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Sri Lanka tourist market draws Gulf Air

Oct 7 (LBO) Gulf Air, which has resumed flights to Sri Lanka after a war, is aiming for daily frequencies by next summer given the increasing number of Arab tourists visiting the island, officials said. Chief executive Samer Majali said the island's economic recovery after its 30-year ethnic war is also drawing increasing investments while Sri Lankans migrating to the Middle East for work is another market. more..

Govt. got only a third of 14 mn registered votes – UNP

Oct 7 (Island) The government, having obtained around one third of the 14 million registered votes, at the last parliamentary election, was claiming that it has a two thirds majority to circumvent the democratic process as it pleased, the UNP said yesterday. UNP Western Councillor Niroshan Padukke said that the Rajapaksa government had fraudulently obtained a majority in Parliament for the 18th Amendment to more..

Sri Lanka to buy out Shell gas for US$63mn

Oct 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka will purchase a 51 percent stake in a liquid petroleum gas distributor from Shell and sell the balance to the public, an official said. Shell, a Dutch oil firm, is exiting its Asian oil operations. The balance 49 percent of its local unit, Shell Gas Lanka, is also owned by Sri Lanka's government. Shell originally acquired the firm as part of a privatization drive. more..

Indian workers won’t be here for mega housing projects

Oct 7 (Island) Although the conclusion of the war in May last year will give Sri Lanka and India a chance to revive the Indo-Lanka Joint Commission, military to military relations, particularly among the two navies and the Indian Coast Guard is expected to remain a key aspect. The Indo-Lanka Joint Commission is scheduled to meet at end of this month, while four Indian ships will arrive this week for a joint training cum exercise mission. more..

'They intended to harm me'

Oct 7 (DM) Speaking to the Daily Mirror after his vehicle met with an accident in Pitakotte Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha thera, Chief Incumbent of Kotte Sri Nagaviharaya, stated that he suspected foul play. The Chief Incumbent explained that a small white van had been parked outside the temple from 11 this morning and the incident was intended to delay him attending the Adhishtana Pooja at Sri Dalada Maligawa this afternoon more..

'Pardon plea must come from Fonseka family'

Oct 7 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapksa told the cabinet yesterday that he would not consider politically motivated requests to free former Army commander Sarath Fonseka whether they were made by the opposition leader or anyone else. He said he would only consider such a plea if made by Mr. Fonseka himself or a member of his family. The president said there was a laid down procedure for the granting of a pardon and that procedure had to be followed. more..

'Anyone can appeal on behalf of SF'

Oct 7 (DM) Anyone could appeal to the president on behalf of former army commander Sarath Fonseka -- to remit, partly or fully, the prison sentence given to the latter, said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Mr. Wickremesinghe said that it was therefore unnecessary for Mr. Fonseka to make the appeal personally. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa should follow the example of US President Gerald Ford who pardoned his predecessor Richard Nixon, in 1974. more..

Sri Lanka Shell says sale agreement not signed yet

Oct 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Shell Gas unit said operations at the firm would remain unchanged until a sale of its stake is finalized, shortly after the government said it would buy out the oil giant for 63 million US dollars. "We are hopeful a sale purchase agreement will be signed soon," Shell Gas Lanka's country chairman Walter Sanchez said in a statement. "However at this point, the agreement has yet to be signed and our discussions with the Government remain confidential." more..

Sri Lanka bans scrap metal exports

Oct 8 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government has banned the export of scrap metal to ensure enough supplies to small businesses who were finding it difficult to get raw material for their industries, a minister said. The ban would be reviewed after a trial period of six months, minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. The ban covers scrap metal such as copper, brass, bronze, aluminium and lead and special kinds of iron, cast iron and steep scrap. more..

Sarath Fonseka loses parliamentary seat

Oct 8 (PTI) Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka's brief stint as an MP has come to a sudden end in the wake of his 30-month imprisonment for corruption in defence deals, amid reports that the president may consider pardoning him if a plea is made personally by him or a family member. Sri Lankan parliamentary secretary general Dhammika Kithulgoda today informed Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka that more..

