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Sri Lanka rejects new war crimes charge

July 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s military Thursday rejected new allegations that its political bosses ordered the execution of surrendering Tamil rebels during the final days of the island’s separatist war. Reacting to a new broadcast from Britain’s Channel 4 that accused defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse of ordering executions, military spokesman Ubaya Medawela dismissed the allegations as “completely false”. more..

High Court frees detained Sri Lankan

July 29 (IBN) The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered a Sri Lankan called Joseph Canute Sripalan Peeris, who was detained at the city airport for figuring in the Interpol’s wanted list a month ago, be set free after it deemed his detention as an unauthorised act of the Indian police. Delivering the order on a petition by Loudru Benilda Peeris, wife of the detained man and a native of Sri Lanka, a division bench observed that since the law does not authorise his detention he should be freed. more..

Sri Lanka develops 5-year tourism strategy

July 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's has formally approved a five year strategy to develop the tourism sector including domestic tourism as arrivals go up after a 30-year war. The cabinet of ministers had approved the plan submitted by the ministry of economic development, headed by minister Basil Rajapaksa. The strategy addresses capacity and manpower requirements, infrastructure development, improving service standards, marketing and promotions, public relations, tourist safety and domestic tourism. more..

Navy denies assault

July 29 (DM) The Sri Lankan Navy today denied reports that it had assaulted over thirty Indian fishermen at high seas on Thursday morning. Navy Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya stated that the Sri Lanka Navy denies assaulting any Indian fishermen and would never do so. He added that contrastingly the Sri Lankan navy had assisted an Indian fishermen whose boat had drifted after its engine stopped functioning and that the boat will be towed to more..

No request made for free transport

July 29 (DM) The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) said that it had not been requested to provide free bus transportation to A/L students despite statements to that extent being made by the Education Minister. “I have not received a request from the Minister or the Ministry to provide these services,” SLTB Chairman, M.D Bandusena said. He said however that it will be considered if a request is made either by the Transport Ministry or the Education Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka shares surge 2.3 pct on easing credit, earnings hope

July 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market jumped 2.3 percent on Thursday in thin trade to a one-week high on hopes of strong quarterly earnings and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relaxing stringent regulations to end margin trading. The main share index gained 2.3 percent or 148.01 points to 6,653.57, its highest since July 20. It fell to a more-than seven month low on Monday to an oversold region, making some stocks attractive. more..

'Karu Jayasuriya has agreed to take over leadership of UNP'

July 29 (NN) UNP co-deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya has agreed to requests to head the party, co-deputy leader Sajith Premadasa told reporters this afternoon. Premadasa said that following consecutive defeats at elections in the country the UNP had to decide if it wants to be reformed or die a natural death. The UNP is currently led by Ranil Wickremasinghe and he has remained in power despite losing consecutive elections since 2004. more..

Jaffna to Lose 3 Parliamentary Seats

July 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated Jaffna district will have its parliamentary seats slashed from nine to six as the Election Commission said the region had witnessed number of voters dropping to half the previous figure of 700,000. The officials said the fall in number of parliamentarians was due to the country's complicated proportional representation system of elections. Vowing to oppose the move, the pro-LTTE TNA which recently swept the local election in the province, more..

Sri Lanka OKs $520 mln loans for loss-making national carriers

July 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's cabinet on Thursday gave permission for its loss-making national air carrier and low-cost sister airline to seek $520 million in loans or equity investments to infuse capital over the five years starting from 2012. The cabinet also approved a request by the Civil Aviation Ministry to authorise the treasury to issue a sovereign guarantee of $270 million immediately to obtain financing from local and foreign banks. With the sovereign guarantee SriLankan, more..

Sri Lanka to abolish emergency laws by year end

July 29 (Bernama) Sri Lanka is to remove controversial emergency laws by the end of this year, Xinhua news agency reported. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that several clauses of the emergency laws have already been removed. "President Mahinda Rajapaksa does not want the emergency laws. We have already removed several clauses and my expectation is that by the end of this year, the laws will be removed completely," more..

