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European Union welcomes lifting of the Emergency Regulations in Sri Lanka

Aug 27 (AT) Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission has welcomed Sri Lanka President coming forward to lift the Emergency Regulations. "The announcement by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on Thursday 25th August that his govt does not intend to prolong further the Emergency Regulations in force for many years in Sri Lanka is a welcome move. more..

Indonesian Buddhist pilgrims to visit Sri Lanka

Aug 27 (JP) After a quarter-century of civil war ended in May 2009, Sri Lanka is back on track to lure investors and tourists. More than 100 Buddhist pilgrims from Indonesia will visit the island state this weekend. “For the first time, a large number of Indonesian Buddhists are going to visit Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka. This tour was arranged by Hadaya Vatthu Foundation president Charles Hardono,” Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia Maj. Gen. Nanda Mallawaarachchi said more..

Ex-Judges complain to President against former CJ

Aug 27 (Island) A group of ex-judges on Friday alleged that former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva had unfailingly terminated their careers. At a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at temple Trees, 14 ex-judges briefed the President on their grievances and sought compensation. Ex-Judge, turned UPFA MP, Janaka Bandara, while presenting a copy of the Aug. 21 issue of Ravaya, which dealt with the former CJ’s conduct, emphasized the urgent need to more..

Roadside emission tests in full swing

Aug 27 (DN) The Motor Traffic Department said they have mobilized their vehicle emission testing programmes throughout the island. All vehicles driven on roads must comply with the emission regulation standards established by the Central Environment Authority. "We will take off air polluting vehicles the roads," said the Department's Vehicle Emission Testing Project Director A W Dissanayaka. The Department issued repair notices to 60 motor vehicles after roadside checks more..

Factions sink differences to pick Muzammil

Aug 27 (Island) In spite of a simmering leadership battle with a section of the party threatening to launch protests outside Sirikotha, Western Provincial Councillor A. J. M. Muzammil has received unanimous endorsement as the UNP’s mayoral candidate. Party sources told The Island that the entire Nomination Board, headed by beleaguered party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, had voted for Muzammil, though some believed the former SLMC activist could lose the vote. more..

State institutions in major ‘PAYE’ tax racket

Aug 27 (Island) Although the country in general is made to believe that even government employees pay income tax, in actual fact this is more the exception than the rule as recently discovered by the Committee on Public Enterprises in Parliament. Many public sector employees are literally exempted from the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax including those in the banking sector, CEB and CPC, as their employers make the payments on their behalf. more..

Editorial: Don't hang them

Aug 27 (Hindu) Preparations have begun at the Vellore Central Prison for hanging Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan — convicted for their involvement in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Jail officials have fixed September 9 as the date for the executions. The mercy petitions of the three were rejected by President Pratibha Patil earlier this month, 11 years after they were filed, and the Union Home Ministry has notified her decision to the Tamil Nadu government. more..

'Prevention of Terrorism Act still in force'

Aug 27 (Island) The govt said that Emergency Regulations were lifted not due to any international pressure, but after considering the security situation in the country. Minister Anura Priyadharsahana Yapa said that they would not bow down to any outside force. The decision to repeal the Emergency Regulations with immediate effect was taken after a careful consideration of the ground situation following the defeat of the LTTE and not under threat from anyone, more..

Friends in high places: Sri Lanka's Knuckles mountains

Aug 27 (Guardian) We heard him before we saw him. He was singing. A cracked, wheezing voice with notes that slurred into one another with a hint of alcohol. Then the Sinhalese segued into English – an English learned more than 50 years ago at school: "Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full." So this was Grandpa. He swayed down the path through the village, followed by a couple of cronies – "They've been to the moonshine man," more..

Lifting ER welcome,now implement the rule of law – UNP

Aug 27 (Island) The UNP, while welcoming the lifting of Emergency Regulations, said that the proof of the govt’s true intentions would lie in implementing the rule of law, which has been violated with impunity over the last six years. Deputy General Secretary of the UNP Jayalath Jayawardena, said that under the state of Emergency all democratic norms had been disregarded including media freedom with many journalists being killed. more..

