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Mihin Lanka to lease 2 aircraft

Sep 14 (LD) Mihin Lanka that has incurred more than Rs. three billion in losses since it began operations has called international tenders to acquire two aircraft on lease basis. According to a senior official of the Ministry of Port and Aviation, the airline has sought a huge borrowing from the government to pay for the aircraft that are to be leased. It had lost its earlier aircraft obtained on lease basis due to the non-payment of dues. more..

Railway workers in token strike tomorrow

Sep 14 (LD) Railway workers are engaging in a token strike tomorrow to demand solutions to five problems. Members of 30 railway trade unions would join the union action. The demands are the rectification of salary anomalies, formulation of a salary structure for certain grades, payment of a disaster loan, approval for difficult area allowance and incentive and relaxing of educational qualifications for internal enrolments. more..

Rs. 15.2 m compensation for Jaffna victims of violence

Sep 14 (SO) The Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Management has allocated Rs. 15.2 million as compensation to families affected by violence in the Jaffna district, sources said. The allocation was made at the request of Minister of Social Services and Jaffna district Parliamentarian, Douglas Devananda, the sources said. more..

Jaffna Bishop visits Madhu

Sep 14 (SO) The Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundharanayagam took part in a religious service at the Madhu Church yesterday for the first time since the shrine was liberated from the LTTE by the Security Forces a month ago. Jaffna Bishop Thomas Savuntharanayagam visited the shrine area and saw the renovation work carried out by the Security Forces, soon after the church was rid of the LTTE presence. more..

Govt. ready to meet any challenge - Keheliya

Sep 14 (SO) "The Mahinda Rajapaksa Government would not have negotiations with Prabhakaran at any point but is ready to have talks with the rest of the Tamils to address their grievances", said the Military Spokesman and Minister of Foreign Employment Keheliya Rambukwella adding that the Government would not heed to any international pressure to withdraw military offensives in the Wanni. more..

Visitors deface heritage site

Sep 14 (SO) Litter is strewn all over the Embekke Devala in Kandy. Local visitors touch the ancient wood carvings and disfigure it. Garbage is dumped on the Lankatileke mountain and the 'Please take your litter with you' notice at the entrance to the Gadaladeniya Temple is observed more in the breach. The Archaeological Department faces financial constraints in combating this problem. more..

Recalling injured Indians, a matter between govts

Sep 14 (NS) Air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara has said that re-calling Indian technicians working with the Sri Lanka Air Force by the Indian Government, was a matter that should be dealt by both the Governments of India and Sri Lanka. In response to a call by Indian politicians to call back two Indian technicians who were injured in the artillery attack launched by the LTTE last week, he said the agreements were made by the Governments of both countries, and more..

If Ranil goes, we’ll return - Lokuge

Sep 14 (NS) The group of original UNP ‘reformists’ who crossed over to the government last year claim their re-entry would entirely depend on the removal of Ranil Wickremesinghe as party leader. “Despite the reforms that are to be introduced by the new group of rebels, there is no way we can work with the present UNP Leader,” Sports Minister and former UNP MP Gamini Lokuge told The Nation. more..

Will the broad alliance work for the UNP?

Sep 14 (NS) The Opposition UNP, it was reported has mandated its beleaguered leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, to form a ‘broad alliance’ against the ruling UPFA ostensibly for the purpose of facing future elections. This may appear quite ironic, since Wickremesinghe is struggling to find allies in his own party so he could remain at the helm of the UNP. But nevertheless, the need for, and the possible implications of this ‘broad alliance,’ merits discussion. more..

Mihin to get new lease of life

Sep 14 (NS) In a bid to revive the ailing budget carrier Mihin Lanka, the Aviation Ministry last week reconstituted the airline’s Board of Directors, largely made up of engineering and aviation professionals, The Nation learns. Speaking to The Nation, Aviation Ministry Secretary Thosapala Hewage said that the Ministry had appointed former State Engineering Corporation Chairman Raja Edirisuriya as Chairman of the Mihin Lanka board. more..

