The two aircraft were similar to the ZLIN piston-engined ones that had raided Katunayake air base on March 27, 2007 and in the subsequent attacks on Palali air base on April 24, 2007 and the Anuradhapura air field on October 22, 2007. more..

Bowlers power Sri Lanka to consolation win

Aug 30 (CI) Sri Lanka's opening bowlers ensured their side maintained its record of not losing four consecutive ODIs at home as they beat India in the final ODI in Colombo. While one of them took career-best figures, the other got his career-best score. Nuwan Kulasekara dismissed the Indian top order, troubling the batsmen with movement off the seam, after Thilan Thushara had scored a half-century to boost a faltering Sri Lankan innings to 227. more..

Letter not represent Catholic Church

Aug 30 (BBC) The Bishops of Jaffna and Mannar have said that a letter written to the UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon by Fr.James Pathinanthan, the President, Justice and Peace Commission – Wanni is not a communication of the Roman Catholic Church. The PRIU quoting the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe says that the Bishops of Jaffna and Mannar have assured the minister that the communication was made without their sanction and appears to be the writer’s personal perspective. more..

Railway to speed up with additional “Power Sets” form November

Aug 30 (GDI) Fifteen “Power Sets” have been shipped to Sri Lanka from the Windawo harbor in China, Ministry of Transport announced. This is the first consignment of Power Sets Sri Lanka is receiving after 15 years and with these the total number of Power Sets operating in the Ceylon Government Railway fleet will be fifty. The Government of China bears the total cost of USD 40 million for these “Units” which are been sent under the Chinese Government’s aid programme to the Sri Lanka. more..

Teachers' pay revision minimal - CTU

Aug 30 (LD) A new pay revision, earlier rejected by trade unions but introduced again, increases the salaries of teachers by a mere Rs. 620, although the government claims it to be between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 2,500, said Chairman of Ceylon Teachers Union Joseph Stalin. Speaking to the media in Colombo today (Aug. 29th), he said the boycott of Advanced Level Examination answer script marking continued for the 10th day to protest the non-rectification of the salary anomalies. more..

Thushara, Kulasekara emerge as the bright spots for Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (CI) For Sri Lanka, the series had reached a point where writing about them could be dealt with in one phrase: "Insert previous comments here." However, the fifth match at Colombo on Friday was refreshingly different with Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekera capping hard-working efforts in the series with personal bests, as Sri Lanka managed a consolation win in their second successive ODI series defeat at home. more..

Let my people go in peace

Aug 30 (LG) We are living in sad times where most Tamils are feeling desperate not knowing what to do next. Each day the situation of our people is getting worse as all our hopes are crumbling before our own eyes. Our people have gone through terrible times. Our people have suffered enough. They have gone through enough. Our people have faced the worst. When the Sri Lankan Army came our people faced severe hardships. more..

Nalini can’t be released: TN

Aug 30 (LG) The State Government Thursday told the Madras High Court that Nalini, Jayakumar and Robert Bayas, who are convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, cannot be released from prison. The Counsel for the government informed the court that it was a policy decision taken by the State. Nalini had moved the High Court after her plea seeking release on the ground of good conduct and more..

Problems faced by maids in Middle East!

Aug 30 (LG) A human rights organization has pointed out that one foreign maid dies every week due to either accident or suicide. It says that 95 foreign maids died last year. 45 committed suicide and 24 out of the remaining 40 had fallen from high buildings. Most of the maids are from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Philipines. It says that financial crisis, over work and assaults are the causes for their committing suicide. more..

Vanni crisis and the international community’s concerns!

Aug 30 (LG) The military operations that are intensified in the Vanni region has caused the displacement of people to such an extent that their basic needs are unable to be met. The situation has worsened due to the continuing military operations and tightened security in the transport of the essential commodities to the area. However, there is a ray of hope following the appeal by the UN and NGOs. more..

The proposed report of the EU on Sri Lanka!

Aug 30 (LG) The European Union is to examine the draft report submitted by the EU delegation that visited Sri Lanka. Thereafter it is scheduled to be forwarded to the EU Parliament for consideration. The members of the EU delegation that visited Sri Lanka held a Press Briefing prior to the departure. Having analyzed the views expressed by the EU delegation at the press briefing, political analysts felt that they were not favourable to the government. more..

Supermarkets versus Public

Aug 30 (AT) A shop may revise its prices on any product and charge for shopping bags. That is no problem. They are free to offer advice on protecting the environment. That too is okay but when they advice people against using polythene bags and then ask their customers to pay for re-usable bags it surely is an insult to the public to say the least. What is intriguing is how the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) joined the supermarkets in this farce. more..

