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Mobile phone explodes blinding soldier

Oct 18 (ST) A soldier in the Chundikulam Army Camp lost an eye in a mobile phone accident. The phone, which was plugged to a charger, exploded when the owner picked it up to answer a call. The 19-year-old soldier was rushed to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, where battery parts were removed from both his eyes. Hospital sources say the soldier lost his vision in one eye as a result of a chemical reaction. more..

When poverty-producers propose poverty-alleviation

Oct 18 (NS) This is the month dedicated to ‘saving’. This is the month when all banks run ad campaigns urging people to save money. Banks need savings because banks need to sell all kinds of loan products. A nation needs savings because a nation has to invest money in various spheres in order to create jobs, generate income etc. People need to save money because people are fragile and frequently find themselves in cash-strapped situations. more..

Government pleads for a Fonseka pardon?

Oct 18 (LG) Among the more ludicrous sights that one saw this week was one government politician after another pleading that Sri Lanka’s former Army Commander or a member of his family should ask for a pardon from President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The deafening volume of these calls had, at times, an air of wholly unflattering desperation about them. It is as if even those most enthusiastic of government propagandists had realized full well the magnificent irony of more..

2011 World Cup ticket sales opens in Hambantota

Oct 18 (SO) With less than 125 days for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) World Cup Organizing Committee launched their official promotional campaign during a ceremony held at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota today. The ground situated in Sooriyawewa will host the opening two matches of the World Cup with Sri Lanka taking on Canada on February 20 and more..

‘Sinhala Only’ imposed on name boards in East

Oct 18 (TN) Sri Lanka government Road Development Authority (RDA) in Eastern Province using only Sinhala language in the name boards reveals the intention of Sri Lanka government to impose the ‘Sinhala Only’ Act again, Batticaloa residents said. The name board of the road to Vaakarai from Batticaloa is written only in Sinhala language and despite the request made by TNA MP Pon. Selvarasa to RDA to include the names in Tamil and English more..

UPF general secretary Vijayakumaran passes away

Oct 18 (TN) S. Vijayakumaran, General Secretary of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) passed away Saturday morning following a heart attack. He died while being rushed to the Dickoya government hospital. He was fifty-five years of age. He was a founder member of the UPF. UPF founder leader Periyasamy Chandrasekaram also had died of heart attack earlier. The remains of the departed leader is kept at Dikoya District Hospital for postmortem examination. more..

Petition demanding release of Sarath Fonseka signed in Panadura

Oct 18 (NF) A petition was signed in the Panadura area today demanding the release of the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. A group of local politicians was also present at the Panadura town where the petition was signed. Furthermore, those who were present pledged to work with commitment to free Sarath Fonseka. “It is because he was imprisoned that I am standing on my two feet and talking to all of you. more..

World’s hungry billion and Sri Lanka’s increasing malnutrition crisis

Oct 18 (ST) Yesterday was World Food Day: the day set apart to remind the world that there is a grave problem of hunger in many parts of the world. There have never been as many hungry people in the world, as on World Food Day 2010 when there were about one billion hungry people in the world. There are many reasons for this heartbreaking situation the world over that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf, more..

Alarm over rising breast cancer cases

Oct 18 (NS) Breast cancer, the commonest female cancer in Sri Lanka, has surged over the past decade to an alarming level. “The number of patients has increased considerably from 1985 when breast cancer accounted for only 6.9% of all cancers to its present percentage, with most of the victims being women who are 55 years and above”, a group of cancer specialists told the media at a seminar organiිed by the Health Education Bureau. more..

UNP wants 40 percent of seats for women

Oct 18 (ST) The main opposition UNP wants 40 percent of the seats at the forthcoming local council elections reserved for female members, a spokesman said yesterday. The voting at these elections is to be a mix of both the “first past the post” and preferential voting systems. “We will discuss the matter with the Government when legislation to amend laws regarding local council polls and related matters are debated in Parliament,” more..

Sri Lanka Tourism hunts for local properties

Oct 18 (N360) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is inviting the owners of architectural bungalows, old walauwas and picturesque lands in the country to sell or lease their properties to start new tourism projects. The Authority says these properties can be sold or leased to investors who are looking to start tourism projects here in the country. SLTDA says it will facilitate meetings between the willing property owners and the investors to meet and discuss the deal. more..

Editorial: Of human rights fig leaves

Oct 18 (Island) Three international human rights groups, the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the Amnesty International (AI), have betrayed their deep-seated prejudices against Sri Lanka in their recent statements snubbing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). They have rudely turned down an LLRC invitation to testify before it. The LLRC was right in inviting them because, otherwise, more..

