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'Mental illness strikes one in ten Lankans'

Sept 15 (DM) One in ten people suffer from some type of mental illness or trauma in Sri Lanka, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) revealed today. NIMH Officials said that this startling figure was a result of a study done by the World Health Organization (WHO). The study had found that the causes for mental illness in Sri Lanka were both varied and complex, though most professionals believe that the 30-year conflict and the 2004 tsunami were among the more significant events that more..

MR: Diplomats breach protocol

Sept 15 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa informed Cabinet last evening that heads of diplomatic missions breach protocol by meeting various departmental heads and directors, bypassing the subject ministers, to canvass for various projects. President Rajapaksa instructed External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris to tell those diplomats not to breach protocol in this manner. The president said there were instances when the subject ministers and ministry secretaries were totally unaware of more..

Priests invoke the gods for punishment

Sept 15 (DM) A special invocation ceremony was held in the Munneswaram Badrakali Amman Kovil on September 13, in protest pleading with the gods to intervene in the matter where animals brought for offerings were forcibly removed. On the previous day a gang of about 50 led by Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva had entered the kovil premises and forcibly taken away the animals that had been brought by devotees as offerings. more..

Sri Lankan govt revives emergency powers in a new guise

Sept 15 (wsws) With the expiry of longstanding emergency regulations at the end of last month, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has imposed new regulations and revived old police-state laws to ensure that the security forces have the same repressive powers. Firstly, the president issued four proclamations dated August 29 to incorporate new regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which provides for extended detention without trial. more..

Two top CFC officials quizzed on sand tender

Sept 15 (DM) The Fisheries Ministry had called for explanations from two top officials of the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) who were allegedly involved in malpractices in awarding tenders for dredging sea sand from the Kirinde Harbour and exporting it to Maldives. These two officials have been instrumental in awarding the contract to a particular company, violating tender procedures and exporting the sand at a price much less than the price agreed upon initially. more..

Urban legend causing very real problems in Sri Lanka

Sept 15 (RNW) The North Eastern part of Sri Lanka is gripped by a mythical creature. The so-called Grease Devil attacks have sparked outraged among locals. But the Sri Lankan government refuses to seriously investigate the attacks of what they claim to be ‘only a myth’. Over the past few months this has led to clashes between protesters and government officials. In one case a policeman was lynched by the angry mob. more..

Golf in the middle of elephants

Sept 15 (LB) Speaking at a press conference to inform the media about the 2011 elephant survey, Minister SM Chandrasena said that the government’s biggest concern is to protect the elephants and to minimize the human elephant conflict. The data from the survey will be used to protect their habitats and the corridors the elephants use, he assured. However even as he was making this statement to media, Alpha and Omega developers Private Limited, more..

The Alankuda Controversy

Sept 15 (SL) Everybody wants a piece of Kalpitiya. The fact is that Kalpitiya has made the news, not just because it is an increasingly popular tourist destination, but also due to land grabbing allegations in recent times. The Alankuda land controversy is one such case. Bar Reef Resorts Limited, a pioneer in developing the Kalpitiya area into an up and coming tourism hub, was recently accused of occupying state land. more..

'Sri Lanka to resume cash auctions in money markets'

Sept 15 (LBO) Central bank is ready to start daily cash auctions in money markets Governor Nivard Cabraal said, as dollar sales to maintain a currency peg rapidly sucked rupees out of the banking system. "If liquidity is low and we do not have excess liquidity, we will resume daily auctions," Cabraal said. "We have had nine months of excess liquidity." On Wednesday excess liquidity fell to 23.1 billion rupees amid more..

Dengue decreases by 50 percent

Sept 15 (Island) The number of dengue cases has decreased by fifty percent during the last two months. The highest number of cases had been recorded during the months of June and July – 3,471 and 4,774 respectively and attributed to the reported decrease in the incidence of the disease to successful dengue eradication programmes. Dengue would have reached an epidemic level if timely action had not been taken, more..

