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Setback for Rajapaksa's reconciliation

July 27 (AT) Local election results in Sri Lanka indicate that while President Mahinda Rajapaksa can still count on solid support in the Sinhala south, his post-war development strategy to address Tamil alienation has failed to cut ice with Tamils in the north and east. The TNA exceeded expectations to take control of 18 of 26 local bodies in the north and east in the polls on Saturday. Another Tamil party, the TULF, took two local councils - both in Killinochchi district more..

SL talks illegal migration

July 27 (NN) Sri Lanka has had discussions with New Zealand, Australia and Canada on the issue of illegal migration. The discussion was held during External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris’s ongoing visit to Bali, Indonesia. Peiris had bilateral discussions with Murray McCully, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand. Among the matters discussed was the issue of illegal migration, in the context of regional security. more..

Peace-broker’s peace breaks

July 27 (DM) The immediate silence that pervaded after every thudding sound of a bomb was disturbing. The cries of agony that followed were even more disturbing. Those who died never came back to life. Some of them went on their final journeys without limbs. Those who were not in the wrong place at the wrong time, rejoiced over their sheer luck to have survived to live another day. Those were the sentiments of the public, who irrespective of their religion and ethnicity, kept thinking more..

What the local council election results foretell

July 27 (DM) The 65 results disclosed in the mini election reveals a one party domination in the South (UPFA) and the North (ITAK). The call is close only in the constituencies that do not have a Tamil domination where a keen contest was seen between the UPFA and the ITAK. It is not the defeat that should disturb the UNP, which was expected, but the margins displayed in the majorities that are alarmingly stupendous. For the return of the UNP to power requires a tsunami and not a tiny wave. more..

Economistic Thesis invalidated at northern elections

July 27 (LG) Defeats suffered by the ruling alliance at the local authority elections in the North would have come as a disappointment to the government, which registered its accustomed victories elsewhere in the country. For the past month a formidable array of government ministers, said to be as many as 40, are reported to have spent much time campaigning in the North. This included President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself. more..

We never gave false promises or resorted to kindle flames of racism - Deva

July 27 (LG) “We, having contested from the UPFA at the local government election held in the Northern Province yesterday, won 03 local bodies with overwhelming majority whilst losing marginally at another two. More than 70 of our candidates have been selected at this election. At this juncture, I first wish to convey my sincere thanks and that of the contestants from my party to all those people who voted and supported us in every respect trusting the government”. more..

Magistrate does not see Manel, a six-yeared remanded

July 27 (LG) All Magistrates in Sri Lanka are legally empowered to visit and inspect the conditions of pretrial detainees in prisons. This measure is introduced to stop torturing and inhumanly treating pretrial detainees in prisons. Detaining a suspect in remand prison for over six years is a blatant form of torture. Suspect number 760, W. Manel is detained in Welikada women’s ward for six years. Her case (bearing number B 2585) is heard at the Hulfsdrof Magistrate Court. more..

A winning partnership with a home grown coach

July 27 (ST) May be it was the present financial constraints that really mooted this idea. Or it may because the new interim committee’s cricket think tank led by former Sri Lanka opening batsman Sidath Wettimuny has opted to look at the needs of the changing Lankan challenge from a different perspective. Yet, going for home grown talent is indeed good for the growth of the game in a Lankan way, many a pundit agrees. more..

Petroleum hedging goes belly-up

July 27 (LB) he Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) lost its case against Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) on all counts at the Commercial Court (Queen’s Bench) of the High Court in London. Justice Hamblen delivering a 575 paragraph judgement that runs to some 200 to 300 pages dismissed CPC’s case on all counts and upheld SCB’s claim for $162 million. Since actions by Citibank and Deutsche Bank in arbitration on similar count are pending and likely to be influenced by this judgement more..

Mahinda aura waning, internal and international battles ahead

July 27 (SL) “Patta Pal Boru” so said the President in a telephone conversation he initiated to the Chairman of this newspaper on Tuesday July 19, refering to the main story carried in The Sunday Leader of July 17, 2011. He added that this newspaper was attacking him personally and he could also do so. An eerie reminder of his call to the founder Editor of The Sunday Leader the late Lasantha Wickrematunge, which he recorded verbatim, was not lost on his brother. more..