Transport of veggies, fruits in plastic crates to reduce waste

Oct 18 (Island) Nearly 230,000 metric tons of vegetables and fruits go waste while being transported from the farms to the markets, a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture reveals. Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that it had been estimated that the cost of the wasted fruits and vegetables was around Rs. 12 billion. "According to our research, about 30 per cent of the vegetable and more..

Colombo accused of 'land grab'

Oct 18 (BBC) A minister in the eastern provincial administration has accused ministers in the central government of his own government of land grab undermining post-war reconstruction efforts. Wimalaweera Dissanayake, land, education and cultural affairs minister in the eastern province, also accused the authorities of the Central government of transferring teachers without his knowledge. There has been no coverage in the media on the issues, he said. more..

Editorial: Accountability a lesson from Delhi

Oct 18 (DM) The organizing committee (OC) of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games has locked all files relating to the games in a room and officials are now expected to account for every rupee of the Rs.1,600 crores spent on the games. One wonders how useful it would be if such a procedure could be followed here in Sri Lanka for all the State sponsored events. True that it was the gross corruption charges levelled against some games officials that saw the need for more..

Sri Lanka to improve eye care facilities in rural area

Oct 18 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said on Sunday that it will improve eye care facilities in rural hospitals as 4.3 percent of its population have visual disabilities. Palitha Mahipala, additional secretary of the health ministry, said 860,000 people, or 4.3 percent of the population, are suffering from visual disabilities in the country. Mahipala said 150,000 of them are blind. more..

Ranil and GL in London

Oct 18 (BBC) The Sri Lankan foreign minister and the leader of the opposition will both be in London next week to meet British political leaders. Prof GL Peiris visits London to deliver the keynote address at a conference by International Institute on Strategic Studies (IISS) on "Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry Dialogue". He and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe are both scheduled to meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague and ruling Conservative party leaders. more..

Navy rudderless after war?

Oct 18 (LB) Only around 20 ships out of more than fifty combat and support ships and inshore patrol craft of the Sri Lanka Navy’s fleet is operational. The rest of the fleet which has minor technical issues is left idling in the naval bases, he added. “In the 18 months after the war, there has been a visible reduction in the naval fleet. A large number of ships are not operational because of small technical issues and for some reason or other they were not being repaired,” more..

Ottawa monitors more potential migrants from Sri Lanka

Oct 18 (G&M) The federal government is monitoring a second boatload of Sri Lankan migrants preparing to head for Canada, and has stepped up its co-operation with other countries against human smugglers. With Ottawa preparing new legislation aimed a human trafficking, The Globe and Mail has learned that federal officials believe they have solid evidence that smugglers in southern Asia are preparing to send another boatload of migrants to this country. more..

Rubella vaccination further delayed

Oct 18 (DM) Although it had been announced earlier by the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry that the Rubella vaccination Programme was to be recommence by October 01 to those want the vaccine be administered, it is reported that there is no sign of the programme recommencing. Sources said that all the vaccines needed for the programme had already been distributed to the relevant locations all over the island though the required advice and guidance had not been sent. more..

Two men killed in musical show clash

Oct 18 (DM) Two men were killed and two injured in a clash during a musical show in Gampaha early yesterday morning, Police said. The show had continued till the wee hours of Sunday (17) at the Miniruwangama playground and there had been a clash between two factions which resulted in stabbing and attacks with broken bottles. This is the first musical show since the govt relaxed regulation which required the shows to end by 10 p.m. more..

JVP vows to stick to poster war

Oct 18 (DM) JVP would continue its poster campaign despite the ban imposed by the government, party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said. Mr. Amarasinghe who was addressing the party’s local government representatives said it would continue its poster campaign against the loss of democracy, jailing of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and would successfully overcome the barriers imposed by the government on opposition. more..

To save the critically ill: Removal of organs of the braindead allowed

Oct 18 (Island) The Ministry of Health and Nutrition has granted permission for transplanting the organs surgically removed from the braindead but ventilator assisted persons, thus ending certain professional issues raised by the Institute of Medicine and Toxicology over the removal of organs from such persons. In a circular issued by Dr. Ravidra Ruberu, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, dated Oct. 14, the ministry has intimated its decision to more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Oct 18 (ST) The conduct of Sri Lanka's diplomacy overseas now seems two pronged - one by the internationally-accepted practice of using diplomatic missions. The other, a new phenomenon, is securing the services of public relations firms. One known instance is the assignment given to Bell Pottinger, a PR firm, to do propaganda work for Sri Lanka in the United States. The firm is known to receive a monthly payment of US $ 30,000 - more than enough to pay the salaries of more..