Monk in contempt now in land row

Sep 14 (ST) The monk who was recently remanded on a charge of contempt of court in connection with a case of noise pollution and later released is now asking the President to grant him legal ownership of the land on which his temple stands. The temple at Welikada, Rajagiriya is an unauthorised structure built on 40 perches of land that belongs to the Urban Development Authority. The land was privately owned before it was acquired by the UDA. more..

J.R.’s finest hour

Sep 14 (ST) September 17 is the 102nd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister and President, Junius Richard (J.R.) Jayewardene. On this occasion many will recall the United National Party leader’s historic political victory at the July 1977 elections. Election Day, July 21, 1977, passed without much incident. As usual, the poll was heavy, with more than 85 percent of registered voters casting their ballots. more..

Vavuniya attack: How it happened and why

Sep 14 (ST) Barely two weeks after their foray into Eastern Naval Area Headquarters in Trincomalee, Air Tigers showed up again. This time they were an integral part of a pre-dawn Tiger guerrilla ground and artillery assault last Tuesday on the sprawling Security Forces Headquarters - Wanni (SFHQ - W) complex located in Vavuniya. The defining moments of the attack on this garrison came thrice in regular intervals of six to seven minutes. more..

Political hurricanes slam UNP

Sep 14 (ST) For a second week in succession, the focus turns to the main opposition United National Party (UNP), which, paradoxical enough is embroiled in its own crisis whilst the nation faces a bigger one of its own. In these columns last week, I dealt with the September 3 deliberations at a stormy session of the UNP's Political Affairs Committee (PAC). Another session of this Committee scheduled for last Thursday was cancelled. more..

Preparing for a Rajapakse dynasty?

Sep 14 (Island) The expected revolution in the UNP never came. The working committee meeting last Thursday was a flop. The failure of the latest rebellion may mean that there will be no more rebellions against Ranil Wickremesinghe within the UNP. If there is one thing that the rebels have learnt from all this, it is that Wickremesinghe cannot be removed from the party and the UNP will have to put up with him whether they like it or not. more..

IGP admits that public confidence in police is at a low ebb

Sep 14 (Island) Hard on the heels of scandals of two OICs of police stations charged over child molestation and rape, IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne yesterday said that an all round effort was needed to revive public confidence in the police. "There is no point in denying the fact that people have lost confidence in law enforcement due to negligence on our part," he told The Sunday Island. more..

Buddhist monk on Lanka Cement board

Sep 14 (Island) A Buddhist monk has been appointed to the board of directors of Lanka Cement Limited controlled by the government with effect from May 30, 2008 according to a Stock Exchange notification. The monk is Ven. Bonupitiye Nagatissa thero. A new Japanese director, Mr. S. Sakurai, has been appointed a director of Hotel Developers Lanka Limited with Mr. Y. Nakazato as alternate. more..

UNP dissidents claim success

Sep 14 (Island) UNP dissidents yesterday expressed satisfaction over their ability to change the thinking of the party hierarchy to open up to make structural changes in the leadership and constitution to make the UNP more attractive to the younger generation and make it winnable at any forthcoming election. "We are glad we were able to convince the seniors and the Working Committee to unanimously accept our proposals for making changes in more..

Sri Lanka condemns bomb attacks in New Delhi

Sep 14 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government on Sunday condemned the series of bomb attacks in New Delhi and declared that it stands in solidarity with India in its efforts to eradicate terrorism. 'Sri Lanka unequivocally condemns such barbaric acts of terrorism, which can never be justified under any circumstance for whatever reason,' the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said in a statement. more..

Fighting kills 21 Tamil rebels

Sep 14 (AP) Fighting between government forces and separatist Tamil Tigers across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region killed 21 rebels, the military said Sunday. The latest fighting took place Saturday along the front lines in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Welioya regions, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. Soldiers killed nine rebels in clashes in Kilinochchi while 12 other guerrillas died in Vavuniya and Welioya, he said. more..

