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'I will not tolerate officials being tied to trees'

Sep 1 (NF) Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development yesterday pledged to safeguard the public servants. Addressing a Provincial Development Council meeting held in Ja-Ela in the presence of Minister Felix Perera and several representatives of local government institutions, Minister Basil said that as long as he was the leader of the Gampaha District, he would not allow the harassment of public officials. more..

Germany charges suspected Tamil Tigers

Sep 1 (AFP) German prosecutors said Tuesday they had charged three men suspected of fundraising and buying weapons for the Sri Lankan separatist group the Tamil Tigers. Sri Lankan national Vijikanendra V. S., 35, and German nationals Sasitharan M., 33, and Koneswaran T., 39, were charged with belonging to a banned "terrorist" organisation and breaking export laws, a statement said. The three men, arrested in March, ran in the western city of Oberhausen more..

UNP presses for referendum on constitutional change

Sep 1 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) expressing its opposition to the proposed amendment to the constitution challenged the government to hold a referendum on the changes. "We challenge the government to hold a referendum and not hide behind two-thirds votes in parliament," Tissa Attanayake, UNP general secretary told reporters here Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka port to shed excess staff

Sep 1 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority plans to shed staff with a voluntary retirement scheme and change worker attitudes to ensure a better service, its chairman Priyath Wickrama said. "We plan to release 4,000 employees by end-2011through the VRS," he told a seminar at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce organised by the Asian Shippers' Council. SLPA had 13,296 on its payroll in 2009 of whom 12,150 alone were employed in Colombo port. more..

Sri Lanka inflation at 5.0-pct in August

Sep 1 (LBO) Consumer prices in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo rose 5.0 percent in August 2010 from a year earlier, up from 4.3 percent in July, the government's statistics office said. The Colombo Consumer Price index increased 0.5 percent during the month, against no growth in the month of July. The sub-index for non food items rose 206.9 points from 206.5 points. The index for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose to 232.0 points from 230.2 a month earlier. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief 31. 08. 2010

UNP: Opposition parties have a reason for uniting

Sep 1 (SLNN) The proposed constitutional amendments, which will likely be voted on in Parliament next week, are giving opposition parties reasons to come together for one cause. “We are faced with an issue that gives us one of the best reasons to work together,” said Tissa Attanayake, the general secretary of the UNP said. “Instead of abolishing the executive presidency, extending the number of terms in a way that the public never expected is reason enough for us to work together.” more..

$2.5 million for livelihood training for Sri Lanka’s IDPs

Sep 1 (AV) The Japanese government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are providing a grant of $2.5 million for a skills-training project for approximately 2,500 internally displaced persons in northern Sri Lanka. The program will also include a cash-for-work option to develop infrastructure by rebuilding roads and irrigation canals. “The project provides opportunities for vulnerable groups in resettled areas to get more..

Sri Lanka Telecom links former war zone with fibre optic cable

Sep 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has commissioned a fibre optic cable linking the former war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the country, offering high-speed communications, a statement said. The "information superhighway" to the north has been built alongside the A9 main route to Jaffna, where information technology and business process outsourcing ventures are being promoted to provide jobs for youth after the war. more..

Price bands and day-trading

Sep 1 (LG) The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), some brokers would say, let down the stock market this week. Expected to make a decision on abandoning the controversial price bands, the SEC took no such decision at the meeting of the commissioners on Wednesday, contrary to expectation that the bands would be lifted. While the price bands initially rocked the market, hitting sharp lows in turnover levels and the index, more..

Another check and balance to be lost

Sep 1 (LG) The government’s decision to amend the Constitution to permit the incumbent President to seek office for more than two terms and to do away with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution that limits the President’s powers of high level state appointments was not unexpected. In January this year President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a second term of six years. He won this election by a large margin, although under controversial circumstances in which more..

‘Sex and SL Cricket’ – SLC responds

Sep 1 (Island) The above article appearing in the sports page of The Island on the 30th of August 2010 is noted with regret. Our Vice-Captain Mahela Jayawardana, who was one of the best captains Sri Lanka has ever produced, has been accused unfairly in your column. Mahela has done yeoman service to Sri Lanka cricket. He has brought glory to our mother country; hence it is very unfair to mislead the public. more..

Resuscitation of CTB is Essential

Sep 1 (Island) I was stunned to hear the statement made by the Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama to the media that the President of the Private Bus Owners Association Gemunu Wijeratne is opposed to his move to add more buses to the fleet of the CTB. I would like to ask what right Gemunu Wijeratne has to interfere with the decisions taken by a Cabinet Minister. Is he thinking that he is the self-appointed wizard of transport services in Sri Lanka? more..

