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President congratulates newly elected Pakistani President

Sep 13 (GDI) Sending a message of congratulation to the newly elected President of the Islamic Republic Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, President Mahinda Rajapaksa noted that Sri Lanka and Pakistan share lasting bonds of friendship and strong commitment to achieve peace and prosperity. Sri Lanka and Pakistan being countries that experience the bitter aspects of terrorism, and emphasized that Sri Lanka will join with Pakistan in eradicating the menace terrorism from the region. more..

Lanka Sathosa opens its 100th outlet this month

Sep 13 (GDI) Lanaka Sathosa, which is emerging as a profit making entity will open it’s 100th outlet this month, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardane said yesterday. Elaborating on the factors that led to the shutting down of Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) in the country during the previous Government, the Minister noted that unbearable expenses caused severe damage to the entire business network and gradually pushed it into a precipice. more..

LTTE in a move to hold officials of UN and NGO’s hostages in Kilinochchi

Sep 13 (AT) The Tamil Tigers, this time has gone with a new strategy of holding the remaining officials of the UN, International NGOs and NGOs as human shield along with hundreds and thousands of the internally displaced Tamils. This is said to be a clear ploy to hold the remaining officials of the UN, INGOs and NGOs as hostages for the safety of Velupillai Prabakaran – an evasive and aging LTTE leader. more..

Tigers halt INGOs from moving heavy vehicles in Wanni

Sep 13 (MoD) International Aid agencies, which have been asked by the Government to leave Wanni and relocate their offices in the safer perimeters in view of an LTTE attempt to create collateral damage are reportedly in a dilemma over their heavy vehicles and equipments, news sources from Wanni report. Earlier, INGOs were requested by the Government to vacate the tensed and non-liberated Wanni area along with their vehicles and equipment, preventing them falling into the LTTE's hands. more..

Gotabhaya voices new security concerns

Sep 13 (SAMN) People who come to Colombo and suburbs and stay without any valid reason are creating a huge security concern, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said Friday. “An alarming situation has been observed by the Security Forces as a large number of people have come to the Colombo Police Division in August alone without any valid reason,” the Defence Secretary said, pointing that 6,950 people who had come to Colombo in August were now temporarily living in lodges, houses and various other places. more..

4% students vision impaired

Sep 13 (SAMN) The Health Ministry said Friday four per cent or 160,000 of the student population in Sri Lanka were vision impaired and the impairment had severely affected their education. Public Health Deputy Director Dr. Palitha Mahipala said the island wide study conducted this year had found the main cause for the situation was the students’ food pattern and lack of awareness among them and their parents about the nutritional value of foods. more..

Security, GMO blamed for train delays

Sep 13 (SAMN) The Railway Department Friday blamed the security personnel and the General Manager Operations (GMO) for the delay in clearing railway tracks for train movements after they were damaged due to bomb explosion. There were long delays in train movements even on Thursday when a minor explosion slightly damaged the rail track near the Mt. Lavinia station on Wednesday. more..

Mobile phones functioning in Batticaloa: Army

Sep 13 (SAMN) The military Monday denied allegations that mobile phones had been made dysfunctional in Batticaloa saying telecommunication networks were continuing to function as normal. Military Spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the allegation was spread in order to create panic amongst the people and the public should dismiss such stories as false and fabricated. more..

Issue of NICs to estate dwellers to be expedited

Sep 13 (DN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka has instructed authorities to obtain the assistance of Estate Superintendents for issuing National Identity Cards for the estate community. The probable date of birth of a estate worker should be decided on by the Superintendent of the estate and the process should be finalised before December 31. This was announced at the meeting organised to review the problems with issuing National Identity Cards for the estate community. more..

Rat fever kills 34 in Kurunegala

Sep 13 (DN) Thirty four persons have died of rat fever (leptospirosis) in the Kurunegala district from July upto date, Director General of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Dr. Ananda Gunasekara said. He said rat fever could spread through water contaminated with the urine of rats, cattle, dogs and cats. He said immediate action has been taken to prevent the disease from spreading, while antibiotic tablets have been provided to health officers and rural hospitals in the affected areas. more..