Sri Lanka gets its first monk mayor

July 29 (PTI) For the first time ever in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist monk would become the city mayor after winning the highest number of preference votes in the polls. Gnanaprabha, a Buddhist monk from the Sinhala nationalist party JHU will take office as the Chairman of the Urban Council of Embilipitiya, a rural town in the south western Ratnapura district. Gnanaprabha was made to earn his place after he had won the highest number of preference votes in the election of Embilipitiya more..

'Decision to reduce Jaffna parliamentary seats is unfair'

July 29 (AD) The decision taken to reduce the number of parliamentary seats allocated to the Jaffna electorate from ten to six is an unfair one, Spokesman for the TNA Suresh Premachandra stated. The Elections Department earlier today stated that it may reduce the number of allocated seats for the Jaffna electorate to six in view of the decrease in the voter base by 320,000 since 2009. Premachandra stated that many of the civilians in Jaffna had fled to other parts of the country more..

President inaugurates the Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture

July 29 (PRIU) The commitment of the Asian political leadership is essential to collectively overcome the challenges faced by fisheries and aquaculture at present, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa, delivering the keynote address to the Asian Regional Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture for Food Security, Nutrition and Economic Development today (28) at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo. Many policy initiatives such as strong trading standards, more..

CBK & Buddhist Governance

July 29 (LG) I respond to the article ‘CBK: The President who might save Sri Lanka’s lost prestige’ by Ms Pearl Thevanayagam, published in Sri Lanka Guardian. These days, I am driven by my own experiences and mine with the first lady President – Madam Chandrika Kumaratunga was positive. In 2005, after I had completed the assessment of the needs of some groups of Tsunami victims in Batticaloa District I prepared formal proposals – just as I did/do here in Australia to the higher authorities. more..

Paying Tribute to Norwegians

July 29 (LG) I write in response to the article the Sri Lanka Guardian editorial ‘Norway & Sri Lanka’ by I.S. Senguttuvan. It is a very touching tribute to Norwegians who are now family to Tamils. I wrote recently ‘As per my investment in the Ceasefire aspect of the war – manifested through the agreement between the Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe and the LTTE in 2002, Norway was strongly influenced by the faith that Tamils of Northern Sri Lanka had in Norway.’ more..

Navy conducts free medical and school health clinics

July 29 (MoD) As part of the Navy's community welfare projects, two more successful medical and school health clinics were conducted at Uree Primary School at Karainagar and the recently resettled village at Keeramalai on 18th and 22nd July 2011 respectively. They were organized by SLNS Elara and SLNS Agbo with the assistance of the Command Medical Organization. 236 school children and villagers benefited from the clinics. more..

Sinhalese need Devolution to Prevent Indian Invasion

July 29 (LG) This week, I received an email from an active reader of Sri Lanka Guardian, asking me about the Sri Lankan Local Government Election outcomes in Northern Sri Lanka? I wrote: ‘The election results in North are showing that the people are bringing themselves out of the fear of intimidation by either side. Credit goes to both side supporters for keeping the other on fairly acceptable behaviour’. The reader who often expresses special appreciation for more..

Pricking the Conscience on Reminiscences of Black July

July 29 (LG) In July 1983, my Accountant Mr. Vallipuram at the Cooperative Department lived off Castle Street where his neighbor was a notorious Sinhalese thug. After Black July Vallipuram once told me that, that thug was the “assailant select” in his mind, whenever he feared of a racial riot. When violent crowds “visited” him early morning on the Day of Black July around 3.30 a.m. he, his wife and son escaped through the back door in to the premises of the thug, as it was the safest. more..

Stop female harassment in public transport

July 29 (SO) According to the latest reports, it seems Sri Lankan women face rampant sexual harassment in public transport. A research indicated that one in every four women is being subjected to harassment daily when using public transport. Nilanka, 26, a stenographer, is a case in point. For her, going to workplace in a public transport inevitably means putting up with harassment. "Everyday I have to travel in a crowded bus. more..

Govt must realize that Jaffna electors are sensitive, intelligent and wont give in to force

July 29 (TC) I was not entirely surprised by the results of Saturday’s local government election. I had said I thought the government should be happy if it got 30% of the vote in the North. It got less in most places, but it managed at least 20% almost everywhere, which it should see as a good base on which to build. It also managed to do comparatively well in Kilinochchi, which is where it had concentrated its development efforts. more..