Court to hear fundamental rights petition against SLC

Oct 18 (CI) The Sri Lanka Supreme Court has accepted a fundamental rights petition by United South Sports Club against Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) that calls for elections to the country's richest sporting body, and will hear the case on October 26. United South, a member of the SLC, claims the sports minister has misused his powers by continuing to have an interim committee run the affairs of SLC, thereby more..

Now, Inland Revenue swoops on SJH docs

Oct 18 (Island) The Inland Revenue Department will shortly probe the earnings of the medical staff at the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital. The inquiry will focus on payments they have received over the past three years. A senior Inland Revenue official told The Island that his department had decided to initiate an inquiry following The Island reports on huge sums of money the hospital had paid to some doctors and more..

IPUCHR has not rejected Fonseka’s HR violation petition

Oct 18 (Island) The government, by claiming that the human rights violation petition on behalf of Retired General Sarath Fonseka MP, had been rejected by the Inter Parliamentarian Union’s Committee on Human Rights, had lied to the public, the UNP said. UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said that Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had uttered what he called a iabolical lie, when the latter said that the UNP’s petition on behalf of Fonseka to the IPUCHR, had been dismissed. more..

Internationalizing Sarath Fonseka issue: Opposition mission fails

Oct 18 (DN) Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said that certain Opposition elements had failed in their bid to internationalize Sarath Fonseka’s case and tarnish the country’s image referring to the complaint made to the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), Human Rights Committee for Parliamentarians. Reference was made in some newspapers during the weekend that the IPU will continue to follow up on the complaint made to more..

UNP-JVP split makes Rajapaksa stronger

Oct 18 (ST) At an auspicious hour in the morning of Friday November 19, Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, will stand in the lawn opposite the old Parliament building in Fort to be sworn in for a second term as President of Sri Lanka. The venue is symbolic for many reasons. Until 1948, the British Coat of Arms adorned the top of the building signifying colonial rule. Since independence that year, the arms of the Dominion of Ceylon replaced it. more..

Sri Lanka prepares for rebirth of tourism industry

Oct 18 (Independent) Post-war Sri Lanka is preparing for a rapid growth in tourism numbers over the coming five years as the local industry gets back on its feet - and international visitors once again have faith in the security situation in the island nation. The Pacific Asia Travel Association this week predicted around 500,000 tourists would have headed to Sri Lanka by the end of this year while more..

Pelawatte to host ‘Lankan Pentagon’

Oct 18 (NS) With the government successfully maintaining security and peace in the country for more than a year after its military victory over the LTTE, defence authorities are now considering building a Pentagon type establishment at a Colombo suburb. Under this proposal, the government is planning to build the establishment to house the key defence elements including the headquarters of the Army, Navy and Air Force at more..

Editorial: You buy the lie

Oct 18 (SL) Every Sunday you buy the lie. You buy the lie that this is a functioning media. They sell the lie that this is a functioning democracy. A week later they wrap your lunch in it, which is about all it’s really good for. Most papers today are just lies to keep the rice from falling out. As long as the economy keeps us fed, we don’t really care. We’re pumped full of stories via print, SMS, TV and radio but there’s precious little meat. more..

Norwegian Minister Solheim to visit Sri Lanka -- to mend fences

Oct 18 (IANS) Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim plans to visit Colombo in a bid to mend troubled ties with Sri Lanka, where many had come to see him and his country as sympathisers of the Tamil Tigers. Having rubbed the current Sri Lankan leadership the wrong way despite a tightrope walking at the height of the war against the Tigers, Solheim had a fruitful meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the UN recently. more..

‘The Tamils are coming on board'

Oct 18 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Minister for External Affairs G.L. Peiris says the Tamils at home and abroad are responding favourably to the sincere efforts President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has been making to improve their lot since the so-called Eelam War IV ended 17 months ago. In an exclusive interview to this writer in New Delhi on Thursday, October 14, he said: “The Tamils' response has been good. They are coming on board.” more..

EC to interview new political parties

Oct 19 (SL) The Election Commissioner’s Department is to commence interviews of political parties that have applied to be registered. The Department has said all political parties that have handed in applications for registration would first face a seiries of interviews. The media has quoted the Elections Commissioner’s office saying that 82 political parties have applied to be registered. more..

Journalists to protest

Oct 19 (SL) Journalists are to protest tomorrow (19) noon to call on the authorities to take legal action against the police officials who have allegedly attacked a group of journalists. The Free Media Movement and four other media organizations have organized the protest to demand action against the police officers who had attacked a group of journalists covering the protest organized by the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) last Thursday (14). more..

Soldiers help 'reduce budget deficit'

Oct 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka army commander says soldiers are now helping the government for development work after the recently concluded military conflict. "We have contributed well for the nation building as the war is now over," Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya told a gathering of about 1000 military personnel in Vavuniya. "There is no extra charge for our services so it is good assistance for the government to reduce huge budget deficit," more..