LTTE uses children for fund raising propaganda

Sep 13 (MoD) The vast majority of Tamil diaspora members and Swiss nationals who attended a cultural festival in Thurgau in Switzerland were shocked to see schoolchildren as young as eight years enacting a drama dressed as child combatants using replicas of most lethal weapons. The event, organised by the Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau, an organisation purportedly for promotion of Tamil culture and art was held in Thoreau for fund-raising for 'displaced persons in the North'. more..

Trade union action did not stop 7,854 teachers from A/L paper marking

Sep 13 (Island) Though teacher trade unions had campaigned to stop teachers from evaluating the GCE Advanced Level Examination answer scripts, 7,854 teachers had applied for marking duties. The Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera’s contention that only 442 teachers had applied was far from truth, Minister of Education Susil Premjayanth said. He said evaluation of examination answer scripts was an exercise like practising deep meditation as more..

UNP Working Committee decides to appoint Deputy, Assistant leaders

Sep 13 (Island) The UNP Working Committee, on Thursday evening decided to appoint a Deputy leader and Assistant leader, but the majority consensus was that creating more posts, was not going to help the party win elections. Informed sources, said that the two new positions to be created, were proposed in the report submitted to the WC by the Senior Parliamentarians Committee comprising Joseph Michael Perera, John Ameratunga, Saratchandra Rajakaruna, Renuka Herath, Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake and Jayawickrema Perera. more..

Sripathy’s widow steps into politics

Sep 13 (DM) SLFP (M) convener Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday Sripathy Sooriyaracchi’s widow Dilrukshi Sooriyarachchi had come forward to continue the public mission of her husband. Mr. Samaraweera told parliament that Mr. Sooriyaarachchi worked hard for the victory of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last presidential election. more..

Budget: Dinesh cracks whip

Sep 13 (DM) Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene emphasized yesterday that parliament should actively participate in the preparation of budgetary estimates and in the achieving of set targets. He said this was a long-time tradition in the Indian Lok Sabha and Sri Lanka too should follow this example without allowing government officials to act according to their whims and fancies. more..

Delay in food transport to north

Sep 13 (LD) The prevailing security situation is delaying the transport of food and other essentials to the war displaced in the north by two days, said the Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry. Its Secretary A.C.M. Rasik has told 'Ravaya' that it took as many as five days for a lorry to reach the peninsula. He also said the government has so far released Rs. 25 million to district secretaries of Kilinochchi and Vavuniya to provide for the homeless. more..

New chief for Mihin Lanka

Sep 13 (LD) Raja Edirisuriya, a former chairman of the State Engineering Corporation, has been appointed head of Mihin Lanka, a senior official of the Ministry of Port and Aviation told 'Lanka Dissent.' It also has a new director board in Sarath Silva who is chairman of Lankaputra Development Bank, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilake, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga of the Ministry of Finance, Hemal Thalgaswatte and Chandana Liyanapatabendi. more..

Entry ban on forest reserves in Monaragala

Sep 13 (LD) The Defence Ministry has declared forest reserves in Moneragala district out of bounds for the civilian populace following reports of LTTE activity in these areas. The ban will be effective from today (Sept. 13th) for forest reserves at Moneragala, Buttala and Siyambalanduwa divisional secretariat areas. A few days ago, the LTTE had murdered seven people at Kotiyagala reserve in Athimale. more..

Bribed to cover up customs fraud

Sep 13 (LD) A Customs inquiry into an alleged tax fraud amounting to more than one billion rupees has been thrown under the carpet after officials were bribed, 'Ravaya' reports. The probe against 'Pericil', owned by Harry Jayawardena began in 2006, to look into its import of wine spirit under the name of ethyl spirit for a period of around 10 years. The customs levy on ethyl spirit is Rs. 125 per litre, while it is Rs. 880 for wine spirit, more..

Lanka Army launches strict vigil after recovering explosives

Sep 13 (PTI) Sri Lankan security forces on Saturday recovered C-4 explosives from the capital's suburbs, prompting the launch of high security vigil in and around Colombo. Security forces, while conducting a search operation at Dehiwala in suburban Colombo, found 100g of C-4 explosives and a timer. The recovery was made near a transformer in proximity of the National Zoo, according to the sources at the Media Centre for National Security. more..

