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Enough with the state secrets

June 29 (SG) With all the negative publicity Sri Lanka is generating internationally, even a few tentative steps towards enhancing democracy could go a long way. And yet the govt seems hell-bent on taking the opposite direction. On June 21, the ruling UPFA used its parliamentary majority to defeat a draft Freedom of Information law presented by Karu Jayasuriya, the deputy leader of the main opposition UNP. more..

Inquiry in to petrol quality complaints

June 29 (DM) The Petroleum Ministry yesterday said around 100 to 150 complaints were received regarding engine performance being affected after pumping petrol from several outstation Ceypetco petrol stations. Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Industries Titus Jayawardena said that the Ministry had already launched an inquiry into the complaints and that in no way does the govt import substandard fuel. more..

Mystery over mega oil refinery

June 29 (DM) Cabinet approval has not been sought while the Petroleum Industries Ministry is unaware about the proposed construction of a 100,000 Barrel-Per-Day (BPD) capacity oil refinery in Trincomalee at a cost of USD 1 to 1.5 billion, a govt source said. He said cabinet approval had not been sought for the establishment of the controversial Sri Lanka Global Energy and Industrial Corporation (SLGEIC) or more..

Honest friends: An op-ed on Sri Lanka by Mr Alistair Burt

June 29 (BHC) The events of the past weeks have brought uncomfortable focus onto the last days of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Allegations made in the media have recalled memories of a distressing time in Sri Lanka’s history. Let there be no doubt that for the UK the end of the military conflict, and the removal of terrorism as a daily threat to the lives of the Sri Lankan people is without question a good thing. more..

'No more on Sajith’s faction'

June 29 (AD) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that he will follow a middle path in order to ensure victory of the party and will not side with either Ranil Wickremasinghe’s faction or Sajith Premadasa’s. Participating in a media briefing held in Colombo today(29) Jayasekara stated that all internal conflicts within the party have now been resolved and disputes regarding party positions too have been amicably settled. more..

Eye Hospital overcrowded with viral infection patients

June 30 (ST) The Eye Hospital in Colombo is overcrowded with patients suffering from viral conjunctivitis, an infection in the eye, said Director of Eye Hospital, Dr. S.A.H. Liyanage. He said around 50-70 patients receive treatment for this infection daily. Redness/pinkness of the eyes, swelling, tears, discomfort and pain are some of the symptoms of viral conjunctivitis. He said the viral infection, a seasonal disease, will last for about three days and cure even without medicines. more..

Petition handed to Sri Lanka HRC on FTZ clash

June 30 (NN) A petition was handed over to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) today regarding the clash between the police and employees of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) recently. The petition was handed over to the HRC by a group of UNP MPs including Ravi Karunanayake, Tissa Attanayake and Jayalath Jayawardena. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that several employees of the FTZ suffered physical and mental trauma after the clash. more..

Indian sports minister asked to resolve SLPL deadlock

June 30 (CI) The Sri Lanka sports minister has written to his Indian counterpart asking him to intervene in the dispute over releasing Indian players for the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), according to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Somachandra de Silva. Officials from the two countries' cricket boards met in Hong Kong, on the sidelines of the ICC conference, on Tuesday to discuss the issue again but were unable to make any progress. more..

Sri Lanka to cancel deals of promoters who delay in Eastern resorts

June 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka may cancel deals of four investors who were given state land to build hotels in Pasikudah in the Eastern coast of the island, deputy economic development minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. He said four parties who got land had not used the land so far. "If they do not start construction within the next two months we will cancel the agreements with four investors," Abeywardene told reporters. "Warning letters will be sent this week." more..

26 schools in Kinniya closed

June 30 (NN) Schools in the Kinniya education zone were closed today following a protest by teachers over an incident which took place last evening. The teachers were protesting an attack on the Kinniya zonal education officer, allegedly by a provincial councilor of the area. The teachers are demanding that the police arrest all the suspects involved in the incident and to also strictly implement the law when doing so. However the police said that they have already arrested more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 29.06.2011

‘Movement to free political prisoners’ established

June 30 (LT) ‘Movement to free political prisoners’ held its inaugural media briefing yesterday (28). It’s convener Mr Chameera Koswatta explaining its objectives said that its priority is to urge the Government to allow the detainees to conduct their activities in their mother tongue which they deserve. Mr Koswatta said that this movement is comprised of University Lecturers and students, Lawyers and relatives of disappeared personnel and the ‘We are Sri Lankans’ Movement. more..

