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Sri Lanka gets IMF loan in eight instalments

July 22 (Island) Finance and State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya yesterday, informed the House that the International Monetary Fund had agreed to grant a US$ 2.5-million loan facility to Sri Lanka and the first tranche would be received on July 24. Even though Sri Lanka applied for US$ 1.9 billion, the IMF had granted US$ 2.5 billion, he said. The IMF had promised to provide the loan in eight instalments and interest on the first instalement would be 0.5 per cent, more..

Secretary Defence responds to Bar Association's selective concerns

July 22 (MoD) Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has responded to the concerns underscored by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka on an article published on the The Bar Association of Sri Lanka, a non-governmental body that claims to represent the Attorneys - at- Law in the country, in a letter has condemned the news article titled "Traitors in Black Coats Flocked Together?" more..

Passenger train service from Fort to B.I.A.

July 22 (DM) For the first time in Sri Lanka a passenger train service from the Fort railway station to the Bandaranaike International Airport will come into service in a few months, General Manager of Railways P.P. Wijesekere said. “The passenger service will be much faster than travelling by highway and will be less time consuming, Wijesekara said. Train carriages and engines in use at present would be used for this purpose, he added. more..

SAPTCO crash body sent to Sri Lanka

July 22 (AN) One of the five bodies of the Sri Lankan expatriates who died in a road accident last month was sent home on Tuesday after the completion of DNA tests at Riyadh’s King Saud Hospital. Twenty passengers died in the accident caused due to a collision between a Saptco bus and a truck that was trying to overtake the passenger coach in a heavy dust storm approximately 40 km away from the capital. more..

Children sue IGP

July 22 (DM) Three children who were injured in the accidental grenade explosion at the stall run by the police department at the ‘Deyata Kirula’ exhibition in 2007 have filed a case to seek compensation. The children W.A. Kasunika Sehani through her father Roshan Perera and Shehan Jayamaha and Malinga Jayamaha through their guardian J.M.D.N. Henry filed two separate applications at the Colombo District Court citing the Police Chief and the Attorney General as respondents. more..

From 2000 till July this year 1213 prisoners had died

July 22 (DM) Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda informed parliament yesterday that 1213 prisoners had died since 2000 till July 13 this year. Asked about steps taken for the safety of prison inmates, Mr. Moragoda said special advice had been given to the superintendents and assistant superintendents to control escape attempts. The patrols have also been increased in and around prisons especially during nights. more..

Minister dismisses TISL project as business venture

July 22 (Island) Although the government wouldn’t hinder INGO/NGOs inquiring into public sector corruption and making their recommendations public, the administration isn’t bound to implement them, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha Indicated yesterday. The latest case in point is the 83-page research report ‘Corruption in Education in Sri Lanka’ released by the Transparency International Sri Lanka more..

Sajith pledges support for Lion Safari Park

July 22 (DM) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa pledged his support for the proposed Lion Safari Park in Ridiyagama, Hambantota, in Parliament yesterday. Mr. Premadasa told the House yesterday that he would welcome the project as it would bring value addition to the country. He said exchange of species, and the research centres that would be implemented as part of the project, are welcomed. “We the Opposition had proved wrong the ruling party thinking that it opposed every action. more..

Post-LTTE, Jaffna beaches get ready for tourists

July 22 (IANS) For decades it lay at the heart of Sri Lanka's Tamil conflict. Now that the Tamil Tigers have been crushed, Jaffna's once tranquil beaches are getting ready for tourists from far and wide. The Tamil residents of Jaffna peninsula, in the island's very northern tip, are hoping that the beaches would badly revive their battered economy and improve their own living standards. Sri Lankan officials are brimming with confidence. more..

Asia darkens under longest solar eclipse of century

July 22 (Reuters) A total solar eclipse on Wednesday swept across a narrow swathe of Asia, where hundreds of millions of people watched the skies darken, though in some places thick summer clouds blocked the sun. The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century cut through the world's most populous nations, India and China, as it travelled half the globe. It was visible along a roughly 250 km-wide (155 miles) corridor, more..

Malik century puts Pakistan on top

July 22 (CI) A face-saving century by Shoaib Malik and fifties by Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal propelled Pakistan to an overall lead of 366 on the third day at the SSC. The Sri Lankans struggled to get the breakthroughs after reducing Pakistan to 67 for at one stage. With five wickets in hand, Pakistan gave themselves an opportunity to stretch the lead beyond 400 and claim a consolation win. more..

Cuban specialists to hijack Dengue

July 22 (LP) At last a formal announcement has been made of the arrival yesterday (21) of Cuban epidemiologists (Specialists) for advice on eradication of the deadly dengue now plaguing the country, especially the congested cities. There was much speculation on whether they would be or not be Dengue fever is a flu-like illness. It is caused by a virus. The infection is passed to humans through the bite of a mosquito. more..

