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'Gangsters have taken the upper hand'

June 17 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that underworld gangsters, such as thugs, rapists, drug lords and thieves had taken the upper hand in the country. Leaving the Colombo High Court, Mr. Fonseka told the media “in olden days our rulers toiled to safeguard the country, its culture and the people, but unfortunately today it is a different story, as underworld gangsters such as thugs, rapists, drug lords and thieves have taken the upper hand.” more..

MRI ready to face E-coli outbreak

June 17 (Island) The Medical Research Institute assured the public that it was prepared to face an E-coli outbreak if it occurred. Quoting the MRI, the spokesman for the Health Ministry said on Thursday (16) that Sri Lanka does not import vegetables. Samples of imported were being tested. The spokesman said that the public had expressed concern following the recent E coli O104:H4 bacterial outbreak in Germany which caused dysentery and several other complications. more..

Co-op Society for media personnel

June 17 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando inaugurated a Cooperative Society on Tuesday for media personnel at the Ministry auditorium. He formed a committee from among the media personnel present to draw up a draft constitution. The ministry decided on this move in connection with the centenary celebrations of the Cooperative movement. He said that the ministry will assist with the initial capital needed. Fernando said that about 6,000 media personnel will benefit from this scheme more..

England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: Sri Lanka on back foot

June 17 (CI) Ten out of eleven days in this series have now been impacted by the weather after the Rose Bowl's entry to Test cricket was limited to 38 overs, but James Anderson and Chris Tremlett took two wickets apiece to ensure England gained control. The start of play was delayed and two further interruptions made it tough for the batsmen as Sri Lanka limped to 81 for 4, although they did well not to be in deeper trouble. more..

UN Panel Report discussed in Court

June 17 (BBC) High Court allows defending lawyer for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka to ask questions relating to 'white flag' case referring to the UN expert panel report despite state counsel's objections. Defending lawyer sought court's permission to ask only one question relevant to the report compiled by an advisory panel to the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon, when 'white flag' case was taken up for hearing on Thursday. In this case Sarath Fonseka is alleged to have told more..

“Sri Lankans' roots are in India too''

June 17 (Hindu) There is greater recognition today that the roots of Sri Lankans are as much in India as in Sri Lanka, historian S. Muthiah said on Thursday, as he presented recorded facts from history that validate cultural links between the two countries. He was speaking at a function to launch the Indo-Asian Foundation for Archaeological Research, organised here by the Indian Science Monitor and Indo- Russian International Art & Science Association. more..

Vicious attack by Army in Alaveddy on TNA election meeting with six MPs

June 17 (DBS) A Tamil National Alliance meeting with 6 TNA MP’s present was attacked by a group of Sri Lankan army men at Alaveddy in Jaffna on june 16th. The TNA was holding its 1st propaganda meeting in Jaffna for the July local authority elections in the North&east.TNA is contesting in 26. About 15-20 uniformed army personnel wielding poles,batons&rods entered the Saiva Maha Sabhai hall premises at Alaveddy & assaulted the people. more..

Architectural design competition for cultural centre in Jaffna

June 17 (Hindu) Sri Lankan and Indian architects will have an opportunity to showcase their talent in a design competition for a cultural centre in Jaffna. The only catch for Indian architects, however, is that the lead consultant will have to be Sri Lankan. “We want to encourage partnerships between architects of both countries,” an Indian High Commission spokesperson said, when asked why India insisted on a joint venture for Indian architects to participate in the contest. more..

‘Colombo ferry service unlikely to impact air traffic'

June 17 (Hindu) Notwithstanding the introduction of the passenger ferry service between Tuticorin and Colombo, Sri Lankan Airlines is set to increase the frequency of its service on the Colombo-Tiruchi-Colombo sector from July 4. Another major operator on the sector, Mihin Lanka, a low cost carrier, is also said to planning to increase the frequency of their services on the Colombo-Tiruchi-Colombo sector soon. A cross section of the air travel agents and air operators feel that more..

