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Two main accused of VAT fraud bought property worth billions

Sep 4 (LT) It has been revealed that the retired Deputy Commissioner of Inland Revenue Z. Jayatileke and businessman Camil Kuthubdeen, the two main accused in the large scale VAT fraud, had bought property worth billions during the period the frauds were carried out and immediately after. This was revealed when the Presidential Committee that investigates VAT frauds headed by Retired High Court Judge M.P. Paranagama met at BMICH yesterday (2nd). more..

Tri-series plans still in the air

Sep 4 (CI) Negotiations are still underway for a tri-series tournament in South Africa, involving Pakistan and potentially Sri Lanka, as Pakistan continues to find ways to fill a depleted international calendar. Though talk of the series has been rife since the Champions Trophy - originally scheduled to be held in Pakistan from September 12 - was finally postponed at the end of last month, progress in bringing it about has been slow. more..

Parroting Pathos - the BBC Sinhala Service pronounces

Sep 4 (PISL) I write with reference to yet another misleading feature in the coverage by the BBC Sinhala Service of the Sri Lankan situation. On August 27th it headlined an item ‘Catholic Church writes to Ban ki Moon’ whereas the report was about a letter sent by Fr James Pathinathan, President of what is termed a Justice and Peace Commission. The letter was full of errors and emotive language, for which the BBC of course cannot be blamed. more..

Banking on dam safety in Sri Lanka

Sep 4 (WPM) Sri Lanka’s dam network fulfils critical functions across the country but extensive maintenance requirements have now become a priority. Nihal Fernando explains the World Bank’s involvement in what is to become Sri Lanka’s largest dam safety. Dam construction for water harvesting, flood control and agriculture is an age-old tradition and practice in Sri Lanka. Ancient kings averse to wasting water built large dams, and evidence of this hydraulic civilisation is visible to this day. more..

Ship owners win relief in import tax dispute

Sep 4 (LBO) Ship owners say a recent Supreme Court decision has resolved a long-standing dispute they have had with customs over import tax on ships. According to the recent ruling, ships cannot be considered an import when sailing into Sri Lanka, and therefore not liable for import tax charged by customs. "The Supreme Court in a landmark judgement stated it cannot hold that a vessel arriving in the ordinary course of navigation carrying goods onboard falls within the definition of 'imported goods'," more..

Sri Lanka looks for drug resistant bugs

Sep 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka is starting a survey to find bugs that are resistant to antibiotics, and also standardize testing, a pharmaceuticals giant that is funding the project, said. "Epidemiological information on resistance patterns is scarce in our country due to the poor facilities for proper identification of infectious agents to the species level," Dr Sagarika Samarasinghe, president of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (SLCM), was quoted as saying in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka IT professionals focus on disaster recovery, retaining talent

Sep 4 (LBO) Retaining skilled information technology professionals is critical for Sri Lanka's corporate sector when planning business continuity and disaster recovery, according to experts in the IT field. "The human factor is the biggest risk we have today," says Sujatha Nadesan, country manager, Raffles Solutions. "To train a person to be really proficient in software, it costs a lot of money and takes time to bring someone up to a standard." more..

UN officials stress need to help civilians caught up in fighting

Sep 4 (UN) United Nations officials in Sri Lanka have acknowledged the Government’s announcement that it will take extra steps to improve the freedom of movement of thousands of civilians affected by recent fierce fighting in the north of the country. “Measures that comply with international obligations governing the protection of civilians during armed conflict provide vital options for civilians as they make individual choices about where to seek safety and succour,” more..

Mahinda’s march from Mavil Aru to Mannar, Madhu and now Mallawi

Sep 4 (LG) In the three score years that spanned our post-independence era there is one indelible route in our history that will be drawn in gold from coast to coast: the miles conquered in the march of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s forces, all the way from Mavil Aru in the east to Mannar, Madhu, and now Mallawi, the birthplace of Velupillai Prabhakaran’s wife, Madivadani, in the west. more..

