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Fresh attempts at clearing sub-standard cement

Aug 29 (ST) A fresh attempt to clear a stock of cement which failed to meet required local standards was rejected by the Sri Lanka Customs on Friday. Customs officials said that the importer of the cement – the Sri Lanka National Co-operatives Board (SLNCB) which comes under the purview of the Co-operatives and Internal Trade Ministry -- had provided a certificate on the cement standards from a London institution. But this was not accepted.The move came as the Customs was still carrying out an inquiry more..

New housing programme for Northern IDPs on Wednesday

Aug 29 (DM) A special scheme that would build houses for 1000 newly settled IDP families in the North would be inaugurated by the Ministry of Housing and Common Amenities in Mullaitivu on Wednesday. A statement from the Ministry said that the scheme would be implemented under the Janasevana’ programme which aimed to provide a house to every resettled IDP family in the future. Accordingly some 50 families in Panikkakulum in the Mullaitivu District would be the first to benefit from this programme. more..

The mystery of Sri Lanka's 'grease devils'

Aug 29 (BBC) A few nights ago Mohamed Saleh Nona Faris heard a rustling outside her house and saw a shadow move. "He looked like a gorilla, he was completely covered in black from top to toe. I couldn't see his face or hands," the elderly lady in the west coast fishing district of Puttalam said. She believes the intruder was one of Sri Lanka's notorious "grease devils". Over the last few weeks large swathes of the country have been gripped by a fear of nocturnal prowlers more..

Hanuman’s Lanka attack remembered

Aug 29 (TI) Sonepur is celebrating Lankapodi, a festival that commemorates Lord Hanuman’s raid on the kingdom of demon king Ravana. Local residents purchase a hanuman idol, either in the market or from Kumbharpada, the locality of potters. The potters get busy making clay models of Hanuman from a month before the festival. Internationally-acclaimed terracotta artist Lokanath Rana said he had been making Hanuman idols for half a century since he had been trained by his father. more..

Kachchativu belongs to Lanka: India

Aug 29 (DM) In an apparent disregard to demands by Tamil Nadu politicians to take over the Kachchativu Island, the Central govt of India had categorically reiterated that the island belonged to Sri Lanka since it was located within its territorial waters. India’s External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, in a statement on the issues related to Sri Lanka, said the agreements between the two countries had concluded in 1974 and 1976 that this island lies within on the Sri Lankan side of the more..

TN woman immolates self to protest against hanging of Rajiv killers

Aug 29 (IE) A young woman immolated herself in front of the tehsildar’s office in Kancheepuram district on Sunday evening, allegedly demanding remission of the death penalty awarded to three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who are set to be hanged on September 9. According to locals, C Senkodi, an unmarried woman in her 20s, shouted slogans against hanging the death row convicts before emptying a bottle of petrol and setting herself afire. more..

School with 3 teachers and 3 students

Aug 29 (Island) Sri Dhammakusala Vidyalaya, at Maha Ambalangoda, about half a kilometre from the town, has only three children. There are three teachers––acting principal, his wife and another teacher–– drawing about Rs. 75,000 by way of salary. Electricity and water bill too have to be paid by the govt. Not a single child from the area has sought admission to the school for a number of years. Parents in the area lament that because of this school’s existence five marks are deducted from pupils who more..

Probe report on low quality petrol out today

Aug 29 (Island) The three member committee headed by Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando, which probed the import of a 20,000 tonne consignment of low quality petrol by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation in the middle of June, will submit their report this morning. Sources said the committee’s findings running to hundreds of pages with at least 40 annexures and the bound report would be handed over to Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha at 9:00 am. more..

Ex-CJ alleges conspiracy targeting him over role in anti-corruption drive

Aug 29 (DM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said he could not be brought before a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) as he retired from service two years ago and that the President himself had given him a letter of commendation for his distinguished service in the Judiciary as the Chief Justice. Addressing a public lecture titled ‘Good Governance and Corruption’ on Saturday, the former Chief Justice said he firmly believed that this move was a case of victimization, more..

Beware of foreign conspiracies to bring disrepute to Lanka: PM

Aug 29 (DM) The Prime Minister said that events that have tainted the country’s honour such as Arsenic being found in rice, the “Grease Yakka” phenomenon together with the import of low quality petrol have occurred as a result of a foreign conspiracy with the support of some interested parties. The Prime Minister D.M. Jayarathna appealed to the Maha Sanga and the people of the country on Saturday (27) while participating at a ceremony held at the Mangala Uposathagaraya at more..

