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New Commanders Appointed: Army officer as Northern Province Governor

July 12 (LeN) The present Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka was today appointed as the new Chief of Defence Staff. He took oaths before President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Janadhipathi Mandiraya today. This appointment, effective July 15, is made in accordance with the powers vested in the President by the Chief of Defence Staff Act No. 35 of 2009. Consequent to this appointment, Major General Jagath Jayasuriya was appointed as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, more..

Exchanged bird fly back to the zoo

July 12 (LT) Nation Building and Development Minister Susantha Punchinilame who exchanged highly expensive rare African grey parrot worth over Rs. 200,000 has returned the parrot to the Zoological Gardens. This exchange of bird came in for much criticism when it was revealed by media. According to Zoological Gardens sources Minister had offered two Amherst Pheasants, two hornbills ‘kedettas’ and a flying squirrel ‘hambawa’ in exchange. more..

'Their sacrifices were not in vain'

July 12 (LP) "Security is essential in sustaining the freedom we gained. Now we are faced upon with new challenges: to restore the normalcy of the innocent people who were rescued from the LTTE clutches; to engage in development and infrastructure building activities in both North and East. Yet, we have to secure the liberty we gained and this includes involving all sections of the society", said Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

Grand Alliance in making as Basil makes strategic visit to India

July 12 (SL) The Grand Alliance proposed by the UNP to field a common candidate for the forthcoming presidential election is chugging along nicely. The high and mighty within the UNP and those aspiring to be the princes’ are not for the alliance and their argument is compelling: traditions have made the UNP and the UNP has made traditions. In those compelling circumstances, the likes of Sajith Premadasa for example feel that the UNP should field a candidate of its own, not one selected by the Alliance. more..

‘2.5 million tourists a feasible target’

July 12 (SL) Sri Lanka’s new Tourism Promotions Minister Faiszer Mustapha in an interview with The Sunday Leader conceded that there “is a certain blurring of categories” in having both a Minister for Tourism and a Tourism Promotions Minister but insisted the two appointments would help further complement and boost Sri Lanka tourism. Excerpts: Q: What is the nature of your post as Tourism Promotions Minister? more..

North to see massive development

July 12 (SL) With the end of the fighting in the north and east, the government has planned several ambitious development projects to galvanise an area which has been long ravaged by war. Much preparation and reconstruction work is to be done as part of the early recovery efforts, and the government is looking to local and foreign investors to make this possible. Massive projects are being planned in the road, railway and electricity sectors, and more..

Ministry of Defence names Sunday Leader lawyers as traitors

July 12 (SL) On Friday July 10, at 6.31 p.m. The Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order posted a scurrilous article on its web site naming lawyers appearing for and on behalf of Leader Publications (Pvt) Ltd, publishers of The Sunday Leader newspaper titled 'Traitors in Black Coats Flocked Together?' The article named President's Counsel Srinath Perera, Upul Jayasuriya Attorney-at-Law, M. A. Sumanthiran, Attorney-at-Law, more..

Real life in Menik Farm

July 12 (LB) The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Menik Farm camps say although they are relieved to have been sheltered in these transitional villages after managing to flee the intense fighting, they are dismayed over not being allowed to visit their relatives outside the camps. Some of them have relatives who are willing to host them, but they are not allowed to go due to ‘security concerns’. more..

Feel free to mess with police

July 12 (LB) For those of you who think Sri Lanka is a miserable dump to live in, look at it this way: We are assuredly one of the few countries in the world bestowed with an infinite supply of absurd politicians to make us laugh. We may always be short of money, but we are never short of comic relief. Take what emerged in parliament last week. JVP MP Lakshman Nipunaarachchi claimed that some ministers were making threatening phone calls to themselves to get additional security from the state. more..

Moragoda wants death penalty

July 12 (LB) Newly appointed Minister of Justice and Law Reform, Minister Milinda Moragoda intends to re-activate capital punishment in Sri Lanka as one of his first tasks in office, according to close aides. Speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS, a close associate said that Minister Milinda Moragoda was “keen on reinstating the death penalty and was working towards a plausible solution with the IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne and more..

