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Government to tighten belt to pay public sector salary hike

Oct 23 (ST) The Ministry of Finance is struggling to cut government spending in order to include the Rs.2,500 salary hike for public servants which would cost Rs.36 billion, Finance Ministry officials said. There are 1.2 million public servants and financial allocations for ministries, and state institutions should be pruned if the proposed salary increase is to be paid, a senior Ministry official said. more..

Teachers as Nation-builders

Oct 23 (Island) A nation comprises the people of a country, not its land, buildings, or natural features, though these may help identify a particular nation as its possessions. Nation building, therefore, means the development of the human factor along with the other resources of the country so that its people are able to enjoy a comfortable, happy, contented life in a free, fair and peaceful land. The greatest asset that a country has for achieving such a state of existence is its youth. more..

Tamil parties mull over priorities...

Oct 23 (NS) Former MP Mano Ganeshan said Tamil parties had been vested with the responsibility of winning the confidence of the Sinhala people in order to create a stable environment within the communities. He said that it was very important, as they needed to differentiate the Tamil people from the LTTE. The Tamil political scene has changed with the absence of the LTTE. more..

Editorial: That blood gold: Some questions

Oct 23 (Island) The army and the police continue to recover huge hauls of arms, ammunition and explosives belonging to the LTTE in the North and the East. With these weapons, the LTTE could easily have armed several times the number of its cadres. Why did the LTTE amass so many lethal weapons and explosive devices? Was it planning to expand its military wing beyond Sri Lanka's shores, perhaps with the help of foreign guerrilla outfits like more..

Editorial: What an excuse!

Oct 23 (DM) It is quite convenient for the government to say that chances are there for the media to get hammered by the police even in future if university students continue to be unruly. If the media persons who were attacked by police last week were reporters one would have thought they were mistaken for the university students. However this was not the case. All three media men who came under attack happened to be photojournalists and they all had shown their cameras when more..

Sri Lanka new port lures Micro Car, Madras Cement

Oct 23 (LBO) A new port being built in Sri Lanka's southern Hambantota has drawn investment proposals from local and foreign businesses including the local Senok Combine and Micro Car for vehicle assembly. Madras Cements, India's fifth largest cement maker and part of Chennai-based Ramco Group, has also proposed investing in a cement terminal at the port, a greenfield site to be operated as a free port with no taxes. more..

Singapore firms to invest in SriLankan Airlines units

Oct 23 (ST) Top management from two top Singapore airline-related companies in which Singapore’s biggest investment arm, Temasek Holdings has major stakes, were in Colombo this week for discussions with SriLankan Airlines and government officials on investments in the local carrier and its subsidiary, officials said. The delegation of 3-4 officials from Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aerospace), one of the largest third-party, more..

Praba Ganesan leaves for London to attend GOPIO Conference

Oct 23 (Island) Praba Ganesan, Colombo district Member of Parliament left on Thursday to London to participate in the GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) international conference, as representative of the Indian origin Tamils of Sri Lanka, his media unit said in a statement. Ganesan will be making the keynote address in the conference which will discuss the theme "Indian Diaspora’s Role in the New Economic Order". more..

'We are trying to achieve growth with equity'

Oct 23 (Island) Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs Prof Gamini Lakshman Peiris has said that the Government in his country is trying to achieve growth with equity. As a result, the disparity between the rich and the poor, and between urban areas and villages has begun narrowing down. He said this while delivering the RK Mishra Memorial Lecture here over last weekend on Constitutional Imperatives in South Asia relating to Security, Growth and Equity. more..

Beekeeping project keeps away elephants

Oct 23 (DM) A bee-keeping project was inaugurated in the Henanigala area recently as an effective means to prevent wild elephants from roaming into human habitats. Park Warden of the Maduru-Oya National Park W.P.M. Wickremesinghe said that beekeeping had been successfully used in other countries to prevent wild elephants and other wild beasts from coming into villages and attacking its occupants. He said the Veddah community living in Henanigala village more..

At UN, Sri Lanka panel's Darusman mulls requesting visit, Kohona says “Let him ask”

Oct 23 (ICP) The panel of experts on war crimes in Sri Lanka named by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been virtually invisible, including its silent launch on October 18 of solicitation of submissions of evidence. But on October 22 at a UN meeting about North Korea, Inner City Press spoke with both the panel's chairman Marzuki Darusman and its lead staffer Richard Bennett. more..

Sri Lankan refugees continue to return home from India

Oct 23 (Xinhua) Some 67 people from 21 families who have been living in neighboring India as refugees have returned home, officials claimed Friday. The return of Sri Landkan refugees has continued since the end to the armed conflict between government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels last May in the improved security situation. They had fled Sri Lanka's northeastern Mannar by boat escaping the escalation of the conflict from 2006 to 2008. more..