Why fantastic is not the word

Sep 1 (LG) Azim Premji, India’s second richest man said last week that he deplores the ‘splurge of money’ that has been going into India hosting the Commonwealth Games. The budget for the games is 17 times of what was originally estimated - a staggering 6 billion dollars when 1 billion of India’s people live on less than 1.25 $ a day. But now cut to Sri Lanka, where the cabinet of ministers yesterday approved Sri Lanka’s bid for the Commonwealth games in 2018, more..

Koknahara Tank Community Ampara

Editorial: A folly beyond human imagination

Sep 1 (LG) There is hardly any point in making any comment on these “amendments”, except to record a complete disassociation and express moral disgust. What is proposed is not “ amendments”, but complete ABOLITION of what ever that is left of Constitutionalism, in a liberal democracy. Lord Donamore must the turning in his grave, unable even to graph what happened to what he described as an experiment when he proposal the universal franchise for Sri Lanka. more..

Mervyn Silva: a good man or misguided miscreant? His private war on dengue

Sep 1 (LG) I recently had the honour of editing a lengthy article about the outbreak and spread of dengue fever in Sri Lanka. It was an eye opener. I knew from my past research and studies that dengue is endemic and a real threat to the citizens of Sri Lanka. However, what I was blissfully unaware of is the government's seemingly total disregard of the very real danger this disease poses to the people and the lack of any real eradication programme. more..

T-bonds guzzled up

Sep 1 (Island) The Public Debt Department of the Central Bank auctioned Treasury bonds amounting to Rs. 2.5 billion yesterday and the offer was oversubscribed 3.37 times, attracting bids amounting to Rs. 8.4 billion. A bond maturing in 2015 attracted bids amounting to Rs. 3.75 billion of which Rs. 1 billion was accepted. Rs. 1 billion was accepted of bonds maturing in 2016 after bids amounting to Rs. 3.1 billion were received. more..

Dengue Fever, garbage clearance and environmental cleanliness

Sep 1 (DM) Never a day passes than there is a references in the media to the ever increasing dengue fever cases and casualties. Dengue eradication seems to be the catch word as government agencies and even the armed services and the police inspect private and public premises and charge the occupiers if they suspect that their gardens harbour the elusive dengue mosquito. While this exercise is continuing another set of public officers are inspecting more..

Slaughter in the name of God?

Sep 1 (DM) “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi. It is said that the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son, and upon the participants of the annual massacre of thousands of animals in the name of so-called religion, which took place at the Mahabhadrakali Amman Kovil at Munneshwaram on the 25h of August, their sins shall forever follow on generations to come. more..

Ramadan celebrations in Kuwait

Sep 1 (IL) The annual Ramadan celebrations jointly organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy and the Sri Lankan Manpower Welfare Association (SLMWA) of Kuwait was held at the Embassy premises amid a gathering of over 1500 devotees belonging to all ethnic and religious denominations. The program of activities commenced on 27th evening continued till early hours of 28th morning which included special prayers, religious discourses, more..

Words are inadequate to describe the evil implications of the proposed 18th Amendment to the constitution

Sep 1 (LG) The AHRC states that words are inadequate to express the magnitude of the folly contained in the suggested amendments to the Constitution of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan government. Given the availability of a two thirds majority for the government these amendments will be passed. However, these amendments will take Sri Lanka completely outside the orbits of constitutionalism more..

A society in denial and a President on rampage

Sep 1 (LG) Unlike Gregor Samsa, the main protagonist in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Sri Lankans will not wake up one morning to discover that they have become transformed, overnight and in their slumber, from citizens into subjects. Our fall from citizenship is more gradual and perceptible (for those who are not wilfully blind), a lengthy process which is happening with our consent, witting or unwitting. more..

'Launched Development projects should not be abandoned'

Sep 1 (LP) The benefits of all the development projects launched by the Government should be for the public of the country said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Addressing the Sabaragamuwa Progress Review meeting held at the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council today (31) he said that each cent earned by the government should be allocated for the welfare of the public. The development drive for the Sabaragamuwa province more..

'No trouble for NGOs'

Sep 1 (LP) The Government would not pressurize any INGOs or NGOs functioning in Sri Lanka but only monitor them, National Secretariat for Non Governmental Organization Director General and Media Center for National Security Director General Lakshman Hulugalla said yesterday. He made these observations at a ceremony held to announce the first ever Sri Lankan volunteers selected by the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to share their skills to fight poverty overseas. more..

New mango in town

Sep 1 (ST) Are you a mango lover? And do you long for the mango season so that you can relish the heavenly taste of a juicy kartha kolomban? The good news is that that long wait for the season to come is now over- with a special mango variety available in the local market. This type actually bears fruit eight months of the year. The new mango variety which has hit the market lately is a special mixed variety of the local Kartha kolamban which is endemic to Jaffna and more..

Sampur displaced-where will they go from here?