MNDF Air Wing participates in Pacific Air Rally held in Sri Lanka

Aug 27 (HNS) A group of officers attached to the Air Wing of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) participated in the symposium and air exercise involving Pacific region air forces this week in Colombo. The 2011 Pacific Air Rally hosted by the Pacific Air Command of the US Air Force and co-hosted by the Sri Lanka Air Force held its events in the Ratmalana and Ampara Air Force bases from August 22-26. more..

CEB projects loss of Rs. 13 bn

Aug 27 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) estimates that its losses for 2011 would be in the region of Rs. 13 billion. CEB General Manager Nihal Wickremasooriya told The Island that it was the projected forecast and it could be higher or lower depending on the weather patterns. However, Power and Energy Ministry sources yesterday said that the losses could be between Rs. 15 and 20 billion. more..

New Act to try terrorist suspects

Aug 27 (DM) In the aftermath of the withdrawal of the state of emergency, the govt is planning to introduce a new piece of legislation called ‘the Emergency Consequential Provisions Bill’ to deal with the suspects already arrested or detained under emergency regulations. President Mahinda Rajapaksa moved the resolution in Parliament on Thursday to totally relax the state of emergency which existed in the country since August, 2005. more..

‘Sri Lanka needs a home-grown solution'

Aug 27 (Hindu) Calls from different sections of the international community, especially in the Western world, for retributive justice for the military defeat of the LTTE “are unhelpful at best, if not inimical to our immediate needs,” Prasad Kariyawasam, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, said here on Friday. North Sri Lanka needs a “home-grown solution… We know better than anybody the horrors the country faced,” he said at an interactive session more..

Govt to turn to LNG for power needs

Aug 27 (DM) The govt was considering using Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to complement the use of petroleum resources as an option to meet the ever increasing power demand as well as combat escalating petroleum prices in the global market, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday. He said a cabinet sub-committee had been appointed to look into the matter and would be called upon to submit a report with their recommendations. more..

Timber Corporation scam revealed after 10 years

Aug 27 (DM) The COPE chaired by senior minister D.E.W. Gunasekara has unearthed a series of white collar crimes in the State Timber Corporation when it was under former Forestry and Environment Minister Mahinda Wijesekara, a parliament source said yesterday. He said the Auditor General’s 2001/2002 Timber Corporation Report had revealed that in 2001 the Corporation had under mysterious circumstances invested Rs.30 million in a more..

Beira Lake Tourist Zone Project carried out successfully

Aug 27 (GDI) The Beira Lake Tourist Zone Project is being carried out successfully. The project is being implemented at a cost of over Rs. 30 million and the work includes construction of the first chain bridge in Sri Lanka. Foul smell that used to emanate from the Beira Lake and which was a major environmental hazard in Colombo has now been completely eliminated. The areas surrounding the lake have been developed under the City Beautification Project, more..

Sri Lanka, India venture in US$200m development

Aug 27 (SANA) Sri Lanka’s Rank Holdings, a group which has interests in gaming, power and logistics, is planning a 200 million US dollar hotel and residential complex in the capital Colombo with an Indian partner, an official said. Rank Holdings chief Ravi Wijeratne said a 5-star hotel and 171 apartments would be part of the mixed development. The project would come up on a 2.5 acre property on DR Wijewardene Mawatha in Colombo, leased from the state, more..

Sri Lanka : The Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Aug 28 (AC) The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka earlier called Ceylon is an island nation situated to the south of India.Its surrounded by the Indian ocean , the gulf of munnar and the palk strait. Its an island of surreal beauty surrounded by the sea in all directions and blessed with allot of Forests and wildlife. Sri Lanka has also been a center of the Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times and is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism in South Asia. more..

Lawyers fast against death sentence to LTTE men

Aug 28 (PTI) Three city advocates today began an indefinite fast at the Madras High Court premises here demanding withdrawal of capital punishment to three LTTE convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The advocates Kayalvizhi, Vadivambal and Sujatha also demanded abolition of awarding capital punishment. The Supreme Court had sentenced Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan and Nalini to death in 1999 for the assassination of the former Prime Minister on May 21, 1991. more..