Rank corruption over 54 million rental

July 12 (LB) On the subject of corruption by high authorities, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardena, has made a caricature of himself again (earlier, he had said that he does not understand cartoonists, nor cartoonists understand him...) by fraudulently leasing a Rs 54 million estimated plot of land for just Rs 11 million --- using his political influence. more..

Investors go for high-rise buildings in Jaffna

July 12 (SO) Several local and foreign investors have shown an interest in infrastructure projects and are also keen on constructing high-rise buildings in the Jaffna peninsula. These are for mixed development projects where housing and offices would be combined. The BOI is currently finalizing plans to launch an extensive investment promotion drive in USA and Canada specially targeting the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. more..

Manjusri leaves rich legacy of art

July 12 (SO) Born in Alutgama 1902, LTP Manjusri's remarkable life is marked for its ups and downs and his immense scholastic brilliance. Having entered the Buddhist monastic order in 1915, Manjusri earned a name as a scholar in Sinhala, Pali and Buddhist philosophy. In 1932 he went to Shantiniketan to study Chinese and came under the influence of Nandala Bose. This resulted in turning his interest to art. more..

Aadippoora Mahotsavam festival

July 12 (SO) The 22nd year Aadippoora Mahotsavam of Mayurapathy Bhatharakali Amman Devasthanam, Wellawatte, Colombo which commenced last week, will conclude with water cutting ceremony on July 27 at the sea (Charlemont Road Beach), Wellawatte. Further, the Aadippoora Paal Kudam (Milk Pot) festival will take place on Saturday 25 starting from Bambalapitiya Samman Koddar Sri Manicca Pillaiyar Temple at 7.30 a.m. more..

'Restoring ancient ruins in North, our priority'

July 12 (SO) The Northern peninsula is full of archaeological sites. The longstanding war now over, the time has come to focus more attention towards finding these new sites. Therefore, during this year our department will give priority to find and restore all the archaeological sites and monuments in the North. When the Sunday Observer spoke to the Director General of Archaeology Dr. Senerath Dissanayake on the `National Archaeological Week' (July 7 to 13), more..

Forty-two ex LTTE combatants to sit for A/L Examination

July 12 (MoD) The Department of Examinations will issue special Identity Cards for over 1,000 candidates including 42 ex-LTTE combatants at the Vavuniya and Chettikulam IDP centers to facilitate them to sit for the G.C.E (AL) examination will be held this August. The ICs will be issued as a special arrangement considering the unusual circumstances under which the candidates are sitting the examination, Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe said. more..

Fourth triple murder in recent months

July 12 (CT) The fourth triple murder within a space of less than two months has been reported from Nawalapitiya. In this incident, a girl and her parents had been killed in their home at an estate. Police, acting on a tip-off, found their bodies yesterday. According to police, the murders had taken place around three days ago. Since early June, there had been three other triple murders, the victims being members of the same families. more..

Sri Lankan state-owned land grabbing becomes problem

July 12 (CT) Squatters and other illegal occupants have grabbed around 1.5 million acres of state-owned land, including land earmarked for development, in the past 40 years, said land minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. A survey conducted by his ministry island wide has shown that almost one m acres of the land had come to be illegally occupied in the period between 1970 and 1988, said the minister. more..

Close fight in Jaffna

July 12 (NS) Contrary to claims made that it will be a cake walk for the UPFA in Jaffna at the forthcoming Municipal election, with Ministers Douglas Devanada and Rishad Bathiudeen spearheading the fight for the government, political observers said it is developing to be a close fight and the deciding votes could be cast by nearly 10,000 displaced Muslim voters from there living in other areas. more..

Minister returns prized bird to the zoo

July 12 (NS) The issue over the controversial exchange of a highly expensive rare African grey parrot, a prized possession of the Zoological Gardens in exchange for several mediocre birds ended on a happy note when Minister Susantha Punchinilame who had obtained the parrot had voluntarily returned it on Friday. The deal between the Zoological Gardens and the Minister came in for much criticism when it was exposed by media. The African parrot is said to be worth over Rs. 200,000 whereas more..