Sri Lanka contradicts BBC news report on refugees

Aug 30 (AT) Sri Lanka government contradicted a news item broadcast by BBC relating to the internally displaced persons in Wanni they sourced to "Catholic Church" and said the two Bishops of the area have disassociated themselves from the statement issued by the purported "Catholic Commission", that had written to the UN Secretary General. "The story on BBC which quotes a purported communication from the "Catholic Church" addressed to more..

Jaffna Municipal Council polls soon

Aug 30 (MG) In the wake of the Eastern, North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections, the government is now planning to hold elections to the Jaffna Municipal Council (MC) to gauge public opinion in the northern capital. EPDP leader and Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda said Friday, the election would be conducted soon and the government was holding a series of discussions to work out the preliminaries. more..

Mullaitivu General Hospital under Artillery Attack

Aug 30 (SLW) The general hospital in Mullaitivu was subject to heavy artillery shelling at 1.00 a.m. on the 8th August 2008. The shells were fired from Manalaru army camps. The shells fell on the said hospital and on the buildings in the vicinity. This included the residence of the Government Agent (GA) Mullaitivu and those of the government servants. The shells were directed on the adjoining villages as well, which are Manthoddam, Kumarapuram and Neeravippiddy. more..

Fickle Friends, Approval for War

Aug 30 (SLW) SOUTHERN Sri Lanka is gripped by the sort of war euphoria that has not been seen in this part of the world for almost a decade. In 1999, the then President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, secured a second six year term in office by opting for war over peace. Almost a decade on , the ruling regime has acquired a thumping victory at local provincial polls; President Mahinda Rajapaksa claims this to be "people's mandate given to the 'Mahinda Chinthana'." more..

Contempt of Court: Notice issued on Opposition Leader

Aug 30 (LG) Colombo District Judge Sisira Ratnayake yesterday issued notice on UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to appear before Colombo District Court on September 18. The Court issued the Notice based on a pleading that the content of Wickremesinghe’s affidavit produced before the District Court was false and his action was contempt of Court. Plaintiffs former UNP Member of Parliament W.I. Anura Bastian and more..

Jacobs and Amla put South Africa A on top

Aug 30 (CI) Centuries from Arno Jacobs and Ahmed Amla placed South Africa A in a strong position after the first day of their four-day game against Sri Lanka A. South Africa got off to a shaky start after winning the toss as medium-pacer Suranga Lakmal struck twice to remove Heino Kuhn and then Alviro Petersen. Ishara Amerasinghe dismissed Andrew Puttick in the next over to leave the hosts at 43 for 3. more..

Mallika: Sri Lanka's Pioneering Journalist

Aug 30 (MV) Sri Lanka is today known more for the performance of its fine cricket team and the conflict between the government and the LTTE. The passing away of its highly talented and sensitive journalist Mallika Wanigasundra went almost unnoticed. I came to know of her passing away while going through the website of another dedicated and respected Sri Lankan journalist Nalaka Gunawardene. more..

Seniors' struggles cost Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (CI) Since the final of the World Cup Sri Lanka have had a poor run, losing three bilateral series against significant opposition besides a disappointing show in the CB Series earlier this year. Things appeared to be falling in place during the victorious Asia Cup campaign, but losing 3-2 to a young Indian side has opened up huge cracks again. Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara performed well but poor series from Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, more..

Indian, Lankan and Pak ex-pats make cricket one of the fastest growing sports in Italy

Aug 30 (ANI) Believe it or not, football-mad Italians have taken a fancy to the sport of cricket. According to The Guardian, the game though baffling to most Italians, is becoming one of the country's fastest-growing sports thanks to a wave of immigration from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Around 20,000 people from the Indian subcontinent are regularly putting down stumps and padding up in Italy's parks, more..

Sri Lanka shares sag, profit taking on property stocks

Aug 30 (LBO) Sri Lankan shares ended weaker Friday with the indices pulled down by losses in heavyweight telecom counters and profit taking seen in property stocks that rose on speculation, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 0.52 percent (12.60 points) to 2,408.64 while the Milanka also ended down 0.59 percent (16.57 points) at 2,788.98. Turnover was 277.7 million rupees. more..

Govt. offering chalk as cheese: Teachers

Aug 30 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Teachers’ Union (SLTU) Friday warned that it would go for a massive trade union action by bringing all teachers together. Charging the government had hoodwinked the union and the general public by stating that it had resolved the salary anomalies, SLTU President, Joseph Stalin told a news conference that under the government’s proposal a teacher would only get a salary increment ranging from Rs. 105 to Rs. 200. more..