UN says pleading crowds halt Sri Lanka pull-out

Sep 14 (AFP) The United Nations said Sunday its aid staff were unable to comply with a Sri Lankan government order to quit the war-torn north of the island because of protests by local civilians. UN agencies say some 160,000 people have been displaced in the past few months in the districts of Mullaittivu and Kilinochchi as the government steps up its offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Fuel prices high amid politicized prices

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lankan fuel users are suffering from the lack of a transparent price formula and severe politicization of pricing that had sometimes caused high inflation and balance of payments troubles in the island. World oil prices have been tumbling after a commodity bubble burst following the collapse of an underlying credit bubble the previous year, but Sri Lankan customers are yet to feel the benefit, unlike citizens of country's where fuel in market-priced. more..

Sri Lanka troubled bunker firms pulls stocks out

Sep 15 (LBO) Lanka Marine Services (LMS), a unit of John Keells Holdings selling bunkers in Colombo port, has moved out most of its stocks from a tank farm by the court ordered deadline of September 12, a media report said. The Sunday Island quoted a company spokesman as saying that the firm had pumped out the oil except for "a little left in the tanks and the pipeline." LMS, a former state run firm, was ordered to return the tank farm by Sri Lanka's Supreme Court which found its privatization flawed. more..

Sri Lanka Govt seeks UN assistance to ensure release of children held by LTTE

Sep 15 (PISL) Statement by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, during the Interactive Dialogue following the statement of Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. Sri Lanka thanks the Special Representative for her yeoman service with regard to the protection of children victimized by armed conflict. more..

Sri Lanka to release Indian fishermen, community unimpressed

Sep 15 (IANS) Despite Sri Lanka's decision Sunday to release 38 Indian fishermen held captive there, fishing community in Tamil Nadu is not impressed. 'The imminent release of some 38 of our brethren detained by Sri Lanka since Thursday adds insult to injury because of the island's defence authorities' clear knowledge that they are poor, innocent fishermen,' N.J. Bose, president of a state-wide fishermen's organisation, told journalists here. more..

Indian Maoists have ties with other terror groups

Sep 15 (IANS) Naxalites of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), according to a media report of Sep 10 credited to unnamed intelligence officials, have forged links with the LTTE of Sri Lanka and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in India's northeast. The report is not entirely baseless. There is adequate evidence, and has been reported earlier too, of the Maoists' intent and design. more..

Acting on SC decisions

Sep 15 (LG) The Supreme Court on Monday expressed surprise that Treasury Secretary Dr.P.B. Jayasundera continues in office despite the scathing judgment of the court in the LMSL privatisation. The court said Jayasundera was disqualified from holding public office under the constitution as he was involved in a irregular transaction involving a public property. more..

Thai authorities provide unlimited support for the LTTE

Sep 15 (LG) LTTE which took its formation since the July 1977 violence in Sri Lanka has stretched its operational base to an unprecedented international level. The section of the diaspora Tamil community sympathetic to its cause is giving valuable financial and operational assistance. Within the past few years sting operations against the LTTE clandestine activities resulted in scores of diaspora operatives of the LTTE being arrested in many countries. more..

'Sinhala settlement in the east'

Sep 15 (LG) Shivajilingam, TNA Parliamentarian, charged that the Sinhala settlement in the east is intensified under the programme of environmental health. While addressing Parliament, he stated that the government had destroyed the LTTE Leader’s house which had been unoccupied for 25 years in Valvettithurai due to frustration suffered from the air attack in Vavuniya camp. He added that the Sinhala population which was half percent in the east has risen to 30 percent. more..

India’s duplicity

Sep 15 (LG) Two important events took place this week in Vanni. One is the air attack on the Vanni Head Quarters of the security forces, while the other is the proposed exit of the Non Governmental Organizations that perform humanitarian services. The international Community is startled that notice is issued for the NGO’s to make their exit for security reasons. At the same time, the air attack on the military camps, too, has caused a shock. more..