New laws for spas

June 30 (NN) A new Act will be introduced soon which gives the authorities the power to take action against illegal ayuruvedic spas or massage centers. Only 121 ayuruvedic spas or massage centers are registered in Sri Lanka. However he said more than 1000 centers are in operation, most which are illegal and have no standard or quality. The commissioner said that under the existing laws raids or legal action cannot be filed against these illegal centers and as a result in new Act is being finalized. more..

'No Arsenic found in Sri Lankan Local Rice'

June 30 (GDI) A Sri Lankan Scientific Institute said that there is no arsenic found in the local rice as feared by certain quarters. Dr. A.M. Mubarak, the Director of the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) said that no arsenic was detected in the rice samples tested by them. He said that the samples were submitted to the ITI by the Rice Research Institute and all the samples tested proved there is no arsenic in those samples. more..

France awards ‘chevalier’ title to Sri Lankan

June 30 (Island) France has honoured a Sri Lankan citizen for his long years of French government service. The title of 'Chevalier' has been awarded to Naganathan Veluppillai who retired from French government service in 2007 after serving as Legal Attache for 23 years in the French Trade Commission in Bombay. The Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka, Mrs. Christine Robichon conferred the award on him on June 27 at the Residence of France. more..

Central Bank designates Chinese Renminbi for banking transactions in Sri Lanka

June 30 (IL) The Monetary Board, at its meeting on 27th June 2011, decided to include the Chinese Renminbi in the list of designated currencies permitted for international transactions through banks in Sri Lanka in terms of the provisions of the Banking Act. Accordingly, the public can now undertake all permitted transactions in foreign currency in Renminbi with banks authorized for such transactions. The other currencies in the designated list are more..

We will boycott Parliamentary select committee – JVP

June 30 (LT) The Parliamentary select committee that has been proposed by the govt to find solutions for the issues in the North is a fraud and the JVP would not participate in any proceedings of this fraudulent committee says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said all should oppose the fraudulent select committee. Mr. Dissanayake said the President and certain Tamil leaders are engaged in an exercise to hoodwink the Tamil masses without more..

Six Lankan men rescued from trafficking syndicate

June 30 (TS) The Immigration Department raided a budget hotel at Jalan Wong Ah Fook here and freed six Sri Lankan men from the clutches of a human-trafficking syndicate. Acting on a tip-off, the department's officers saved the Sri Lankan men, who were confined to two rooms at the hotel, Tuesday. The operation was a follow-up to an investigation on an agent of a human-trafficking syndicate who was arrested recently. The agent, a local, was believed to have collected RM5,000 more..

Detained Indian fishermen released in Sri Lanka

June 30 (PTI) The 23 Indian fishermen who were arrested in Sri Lanka last week, were released from judicial custody today and are expected to return home tomorrow, officials said. The detained fishermen, along with their five boats that were seized, would be handed over by the Lankan Navy to Indian Coastguard tomorrow at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), Coast Guard Assistant Commander Safaya said. The fishermen are expected to reach Indian shores by tomorrow evening. more..

'Grievances of Tamils in Sri Lanka legitimate'

June 30 (PTI) Terming the grievances of Tamils in Sri Lanka as legitimate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India’s efforts was to persuade the Sri Lankan govt to ensure that all are treated as equal citizens as what is happening there has a domestic dimension. During an interaction with a group of editors, Dr. Singh said he has discussed the issue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who has “good cooperation” and was conscious of the complexity of the issue. more..

Colombo Plan to celebrate 60th anniversary

June 30 (GDI) The 60th anniversary celebrations of the Colombo Plan will be inaugurated tomorrow (July 01) at the Hotel Hilton Colombo by the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka G.L.Peiris. A special lecture by Dr.Sarath Amunugama, Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation of Sri Lanka and an International panel discussion on "South-South Cooperation: Strategic Directions for Continuing Relevance"will follow the inauguration session. more..

