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Sajith Camp hits back at Dayasiri

July 13 (Island) Colombo District UNP MP Sujeeva Senasinghe yesterday lashed out at Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera for throwing his weight behind UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for personal gain. Dayasiri Jayasekera should be ashamed of his conduct, MP Senasinghe said, accusing the newly appointed Deputy Chief Whip of playing a double game in spite of publicly declaring his support for post-poll party reforms. more..

'Lanka’s economy proving resilient'

July 13 (DN) ‘Sri Lanka’s economy was not affected by the world economic downturn since the government has implemented timely and adequate measures during the global economic crisis which hampered economies of many countries, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The President was addressing newly recruited management trainees for the People’s Bank at a ceremony at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

MP threatens cops

July 13 (NN) UPFA Galle district MP Nishantha Muttuhettigama today threatened the police after a monk began a fast demanding that a police OIC be transferred. The monk staged the protest at the Galle town calling for the transfer of the Akmeemana OIC over several allegations. The monk claimed that the OIC had failed to carry out his duties properly especially when dealing with some crime related cases in the area. more..

Appeal Court debarred from going into allegations against President

July 13 (Island) Although General Fonseka alleges ulterior motive in the court martial against him, the Court of Appeal is debarred from going into the allegation. The court martial had been convened and the decision confirmed by the Head of State, who has immunity under Article 35 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, Counsel Sanjeewa Jayewardene told the Court of Appeal yesterday. more..

No more power cuts: Minister

July 13 (DM) While maintaining that the CEB cannot inform about emergency power cuts in advance, Minister Champika Ranawaka assured that there would be no power cuts in the future as the CEB possessed the capacity to cater to the country’s entire demand for electricity. Minister Ranawaka said that power failures experienced in the past few weeks came as a result of technical faults of the thermal power plants that more..

Sri Lanka IPOs fall from grace

July 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's initial public offer fever has been cooling for a while and several recent IPO stocks have fizzled out after spiking initial. But Tuesday's debut of Softlogic Holdings was particularly bitter medicine. Softlogic, which has interests in healthcare and consumer durables, opened at 25 rupees, below the issue price of 29, the first post-war IPO to do so. The stock dipped as low as 16.20 rupees before more..

Sri Lanka seeking to catch Singapore with China

July 13 (BN) Sri Lanka aims to create an Asian shipping hub capable of competing against Singapore and Dubai by pouring $3.4 billion into expanding ports with Chinese help, after the island’s container volumes surged to a record. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s goal of capitalizing on the end of a 26-year civil war to build a trade gateway to emerging markets makes shares in John Keells Holdings Plc (JKH) and Aitken Spence & Co. Plc a buy, more..

Saudi death sentence for maid shakes govt

July 13 (IPS) The Sri Lanka government is considering a further tightening of age restrictions on women leaving the country to become domestic workers. But some analysts say this is a quick-fix solution to the problem of women running afoul of the law abroad. Sri Lankan authorities have been grappling with ways of restricting the flow of migrant women abroad due to complaints of non-payment or delayed wages, sexual abuse, and long working hours more..

One in four women face harassment

July 13 (DM) In a shocking exposure it has been found that one in every four women in the country are being subjected to harassment daily when using public transport. Deputy Transport Minister Rohana Dissanayake yesterday said these figures were found during a research conducted recently. The Minister said a large number of women were being subjected to verbal and physical abuse in buses and trains each day. more..

'US$ 162mn ruling against CPC would send wrong signals'

July 13 (Island) The Commercial Court of London ruling in favour Standard Chartered Bank in the action filed against Ceylon Petroleum Corporation for US$ 162 million plus interest, would send the wrong signals to the international investor community says UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva. The trained economist charged that authorities could no longer say that had not known about the intricacies of oil hedging deals, more..

Sri Lanka to minimise cargo screening

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Customs department plans to speed up cargo clearance by automating documentation and introducing systems to screen only high and medium-risk shipments, an official said. The present manual system of selecting cargo for screening will be automated and shipments determined as low-risk will not be checked, he said. "We are going to change to a system which will decided what to examine," he said. "Only high and medium risk cargo will be chosen for documentary and more..