NCP Chief Minister allegedly threatens dep. principal

Sept 15 (DM) In another instance of political interference in school administration, particularly in the provinces, North Central Province Chief Minister Bertie Premalal Dissanayake had allegedly grabbed the deputy principal of a school by his collar yesterday and threatened him. The school in question is Dhammadinna Maha Vidyalaya, Galkulama, in the Anuradhapura District. more..

HRC to probe why SF’s party was rejected

Sept 15 (DM) The Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka is inquiring into why the registration of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s political party known as the ‘Democratic Party’ was rejected, Jayantha Ketagoda said yesterday. The Elections Secretariat had refused the registration citing that it had not fulfilled the required criteria for recognition as a political party. Subsequently, the party activists lodged a complaint with the HRC more..

Govt. Pilfers funds of teachers’ cooperative – LTSU

Sept 15 (LT) The authorities are pilfering the funds of the EDCS through an interim administrative board says the General Secretary of the Lanka Teacher Services Union (LTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe. He said this at a media briefing to apprise the frauds, corruption and irregularities being carried out by authorities after seizing power from the legitimately elected administrative board. more..

Has SAITM degree awarding status?

Sept 15 (DM) The South Asian Institute of Technology and Management (SAITM) also known as the Malabe Private Medical Faculty has not been granted permission to teach medical science or any related subject but seven other subjects connected to trade and business, the Daily Mirror understands. SAITM, which had been registered as a BOI project on March 31 2008 has been permitted to teach only seven subjects – Information Technology, Management and Finance, more..

UN to review its actions during Sri Lanka's war

Sept 15 (BBC) United Nations is to review its actions during the war in Sri Lanka and its aftermath. The Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has appointed Thoraya Obaid, former executive director of the UN population fund to lead this review. The review will be conducted on the recommendation of the Expert Panel appointed by the Secretary General to advice him on possible war crimes in the last months of the war in 2009. more..

Sri Lanka to Donate a baby elephant to Manila Zoo

Sept 16 (GDI) Sri Lanka as mark of completion of the 50 years of the bilateral relations with Philippines is to donate a baby elephant from Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage to the Manila Zoo. Sri Lankan Embassy in Philippines has organized a series of events to mark the celebration to be held in Manila on the 3rd week of September 2011. A photographic and Trade exhibition followed by religious programs will be held for a week commencing Sept 22. The foreign ministers of both more..

Kumar Sangakkara - an ornament to the game of cricket

Sept 16 (CC) While there is a celebratory buzz around Sri Lanka, one can be fairly certain that Kumar Sangakkara will treat Friday’s Test against Australia at the Sinhalese Sports Club as just another Test. It will be business as usual for Sangakkara in his 100th Test appearance – a landmark achieved by just four other Lankans. There is something special and rare about the man. When he walks out to bat, one can sense an aura of calm around him. Even in high-pressure situations, more..

Lankans posing as movie makers to be deported from Belize

Sept 16 (NB) Three weeks ago, we told you about 11 Sri Lankans who were here in Belize supposedly to make a movie. Their arrival generated a flurry of scandal - as the group was rumoured to be human traffic - using Belize as a springboard to try and get to the United States. But they bravely went on the news - and defended themselves - and boasted of their film-making credentials - saying they wanted to make a movie with the Belize Blue Hole as the back-drop. more..

Three score highest marks at Grade V scholarship exam

Sept 16 (DM) Three students, Oshadhi Fonseka of the Kalutara Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Dona Vimangi Rnaweera of Dodangoda Miriswatta Maha Vidyalaya and Naleem Ahmed of Kekirawa Muslim Maha Vidyala have secured the highest marks of 195 and came first in the Grade 5 scholarship examination held on August 21. Two other students, Lakshitha Sathsara Sumanapala of Medagama Maha Vidyala and Parameswaran Shethuragavan of Neththaliyaru Tamil Vidyalaya more..

Protect our environment — Group of concerned citizens writes to President

Sept 16 (LT) A concerned group of Sri Lankan environmentalists have taken measures to draw the attention of the President regarding several development projects that have been carried out at present which would harm wild animals and the environment. They have written to the President drawing his attention to the destruction of the environment due to the implementation of the relevant projects. ‘Lankatruth’ has received a copy of the letter sent to the more..