Sep 1 (LB) A tall, forbidding fence stands between Kumaraswamy Nageswaran and the three acres of fertile land he had once cultivated in the hope of spending his retirement farming. The government now wants to build a power station in Sampur and his cultivation is gone -- but Nageswaran holds on to the dwindling hope that he can return home. In 2006, as the army moved in for a pitched battle with the LTTE, more..

Vasu intervenes on behalf of customs in supreme court

Sep 1 (NS) Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara, filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court, has challenged the Attorney-General’s decision to withdraw the application for special leave filed by the Director-General of Customs appealing the annulment of his duty payment order. The legal battle between the Department of Customs and M/s Colombo Dock Yard Ltd over the company’s non-payment of customs duty to the tune of Rs619 million has been continuing for more..

Convicted Basnayake Nilame pardoned

Sep 1 (NS) The former Basnayake Nilame of the Maha Saman Devalaya of Ratnapura, Anton Tennakoon, who was serving a life sentence for murder, was released under a Special Presidential Pardon on Thursday, Prisons Commissioner-General V R de Silva confirmed last night. Tennakoon had been imprisoned at the Welikada Prison since being convicted of murdering Tharanga Kalyani Gankandage on August 3, 2007. more..

One more new NGO takes to demining in North at Army request

Sep 1 (MoD) The current demining projects in the north were to have more and more teeth as one more NGO joined the bandwagon in order to expedite and further expand ongoing humanitarian demining roles, following an initiative taken by Security Forces Headquarters, Kilinochchi. The latest and the newest NGO, Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) with a team of about 29 deminers a more..

Sri Lanka needs peoples' monetary policy, not rulers'

Sep 1 (LBO) Fiscal dominance of monetary policy or the mis-use of money supply by finance ministries to plug budget deficits, is back in the spotlight as Sri Lanka's central bank celebrates 60 years. Sri Lanka's finance ministry secretary P B Jayasundera in a speech to mark the anniversary has detailed the tricky relationship between the two institutions contributing to the ongoing debate on the deadly nexus. more..

Chinese delegation visits Sri Lanka

Sep 1 (LP) Governor of the Yunnan Province of China Qin Guangrong arrived in Sri Lanka today (31) on a three day visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne. The Governor of Yunnan is accompanied by a delegation comprising of senior officials and businessmen. The Chinese delegation arrived in Sri Lanka by the maiden flight of China Eastern Airways. During the visit, Governor Qin Guangrong will call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

Interview III - Lalith Gunaratne

Editorial: Tales of torture

Sep 1 (AN) Saudis rightly resent newspapers abroad publishing twisted or false reports about the Kingdom. Trying to set the record straight, however, is not made easy by the constant drip of stories of Saudis mistreating foreigners in the Kingdom. They are all too common. The case of the five Ethiopians who died of asphyxiation at an overcrowded detention center in Jazan is but the latest in a line of shocking revelations that speak of a darker side to life for more..

Dozens of Tamil migrants segregated

Sep 1 (TS) More than three dozen Tamil migrants have been segregated from 492 others who arrived by boat for questioning by police on suspicion of being linked to the Tamil Tigers, or other inadmissible groups, including war criminals. Those held in “segregation” at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, in B.C., include the skipper of the MV Sun Sea, Kamalraj Kandasamy, a.k.a “Captain Vinod,” his 24-man crew and about a dozen migrants who arrived Aug. 13 off the coast of B.C. more..

Riyadh to help probe atrocity against Lankan maid

Sep 1 (AN) Sri Lankan officials said on Tuesday that Saudi officials have pledged to cooperate in the investigation into the atrocity allegedly commited by a Saudi couple against their Sri Lankan housemaid. “We are happy that the Saudi authorities have expressed willingness to cooperate in the investigation to track down the Saudi sponsor who was alleged to have tortured his domestic aide by hammering metal into her body,” more..

'Constitutional amendment was brought with the knowledge of the UNP'

Sep 1 (LT) The new amendment to the Constitution was presented with prior knowledge of the UNP said Minister Susil Premajayanth. He said this expressing his views regarding the claim by UNP MP Gayanthe Karunatileke that his party did not have any discussion with the government regarding the new amendment. He said, “Mr. Gayanthe Karunatileke may not know it. But the Leader of the Opposition had discussions with the government. more..

Joseph Vaz movie premieres in Colombo

Sep 1 (UCAN) A film depicting the life of a priest credited with strengthening the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, has had its official premier, amid year-long celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of his death. “If it wasn’t for Blessed Joseph Vaz there would not have been a Catholic Church here,” said Father Alex Dassanayake, vice-postulator of the National Joseph Vaz Secretariat, which made the film. more..

