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Kassippu carrying trishaw hit by train: two dead

Sep 15 (LNP) Two persons died on the spot and one was wounded when a three wheeler carrying a stock of kassippu collided with a train at an unprotected railway crossing at Batuwatte, Ragama, yesterday morning. The dead were identified as M. Neville (41) of Batagama south and Milton Fernando (27) of Welisara thotupala road. The driver Gamimi Padmakumara (35)of Batagama South has survived the crash. more..

Cars for judges sans cabinet approval

Sep 15 (LNP) The Justice and Law Reforms Ministry has placed an order for the purchase of 27 petrol-driven cars for High Court judges prior to receiving Cabinet approval. This came to light when Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told a post-Cabinet press briefing early this month of Justice and Law Reforms Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda s proposal. Responding to our queries, Minister Dodangoda yesterday said that it was wrong to call for tenders before receiving Cabinet approval. more..

A tale of many cities

Sep 15 (LNP) In the wake of an abortive terror strike on Tuesday on a radar station in the North, an Opposition lawmaker demanded to know how the government could ever claim that Vavuniya was in a cleared area, as the LTTE had managed to mount an attack there. Vavuniya, he said, was far away from Kilinochchi, where the war was raging. He either did not know how terrorists operated or sought to play politics with the issue. more..

'Protect Southern Highway from disruptive elements'

Sep 15 (LP) RTS Construction Company engaged in constructing work of the South-Colombo Highway in Dodangoda –Kurudugahahathapma has requested from the government to prevent opposing elements from disrupting its work. Managing Director of the RTS Construction Company Robert Palinda told Lankapuvath that the workers are being provoked to make unfair and unreasonable demands. more..

Delay over appointment of CMC Commissioner

Sep 15 (LP) Chief Minister of the Western province Reginald Cooray told Lankapuvath that necessary action would be taken regarding the vacancy of Commissioner of Colombo Municipal Council. Minister made these comments when inquired about the trade union action taken against CMC delaying the appointment of Badrani Jayawardene as the commissioner of CMC. Meanwhile the Mayor of the CMC had warned the employees against their action. more..

JVP MP Sanath Wijewickrama joins NFF

Sep 15 (LP) JVP MP Sanath Wijewickrama of the Palinda Nuwara Pradeshiya Sabha has joined the National Freedom Front (NFF) today. He announced this at a Pradeshiya Sabha meeting this morning. He further added that he took this decision because he did not receive a satisfactory answer from the leaders of the party as to why the party is breaking apart. He also said that the party is no longer strong enough to stop those leaving the party. more..

CC to overrule Ind. Commissions

Sep 15 (SAMN) The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to look into the flaws of the 17th Amendment is considering the possibility of introducing legal powers to the Constitutional Council (CC) to have a say over the rulings of the Independent Commissions, Chairman of the Select Committee, Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said Sunday. more..

UN assures Govt. of pullout

Sep 15 (SAMN) Amidst speculation that the UN would defy Defence Ministry orders to vacate Kilinochchi, the UN has assured the government that it will leave LTTE-held areas. Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe Sunday confirmed the UN would withdraw in keeping with the government order and said the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Colombo, Neil Buhne had reiterated the UN decision to leave the LTTE-held areas. more..

Hambantota Port project faces suspension

Sep 15 (SAMN) The Hambantota Port Development Project is facing suspension by end of September as a result of a serious cash flow crisis due to the government's failure to pay the contractor his dues. The government owes the contractor, China Harbour-Sinohydro Consortium US$ 117 million for the work completed but is yet to make payment despite repeated appeals. However, the Ports Development Authority said the project will proceed without any interference and more..

Situation of Wanni people pathetic: JJ

Sep 15 (SAMN) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said yesterday that the present situation of the people in the Wanni are “really pathetic” with more than 150,000 becoming displaced. “Thousands of people are suffering in silence due to the on-going war. This includes pregnant women and children. They are suffering without adequate food, medicine, drinking water and shelter,” he said in a statement. more..

