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SF Counsel says tribunal no court

Oct 20 (DM) The counsel of Sarath Fonseka contended although ‘court’ meant any court or tribunal created and established for the administration of justice and the word ‘court’ in the Constitution did not include military tribunals. This was mentioned when the writ application of former army commander Sarath Fonseka against him being unseated from the Parliament came up before the Court of Appeal yesterday. more..

UN medal parade honours returning Sri Lankan contingent

Oct 20 (MoD) The customary UN medal parade, the prestigious military ceremony that appreciates the exemplary contribution made by any specific contingent in Haiti, saw its Sri Lankan contingent accord a salute to the visiting Chief Guest, Mr Edmond Mulet, Special Representative to UN Secretary General and Head of the Mission and to Major General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz, Force Commander. more..

UNP slames govt. over reckless spending, warns of more taxes

Oct 20 (Island) UNP MP Tissa Attanayake says people struggling to make ends meet will be burdened with additional taxes in the near future. The ruling coalition would not have no alternative but to increase existing taxes, introduce new taxes and opt for austerity measures, Attanayake said. "Raising taxes will be necessary to meet the budget deficit caused by irresponsible spending in the post-war era." more..

Govt. expenditure for 2011 almost Rs. 1,081 bn.

Oct 20 (Island) The government expects to obtain Rs. 997 billion as loans from local and foreign sources to cover its next year’s expenses, according to an Appropriation Bill for the Budget 2011, presented to parliament yesterday. The Bill, presented to the house by Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, has estimated the total government expenditure for the next financial year at 1,080,967,766,000 rupees. more..

Sri Lankan fishing boat found with one survivor

Oct 21 (HNS) Four out of the five crewmen onboard the Sri Lankan fishing boat found Wednesday near Gaaf Dhaal atoll Thinadhoo died out of hunger after they left Sri Lanka about eight months ago, the Maldivian fishing vessel which found the boat reported. “Fehi” fishing vessel from Gaaf Alif atoll Dhevvadhoo discovered the boat 11 miles off Thinadhoo. Ramzee, a crewman quoted the only survivor as saying that the boat drifted to Maldives after its engine malfunctioned. more..

CEB to lose less than expected

Oct 21 (LBO) State-run Ceylon Electricity Board may lose only half the originally expected 40 billion rupees in 2010 with the utility already covering operation costs in June, July and August, power minister Champika Ranawaka said. "In June, July and August we have covered operational costs even after bearing the cost of street lights and depreciation," minister Ranawaka said. "We projected losses of 40 billion rupees for this year but it may be half that." more..

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith appointed a Cardinal

Oct 21 (NF) Pope Benedict XVI today named Colombo Archbishop Rt. Rev. Malcolm Ranjith as one of the new Cardinals. The 24 new cardinals include a large number of Italians, two Americans and prelates for key posts in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Rev. Joe Neville Perera, speaking to Newsfirst from the Vatican, Italy, said that Archbishop Malcom Ranjith had been named a cardinal representing the Asia region. more..

Ruhunu VC attacked

Oct 21 (DM) Vice Chancellor of the Ruhunu University Professor Susirith Mendis has reportedly been attacked by a group of university students this morning. A leading academic, Professor Mendis who is a Professor of Medicine and also the founder Director of the Staff Development Centre has received injuries on forehead as a result of the attack. Prof. Mendis and a Senior student Advisor Saman Chandana, who was also injured more..

'Govt. contradicting itself on security'

Oct 21 (NF) Joseph Michael Perera, the United National Party parliamentarian, during the debate on the motion to extend the state of emergency yesterday, asked whether the government was contradicting itself by claiming suicide jackets and large stocks of explosives are being found. “There are foreigners who come to the country today as tourists. Certain countries have said that there was no problem in visiting Sri Lanka. more..