'Govt. should reveal who evaluates GCE A/L answer scripts this year'

June 30 (LT) They would not participate in any evaluation process of the GCE A/L examination if university teachers do not participate in the process states Lanka Teachers Service Union. The President of CTSU Mahinda Jayasinghe said the evaluation process of the GCE A/L examination was a very complex process and it could not be carried out without the participation of experienced and accomplished teachers, professors and lecturers from universities. more..

Sri Lankan public officials get Japanese scholarships

June 30 (LBO) Talented young Sri Lankan public officials are to be sent to Japan for two-year Masters Degrees under Japanese government scholarships, an embassy statement said. Japan has given 208 million Japanese Yen (about 280 million rupees) to cover the expenses for the first and second batches of 30 scholars. The scholarship scheme started in 2010 in Sri Lanka and this year 15 officials were awarded the scholarship. more..

CFFP calls for proper details on political detainees

June 30 (SL) The Campaign for Freedom for Political Prisoners (CFPP), which has been organized under the We Are Sri Lankans (WESL) organization, has said the govt must be accountable for arrests made during the period of the war. Member of the CFPP, Chameera Koswatte has told the media that a political crisis was brewing in the country due to the non resolution of several issues that have emerged after the war. According to Koswatte, the contradictory figures released by more..

STF raids ganja in Kelaniya

June 30 (DM) The elite Special Task Force (STF) STF raided a large scale ganja transit point operating inside a house in Polhena, Kelaniya this evening. They were able to seize 18 kilos of ganja and arrested three suspects during the raid. The information was provided to the STF by the Navy and the operation was conducted by the STF personnel with the assistance from the Navy. The house situated in Umagiliya area in Polhena has been operating for a considerable period of time as a dealing point. more..

New team to head SLC interim committee

June 30 (NN) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage is to sack the current interim board of Sri Lanka cricket and appoint a new interim committee soon. When contacted the Sports Ministry said that elections for the cricket board will also be held before March next year. Meanwhile unconfirmed reports said that former Sri Lanka Cricket chairman Upali Dharmadasa is to be appointed as the new interim cricket board chairman next month. more..

Devivaru, Arsenic and Science -II

June 30 (LG) Several Sri Lankan "scientists" have expressed their opinions on Arsenic and Rajarata Chronic Kidney Disease (RCKD) and also on the so called scientific method. Prof. Ajit Abeysekera is mainly interested in seeing that our work is published in a peer reviewed journal so that the information is available in the public domain. We are in the process of publishing our results in a journal or proceedings of a scientific session of an "accepted" association but more..

Pathological symptoms of the crisis of higher education in Sri Lanka

June 30 (LG) The deep-rooted crisis of the University System in Sri Lanka has come to the surface with the resignation of the university dons from their voluntary positions as part of the trade-union action of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) demanding a reasonable salary revision. Even though the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) keep portraying that ‘the trade union action of academics has not had more..

Army continues welfare and social work in Mathagal-Jaffna

June 30 (IL) The Sri Lankan Army continues their welfare and social work in every corner of Jaffna peninsula and the latest event was launched at Mathagal, a beautiful village situated 16 km away from Jaffna town, in the north of Sri Lanka. Mathagal welfare and social project which also provides scholarships for school children and other community services, was organized by the 513 Brigade of the Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna under more..

Wide spread torture is only a symptom of failed policing

June 30 (LG) A police spokesman commenting on the report on torture issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission last week stated that there had been a weakening of the policing system during the prolonged conflict with the LTTE where the priority was given to anti-terrorism. Answering questions from the BBC Sinhala Service the police spokesman mentioned that the training of the police has suffered greatly during this period and now there are efforts on more..

Khmer Rouge and Killing Fields: Pol Pot on the docks and it’s Mahinda Inc. next

June 30 (LG) Thirty years on, Khmer Rouge’s Pol Pot mass murderers (the ruling regime at the time) are standing trial in one of the most expensive and prolonged tribunals convened by the UN and democratic West against war crimes in Cambodia today. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians, almost a quarter of Cambodia & apos’s population were wiped out under in The Killing Fields revolution the ultra Maoist Pol Pot regime through torture, execution, starvation and exhaustion more..