Voters 'intimidated' in Jaffna by UPFA

July 14 (BBC) The ruling coalition and a Tamil coalition partner are accused of intimidating opposition supporters and breaking election laws in the run up to local polls next week. The TNA accused the ruling UPFA of not allowing the TNA to conduct their election campaign. Former MP MK Sivajilingam and E Saravanabhavan, MP, particularly accused ruling coalition party EPDP led by Minister Douglas Devananda of preventing them campaigning in the Delft islands off Jaffna. more..

Sri Lanka to count its elephants for first time

July 14 (AP) Sri Lanka is preparing for its first census of elephants in the island's forests to help protect the endangered species against the loss of its habitat. The head of the Wildlife Department, Chandrawansa Pathiraja, said the census will run over two days starting on the full moon of next month, which falls on Aug. 13. Elephants will be counted as they come to drink from water holes, reservoirs and tanks. more..

Academics challenge 'divine findings'

July 14 (BBC) Academics at the University of Kelaniya have requested the vice chancellor to safeguard the reputation of the university by taking action on those involved in "extraordinary methods" of research claiming divine intervention. In an open letter to the vice chancellor, academics at the Faculty of Science say that 'findings' by some researchers led by the dean on alleged arsenic in water leading to kidney disease in the North Central Province have been controversial. more..

Iraq to fly home despairing Sri Lankan workers

July 14 (AP) Iraq's government is offering to pay a group of Sri Lankan workers $3,000 and a one-way flight home after months of begging for food and shelter because their employer went belly-up. Ten of the Sri Lankans tried to kill themselves in May before local officials in Iraq's southern Maysan province intervened and promised to help. Govt spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the workers would be paid and flown back to Sri Lanka, which they left in 2009 to take construction jobs in Iraq. more..

Canadian Tamil Congress sues global terror expert

July 14 (IANS) The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), which claims to represent over 300,000 Tamils of Sri Lankan origin in Canada, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Sri Lankan-born terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna. The lawsuit, filed here, stems from his allegedly defamatory statements made against the Canadian Tamil Congress in an interview to a newspaper a few months ago. Gunaratna had alleged that the LTTE is "operating in Canada under the name of more..

Lanka war crimes: Vaiko accuses govt of betraying Tamils

July 14 (IT) MDMK chief Vaiko has demanded an embargo against Sri Lanka for war crimes and genocide. Just a few days back, Headlines Today had aired the Channel 4 documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields - a clinching evidence of gruesome execution of unarmed men, women and children in the island nation. In an exclusive interview to Headlines Today, Vaiko accused the Indian government of betraying Tamils in Sri Lanka and hoped that justice would be done soon. more..

Minister Basil Rajapaksa inaugurates 3-in-1 Projects in North

July 14 (GDI) Though the govt’s domestic economic revival project Divineguma is being successfully implemented in the country, it could not be introduced in the north on time. Minister of Economic Development today, launching the scheme at Thirunelveli in Jaffna distributed agricultural and fishing equipment worth of five million rupees among the farmers and the Samurdhi beneficiaries under the Gamidiriya, Divi Neguma and Samurdhi program to increase the income levels of the inhabitants. more..

Hillary to visit Chennai, but mum's the word on Sri Lanka

July 14 (Rediff) United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will make her first-ever visit to Chennai after co-chairing the second US-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi on July 19 with her counterpart External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, will not discuss any foreign policy issues while in the Tamil Nadu state, specifically Sri Lanka. The island-nation, incidentally, is under tremendous US pressure to more..

TN actress to face ban after SL visit

July 14 (DM) Tamil Nadu actress Tamanna Bhatia who is rated among the top actresses of Tamil Cinema, is likely to face a ban in India due to her recent visit to Sri Lanka for a film shoot, Indian Media reports said. Most of the organizations in Tamil Nadu including Tamil Film Industry are in strong protest against the alleged atrocities on the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The industry has decided not to go to the Island for any film shoot. Also, it decided to impose ban on those who go there for film shoot. more..