JVP's objection on Local Government Act

Oct 21 (LT) JVP is of the view that there are several deficiencies in the Local Government Elections Act. Therefore the JVP will oppose the Act. This was stated by JVP PM, Mr Anura Kumara Dissanayake at a media briefing held at its Head Quarters this morning. Mr Dissanayake put forward the details of the Act. He said that for the realistic representation of democracy a reasonable method should function to reflect the views of the people. more..

KP and LTTE’s gold come up again in Parliament

Oct 21 (AD) During oral question time in parliament today, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera asked the government to divulge particulars regarding Kumaran Pathmanaban alias ‘KP’. Mr. Jayasekera also wanted to know what has happened to the gold and jewellery said to have been recovered by the Army during the final battles with the LTTE. In reply, Minister Dinesh Gunawardene said that KP was taken into custody by the Sri Lanka Army and that he was still in Military custody. more..

Parliament passes motion to increase salaries of judges

Oct 21 (AD) A government proposal to increase the salaries of the Judiciary was presented to Parliament this afternoon by the Prime Minister. The Opposition agreed to the proposals. According to the proposals presented by Premier D.M. Jayaratne these salary increments are to be effective from January 2006. This is in accordance with the 6/2006 State Administrative Circular of 25.04.2006 and as per Article 108(1) of the Constitution, Mr. Jayaratne said. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 20.10.2010

Sri Lanka Sep. Tea output falls 5 pct on bad weather

Oct 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea production in September fell 5 percent from a year earlier due to heavy showers during the preceding month, the state-run tea board said on Wednesday. Tea output in September was 25.05 million kg, compared with 26.35 million kg in the same month last year. Output in the first nine months jumped 18.4 percent to 247.28 million kg against 208.87 million in the same period last year. more..

Asylum seekers tell of their journey of death

Oct 21 (DT) A group of 85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers has told of a horror 45-day journey at sea trying to reach Australia and during which their boat broke down, they ran out of food, water and fuel and three people died. The group, all Tamils, believes they had almost reached Christmas Island – their destination – when the boat’s GPS system broke down, the engine failed and they ran out of fuel. They then drifted aimlessly for what they say was a dreadful 30 days more..

'Will not hesitate to sack errant university students'

Oct 21 (DT) The Higher Education Ministry will not hesitate to sack not a thousand but even two thousand students who obstruct the university authorities from taking decisions and implementing them, said Minister S.B. Dissanayake. The actions taken by the Higher Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission up to now have been only to suspend several students from the lectures after disciplinary inquiries held against them, more..

SriLankan Airlines wins award for fuel saving software

Oct 21 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has won a merit award at the island's national software awards for its fuel management information system that enabled it to cut fuel costs and aircraft emissions, a statement said. The National Best Quality Software Awards 2010 (NBQSA) honours innovations in information technology and are presented annually by the Sri Lanka section of the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute for IT. more..

Sri Lanka stx weaker on banks sell-off; rupee firms

Oct 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's benchmark share index ended weaker on Wednesday with foreign investors selling select shares like conglomerate John Keells Holdings and Hatton National Bank, traders said. Sri Lanka's main share index .CSE rose 110.26 points or 1.66 percent to 6,732.85 during intraday trade and closed 41.63 points or 0.63 percent weaker at 6,664.22. The Colombo bourse is still Asia's best performer in 2010 with a 96.8 percent gain more..

The people of Sri Lanka welcomes the new card. Malcolm Ranjith

Oct 21 (AN) Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the cardinal archbishop of Colombo and the only Asian among the 24 who will be appointed on November 20 by Pope Benedict XVI. The announcement was made today by the same pontiff's general audience at the end. The news was welcomed by the population and also the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has congratulated the Archbishop. AsiaNews collected some hot reviews as more..

Confab or freebie holiday for Commonwealth delegates

Oct 21 (LG) I am no Nostradamus but I predict with certainty that Sri Lanka will have many visitors from the West in the coming weeks to advise the government on how to improve its human rights record, how to amend its constitution and how to set up private universities among other topics. These will not be ordinary visitors. These are ministers, MPs and Lords or UN agencies and they come as a delegation of 10 or 15. more..