Tamil Tigers warn of 'genocide' as UN agencies pullout

Sep 13 (AFP) Tamil Tigers on Saturday accused the government of planning a genocidal campaign against Tamils as UN agencies began pulling out of the rebel-held Wanni regions in the island's north. UN agencies began pulling out of the region on Friday after Colombo said it could not guarantee the safety of aid workers as troops pushed towards the Wanni region, which comprises Kilinochchi and Mullattivu districts. more..

Sri Lanka tells outsiders to quit capital

Sep 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka has told thousands of people living in its capital "without any valid reason" to return to their villages, calling them a national security threat, a state-run newspaper said Saturday. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told the Daily News that thousands arrive in Colombo each month from other parts of the war-torn nation, many of them ethnic Tamils fleeing fighting in the north. more..

Indian airmen were operating in Vavuniya

Sep 14 (LG) Vavuniya town, which had been in peaceful slumber, was suddenly jolted awake by a barrage of gunfire around 2.50 in the morning on September 9. The gunfire came from the direction of the Wanni Security Forces Headquarters in Lavonia and the Air force base. As time went by, the sound of loud explosions also shook the town. The LTTE light aircraft, which had last carried out a bombing raid on the Eastern Naval Headquarters in Trincomalee on August 26, also became airborne during this battle in Vavuniya. more..

Row over Pillayan’s senior advisor

Sep 14 (LG) Government has turned down a request of Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan to extend the services of his Senior Advisor Dr. K. Vigneshwaran amidst allegations that the official is known to be toeing a pro-Indian line. Dr. Vigneshwaran, formerly a secretary to Minister Douglas Devananda, was initially appointed for three months soon after the new provincial coucil was formed in the east. more..

The true story of an imprisoned deserter

Sep 14 (LG) Premasiri came to Moladande at the height of the JVP/DJV chauvinist rebellion. He was taken into our security arrangement as his brother was a longstanding party member. It was a time when we could not trust even our closest relations. We had to protect ourselves with those who were politically loyal. At that stage, we were members of the United Socialist Alliance (USA) launched under the leadership of the late Vijaya Kumaratunga. more..

UN relocate in Vavuniya

Sep 14 (BBC) United Nations (UN) staff who have left Wanni will operate from Vavuniya and continue to support the humanitarian efforts through its already existing supply hub there, says Gordon Wise, the spokesman for the UN office in Colombo. He said that they moved out most of the staff and a lot of equipment last week and some are still in Killinochchi. “There were protests around some of the UN offices in Killionochchi and they were opposing our officers leaving from Killinochchi”, more..

Teachers find a way to continue boycott

Sep 14 (LB) Despite a Supreme Court judgment teachers are to continue with boycotting A/L paper marking. They will refrain from applying for marking assignments, to avoid the issue. “Technically we are not defying the Supreme Court order just because we are not applying for paper marking”, sources said. Meanwhile, the President of the Ceylon Teachers Union Joseph Stalin said that salary anomalies issue of teachers is still unresolved, and more..

Bogols blows out his travel allowance

Sep 14 (LB) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has exceeded his travel expenditure for the year and authoritative sources said he has already spent more than Rs 30 million on touring the world. Meanwhile, the president’s office has ordered the ministry of foreign affairs to cut down expenditure. The sources revealed that the instructions came this month amid reports that Bogollagama’s travel expenditure has already surpassed Rs 30 million for 2008. more..

Money talks: Will Kudu Nuwan go scot free?

Sep 14 (LB) It is understood that Kudu Nuwan has paid off the victim to have his rape case dropped. The victim hails from a poverty stricken background . When we asked her about the deal, she declined to comment. Dr’ Mervin Silva is always in the news, one way or another. If all that is not enough Mervin Silva’s underworld cohorts will take the law into their own hands and create some news, and so Mervin Silva is always in the limelight, either more..

LTTE tells NGO folk: “You are not leaving”

Sep 14 (LB) The LTTE in a last ditch effort to prevent the security forces entering the Wanni has got the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to block the way when the NGOs and UN agencies began leaving the Wanni after the government issued instructions for them to move out for their own safety -- and that it would not give any guarantee if they opted to stay on. Meanwhile hundreds of IDPs trapped in the Wanni begged with NGOs and UN agencies not to leave the area. more..

