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Official weapon, or monkey business?

Oct 5 (LB) Tissamaharama Magistrate and additional district judge, H.Anura Seneviratne was interdicted by the Judicial Services Commission over a brawl which had taken place at a night club in Kollupitiya, where he is alleged to have threatened the security guard and waiters. Now police are investigating whether he used a firearm issued to him in his official capacity, or whether he used a personal weapon. more..

Grade One admission interview results of 400 schools cancelled

Oct 5 (DM) Grade One admission interview results of 400 schools in the north western province would be cancelled and fresh interviews would be held for assessment, sources said. The Director of Education of the North Western Province has ordered the Principals of 400 schools in the province to cancel the results of the interviews for students to admit to Grade One already held and to hold fresh interviews for assessment. more..

Education officials sending mixed messages on a rural school construction project

Oct 5 (SLNN) The U.B. Wanninayaka National School in Sri Lanka’s Northwestern Province says it has been waiting for a new three-story building, promised by the government, for more than three years. Ministry officials say the project has already begun. As the only national school in the Galgamuwa educational zone, students from many surrounding areas attend this school that has a student population of 2,165. more..

Editorial: Roping the Army for Development

Oct 5 (DM) By defeating the world’s most sophisticated terrorist organization the Sri Lankan forces proved their mettle – that they are indeed a world class team. When the war became a thing of the past suddenly there was a question – as to what these one time heavy fighters would do next. Confined to their camps without the usual ‘hard work’ the military personnel were grappling with several issues as regards getting used to the new, mundane life. more..

Fonseka’s PA to be discharged

Oct 5 (DM) The Supreme Court was informed yesterday that the request to discharge former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s personal assistant Senaka Haripriya Arnold de Silva would be forwarded to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court within two weeks. A senior state counsel gave this assurance when the fundamental rights petition filed by retired Captain De Silva who supported the presidential campaign of retired General Fonseka was taken up before a Bench more..

Public servants hit by extra service withdrawal: TUA

Oct 5 (DM) The withdrawal of the privilege given to retired public servants to serve an extra 3-months making use of unutilized leave has created a lot of displeasure among public servants, the Trade Union Alliance (TUA) said yesterday. The government had prohibited from 1st of this month the opportunity the public servants had to work for 3 more months using unutilized leave since 2007 after retirement on completion of 60 years. more..

18-A has transformed from ‘Billek-Bogy’ to ‘Marayek-Killer’ – UNP

Oct 5 (Island) 15,000 persons have applied to contest the next Local Government Elections on the UNP ticket, the party’s media spokesman Gayantha Karunathillake MP, said yesterday. Addressing a news conference in Colombo, he said that a preliminary analysis of the applications, to ascertain if the applicants have the basic qualifications would take place on October 17. more..

Quest for nuclear energy: Govt won’t give in to protesting environmentalists

Oct 5 (Island) The government says it will not give in to protests by ‘bogus environmentalists’ funded by foreign powers and opt for nuclear energy. Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told The Island that nuclear energy would help meet the growing demand for power in the country. The government had already commenced pre-feasibility studies, he said. more..

Women clear Sri Lanka's landmine legacy

Oct 5 (AFP) Valmathi Jegadas is a different sort of mine clearer to the testosterone-fuelled explosives specialists portrayed in the 2008 Oscar-winning Hollywood hit, The Hurt Locker. A farmer's wife in northern Sri Lanka, Jegadas, 37, earns 200 dollars a month risking her life, and she admits being scared each time she steps into the minefields that are a legacy of the island's long and bloody civil war. more..

Public transactions: President orders use of mother tongue

Oct 5 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told State authorities yesterday to ensure facilities to the public to use their own language in official transactions with Government departments. President Rajapaksa said language should not be a barrier to the public when seeking assistance from Government authorities. The President was addressing State officials and politicians during the Eastern province development review meeting more..