No promotions for Teacher Educators since 2000

Aug 29 (Island) Teacher Educators, serving at 17 National Colleges of Educations (NCOE), and 86 Teacher Centres, complain that they have been deprived of their due promotions for a decade. They blame it on lackadaisical attitude of the Education Ministry officials. A teacher educator said that the National Salaries and Cadres Commission had instructed the MoE in 2006 to amend the Sri Lanka Teacher Educators’ Service minutes to expedite the promotions of these officers but more..

Sampoor power plant agreement to be signed on Sept 06

Aug 29 (Island) An Indian delegation headed by the Secretary to their Power Ministry will be in Sri Lanka from Sept. 05 to 07 finally to sign the joint venture agreement with the Ceylon Electrify Board (CEB) to build the country’s second coal power plant at Sampoor, Trincomalee. Authoritative energy sector sources said the crucial agreement was now tentatively scheduled to be signed on Sept. 06. more..

Oil for ceasefire -- now, big rip-off?

Aug 29 (LB) The country stands to lose thumping sums as revenue through taxation due to the decision taken by the govt to exempt an Indian company from all taxes when they scour for oil in Sri Lanka, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, charged. He said that some individuals are trying to plunder the oil resources of the country, with oil exploration in Mannar being handed over to an Indian company for very nominal returns. more..

SL remains committed to peace keeping under UN mandate

Aug 29 (Island) In the midst of a simmering confrontation between Sri Lanka and a section of the international community on the ‘human rights front’, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s govt on Friday (26) reiterated its commitment for further deployment of Sri Lankan peacekeepers at world trouble spots. Ambassador Maj. General Shavendra Silva, Charge de Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council of Sri Lanka’s readiness to more..

Although Emergency is off: Prosecutions for criminal offenders

Aug 29 (DN) Despite repealing emergency regulations, suspects arrested for acts of terrorism will not be set free, experts said. Most opined that those who have specific evidence against them and charged for criminal offences could be prosecuted even under the normal law. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that those charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) would remain in custody and action would be initiated. more..

Budget deficit inches up

Aug 29 (Island) The govt fiscal deficit for the six months of this year inched up a marginal 0.74 percent to Rs. 216.9 billion as expenditures growth picked up speed while taxation revenues continued to show healthy growth. Total outstanding govt debt increased by Rs. 524.6 billion from a year earlier to Rs. 4.8 trillion as at end June. The budget deficit for the first half of 2011 is estimated at 3.42 percent of GDP, compared to 3.84 percent a year ago. more..

GL goes globe-trotting

Aug 29 (DM) External Affairs Minister G L Peiris will begin a tour of six countries from today, and it will end in Geneva, where the UN Human Rights Session is to be held. Accordingly, Prof. Peiris will travel to Singapore, the Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Serbia, Jordan and Switzerland. During his visit to Korea, the minister is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Kim Hwangsik, the Speaker and Members of the Foreign Affairs and and Trade Committee of the National Assembly of more..

Grease Yakkas in Puttalam

Aug 29 (SL) When Pakeer Thambi Kalladi Picchai (62) first heard about grease yakkas he thought it was a lie. But on Friday August 19 he went through an experience that left no doubts in his mind about the reality of their existence. Picchai lives on a farm spanning five acres. The area of Puttalam he lives in, Karaithivu, Arikkavillu consists of vast stretches of farmland. Houses are located far apart from each other. more..

Sri Lanka June exports up 32% to $816mn

Aug 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's June 2011 exports rose 32 percent to 816 million US dollars from a year ago helped up strong growth in shipments of apparel as well as tea and rubber, the central bank said. Imports in June 2011 shot up 50 percent to 1.7 billion US dollars with a 66 percent increase in investment goods to 377 million US dollars. The trade gap in June 2011 expanded 72 percent to 850 million US dollars from the previous year. more..

Don’t hang them, TNA tells India

Aug 29 (DM) The TNA which acted as a proxy of the LTTE had requested India not to hang the three convicts of the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the party said. Prison authorities in India set the dates to hang the convicts - Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. They were convicted of plotting the assassination of the Prime Minister, an incident which shocked India. He was assassinated by a female suicide bomber of the LTTE at an election rally. more..