Roti and rubbish: Leadership crisis deconstructed

Oct 21 (LG) The opposition’s leadership crisis is reflected no better than in the one single episode in which Dayasiri Jayasekera, UNP member of Parliament, has been quoted as saying that there is no significant rise in the number of tourist arrivals into the country after the end of the war. The clincher to this reasonable enough statement was that Sri Lanka is currently being besieged by cash-strapped Indian tourists “who turn out Roti in their hotel rooms with their electric irons." more..

Tamilnet site is best witness to the separatist project being lost

Oct 21 (TC) Tamilnet, the Internet organ of the now defeated LTTE is still banned in Sri Lanka. To access it, one has to go through proxy servers, that is, one needs to put "" in a web page like "". It would have been prudent to have blocked the site when we were at war but blocking the site now is self defeating. This site today is the best witness to the separatist project being lost. more..

Ministers, ministries and vehicles

Oct 21 (LG) Recently, the Minister of Health compared his ministry to a motor vehicle and said that ‘he is accelerating and the speedometer was also indicating the speed, but the vehicle was not moving". The vehicle he alluded to was his own ministry of which he was the driver. There is a lot of meaning to this statement. It can be used as a simple example to understand the role of the politicians, his or her professional relationships and institutional performance in real life. more..

The next big factor; the Public Service

Oct 21 (DM) Some of the MNCs in the country now look at Sri Lanka with more confidence, more commitment and continuance and acceleration of their investment plans. Now to facilitate this we need a highly motivated and competent public service. This will be a key element to our future success. What Sri Lanka needs is, like in Singapore, a powerful, competent and dynamic – technocratic bureaucracy, shielded from political pressure to devise and implement well-honed interventions. more..

Palmayra industrial estate coming up in Jaffna

Oct 21 (MoD) "I will set up an Industrial Estate to produce palmyra related products" said Minister Douglas Devananda at a ceremony held to plant 500000 palmyra seedlings at Skanthavarodaya primary school last week. The palmyra Development Board initiated this programme with the assistance of the World Food Program after considering the massive destruction of palmyra palm during the last 30 year conflict. more..

Our failed industry development

Oct 21 (NS) Economic globalisation has intensified economic competition worldwide. Sri Lanka has been pathetically lame in recognising and responding to this trend, while countries all over the world have been prudently adopting globalised strategies for production, marketing and R&D. In the past where barriers that have hampered the flow of production factors, products and capital are gradually loosening, and business information flows faster and more freely, more..

Learning global lessons fast- the Rajapaksa way

Oct 21 (DM) It is clear where he is going and how much of criticism he will tolerate (or not). Despite not laying down any political path for the Tamil community or their alleged grievances, his interest in their wellbeing is obvious. Sure, he has the Tamil community confused as to their role in the country, but no where has he left them out of his vision for the future that will form Sri Lanka. Much surely needs to be done to dispel the fears that form the minority mindset, but more..

The World Wide Web to connect the foreign employment sector

Oct 21 (LP) A new method will be established through the World Wide Web to connect all those who are connected to the foreign employment sector, Chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau Kingsley Ranawaka stated. Under the new initiative foreign employment representatives who are overseas, the Sri Lankan Embassy, the foreign employment representative in Sri Lanka, and the Foreign Employment Bureau will be connected through the internet, more..

'e-Pension Project' to simplify pension payments

Oct 21 (LP) The “e-Pension Project” which was established jointly by the Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (SLICTA) and the Department of Pensions will be launched under the chairmanship of Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs W D J Seneviratne on the 27th of October at the Department of Pensions. With the commencement of this project, the massive amount of stationery used in the preparing and more..