Former Tamil Tiger rebels taste freedom after 16 months

Oct 5 (BBC) In a rare interview, a former member of Sri Lanka's defeated LTTE rebels has been speaking to the BBC about his feelings on being released from 16 months of government detention and rehabilitation programmes. Dr Kumarasamy Muralitharan was one of 400 former LTTE members, or suspected ex-members, who were the latest batch to be freed in northern Sri Lanka after being inmates in special military-run camps. more..

A petition demanding the release of General

Oct 5 (LT) A petition demanding the release of former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka was launched at 10 a.m. today. The signing of the petition is continued opposite Fort Railway station which was initiated by the Movement for Democracy. Along with Mrs Anoma Fonseka, the leader of the JVP, Mr Somawansa Amarasinghe, Opposition Leader, Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe, Messrs Wickramabahu Karunaratne, Siritunga Jayasuriya and more..

Ranil urges President Rajapaksa to release Fonseka immediately

Oct 5 (Island) The UNP said yesterday that contrary to accusations, it had not abandoned retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka and was writing to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to release Fonseka immediately. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake told a news conference in Colombo that Wickremesinghe in his capacity, as Opposition leader, was to dispatch a letter to Rajapaksa yesterday or latest by today. more..

Pasting Posters: SC restrains Police

Oct 5 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Attorney General to order the Police Chief to stop taking any action under Emergency Regulations on cases involving the pasting of posters. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices Shirani Tilakawardena and R.K. Suresh Chandara gave this order when the fundamental rights petition challenging the detention of the printer who allegedly printed posters against the 18th amendment was taken up for inquiry. more..

Sri Lanka takes bronze in weightlifting

Oct 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Anton Kurukulaasooriyage took bronze with a final lift of 152kg for an overall 272 in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi Tuesday, AFP news agency reported. The gold was won by Aricco Jumitih of Malaysia, their second weightlifting gold medal of the Commonwealth Games, when he edged compatriot Naharudin Mayudin for the 62kg title. But there was more disappointment for India with Rustum Sarang and Omkar Otari both missing out on the medals after more..

'Civil and Court Martial mix up only for political gain'

Oct 6 (AD) While urging those protesting against the imprisonment of Sarath Fonseka, Minister A.D. Susil Premajayantha said they were resorting to useless methods without following the correct judicial procedures to gain political mileage. Addressing the UPFA media briefing, Mr. Pramajayantha said that protests, petitions, rallies and other means will not serve any purpose until and unless the required judicial procedures are followed. more..

Sri Lanka exports slow in July on fall in apparel shipments

Oct 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports slowed in July 2010 for the first time in four months, dragged down by a fall in apparel shipments, its biggest industrial export, the Central Bank said. Earnings from exports were up just 0.6 percent to 656 million US dollars in July 2010 from a year ago and much lower than in June 2010, it said in a statement. "Earnings from agricultural exports performed well, while more..

Krishna likely to open strategic Jaffna, Hambantota consulates in Oct end

Oct 6 (ANI) External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is likely to inaugurate two Indian consulates in Hambantota and Jaffna during his four-day visit to Sri Lanka in October. The opening of the consulate office in Hambantota is significant in the wake of the Chinese having already established a strategic presence there through the construction of a harbour. The proposed Indian consulate will cover activities in the districts of Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Moneragala. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 05.10.2010

The Rajapakse wonderland

Oct 6 (LG) Less than a month after the end of the Fourth Eelam War, the state-owned weekly Silumina carried a full-page interview with a local astrologer. ‘President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Rajapakses will rule this country for a long time,’ he predicted. ‘The next chapter in Sri Lanka is reserved for the Rajapakses.’ In Sri Lanka astrology is serious business, with politicians avidly soliciting favourable predictions. more..

Reconciliation is A process that goes beyond forgiving, forgetting or repenting

Oct 6 (TC) The long drawn conflict was addressed by Government, religious bodies and NGOs towards rendering humanitarian services and respect for human rights alongside peace negotiations. At the end of the conflict last year, these efforts need to be transformed to a larger process of reconciliation and its underpinnings for continuation of the logical process. Simply stated, reconciliation is a process of restoring parties to a conflict through more..