7 Lankan refugees drown

Sep 14 (ENS) Seven Sri Lankan refugees, who made an attempt to flee to their country, drowned at midsea when the boat in which they were travelling capsized in the early hours of Saturday. According to reports, 13 Sri Lankan refugees, including five women and two children, from different camps, including Palani and Thiruvannamalai, had boarded a country boat at Thonithurai, near Mandapam, on September 11 to proceed to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka - Latvia to boost bilateral relations

Sep 14 (AT) President Valdis Zatlers of the Republic of Latvia extended his congratulations to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the successful completion of the SARRC Summit held recently in Colombo. He expressed his strong interest over having more and more bilateral cooperation through enhanced political and economic relations with Sri Lanka. These pleasantries were exchanged between the newly appointed Sri Lanka Ambassador to Latvia, Residence in Sweden, Ranjith Jayasooriya and more..

Basil moves to block broad alliance using 'elephant' as bait

Sep 14 (SL) Weeks after the conclusion of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections, the government seems to continue to enjoy its victory at the polls by harping on it via the state media. However, the true motives of the government can only be found out when one observes, like a fly on the wall, the discussions taking place between members of the government. more..

A war hero's battle with persecution

Sep 14 (SL) Some facts are indeed stubborn. A stubborn fact about a man called Janaka Perera, one time Sri Lanka Army Chief of Staff and diplomat turned politician, is that he evokes extreme responses. A perpetual newsmaker, he is either loved or hated - with equal passion. His sudden appearance in the political arena has upset many, not just government ranks but also his own party, the UNP that is plagued by its own leadership battles. more..

A broad alliance in the making and President's diplomatic headaches

Sep 14 (SL) While the government was taking stock of the military situation following the devastating Tiger attack on the security forces headquarters in Vavuniya last week and the UNP continued to be bogged down with its internal battles, a new alliance was in the making that could if successful, change the political landscape of the country. President Mahinda Rajapakse and his UPFA government have placed all their political eggs in the war basket, more..

Bribery Comm grills Nation Building Minister

Sep 14 (SL) The Bribery Commission yesterday grilled Nations Building Minister RohithaAbeygunawardene over an Assets investigation involving nearly Rs 450million. It is learned the Minister's statement was recorded by Sub Inspector Ranatunge at the Longden Place headquarters of the Bribery Commission. The Minister faces allegations of amassing assets valued at nearly Rs 450million which are unaccounted for. more..

Munneswaram temple: Harmony in devotion

Sep 14 (HA) Munneswaram is the foremost and famous Hindu Temple in Southern Sri Lanka. It has all the three key glories of a Hindu holy place-Moorthi (Idol), Theertham (Holy water point) and Thalam (temple). Located in the town Chilaw in North West Province, Munneswaram is attended by devotees of Sinhalese and Tamil communities to worship and guidanceship. The temple is a symbol of unity and glows with harmony in devotion among Sinhalese and Tamils-two of the major ethnicities in Sri Lanka. more..

INGOs in Wanni - sleeping with dogs

Sep 14 (AT) "When you sleep with dogs you get up with ticks all over your body," goes a pithy Sinhala saying. This is what has happened to most INGOs operating in LTTE dominated areas. Having been infected with 'tick fever' they have no alternative but to obey the Tigers' dictates and leave their possessions at the disposal of the terrorists. Of course several of these do-gooders were willingly serving the LTTE's cause in the name of humanitarian services. more..

Farsighted strategic decision taken by the Govt

Sep 14 (AT) A popular Sinhala proverb exhorts not to lament after inviting dangerous serpents to one’s lap. Unfortunately, many of the INGOs and NGOs which function in Sri Lanka have acted in a manner detrimental to the stability and the national security of the country, while white washing the LTTE, and on a number of occasions actively aiding and abetting the terrorists and separatists. more..

LTTE men against over screen ‘Prabakaran’ in Toronto

Sep 14 (LG) According to news received from Toronto: ‘Toronto Police has informed that LTTE front runners has requested a permit to protest in front of Scarborough Cinema hall where film "Prabakaran" is due to be screened’. The protesters against the screening of the film are planning to stage demonstrations within and in front of the theatres Cine Starz in Mississauga – and on Sept. 20th 7pm - Scarborough - Sept. 21st 10am at Cineplex Odeon (Warden & Eglington). more..

