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President congratulates new Cardinal of Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has congratulated the His Lordship Dr Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, on his elevation as a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, announced by the Vatican yesterday. His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is the second Sri Lankan to be named to the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church, the first being the late Thomas Cardinal Cooray, who also served as the Archbishop of Colombo when more..

Don’t pardon Fonseka: Justice minister

Oct 21 (DM) Justice Minister Athauda Seneviratne said yesterday former Army Commander and DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka should not be pardoned as he was serving a prison sentence on being convicted of fraud. During the debate on the motion to increase salaries of senior judicial officers, he told parliament that the other prisoners should also be pardoned and freed if the former army commander was granted a pardon. more..

Initiatives to up living standards

Oct 21 (DN) The Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Ministry will take initiatives to upgrade the living standards of the Northern and Eastern people who were affected by the LTTE terrorism, Minister DEW Gunasekara said. The Minister said the Ministry will conduct rehabilitation activities in line with the ongoing LTTE ex-combatants' rehabilitation program. Under this program, soft loan facilities for housing will be provided. more..

Rajarata Uni. students climb tower, stage satyagraha

Oct 21 (DM) A Sathyagraha had been organized by students of the Rajarata University in order to convince officials of the Ministry of Higher Education to release the student activists who they allege were remanded on spurious charges, and lift the ban imposed on several students from attending lectures. The non-stop Sathyagraha had commenced at around 3.00 pm on Wednesday and was launched by three male students and two female students who more..

'People like Karuna Amman should apologise for murder of 600 policemen'

Oct 21 (NF) People like Karuna Amman should be asked to tender an apology for the murder of policemen by the LTTE in the 1990s, says the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Shivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, also known as Pillayan. He made the statement, while giving evidence before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, when it convened yet again yesterday. more..

'To contain high budget deficits, forceful action needed'

Oct 21 (Island) Sri Lanka has consistently overestimated revenue and underestimated expenditure resulting in bigger budget deficits than what had been set as targets when budgets are formulated. While uncertainty of war was one reason for this, a bloated inefficient public service waste, reckless spending and corruption have been the major contributors to wide deficits, often hiding behind the three decades-old war more..

Govt. stays silent about the assets seized from the LTTE

Oct 21 (DM) The government once again in Parliament yesterday declined to reveal details about the assets seized from the LTTE’s international network to the House. The government held the view that such disclosure would affect the ongoing local and international intelligence operations to curb the LTTE activities overseas. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena made these remarks on behalf of the government in more..

'Sampur won’t be available for IDPs'

Oct 21 (Island) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan aka Pilleyan says he cannot interfere in the ongoing Indo-Lanka project to set up a coal-fired power plant at Sampur, Trincomalee. The former LTTE commander insists only President Mahinda Rajapaksa has the power to address the concerns of those wanting to return to their property at Sampur at the end of the Eelam war IV. The government evicted the LTTE from Sampur within more..

Fonseka not ‘Convicted’

Oct 21 (DM) There is no conviction at all against the Sarath Fonseka, the Counsel for the former Army Commander said yesterday continuing his submissions before the Court of Appeal. Counsel Romesh de Silva PC also contended that there was no validity in the conviction recommended by the Military Tribunal. He said that on application, Paul Ratnayake Associates received a letter from the Advocate General of the court martial confirming more..

SC orders to release people in detention

Oct 21 (DM) A Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Asoka de Silva yesterday (20) issued an order directing all the Magistrates to enlarge on personal bail the persons who are languishing in prisons under detention more than six years. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices N.G.Amaratunga and Chandra Ekanayake made this order taking cognizance of forgotten prisoners who are under detention. more..

Ruhunu University VC injured in attack

Oct 21 (Island) Vice Chancellor of Ruhuna University Prof. Susirith Mendis was attacked yesterday by a group of students when he attempted to settle a dispute. Prof. Mendis told The Island that he had been assaulted by some students of the Arts Faculty. He said: "Since yesterday morning students had been gathering on the campus apparently in preparation for a fight. I went there to disperse them but they refused to go away. more..

Why hire foreign PR firms to represent Sri Lanka? – UNP

Oct 21 (Island) The UNP says the government is paying three foreign Public Relations firms to represent Sri Lanka abroad, while maintaining diplomatic missions overseas at a huge cost to the taxpayer. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake alleges that the firms are being paid Rs. 12 million a month to carry out what he called an image building exercise. Hepointed out the absurdity in the arrangement, which he said was a burden on the people. more..

'No land will be given to foreign companies'

Oct 21 (Island) Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament yesterday the Government has not taken a decision to hand over even an inch of land in the Moneragala district to any foreign company. He made this observation in response to an adjournment motion moved by UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara. He was answering on behalf of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. more..