LLRC should help Sinhala and Tamils to reconcile

Oct 23 (Island) The Swarna Hansa Foundation in a statement on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission said that it was grateful to the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, for appointing the commission, particularly since it was the Swarna Hansa Foundation that requested the President, by letter dated 25th of May 2009, to appoint a presidential commission to examine and investigate the relationship between the International community, more..

European Film Festival goes out of Colombo

Oct 23 (DM) The Organizing Committee of the European Film Festival 2010 in Sri Lanka has taken action to take the exhibition out of Colombo to Jaffna, Kandy and Galle for the first time. This marks the third consecutive year that this festival would be held in Sri Lanka and this year the organizing committee was being chaired by the British Council in Sri Lanka. The European Film Festival is a collaboration between the European Union, the British Council, more..

'IT should be part of Pirivena education'

Oct 23 (DN) Action will be taken to implement a program to provide Information Technology knowledge to all who undergo Pirivena education, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. President Rajapaksa said he is discussing this with the relevant authorities. Addressing a special meeting at Temple Trees yesterday to develop Pirivena education, the President said he provided computers to temples when he was the Vocational Training Minister. more..

Paddy Marketing Board buys Soya

Oct 23 (Island) Since October 8, the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has purchased 1,150,000 kg of soya beans, from the farmers in the Anuradhapura District in Senapura and Galenbindunuwewa at the rate of Rs. 85 per kg. The purchase was made on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando, who in turn ordered the PMB to buy the soya farmers’ produce. more..

Ruins of ancient mansion unearthed

Oct 23 (Island) Ruins of a luxurious mansion were unearthed by a group of local archaeologists during their excavations at the Vijithapura Fortress site in Polonnaruwa. The excavators believe that this belonged to either a king or a regional ruler since they had found ruins of bath houses and ponds. Prof Anura Manatunga said that this was the first ever secular building unearthed in Polonnaruwa where a large number of remains of buildings used for religious purposes more..

Saudi authorities want more information on Lankan aide’s wounds

Oct 23 (DM) The Government of Saudi Arabia had asked for a medical report from Sri Lanka as to how old the wounds caused by the alleged intrusion of nails into the body of the domestic aide Ariyawathie were thought to be. The government of Sri Lanka had already submitted medical reports on the removal of nails from the body of Ariyawathie through the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia. more..

Massive operation to detect narcotics

Oct 23 (DM) Sixteen suspects were arrested and stocks of ganja, heroin, babul and other narcotics seized during a massive cordon and search operation carried out between Panadura and Mount Lavinia yesterday morning, police said. More than 1,300 officers were deployed and some 1,700 homes checked in the new initiative by the police to curb the use and sale of narcotics and other illegal substances. more..

Sri Lanka: To go or not to go?

Oct 23 (TR) After the 30 year civil war ended, we decided to go to Sri Lanka last summer. Our friends enjoyed a month of great travel in September 2009 and encouraged us to go. Wondering about the impact of so many years of war, I was worried about this trip. When we arrived, I learned that there had been 450 years of Dutch, Portugese and British rule before the civil war. I decided to ask as many questions as I could. more..

Sri Lanka 'pays PR firm £3m to boost post-war image'

Oct 23 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government is paying a top British PR firm about £3m ($4.7m) a year to try to enhance the country's post-war image, the BBC understands. Bell Pottinger Group was recently hired to lobby UK, UN and EU officials. The government says it employs several PR companies but will not disclose their names or the amount paid. Bell Pottinger also refused to give details. more..

Sri Lanka coconut prices hit new highs amid trade protection

Oct 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's fresh coconut prices shot hit a new high at this week's auction, which is expected to translate to retail prices over the next few days, as state interventions kept cheap substitutes out people's reach. At Thursday's auction of fresh coconuts in Colombo, which indicates farm gate prices rose over 3,000 rupees per thousand nuts. The average auction price rose to 33,006 rupees for a thousand nuts up from 29,069 a week earlier. more..

JVP unions submit budget proposal to government

Oct 23 (wsws) The JVP trade union front in Sri Lanka submitted a wage proposal this month directly to President Mahinda Rajapakse for inclusion in the deliberations on the November budget. Far from preparing for a struggle against Rajapakse, the JVP and its unions are indicating their willingness to collaborate with the government. The JVP-affiliated National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), Independent Ceylon Teachers Union, Socialist Estate Employees Union and more..

Sri Lanka joins US in major push against drug counterfeiters

Oct 23 (SLNN) The Sri Lankan government is partnering with the United States in a major offensive against drug counterfeiters. The local initiative is part of a worldwide campaign spearheaded by the U.S. State Department. Addressing a conference in Colombo this week, U.S. Ambassador Patricia Butenis said, “Buying, selling, distributing or using counterfeit drugs—fake drugs—can lead to more..