The top secret world created by govt in response to terrorist attacks

Oct 21 (TC) Even if one concedes that Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch may, between them, have a point or two in their criticism of Sri Lanka and the LLRC, surely the best way to have established such a point would have been to accept the latter’s invitation and participate to the fullest possible extent in the LLRC space in the glare of the global media? more..

IDPs now down to 18,799

Oct 21 (MoD) The total number of IDPs in the Vavuniya relief villages has dropped to 17, 641 as of yesterday, due to the Government's speedy resettlement programme. In addition, 1158 IDPs remain in Jaffna bringing the total number of IDPs to 18, 799. Last Monday, 430 IDPs were resettled in the Oddusudan area. The government has been able to resettle IDPs in their places of origin in less than 15 months after peace was restored in the country. more..

Editorial: 'Terrorist Factories'

Oct 21 (Island) Hans Kirst's unputdownable novel, Officer Factory, tells us how the crème de la crème of the German youth were moulded into killing machines ready to lay down their lives for Hitler's macabre cause. One is reminded of Kirst's classic, when one sees what is happening in the Sri Lankan universities, which are hotbeds of JVP violence. One may dub them Terrorist Factories, because they are the places where the best of the country's youth are more..

Editorial: A turn for the worse

Oct 21 (DM) As predicted the grand campaign to take the university students to streets is in full swing with the University of Ruhuna, housed in a region where the JVP is quite strong, leading the pack. The attack on the Vice Chancellor of the Ruhunu University Professor Susirith Mendis certainly brings back the memories of the dark days of the JVP insurgency during which the insurgents hunted down lecturers and vice chancellors. more..

The man who served under nine Prime Ministers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (DBS) Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon turns 80 today (Oct 20th). He really needs no introduction, having done Sri Lanka proud on many occasions in his many capacities and served the nation to the fullest of his ability in public service for half a century. Bradman as he is generally known has served under nine Prime ministers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka namely Sir John Kotelawela, SWRD Bandaranaike, Dudley Senanayake, more..

Preliminary arrangements underway for the Islandwide Population Census

Oct 21 (GDI) The Department of Census and Statistics has started planning activities related to the next Census of Population and Housing. The census will be carried out throughout the island in July 2011. It will be 14th scientific census of the country. The Director General of the Department of Census and Statistics, Mrs. D.P.B.Suranjana Vidyaratne said that with the intention of improving more..

Higher Rationale for Commission on 'Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation'

Oct 21 (TC) The National Peace Council recently took the opportunity to make its submissions before the Presidential Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation. This Commission was appointed in May 2010 to look into the reasons why the Ceasefire Agreement and peace process failed, to prevent the recurrence of conflicts as had occurred and address issues of compensation to those who were victims. more..

Government 'begins probe' on torture photos

Oct 21 (BBC) Sri Lanka Prime Minister D. M Jayaratna says that the government has launched a probe on recently emerged photographs that are said to show a massacre of Tamils during the country's civil war. Some of the pictures apparently show the bloodstained bodies of bound and blindfolded young people. "We have already appointed a team to look into the matter," sadi Mr. Jayaratna. more..

Govt plans to set up 1,000 handicrafts villages

Oct 21 (F2F) The government has decided to establish 1,000 traditional handicrafts villages throughout the country within a period of one year. He added that, traditional handicrafts villages are going to be established under the Mahinda Chintana - Vision for the Future program. The Sri Lanka Industrial Development Board, which operates under the Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry, undertakes the selection of villages which have traditional craftsmen. more..

Douglas Devananda's plea: hearing adjourned

Oct 21 (Hindu) Thee Madras High Court on Wednesday adjourned to Thursday further hearing on a petition by Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda, seeking to set aside an order of 1994 declaring him a ‘proclaimed offender' in a Chennai murder case. The case relates to a murder at Choolaimedu on November 1, 1986. Thirunavukkarasu died when he was shot at. In his petition, Mr. Devananda stated that after he was enlarged on bail, he was expatriated to Sri Lanka. more..