UN panel of experts call for submissions

Oct 21 (BBC) The UN panel of experts advising the Secretary General on alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka has called for written submissions. Those who wish to make submissions may make one written submission not exceeding ten pages. It must include the contact details of witness say the panel. The panel led by former Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman will more..

Sri Lanka seeks investors to revive state enterprises

Oct 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government is seeking private investors to help revive defunct state-owned sugar, paper and ceramic industries, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. The government wants to revive the Kantalai sugar factory and the Embilipitiya paper mill of the National Paper Company in the east and the Ceylon Ceramics Corporation, he said. The Cabinet of minister approved a proposal to revive the industries in private-public partnerships without more..

Over 300,000 land mines removed in Sri Lanka's north

Oct 22 (Xinhua) Some 314850 land mines have so far been removed from Sri Lanka's former northern battle zones. Major General Ubhaya Madawela the military spokesman said Thursday some 1857 square kilometers had been cleared of mines in the north with around 2000 more sq kms remaining to be cleared. Sri Lanka has stepped up its mine clearing operations with the end to the separatist war with the Tamil Tigers in May last year. more..

Sri Lanka reveals haul of civilian gold from war zone

Oct 22 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government has said its troops collected more than four million dollars worth of gold jewellery during the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels. Chief government whip Dinesh Gunawardena told parliament on Wednesday that security forces picked up the precious items during the final months of the decades-long civil war last year. more..

Govt. to revise prison ordinance

Oct 22 (SL) The government is in the process of revising the Prison Ordinance and presenting a new Prison Act to parliament. The current Prisons Ordinance has been in place since 1867 and the new Prison Act is to be presented to parliament in early 2011. Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara has told the media that there have been only three minor amendments to the Ordinance since it was passed. more..

Govt. spending on AIDS treatment reduces

Oct 22 (DM) Forty-four babies had contracted AIDS from their infected mothers in 2007 and 2008 alone, Parliament was informed yesterday. The revelation came in response to a question by ruling party MP Dr. Rohana Pushpakumara. It was also revealed that health authorities had identified 1249 infected persons in Sri Lanka during the period 1987 to June 2010 out of which there had been 212 fatalities. Among those identified with having contracted AIDS, only five had contracted the more..

'Defence budget is high since we are still paying for war supplies'

Oct 22 (AD) Certain organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are waging a relentless campaign to tarnish the name of Sri Lanka globally. That is why at least three organizations have again carried pictures of so called atrocities by the Sri Lanka Army, said Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. Sri Lanka has clearly proved the lies behind these campaigns through several experts in the fields. But they still persist, more..

Lankan housemaid in Jordan accused of murder

Oct 22 (NF) A Sri Lankan housemaid serving in Jordan, who is said to have strangled a woman to death and subsequently attempted to burn the body, has been arrested. The police suspect that the woman in question had killed a 52-year-old Jordanian national. The Sri Lankan embassy in Jordan was looking into the incident with the assistance of the Foreign Employment Bureau, Legal assistance will be provided to the woman in question to defend herself at the upcoming trial. more..

Narco-babul ring busted

Oct 22 (AD) A stock of ‘babul’ – a mix used with betel as a chew – has been recovered by police and a 23-year-old suspect has been taken into custody. Questioning has led police to a house in Wellampitiya where the babul had been kept to be mixed with a stock of ganja. The babul is valued at nearly rupees two million. The suspect is being produced before the Maligakanda Magistrate’s court today (Oct. 21). The raid on the Armour Street supply point was done last night by more..

Trawler adrift for 4 months: Sole survivor dumps bodies overboard

Oct 22 (NF) Only one out of five in the crew of a multi day fishing trawler is said to have survived the four month ordeal while the boat was adrift at sea. Maldivian coast guard has discovered the boat that set off from the Beruwala area four months ago and was reported missing. The Ministry of Fisheries revealed that of the five fishermen who were on board the vessel, only one had been found alive. more..

'No probe' into 'atrocity photos'

Oct 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka denied a claim by its prime minister that a probe has been launched on recently emerged photographs that are said to show a massacre of Tamils during the war. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government has not appointed any one to investigate the photographs. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a group which includes former supporters of the separatist insurgents, released the images as the Sri Lankan foreign minister visited London. more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Oct 22 (GDI) 1. Reactivation of Atchuvely Industrial Estate - Jaffna with Indian grant of Rs 174 million: this Industrial Estate covers an extent of 65 acres of land belonging to the Industrial Development Board (IDB). This was established in 1971 in the Jaffna District to provide infrastructure facilities for the small and medium industries. Due to the conflict situation , the 36 factories which were operating in the area were severely damaged. more..

'I have injections'

Oct 22 (DM) Deputy Minister Mervin Silva today said that he has injections for the rabid dogs that inhabit the neighbourhood of the national Universities. “I have injections for the rabid dogs that inhabit the neighbourhood of the national Universities and also have injections for those who make them crazy too,” he said. He also said that for those who have varying ailments, treatments are given to their bodies, heads, and stomachs. more..