How Fonseka spends his days in jail

Oct 23 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka used the electric kettle in his prison cell to boil water for a cup of tea, and served it to UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara when he visited him at Welikada Jail yesterday. Mr. Jayasekera said retired General Fonseka began each day with religious rituals. “I had a long and cordial chat with him. He also reads newspapers and magazines brought by his friends and relatives, and watches TV programmes during his leisure time,” more..

'No suitable rice in the market despite asking people not to eat bread'

Oct 23 (LT) In spite of the government stating bread was detrimental to health and talks of a ‘what flour terrorism,’ it has not taken any measures to make available palatable rice to the market says Most Rev. Tibbautwawe Sri Sidhdartha Thero, Prelate of the Malwatta Chapter. “It is said bread is detrimental to health. People are asked to eat rice. However, it is necessary to find out whether rice being sold in the market is suitable for consumption. more..

'Children can contribute to development'

Oct 23 (DN) “The idea behind higher education is for children to increase their knowledge and turn out to be responsible citizens. They can contribute their knowledge and skills for the development of the country but what is happening now is most regrettable. The events which took place in the universities in the recent past is very unfortunate. Certain extremist forces are behind this,” more..

Thermal power plants to be scrapped

Oct 23 (Island) On the instructions of Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka plans are afoot to shut down costly thermal power plants and stop purchase of power from private generator operators. Minister Ranawaka says this will prevent the payment of capacity charges to the private sector where the CEB has to pay for contracted power supply whether the Ceylon Electricity Board purchases power or not. more..

... letters signed under duress - IUSF

Oct 23 (Island) Commenting on the pardon plea by university students in remand custody, the IUSF said that the Government had prepared letters seeking pardon from the Minister and got them signed by the students in remand custody after threatening them with dire consequences if they refused to sign them. IUSF Convener Udul Premaratne said that Minister S. B. Dissanayake’s associates had influenced the parents of those students and more..

Campus rebels in remand seek pardon from SB

Oct 23 (Island) A group of 21 University students, who, along with hundreds of others, stormed the Ministry of Higher Education premises at Ward Place last Thursday and allegedly caused damage to the properties there, has written to Minister S.B. Dissanayake’s seeking pardon. Arrested and produced in courts by the police, they were remanded. Their parents met President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday and requested that they be pardoned. more..

Sri Lanka to give war widows construction skills

Oct 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry has launched a project to provide construction skills to people, especially war widows and youth, in the east which is recovering from the effects of conflict, officials said. The project aims to train 5,000 craftsmen in four core crafts - masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work - and help them find work as the region rebuilds after the end of the island's 30-year ethnic war more..

LG Bill: UNP says deposits too high

Oct 23 (DM) The main opposition UNP said yesterday it would submit a proposal to reduce the amount of the cash deposit that has to be paid by political parties and independent candidates contesting the local council elections under the proposed Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill. The new Bill was presented in parliament on Thursday by senior Minister and House Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva. more..

Ranil takes up Fonseka issue with Britain

Oct 23 (DM) Opposition United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a visit to Britain is reported to have taken up the case of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka when he met Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Liam Fox yesterday. Party sources said Mr. Wickremesinghe had also discussed with them the political situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Former Chief Justice to sign petition calling for Sarath Fonseka's release

Oct 23 (DM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva will on Monday sign the public petition demanding the release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka from prison immediately. After the event, he will also participate in a public gathering at the Jayawardene Centre. So far the petition has collected well over one million signatures from the people across the country. more..

Bare-bodied SF serves ‘plain tea’ to Dayasiri

Oct 23 (Island) A bare-bodied General Sarath Fonseka serving a jail term at Welikada, after being sentenced to 30 months imprisonment by a Military Court, was visited by UNP parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday morning. MP Jayasekera told The Island that a bare-bodied Gen. Fonseka in his jumpers served him a cup of ‘plain tea’ prepared inside his cell. more..

UNP says UPFA monopolises LTTE rump

Oct 23 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena alleges that the UPFA has again depicted him as a friend of the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora in the wake of him making representations to the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) on behalf of DNA leader General Sarath Fonseka in Geneva. The MP says the government is making an absurd bid to show General Fonseka in bad light by alleging a link between his supporters and the LTTE rump. more..

More ex-combatants to be released in Sri Lanka

Oct 23 (Xinhua) Some 306 Tamil Tiger rebel ex- combatants are to be released after rehabilitation, officials said Saturday. They are to be released in the northern district of Vavuniya, Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commissioner General of Essential Services said. "We will be releasing 306 of them this afternoon", Ranasinghe said, adding that over 4,000 of them had been rehabilitated and released. more..