Gifted Sri Lanka Writer K.Jayathilaka passed away

Sept 16 (GDI) Gifted Sri Lankan Writer, K.Jayathilaka, a pioneer of the Sinhala novel, passed away last night at the age of 85 years. His novels and short stories had a profound impact on Sinhala literature whereas the talents demonstrated by him could be compared to those that of great literary genius Martin Wickramasinghe. The Children's books of Late Jayathilaka describe the relationships between the environment and the child. more..

National Health Week from 3rd to 9th October

Sept 16 (GDI) Sri Lanka health ministry has decided to conduct a national health week island wide in order to create awareness among the people about the large investment made by the govt to improve the free health policy as envisaged in the govt policy framework- the Mahinda Chinthana. It has been reported that during the year 2011 the budgetary allocation for free health facilities exceeded Rs 62,909 and the next years allocation will far exceed this amount further. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.7-pct

Sept 16 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks slumped again Thursday with turnover falling further amid continued trading in shares that had drawn speculative, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.65 percent to 6,850.93, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.79 percent to close at 6,178.49, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees. Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide voting and non-voting shares were the most actively traded stocks. more..

Sri Lanka Buddhist monks destroy Muslim shrine

Sept 16 (BBC) A group of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka led a crowd that demolished a Muslim shrine last week. This incident took place on Saturday in Anuradhapura, an ancient Buddhist city. The monk who led the group told the BBC he did it because the shrine was on land that was given to Sinhalese Buddhists 2,000 years ago. But a prominent Muslim in the area said he was very sad and the sentiment was shared by many Sinhalese too. more..

‘UK not anti Lanka, does not regret end of terrorism’

Sept 16 (SM) Ruling out an anti-Sri Lankan stance, British high commissioner in Colombo John Rankin has said that his country has no regrets over the end of terrorism in the island. The relationship between the UK and Sri Lanka is a very rich and strong one both historical and modern, he has said. He is answering questions from the Sri Lankan and Maldivian public via video. “But we also believe based on our own experience in Northern Ireland that to build a sustainable peace and more..

AIADMK stages walkout in Puducherry Assembly over Sri Lanka issue

Sept 16 (PTI) The AIADMK Thursday staged a walkout in the Puducherry Assembly after Speaker V Sabapathy declined permission to table a private member resolution seeking economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. When Speaker V Sabapathy asked AIADMK`s legislature wing leader A Anbalagan, to speak on the demands for grants to some departments he wanted a clarification whether the House would take up a private member resolution he had given notice of to urge the Centre to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 15.09.2011

Displaced people protest for homes

Sept 16 (UCAN) Activists organised a silent protest march on September 13 in Mannar to urge the government to resettle Tamil Internally displaced people (IDPs). Some 1,500 people including Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, priests, Tamil politicians and IDPs handed over a petition to the local government administrative head of public services, appealing to be allowed to return to their own village and have religious services in their own church. more..

United outrage over rights record

Sept 16 (UCAN) While welcoming this month’s lifting of emergency rule, which has been intermittently enforced since 1981, the Bishop of Mannar says Sri Lanka still has a long way to go in terms of personal and religious freedom. Bishop Rayappu Joseph is especially concerned and has spoken out strongly against the heavy military presence in the north, which he believes is overbearing. “In the presence of the army, people are scared to gather, move around and speak,” more..

Sri Lanka’s GDP growth quickens to 8.2% on higher investment

Sept 16 (BN) Sri Lanka’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter on higher investment and as the central bank avoided the interest-rate increases that have contributed to a slowdown elsewhere in Asia. Gross domestic product rose 8.2 percent in the three months ended June 30 from a year earlier, the statistics office said on its website in Colombo today. That compares with a 7.9 percent gain in the previous quarter. more..