Sri Lanka offers combat aircraft to UN

June 17 (TB) Sri Lanka has offered to supply the U.N. with three Mi-24 attack helicopters and a pair of fix wing aircraft, a pledge that would help the U.N. meet a severe a shortfall in lethal combat equipment in places like Congo and Sudan and help protect civilians, U.N. based officials told Turtle Bay. But the U.N. may not be able to accept them. The Sri Lankan armed forces have come under scrutiny for allegedly committing mass atrocities during more..

Of war crimes and double standards

June 17 (KT) The British Channel 4 documentary titled Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields aired last Tuesday has brought on a fresh onslaught of international wrath and local denials on the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army during its last and victorious offensive against the LTTE. Three decades of war against the LTTE, proscribed as a terrorist faction by most countries and organisations, including the UN, the UK and the US, shredded the country’s economy and more..

Devananda wants to be chief minister of North

June 17 (DM) Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said yesterday he would contest the upcoming Northern provincial council election as the chief ministerial candidate. The government is hoping to conduct the election at the end of this year or early next year and though the Northern Province had been de-merged from the Eastern Province following a court ruling, a PC was yet to be established. However, the Eastern Provincial Council was established in May 2008. more..

President Rajapaksa visits Russia to attend International Economic Forum

June 17 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for Russia this morning on 16th June to participate in the “15th St. Petersburg international Economic Forum”. He reached Russia to a very warm welcome, unveiling another new chapter in relations between the two countries. The President was warmly welcomed by the Deputy Governor in St. Petersburg, Mr. Sergei Alexsei Ivanovich at St. Petersburg Pulkovo International Air Port. more..

Sri Lanka draws Japanese ship classification society

June 17 (LBO) Japan's ClassNK, the world’s largest ship classification society in gross tonnage terms, has opened an office in Sri Lanka as shipping traffic grows at Colombo port. The 111-year-old ClassNK has some 7,347 ships over 180 million gross tonnes or about 20 percent of the world’s commercial fleet on its registry and more than 110 surveyor offices around the globe. ClassNK's surveyors work in shipbuilding and repair yards and more..

Sri Lankan traffic accident kills six

June 17 (DPA) Six people including a child were killed when a motorized tricycle crashed into a parked vehicle in central Sri Lanka early Friday, police said. The driver had apparently fallen asleep on the way back from a pilgrimage before crashing in Mwathagama, 110 kilometres east of the capital, killing himself and all his passengers. Road accidents claim more than 2,300 lives each year in Sri Lanka, despite recent road safety campaigns by the authorities.

Onset of rains tests anti-dengue campaign

June 17 (IPS) With the monsoon season upon it, Sri Lanka’s war against the deadly dengue- carrying mosquito faces its toughest test yet, but early signs show that the mosquitoes are not quite ready to give up. Despite concerted nationwide efforts for the past two-and-a-half years, dengue infection rates went up in April and May. In May alone, 1,955 cases were reported, a fraction more than the 1,950 reported during the same period in 2010. more..

River banks severely affected by sand mining

June 17 (Island) The country’s biodiversity, particularly river banks, were severely affected due to the large mining of sand from the rivers for construction purposes, Minister Anura Priyadharshan Yapa said. He said that steps will soon be taken to restrict river sand mining for the betterment of both, humans and the environment. He said: "We can’t continue to obtain sand for housing and building construction by mining for sand along the rivers." more..

Sri Lanka to keep rupee steady with little volatility

June 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will keep the rupee stable within a narrow trading band and the central bank will continue to intervene in the foreign exchange market during periods of high volatility, a top central bank official said on Friday. The central bank's comments comes as the IMF last week urged it to avoid continuous sales of foreign exchange to support the rupee and to be more flexible to ease balance of payment pressures. more..

Sri Lanka allocates 25 acres for industries from TN

June 17 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Govt “in principle” has allocated 25 acres of developed land in the island nation exclusively for promotion of small-scale and tiny industries in association with Tamil Nadu Small Scale and Tiny Industries Association. A five-member team of Salem District Small Scale and Tiny Industries Association, had recently participated in a three-day industrial trade exhibition, ‘SME Tech 2011', held in Colombo, more..