'N/E provinces should not be merged'

July 14 (DM) Chief Minister, Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan said the Northern and the Eastern provinces should not be amalgamated under any circumstance and that the Provincial Councils should be vested with powers under the 13th Amendment. He made this comment during a visit to the Southern Provincial Council yesterday. During his visit he studied the administrative functions of the Southern Provincial Council and watched the Council Meeting. more..

Govt. should auction property to pay SCB: JVP

July 14 (DM) The JVP said today that the govt should auction the properties of the Cabinet Ministers, the Central Bank Governor and other officials responsible for the hedging deal and find money to pay US $ 162 million to Standard Charted Bank as ordered by a London court. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the Cabinet, with the total connivance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, approved this hedging deal which led to this financial loss eventually. more..

Ranil backs Sanga

July 14 (NN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe today backed the statement made by former Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara at Lords. Wickramasinghe said that the Sri Lanka cricket board and Sports Ministry have misunderstood the speech he made and there was no need for an inquiry. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had ordered an inquiry into the speech made by Sangakkara as he had spoken about the past cricket board and about politics in the game. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom to invest Rs5bn in Mobitel

July 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka Telecom on Wednesday said it has decided to invest 5 billion rupees ($45.6 million) to expand its mobile arm, Mobitel. "This investment... will be on staggered basis and is expected to be made within a period of six months. Funds of this investment will be used by Mobitel for expansion plans in terms of coverage, capacity, and network modernisation," the company said in a disclosure to the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Bicycle lifeline for returnees

July 14 (IRIN) Some 40,000 bicycles abandoned in Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war have been distributed for free to returnees in the north, say govt officials. "We knew the bicycles were going to play a vital role. This was one of the first things we did when people started to return to their villages," Rupavthi Keetheswaran, the GA for Kilinochchi District, said. At the end of the war on 18 May 2009, the bicycles, many in poor condition, were found abandoned along more..

Vijitha, Arjuna and Ajith freed from one accusation

July 14 (LT) Six persons including Messrs Vijith Herath, Arjuna Ranatunga and Ajith Kumara were freed from one accusation in the case filed against them who were arrested in Galle on 12th August last year at a demonstration demanding the release of former Army Commander, Mr Sarath Fonseka and several other demands. When the case was taken up before the Galle Magistrate Mr Chamara Tennekoon, he ordered to release them since there was no evidence to prove the relevant accusation. more..

Sri Lanka to revive export show after end of war

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to revive an international export exhibition after 15 years to promote the island's exports and attract foreign investments after the end of its 30-year ethnic war. The event is being organised by the Export Development Board responsible for promoting exports during March 28 - 30, 2012 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Center in Colombo. It will consist of an exhibition, symposiums, and corporate events, the EDB said in a statement. more..

President Rajapaksa spearheads Northern polls campaign in bid to prove Tamil people are with govt

July 14 (DBS) President Rajapaksa will spearhead huge propaganda effort to enable good performance by UPFA at forthcoming local authority polls in North. The president will spend at least 3 days in Kilinochchi & Jaffna districts this week & invigorate the UPFA campaign. President wants to uplift “socially” underprivileged sections of Tamil society. They will be given priority in land,housing & job allocations. more..

‘Respice Finem’

July 14 (DM) It will go down in the history as one of the best speeches ever delivered by a Sri Lankan on international threshold, or it may turn out to be a piece of literature studied by generations to come. But none of this will serve its original purpose, if instead of netting the culprits, the powers that be take to punish the man who was brave enough to call a spade a spade knowing very well he had so much to lose by doing so. People would have remembered Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara as more..

Does the Free Media Movement love old wine?

July 14 (DM) The right to information is something that’s made the news. Indeed it should not be in the news but ought to pervade everything associated with ‘news’. We are not privileged in this regard. A few weeks ago I commented in this column about the burying of Karu Jayasuriya’s Private Member’s move to institute Right to Information legislation. The shrill objections from the Govt benches indicated nothing if not regime-unease regarding the use to which more..