Preserving cinematic legacy for posterity

June 30 (SO) The Lester James Peries and Sumithra Peries Foundation, was launched recently in a simple but dignified ceremony at the BMICH. The ceremony commenced with the welcome address by Trustee Yadamini Gunawardena (Minister Dinesh Gunadardena’s son) outlining the objective of the Foundation. Apart from preserving the cinematic legacy of the doyen of Sri Lankan cinema Dr. Lester James Peries and pioneer woman filmmaker and one time Sri Lankan Ambassador more..

Lukewarm reception from Sri Lankans for the High Commission’s anti- Channel 4 campaign in London

June 30 (LG) According to sources associated with the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, two meetings have been held recently to organise protest campaigns against the Channel 4 broadcasts of war crimes against the Tamil civilian population and to pressurise the UN General Secretary Ban - Ki Moon to halt his efforts against Sri Lanka. These meetings have been held at the High Commission premises. Invitation for the first meeting held two weeks ago was more..

Looking at Sri Lanka’s official responses to Channel 4 video

June 30 (GV) Channel 4’s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is anything but understated. It is designed to shock, even if you are the most hardened of viewers. Images of blood-soaked bodies assail you from every angle. As a cellphone camera jerks around, you see the bulging eyes of a man-turned-killing machine. He appears to be enjoying himself. You feel disoriented. When you think you cannot take it anymore, there it is: Another body eviscerated, another child more..

Mixed reactions for Colombo’s proposed Metropolitan Corp.

June 30 (BL) There were views expressed for and against the government’s proposed ‘New Metropolitan Corporation’ which is expected to replace the five municipal councils at a seminar on the ‘New metropolitan Corporation’ organised by the Women for Good Governance (WGG) where the question raised was ‘What do we know about it,’ held at the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) more..

Out of the mouths of babes…

June 30 (TC) The military plane flew at speed, soaring over the afternoon traffic and suddenly came down in a thrillingly impressive vertical drop to disappear behind the high-rise buildings glistening in the sun. The Paris Air Show was in full swing as we made our way behind the slow moving traffic to Bondy, a Paris suburb, for an event organised by the Tamil school in Bondy and the City Council or Mairie as it’s known in France. Bondy, “is a world city”, said one of the officials more..

500 Days since the Disappearance of Mr. Pattani Razeek!

June 30 (TC) On 25th June 2011 we marked 500 days since the disappearance of Mr. Pattani Razeek, a Sri Lankan Human Rights Defender, Managing Trustee of the Community Trust Fund (CTF) in Puttalam and Executive Committee Member of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). On February 11, 2010, Mr. Razeek travelled to Polonnaruwa with CTF staff, where he met with a group of persons parked near the Jumma Mosque in Kaduruwela. more..

Tamil Nadu film artistes get Jayalalithaa approval to demonstrate against Sri Lanka

June 30 (DBS) Artistes from Tamil film industry in India will conduct campaign soon demanding economic sanctions on Sri Lanka&retrieval of Kachchatheevu. The South Indian Film Artistes Association known as “Nadigar Sangam” took this decision after a meeting with the Tamil Nadu chief minister. A Tamil film artiste delegation met Jayalalithaa Jayaram & congratulated the former actress for being elected chief minister (CM) the third time. more..

SCB bullish on Sri Lanka’s economy

June 30 (Island) Standard Chartered Bank’s Asia Focus periodical themed "Inflation in Asia: Close to the peak, but no quick easing" says inflationary pressures have began to ease in Sri Lanka, expected to reach 7.4 percent by the year end with interest rates expected to remain stable. This will lead to an easing of the growth-inflation dynamic but without vibrant foreign direct investments, expected economic growth would be unlikely. This is in contrast to another global bank’s view on inflation. more..

Wellawatte Textile Mill sold for a song

June 30 (GDI) The Deputy Minister Mr. Lakshman Yapa said that politicians and their political parties are making baseless allegations about the activities of this government when they have a history of selling 13 acres of the Wellawatte Textile Mills with all buildings just for a song amounting to Rs. 170 Million, to the Shireka Capital Private Limited without any valuation. He said that these politicians have forgotten about their past in which they sold more..