The Point of Diminishing Returns: Countering the LTTE Air Wing

Sep 4 (LG) The recent LTTE air raid on Trincomalee has returned the Tiger Air Force (TAF) problem to the center of public attention. The military and political leaders of Sri Lanka face a serious problem in dealing with this military threat. Or do they? The TAF, while innovative and difficult to counter, is more of a political tool than an effective weapon of war. Next to the boost in morale it has given to the LTTE, the TAF's greatest accomplishment has been the government's response to them. more..

Oslo steps aside!

Sep 4 (LG) Following the Eelam War 4 between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, contribution of Norway as a facilitator became unwanted and it was ignored. According to knowledgeable circles, a situation has arisen, where the Oslo may step aside completely. The facilitation by Norway, which commenced 10 years ago, at the end of 1990 without any fanfare, comes to an end silently. more..

Good governance!

Sep 4 (LG) The Dean of the law faculty of the Colombo University, L.Sivakumaran addressing the Founders Day of Point Pedro Vellautham maha Vithyalayam in Colombo has highlighted the ingredients of good governance. He stressed that the respect for the rule of law, transparency, being responsive to public views, integrity of the people, being responsible etc are the marks of good governance. more..

LTTE and SLA exchange bodies

Sep 4 (BBC) The International Committee of the Red Cross says that the Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Sri Lanka have handed over to the government the bodies of nineteen soldiers killed in some of the latest fighting in the north of the island. At the same time the Red Cross passed on to the Tigers the bodies of two rebels killed by the army. Both sides say that they've inflicted dozens of casualties on the other over the past few days of fierce clashes in Sri Lanka. more..

Mirror neurons bring science closer to Buddhism

Sep 4 (AT) Buddhist perception of the mind and existence as reflected in modern medical science was among the main topics discussed at the two-day Fourth National Conference on Buddhist Studies held at the All Ceylon Women's Buddhist Congress Hall, Colombo 7 on August 30-31. The Buddhist Times and the Pali University of Sri Lanka organized the event in association with the Bodu Sahana Aramudala (Buddhist Relief Fund). Guest of Honor was Professor Emeritus N.A. Jayawickrema. more..

North will be freed soon - Dr. Palitha Kohona

Sep 4 (AT) North will be cleared soon from the terrorists and the people of the North will be soon enjoying the same freedom and democracy which their East and Southern brothers and sisters enjoy. Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated as a special guest arranged by Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association at Scarborough Civic Centre, Toronto. more..

Sri Lankan day in Los Angeles: A glorious event to remember

Sep 4 (AT) Sri Lankan Day in Los Angeles organized by the Sri Lanka Foundation turned out to be an extravaganza building awareness, recognition and strengthening of Sri Lankan cultural values in the area. Over 10,000 participants over a period of ten hours thoroughly enjoyed the day at the 3rd Street promenade in Santa Monica, California. It culminated with the staging of the Kandy Perahara with Nilames drummers, dances and the "Tusker" carrying the Relic Casket traversing the length of the promenade. more..

TULF President Anandasangari Meets Bob Rae

Sep 4 (AT) TULF President and ex. parliamentarian who represented Kilinochchi for decade Mr. Anandasangari who is on a brief visit to Canada to lobby against LTTE met Bob Rae former Prime Minister of Ontario, at his office. Both had a brief discussion regarding LTTE activities in Canada and explained his position for a political solution to Sri Lankan Tamil minority based on Indian type federal model which is accepted by almost all the political parties in Sri Lanka. more..

Open the gates of hell - and let my people go …

Sep 4 (AT) I was not at all surprised to read the article by Dr. Nadesan in the ‘Asian Tribune’ explaining why it was time to release the long suffering people from the clutches of the LTTE and their despotic leader. I applaud him wholeheartedly for writing what most Tamils wanted to say, but did not have the ‘ticker’ to take the first step. I, as he once was, was an ardent supporter of ‘Eelam’ I came to this country by using the excuse of ‘genocide’ by the Sinhala, Buddhist people when in reality, more..

Turning excellence into practical use is precisely

Sep 4 (LG) Venerable Bhikku, Minister Gamage, Major General Ponnamperuma, other distinguished invitees, staff and future students and residents of Narigama and Hikkaduwa - thank you all for coming today to inaugurate this new vocational education school. I am here to represent the American people, who funded this school, and to convey a message of friendship to the people of Hikkaduwa and the people of Sri Lanka. more..