Pro-LTTE groups seek to implead themselves before tribunal

Oct 6 (Hindu) Sympathisers of the LTTE on Tuesday sought to implead themselves as parties in the proceedings of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Judge Vikramjit Sen. At the tribunal's sitting here, N. Chandrasekaran representing the Tamilar Desiya Iyakkam (TDI) said he was an ‘aggrieved' party and had the locus standi to represent in the case. more..

Street protests against the denial of fair trial

Oct 6 (LG) Perhaps for the first time in Sri Lankan history, many people have taken to the streets in the last few days to protest against the abuse of the judicial process and to demand fairness. Some lawyers were quoted by the media as saying, "Now, we have to demand justice from the gods, unseeing forces, as there is no justice in Sri Lanka". The present regime has acquired the justifiable reputation that it dares to manipulate justice and more..

Fonseka sleeps in a cell, KP in a velvet cage

Oct 6 (LG) In a rare gesture of compassion the Rajapakse regime has announced the release of a group of Tamil Tiger rebels after only 16 months of government detention. Can we hope for a similar gesture for Sarath Fonseka? Do not misunderstand me, I have written adverse comments about what I consider to be the 'two faces' of the General in these columns in the past and I have not changed my mind. The General announced to the world that he would be happy to testify before the UN on more..

'Sri Lanka on the fast track to development'

Oct 6 (MoD) Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok Kantha said that Sri Lanka is on the fast track to development and gain economic growth especially to achieve Millennium Development Goals. Addressing the 23rd Annual Session of the Organization of Professional Associations held in Colombo, he further stated that Sri Lanka is better poised to achieve development goals than India and more..

The rise and fall of a ‘crime kingpin’

Oct 6 (NS) Sri Lanka Police struck off another name from their list of `most wanted criminals’ when serial killer and drug trafficker Damatagoda Kamal was killed in a confrontation with Hanwella Police recently. Kamal Dammalarachchi alias Dematagoda Kamal, 39, the underworld gangster, who led a charmed life, out of the reach of the long arm of the law met his ‘Waterloo’ when he was nabbed at his hideout at Diddeniya, Hanwella. more..

Holy family convent in Jaffna upgraded as a national school

Oct 6 (MoD) A leading school in Jaffna peninsula, The Holy Family Convent, which produces intellects to the motherland upgraded as a National School recently. A function was held at the school premises to mark the upgrading on 30th September. Northern Province Governor G.A Chandrasiri was chief guest while Archbishop of Jaffna, Rev. Thomas Saundaranayaagam was the Guest of Honour of the event. Jaffna Holy Family Convent was established on 24th May 1862. more..

Let not your brave front crumble

Oct 6 (ST) My dear General, I thought I must write to you, even if some may find fault with me for calling you a General now and even though the chances of your getting to read this are remote, because I don’t think they take particularly good care of the library at Welikada. I know it has been a long march from Vellamullivaikkal to Welikada but the days ahead will no doubt give you time to reflect on what has happened in the recent past and more..

‘Error-ful’ textbooks over and over again?

Oct 6 (ST) Earlier editions of text books containing grammatical and factual errors have been included in the stock of books that have been distributed for next year, Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin has charged. “Among these the most glaring errors are in the Grades 6-11 Sinhala and Maths textbooks and the Grade 9 History book,” he said. Maths books contain mathematical errors, unrealistic geometrical figures, more..

SL government prioritizes tourism neglecting rehabilitation in Jaffna

Oct 6 (TN) While the people of Jaffna peninsula having lost their lives, properties, livelihoods and being uprooted due to war suffer without any assistance, Sri Lanka government is bent on turning Jaffna peninsula into a tourist place for the Sinhala people in the South, NGOs in Jaffna pointed out, in the context of the opening ceremony of a new road to the newly built tourist complex in Casuarina Beach in Kaarainakar in Jaffna, by more..