Minister and Chairman, main culprits in fuel scam

Sep 15 (LeN) The trade unions of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) accuse that the Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources joined by the Chairman of the CPC are purchasing fuel against tradition of basing on the recommendations of the Operations manager of Kolonnawa fuel stores and the Marketing Manager of CPC. The trade unions allege that the CPC is storing excess stocks of fuel without considering the local demand and more..

Peace is must for Pakistan to prosper: CG Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (ITN) Sharing his views on the political situation in the country, Consul General (CG) of Sri Lanka, V.S. Sidath Kumar explains that he hopes to see political and economical stability in Pakistan. He wishes that the country flourishes and prospers and adds that it can happen only if Pakistan is at peace. Speaking on the issue of terrorism, Kumar says that it is important to bring the terrorists into the political stream in order to make them weaker. more..

Buddhist Priest and the Law – from the Sublime to the Ridicule

Sep 15 (LG) During the rein of the Kings in Sri Lanka, the offenders were brought before the King, to be judged for the offences for which he had been accused. His Majesty the King was the sole authority. Now it is different. We have accepted a British style democracy, with the separation of powers that go with it. Therefore the judiciary is separate and independent of the Executive and the Legislature. more..

Tamil Settlements in the West, Sinhala Settlements in the East. So what?

Sep 15 (LG) It’s a great misfortune that racism is a long way from extinction. What is even more unfortunate is that it is the leaders of the people or supposed leaders of the people who are poisoning the society with racial ill-will whereas they should be building inter-racial unity! Where on earth do you get racial enclaves where people of other races cannot rightfully live? If there is any such place on earth that place is untouched by modern civilization and it is bound to change soon. more..

Democratic way to peace, or peaceful way to democracy?

Sep 15 (LG) Democracy is the only answer for sustainable peace in war-torn Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told the Indian newspaper, The Hindu, in a recent interview. Preceding this, you had Science and Technology Minister, Dr Tissa Vitharana, who is also the Chairman of the All-Party Representative Committee (APRC) for finding a political solution to the ethnic issue, airing similar views to his South African hosts. more..

The three political systems of Lanka - Democracy, Theocracy and Hypocrisy

Sep 15 (LG) The anticipated climax of the clash of saffron robes of the monks and the black robes of Hulftsdorp fortunately did not come off. The country is suffering from far too many confrontations. Good sense and sanity prevailed. The Mahanayake of Asgiriya and other leading monks made it quite clear that the sangha had to respect the law of the land. Ven. Ellawala Medhananda, a leading monk of the militant JHU while justifying the action of a group of monks who did not stand up and curtesy when more..

Provincial elections reveal widespread alienation and discontent

Sep 15 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse installed new chief ministers in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provincial councils on September 4 after his UPFA secured a majority in elections last month. Rajapakse has exploited the victory to claim support for his government’s policies, including the ongoing war against the LTTE. He declared after the poll that the “public opinion represented in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces is the opinion of the entire country”. more..

An abominable order!

Sep 15 (LG) The order issued to the non governmental and UN organizations that perform urgent humanitarian services to the Tamil people affected by the war to leave the Wanni area is abominable for it prevents the NGO’s from discharging sacred duties that are obligatory. Tamil National Alliance has condemned this order as another measure reflecting the genocidal policy of the government. more..

Media and Minister Bandula Gunawardena

Sep 15 (LG) Minister Bandula Gunawardena, who is one of the 18 UNP Parliamentarians, who crossed over to the government at the beginning of the last year, criticized the government strongly for the country’s economic crisis and projected himself as one who had the capacity to solve the problems when he was occupying the opposition ranks. more..

Govet must respect people’s feelings!

Sep 15 (LG) 2,40,000 people belonging to 65,893 families have been displaced following the military operations towards Wanni. Humanitarian service is rendered to these people in distress by non governmental organizations. The people, who are trapped between the two warring combatants, are men, women and children in a sorry plight. It is in this juncture that the NGO’s are asked to leave. more..