Massive solar stink in East

July 12 (NS) An apparent unauthorised order placed for a consignment of 5,000 solar powered lanterns by a top bureaucrat in the Eastern Province is now stuck in the Colombo Port incurring demurrage in addition to the landed cost. Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral (Retd.) Mohan Wijewickrema confirmed to The Nation that he had stopped releasing any funds for the Rs. 75 million shipment. more..

Police busted LTTE network long before final victory

July 12 (NS) IGP Jayantha Wickramaratna reveals that there has hardly been any terrorist bombing outside the battle zones for about a year, due to them having busted all LTTE terror cells from July last year. As a result of such efficient actions of the Police, the citizens have been able to walk the streets freely. In the process, they had recovered more than 3,900 kilos of high explosives from these terror cells, more..

‘APRC process continuing’– Prof. Vitarana

July 12 (Island) Contrary to rumours that that the APRC is ‘defunct’ in the wake of the government convening an All-Party Committee on Development and Reconciliation, the APRC process is well on track and this mechanism to formulate a political solution to the ethnic conflict is meeting ‘on a regular basis’ for the purpose, chairman of the APRC and Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana told this newspaper. more..

Parents need not clamour for ‘big’ schools

July 12 (Island) Education Minister Susil Premajayanth yesterday expressed confidence that with the implementation of the proposed reforms to the education system, there will be no need for parents to clamour for national schools to admit their children. He said that a committee chaired by Dr. G. B. Gunawardena is now working on the proposed reforms to the Education Act. It has also been proposed to do away with present system of categorization of schools and more..

Impressions of Sri Lanka

July 12 (Island) It was dark when I arrived in Sri Lanka and, after 24 hours worth of flights and transits, I was tired. I tried to make polite chit-chat with my driver, but neither of us could understand the other’s accent so I resigned myself to looking out the window sleepily taking in my first impressions of the country that was to be my home for the next month. All I managed to make out were colourful Buddha’s in brightly lit glass enclosures and silhouettes of soldiers, more..

IMF team leaves after three days in Colombo

July 12 (Island) A six-member IMF team left for Washington on Friday night after a three-day visit to Colombo heightening hopes in financial circles that that issues connected with the USD 1.9 billion facility that Sri Lanka has applied for are being sorted out and that disbursements will begin in the short term. Technical issues that had previously been cleared in March, creating confidence that the facility will be available from April, more..

Referendum on ‘political solution’

July 12 (ST) It is now official. President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared this week that the enforcement of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution - part of political proposals to address Tamil grievances - would not be introduced in Parliament until the conclusion of the next Presidential elections as exclusively revealed in these columns last week. He also confirmed the disclosure last week that presidential elections would come first. more..

Another fuel blunder

July 12 (ST) The government has been forced to import fuel at higher prices in recent weeks after an Indian importer picked by the Ministry of Finance defaulted on shipments. This is likely to add to the cost of living despite recent pronouncements that inflation has fallen to a single digit. The Ministry was forced to pay a premium of about $2.5 a barrel for a few emergency shipments after an Indian company, Shri Lal Mahal, which signed a contract for one year to more..

Helping to heal the many wounds

July 12 (ST) The Accident Service of the National Hospital is a hive of activity 24 hours, 365 days a year. While the staff promptly attends to the medical needs of all those who are rushed in, ‘Friends of the Accident Service’, play a silent but important role. All of them come or are brought to the Accident Service of the National Hospital in Colombo bruised and broken. Some are conscious and in pain while many are unconscious, having suffered major trauma, be it an accident or an incident. more..

'No armed groups disturbing north election'

July 12 (Xinhua) Despite rumors of armed groups disturbing the run-up to the municipal election in Sri Lanka's northern strategic town of Jaffna, the police here said Sunday no such groups exist. Deputy Inspector General Gamini Navaratne of the Police Election Secretariat dismissed such claims by some political parties as rumors. An election to elect a new Jaffna Municipal Council would be held on Aug. 8, which would be the first election in the north after more..

Sri Lanka fights malaria after civil war

July 12 (Xinhua) Fearing a possibility of malaria spreading in Sri Lanka, the country's health officials are screening soldiers returning to their hometowns from the north and east after conclusion of civil war, a local English newspaper said on Sunday. The Sunday Times reported that 142 malaria cases were reported from January to June this year, with 120 of them being soldiers and 22 civilians. more..