After the ‘War on Terror’

Sep 4 (LG) Single handed, without any Powerful Nation to help, the Sri Lanka Security Forces are doing remarkably well in the « war » front against terrorism, while the American army equipped with sophisticated military arms, and supported by able armies of several Western Countries have not even been able to weaken the terrorists, let alone eliminating them from Iraq and Afghanistan. May the Triple Gem protect our valiant armed forces ! more..

Cries From The Palmyra Grove

Sep 4 (LG) We give below the contents of a letter from a civilian to the Jaffna High Court Judge, as it will present an example of how people are treated here and their difficulties. The owners of most houses along the road at ‘X’ (village name expunged for security), are asked by the army personnel to fix electrical lamps on the road and keep them lit throughout each night. Many had told my wife about this and at my house, we kept a road side light of our house burning. more..

Open the gates of hell - and let my people go …

Sep 4 (LG) I was not at all surprised to read the article by Dr. Nadesan in the ‘’Sri Lanka Guardian” explaining why it was time to release the long suffering people from the clutches of the LTTE and their despotic leader. I applaud him wholeheartedly for writing what most Tamils wanted to say, but did not have the ‘ticker’ to take the first step. I, as he once was, was an ardent supporter of ‘Eelam’ I came to this country by using the excuse of ‘genocide’ by the Singhala, Buddhist people when more..

Islam and slaughtering of animals

Sep 4 (LG) I refer to the replies to my article titled "Misconceptions about slaughtering of animals in Islam" appearing in the media during the last few days. In one of the articles written by a Muslim lady doctor sometime back, she has said: (a) "It is the bounden duty of Muslims to slaughter animals and feed the poor during Haj. Even at other times, it is considered a highly meritorious act to feed the poor with meat." more..

Navamani Editor M.P.M.Azhar

Sep 4 (LG) It was in April 1977 that I entered mainstream journalism by joining the Colombo Tamil newspaper Virakesari as a trainee journalist. On my second day at work I was assigned to cover an agriculture related conference held at the Agriculture Research and Training Institute (ARTI) Auditorium at Wijerama Mawatha. When I went to the venue I found the conference was a closed-door event, restricted to government officials alone. more..

Sunday Times photographs make clear the provision of food and shelter for IDPs

Sep 4 (PISL) Given below is a letter sent to the Sunday times in response to an article that did not seem to represent the actual position. The picture that accompanied the article, assuming it was in fact of the situation in the North, made clear the success of efforts by the government, and agencies working on its behalf, to provide food and shelter to our fellow citizens. more..

Student Visas to Australia: assessment levels changed

Sep 4 (GDI) Prospective students from several countries including Sri Lanka will be required submit extra evidence supporting their application to obtain a student visa to Australia from September 1, the Australian Visa Bureau announced. During 2007-08, more than 278,000 student visas to Australia were granted, which represents a 21% growth over the previous year. To streamline the visa application process, the government uses Assessment Levels (ALs) as a measurement of "immigration risk". more..

Security Forces help Kirimale church hold annual service

Sep 4 (GDI) The annual service of the S.Anthony's church in Kirimale was held in grand scale after 14 years, said Media Center for National Security (MCNS). The service was conducted on the August 20 and around 1000 devotees are reported to have participated in the religious ceremony. The Sri Lanka Army under the directions of the security forces Commander of Jaffna, Major General G.A. Chandrasiri cleared the area, facilitating Christian devotees to take part in this annual ceremony, more..

Berty and Mahipala New Chief Ministers of North Central and Sabaragamuwa

Sep 4 (GDI) The new Chief Ministers for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils will be sworn in today (04). Accordingly the two UPFA members nominated as the Chief Ministerial candidates will be taking oaths. Berty Premalal Dissanayaka will be appointed as the Chief Minister of the North Central Province for the third successive term while Mahipala Herath will be appointed as the Chief Minister of Sabaragamuwa Province.

A glass of milk a day for children of low income families

Sep 4 (GDI) An island wide programme to provide a glass of milk to children of low income families between the ages of two and five years has been launched, Secretary to the Ministry of Child Development and Women Affairs, M. Sumanadasa told The Government has allocated Rs. 500 million for this programme and in addition the Ministry is expecting to get another Rs. 100 million for the successful implementation of the project in the year 2009. more..