Chandrakanthan and Mustapha to attend JATA Travel Fair in Japan

Sep 15 (AT) Under the new policy introduced by Ministry of Tourism, Chief Minister and the Minister of Tourism of Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan Kumarasamy is joining the delegation, headed by Deputy Minister of Tourism, Faiszer Mustapha, to participate at Japan Association of Travel Agents - Travel Mart (JATA), one of the largest international travel fairs in Asia, to be held in Tokyo Big Sight from September 18 to 21. more..

Two hundred and seventy four finalists at CIMA Convention

Sep 15 (AT) The highlight of the at the bi-annual CIMA (Sri Lanka Division) convention held at the BMICH was Miss. Nilusha Anne Fonseka who brought credit to Sri Lanka by winning a world prize for P2 Management Accounting Decision Management at the May 2008 examination was given special recognition. Two hundred and seventy four passed finalists received their certificates, while 16 Sri Lankan prize winners from the same examination received more..

Sri Lankan response to the report of the International Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity

Sep 15 (PISL) Sri Lanka is grateful to the experts who have presented the three reports under discussion which deal with important aspects of human rights. Sri Lanka had not initially intended to intervene, but the request of the independent expert on human rights and international solidarity for suggestions as to areas of concern coincided with a recent initiative of the Secretary General in New York, which perhaps needs further elaboration. more..

Derana becomes electronic media partner for 'Hands Lanka'

Sep 15 (F2F) The first ever “Hands Lanka Exhibition 2008” international handicrafts exhibition will be held from 9th to 12th October 2008 at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Conventional Centre (SLECC) Colombo. Derana TV signed a contract with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) to became the electronic media partner for the Hands Lanka Exhibition. more..

Sri Lanka Tourist arrivals up 8.6% in March

Sep 15 (AME) Destination Sri Lanka reported that tourist industry arrivals in March registered an 8.6% growth over the same period last year. For the first three months of 2008,there is a marginal increase of 0.7% in tourist arrivals according to the monthly statistical report released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. The highest performer during the period was the Middle East, which registered an increase of 80.6% in comparison with 2007. more..

South Africa A clinch series with draw

Sep 15 (CI) South Africa A failed to win at the Willowmore Park in Benoni, but the draw meant a 1-0 triumph for the hosts in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka A. South Africa held the upper hand for the best part of the final game, but perhaps their decision not to enforce the follow-on on Sunday hampered their chances of a win. Resuming on 28 for 1 in their second innings, South Africa lost wickets regularly and finally declared at 185 for 7 more..

Sri Lanka has made significant progress in terms of breastfeeding

Sep 15 (GDI) According to UNICEF Sri Lanka maintains a high rate for mothers' breastfeeding their babies during the first six months of the baby's life. UNICEF said that Sri Lanka has achieved a 50% increase in this number. In line with the World Breastfeeding Week, the country has taken several initiatives led by the Ministry of Health and supported by UNICEF which has also served to increase the country's rate of exclusive breastfeeding from 50% to 75% from 2000 to 2007. more..

Stop civilians from fleeing -- Prabhakaran orders cadres

Sep 15 (GDI) It is reported that the LTTE terrorist leadership has ordered area leaders of the organization to use their full strength to prevent civilians vacating the terrorists' held area. With the Government mapping out safe corridors for civilians held captive by the terrorist outfit to serve as a human shield, to reach the safety of cleared areas, there has been a great positive response to arrive in the Government control areas during the past few weeks, defence sources said. more..

Preferential system to go with election reforms

Sep 15 (GDI) The Interim Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms has recommended the elimination of the preferential voting system and proposes a mix of the first-past-the-post method and the current proportional representation systems instead. The Committee has also proposed that elections be held based on electoral constituencies and to de-linit electoral boundaries to make 140 constituencies through a De-Limination Commission. more..

Next year s literary festival in Kilinochchi

Sep 15 (LNP) President Rajapakse has emphasised that next year's national literary festival will be held in Kilinochchi. Participating in this year s festival at the Narandeniya Central College grounds in Kamburupitiya today, the President opined it is the literates who can identify the pulse of the people. While guiding politicians, they should also take the lead in arraying the citizens to meet the national needs. more..