Spare parts scam at CTB

Sep 15 (DN) The Transport Ministry yesterday said spare parts suppliers in connivance with some CTB officials have devoured public funds worth billions of rupees by providing substandard spare parts to buses, Ministry sources said. This massive scam had continued for a number of years unnoticed. A supplier was paid Rs. 82 million by the CTB for the supply of spare parts a year, whereas he had actually imported spare parts valued at Rs. 14 million. more..

First consignment of power sets from China arrive

Sep 15 (DN) Sri Lanka yesterday received the first three power sets of the 15 power sets (S-10 category) to be shipped from China. Transport Minister Dullas Allahapperuma yesterday visited the Colombo Harbour to receive the power sets. The power sets will ply on the main line covering the Chilaw line. The new power sets are designed to provide a comfortable ride to the railway commuters and also avoid delays. more..

UNP to file suit against Berty and police

Sep 15 (DM) The UNP will file suit against North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake, his son Petroleum Resources Minister, Duminda Dissanayake and the senior police officers of Anuradhapura shortly regarding setting fire to the residence and the dispensary of party’s Anuradhapura district Co-ordinator Dr. Rajah Johnpulle on the eve of the PC election. more..

Two arrested for collecting over Rs.1 m by cheating public

Sep 15 (DM) Two men, who allegedly cheated the public and collected more than Rs.1 million by placing advertisements in newspapers under the pretext of funding heart surgeries and kidney transplant operations, were taken into custody by the Mirihana police on Saturday. SSP Mirihana police Deshabandu Tennakoon said the unsuspecting donors who sympathized with the patients had credited massive sums of contributions to the bank accounts given in the advertisements. more..

Couple arrested for attempting to sell day-old child

Sep 15 (Island) Acting on a tip off received by Aturugiriya police, a police team on Saturday arrested a person who had allegedly paid Rs. 10,000 for a day-old infant. The arrest has been made at the buyer’s Mulleriyawa residence. Police have also taken into custody the parents of the child. A police spokesman said that the couple had attempted to get rid of the child as they had not been married. more..

Acting on Acting appointment

Sep 15 (Island) The Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa has appointed Ranjith Silva, an Additional Secretary of his ministry as Acting Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) in the absence of Acting Chairman R. M. P. B. Wickrema. Shortly after receiving the acting appointment for a six months period, Wickrema has left on an overseas visit. The Vice Chairman has succeeded Saliya Wickremasuriya. more..

Sri Lankan wins global journalism award

Sep 15 (LD) Sonali Samarasinghe's work to reveal misuse of power and corruption in Sri Lanka made her the second winner of the Global Shining Light Award in Norway at the weekend. "I cannot accept this prize without remembering my colleagues in Sri Lanka. This year, 12 journalists have been killed, and one has been held hostage for 180 days," Sonali Samarasinghe said when she came to stage to receive the award. more..

Import of 3 power-sets questioned

Sep 15 (LD) The Railway Department yesterday received three power-sets despite its Maligawatte Yard having 37 compartments worth around Rs. 800 million in a state of neglect for nearly a year. Both these power-sets and compartments have been imported from China. Each of these compartments costs Rs. 25 m, the organization for the protection of railway property and workers rights have informed the president, calling on him to conduct an investigation. more..

Policeman suspended for drunken driving accident

Sep 15 (LD) A policeman has been suspended for drunken driving and causing a road accident. The vehicle driven by him collided with a car transporting three, including a pregnant woman, near Elphinstone Theatre in Maradana, Colombo in the early hours of last morning. Crowds that gathered at the scene soon after the incident became concerned after coming to know that the policeman had been under the influence, and demanded that the law be strictly enforced against him. more..

Need for editorial independence

Sep 15 (LD) The Free Media Movement led Five Media expresses its serious concern over the resignation of four senior journalists from Sinhala language weekly Siyatha over the lack of editorial independence and flagrant violation of professional rights of journalists. In a letter collectively signed by them, they allege that Siyatha management completely and repeatedly disregarded, inter alia, policies of editorial independence agreed upon at the launch of the newspaper. more..