Rs.100 billion for free health service in the next budget

Sep 4 (GDI) Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Government will increase the annual allocation for the "free health service" up to Rs. 100 billion in the budget for the year 2009. Minister Silva made these observations at a ceremony to launch the website of the National Health Development Fund. The website,, was launched with the objective of receiving public funds for the development of the hospital chain in more..

One hundred and seven additional nurses for North and East

Sep 4 (GDI) A total of 1,150 nurses who have completed training were awarded appointment letters today (03) by the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala De Silva. The Healthcare Ministry website states that 453 nurses will get appointments in hospitals that come under provincial councils while 585 will be appointed to governments under the central government. more..

Lalith Dissanayake of SLFP to replace Polgampola

Sep 4 (LT) Mr. Lalith Disanayake of the SLFP will be appointed to the Parliamentary seat made vacant by the resignation of the JVP Parliamentarian for Kegalle District Anurudha Polgampola. Mr. Lalith Dissanayale obtained 33648 preference votes at the general election held in 2004 and also has been elected to Sabaragamuwa PC at the election held recently.

More underage Muslim girls going abroad from Trinco district

Sep 4 (MG) The number of underage girls leaving for employment with forged documents from the Kinniya and Muthur areas is on the increase. The latest case is of a 15-year-old girl who had presented forged documents to obtain a passport and found employment abroad. But, she had been sent back by the Jordanian authorities. According to Immigration Department officials, she would not have been able to get the passport without the National Identity Card. more..

Request to relax hurdles at checkpoints for Ramadhan

Sep 4 (MG) Muslims in Sri Lanka have commenced fasting with the beginning of the month of Ramadhan this week. NUA Leader and Minister, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff has requested the Defence Ministry to relax the security hurdles at checkpoints to and from Colombo to the Eastern Province for the month of Ramadhan. Some important checkpoints in the Eastern Province are closed for the whole night. The Sahar and Ifthar schedules clash with this closure. more..

The Muslim Problem? - A Response

Sep 4 (MG) I wish to make the following observations on the article under the title “The Muslim Problem?” by Dushy Ranetunge in the Sunday Island on 24 August 2008. This is the typical Zionist Jewish type propaganda of committing the worst of crimes and blame the victims. The prominent Sinhalese expatriate who toured the area failed to understand the plight of Muslims there and it appears that his English friends at the Italian restaurant in Winchmore Hill, more..

War expenses: 2009 Budget priority

Sep 4 (SAMN) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara told the Cabinet meeting last evening that the priority of the government’s expenditure would be the war for at least another year, and requested the ministers to curtail unnecessary spending. After finishing the war by next year, the government planned to make a similar allocation in the 2010 budget for rebuilding the war-ravaged areas. more..

Terrorism has no boundaries: govt

Sep 4 (SAMN) Terrorism has no boundaries and it is timely that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has established an illicit trafficking database for radioactive material, as a pillar for supporting international cooperation to prevent the transport of radioactive material into other countries, said Secretary to the Ministry of Science and Technology A.N.R. Amarathunge, addressing the inaugural session of the IAEA sub-regional workshop on “Illicit Nuclear Trafficking,” more..

Magistrate escapes unharmed in explosion

Sep 4 (SAMN) The Jaffna Magistrate escaped unharmed while an Army escort vehicle sustained damages, during an LTTE laid pressure mine explosion which left a soldier killed and two wounded at Kappathu in Kodikamam, Jaffna, yesterday around 1.30 p.m, the Defence Ministry said. According to Army sources, the 'Unicorn' vehicle was travelling along the Kodikamam- Kappathu road providing security to the Magistrate who was conducting an inquiry of a murder at the location. more..

Ranil for crushing terrorism

Sep 4 (SAMN) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that his party was for crushing terrorism while working out a political solution to the national question, which was acceptable to all major communities living in Sri Lanka. The party discussed its stand on the national question at length, among several other matters, at the party’s political affairs committee at Sirikotha Wednesday. more..