Facebook to probe ‘Grease Devil’

Aug 29 (SL) The social media website Facebook has decided to investigate the fan page for the “grease devil” after Sri Lankan authorities had lodged a complaint. Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team Engineer Rohana Palliyaguru told said that a complaint against the fan page had been submitted to Facebook. He said that Facebook has responded by saying that they will investigate the fan page and its contents and decide the next step. more..

Unidentified Body Discovered

Aug 30 (NN) A body of a murdered woman was found in the Galgamuwa Siyambalangamuwa reservoir recently. According to Police, the body was discovered while floating along the Galgamuwa Siyambalangamuwa reservoir on 17 August 2011. After initial investigations and the post mortem, Galgamuwa Magistrate Mrs. Pradeepa Abeywickrama ruled that death was caused by strangulation and not drowning. Initial investigations revealed the murdered woman was 30 – 35 years of age. more..

Tamil scholar K. Sivathamby remembered

Aug 30 (Hindu) “His fellow professors planned to celebrate his 80th birthday in a big way. But, they couldn't. On July 6, we got news of his death,” said N. Muthumohan, Head of Department of Sikh Philosophy, Madurai Kamaraj University. He was speaking at the memorial meeting on Tamil scholar Karthigesu Sivathamby organised by the Tamil Nadu Kalai Ilakkiya Perumandram. The event saw the participation of students, intellectuals and Tamil scholars who had the opportunity to interact with Mr. K.Sivathamby. more..

'Rajiv would have saved death row convicts had he been alive'

Aug 30 (PTI) After appealing to Congress President Sonia Gandhi to save the lives of three convicts facing death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today said that "young noble man" would have saved them if he was alive. "Had young leader Rajiv Gandhi been alive today, that noble man would have definitely come forward to save the lives of Santhan, Perarivalan and Murugan, responding to the voice of true Tamils and more..

Teenage girl screams in bus Man nabbed with porn on phone

Aug 30 (LP) Mobile porn display in buses to embarrass young girls is on the increase. Police have so far nabbed two men in the act in Piliyandala and Mt Lavinia while two teenage girls have been embarrassed. Police believe that there is an organized gang of men boarding buses at off peak hours and sit next to teenage girls to display porn on their mobile phones. A Police Official said policemen in civvies will be deployed to arrest the culprits on may routes. more..

Welikada Police fail to fabricate charges against JVP members arrested

Aug 30 (LT) It is reported that Welikada Police has not taken any legal action against the two JVP members who were arrested yesterday (28) while pasting posters. The two JVP members who were later released yesterday had come to Court with their lawyers today morning. However, the police officers of Welikada Police had told them legal action was not taken as there were no reason to charge them. Accordingly, the police have indirectly admitted the two more..

Rock blocks Sri Lanka's flagship port

Aug 30 (AT) Sri Lanka's Hambantota port project, the showpiece of its mounting cooperation with China, has run into a formidable obstacle. A massive rock, its tip barely seven meters from the ocean's surface, at the port's entrance is blocking access for deep-draft ships. The port was inaugurated by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in November last year amid much fanfare and marked by the ceremonial berthing of a Sri Lankan ship, Jetliner. more..

'Lies Agreed Upon’ video Gets positive feedback overseas

Aug 30 (LP) Positive responses have been received by the Sri Lankan Missions overseas on the video, ‘Lies Agreed Upon’ which was screened outside Sri Lanka during the past two weeks, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilake Amunugama said. The video, "Lies Agreed Upon” which was produced to counter the misleading documentaries on Sri Lanka by Britain’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ which attempts to tarnish the Sri Lankan image, more..

Sri Lanka stocks down, heavy trading in HVA

Aug 30 (LBO) Stock market fell Monday after two days of gains with heavy trading seen in newly listed tea exporter HVA Foods which went over 46 rupees after recently trading below its issue price, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed at 6,837.35, down 0.23 percent (15.61 points) while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.01 percent (0.86 points) to close at 6,222.94, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover was 2.6 billion rupees. more..