Sangakkara bags Crickter of the year award

Oct 6 (NF) The Sri Lanka Cricket Awards Night 2009/2010 was held in Colombo last evening to felicitate cricketers who showcased exceptional skills in the domestic and international cricket arena. Skipper of the Sri Lanka cricket team, Kumar Sangakkara, walked away with the Cricketer of the Year Award at the ceremony. A large gathering of officials, past cricketers and distinguished guests participated in more..

Editorial: Developing our universities

Oct 6 (Island) The end of the war has enabled Sri Lanka to think big and raise the bar for herself. Some mega development projects are already underway and several others in the pipeline. We are aspiring to be the knowledge hub, among other things, in the region. Now, we are told that the government is planning to raise the standards of six local universities so that they will be on par with their international counterparts. more..

Sri Lanka says met IMF targets, mission in November

Oct 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka has met key quantity targets in September for foreign reserves, local borrowing and money creation limits, under a deal with the International Monetary Fund, the Central Bank said. Sri Lanka's budget deficit, which is the key source of instability to the economy, is monitored under a local borrowing ceiling (net domestic financing or NDF) set at 279,600 billion rupees. No figures were given for the actual achievement, in the statement. more..

'Sri Lanka made right decision on gold'

Oct 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka made the right decision in increasing the gold component of reserve assets, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said as gold prices hit fresh highs on loose US monetary policy that is driving the dollar down as well as higher real demand. Sri Lanka increased its gold holdings from about 5.0 to 15.0 tonnes in November 2009 by purchasing 10 tonnes from the International Monetary Fund. more..

Sri Lanka trying to suppress anti-corruption work: rights body

Oct 6 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is trying to suppress exposures of state corruption by launching criminal investigations against the Sri Lankan branch of Transparency International (TISL), a corruption watchdog, a rights body said. Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission said TISL had been summoned before the island's Financial Investigation Unit in what it called "the abuse of the criminal justice process to suppress discussions relating to corruption." more..

Editorial: Ministers and ministries

Oct 6 (DM) If ministers are to make maximum use of their time they should ideally be at the ministries either planning out or evaluating programmes with his/her staff or out in the field inspecting projects. It is not wrong to say that only a very few ministers have taken their jobs very seriously while a majority would only opt to pay an occasional visit to their ministries and hold meetings with officials. A section of those who idle prefer to accompany either the President or a star minister to hog the TV and newspaper headlines. more..

Sri Lanka's big fish in the pool

Oct 6 (AJ) When Conrad Francis' grandfather took him for a dip in the waves of Lavinia Bay near Colombo, Sri Lanka, the eight-year-old had no idea he would be swimming all the way to Sydney. The journey took more than a decade, but Francis, by now 19, found himself with the eyes of the world on him as he stood by the pool at the International Aquatic Centre as an Olympic athlete at Sydney 2000. The 6ft-tall Francis could have gunned for a career as a fast bowler in Sri Lanka's number one sport, cricket. more..

Flight re-launch boosts ties with Sri Lanka

Oct 6 (GDN) Ties between Bahrain and Sri Lanka were further bolstered yesterday with the re-launch of a new flight route. The first scheduled Gulf Air flight from Manama to Colombo in eight years departed Bahrain International Airport in the afternoon. Gulf Air chief executive officer Samer Majali was joined aboard the flight by company officials, representatives of Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) and Bahrain Airport Company as well as members of the media. more..

Lankan delegation in Malaysia to promote tourism

Oct 6 (PRIU) A high level delegation from Sri Lanka Tourism is currently attending the World Tourism Conference in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia from 4 to 6 October 2010. Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena met the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai during the conference and discussed avenues to develop Sri Lanka Tourism and more..