Chairman SEC gets new Mercedes Benz

Sep 15 (LD) Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of Ceylon, Mr. Gamini Wasantha Kumara Wickramasinghe’s role as head of the SEC is being seriously questioned, with a brand new Mercedes Benz car registered under Visual Computing Systems (Pvt) Ltd., a company that has Mr. Wickramasinghe, Ms. Janaki Wickramasinghe and Mr. Hasith Wickramasinghe as Directors of the company. more..

Sri Lanka sells $60 mln dollar bonds

Sep 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka sold $60 million of two-year dollar development bonds to repay investors holding two-year bonds that are due to mature on Sept. 22, the central bank said on Monday. "The Government has decided to accept $60 million of 2 year Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDB) at the market determined rate of US Dollar 6 month LIBOR + 2.895 percent", the central bank said in a statement. more..

CPC covers state debts with Iranian credit

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run petroleum utility Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is covering overdue government accounts with an Iranian credit, but its finances are too fragile to cut prices, a top official said. Iran has given the CPC a rolling credit to cover four months of imports interest free and another three months with interest, which the utility started using from the first quarter of 2008. more..

Central bank says August money growth controlled

Sep 15 (LBO) Central bank said it had maintained targets for reserve money, in the months of July and August, which is its main operational target instead of policy rates, causing inflation and credit growth to fall. The average reserve money in August was 280.9 billion rupees, indicating a growth of 10.3 percent over the previous 12-months, against a target of 286.5 billion rupees and a planned growth of 12.2 percent billion rupees. more..

Sri Lanka fighting kills 21

Sep 15 (AP) A series of battles between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers along the front lines of their civil war killed 20 rebel fighters and one government soldier. The violence occurred amid a resurgent government offensive that has captured large sections of the rebels' de facto state in the north in recent weeks. In the heaviest fighting Sunday, troops along the Welioya front killed eight rebels in scattered battles, while one soldier was killed by a bomb blast, more..

Editorial: Civilian nightmare

Sep 15 (TS) As fighting between government troops and the LTTE intensifies in northern Sri Lanka, hundreds of thousands of civilians find themselves sandwiched between a rock and a hard place. The Sri Lankan army’s tactic of forcibly displacing Tamil civilians by firing heavy artillery and aerial bombing has generated a mass of fleeing humanity sheltering under trees and in the wilderness of the Wanni’s jungles. more..

EU for respect of humanitarian law in Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (IANS) EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel expressed Monday his grave concern over the escalation of the conflict in Sri Lanka and the effects on innocent civilians. "I'm deeply troubled by the escalation of the violence in Sri Lanka and the terrible impact it is having on the lives of so many innocent civilians," he said in a statement here. more..

Sri Lanka rates held as inflation shows signs of easing

Sep 15 (AFP) Central bank Monday kept its key interest rate on hold for the 19th straight month as inflation showed signs of easing, a statement said. The Colombo-based bank left its benchmark repurchase rate unchanged at 10.5 percent, while the cash reserve ratio -- the percentage sum commercial banks must keep on deposit -- was left at 12.0 percent. Inflation, which hit a historic high of 28.2 percent in June, has shown signs of easing with more..

Protect Tamils in LTTE-held areas, India tells Lanka

Sep 15 (PTI) Voicing concern over the plight of civilians caught in the Sri Lankan Army offensive against the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam in rebel-held areas, India has asked Colombo to ensure their safety and security. "We have already expressed our concern to the Lankan authorities," Defence Minister A K Antony told media-persons while replying to question on the situation in the island country. more..

'I Don’t see why elections have to be called'

Sep 16 (TT) The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman, Arjuna Ranatunga, has expressed surprise that there would be elections to the body he has been heading since January 1. The existing structure is of an interim kind, not unusual in Sri Lanka, where the power-hungry are often desperate to run SLC. “It’s news to me… The President, who appointed me, hasn’t communicated anything at all… Only the President can order elections,” more..

Colombo University to teach farmers online

Sep 16 (LBO) University of Colombo is starting an online agro technology degree program for rural farmers, with a pilot project already showing spectacular results, a senior academic said. The university had started a pilot program in the village of Weligatte in Hambantota in the deep south of the island teaching farmers tissue culture, agro technology, farm management techniques and marketing. more..