Millions spent to promote agriculture but food imports continue

July 27 (SL) The govt has so far spent over Rs. 1.6 billion on the Api Wavamu Rata Nagamu programme aimed at uplifting the agriculture sector and building a self-sufficient country. Nevertheless, the government continues to import food items to meet the local demand. The Api Wavamu Rata Nagamu programme was launched in 2008 for a period of three years that was to end this year. However, the Agriculture Ministry has received Cabinet approval to more..

Improved international ratings and assessment of the economy

July 27 (ST) Three international agencies upgraded their ratings and outlook for the Sri Lankan economy during the last fortnight. Their assessments are of much value for the country’s foreign borrowing and foreign investment flows. The improved ratings were due to the economic growth performance of last year and the first quarter of this year; improved fiscal outturn and expectation of further fiscal consolidation; and the containment of inflation. The prospect of these more..

Twenty-eight years gone and still with “Sinhala Nittaewo”

July 27 (SL) Writing about “Nittaewo” of Ceylon, Fredrick Lewis said, they were more human-like in appearance, short and powerful with large hands and long, hooked nails similar to the talons of an eagle. Hugh Nevill wrote, the Nittaewo lived in small groups of 15 to 20, were savage and they tore into the belly of the prey with their talon like claws. They took away children of the Veddahs and was thus wiped out by Veddahs, say both writers. Twenty eight years ago this Sunday, more..

'If Parliament does not act, fight on corruption will be on the steets'

July 27 (LB) UNP National List MP Eran Wickremaratne says that the government must move in swiftly to weed out alleged corruption at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the country’s richest sporting body. In an interview, the UNP MP warned that if parliament fails to act, the game of cricket will become increasingly irrelevant -- while leading to the formation of a scary society. Excerpts: Q: There have been a spate of allegations directed at the government by more..

Editorial: C-4 and CBK

July 27 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga delivering the Palakidnar memorial oration 2011 last week drove some valid points home as regards minority rights. She stressed the need to protect the rights of minority communities, especially the Tamils. One could not agree with her more! This country, as we keep arguing in these columns, does not belong to any particular ethnic community. Instead, all ethnic and religious groups, big or small, belong to it. more..

Editorial: Give equal place to all forms of medicine

July 27 (DM) Despite the hopes and boasts of Sri Lanka becoming a model and hub of development in Asia, the lack of a national health policy, a national policy on food and nutrition and a national medicinal and drugs policy among other health issues have made Sri Lanka a sick nation. Most of us are sick most of the time and hospitals are crowded like market places, though the richer people of the country have access to the marvelous methods of modern medicine. more..

The Holes in the Darusman Defence – Examining the probable events

July 27 (GV) Last week, I attended a seminar conducted by the Colombo-based Marga Institute, a think tank devoted to studying and influencing human development in Sri Lanka. Marga is in the process of putting together a review of the UN Secretary General’s advisory panel report on Sri Lanka (the well-known Darusman Report), which will analyze several aspects of this document, including its legal credibility; the manner in which it makes its more..

Construction to begin on Tsunami Research Institute

July 27 (DM) The Cultural and Arts Affairs Ministry said that the construction of the Tsunami Research Institute and Museum which will showcase some of the remaining items from the 2004 tsunami as well as tsunami research technology will begin next week. Ministry Secretary, Wimal Rubasinghe said that the preliminary work of the long awaited project has been completed and construction will begin on August 7. The Research Institution and Museum which has been designed by more..

Monk in line UC chairmanship

July 27 (Island) For the first time in history a Buddhist monk is certain to be elected as the Chairman of the Embilipitiya Urban Council. He is Ven. Wewelduwe Gnanapraha thera, Chief Incumbent of the Walawegama Viharaya. He has obtained the highest number of preferential votes with 5,895. During the previous election he was shot at and his posters and cut outs destroyed by the supporters of the opposition as well as members of the ruling party as they were more..

Public servants to keep fit

July 27 (DM) As a solution to the growing health problems among public servants due to the lack of physical exercise, Horana Divisional Secretary Nishanthi Jayasinghe and her staff members are to engage in physical exercises once a week after work with the objective of improving the health of public sector employees and keeping them fit. The programme intended to build a public service manned by healthy and enthusiastic employees in more..