Farmers won’t sell paddy at Govt. rates

Aug 30 (SAMN) An ambitious plan to purchase 140,000 tonnes of rice is already in trouble with a majority of farmers deciding not to sell the quality product at the prices fixed by the government. The government had earlier priced a kilo of samba at Rs. 30 and Nadu at Rs. 28, but public and private sector officials said farmers were reluctant to sell paddy at those prices. The government is competing with several major private sector traders including Siripala Gamlath, more..

No one asked Ranil to quit: Gayantha

Aug 30 (SAMN) Gayantha Karunathillake MP, said Friday that no one at the UNP Working Committee meeting, held on Thursday, called for party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign but it was unanimously agreed to revise the Constitution within 15 days. He told a news conference in Colombo, that the Joseph Michael Perera report, containing the views of party members, was presented to the Working Committee. more..

NGOs warned of supporting Tigers

Aug 30 (SAMN) Non-Governmental Organisations which support terrorism will be taken to task, Social Services and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri said . "We are monitoring NGOs. Most NGOs render a significant service and only a handful of NGOs support terrorism and other conspiracies. If inquiries prove that an NGO is involved in such activity stern action will be taken," Premasiri told a ceremony in Galle recently. more..

Don’t ruin students’ future

Aug 30 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday appealed to teachers to refrain from being political pawns and hold their innocent students as ransom in the process. President Rajapaksa made this appeal when he addressed a rally in Tangalle, following the inauguration of the Tangalle-Beliatta Integrated Water Supply Scheme. He explained that similar to Prabhakaran who was using the innocent civilians in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu for his egoistic and fascist objectives, more..

Businessman shot dead in Rajagiriya

Aug 30 (DN) A leading businessman was shot dead by unknown gunmen yesterday noon at Cooray road, Rajagiriya, police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said. Following information, police found the body of the man with gunshot injuries yesterday around noon in the back seat of a car bearing the number 301-1957. SSP Gunasekera said the victim was identified as a leading businessman exporting vegetables and resident of Pannipitiya C.L. Jayathunga ,49. more..

Construction of North, East bridges awarded outside tender procedure

Aug 30 (Island) The government has awarded the construction of 15 bridges in the North and East, to the British firm Mabey Johnson, sidestepping tender procedure, on a proposal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that the Cabinet of Ministers had decided to override tender procedure to expedite work. "However, the Cabinet decided that tenders should be called from local contractors for work related to other elements of the construction process." more..

NCPA to help Eastern children return to society

Aug 30 (Island) Children of the Eastern Province – many of them from internally displaced families - will receive psycho-social support under a proposal by the National Child Protection Authority. Chairman National Child Protection Authority Jagath Wellawatte told ‘The Island’ yesterday: "Children of the East have lived for over twenty to thirty years under an LTTE rule – in other words they have grown up with terrorism. more..

India poorer than Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (DM) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has in its 2008 Key Indicator said India ranked below even Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh in terms of poverty among Asian countries. The ADB said its Indicator which provided a new methodology in defining and measuring poverty showed that almost 54.8 per cent of Indians earned less than USD 1.35 a day in 2005. more..

Polls officials and monitors blame parties

Aug 30 (DM) The Elections Department and PAFFREL yesterday blamed political parties for not educating thousands of voters who could not cast their votes at the recent provincial elections as they did not have a valid identity document. But the main political parties, the UPFA, UNP and the JVP were critical of the Elections Department and said it was due to the negligence of election officials that a large number of voters were disqualified from voting last Saturday. more..

250 Sri Lankans donate blood

Aug 30 (TP) More than 250 volunteers turned up for the blood donation campaign organised by the Patriotic National Movement (PNM-Qatar), a Sri Lankan group, yesterday at the Stafford International School (Sri Lankan School) premises. The campaign was held in co-operation with the Sri Lankan Embassy and Stafford International School. "This is perhaps the most successful blood donation campaign that was held in the Sri Lankan community," Anura Hettigoda, more..

TISL transparency severely challenged

Aug 30 (LD) The Sri Lanka Chapter of Transparency International (TISL) has been severely censured for its collaboration with persons of questionable conduct in the corporate sector, in a letter written to the Director, Global Private Sector Programmes of the TI, by a concerned Sri Lankan citizen. In a world of very intricate and dubious collaborations, Mr. Amrit Muttukumaru is questioning the credibility of the seminar “Building integrity and transparency in business relationships” organised by TISL more..