Preference numbers next week

Aug 28 (LT) Measures would be taken to make available preference numbers for candidates from political parties and independent groups contesting the local govt elections for 23 local councils at the beginning of next month. At present lists of candidates are being prepared in relevant District Election Offices according to alphabetical order and these officials have been informed that the lists should be sent to the Election Secretariat more..

Thirimanne gets century in draw

Aug 28 (CI) Lahiru Thirimanne pushed for a berth in Sri Lanka's squad for the first Test with an unbeaten 100 for the Board XI against the Australians on the final day of the tour match. His determined and at times handsome innings also served to cloud Australia's spin bowling plans for the first Test at Galle, as neither Michael Beer nor Nathan Lyon were able to pose too great a threat on a pitch that offered sizeable rough and some sharp turn. The Australians had been bowled out for 393, more..

Sri Lanka investors stumped by low labour productivity in tea estates

Aug 28 (LBO) Investors are losing interest in Sri Lanka's plantations as rising wages without productivity gains are making companies reluctant to invest in the replanting needed to sustain the industry, a business group has warned. Sri Lanka’s competitiveness as a tea producer has declined with each successive wage hike with no commensurate increase in labour productivity, Elpitiya Plantations chairman Rajan Brito said. The firm, part of the Aitken Spence group, more..

Mass grave unearthed in Jaffna

Aug 28 (BBC) Skulls, skeletons and bones belonging to eight human beings have been found in island off Jaffna, officials say. The human remains were found near the AGA office in Neduntivy in Delft island by a group of workers when the dug the earth to put up a foundation for a generator room. Acting JMO in Jaffna, Dr S Sivaruban, told BBC that the skulls and skeletons were sent to the government’s analyst for forensic analysis. more..

Ayurvedic medical center for Veddahs

Aug 28 (SL) The Indigenous Medicines Ministry is to initiate the construction of a new Ayurvedic Medical Centre in Dambana today (27). The construction work is to commence under the patronage of Minister Salinda Disanayaka and leader of the Veddah community, Uruwarige Wanniyaletto. The programme is aimed at uplifting the living status of the Veddah community and promoting their traditional medical knowledge and treatment. The Ayurvedic Medical Center will include a more..

Police continue raid on brothels Under guise of Herbal Clinics

Aug 28 (LP) A special police team continued raids on so call Herbal Clinics which ran as brothels catering to the middle and upmarket clientele and arrested six young women and two men who worked as 'Managers'. All Herbal Clinics, rampantly advertised on weekend tabloids are being closely monitored by this special police team. Young girls from the outstations were being employed at those places but were told to engaged in prostitution to earn more. more..

'White Flag' charge totally false-Tamil Chelvam's widow

Aug 28 (LP) Shashi Rekha,widow of former LTTE Political Chief, S.P.Tamil Chelvam has categorically rejected a claim that Sri Lanka military gunned down LTTE leaders who carried white flags to surrender.'All LTTE leaders were killed during the battle with the security forces', Shashi Rekha has confessed. The widow of Tamil Chelvam has specifically stated that all LTTE leaders died during the final days of battle with the security forces. more..

Two pasting posters against leasing tanks arrested

Aug 28 (LT) Two members of the All Ceylon Farmers Federation, who were pasting posters against the leasing of tanks, have been arrested by the police. The two members of the Federation were pasting posters against the attempt to lease Magalle Tank at Nikewaratiya. Nikkawaratiya Police arrested them on the 25th on charges of pasting anti-government posters. The two members of the Federation who were arrested were E.M. Jayatilleke and H.M. Madduma Bandara. more..

Protest against doctors ‘unacceptable’ - GMOA

Aug 28 (AD) The Government Medical Officers’ Association today (August 27) condemned the protests being carried out against doctors based on certain incidents. GMOA Secretary Dr. Upul Gunasekara stated that such a protest had been launched recently against doctors of the Balapitiya Hospital over an incident of a patient’s death. The public taking the law into their own hands in such a manner against doctors that treat patients is highly unacceptable, he emphasized. more..

Development Diaries August 24, 2011

Of Strangers in the Village, Grease Devils and Elephant Census

Aug 28 (LG) One of the best known African American writers of the twentieth century was James Baldwin. Born in Harlem, New York, he moved to Europe, to Paris and later to Switzerland, where most of his creative works were written. The above is from ‘A Stranger in the Village’ which was included in a collection of his essays published just before his death. The essay is about his life in a remote mountain village in Switzerland which he visits on a regular basis. On his visits, more..