Mid-wives threaten strike

July 27 (Island) The Govt Midwifery Services Association warned they would stage a protest if the Provincial Health Director does not cancel the transfer order given to two midwives serving at the Moratuwa District Hospital at Lunawa until replacements were provided. Deputy General Secretary of the GMSA, Devika Kidituwakku said that the two midwives at the Moratuwa District Hospital had been given a transfer to the Moratuwa MOH office by the Provincial Director Health Services. more..

Soldiers's body exhumed on suspicion after 11 months

July 27 (BBC) Family members of a soldier from a Sri Lankan elite force suspect foul play over the death of their loved one. The mother of a STF soldier, whose body was exhumed on Tuesday called upon the Sri Lanka military not to harm the lives of soldiers. Twenty year old STF soldier, N.P. Madhusanka died last August was buried as a civilian after the body was handed to them by the Army in Vavuniya, his mother P.A.D Ariyawathie who was present at the exhumation said. more..

'Govt.’s blatant abuse of state resources'

July 27 (Island) The ruling party has always won local elections, but the real cause for concern was the abuse of State resources, public servants, intimidation of opposition candidates and bribery resorted to by govt candidates, at Saturday’s polls to 65 local councils, the UNP said. Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga said that considering the extent to which election laws were violated and the intimidation of opposition candidates, the govt had performed "poorly", more..

Kuwaiti NGO gives 42 houses to Muslim refugees in Mannar

July 27 (FT) A Kuwaiti welfare NGO, ‘Kuwait Joint Relief Committee’ has extended housing assistance to the value of Rs. 25.23 million to the Muslim refugees in Mannar. Using this donation, 42 new houses will be built in Nochchikulam village in Mannar District for the displaced Muslim refugees of the area, says Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, who manages the relief and construction. The MoU between “Sri Lanka Jamaathe Islami”, more..

Send complaints in writing-CPC

July 27 (DM) The CEYPETCO requests motorists who have lodged complaints about damages to their vehicles following the pumping of adulterated petrol, to send the complaints once again in writing.A Petroleum Industries Ministry spokesman said the particulars provided by the motorists over the phone were not sufficient to assess the damage and determine the amount of compensation. “The marketing division of the CEYPETCO has received about 2,500 written complaints and more..

Agri exhibition in Vavuniya in honour of Northern farmers

July 27 (Island) The decision of the govt to hold the fifth Govi Sathiya Exhibition in Vavuniya from August 1 to 5 would be a boon to the Northern farmers, who would be taught many new methods of cultivation especially using solar powered drip irrigation methods to eliminate waste of valuable water resources, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture K. E. Karunathilake said. He said "each and every farmer must visit the exhibition without more..

NBRO to issue landslide warning if needed

July 27 (DM) National Building Research Bureau (NBRO) yesterday said it will issue a landslide warning in Nuwara Eliya District if needed. The Nuwaraeliya district is currently hit by a bout of bad weather with several families being displaced. NBRO Head of Landslide Studies R.M.S. Bandara said that a warning will be issued if needed. He said there is no necessity for any warnings right now as there are no major threats. He said the NBRO is continuously monitoring the situation in the district. more..

SLFPers take to streets in Hingurakgoda against party Gen. Secy.

July 27 (Island) Hundreds of UPFA supporters took to the streets, in Hingurakgoda yesterday, condemning SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena for asking people to vote for only one contestant for the Hingurakkgoda Pradeshiya Sabha at the local government poll concluded on Saturday. The protesters shouted slogans and put up banners which said ‘Down with Minister Sirisena, who acted partially’. A group of women protesters tore large photos of the minister into pieces. more..

‘Jayalalithaa inspired the US squeeze on Lanka’

July 27 (AA) The ruling AIADMK is mighty thrilled at the U.S. congressional committee voting to ban aid to Sri Lanka pending ‘accountability’ over atrocities in the final phase of the Eelam war. Scores of AIADMK seniors, including ministers, have issued big advertisements in Tamil newspapers in Tuesday hailing the American initiative, which they insist was inspired by chief minister Jayalalithaa’s resolutions in the state Assembly demanding that more..

Juvenile kills another over punting dispute

July 27 (Island) A juvenile who was taken into custody in connection with the murder of another youth was produced before Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. He was accused of striking a person with a stone over an altercation at a bookie. The Magistrate observed that the Attorney General’s advice had been sought on whether the case could be heard in the High Court and re-remanded the suspect till July 28. When the case was taken up witness Thusara Dharmapala testifying admitted that he himself was a punter and more..