Advice to NGOs in Sri Lanka

July 12 (Hindu) The government on Saturday announced that representatives of local and foreign NGOs, who intend to enter former conflict areas in the north to transport goods and conduct other activities, should obtain prior permission from the Presidential Task Force (PTF). The PTF, has been tasked with coordinating all matters related to rehabilitation and resettlement of nearly three lakh war displaced and reconstruction in the war ravaged areas. more..

Highway through nature reserve opposed

July 12 (BBC) The indigenous community in Sri Lanka known as the Veddhas, are opposing a highway that is being built through a nature reserve. The chief of this indigenous community, Uruvarige Vanniyaleththo told the BBC Sinhala service that forest department officials prevented Veddas from entering their late leaders resting place in the Maduru Oya National Park. "These officers did nothing to stop building a road through the nature reserve" he added. more..

Sri Lanka creates new top military posts: official

July 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Sunday named its first ever chief of defence staff and created the post of national security adviser to the president as part of an overhaul of the military. President Mahinda Rajapakse's office said army chief General Sarath Fonseka would take over as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) from Wednesday with powers over all armed forces and responsibility for overall military strategy and planning. more..

Disappearing act of a museum artefact

July 12 (ST) A sword of historic value from a museum in Kotte taken to be exhibited elsewhere is missing and now Criminal Investigations Department sleuths are attempting to establish how it vanished without a trace. The sword is believed to have been used by a nilame who was a relative of Veediya Bandara of the Kotte Kingdom. It is said to be about 300 years old. The mystery of the missing sword was first highlighted by JVP MP Lakshman Nipunarachchi more..

Sangakkara leads Sri Lanka's dominance

July 13 (CI) Sri Lanka have never won a home series against Pakistan, but they took huge strides towards rectifying that statistic with an utterly dominant performance with ball and bat on the first day at the P Sara Oval. Pakistan were coming off an abject batting display in Galle, but they sunk even lower here, being bundled out for an embarrassing 90 after winning the toss. more..

Enigmatic Pakistan confound again

July 13 (CI) Pakistan cricket doesn't lend itself to analysing. For nobody yet knows what motivates its cricketers, or what brings them down. How far will they plummet before things can't get any worse? How many times will we witness one session of madness undoing all the hard work of the previous sessions? Will they have such passages one after the other? When exactly do they start one of their mercurial comebacks? Perhaps only after the biggest of optimists have given up. more..

Patience and hard work pays off for Kulasekara

July 13 (CI) Nuwan Kulasekara remains the highest-ranked bowler in one-day internationals, but is fast proving to be a force to be reckoned with in Test cricket. Opening with the new ball for the second time in Tests, Kulasekara ran through Pakistan with his second successive four-wicket haul of the series. Having taken 4 for 71 in Pakistan's first innings in the Galle Test, Kulasekara rocked them with 4 for 21 in nine probing overs. more..

Shesha Palihakkara no more

July 13 (BBC) Renowned ballet dancer, film actor, Director and Producer Shesha Palihakkara has passed away. He came to fame in his debut acting in Matalan as the acrobatic hero. Palihakkara was also a talented ballet dancer who has said that he was inspired by Chitrasena's dancing. He was also a well known dancing teacher who produced many talented students over the decades. Shesha also acted in Lester James Pieris' maiden feature Rekava, more..

Sri Lanka power output, diesel sales down in April

July 13 (LBO) Electricity generation in April 2009 fell 2.2 percent to 773 million units (GigaWatt hours) from a year earlier, while diesel sales were down 10.7 percent, the latest government figures showed. There was a steep rise in thermal power production at state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to 229GWh from 141, according to central bank data. Private sector power generation also increased to 340GWh in the month from 205GWh last year. more..

Red Cross at Cross Roads

July 13 (SLW) Wanni was for nearly two decades a terrible detention or even a concentration camp operated by the LTTE as a source of meeting all their needs especially young cadre personnel. There were torture cells, abductions, disappearances, killings, ambushes and even mass killings including the wiping out of Mathaya and all his camp followers. Wanni could easily be reckoned as the world’s biggest detention camp ever; or the most horrendous concentration camp. more..