Defeated Tamil rebels name new leader

July 22 (AP) Sri Lanka's defeated Tamil Tiger rebels have named a man accused of running a vast arms smuggling operation as their new leader, two months after government forces crushed the separatist movement. The new leader has pledged to remake the insurgents into a nonviolent separatist movement. Selvarasa Pathmanathan was the rebels' chief of international relations and allegedly ran an international weapons smuggling ring. more..

Devolution, resettlement on course, Sri Lanka tells India

July 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka Wednesday assured India that the process of devolution of powers to the Tamil minority is on course as it tries to resettle over 300,000 civilians displaced by the military conflict in the shortest possible time. Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama for nearly half hour on the sidelines of India-ASEAN ministerial meetings in this Thai island resort. more..

Sri Lanka IMF deal fine print will increase confidence: analysts

July 23 (LBO) An International Monetary Fund loan will beef up Sri Lanka's external solvency but it will raise investor confidence further once details spelling out an economic plan agreed with the lender are published, analysts said. Sri Lanka is due to get a 2.5 billion US dollar stand by loan from the IMF Friday boosting foreign reserves by 313 million US dollars with the first tranche. more..

Sri Lanka tries solar power to pump water in remote villages

July 23 (LBO) Use of solar power to pump water in remote Sri Lankan villages in a trial project designed by British engineers helps save fuel costs and could be replicated in other rural communities elsewhere, experts said. The Sheffield Hallam University in the UK said the solar village project, designed by its engineers, is a useful example of providing electricity to villages not served by the national grid. more..

Sri Lanka invites bids for coal

July 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has invited bids to supply 2.4 million metric tomes of coal for the country's first coal power plant built by state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, which is scheduled to be commissioned next year. Lanka Coal Company (Private) Ltd, a specially incorporated company for coal procurement, said in a advertisement in the The Daily Mirror newspaper that bids would close on September 10, 2009. more..

Minister changes sword into a dagger!

July 23 (LT) There was heated arguments in the Parliament a few weeks ago after JVP Parliamentarian Lakshman Nipunarachchi questioned regarding a ‘Natarasa’ statue and a sword that had been lost from the Museum. There was a similar atmosphere in the Parliament yesterday when Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene made a special statement in the Parliament. more..

Bill passed in Parliament to maintain DM’s generation

July 23 (LT) The bill on Ambuluwawa biodiversity zone presented to Parliament by Minister D.M. Jayaratne was endorsed in Parliament today. Presenting the bill Minister Jayaratne said Ambuluwawa biodiversity zone has been developed as an all religious zone. However, according to the bill the sole ownership of the zone is with D.M. Jayaratne and the way the bill is prepared the ownership would be changed to his son after him. more..

Kataragama festival in grand scale tonight

July 23 (GDI) The Kataragama festival will commence tonight with the Sarva Rathri Piritha last night followed by a Sanghika Heel Dana this morning. The first Perahera of the Ruhunu-Kataragama Maha Devalaya will commence parading the streets in the evening and the Aluth Athu Paladana ceremony will take place on the 27th morning with the presence of the Ruhunu-Kataragama Maha Devale Basnayake Nilame Sasheendra Kumara Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lanka doctors further detained

July 23 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has allowed the police to further detain two senior doctors accused of supporting the LTTE. After visiting the headquarters of police CID, Colombo chief magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi allowed the police to further question two medical officials. Medical Superintendants of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, T Satyamurthi and T Varatharajah were hence detained until 24 August. more..

Bayliss regrets playing lone spinner

July 23 (CI) Sri Lankan coach Trevor Bayliss believes the ploy of going into the third and final Test against Pakistan with one spinner has not worked to their advantage. The visitors batted themselves into a strong position on the third day at the SSC, with their lead swelling to 366 and Sri Lanka facing an uphill battle. "We felt the absence of a second spinner and regret not having played one," said Bayliss. more..

Kaneria warned for offensive language

July 23 (CI) Pakistan legspinner Danish Kaneria has been found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct on day two of the SCC Test. He was reprimanded by match referee Alan Hurst for abusing Sri Lankan allrounder Angelo Mathews in a hearing that took place after the day's play. Kaneria was found to have breached clause 1.4 of the Code which relates to "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting". more..

21 fishermen from Tamil Nadu released by Lanka returns home

July 23 (IE) Twentyone fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were detained by Sri Lankan Navy on July 4 while fishing near the island waters, returned home on Wednesday. The fishermen, whose release was ordered by a court in Mannar District recently, were handed over by Sri Lankan Naval personnel to the Indian Coast Guard officials at the International Maritime Border Line this morning. They were brought to the Coast Guard station at Mandapam here this evening, more..