Initiate bilateral talks with Sri Lanka :CPI

Sep 16 (COL) The CPI's Tamil Nadu unit has suggested that both the Central and State Governments jointly initiate bilateral talks with Sri lanka to arrive at a definite solution to the problem of Tamil nadu fishermen being attacked by the Sri Lankan navy. T Pandian, CPI General Secretary of the state, said it was highly regrettable that the Lankan navy was continuing attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen, despite assurances given by the government of that nation to India at the recent SAARC conference. more..

Sri Lanka PM arrives in Japan

Sep 16 (AFP) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake on Monday arrived in Japan, the South Asian country's top donor, for talks with counterpart Yasuo Fukuda, officials said. On Tuesday, Wickremanayake will attend the opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka Cultural Heritage Exhibition in Tokyo, before meeting Fukuda on Wednesday afternoon, a foreign ministry official said. more..

Orange Pekoe - best tea for breakfast

Sep 16 (ZN) Giles Hilton, the ‘nose’ of tea supplier Whittard of Chelsea, has discovered that the best brew to drink with a traditional full English fry-up is in fact not English Breakfast tea, but a cup of Sri Lankan Orange Pekoe. As part of his ongoing quest to uncover the finest teas from around the world, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the teabag, Hilton made the discovery along with his team of ‘teanoisseurs’ at Whittards. more..

Coventry credit card fraud gang jailed

Sep 16 (BP) Three members of a gang which bought petrol stations and bribed insiders as part of a Coventry-based £254,000 credit card scam have been jailed. Many drivers who filled up at one of the garages they controlled were secretly filmed by ceiling cameras keying in their pin numbers to pay their bills. Their credit and debit cards were then cloned and used in transactions around the world. more..

First Asian congress on promoting the liturgy begins in Sri Lanka

Sep 16 (AN) "Liturgy as a Glimpse of Heaven on Earth" is the theme of the first liturgical congress that will take place in Asia, in Sri Lanka. The meeting will be held from tomorrow until September 21 in Uswatakeiyawa, a coastal city about 30 kilometers from the capital of Colombo. Organized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, the congress is expected to include 55 delegates from 19 Asian countries, including cardinals, bishops, and priests. more..

Living in fear

Sep 16 (BBC) Civilians living in Sri Lanka's rebel-held territory say they are under increasing pressure by both parties as fighting intensifies. Residents in Kilinochchi told BBC Sandeshaya that the Tamil Tigers are increasing pressure on families with two children to hand over one child to the movement to fight against the government forces. "The Tigers come and take the children by force. Forcible recruitment of children has been worsened since about a year ago. It wasn't that bad until recently," the resident said. more..

UN leaving 'on Tuesday'

Sep 16 (BBC) The United Nations in Sri Lanka says remaining workers in the LTTE –held territory plan to leave on Tuesday after receiving assurances from the rebels. “The UN has received assurances from the LTTE that UN and humanitarian agency staff remaining in Kilinochchi can leave. We intend moving those staff in a single convoy at 10am tomorrow morning,” a statement issued by UN spokesman in Colombo, Gordon Weiss stated. more..

Butt's knock in vain as Sri Lanka win three on the trot

Sep 16 (CI) After losing their first couple of games, Hong Kong put on an improved effort at the Burgher Recreation Club in Colombo but it wasn't enough as Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI won by 47 runs in a match shortened to 43 overs a side. Chasing 255, Hussain Butt kept Hong Kong in the hunt with an aggressive 63, before Sameera Vishwaranga and Sachithra Serasinghe shared five wickets between them to quell the visitor's chances of pulling off a surprise win. more..

UN should be expelled -PNM

Sep 16 (BBC) The Patriotic National Movement (PNM) has accused Sri Lanka government of not doing enough to expel the foreign aid workers from the island. PNM president, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara, told media in Colombo that the government is not "powerful enough". He compared the Sri Lankan government to a "bull without the tail". "We have no strength to chase them away," he claimed. more..