Muzammil says central govt funds not needed for CMC

Sept 16 (ST) UNP mayoral candidate A.J.M Muzammil today said that he will not depend on the financial support of the central government to carry out the functions of the Colombo Municipal Council. “I will carry out the administration of the CMC with the money within the municipality, I will not ask for financial support by the govt, as they are facing many debts and therefore they will not be able to support us” he told a press conference in Colombo. He also said that more..

Lanka a transit point says India

Sept 16 (SL) Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaran says Pakistan based terrorist groups are trying to use Sri Lanka as a transit route to enter Tamil Nadu. Speaking in New Delhi today, Chidambaram said that there was no let up in attempts by terrorists to sneak into India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. ‘Two terrorist attacks in the space of two months are indeed a blot on our records. Naturally, the central government and security forces have been severely cricitised,’ more..

Road across Sinharaja halted

Sept 16 (SM) The controversial road construction across the Sinharaja forest has been ordered to be halted. Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has given the order from Geneva, where he is participating in the UN Human Rights Council session. The Department of Wildlife Conservation has been directed to take over the area. The road is under construction from Imbulkanda to Suriyakanda across the Sinharaja. more..

Sri Lanka, Vietnam mull tractor plant, garment ventures

Sept 16 (LBO) Vietnam is considering setting up a tractor plant in Sri Lanka and also joint ventures in garment manufacture, the island's ministry of industry and commerce said in a statement. "Vietnam is keen to import more coconuts from Sri Lanka, collaborate in garment manufacturing and also to set up a manufacturing plant for two wheel tractors here," it said. The investment opportunities were discussed during a meeting between Vietnam’s ambassador to more..

Sri Lankans held under terror laws

Sept 16 (Age) Several of the Tamil asylum seekers caught trying to flee Sri Lanka for Australia this week are being held in detention camps without charge under draconian anti-terror laws. Australia has praised Sri Lanka for intercepting a boat carrying 44 asylum seekers, including two children, with high commissioner Kathy Klugman applauding the Sri Lankan security forces' work. But refugee advocates have criticised Australia's uncritical support for more..

No more child combatants – Govt tell UNHRC

Sept 16 (LP) The Sri Lankan govt has informed the United Nations Human Rights Council that investigations have found that there are no more child combatants in the country. A UN body had recently said that there were fears over some children who remain missing after being believed to have been recruited as combatants by an armed group in the east of the country soon after the war. However the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said on more..

Strong sales exceeding US $ 10 Million from FACETS exhibition

Sept 16 (LP) Sales to foreign buyers alone easily exceeding US $ 10 Million, in the recently concluded 21 FACETS Sri Lanka 2011 international gem and jewellery exhibition, Industry and Commerce Minister, Rishad Bathiudeen said. More than 7300 visitors attended the show of which more than 1300 being foreign visitors. The topmost preference for foreign buyers was the Ceylon Blue Sapphire. And factors needed to make Sri Lanka as a blue sapphire hub are falling into place. more..

'SEC should reveal names of miscreants'

Sept 16 (LBO) Securities and Exchange Commission has earned praise from a lawmaker for taking action against suspected cases of stock manipulation, but he says the names of the people involved should be revealed. "We welcome the decision by SEC to finally initiate action on alleged manipulators at the Colombo Stock Exchange," opposition lawmaker Harsha de Silva said in a statement. "We feel that our continuous struggle for greater transparency at the CSE has begun to more..

Fears for British Tamil held for four years in Sri Lanka

Sept 16 (Guardian) The British govt and a legal charity have expressed concerns about the plight of an ill British Tamil who has been held in Sri Lanka for almost four-and-a-half years without charge or trial under controversial anti-terror legislation. Viswalingam Gopithas, a father of two from south London, was arrested in Colombo in April 2007 on suspicion of seeking to provide support to the LTTE. more..

Turning the screw

Sept 16 (Economist) THE United States is not in the business of threatening its friends, said Robert O. Blake, US assistant secretary of state, in Colombo on Sept 14th. But, he added, smiling placidly, there will be pressure. If a domestic commission appointed by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s president, does not provide credible answers to allegations of war crimes committed by the military, demands for “some sort of alternative mechanism” will mount. Ever since its war with Tamil Tiger rebels ended more..