Southern Highway first section: Work nearing completion

June 17 (DN) Work on the first section of the Southern Highway from Kottawa to Galle is nearing completion and is expected to be opened by July end. “About 99 percent of construction has already been completed,” Deputy Highways Minister Nirmala Kothalawala told the Daily News. The 126 km highway constructed at a cost of around US$ 600 million will link Colombo with the Southern Province. The project will reduce travel time and more..

Experts urge for more archaeological evidence for Indo-Lanka links

June 17 (TOI) The Tamil and Sinhalese culture may today seem separate due to political circumstances. But, historically, they were never mutually exclusive. South India and Sri Lanka have a long history of cohabitation and, sometimes, deeper links. For instance, for centuries, rulers of Kandy Kingdom in Central Sri Lanka took brides only from Telugu-speaking Nayaks from Tanjore in southern India. more..

5th POWER Sri Lanka 2011 Exhibition Kicks off

June 17 (GDI) An official launching ceremony of the 5th Power Sri Lanka 2011 international exhibition was held yesterday at the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre in Colombo under the patronage of Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. 5th POWER Sri Lanka 2011 International Expo focusing on the development of Power Generation & Transmission, Alternative Power, PV Power, Energy and Renewable Energy sectors of Sri Lanka, more..

Cuba, others cause trouble in U.N. re-election: envoys

June 17 (Reuters) The U.N. Security Council Thursday delayed by a day its vote to recommend Ban Ki-moon for a second term as U.N. chief after Cuba and other Latin American countries declined to endorse him, envoys said. "Cuba's causing difficulties with GRULAC (Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries), but it's just procedural," a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. more..

Tamil asylum seekers who were deported from UK arrive in Sri Lanka

June 17 (BBC) Twenty-six Sri Lankans deported by the UK have arrived back in Colombo on an overnight charter flight. A BBC reporter outside the airport confirmed their plane had touched down. Reports say the deportees were taken for questioning. Human rights groups have criticised Britain, saying the mainly Tamil asylum seekers may not be safe. The UK govt dismissed the fears. Earlier this week it expressed concern about human rights in Sri Lanka. more..

Army to probe video

June 17 (NN) The army is to scrutinize the latest video aired by Britain’s Chanel 4 television which shows men clad in military uniform killing, who the presenter claims, are unarmed LTTE cadres. Army spokesman Major General Ubaya Medawela said that the military will go through the video to try and identify the place and people shown. He also said that the army will look at the technical aspects of the video to reach a conclusion on its authenticity. more..

Korean Govt. pledge US$ 16 M for Energy sector

June 18 (GDI) The Korean Government pledge financial aid of US$ 16 million for the development of the power and energy sector. This was made at the discussion held between the Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka and officials of the Korean Government at the Ministry yesterday. The Korean Government assured to assist in the area of green energy sources in keeping with the goal of providing electricity to all by the year 2012. more..

Sri Lanka unit of Indian steel firm raided

June 18 (LBO) Consumer protection authorities have seized a stock of steel products from the local factory of an Indian firm saying it was substandard and did not comply with industry standards. The internal trade ministry said in a statement 110 tonnes of steel bars worth some 10 million rupees were seized during a raided by consumer protection authorities on a factory in northwestern Madampe, in Chilaw Thursday. The stock is to be produced in the Chilaw magistrate's court and more..

TNA writes to MR

June 18 (DM) The TNA today sought intervention by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to bring those responsible for Thursday’s attack on the party meeting in Jaffna to book as soon as possible. The five TNA MPs who were present at the meeting by the time of the attack requested the President in writing today to take prompt action. The party charged that a group of men in uniform stormed the hall in Alaveddi in the Walikamam –North of the Jaffna district, where the meeting was in progress, and assaulted the participants. more..

Mega Ayurvedic Exhibition in Sri Lanka

June 18 (GDI) Ayurveda Expo 2011' Exhibition and Symposium will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from July 15 to 17 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Conference Hall. This exhibition and Symposium will be a joint effort by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the Sri Lanka National Chamber of Commerce, the Indigenous Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Tourism Promotion. A press conference in this regard was held in Colombo more..

