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UNP blames Govt. for bad petrol

Sept 6 (DM) The UNP said today, it was too late for the government to ask the company which supplied contaminated petrol to Sri Lanka, to pay for the damages because the consignment was accepted and distributed without having rejected it in the first place. UNP MP Gayantha Karunatilleke said the decision arrived at by the three-member committee was of no avail. He said compensation should be paid to people whose vehicles had been damaged as a result of using the contaminated petrol without more..

Sri Lanka toll road opening delayed to December

Sept 6 (LBO) The long-delayed opening of Sri Lanka's first expressway will be delayed further although construction of the road is over because toll booths and fuel stations are still being built, an official said. The opening of the first section of the southern expressway that was to have been in September has been put off till December, deputy minister of highways Nirmala Kotalawala said. Construction work on the road from Makumbura, Kottawa, a southern suburb of Colombo, more..

Estate workers ask for 40 percent wage hike

Sept 6 (SL) The JVP affiliated All Ceylon Estate Workers’ Union (ACEWU) says that the salaries of the estate workers should be increased by 40 percent in line with the high cots of living (CoL). Head of the ACEWU, Ramalingam Chandrasekar says that the collective agreement reached between several estate sector trade unions and estate sector employers have to be reconsidered since it does not address the issues faced by the estate workers. more..

Body seeks Gandhi murder plea notes

Sept 6 (BBC) The Central Information Commission of India has asked the union government to release the notes and correspondence regarding the mercy pleas of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. The convicts condemned to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The directive comes in the wake of an application from K Mayilsamy, a Supreme Court Lawyer who said when he sought details from the federal govt on the correspondence between it and the govt of Tamil Nadu on the one hand and between it and more..

SriLankan Catering wins sixth environmental award

Sept 6 (LP) SriLankan Catering’s stunning success story in protecting the environment was rewarded yet again when President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, presented the company with a Gold Award at the first ever National Green Awards. This was the sixth environmental accolade won in a little over one year by the company. Nishantha Wickremasinghe, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines and SriLankan Catering, said SriLankan Catering has demonstrated to the world that a determined and well-planned more..

President shown photos of shelling civilians

Sept 6 (BBC) US diplomats in Sri Lanka have shown satellite images of damage by shelling in "safe zone" even after the government announced ending heavy artillery and aerial bombing, according to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Charge d'Affaires of the US embassy James R. Moore, has said that he showed the images to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona two weeks before the govt declared its military victory over Tamil Tigers. more..

'President should address grease devil issue'

Sept 6 (AD) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree today said he intends to meet the President and brief him of the ‘grease devil’ menace in areas populated by the minority Tamil people including in the North and Up-country areas. He stated that the ‘grease devil’ phenomenon has the people in several areas in the North, including Jaffna, the Hill-country and Chilaw in dire straits. The former MP said that Tamil political party leaders, Local Govt representatives, leaders of the clergy, human rights and more..

Sri Lanka dollar peg breaks Rs110 level

Sept 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's peg to the US dollar weakened 10 cents to 110.10 Monday with the spot dollar being quoted around 109.90/110.00 rupees as the currency continued to be under pressure, dealers said. Sri Lanka's has defended the currency at 110.00 rupees to the US dollar over the past several months, as pressure mounted on the monetary system from fast growing credit. On Monday the rupee was quoted around 110.09/110.10 though at times it was also quoted around 110.07/09 a tad below the more..

Sri Lanka face sanction for Galle pitch

Sept 6 (CI) Sri Lankan cricket authorities face formal sanction for Galle's dustbowl first Test pitch after it was officially rated "poor" by the ICC match referee Chris Broad. SLC must provide a written response to his report within 14 days. A hefty fine and "a directive for corrective action" will be the result if the ICC does not deem their explanation sufficient. The pitch was the cause of much conjecture in the lead-up to the match, but by its conclusion both sides agreed more..

15,000 job opportunities to Sri Lankans in Korea

Sept 6 (LP) The Korean government has decided to allow the employment of 15,000 Sri Lankan nationals and to support to establish facilities teaching Korean to Sri Lankan people. Many Sri Lankan people look for jobs in Korea due to the higher salary. Amid growing demand for migrant workers, Seoul has decided to allow the employment of 15,000 Sri Lankan nationals at Korean firms under the Employment Permit System (EPS) in 2012, up from 7,300 for this year. more..