'Supreme Court requested not to consider constitutional amendment as emergency act'

Sep 1 (LT) Supreme Court was requested not to consider the proposed new constitutional amendment as an emergency act MP Mr. Sunil Handunneththi said. He stated this when he met media after filing petitions at Supreme Court to challenge 18th constitutional amendment.Then he told "This constitution is brought as an emergency act. However there is no such an emergency. more..

Basil’s onslaught on unauthorised constructions

Sep 1 (LP) All unauthorised constructions would be removed, as they hinder city planning and development, stated Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Monday. The Minister said that unauthorised constructions have sprung up over the years during the reign of successive Governments, and now, we are paying the price for not taking action sooner. He went on to say that the systematic disposal of garbage is of high importance, especially in areas of mass populous. more..

President launches 'Sabaragamuwa Arunalokaya' drive

Sep 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the development drive for the Sabaragamuwa province “Sabaragamuwa Arunalokaya” when he participated at the Sabaragamuwa Progress Review meeting held at the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council yesterday. Launching “Sabaragamuwa Arunalokaya” the President said that the citizens of the country have developed a great faith in the Government’s development projects and more..

Resettlement in Vadamarachchi East begins

Sep 1 (MoD) Resettlements in Vadamarachchi east begun recently facilitating Tamil civilians to back their native places after completely removing LTTE laid land mines, unexploded ordnance and trappings in the area. Army Engineers and foreign agencies collectively conducted the de-mining operations in vadamarachchi east. As the first phase of the resettlement, eighty one families at Ampan in Marathankerni divisional secretariat more..

Underworld leader Olcott shot dead

Sep 1 (DM) Jayakody Arachchige Olcott Perera, a leading heroin dealer in Colombo who went underground ten years ago after evading the police, was shot dead while trying to escape from Special Task Force (STF) custody this evening. STF Commandant DIG K.M.L Sarathchandra said that he took hold of a pistol belonging to an STF officer in the jeep and tried to use the weapon and open fire forcing the STF personnel to fire in defence. more..

Sri Lanka, UAE firm to sign gas deal

Sep 1 (GN) Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corp (Ceypetco) is expected to sign a deal to import 720,000 tonnes of gas oil for a year from a UAE-based firm, industry sources said on Monday. The UAE's Al Ain International Petroleum Derivatives Trader LLC gets its products from Russia, Egypt and Iran, as they are cheaper than in parts of the Middle East. A Russian producer would possibly supply Al Ain if the deal goes through, they added. more..

Saudi maids 'harassed' for talking to BBC

Sep 1 (BBC) Sri Lankan housemaids say hundreds of them in a transit villa in the Sri Lankan embassy in Saudi Arabia had been harassed by embassy officials after complaining of their plight to the BBC. Priyantha Shiromalee, one of the former detainees at the Olaya camp told BBC Sandeshaya that the officials took steps to return many of the detainees after their story was published. "Usually they take about three months to send us back to Sri Lanka but more..

Sri Lankan hospitality chains to invest Dh18b

Sep 1 (GN) The double-digit growth of tourists coming to Sri Lanka has sparked a massive expansion drive by several hotel giants, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau's (SLTPB) Middle East office has announced. The total hotel expansion and development spending is estimated at Dh18 billion, while inbound tourism is estimated to be 2.5 million by 2016. The post conflict resolution has resulted in an increased demand for hotel rooms. more..

Hanging thieves of poor man`s drugs

Sep 1 (LNP) Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena is in the news these days, not so much because of his politics but because of his Herculean project to clean the Augean stables that are the state health institutions. If he could achieve his lofty goal, one of the biggest problems the country is faced with would be over. His desperation is reflected in the desperate remedies he is proposing for the health sector ills. more..

'Constitutional amendments should have Constitutional Council sanction'

Sep 1 (Island) Constitutional amendments have to first be approved by a Constitutional Council, in keeping with the peoples mandate, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday. He, told The Island that before the 1971 Republican Constitution was enacted, the then government established a Constitutional Council which sought the views of a cross section of Sri Lankans, more..

Kandy Mayor dismissed

Sep 1 (DN) The post of Mayor of the Kandy Municipal Council fell vacant yesterday with the decision taken by Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake to dismiss former Mayor LB Aluvihare from the post. The Chief Minister issued a Gazette Notification giving effect to the expulsion. The expulsion was also communicated to the Elections Commissioner by Kandy Municipal Council Commissioner Chandana Tennakoon by letter dated August 31. more..

Drop in rat fever deaths

Sep 1 (DN) The number of persons who died from Rat Fever (Leptospirosis) up to August 27 is 51 a significant drop from Rat Fever deaths in 2009 (145) and 2008 (207). "There are 2,442 cases of Rat Fever reported so far that is important is to seek treatment at a Government Hospital immediately," to avoid deaths, Deputy Director General Health Services (Public Health) Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. He said that there were 4,980 cases in 2009. more..