Japan talks with JVP

June 18 (NN) An official of the Japanese Embassy met the JVP today to discuss the political developments in the country. First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Colombo Hokuto Kawa met the JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva at the party office in Pelawatte. A JVP media unit official said that both sides discussed the political development in the country at the invitation of the Japanese embassy. They discussed the international pressure being put on Sri Lanka and also more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 17.06.2011

No impact on A/L exams

June 18 (DM) The Education Ministry today assured that there will be no delays whatsoever in the 2011 G.C.E. A/L examination, evaluation or results releasing procedures due to the withdrawal of academics from this year’s A/L evaluations. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena speaking at a media briefing a short while ago said that the academics only contribute to the evaluation supervision process and that their withdrawal would not disrupt the activities. more..

Sri Lanka and war crimes

June 18 (FT) Will the Sri Lankan government be able to shrug off the persistent allegations that war crimes were committed, in its successful assault on the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in 2009? I have always assumed that the answer to that question was – probably Yes. But now I’m beginning to wonder. My reasons for thinking that the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa would probably shrug off the human-rights charges against it, were various. First, the LTTE’s own record of more..

Police ignored IGP

June 18 (NN) Former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya, in a public notice today said his “voluntary” retirement from service was due to the police failing to carry out his orders in Katunayake last month. Balasuriya said that despite being able to serve for another 2 years in the capacity of Inspector General of Police, he decided to retire with effect from today after 33 years in service. “Due to the unpleasant incidents that occurred at Katunayake EPZ, more..

Sri Lanka plans bus terminal for new expressway

June 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's govt has invited private bus operators to start services on the island's first expressway set to open by end-July with a terminal to connect other routes planned close to the capital. Private transport services minister C B Ratnayake said the govt expects to have 10 air-conditioned luxury buses plying on the southern expressway initially. The govt has called for expressions of interest from private bus operators to run the new service, he told a forum on transport. more..

Sri Lanka stun Kuwait to lead Group A

June 18 (DM) Sri Lanka defeated Kuwait 2-1 to take the top spot in Group 'A' on the third day of the Asia/Oceania Group III, Davis Cup tennis tournament continued at the SLTA courts at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha Friday. The team could not think of a better present to celebrate the birthday of non-playing captain Aasiri Iddamalgoda in the evening. Sri Lanka’s win was possible due to the great combination and cohesive play by the doubles pair of Rajiv Rajapaksa and more..

'What right does the govt have to terrorize a community?'

June 18 (LT) What right has the government to terrorize a community asks the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at a media briefing held the JVP Mr. Tilvin Silva demanded the government to stop the forced census being carried out in the North. Speaking further the General Secretary of the JVP said, “Today there is an arbitrary administration in the North. People in those areas do not have the facilities people in other areas enjoy. more..

A’pura PHIs withdraw

June 18 (NN) Public Health Inspectors (PHI) have decided to withdraw from Anuradhapura following an order issued by the Mayor of the area yesterday to remove the powers vested in PHI officers. PHI Association President Upul Rohana said that the Anuradhapura Mayor had taken the arbitrary decision after PHI officers raided a restaurant in the area. The restaurant was raided on Poson Poya day after it was found that beef and also food unfit for human consumption was being sold. more..

Withdraw army from Sri Lanka's northeast, says TULF

June 18 (IANS) A Tamil political party has demanded the withdrawal of Sri Lankan troops from the northeast after they allegedly assaulted Tamil MPs at a meeting of another party in the region. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) said it 'very strongly' condemned the attack by soldiers on a meeting of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Jaffna ahead of local elections. 'They assaulted people who had assembled there and chased them away and also caused damage to bicycles and motor cycles. more..

Russia backs Lanka

June 18 (NN) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has assured President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Russia will stand by Sri Lanka in its all efforts. This assurance was given when the two Presidents met at Lenexpo Hall in Vasilevsky Island, St. Petersburg today. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is in Russia to attend the 15th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, in St. Petersburg. Both Russia and Sri Lanka have equally suffered from terrorism and aware of the pain and destruction caused by it, more..