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Conflict over, but not for widows

Oct 26 (IRIN) Tens of thousands of war widows cannot be reached due to a lack of funds, say officials, despite efforts to help them adjust to life after the conflict in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. There are 89,000 widows in the north and east, Mohamed Hizbullah, the deputy minister for child development and women’s affairs, told IRIN. “Where do we find money to restore livelihoods? My ministry does not have the needed funds to do this… Funds are our biggest problem more..

'All rice in market fit for human consumption'

Oct 26 (AD) Almost one hundred per cent of the rice available for sale in the market is fit for human consumption, said the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Health. I response to allegations from certain quarters that most of the rice in the open market was not fit for human consumption, officials had inspected stocks of rice at over 50 wholesale outlets in the Pettah who supply the bulk of rice to the retail market, said Additional Secretary Palitha Maheepala. more..

Presidential election petition: Reject petition in limine- President's Counsel

Oct 26 (DN) The pleadings are misconceived in law and hence the petition should be rejected in limine, stated President's Counsel D S Wijesinghe, Senior Counsel for President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his written submissions to Supreme Court. The Supreme Court earlier reserved its order in the preliminary objections in the Presidential Election Petition filed by Sarath Fonseka. more..

Immigration goes hi-tech

Oct 26 (DN) The Immigration and Emigration Department recently upgraded its border control system by introducing a series of modifications to the current system. The full page passport readers at the Bandaranaike International Airport have now been installed. The new readers will enable the capture of full data-page image of the passport during passenger inspection at the time of entry and departure. more..

e-Pension scheme launch tomorrow

Oct 26 (Island) The government has launched an e-pension project to streamline the pension scheme of public servants. The project will be launched tomorrow, at the Department of Pensions, under the patronage of Minister of Public Administration W. D. J. Seneviratne. Minister Seneviratne told The Island that the project aims to streamline the activities of all pensioners in the country. more..

Trouble brews at SJGH over retirement age, AG consulted

Oct 26 (Island) A controversy is now brewing at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital, among the Consultants and Senior Staff Members (Hospital Director, Assistant Director, Board Secretary and Accountant), over their retirement age. After a surprise Cabinet decision of the then UNP government, the SJGH Board decided in 1986 to retire the aforesaid categories of workers at 65 years and all others at 60. more..

'Rid UNP of Tiger proxies'

Oct 26 (DM) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said the time was ripe now to resurrect the party from Tiger proxies. He said some people caused an irreparable loss to the party by saying the soldiers were heading towards Pamankada instead of ‘Alimankada’, and Medawachchiya instead of Kilinochchi. He said the UNP should literally be replaced with a new engine and revamped accordingly for future election victories. more..

Another Appeal Court Judge steps down

Oct 26 (DM) When the Writ application of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka challenging the conviction and sentence of the 2nd Court Martial came up yesterday before the Court of Appeal, Justice K.T.Chitrasiri, who had been one of the sitting judges, declined to hear the case citing personal reasons. The matter initially came up before a Bench comprising Justices Eric Basnayake and K.T.Chitrasiri. more..

Nurses’ protest cripples hospitals

Oct 26 (Island) A three-hour protest by nurses yesterday morning brought hospital services to a grinding halt. Nurses are opposing the new draft of Nursing Minute prepared by the Health ministry. The protest was organised by the Government Nursing Officers Association. Its president, Saman Ratnapriya, said the protest was a big success, but, if the government failed to grant their demands, more..

Conflicting views on SF’s seat

Oct 26 (DM) The fate of JVP member Lakshman Nipunaarachchi is not known if he does not take his oaths within three months of his nomination by the election department in place of jailed DNA leader Sarath Fonseka. Lawyers and politicians argue that there is no provision in the Constitution or in any Act, which deems that a parliamentary seat is cancelled if a member does not take oaths within a stipulated time. more..

Student Bhikkus to be punished today

Oct 26 (Island) The Sri Jayewardenepura University authorities have decided to take disciplinary action today against the Bhikkhu undergraduates who were allegedly involved in an attack on university officials on Sunday night. Sources said that the inquiry was over by last evening, but the decision was pending approval from the Vice Chancellor. A group of Bhikkhu undergraduates allegedly attacked some university officials, more..

Ranil meets Norwegian head of joint ‘peace evaluation’ team and Solheim

Oct 26 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has met Dr. Gunnar Sorbo, head of the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), hired by the Norwegian government to evaluate the Norwegian-led peace efforts in Sri Lanka from 1997 to 2009, with the focus on the disastrous 2002 Ceasefire Agreement. The UNP confirmed Ranil’s meeting with Sorbo, formerly a trustee or member of several boards, including more..