'Arresting hotel room couples violates rights'

Oct 21 (LB) Couples speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS urge a human rights organization to challenge the police harassment they underwent, in courts on behalf of them, as their personal freedom is curtailed day by day. We spoke to many couples at Galle Face and Viharamahadevi Park and in anonymity, they said that they only spend time talking to their lovers and do not engage in any sexual activities. more..

Massive land fraud in Batticaloa

Oct 21 (DM) An investigation was launched into reports that some poor families who had been living on lands granted to them by the government in Kalliyapadu in the Batticaloa District had been chased away by government officials with the help of the LTTE and unauthorized persons not being allowed to settle on these lands in their place. The 170 lots of land had initially housed a colony and some families had been living in over 17 lots for more than 50 years more..

Spl. Forces soldier led extortion gang

Oct 21 (Island) Investigations into the kidnapping of a businessman by a gang demanding Rs. 20 million have revealed that a Special Forces soldier and his accomplices were responsible for the crime. They had obtained protection money amounting to Rs. 50 million from rich businessmen earlier, the police said. The extortionists have built luxury houses and purchased expensive motor vehicles with the protection money. more..

3000 prisoners to be granted amnesty

Oct 21 (DM) Three thousand prisoners who are in prison for minor offences would be released by way of President’s Amnesty and remission, according to the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reform D.E. W. Gunasekara. The Minister stated that the gravest issue being faced by the Prison system was congestion. “These are mostly people who are in prison because they are unable to pay a small fine of 500 rupees or the like. more..

17 fishermen return to Rameswaram

Oct 21 (Hindu) A group of 17 fishermen of Rameswaram island, who went to Sri Lanka for salvaging two boats in the Sri Lankan waters, returned to the shore on Wednesday. According to the Coast Guard officials, who brought the contingent from the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), they had been sent to Sri Lanka a few days ago to locate the stranded boats of Rameswaram with the permission of various agencies, including Coast Guard. more..

President inspects Thandikulam Railway Station

Oct 21 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who chaired a progress review meeting of the North at the Security Forces Headquarters in Vavuniya on Tuesday, paid a surprise visit to the Thandikulam Railway Station and inspected the progress of the work. According to Transport Ministry Secretary Dr Lalithasiri Gunruwan, the President wanted the officials to expedite the construction of the Omanthai Railay Station. more..

Boston Lanka News: Oct 19, 2010

Police attack protesting students

Oct 21 (wsws) The Sri Lankan courts denied bail on Monday to 18 university students arrested during a police attack on a protest last week demanding the release of six other students. The arrests are part of government efforts to suppress broad student opposition to the privatisation of universities and worsening conditions on campuses. The students have been charged with “unruly behaviour” under the draconian Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of more..

'Assault on Vice Chancellor an attempt by the Govt. to create clashes between the Administration and the students'

Oct 21 (LT) Mr Nandika Gunasekara, Secretary of the Ruhunu Campus Students' Union stated that there is a reasonable doubt on the assault on VC Professor Susirith Mendis yesterday at the Campus premises was done by a student or some other person linked with the Govt. He also stated that during the history of the Ruhunu Campus an assault on either VC or a Lecturer by the students has not happened but more..

Sri Lankans eye breakthrough win

Oct 21 (SBS) Vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene believes Sri Lanka have their best chance ever to achieve a breakthrough series win on Australian soil. Australia's form slide, their Ashes focus and the tourists' improved one-day strength, particularly on the road, has Jayawardene confident of ending a 26-year drought Down Under. Since playing their first international clash in Australia in 1984-85, more..

Canadian laws to get tougher against human smugglers

Oct 21 (GT) The Harper government will target the criminal organizations that orchestrate the smuggling of migrants into Canada for profit and establish minimum prison sentences as part of a promised crackdown on human smuggling. The new measures, being announced Thursday in Vancouver, also will tighten existing legal language to enhance chances of convicting accused smugglers and establish — for the first time — mandatory minimum sentences of up to 10 years. more..