Ding -Dong Dengue battle

July 13 (LG) Quite recently an island-wide outbreak of dengue fever in Sri Lanka has underlined the steady deterioration of public health care and preventative measures to contain the disease. The Sunday Times of June 21, 2009 carried an article written by Dhananjani Silva where the first paragraph said: “The GMOA has asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint a Presidential committee to find “practical and scientific methods” to check the dengue epidemic. more..

'It was the Tigers who killed my husband'

July 13 (AT) “It was the Tigers who killed my husband” – said the widowed Mnagayarkarasi – wife of the slain leader Appapillai Amirthalingham – ‘Greatest Tamil leader’ ever lived in Sri Lanka. Mangayarkarasi after15 years of the death of her beloved husband has come up for the first time to make in public the allegation that her husband was killed by Tigers and to set the record straight, once and for all. more..

The Journey of a Journalist (Part 2)

July 13 (LG) I, "Weligama Podda" from Pathegama, was on the way to becoming a global citizen. My knowledge in Buddhist philosophy tells me, however, that "I" is the wrong term to use because a characteristic of existence is anatta (no-self). "I’ implies a permanent soul. So the reference here is to the stream of consciousness that passes through the ever-changing composite of skandhas constituting my namarapa. more..

The politics of postwar reconciliation

July 13 (LG) The postwar moment is a hinge point in history. If we go one way Sri Lanka can make up for "lost opportunities" (as Kethesh Loganathan, martyred by the Tigers, entitled his book), and catch up with the Asian miracle. If we go another way we can enter a new cycle of conflict which will keep us stagnant and debilitated, jeopardizing even the achievements of our recent military victory. Depending on the choices we make now, the direction we take, we can have it all or not. more..

Sri Lankan amnesia

July 13 (LG) Since Velupillai faded off the radar screen, the incessant chatter of Colombo’s chattering classes have been: ‘Aney will they accept the 13th Amendment; 13th plus or minus or only the 13th? Or: We will not permit this treason to go through and break up our nation after all this.’ JVP’s renegade upstarts and monks seeking supreme bliss to avoid suffering through samsara, are either seeking refuge in the 13th plus or minus or just the 13th or threatening to blow up the whole works. more..

Return of Jayasundera

July 13 (LG) Nine months after vowing before the Supreme Court not to accept any form of public office after he ‘acted above the law’, Punchi Banda Jayasundera – arguably Sri Lanka’s most powerful public servant in the last 15 years – is making a comeback. “In the public interest’ (how ironical), this former public official wants his job back as Finance and Treasury Secretary despite a clear indication by the court that he is not fit to serve any position in government. more..

TNA rubbishes govt in exile plans; Says: We are for political solution in united Sri Lanka

July 13 (AT) Driving the last nail in the LTTE coffin firmly, the TNA, which is generally identified as the alter ego of the Tigers on the separatist platform, TNA leadership not rubbished the ‘floating’ plans of a government in exile and firmly committed itself to stand by the President in his quest for a political solution to the ethnic imbroglio. more..

Nuts and Nazi, response to Dr Wijeyawickrema

July 13 (LG) If Dr. Wijeyawickrema has a problem with the 13th amendment he must take that up with President Mahinda Rajapakse who said in his most recent interview (recorded June 30th), given to N Ram the Editor in chief of The Hindu that : “Even today somebody said: “The 13th Amendment. We are not for…” I called them and gave them a piece of my mind.” This was part of an answer to N Ram’s question which was as follows: “Now about your political solution. You talked about the 13th Amendment plus”. more..

IDP camps and False Propaganda of the Tamil Diaspora

July 13 (LG) The historic subjugation of the poor Tamils by Prabhakaran and the Rich Diaspora Tamils has been brought to an end. Some 300,000 hostages have been freed and are now living in camps for IDPs. I have just recently visited some of these IDP camps, and I wish to categorically state that the Tamils all over the world must celebrate this moment when we have, with the help of the Rajapaksa government, triumphed over the greatest misfortune that befell the Ilankai Thamils since Independence. more..