Sri Lanka appeal over death-row maid in Saudi Arabia

Oct 26 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has appealed for the king of Saudi Arabia to spare the life of a Sri Lankan housemaid convicted of killing an infant, his office said Tuesday. Rizana Nafeek, who was working in the Middle Eastern country, was found guilty of killing a four-month-old baby boy in her care in 2005. The Saudi Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal against the verdict by the maid's family. more..

Journalist Threatened

Oct 27 (SL) A journalist attached to the Rathu Lanka newspaper has been threatened today (26) by a group of persons identifying themselves as members from the defence establishment. The group had after introducing themselves security personnel, had requested for Rathu Lanka journalist Sanjeewa Padmasri’s identification papers. The threats have allegedly been leveled against Padmasiri after he had shown his media accreditation card issued by the Government more..

Navy-Customs war

Oct 27 (DM) The customs officers are on a strike after they were told that they need permission from the navy to enter the Colombo port from the Chaithya road. “We will strike till we are given permission. Why do we need permission if we are working at customs for years”, a senior customs officers said. Navy spokesman Captain Athula Senerath told media that the navy has a list of names that has been sent to them by the Ports Authority Chairman and the Director General of Customs more..

Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy visits India

Oct 27 (MoD) The Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe arrived in New Delhi on October 19 for 8-day official visit on the invitation of the Chief of Indian Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, naval sources said. This visit marked another milestone of the close naval relationship between two Navies as well as the defence cooperation between two countries. more..

'Certain group vying to destroy free education'

Oct 27 (AD) University administration and authorities have to be flexible when it comes to issues regarding the students. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake says that it is evident that a group who has taken the law into their own hands is obstructing the free educational system. hE pointed out that relevant authorities have to intervene immediately in order to stabilize the complications that have risen relative to the country’s university system in general. more..

Saudi Arabia: Stop execution of domestic worker

Oct 27 (HRW) King Abdullah and Interior Minister Prince Naif should halt the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker convicted of killing a child in her care when she was 17, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi Arabia is one of only three countries worldwide known to have executed individuals in the past two years for crimes committed when they were children. Rizana Nafeek had been in Saudi Arabia for two weeks in May 2005, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 26.10.2010

Sri Lanka shares fall for second day ahead of IPOs

Oct 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's benchmark share index fell 1.3 percent on Tuesday for a second day as investors cashed in to raise money for upcoming initial public offerings and booked year-end profits, analysts said. Sri Lanka's main share index .CSE fell 87.17 points or 1.31 percent to 6546.16. It is still Asia's best performer in 2010 with a 93.4 percent gain as the island's economy rebuilds after the end of a civil war in May 2009. more..

Media reported wrong facts, say J’pura bhikku council

Oct 27 (AD) The media had recently carried some erroneous version of the facts leading to the incident of alleged assault at the Jayawardenepura University, said the Jayawardenapura University Arts Faculty Bhikku Students’ Council. Ven. Kamburugamuwe Gnaneeswara Thera said that the Council had invited the media to inform the real facts that had taken place on the night of October 24. The Ven. Thera said that the Vice Chancellor had entered the bhikku students’ hostel more..

Sri Lanka records marginal increase in Corruption Perception Index -TI

Oct 27 (BBC) Sri Lanka has recorded a marginal improvement in the Corruption Index released by the Transparency International. Sri Lanka has increased its score by 0.1 from last year to reach 3.2 points and is placed in the 91st position among 178 countries. Last year Sri Lanka was placed at 97 among 180 countries. It is however, is not a significant change, according to JC Weliamuna, the executive director of TI Sri Lanka branch. more..

We can only hope Sri Lanka ceases to be a place from where people must flee

Oct 27 (TC) Much has been written about Asylum seekers and the unsafe conditions in which they attempt to cross over to foreign lands at great personal risk. According to Article 1 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and more..

Road network through Kaytes and Mandathivu naval bases open for civilians

Oct 27 (MoD) For the convenience of the civilians living in Kaytes and Manadathivu islands, the road network which runs through Naval Bases SLNS Kanchchadewa in Kaytes and SLNS Velusumana in Mandathivu was declared open by Minister Douglas Devananda in the presence of Governor of the Northern Province Major General (rtd) G.A. Chandrasiri and Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander Northern Naval Area Rear Admiral Susith Weerasekera. more..

Lost and found fisherman Mahesh arrives from Maldives

Oct 27 (NF) Mahesh Kumar, the fisherman lost at sea for months and rescued by the Maldivian coast guard on October 20, will be back in the island this morning. Officials at the Sri Lankna High Commission in the Maldives said that all arrangements had been made to send back the rescued Sri Lankan fisherman, K. D. Mahesh Kumar, back to the island. “We have taken steps to issue a temporary passport to Mahesh, and more..