IDP – A political foot – ball

July 23 (LG) With the conclusion of the dreaded 30 year war, the focus on IDPs is top priority causing immense anxiety to the Government in particular and to the public in general. It seems that the problem is not going away as there are reports on a daily basis with banner headlines on the vexed question of the IDPS. While the government paints a sunshine story of conditions in the IDP camps more..

Police have no powers to arrest or investigate Mervin

July 23 (LG) It is almost two weeks since the thuggish Minister of Labour Mervin Silva publicly admitted that he took care of the Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and threatened the Kelanya Pradeshia Sabha Chairman that he will send him to the place where he sent Lasantha. The Inspector General of Police or his department is powerless to investigate the public admission by the Minister. more..

Sri Lanka's lucky number

July 23 (LG) The campaign against the Thirteenth Amendment has been moving at top speed for the last couple of weeks. A whole lot of people who ran out of things to shout about when Prabhakaran snuffed it in that muddy swamp have latched onto the issue, trying to make opposition to its implementation seem like a natural extension of the war. Politicians have been making their usual speeches. Monks have been on the streets, distributing leaflets claiming that more..

Rajapaksa says he would defend his Army's actions in any court

July 23 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he is prepared to face any court to defend Sri Lankan military commanders on charges of human rights violations during the recently concluded war with the LTTE. "The President emphatically stated that he was prepared to appear before any Court on behalf of the Military leaders," an official release said. Mr. Rajapaksa was addressing a election rally in the Central Sri Lankan Uva province on Tuesday. more..

If a proposed solution requires a dent in sovereignty or democracy, it may be a non-starter

July 23 (LG) The need of the hour is a practical and workable solution, not a collection of utopian wish lists. But there is nothing wrong about dreaming; it is after all part of the wide exploration process essential for a creative solution. The limits of it are, however, practicality and relevance. Tamil Eelam struggle was never an external issue as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. more..

Nincompoops callously wasting state financial resources

July 23 (LG) In the past few years Sri Lanka’s diplomatic service has become the employment opportunity for political pandangkarayas (tail wagers) that it is draining the state resources enormously. If one wags the tail strongly with the rulers, they are sure of getting posted to a diplomatic position. The traditional and able career diplomats remain sidelined as a result of these political appointments and more..

Implementation of the 13th amendment may create separate ethnic provinces

July 23 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapakse very wisely ruled out separate ethnic provinces in Sri Lanka. As the supreme ruler of the country he is in a very good position to judge, what is best for the country, in creating a peaceful environment for all Sri Lankans after the LTTE is defeated. The President may have taken this wise decision after much deliberation and consideration of the opinions of the wider public debating about the Amendment 13. more..

Land like no other

Conflict syndrome of a Foreign Minister and the three blind mice!

July 23 (LG) Comedy of Errors, Dismissal of Diplomats with proven track record. The Three Blind Mice of Rohitha Bogollagama exploit the State!They are the Policy Advisors to the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama employees at Diplomatic Division furious over what they see as questionable appointments, preparing to declare total collapse. The origin of the words to the Three blind mice rhyme are based in English history. more..

The Necessity of Diplomacy in crisis

July 23 (LG) With the war against terrorism our nation has been more patriotic than ever before. As how the world look at us owing to the accusations made against us by vested interests has become futile. We have overcome the difficulties and convinced the world that we were justified in doing what we had to do. We must take effective measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing nations and more..

'I'll remember eclipse all my life'

July 23 (BBC) Passengers on a special chartered flight to view the total eclipse in India saw spectacular sights. The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder, who was also on board, reports. "Ladies and gentlemen, 30 seconds to go. Get your cameras ready and enjoy the view." Captain Oswal's measured tones were in stark contrast to the frenzy his words unleashed. Bounding with enthusiasm, passengers on board Flight 2279 whooped with delight as the sky slowly darkened. more..

34 journalists killed, says JDS

July 23 (BBC) A new orgnisation formed by recently exiled media workers from Sri Lanka have expressed serious concern about 34 journalists and media workers who they say have been killed "with no recourse to justice" since the current government was formed. In a press release, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) state that "people of Sri Lanka are deprived of their right to information and media, and journalists are forced to practise unprecedented levels of self censorship". more..

Minister Aluthgamage says displaced people consume luxury food

July 23 (CT) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage says displaced people living in welfare camps in the north are consuming luxury food. He made the comment in reply to an adjournment question on the plight of the homeless, raised by JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament. According to the minister, the five CWE outlets established at welfare camps were mostly selling cheese, biscuits, Coca Cola, Sprite and other luxury food. more..

India, Lanka on Sports Cities' radar

July 23 (24|7) Sports Cities International, a subsidiary of Sharjah-based Bukhatir Group, is considering introducing the "sports city" concept in six countries, with India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam being the possible locations. "India is one of the countries that we are looking at, but we haven't located a specific site. We will decide a location after we have completed our due diligence," Luciano Paolo Crosetta, CEO-International, Sports Cities International, told more..