Army welcomes students returning to Jaffna

Sep 16 (GDI) About 100 out of the 300 school children from Jaffna who had arrived in Colombo after 20 years to compete at the National Sports Games sailed to their home town in the "Green Sea" vessel last week. The Sri Lanka Army in appreciation of the achievements of these students at the National Games warmly welcomed the group on their arrival at the KKS harbor and the returning students were accorded to Thelippelei where there were duly felicitated. more..

The Final Push?

Sep 16 (LG) The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) detected one Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) aircraft approaching the Trincomalee Naval Base in the night of August 26, 2008 and alerted the troops stationed on the base, who, in turn, fired at the aircraft with anti-aircraft guns, forcing the plane to flee. The tiny aircraft, however, dropped two improvised bombs on the base – one of which failed to explode – injuring 11 sailors. more..

Police and army search for suicide cadres in Yala

Sep 16 (LG) Army the police have mounted a search for two LTTE suicide cadres who are reported to have entered the Yala jungles, police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said. He said that the LTTE cadres are reported to be carrying five claymore mines with them. He said though they have entered the Yala jungles there would be no restrictions on visitors to the Yala area as they are reported to have entered from the northern side, closer to where seven villagers were kiled. more..

No, the people do not wish to commit economic suicide

Sep 16 (LG) Two very interesting pieces on the ongoing inflation debate appeared in the press last week. I say interesting because of the sometimes differing and other times concurring views expressed by the two eminent personalities. The first one was by former Central Banker Usavatte-Aratchi [Between a rock and a hard place; the controversy over monetary policy, The Island 8 September]. more..

Sri Lanka to debate troubled state airline, public officer: Lawmaker

Sep 16 (LBO) Parliament will debate the issues of a state-run budget airline that has been eating up peoples' money and a senior public official who was faulted by courts, an opposition lawmaker said. Sri Lanka's controversial Mihin Air, started by an associate of President Mahinda Rajapaksa amid much controversy, would be the focus of a parliamentary debate on September 23, UNP strongman Ravi Karunanayake said. more..

U.S. assistance to preserve Sri Lankan film heritage

Sep 16 (AT) The United States Government anounced that, it will support the cultural preservation of documentary film heritage of Sri Lanka through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. The project is expected to focus on preserving the national legacy of some of Sri Lanka’s finest historical and artistic films. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Mass Media and Information and the U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake will hold a ceremony to more..

Religious leaders focus on roots of religious teaching to promote love, unity in diversity

Sep 16 (UCAN) At a recent interreligious gathering to promote unity amid diversity, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders stood together, waving their arms and singing songs of love and unity. The Aug. 31 event organized by Daham Pahana (flame of spirituality), an interreligious movement, attracted 2,500 people of several religions, including some local politicians. more..

Rowdy mayhem at the meeting addressed by the British Foreign Minister

Sep 16 (LG) The British Minister Lord Malloch-Brown who is responsible for South Asian affairs experienced ugly scenes of rowdy behaviour by the LTTE men at a meeting held at Zoroastrian Centre, 440 Alexandra Avenue, Harrow, Middlesex HA2 9T facilitated by Hon Garath Thomas MP on 15 September 2008. The LTTE men were not in a mood to listen to his balanced speech reflecting the position of the British government on Sri Lanka. more..

TN leaders have a sacred duty!

Sep 16 (LG) The wounding of two officials of the Indian Air Force of the ranks of sergeants during the LTTE air attacks on the Vavuniya Head Quarters of the Lankan security forces has sparked off a serious controversy in Tamil Nadu political arena as anticipated. Although the Indian High Commission tries to justify the presence of the Indian Air Force personnel at the Lankan military camp by saying that they were technologists present there only to maintain the Indian radar, more..

To the attention of the Health Ministry

Sep 16 (LG) It must be said that the Ministry of Health adopts an indifferent attitude in nabbing quacks in the medical profession and bringing them to book. Although many complaints have been made from all quarters for a long period, no meaningful steps have been taken to check it. There are shocking revelations that the largest number of quacks in the medical field in the world operate in Sri Lanka and the estimate figure is more than 30, 000. more..