Don’t forget the elderly when they need your care

Oct 27 (DM) The hate love relationship that often exists between the media and the politicians appears to be yet continuing occasionally gathering momentum especially when some officious law enforcing officer decides to act with high handed efficiency and the naturally irritated press takes umbrage and various political parties decide that this is a glorious opportunity or them to add their critical dismay! While this situation provides for amusement, criticism or more..

Ranil And Shopping Alone

Oct 27 (SL) Ranil still gets the cars, security and privileges of a government minister. He still gets to speak and people have to listen and print what he says. He still appears on TV and the cover pages, essentially for sitting around. Ranil even gets to travel and visiting dignitaries still talk to him like he’s an Opposition Leader rather than a squatter. It must feel nice, plus the alternative is much worse. I recently saw Mangala Samaraweera at Arpico, buying groceries. more..

Restore faith in the Judiciary

Oct 27 (DM) There is a general acceptance that our legal system has failed us and that there is a significant breakdown of trust. It is imperative that the government address this problem on an urgent basis for that would make a significant difference to our lives. The delays and the backlog of cases have made a mockery of the Justice system. It does appear that the only beneficiaries are the lawyers. more..

Sunday Times editor violates “Capri” rules

Oct 27 (SL) Recently The Sunday Times in particular ran prominent stories about the alleged “unsavoury” happenings at the ‘Capri’ a popular social club at Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. At one point even racial abuse was being thrown at each other. While this is essentially an internal matter for the club, to be addressed by its members, we now understand that outsiders have been stoking the fire for reasons which are not too hard to guess. more..

Tinsel “Stars,” The fourth estate and the “Big Lie”

Oct 27 (SL) Every Sunday, you buy the lie.” began The Sunday Leader editorial, last week. “You buy the lie that this is a functioning media” it then said. A slap across the face of the media, if it wants to wake up and look in a mirror. A week before that on October 10, “This submissive and biased media with SF” was what crowned my column in The Sunday Leader. “None of the media personnel working in this new media culture ever think they need to organise more..

Lessons to be learnt and reconciliation – Part Two

Oct 27 (LG) As long as we follow the western theorists and the Tamil elite who claim that the Sinhala Buddhists are responsible for the so-called ethnic problem and injustices were done to the Tamils by the Sinhala Buddhists we will never solve the "problem" as it has not been properly formulated. In effect, with the assumption of the so-called grievances we are trying to solve a non existing problem. more..

Tele-Drama Actress says she admitted her fault by mistake

Oct 27 (LP) The Tele-Drama Actress who was taken into custody for stealing garments worth Rs.12, 000 from a famous dressing centre who was released on a bail of Rs.50,000 was again produced before courts yesterday (25). She was produced before Courts for punishment in regard for her statement made in Courts during her previous presence in Courts where she confessed that she did steal by mistake. But in the meantime the actress with the support of her lawyers said more..

The milk argument

Oct 27 (LP) Always the one on the lookout for the welfare of women and children, Mrs. Rosy Senanayake was to pose a question in Parliament last Thursday involving the daily production of cows’ milk and nursing mothers. As it was, Minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development Arumugam Thondaman had been at the ready to answer said question, only to find that Mrs. Senanayake had not come to Parliament. “Can Mrs. Rosy Senanayake pose her question please”, more..

'There could be extremists in universities'

Oct 27 (NF) Veteran cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya appealed to parents of students of the Ruhuna University not to allow their children to join with extremists in the university. Jayasuriya, the United People's Freedom Alliance parliamentarian made this appeal while addressing a media briefing in Matara today referring to the incident where the Vice Chancellor of the university was allegedly attacked. more..

A muddled Local Authorities Elections Bill

Oct 27 (LB) The good thing about the LA Election Bill is that it restores the ward system; then it screws it up by emasculating the core of why the ward system is good. The benefit of directly elected ward representatives is the same as why the old constituency based members of parliament were superior to the current gaggle of geese. The old MP for Timbuktu was a human being to whom Timbuktu’s constituents could relate; he was their representative, more..

Further cuts on Left-blues

Oct 27 (LB) There are people who, strangely, are still labouring under the illusion that there is a ‘Left’ (in the Marxian understanding of the term) in Sri Lanka. They are a visible minority of two: Wickramabahu Karunaratne and Kumar David. The former writes to Sinhala papers and as such is marginally relevant, the latter writing to an audience that has little patience for dabblers in Marxist terminology and ideological preoccupations. more..

What I said at the LLRC?

Oct 27 (LG) When the war was brought to an end by the SL armed forces, a section of the Tamils in the country breathed a sigh of relief. Another section was saddened as they were extreme Tamil nationalists and LTTE supporters. However all sections of the Tamil community whether they be LTTE sympathizers or opposed to them, were fearful because the war came to an end without there being a reasonable solution, and all the sacrifices and dedication were in vain. more..