Col. Karuna is betraying the Tamil Community – Wife Vidyavathy Muralitharan

July 23 (LG) Wife of Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, the National Integration Minister and a former Tamil Tiger military commander also known as Col. Karuna, in an interview to our correspondent in London, accused her husband is determinedly betraying the Tamil people and their leadership. Muralitharan’s wife Vidyavathy and three children have immigrated to Britain few years ago and more..

HKAR&TI employees appeal to the new secretary

July 23 (LG) Employees of the Hector Kobbekduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute, the premier agrarian research institute of the country, are appealing to the newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. S. Amarasekera to take immediate steps to bring stability to the Institute which has been heavily destabilized over the last three years due to a dispute that had arisen between the administration of the Institute and its staff and employees. more..

‘Enemy of the State’ (Bureaucracy) –Part II

July 23 (LG) I have been gathering information on the phenomenon of “IDI” from a cross section of people in both the private and the public sector institutes who are related to the conduct of “IDI” including senior administrators/managers, employees, trade unionists, inquiring officers/defending officers, and lawyers. The picture that emerges from my survey is one that rejects the idea of the innocuousness of the “IDI.” more..

Sri Lanka: IMF should not condone abuses

July 23 (HRW) Members of the IMF should insist that the government of Sri Lanka address significant post-conflict human rights abuses as part of the approval for a US$2.5 billion stand-by loan, Human Rights Watch said today. The IMF board is expected to vote on the stand-by arrangement on July 24, 2009. The proposed loan has created intense controversy because of concern over Sri Lanka's serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. more..

Sri Lankans in greater Wasington area contribute for 'Api Wenuwen Api'Fund

July 23 (IL) Members of the Sri Lankan community in the Washington, D.C. area raised thousands of dollars Saturday for a housing program that will help members of Sri Lanka’s armed forces buy homes. The July 18 event occurred simultaneously at the homes of Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya and five diplomats assigned to the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington, D.C. The diplomats invited local Sri Lankans to their homes to enjoy traditional food and more..

The East and West at the UN Human Rights Council: Never the twain shall meet?

July 23 (GV) Through a fortuitous twist of fate at the end of May I had the opportunity to be a witness to an event of considerable global importance; the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka. The outcome of this meeting has sparked substantial controversy, and has been extensively covered in both local and international press, which I have been following with great interest. more..

Last comment on Sri Lanka: Is the war really over?

July 23 (GV) I doubt that a solution to Sri Lanka’s national question can be discussed in detail on a forum such as Groundviews without using up too much valuable space. However, if I may, I’d like to respond to the latest comments made about my original posting of Sri Lanka: Is the war really over? I believe that the Sri Lanka diaspora cannot and should not prescribe a solution to the national question. more..

New look in the north after defeating terrorism

July 23 (GDI) The Government has been able to make several remarkable changes in the community life of the north two months after defeating terrorism and a comprehensive programme is now in progress to ensure a better future for the people in the area who had been battered by the curse of terrorism for nearly 30 years, Minister of Transport Dalas Alahapperuma said. more..

More IDP families to resettle in August

July 23 (GDI) The Government’s dedicated intention is to resettle the displaced persons and restore their livelihood swiftly in their domiciled villages while implementing the massive development drive, MP Basil Rajapaksa said at a discussion held in Vavuniya Government Agent’s office recently to instruct the Government officials and other involved groups to accelerate the implementation of the Government’s 180 day development drive- "Northern Spring". more..

Dengue death toll rise to 190

July 23 (GDI) The deadly dengue fever continues to take human lives in an unprecedented manner despite precautionary measure adopted by the health sector and the public. The epidemic has now turned into a menace with the wide spread breeding of the deadly mosquito continuing in urban and rural areas affecting people countrywide. The number of patients who have died due to dengue fever increased to 190 and more than 18,300 have been infected so far, hospital reports said. more..

Fresh rubber plantation project in Moneragala

July 23 (GDI) The Ministry of Plantation has taken steps to cultivate 40,000 hectares of rubber in the Moneragala district. Already over 1,500 hectares had been cultivated. It is to be continued till 2016, ministry sources revealed. This project carried under the Rubber Small Holders Entrepreneurship Development Program in keeping with the Mahinda Chinthana policy of bringing in economic development to under developed rural areas. more..

Press Council not to suppress the media - Media Minister

July 23 (GDI) The Government reiterates it has no intention of suppressing the media through the Press Council. The target of the Press Council was to provide facilities to media personnel and not to suppress the Media, Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament yesterday (22). The decision to reactivate the Press Council was taken by the Committee on Public Enterprises. more..