Regional aquaculture promotion meet

July 27 (DN) Key fisheries policy makers and planners from 18 countries in the Southeast Asia- Pacific Region yesterday met at Hilton Colombo to discuss the merits of regional aquaculture and promotion ahead of the Asian Regional Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture for Food Security, Nutrition and Economic Development to be held on July 28 and 29. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will inaugurate the ministerial meeting tomorrow, which will be attended by Fisheries Ministers from major fishing nations, including more..

Kankasanthurai port restoration works begins, wrecks to be removed

July 27 (Hindu) A mere five days after India and Sri Lanka signed a MoU, work started on a port project that will boost economic activities in Jaffna and its neighbourhood. The Kankasanthurai port was the lifeline of the Northern Province. The LTTE sank six ships in the harbour and in its channel between 1994 and 1996, as the outfit tightened its grip on the Tamil-dominated north. After the LTTE lost out in the war, the Sri Lankan govt has been rebuilding more..

Sun Sea Tamil deported for alleged war crime

July 27 (CBC) A Tamil refugee claimant who arrived off Canada's West Coast aboard the MV Sun Sea has been ordered deported over allegations he committed a war crime in his home country of Sri Lanka. The migrant, who can't be identified, appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board in April, and a written decision was issued this week. The man admitted he was a member of the LTTE, and he testified at his hearing before the refugee board. more..

CEB officially takes over ‘Lakvijaya’

July 27 (DN) The administrative and operational work of the Norochcholai Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant has been officially handed over to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) by the Chinese main contractor ‘China Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation’, said CEB chairman Wimaladarma Abeywickrama. He said that about 90 percent of the work of the power plant is now being operated by the CEB. Chinese assistance will continue for another four weeks to more..

Accountability issues and post-war stability

July 27 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says the govt will not tolerate any party other than the police and armed forces carrying weapons. The Defence Secretary insists any party, including those who once supported Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE will not be allowed retain weapons under any circumstances. In an interview with The Island in the wake of Saturday’s impressive electoral victory, the war veteran discussed a range of contentious issues. more..

Wijeyadasa to contest BASL Presidency

July 27 (Island) President’s Counsel Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe will stand for the Presidency of Bar Association of Sri Lanka. The election for 2012/2013 will be held in February/March 2012. Rajapakshe has held important positions in the BASL. He also functioned as Chairman of Sri Lanka Press Council, Vice President of World Association of Press Councils, Chairman of Rent Board of Review, Managing Director of ANCL, Director of Rupavahini Corporation, Director of National Film Corporation. more..

Govt.-TNA talks on Monday

July 27 (DM) Following the local govt elections which ensured a victory for the TNA in the North and East, the govt will have its next round of talks with the TNA next Monday as part of its plan to evolve a political solution, the party said yesterday TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the TNA had once again received an overwhelming majority from the Tamil people in the North and East at the recent local govt election for a dignified political settlement. “If the govt is serious, it should come up with clear cut proposals,” Mr. Premachandran said. more..

Tug o’ war on technicalities delay Universities returning to normal

July 27 (Island) Academic activities in universities, which had been put on hold due to the trade union action by the teachers, will not commence soon despite the dons suspending their protest, university sources said. The impasse had been caused by a decision taken by the vice chancellors of the universities not to issue fresh letters reappointing university lecturers to the voluntary posts from which they had resigned as part of their trade union action, more..

WFP donates 19 field vehiclese

July 27 (PRIU) The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday donated 19 field vehicles under its capacity development and handover strategy to strengthen govt counterpart operational capacities. The vehicles were handed over to the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Heath, Ministry of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, the Presidential Task Force and District Planning Secretariats of Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar, more..

'Over 20,000 in SL suffer from kidney ailments'

July 27 (Island) "More than 20,000 Sri Lankans suffer from kidney ailments," said Minister Tissa Vitharana. He was participating in the Ecology Farming Summit held on Monday at the Hector Kobbakaduwa Agrarian Researchers and Training Institute. "The WHO is conducting scientific research to find out the cause for the kidney disease, now rapidly spreading in Sri Lanka. The disease progresses slowly and majority of patients do not detect any symptoms until they are in the late stages. more..