Fast food out from schools

Oct 23 (DN) Authorities will introduce restrictions on food sold in school canteens in a bid to promote healthier eating habits among children. Acting Health Minister Mahinda Amaraweera during a meeting with Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena and school principals has emphasized on the need to regulate the school canteen menu to do away with junk food and high sugar content soft drinks. more..

Child dies in accidental explosion

Oct 24 (SL) The Police said that a child had died due to injuries sustained by him in an accidental explosion in Thakwa Nagar, Muttur today (23). Police Spokesperson SP Preshantha Jayakody told the media that five children were injured when the mortar fuse they were playing with exploded near the Muttur jetty. He added that the Muttur Police was investigating into the incident. One of the children who had sustained serious injuries had succumbed to his injuries. more..

German aid to provide vocational training in the East

Oct 24 (SLBC) German Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yen Plotner said that Sri Lanka would become country with a developed economy. During the next few decades as a result of the development programme of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said at a media briefing in Colombo recently that Germany extends fullest support for this programme. The German government has come forward to extend vocational training to youth engage in construction in the Eastern Province. more..

Amid Sri Lanka’s boom, life for Tamils remains bleak

Oct 24 (TS) The weathered wooden bench that serves as an open-air confessional booth at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church doesn’t enjoy much down time nowadays. It’s not that more people are seeking forgiveness in this seaside chapel. Rather, parishioners have been flocking here just for the chance to sit with Father Cryton Outschoorn, to listen to his soothing assurance that their lives, clouded for so many years by fear and violence, are getting better. more..

Wildfire on Knuckles, strong winds prevents dousing

Oct 24 (AD) A wildfire raging since last night on the Hunnasgiriya Hills of the Knuckles Range has already destroyed about 160 acres, says Hunnasgiriya Police Inspector Samantha Perera. IP Samantha Perera also said that due to the strong winds in the area a Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter which attempted to extinguish the fire had to be turned back. Damages to inhabitants have been not reported yet and Police with the assistance of the public are attempting to control the fire spreading,

Sri Lanka to field full side against New South Wales

Oct 24 (IC) Speaking to the media in Australia, Kumar Sangakkara, said that he was satisfied with his team's batting performance that led to the demolition job against the Queensland Bulls yesterday. Batting first in their practise match against Queensland, Sri Lanka piled on 301 runs in a devastating display of batting on a surface that the Australian camp had hoped would soften the islanders up ahead of the opening game against Australia on October 31. more..

Release GSF protest in LA Oct 22n

Six Ruhuna University students face temporary suspension

Oct 24 (AD) Six students of the Ruhuna University who were suspected to be involved in the assault on the Vice Chancellor have been temporarily suspended with effect from Monday as a disciplinary measure. The suspension followed a meeting of the University’s Administrative Board where Prof. Susirith Mendis is the chairman. The Board discussed the reasons that led to the incident last Wednesday where Prof. Mendis was allegedly assaulted by some students. more..

President inspects Nugegoda Trade complex

Oct 24 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (22) visited the Nugegoda town where he inspected the new trade complex which is being built. The trade complex is being built for the sidewalk vendors in the Nugegoda city, where they would be able to carry out their trade. The trade complex building with a large open space provides room for nearly 500 traders who were prevented from selling their merchandise on the sidewalks and evacuated few months ago. more..

Only five SIM cards per person

Oct 24 (LP) The Ministry of Defence announced that people can only posses up to 5 Phone SIM cards each. The Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has accordingly ordered the mobile phone companies to obtain and store data on their clients. The registration and re-registration of Mobile users should conclude by the 31st of December or else their numbers will be disconnected and all users should register before more..

Sweet logic and commissions of inquiry

Oct 24 (LG) The sweetly logical and more than faintly aggrieved protestations that we hear from government spokespersons, including in particular, the Minister of External Affairs, implore us to give Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission the benefit of the doubt rather than prejudge it unfairly. Doubtless the more charitably inclined among us would like to believe these protestations against all odds. more..

Politics Without Principles

Oct 24 (LG) This is what confronts us citizens of Sri Lanka. A party manifesto is a pledge given to the people by individuals and parties seeking votes that they would govern the country accordingly. Most, if not all parties, pledged to do away with the Executive Presidency. Instead we see the winning party not merely disregarding its pledges, but strengthening the stranglehold of the executive presidency on citizens. more..

'Let there be sight, is the wish of 780,000'

Oct 24 (NF) More than 780,000 persons have given consent to donate their eyes, says the Eye Donation Society. “This year alone, 2,195 persons have donated their eyes, said Janath Mataraarachchi, Manager of the International Eye Bank. He said 1,200 in Sri Lanka had received sight due to the donations, and pointed out that a large number in foreign countries too had benefited from those donations. more..