Time to identify elements working with sinister agendas

July 29 (NS) According to Minister Wimal Weerawansa warned the public to be cautious of some elements working inside the government to destabilise the country. The Minister noted that while the country was now moving forward after the end of the war, there are attempts by some groups overseas to target the economy. Addressing a meeting at Homagama the Minister has said that these groups have the support of some elements in the govt who are working with sinister agendas. more..

Sivathamby: An academic who advocated tolerance

July 29 (NS) The death of Professor (Emeritus) K. Sivathamby at the age of seventy-nine removes from the Tamil speaking world one of its most outstanding scholars. His services had been retained by several universities in the United States, Europe and India in the capacity of senior research Fellow or visiting Professor of Tamil. He will be remembered by the ordinary people as a person who closely associated with the Sri Lanka Communist Party since more..

Need for pursuing ethical media practices

July 29 (NS) Media freedom and the involvement of political parties and the police in it have come into sharp public focus as the Rupert Murdoch Media Empire came crumbling down last week. The phone hacking scandal assumed such high proportions that it became necessary for a committee of the British Parliament to inquire into the matter with those concerned summoned to give evidence before MPs. This furor over the scandal in Britain has served the currently important purpose of highlighting the more..

Unlicensed hydro power project blasting away endangered aquatic life

July 29 (SL) The Warathenna Hydro Power Project, the construction of which is taking place on the Mahaweli River, between Peradeniya and the Katugastota Highway, has not received a license of approval by the authorities. Construction is however taking place, posing threats to the people living in the area as well as endangered species of aquatic life in the region. Central Environment Authority (CEA) Chairman, Charitha Herath said that the project was submitted by more..

Oil fiasco – Probe continues, says Susil

July 29 (NS) Minister Susil Premajayanth said that a three member committee had been appointed to look into the allegations of distribution of substandard petrol. In an interview to The Nation, he explained the procedures followed in importing crude oil. He also said that a team had been appointed to look into the complaints of those affected by the use of the said petrol adding that they would be given relief once investigations are complete: more..

Editorial: Batting for terrorists a la Hague

July 29 (Island) British Foreign Secretary William Hague cut a very pathetic figure the other day when he announced his government's decision to expel the Libyan diplomats considered loyal to Gaddafi, whom NATO forces are all out to oust with the help of rebels in Libya. He knew Britain, thanks to the wrong foreign policy of successive governments, was left with egg on its face as it was only two years back that the Labour government had curried favour with Gaddafi, the bad guy, more..

Editorial: The good Earth is our gift

July 29 (DM) The Creative force of the universe has made us and given to us to belong to where we find ourselves living. We are called to be custodians of our motherland. Our patriotism needs to be based on this fact. The land on which we live is sacred ground and we are called to respond and take care of it; just as we would with our own mothers. Should we then not look after her, from whom we receive our food, water and every resource she provides? If we abuse and ravage Mother Earth, more..

The dilemma of tea smallholders

July 29 (BL) The tea smallholders are the largest contributor in production of tea for export in SL amounting to 72% - 75% of the total export volume. Their average productivity is very much higher than in Kenya or any other East African states. They are the highest pay-masters to the workers, well above the union agreed wage recommendation. Yet, they are the most pressurised group in the tea sector, due to the ineffectiveness of policy makers, more..

Ceylon Chamber new Chief Susantha to do ‘what is right and relevant’

July 29 (FL) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce new Chairman Susantha Ratnayake last night resolved to do what is right and relevant in recreating the country’s premier private sector lobby group to add value to all stakeholders. Ratnayake, who is also the Chairman and CEO of premier blue chip John Keells Holdings (JKH), took over as the 21st Sri Lankan Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber succeeding Dr. Anura Ekanayake who completed his two year term. more..

Winning a Gold for bankruptcy

July 29 (SL) The Greeks, they say won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics for overspending. Indians, it is said, won many gold medals at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games for fraud and corruption. Sri Lanka it appears is doing its damnedest to win a gold medal for bankruptcy at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, if it comes to be staged at Hambantota. Sporting international jamborees like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games (which are second only to the Olympics) cost an enormous amount of more..