Let the Sinhalese return to Jaffna; it is their right

Oct 22 (LG) That the Sinhalese who lived in Jaffna and who contributed in no measure to integrate with the Tamils running bakeries and setting up opticians should be returning to Jaffna to reclaim their roots should not be ignored. It is to the plaudit of the Jaffna intellectuals who are supporting the return of Sinhalese to justify their right to live where they spoke Tamil and integrated well with the Tamils and more..

G.L. Peiris -- A Ghost advertising a Phantom Limb

Oct 22 (LG) A ghost appeared in London at the Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) trying to advertise a phantom limb. It was the ghost of a onetime academic with many titles to his name. One who had taught a generation of students as a professor of law; but that was a long time back. Now, the ghost no longer has any memory of law, any law, not even of the Magna Carta. Now he defends the principle that the ruler can be above the law and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 21.10.2010

Attempting to impose payment for higher education on poorly paid wage earners

Oct 22 (LG) The attacks on the students and rhetoric against them appear in many of the reports covering Sri Lanka today. The Minister, S.B. Dissanayake is heard over television channels talking in the crudest language against the students using such words as "haraka" (bulls and buffalos) which is rather unbecoming of a minister dealing with education. This is rather the type of language used by drunkards and thugs. more..

A voiceless opposition and a blundering government

Oct 22 (DM) This is an attempt to bring forth the current political turmoil in Sri Lanka. The account is not exhaustive by any means for such a toilsome task would demand a tale no shorter than The Arabian Nights, and no less disturbing than The Satanic Verses. Today Sri Lanka is an economy almost in shambles. With inflation at 30 per cent the government continues to borrow from international banks at an insanely high rate of interest. more..

Plights of Northern Muslims in Srilanka

Oct 22 (LG) The primary objective of this short article is neither to narrate pathetic stories and conditions of Northern Muslims who are still languishing in IDP camps nor to propose some strategies for future resettlement programmes rather it is to urge and persuade the Srilankan government to expedite the resettlement of Northern Muslims as it does with other communities: Moreover, to point out the complacency of more..

NIB having watchful eyes on through passengers going through Colombo airport

Oct 22 (LG) The National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) of the Defence Ministry is claimed to be having a watchful eye on air travellers at the Colombo Bandaranayake International Airport. Officials attached to the NIB are said to be operating as immigration officials and are claimed grassing the travellers. The victims are mainly Tamils. According to information revealed by three victims who had expressed political opinion against more..

Interview with Vajira, Sri Lanka’s Prima Ballerina Assoluta

Oct 22 (GV) Vajira is now 78. In just over half an hour and recorded at the Chitrasena and Vajira Dance School, Vajira looks back at her life and recalls how she began to dance, what dance means to her, what’s changed from when the time she was an active dancer, her legacy alongside that of Chitrasena’s, what and who inspired her, the changes she brought about to traditional Kandyan dancing and more..

Great gentleman Gamini Dissanayake

Oct 22 (LG) Dame Betty Boothroyd, Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom once said, “From the numerous occasions that I have met Gamini, it is clear that he has a vision for Sri Lanka and its people. While one could consider him an idealist, the very fact that he delivered in terms of the gigantic Mahaweli Scheme, illustrates that he is also an extraordinary performer. more..

Health, Wealth and Vice

Oct 22 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam and assalamu allaikkum as preparations are made for a grand if not grandiose ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat and the Galle Face Green to mark your inauguration for the second six year term as the all-powerful president of Sri Lanka. Earlier, a ministerial committee appointed to plan the ceremony had proposed that it be held in the Sacred City of Anuradhapura. more..

Political satire in Sri Lanka: When making fun is no laughing matter

Oct 22 (GV) Political satire is nothing new: it has been around for as long as organised government trying to keep the wielders of power in check. Over the centuries, it has manifested in many oral, literary or theatrical traditions, some of it more enduring — such as Gulliver’s Travels and Animal Farm. And for over a century, political cartoonists have also been doing it with such brilliant economy of words. more..

Members of CPA UK visit Jaffna

Oct 22 (MoD) Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA) delegation headed by Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy visited Jaffna on Wednesday (20 Oct) to get acquainted with the ongoing development and humanitarian projects underway in the Peninsula. The delegation was received by Brigadier B.C.J.A.F. Rodrigo, Brigadier (General Staff) of security Forces Jaffna (SF-J) on their arrival at the SF-J Headquarters. more..

The LSSP and Left identity

Oct 22 (LB) The front page of the LakbimaNews of 10 October gave prominence to a news-report of serious differences inside the LSSP (“LSSP should remain distinct entity”). The report was accurate but I would like to highlight the importance of the development and the significance of the party conference due in about a fortnight. This is the most important conference since the LSSP debacle-conference where a challenge to the leadership crumbled like wafer in 1972 and more..