Thanankilappu now cleared of mines; Villagers return home

July 14 (Cimic) Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Sunday expressed that Thanankilappu area in Chavakachcheri will soon see a vast change under the govt’s development project for the North, Uthuru Wasanthaya. He expressed hopes that life of people in Thanankilappu will be improved than it was earlier as price of their lands rises on par with reconstruction of A-32 Mannar-Jaffna road via Poonaryn and reach for other facilities such as electricity and water. more..

Sangakkara speaks on being Sri Lankan

July 14 (DM) Cricket is not merely a sport in Sri Lanka. Like in the rest of the sub continent, it is a passion. Arguably it is Sri Lankas secular religion with millions of adherents, characterized by a zealous commitment and passion. In Sri Lanka, the high priests of cricket are the nationally treasured team and the icon who serves as its captain. The high standing and credibility of the national cricket captains are among other ways demonstrated through two of them more..

What is the Rajapaksa regime really offering in terms of a political settlement?

July 14 (TC) There is to be another parliamentary select committee to find a political settlement of the ethnic conflict. The simple question is why, given that there have been many committees, all party ones, the famous Mangala Moonesinghe Committee way back when and the more recent APRC. All labored and reported and that was that. There are also talks between the TNA and the regime. Will they continue and if so what relationship will they have to the more..

Media and the suffering of the Tamil people

July 14 (DM) As a Tamil domiciled in Australia I served the Tamil community by editing the only Tamil community newspaper, UTHAYAM. I ran it for 14 years My experiences in dealing with the Tamil community, both in Australia and in Sri Lanka, make me feel sad about the callous way in which the media is exploiting the suffering of our Tamil people for self-serving ends. I think I could speak as an independent voice with no allegiances to the politics of more..

Editorial: Belling the cat, HRW way

July 14 (Island) The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon the US government to investigate former President George W. Bush, his Vice President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA Director George Tenet for having authorised torture and war crimes. HRW, in a damning report on the US, urges other countries to prosecute American officials involved in crimes against detainees in accordance with international law. It is not only Bush and other bigwigs of more..

Editorial: Help teachers regain the lost dignity

July 14 (DM) Teaching has continued to be revered as one of the most noble of professions over the years, in this country. As the professionals who mould and educate the future generations of the country, nowhere has their contribution to nation building proved crucial to the country as now. Yet, the multitude of discriminations and the hardships faced by the teachers of this country have only provided fodder for disappointment and little else. more..

LTTE diaspora strains every sinew to wage 'economic war'

July 14 (SO) Foreign Minister Prof.G.L. Peiris says the LTTE, which suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan forces, have shifted their strategy to wage an 'economic onslaught' on Sri Lanka. The Minister said he was happy that the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) has initiated a probe on the Channel 4 documentary since this was a calculated effort by the LTTE diaspora who are straining every sinew to wage this economic war. more..

Traffic accidents in Sri Lanka: Blame the buses

July 14 (SL) Sri Lanka had 2,515 fatal accidents last year and 1,102 so far in 2011. Any accident is a bad scene, but in Sri Lankan they’re quite often horrific. People walk literally on the road and lorries and buses overtake blind. Everyone drives a bit mad and madness ensues. The Sunday Times has a good breakdown of statistics on car accidents vs. vehicles registered, but they never get to the emergent point. Who causes a disproportionate share of accidents? more..

International pressure bugs the Mahinda govt

July 14 (SL) The International Criminal Court, acted in a manner which was expected by the larger international community, through the issuance of arrest warrants on Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif Ali Islam and the Head of the Secret Service of Libya. Though this was proforma for many nations it jolted the govt of Sri Lanka. The warrants went out for flouting International Humanitarian Laws and for the violation of Human Rights. It was to Muammar Gaddafi that President Rajapaksa turned, more..

Secretary defence declares open Navy restaurant Lighthouse Gallery

July 14 (MoD) At the invitation of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake, Secretary of Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared open the Navy restaurant, "Lighthouse Galley", located overlooking the Colombo Lighthouse on 11th July 2011. Chief of Defence Staff, Service Commanders, IGP and top management officials from leading Five Star hotels in Colombo were also present on the occasion. more..