The economy and the stock market performance

Oct 27 (ST) There is a tendency to think that the performance of the stock market is an indicator of the country’s economic performance. Most people, including foreign observers, draw a connection between the economy and the stock market and the stock market and the economy. It can hardly be denied that there is an association between the two. Yet that relationship is not as strong as it is made out to be. It is often a very tenuous connection, more..

Finally: Indictments against Kotelawala, Sicille

Oct 27 (ST) The Attorney General’s (AG) Department, 21 months after the Golden Key crisis exploded in December 2008, is now ready to indict former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala, his wife-on-the-run Sicille and other directors on charges of criminal misappropriation of funds, fraud and breach of trust in connection with the Rs 26 billion scam. Sources at the AG Office said Attorney General Mohan Peiris told President Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Sri Lanka farmers seen reaping premium from mobile use

Oct 27 (LBO) Use of mobile phones has helped Sri Lankan farmers get better prices for their produce and the technology can help reduce poverty, according to a new United Nations study, officials said. "There is an informational dimension to poverty - poor people need lots of information for their livelihoods such as on market prices, inputs, weather," said Sriganesh Lokanathan of LIRNEasia, more..

Some questions worrying the Tamil people

Oct 27 (NS) Now the question is who should apologise to whom. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission suggested to Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, popularly known as Pillayan, on Wednesday to apologise to the families of the 600 policemen killed by the LTTE on June 11, 1990. He was asked to apologise as a former member of the LTTE. Chandrakanthan said he joined the LTTE after the killing of the policemen and more..

'Service extension of public officials not cancelled'

Oct 27 (GDI) Ministry of Public Administration and Home affairs announced that concession granted for re-employment of Public Officers beyond the age of 60 based on un-availed leave has been cancelled effective from January 2011. However the provision made to extend the service of an officer beyond the age of 57 on yearly basis on the discretion of the relevant appointing authority will continue unabated. more..

Sri Lanka lifts price controls on rice

Oct 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka has lifted price controls on rice originally imposed to prevent a sharp price spike caused by low harvests and state controls that prevented imports from coming in to stabilize prices. The government's information office said the consumer affairs authority has lifted a 70 rupee per kilogram price cap on rice, the information department said in a text message. Different grades of rice had different price controls. more..

Editorial: Be wise Health-wise

Oct 27 (Island) Free education and free healthcare have benefited the ordinary people of this country immensely. The relatively impressive health indicators and the reasonably high literacy rate have been attributed to people's easy access to healthcare and education free of charge. Successive governments, whatever their failings, have continued with these welfare measures amidst numerous economic hardships and in the face of tremendous pressure from more..

Editorial: Rizana; the continuing saga of our times

Oct 27 (DM) Despite well argued cases by the United Nations, Amnesty International and a slew of other organizations the Saudi law has come in the way to block all the moves to save Rizana Nafeek. Lawyers hold that chances are slim for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s letter, calling clemency for Rizana, having a major impact on the outcome of the episode given the nature of the Saudi legal setup. However there’s growing international pressure especially following this week’s sentence. more..

State of tension across campuses

Oct 27 (ST) Tension in tertiary institutions – arising from recent police-student clashes, compounded by Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayaka’s hardline stance towards unruly students – is likely to intensify in the weeks ahead. The present situation has not been helped by other contentious university-related issues, such the government decision to allow private foreign universities to operate in Sri Lanka; the lack of more..

Sri Lanka's stock investors increase amid boom

Oct 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's active stock market investors have increased to 64,000 by Septebmer 2010 from 37,000 a year earlier, Securities and Exchange Commission chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa said. Sugathadasa said there were 530,000 accounts in the central depository system of the Colombo Stock Exchange but most of them were dormant. She was speaking at an educational exhibition and seminar on the capital markets of Sri Lanka to market the investment day 2010. more..

Govt fails to help renovation of war destructed Saiva temples

Oct 27 (TN) “Sri Lanka government has done nothing to help to renovate the places of worship of Tamil people destroyed during tsunami and war in the North and East,” TNA MP Pon. Selvarasa said speaking at an event in Thaazhangkudaa Sri Periyathampiraan temple in Batticaloa district. “Only five percent of the 500,000 rupees allocated by SL government to each parliamentarian under the annual budget could be spent on renovating temples. more..

Boston Lanka News: Oct 26, 2010

Resettled families in North suffer without basic medical facilities

Oct 27 (TN) The female patients of the families allowed to resettle in Ki’linochchi district are forced to travel a long distance to Jaffna or Vavuniyaa as there is no female medical specialist in Ki’linochchi government hospital, hospital sources said. Meanwhile, there is no hospital at all in Vadamaraadchi East where more than six thousand uprooted people had been allowed to resettle and the people have to come to Jaffna Teaching Hospital for treatment more..