'Sri Lanka’s exports to rise 12 percent this year'

Oct 6 (BN) Sri Lanka’s exports are likely to rise as much as 12 percent in 2010, a central bank official said, allaying concerns growth is slowing after the island in July reported the smallest increase in shipments this year. Overseas sales rose for a sixth month in July, boosted by higher tea and rubber prices. Still, shipments grew only 0.6 percent that month from a year earlier, versus 23 percent in June, as sales of textiles and garments dropped 11 percent, more..

Powerful forces block NCPA efforts to help beggar children

Oct 6 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority said yesterday that it faced several difficulties in getting beggar children off the streets and rehabilitating them as begging had become an organised industry backed by certain powerful elements. The NCPA said that the children were picked up from their abodes in the early hours, transported in vehicles and dropped at some points in the city and suburbs. more..

Even hardcore Tigers won’t be held indefinitely – DEW

Oct 6 (Island) Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms Minister D. E. W. Gunasekera has assured hardcore LTTE cadres that the government will not detain them indefinitely. The pledge was given in the presence of Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe, the senior officer in charge of the ongoing project to re-integrate them with society. more..

CEB gets tough with power pirates

Oct 6 (DN) Following sudden raids in Trincomalee Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) flying squad nabbed 171 persons in two days who were using electricity unlawfully, They were fined Rs 1.6 million and also had to pay Rs 1.3 million to the CEB in lieu of the financial loss caused to the CEB due to electricity tapping. The CEB flying squad on Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka’s instructions had been conducting periodic search operations throughout the country to nab power pirates. more..

One law for all: Fonseka court martialled and punished 5,000 soldiers

Oct 6 (DN) The country does not have three separate laws for ordinary soldiers, the head of the Army and for politicians. The country has one law for all. During the time of the former Army Chief, he severely punished and sent home over 5,000 brave soldiers who risked their lives to save the country, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. He said that the UNP and the JVP did not speak on behalf of those 5,000 members of the Army at that time and more..

Colombo shuns Eastern province TNA MPs

Oct 6 (TN) Sri Lanka government has failed to invite TNA Eastern Province parliamentarians to the Eastern Provincial Development review meeting held Monday in Trincomalee presided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, P. Selvarasa, TNA MP said. Shunning the representatives democratically elected by the people to participate in decision making meetings by Sri Lanka government reveals how very much it discriminates the Tamils, he added. more..

High degree of fraud at universities

Oct 6 (DM) Minister S.B. Dissanayake alleged that the ministry had discovered several instances of corruption and frauds committed by both academic and non-academic staff of universities. He told a news conference that six Peradeniya university lecturers were still being paid their salaries although they had stopped conducting lectures a long time ago. “The Peradeniya dental faculty has the highest expenditure when compared with other university academic courses. more..

Dinesh shows whip to ministers

Oct 6 (DM) Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena told parliament that ministers and the deputy ministers had an obligation to be present in parliament to answer oral questions. He said this when UNP MP Sajith Premadasa had wanted to ask a question from Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who was not present in the House. “I have requested them to be present in the House when oral questions are asked as they are obliged to do so,” he said. more..

USA - Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program - Persons born in Sri Lanka eligible to apply

Oct 6 (TC) The online registration for DV-2012 DV Lottery begins October 5, 2010, and ends November 3, 2010. The Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 diversity visas (DV) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. more..

'Govt’s heavy commercial borrowing creates highly leaveraged situation'

Oct 6 (Island) The government by resorting to heavy commercial borrowing over the last ten years, has created a highly leveraged situation, the UNP said yesterday. UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said that the government has claimed an 8.5 per cent growth rate, but the reality was that the country was not getting the best returns, due to heavy commercial borrowing in comparisson to the earlier policy of obtaining more concessional loans. more..

The European Commission provides €10 million for humanitarian actions in Sri Lanka

Oct 6 (EU) Today, the European Commission has adopted a €10 million Decision to provide humanitarian assistance to people who had been displaced by conflict. Since the return process began in 2009, many Sri Lankans have returned to their place of origin but they still require assistance for shelter, as well as the risks posed by land mines contamination. more..