Ganja, political henchmen’s gaja mithura

Oct 22 (LB) A group of politicians with alleged connections to large scale ganja (cannabis) businessmen, last Thursday, prevented Department of Wildlife officials from building of an electric fence at Dahaiyagala to protect thousands of villagers in the border of Udawalawa National Park from elephants. While their colleagues in Colombo were beating the living day lights out of university students, around the same time Hambegamuwa police watched on while more..

'Black colour best suited for national dress'

Oct 22 (NF) Former chief justice Sarath N. Silva says that in an era where human rights are fast disappearing, it is most appropriate to wear the national dress in black colour. The former chief justice expressed these views addressing a function in Anuradhapura today to felicitate Attorney at Law Karunaratne Herath for the service he had rendered to the judicial sector for 30 years. more..

Editorial: Probe this war crime

Oct 22 (Island) LTTE combatant turned Chief Minister of the Eastern Province S. Chandrakanthan may not possess impressive academic qualifications or years of experience as a politician, but he certainly has political acumen, perspicacity and cunning. He has proved he is capable of playing hard ball in politics, so to speak. When he was asked by the LLRC whether he would tender an apology for the massacre by the LTTE of 600 police personnel in 1990, more..

Editorial: Pot calling kettle black

Oct 22 (DM) It is quite interesting the way the Chief Minister of Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan has implicated Vice President of the SLFP, Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan at the LLRC on war crimes and demanded that the latter tendered an apology for the massacre of 600 policemen. What is obvious is that some smart minds are trying to re-direct focus of the commission killing two birds from one stone in the process. more..

Why Sri Lankans fear Cepa agreement

Oct 22 (SL) India claims that by signing CEPA and with the enhancement of the FTA the problems of the FTA would be solved. When credibility of honouring the FTA is questionable, does it justify the signing of another agreement — CEPA? Is it not imprudent considering India’s attitude on the FTA? Besides the provision to enhance the negative list is available within the FTA. To tempt us to sign CEPA with the promise that more..

Blatant lies by Sri Lanka Guardian

Oct 22 (DN) Lies, lies, damned lies is what I have to say of the report and editorial comment in the website Sri Lanka Guardian (SLG) of October 09, 2010 titled "From gassing the dogs to human gassing in Sri Lanka". The SLG well known as a propaganda arm of the LTTE, has made yet another attempt to blacken the image of Sri Lanka by targeting its human rights record. Spokespersons for the government we believe would have answered these dastardly lies. more..

Sri Lanka overjoyed as prelate named cardinal

Oct 22 (UCAN) Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has been named as the second Sri Lankan cardinal in the country’s history. The Colombo prelate was among 24 new cardinals announced by Pope Benedict XVI overnight. He is the only one of the group to come from Asia and will formally be appointed at a conference in the Vatican Nov. 20-21. “This is a very historic moment for us,” said Father Cyril Gamini, Episcopal Vicar for southern region in the archdiocese of Colombo. more..

From shellfire to normalcy

Oct 22 (LB) Tillaiammalam Loganadan a Tamil national who lost his wife, children and his dwelling due to the out break of the three-decade long conflict between the security forces and the LTTE, is today slowly but surely regaining his former life back, thanks to the peaceful environment present in the North and East. Loganadan who had put up in a refugee camp for a long time is now living in a house situated at the very spot where his original home stood. more..

Importance of Vap Purapasalosvaka Poya

Oct 22 (Island) The Sinhala Buddhist calendar begins with Duruthu (January), Purapasalosvaka and follows with Navam (February), Medin (March), Bak (April), Vesak (May), Poon (June), Esala (July), Nikini (August), Binara (September), Vap (October), Il (November), Unduvap (December). On Friday 22, 2010 dawns a very significant and important Purapasalosvaka, known as Vap. Before the dawn of the month of Vas, during the rainy season, commencing from Esala, more..

P’deniya Science Faculty closed

Oct 22 (Island) Amidst rising tension on the Peradeniya Campus due to protests launched by JVP-led undergraduates,authorities yesterday decided to temporarily close the Science Faculty. This decision of the Science Faculty Board chaired by the Dean of the Faculty follows an attack on some undergraduates of the Science Faculty by a section of rival students, who had arrived at the faculty on two mobikes Wednesday morning. Some of the victims were hospitalized. more..

Nature friendly products push out polythene

Oct 22 (Island) spite the strict laws the use of polythene is continuing but villagers are determined to produce home based and environmentally friendly products not only to keep the surrounding atmosphere clean but also to increase the much needed income levels. Now, there is a big demand in the local market for reed-based products with reasonable pricing, with enough materials needed for production of items. more..