NfR condemns Assault on Navanthurai civilians by security forces

Aug 28 (LG) NfR Sri Lanka, a network of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders living outside the country condemns the brutal assault on civilians by the officers of Navanthurai Army Detachment, in the Jaffna district. The assault took place on the night of 22nd August 2011. At least 18 of the arrested civilians have been tortured badly and had to be hospitalized. Photographic evidence published by reliable online media sources indicates that many of them having plastered arms and legs. more..

'People in the North are enjoying normal life again'

Aug 28 (SO) Douglas Devananda, one time militant who took to politics, is now Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development says that the Tamil people and political parties can have faith in the Parliament Select Committee which is to be appointed soon to address grievances of the Tamils as it can effectively implement decisions agreed by the PSC, unlike the arrangements made by previous governments to solve these issues. more..

Editorial: Vanquishing invisible forces

Aug 28 (SO) It seems that certain parties and individuals with vested interests are attempting to create unrest and panic in the country under the guise of suspicious characters as evidenced during the past few weeks. Although the real culprits behind these incidents are yet to be exposed, their motives are as clear as daylight. At a time the country is reaping the dividends of peace, having eradicated terrorism, these criminal elements are working behind the scenes in an attempt to push back more..

Editorial: Thank you sir, may we have another?

Aug 28 (SL) The govt has not renewed Emergency Regulations, which is right and good. The draconian Prevention Of Terrorism Act, however, preserves much of the same powers, including search without warrants and detention without charge. Since the govt so boldly defeated terrorism years ago, it is only fitting that the PTA, too, be repealed. Emergency Regulations gave the President special powers to call out the armed forces, order curfews and gave the central govt power to detain people without charge. more..

'Lifting Emergency, a bold move'

Aug 28 (SO) Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena was born on March 2, 1949 as the third son of Philip Gunawardena popularly known as ‘the Lion of Boralugoda’ and architect of Sri Lanka’s socialist movement and Kusuma Gunawardena, who were in the vanguard of the struggle for independence and equality. Since his father Philip Gunawardena’s entry to the then State Council in 1936, Gunawardenas has represented the national legislature for over five decades. more..

Grease Devil problem has demonstrated that increased militarization is meaningless and self-defeating

Aug 28 (TC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement to Parliament that the govt would not be renewing the state of emergency comes as a welcome action in the restoration of normalcy in the country. With the war against the LTTE ending over two years and three months ago, the time was ripe for a restoration of normal laws to the country. The country has been governed continuously under emergency laws since 2005. The National Peace Council is hopeful that civil administration will be installed more..

Land in Ampara belonging to villagers forcibly taken for navy base and tourism development

Aug 28 (TC) People in Panama allege that officials from the Ampara Divisional Secretariat have forcibly taken over 850 acres of land belonging to the Panama villagers. Villagers told this correspondent that the Defence Ministry is reportedly setting up a navy base there and question the validity of setting up such a base when the war had ended over two years ago. They say that looking into the security of the area could be appreciated but to acquire 850 acres of land in Panama for more..

Whatever Rajapaksas say at a given moment is the truth

Aug 28 (TC) The saga of the ‘Rock of Hambantota’ is of pivotal-importance in understanding the working of the Rajapaksas’ regime. Whenever the UNP, the JVP or the media mentioned the existence of a huge rock blocking the entrance to the Hambantota Port, the regime reacted with spluttering-outrage. The Rock was dismissed as a malignant lie. Four months ago, the Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways challenged UNP MP Harin Fernando more..

Editorial: Libya and hypocrisy of the West

Aug 28 (NS) This week saw Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi reaching the end of the road after 42 long years in power at the helm of affairs in the oil rich Arab nation, his removal from office being brought about by ‘rebels’ within that country, assisted by the military muscle of the Western bloc of nations. In the weeks to come, Gaddafi’s many misdeeds will no doubt be remembered in great detail and paraded before a worldwide audience. That in turn will serve the purpose of justifying the more..