The Jaipur Foot artificial limb fitment camp inaugurated in Jaffna

Sept 6 (HCI) The Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp organized by the Consulate General of India, Jaffna at Divisional Hospital, Kondavil for the benefit of people from the Northern Province was jointly inaugurated today (5) by G.A. Chandrasiri, Governor of Northern Province and Mr. V. Mahalingam, Consul General of India in Jaffna. The Camp will be held till 28 September, 2011. Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), a NGO, is the world’s largest organization for the disabled, more..

More shocking scams at CEYPETCO

Sept 6 (DM) The Auditor General in a highly critical report has drawn the attention of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) as to how the top management of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPETCO), one of the major semi government institutions which is in deep financial trouble had among other financial misdeeds misappropriated funds, made false tax declarations, and excessive payments to lawyers and advertisers. more..

New Depression differs from Great Depression

Sept 6 (LG) What the United States—more accurately, the world capitalist system—is currently going through is the New Depression (ND) with hallmarks and features that are entirely its own. It is different but no less a depression than the Great Depression (GD), which engulfed the U.S. economy from 1929 to early 1940s. For those who are deaf to all warnings, let me holler, “Folks, we are in a depression. We have been since late 2008.” I was skeptical about all the negatives of the U.S. economy, more..

Passive enemies of democracy

Sept 6 (LG) Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. We all know that Sri Lanka is a beautiful tropical Island located near the southern tip of India. We rarely talk about the strength of the republic. Free health and free education remind us its socialist traces. Sri Lankans started to enjoy universal franchise even before the British who introduced democracy to Sri Lanka could enjoy universal franchise. The very universal franchise paved the way to the executive presidency that more..

Prof. Anuradha Seneviratne and cultural studies

Sept 6 (SO) I examine the life and times of Prof. Anuradha Seneviratne and his singular contribution to mark Sri Lankan cultural studies in the arena of international academia. Before embarking on analysing the contribution made by Prof. Anuradha Seneviratne to Sri Lankan cultural studies, it is imperative to briefly discuss what exactly meant by the term cultural studies and how it associates itself with other branches of social sciences. more..

Of the legal process and public accountability

Sept 6 (LG) There is an unbearably laconic flavour to the way in which this Govt treats Sri Lanka’s Constitution, the law and mandatory legal conditions. In recent days, this unhappy fact has been emphasized even more obviously than in the past. To be quite clear, we are focusing not even on substance but simply on due process. One example stands out, with all its disquieting implications. Despite the validity of the Emergency Regulations lapsing at the end of the month, proposed regulations under more..

Banning smoking and drinking scenes on TV

Sept 6 (LG) The action taken by the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) to ban smoking and drinking scenes in programmes aired by TV channels has given rise to much controversy among concerned sections of the public. While some hail the action as an appropriate move, some others condemn it derisively as a stupid decision. This difference of opinion is understandable in this country where any national issue is pounced upon by concerned citizens. more..

'My desire is to assist women and children'

Sept 6 (SO) We should work together to ensure the progress of our society, UPFA Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) candidate Yamuna Ganeshalingam said in an interview. Here are excerpts from the interview: Q: Your late husband K. Ganeshalingam, one-time Mayor of Colombo, worked for the betterment of cityfolk and to develop the Colombo city, but you were not engaged in politics then. Now you have come forward to contest the CMC election on the UPFA ticket. more..

There’s more to cat-skinning that meets the eye

Sept 6 (LB) A couple of weeks ago, I addressed a gathering at a book launch. Rajpal Abeynayake, who was present, wrote in his column last week, that I should be ‘a little bit more circumspect’ in saying that ‘post-war power-sharing projects in countries such as Sri Lanka are driven at least partially by the purpose of foreign interests seeking to commandeer, or at least pilfer, our resources.’ I didn’t use those words. I make a distinction between power-sharing and devolution. more..

Grease Devils at the Emergency Exit

Sept 6 (LB) They vanished in a mystery as slippery as the ethereal forms in which they slithered in. How strange that once the campaign to have the state of emergency fell flat on its face some mysterious power that orchestrates the motion of the planets in the vicinity of Lanka decided to recall the grease devils (GD) and barrack them away in a safe place for now. One thing is for sure, if the purpose of unleashing the GDs was to convince the public that the extension of emergency powers was indispensable, more..