In Sri Lanka, a 'negative peace' prevails

Aug 30 (AJ) Seriously injured in a shell attack, his Tamil Tiger comrades dead, Mano (pseudonym) tried to end his own life by biting on the cyanide pill that, like all hardened fighters, he wore around his neck. But an elderly woman nearby rushed to give him water and he survived. Alone, he languished on the sand for six days, surrounded by the bodies of his friends and the ruins of war. "There wasn't anybody there, not a drop of water. more..

Sri Lanka Aug y/y inflation seen steady at 7.5 pct

Aug 30 (Reuters) Annual inflation is expected to have stabilised at 7.5 percent, unchanged from July, measured on a new index with a 2006/7 base year, according to a Reuters poll of 14 analysts, while 12-month moving average inflation is expected to have inched up to a record 7.2 percent under the new index, from last month's 7.0 percent. If the supply side has moderated. The central bank says headline inflation is expected to decline further in the months more..

Ranil invited me to be deputy in the UNP – Rajitha

Aug 30 (LT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe invited him to accept the deputy leadership of the party says the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajithe Senaratne. He revealed this at a meeting held in Hambantota recently. Speaking further he said, “Ranil asked me to join the party again promising the deputy leadership of the party. He asked me to join the UNP to topple the govt. He did this by an SMS. I sent back an SMS asking him to keep the invitation for himself. more..

President hands over credentials to Dr Nonis, new Sri Lankan HC for UK

Aug 30 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over credentials to the newly appointed Sri Lankan High Commissioner- designate to the United Kingdom, Dr Chris Nonis, recently at Temple Trees. According to the reliable sources, Dr Nonis will assume duties this week, on 01 September. This high profile position was vacant for many months since the former High Commissioner Nihal Jayasinghe left the office on 31 December 2010 after finishing his tenure. more..

1000 children 'still missing' since war

Aug 30 (BBC) Nearly 1000 children who went missing during the final phase of the war against the Tamil Tigers are still unaccounted for, authorities say. Almost 600 children out of 1800 have been reunited with their families by UNICEF with the coordination of several organizations, Vavuniya GA PSM Charles told BBC. According to UNICEF reports, 30 percent of those disappeared children were last seen in govt controlled areas and another 64 percent were recruited by the LTTE. more..

No change in UNP’s mayoral candidates

Aug 30 (SL) The UNP’s mayoral candidate for the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, Sunethra Ranasinghe says the party has decided to name mayoral candidates for the 23 local govt bodies that is to face elections on October 8. Ranasinghe has made this statement in response to a request made by UNP MP Mohan Lal Grero to keep the mayoral candidature open for the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council. Grero has threatened severe action if the party leadership does not more..

Tamil detainees speak out after visas refused

Aug 30 (ABC) Four Tamil asylum seekers have expressed their concerns from inside immigration detention about facing long-term, indefinite custody. The men have been assessed as genuine refugees, but had their visas knocked back after being declared security threats by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). They are part of a group of 38 immigration detainees who are directly petitioning the United Nations to be immediately released into the community. more..

Local medical check ups mandatory for Qatar Jobs

Aug 30 (GDI) Qatar has made it mandatory to have local medical check ups for foreign job seekers including Sri Lankans. This rule is applicable for the nationals of 11 countries. The Medical Commission and the Ministry of Interior in Qatar will soon work out a mechanism to implement this proposal, which was approved by the Cabinet Ministers of Qatar recently. The Supreme Council for Health and the Interior Ministry of Qatar had said that the rule would apply to job seekers more..

Sri Lankan cricketers warned over faith healers

Aug 30 (SMH) Sri Lankan players have been told they must notify team medical staff if they plan to consult faith healers following the drugs ban being served on opening batsman Upul Tharanga. The team's new Australian physiotherapist, Steve Mount, said players involved in the Test series against Australia had been made well aware of the potential pitfalls of bypassing more orthodox treatment for injuries. Tharanga, 26, was suspended for three months leading up to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 29.08.2011

The long afterlife of war in teardrop isle

Aug 30 (Tehelka) It is the first truth of war, however deplorable, that civilians die. The first casualty in war is the civilian. The real victims of war are the civilians. Particularly in civil wars, which are about national survival. In a war zone, they are everywhere, fleeing on foot, on bicycles or handcarts or on somebody’s back, through drenching rain or blazing sun. Wandering around in circles, with no destination, to escape the hail of gunfire and rockets, more..