India’s Chinese bogeymen

July 29 (SL) Bejing has considerable leverage in post conflict Sri Lanka. Chinese involvement in the defence sector has not reduced after the war, and the Chinese are seen diversifying from being just suppliers of defence equipment to infrastructure and capacity building. The Chinese have used North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) and subsequently the state owned China Poly Technologies Limited for the supply of defence equipment to Sri Lanka. more..

Govt. to open 200 new Lak Sathosa branches

July 29 (DM) Two hundred new Lak Sathosa branches will be established at divisional level within the next year Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade said. “We have received the cabinet approval to set up 200 Lak Sathosa branches islandwide.12 Co-op shed branches will be improved up to 20 branches by August this year,” Minister Johnston Fernando said. He further said that the opening up of Lak Sathosa, Co-op City and mini Co-op City branches had been instrumental in more..

Pirates free Lankan

July 29 (NN) Seventeen crew members including a Sri Lankan of a small Emirati oil tanker captured by pirates this month off the coast of Somalia have been freed unharmed along with the ship, the Associated Press quoted the vessel’s manager as saying. The MV Jubba XX was reported captured on July 16 as it made its way from Umm al-Quwain in the United Arab Emirates to the port of Berbera in the breakaway northern Somali province of Somaliland. Omar al-Khair, general manager of more..

Registration of food packet sellers from next week

July 29 (Island) The Public Health department of the Colombo Municipal Council is scheduled to commence registering wayside lunch parcel sellers in the city from next week. Chief of the Public Health Department Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said yesterday they expected over 250 such lunch vendors to apply for registration from next month. Registrations will take place for at least two months to ensure that all get their registrations. more..

Iran gifts a housing project .

July 29 (GDI) The Deputy Minister of External Affairs of Iran Seyyed Amir Mansour Borghai has arrived in Colombo to inaugurate the Kattankudy Housing Project gifted by the Govt of Iran. The visiting Iranian Deputy Minister is due to handover the housing project on Saturday. The project consists of 70 houses, a mosque, a playground for children, and a health centre. Iran has constructed the project on a request made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a cost of Rs. 170 Million. more..

Editorial: Delhi’s Lankan limp

July 29 (DC) The recent local council elections in Sri Lanka threw up a surprise for President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ruling coalition, the UPFA. The TNA bagged 18 out of 26 seats in the Tamil-majority northern and eastern provinces. Until the destruction of the LTTE two years ago, the TNA was under the Tigers’ sway. In the run-up to the general elections last year, it dropped its separatist agenda and declared itself in favour of regional autonomy for the north and east. more..

Sports accolades may win university access

July 29 (DM) The Cabinet has endorsed a paper submitted by Minister S.B. Dissanayake which will enable students who have excelled at sports to the state universities outside the usual channel based on the GCE A/L examination results. According to the Cabinet paper endorsed on Wednesday such students will be allowed to pursue higher studies in the academic discipline called 'Sports Management and Physical Education', sources said yesterday. more..

CEB workers in North, East protest demanding salary arrears

July 29 (TN) Ceylon Electricity Board workers in Trincomalee and Jaffna on Tuesday and Wednesday staged protests demanding immediate payment of salary arrears for 10 months. While the Sri Lankan govt has been waging a propaganda inviting foreign countries to invest money in a “developing Sri Lanka”, the State is unable to pay salary arrears for more than 10 months, CEB workers in Jaffna said Wednesday. For the first time after several years, electricity board workers from more..

Constitution grants President legal immunity - Counsel

July 29 (Island) When the Writ application, filed by General (retd) Sarath Fonseka, seeking to have the Conviction and sentencing imposed on him by the court marshal II, was taken up by the Court of Appeal yesterday, counsel for the respondents Sanjewa Jayewardene, PC, told the Court that Article 35 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka grants legal immunity to the President to protect the sovereignty of the people. He said the Supreme Court, in a recent judgment relating to more..

Boston Lanka News: July 28, 2011