Can marine mammal watching ever be sustainable?

Sept 6 (NS) What is so great about marine mammals? A country like Sri Lanka in nearly infested with plenty of land mammals like elephants, so why the concern over those in the seas? Marine mammals are plenty too; ranging from a variety of species of dolphins and whales. They are stunning and awe-inspiring mammals indeed and range from all sorts of sizes, colours, and characteristics. It is widely known fact that the largest mammal to have ever lived on earth is the blue whale. more..

Editorial: Wikileaks & spin docs

Sept 6 (Island) In the run-up to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, the western media has got into the over drive mode to give a turbo boost to the on-going war crimes witch hunt against Sri Lanka's political and military leaders, who defeated terrorism. Under a screaming headline, Donors knew of shelling civilians, a BBC report on a leaked US diplomatic cable claims that 'international donors were aware of artillery attacks on Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan military in the last stages of more..

Editorial: Fuel imports: Be accountable and fire the culprits

Sept 6 (DM) Amid claims he was not responsible or accountable for the import of 20,000 metric tonnes of sub-standard and contaminated petrol, Petroleum Resources Minister Susil Premajayantha appointed a three-member committee headed by Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando to probe the oily deal. The committee in its report, submitted last Tuesday, said the laid down procedures and guidelines had not been followed when importing this stock of contaminated petrol and more..

Govt. unveils strategic plan for tourism

Sept 6 (Island) The Economic Development Ministry yesterday launched its long overdue five year strategic plan for development and sustainability. Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said the govt had clearly identified several areas which needed development for the country to achieve its ambitious goal of 2.5 million tourists by 2016 hoping to earn more than US$ 2.75 billion in foreign exchange. He underlined several key areas in which the private sector could more..

Exits emergency, enters PSC

Sept 6 (DM) Whatever be the reasons behind the near-simultaneous withdrawal of emergency and the creation of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for finding an all-party solution to the ‘national question’, they should be welcome. Taken to the logical conclusion, the former could be a precursor to the beginning of the end to the ethnic tensions in the nation, and the latter the beginning of a fresh beginning, for leaving the past behind. More may need to be done on both counts. more..

Trade deficit and balance of payments problem

Sept 6 (NS) Trade deficits are endemic to Sri Lanka. The country has had trade deficits every year since 1977. Even in 1977, only a small trade surplus was achieved under a stringent import controlled regime. However a balance of payments surplus has been achieved in several recent years owing to earnings from services, worker remittances and capital inflows. In 2008 there was both a trade deficit and a balance of payments deficit: The balance of payments deficit was 1,385 million US dollars. more..

What earthly reason is there to fault me?

Sept 6 (DM) I write in reference to the article bearing ‘Ex-CJ should be aware of agreements signed’, by Minister S. B. Dissanayake, to an interview given by me and published as an “opinion” in your newspaper of 22-08-2011. The response alleges that I am ignorant of, “…….three agreements signed by the Govt of Sri Lanka with the U. N. Human Rights body. One agreement empowered citizens of Sri Lanka to seek redress if they find that they do not obtain justice in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka students stranded overseas

Sept 6 (ST) The closure of overseas higher education institutes where Sri Lankan students entered with much difficulty, bearing heavy financial burdens, is a matter of serious concern. Those who proceed overseas for higher education may be doing so in three different ways: making contact with the overseas universities or other higher education institutes directly or through friends and relatives. through various student recruitment agencies (similar to employment agencies) and, more..

Recklessly driven backup jeep sans VIP kills motorcyclist

Sept 6 (ST) A retired Engineer of the National Water Supply & Drainage Board, riding his motor cycle with his wife on the pillion were knocked down by a speeding backup vehicle of S.B. Dissanayake, in the Borella area this week, killing the husband instantly. The wife remains warded at the Colombo National Hospital with multiple fractures and may take a few months to recover from the injuries. Retired Engineer Sunil Upali, 61, and his wife Manjula Kulasinha, 57, were on their way, for the wife to more..

CEB strike called off

Sept 6 (Island) The Joint Trade Union Alliance of the Ceylon Electricity Board yesterday called off the proposed one day strike to be held tomorrow following a letter of assurance from the CEB Board Directors to settle their arrears. JTUA spokesman Ananda Nimalaratne told The Island yesterday that though they were given a verbal assurance on Friday, they had stuck to the earlier decision to go ahead with the strike. "Obviously we were suspicious, going by past experience. more..