UNP MP Ramanayake granted bail

Oct 19 (SL) The Kandy Magistrate’s Court today (18) granted bailto UNP MP and actor Ranjan Ramanayake, who was arrested last Thursday (14). Kandy Additional Magistrate Thanuja Jayathunga had granted bail to Ramanayake, who was arrested last Thursday for allegedly committing a financial fraud to the tune of Rs. 1 million. A female teacher from a Kandy school had lodged a complaint saying Ramanayake had taken money from her promising marriage. more..

Police oppose granting bail to students

Oct 19 (LT) Colombo Magistrates Court, on a request by the police, refused to grant bail to the 21 university students taken into custody while engaged in an agitation opposite the Ministry of Higher Education. The reason for the refusal of bail to the students is that they have been charged under public property act. When counsels representing the students requested for bail the police had strongly protested stating more..

Massive open prison in Wellawaya

Oct 19 (DM) A large scale centre for corrections would be built in Wellawaya with enough capacity to take over the inmates from eight Prisons including Welikada, the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms said. Among the others prisons that would be closed down are the Mahara, Negombo, Galle, Matara, Tangalle, Embilipitiya and Badulla prisons. The Correction Centre, which would be an open prison, is to be more..

Editorial: Beyond resettlement

Oct 19 (Hindu) The presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was in New Delhi as chief guest at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, gave Prime Minister Manmohan Singh another opportunity to flag the need for a political settlement of the Tamil question and urge the Sri Lankan leader to act decisively in this regard. The resettlement and rehabilitation of Tamils displaced during the war remains an important issue, and more..

Arrested university students’ parents meet President

Oct 19 (AD) The parents of the Peradeniya University students now in custody met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this evening (Oct. 18). Initially the parents of only two students were present but later some others too joined the discussion. President Rajapaksa while agreeing that the imprisonment of students was unreasonable requested the parents to urge them to request for a pardon according to legal formalities. more..

New entity to solve Golden Key depositors’ woes

Oct 19 (AD) A decision has been reached to set up a new company which is to acquire the assets of the Golden Key Credit Card Company and distribute its shares among those who had lost their deposits when the company went bankrupt. This decision had been arrived at when President Mahinda Rajapaksa met members of the Golden Key Depositors Association at Temple Trees today (Oct. 18). more..

Dicey products to go

Oct 19 (DM) The Ministry of Health has taken steps to ban all food products promoted through advertisements that include false information about their nutritional content. A large number of such advertisements which give false details have been identified. Agencies promoting such advertisements have already been called to the Ministry and have been cautioned about the gravity of the situation and have been warned that severe legal action will be more..

Stop excuses on disunity among Tamils: Karunanidhi to Sri Lanka president

Oct 19 (PTI) Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi on Monday asked Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse to stop giving 'excuses' that there is no unity among Sri Lankan Tamils for a political settlement and said he should take immediate steps to ensure peaceful living conditions for them. He said Rajapakse, who enjoys two thirds majority in the Sri Lankan parliament, can easily pass an amendment to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 18.10.2010

Sri Lanka Guardian: Weekend Review

Oct 19 (LG) In a television discussion between a government Member of Parliament and an opposition UNP member the question of the high prices of food items such as bread, sardines (Tinned fish), dal, and eggs, the government message was that these are not "our kind of food", and instead, it is better to eat rice, mikunuenna and pathola. Perhaps, that message is going to be repeated for quite some time to come. more..

Let us avoid Kekille type judgements

Oct 19 (LG) I was prompted to write this brief article after watching how the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse gave a judgment ordering the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) under the Power and Energy Ministry to make a construction on credit (News 1st clip). The dispute was between a school and the CEB. Due to non-payment of the cost of construction, the CEB had refused to go ahead with the project. more..

Agony of ‘child mums’

Oct 19 (NS) In a relatively conservative society like Sri Lanka, a 14-year-old or a 12-year-old girl giving birth to another child can still make front page news in national newspapers. It is considered a social taboo but the fact remains that more than 1,000 teenage pregnancies had been reported in previous years. In past three weeks alone, there were four cases being reported in the media of teenage mothers giving birth and the father turned out to be more..

Developmental Dementia

Oct 19 (DM) Reports that one in every four Sri Lankans suffer from mental illness of some kind may be exaggerated. Conversely, the official claims in this regard could also be downplaying the reality. Either way, it is not good news. Neither for the nation, nor for its developmental agendas and hopes, and not certainly for the tourism industry, which hopes to revive its pre-war, forgotten glory. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, for one, has set himself the agenda of more..