Long established Tamil refugee organisation facing imminent closure

Sep 14 (LG) Tamil Refugee Action Group known to many as TRAG in the UK is facing closure by the management committee. TRAG was formed in 1983, following influx of Tamils refugees after the state aided nationwide violence in Sri Lanka. The organisation provided legal and housing assistance for many incoming refugees. The fast growing organisation was broken up and the housing provision was later managed by a community based company Tamil Community Housing Association (TCHA). more..

Crime without punishment: The strange case of Colonel Karuna

Sep 14 (ON) The trial, imprisonment and release of a former Tamil Tiger leader raises some tricky and potentially embarrassing questions for the British government. The former leader of the Tamil Tigers in the east of Sri Lanka Commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna was arrested for travelling to the UK on a false passport in November 2007 and sentenced to 9 months in prison at the end of January 2008. more..

South Africa A in command despite Kandamby ton

Sep 14 (CI) South Africa A look on course for a series triumph in the three-Test contest against Sri Lanka A, after Sri Lanka folded up for 395 in their first innings in reply to the 550 scored by the hosts. South Africa didn't enforce the follow-on - Sri Lanka were six short of avoiding it - and instead chose to bat again on the third day of the final game. They finished at 28 for 1 by stumps, and more..

Govt mechanism in place in Kilinochchi and Mullaittiuvu

Sep 14 (LNP) The withdrawal of foreign aid workers and Non Governmental Organisations from Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, the last of the LTTE territory, would not hinder humanitarian activities as a well organised government mechanism is operating in these areas through government agents, their staff and other state officials, Defence Secretary, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the Sunday Observer. more..

Delhi committed to Lanka's air defence

Sep 14 (LNP) Premier Manmohan Singh s government is unlikely to give up its role in Sri Lanka despite the recent media revelation of the presence of Indian personnel at the Vavuniya SLAF base which was targeted by the LTTE on September 9. A section of the Tamilnadu political groups has urged the coalition to immediately recall personnel after the Colombo press reported the hospitalization of two Indians wounded in the LTTE s suicide assault on the base by 11 Black Tigers, half of them women. more..

Food for thought

Sep 14 (LNP) Friend and foe must admit that billionaire (he's surely arrived at that milestone) businessman Harry Jayawardena is a practical man. That is what enabled him to get where he is from relatively modest beginnings as a tea taster at Consolexpo, the State s then export trading corporation, where he finished up as tea manager. Jayawardena, as a pragmatic personality, has made a very practical suggestion in the annual report of more..

UN holds pullout

Sep 14 (SAMN) UN agencies and International Non Governmental Organisations (INGOs) have temporarily halted the withdrawal of their staff from the strife-torn Wanni region following protests from civilians for the second consecutive day Saturday. The move came after thousands of placard-carrying men, women and children staged a strong protest opposite UN and INGO offices on Friday and Saturday in Kilinochchi, urging them not to withdraw from the region. more..

Displaced kids as traumatised as orphans

Sep 14 (SAMN) The plight of displaced children who have had to leave their homes because of the ongoing conflict in the North and East is as serious as that of children who have lost their parents, said President, Child Protection Society (CPS) S. S. Wijeratne, who pointed out that children accounted for 30 percent of the country’s displaced persons, and that their situation presented major challenges to child rights activists and organisations. more..

Court orders recall of uni officials

Sep 14 (SAMN) The Court of Appeal has ordered that the Registrar and the Deputy Registrar of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka be reinstated in their posts, after a period of suspension and unpaid compulsory leave. The petitioners – Registrar R. A. Piyaratna and Deputy Registrar Gallage Jayatissa –– had been on compulsory unpaid leave from December 2006 after being suspended by the university following complaints and demonstrations against them by the JVP-backed student union. more..

New rules, regulations for DLB

Sep 14 (SAMN) Lottery operations by the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) is to be streamlined by introducing a new set of rules, regulations and a code of conduct, a senior official of the DLB said. He added that this will help to boost the confidence of Development Lottery buyers, agents sellers, countrywide as well as the staff of the DLB. The Development Lottery is currently being conducted in accordance with the Development Lotteries Act No 20 of 1997. more..