CEB and Ministry to tackle power piracy problem

Sep 4 (DN) There are talks at the CEB (Ceylon Electricity Board) and the Ministry of Power and Energy about how to tackle the problem of electricity piracy that has been going on unabated islandwide, causing heavy financial losses to the CEB, rather the government coffers. Reportedly, the government agency responsible for lighting the country and providing power to its industrial sector has been losing over Rs. 10 million monthly as a result of electricity piracy. more..

Over 30 schoolgirls pregnant in Badulla

Sep 4 (DN) Over 30 schoolgirls have become pregnant in the Badulla district. There are several well organised groups in the Badulla district who track down innocent poor school girls coming to Badulla town for tuition classes and abuse them, a reliable high ranking health official said. He said the 30 cases are the only reported cases to the State hospitals and other State health institutions of the Badulla district and there may be several more similar cases which did not report. more..

Bribery probe delayed for want of House directive

Sep 4 (Island) In the absence of a directive from Parliament, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has not even commenced investigations into the second COPE report on waste, corruption and irregularities in public and private sectors. The report presented to Parliament by Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, former Chairman of the Parliamentary watch dog committee in August last year, is gathering dust. more..

Govt. declares war on cattle slaughterers

Sep 4 (Island) With the security forces making their final thrust to rid the country of terrorism, the government has decided to declare war on yet another front – indiscriminate slaughter of cattle. Presidential Secretariat sources yesterday said that the lives of over 450,000 head of milch cows, calves and buffaloes needed to increase the annual production of milk are at stake. more..

Heavy casualties on both sides

Sep 4 (DM) Heavy casualties were reported from both sides after fierce fighting throughout Tuesday, in the Nachchikudah area in the Kilinochchi district as the military claimed that troops captured another patch of about 400 metres in the area. “The LTTE in return launched four counter attacks against the troops but the troops overcame the threat,” Army Headquarters said yesterday. more..

UNP to oppose wpc tax increase on traders

Sep 4 (DM) The main opposition UNP charged that the ruling party of the Western Provincial Council has reintroduced the motion to increase taxes on retail and wholesale traders within the Western Province and said they will oppose the move and work towards defeating it. UNP Member of the Western Provincial Council C. Y. P. Ram told Daily Mirror that the Chief Minister had included this in the agenda of the council sessions on September 9 and said the party would vote against it. more..

Murder & extortion gang arrested

Sep 4 (LD) A gang responsible for least 14 murders as well as extorting money from Tamil businessmen in Trincomalee has been arrested. Initial investigations have revealed that the 14-member gang, including a former member of the Karuna faction, a former organizer of the SLFP and three women have split themselves into three groups to commit these crimes. In addition to the murders of 14 businessmen, the gang is connected to 27 cases of extortion. more..

IUSF calls for North West Campus reopening

Sep 4 (LD) A protest by the entire student population of the university system will be launched soon to secure the reopening of North Western University, said convener of the Inter University Students Federation Udul Premaratne. Speaking to ‘Lanka Dissent’, he said that the university was closed four day ago to disrupt a ‘Satyagraha’ that requested the University Grants Commission to improve facilities in the institution. more..

Improving law and order situation help rise tourists in Lanka

Sep 4 (PTI) The number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka has increased steadily and is expected to cross 7.11 lakh this year, the immigration department has said, attributing it to the improving law and order situation. "Despite adverse travel advisories by some countries, the tourists arrivals here have only increased substantially depicting the return of peace in the country," more..

At least 41 die as Sri Lanka bears down on rebel bases

Sep 4 (Reuters) Fierce combat across Sri Lanka's north killed at least 41 people when separatist Tamil Tiger insurgents fought back against an unceasing army push into their strongholds, the military said on Wednesday. The LTTE rebels told the pro-rebel web site that they had killed 12 soldiers and seized a large weapons cache in fighting this week, among the heaviest this year. more..

Rebels, military report heavy Sri Lanka fighting

Sep 4 (AP) Battles between government forces and ethnic Tamil separatists raged across northern Sri Lanka, with the military saying Thursday that it killed 28 rebels and the rebels claiming 11 government troops died in the fighting. Violence has spiked in recent weeks as government forces pushed deep into rebel-held territory in the north in a new offensive aimed at routing the Tamil Tigers after 25 years of civil war on this Indian Ocean island nation. more..