Athletes face huge task of living up to last edition’s standards

Sept 6 (Island) Sri Lanka is fielding a six member team for athletics at the 4th Commonwealth Youth Games, which will be held in the Isle of Man from September 7 to 16. The team, led by Mahamaya Balika College athlete Akshana Maralanda, who is also the captain of the 25 member Sri Lanka team for the Games, have on their shoulders a huge task of living up to the reputation of their predecessors, who won three gold medals at the 3rd edition in Pune, India, in 2008. more..

Sri Lanka need Muralitharan

Sept 6 (NM) Though a brilliant century by Mahela Jayawardena briefly threatened to derail them, Australia clinched a comfortable, 125-run victory over Sri Lanka in Galle on Saturday. Five-wicket hauls for debutant Nathan Lyon and Ryan Harris spun and swung the advantage to the tourists; but the decisive factor was Sri Lanka's weak bowling attack, which at times looked about as threatening as that of Weybridge 2nd XI. It proved, if proof were needed, that the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan has more..

Army launches its own communication network

Sept 6 (DM) The Sri Lanka Army established its own Voice/Data Network covering more than thirty Directorates and Branches at the Army Headquarters, six Security Forces Headquarters, fourteen Divisions/Task Forces and twenty-two Regimental Headquarters, to start with the Army headquarters said. This Voice/Data Communication Network, a visionary concept, mooted by Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army, more..

Govt collars prov. journalists to take forward its development message

Sept 6 (Island) The Govt Information Department has launched a new programme series to enlighten the masses through Provincial Journalists on the development activities of the govt being carried out in each district and to get their cooperation towards the rapid development process, taking place in Sri Lanka, after winning peace from 30 years of terrorism. The first seminar of the series on enlightening the provincial media personnel was held in Badulla recently more..

'Genocide in Sri Lanka targets Tamil women, affects fertility'

Sept 6 (TN) While talking on the past and on-going genocide of Eezham Tamils in Sri Lanka, the TNA MP for Vanni, S. Sritharan said in a meeting in London that Tamil women are particularly targeted now and the fertility of Tamils is systematically jeopardized. He cited the examples of ‘grease devil’ attacks on women and the plight of young widows in child-producing age group. Eezham Tamils are increasingly convinced today that a united Sri Lanka would not work, he said. more..

Development Diaries August 31, 2011

SL military uses ‘media persons’ to film protesters in Batticaloa

Sept 6 (TN) Two Tamil-speaking Muslim media persons in Batticaloa, one in the position of district media coordinator and the other a ‘freelance journalist’, have been busy during the past weeks in Batticaloa taking video and photos of civilians protesting against SL military operated ‘grease-devils’. Based on their video recordings, the SL intelligence personnel operating from the SLA camps in Batticaloa, identify the protesters from different villages and hand them over to more..

The continuing 'State of Emergency' in Sri Lanka

Sept 6 (IDSA) The decision of the Sri Lankan govt to lift the Emergency Regulations has been received in good faith by many. The international community has expressed its pleasure and satisfaction. The Indian minister of external affairs, S.M. Krishna welcomed the move as an “effective step leading to genuine national reconciliation in the country”. But, at the same time, it has also generated a suspicion whether the act of repeal is merely an attempt “to generate good publicity for more..

Divi Neguma programme a failure, says JVP

Sept 6 (DM) The much hyped 'Divi Neguma' programme aimed at developing household economies has proven to be a total flop with the government being able to achieve only 14 per cent of its targets, the JVP charged yesterday. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a news conference that the government's ambitious programme had proved a failure. He quoted a top official of the Divi Neguma programme as having told him that no such project existed in reality. more..

Bishop worries about reconciliation

Sept 6 (UCAN) Peace and minority rights are illusory even two years after the end of a 30-year civil war, the secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference said September 3. “Minority rights were not respected by the majority of the people. Most of them do not like to accept the multi-language, multi-religion and multicultural solution even after three decades of war,” said Bishop Norbert Andradi. He was speaking at the Oblate priests-run Center for Society and Religion (CSR) in Colombo. more..