DNA lawyers to oppose decision to remove SF from parliament

Oct 8 (SL) The DNA today (7) said that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s lawyers would write to the Elections Commissioner and the Secretary General of Parliament about Fonseka’s parliamentary seat. The Secretary General of Parliament today wrote to the Elections Commissioner informing that Fonseka’s parliamentary seat has fallen vacant and that the next DNA candidate be appointed to the vacant seat. more..

Wimal blames UNP and JVP for SF’s plight

Oct 8 (SL) Minister Wimal Weerawansa has today (7) said both the UNP and JVP dragged former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka into politics and were responsible for his present situation. He added that Fonseka’s wife should stop allowing her to be misled by political parties and request for a pardon for her husband. Weerawansa has reportedly called on Fonseka’s wife to seek a pardon for her husband from President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

GL’s no faith motion defeated in parliament

Oct 8 (SL) The no confidence motion against External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris was defeated in parliament today (7). The motion was defeated with 139 legislators voting against it and 32 voting in favor of it. The no confidence motion against Peiris was presented to parliament by several senior MPs of the main opposition UNP. The SLMC, which sits in the opposition voted against the motion while the TNA abstained from voting. more..

HRC rejects UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena's complaint

Oct 8 (DM) The Human Rights Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union has rejected the complaint lodged by UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena regarding the alleged violations of the rights of MP Sarath Fonseka. The Committee decided yesterday, Geneva time, that there had been no human rights violations in the case of the arrest and trial of the former Army Commander General Fonseka. more..

Sobhitha Thero suspects moves to stop him

Oct 8 (BBC) A senior Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka who’s been campaigning on behalf of the imprisoned opposition figure, Sarath Fonseka, says he suspects foul play after his vehicle was involved in a minor accident. Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, head of Sri Naga Vihare in Kotte near Colombo, said he believed it was not an accident when a van crashed into his vehicle from the rear as it left the temple premises. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07. 10. 2010

Attitudes of student towards the country should be changed- President

Oct 8 (LP) The idea that, luxurious are needed to provide students with quality education should be set aside said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Addressing the opening ceremony of the swimming pool at the Gampaha Bandaranaike Vidyalaya President said that students should be guided towards studies by improving their ambitious and dedication. The swimming pool was constructed with the assistance of the residents of the area as well as more..

'The No Confidence Motion is to defame Sri Lanka internationally'

Oct 8 (LP) A No Confidence Motion was brought by the UNP with the sole intent of defaming the Sri Lanka in the eyes of the international community, Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena stated. He emphasized that the fact that the motion was brought against Minister of Foreign Affairs Professor G L Peiris shows that the UNP has had a major political setback. Professor Peiris played a pivotal role in the crackdown against more..

Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks seek release of ex-army chief

Oct 8 (DPA) Hundreds of Buddhist monks held a prayer meeting in Sri Lanka Thursday to call for the release of the country's ex-army chief and presidential candidate who was jailed last week. An estimated 1,000 monks plus members of the public held a prayers in Kandy, 117 km from the capital, and offered flowers at a Buddhist temple for the release of Sarath Fonseka. more..

The increasingly tragic and dangerous apathy of the public

Oct 8 (DM) The universal day for Children and Elders passed by on October 1st with little or no celebration universal or otherwise in the country. A few media supplements announced the day with colourful photographs and various institutions joined the supplements with announcements of saving and insurance projects for children and elders but the usual cacophony of noise that accompanies such day’s demonstrations and processions were few and muted. more..

Fall of a hero and the dangers of an unknown enemy

Oct 8 (DM) The outcome was nothing unexpected at best it was a test to see how the President of Sri Lanka was able to withstand further pressures both national and foreign and endorse the sentence. There are likely to be various commentaries on the sentence against the former army commander now set to languish for 30 months in the Welikada prison but it is a stark reminder that in politics there are no permanent friends or foes not even permanent interests more..

A secret deal between Mahinda and Moon?

Oct 8 (DM) UN Secretary General Ban ki- moon is once again figuring in a controversy among the media. This is because of the growing criticisms against him pertaining to the policies he is following in regard to Sri Lanka (SL). One of the accusations levelled against him is the veil of secrecy he is attaching to the panel of advisors he has appointed to inquire into whether war crimes were in fact committed in SL or not. more..

Introspection Time in Fonseka’s Case?

Oct 8 (DM) It is not entirely unsurprising that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has attested GCM-II’s award of a 30-month jail term to cashiered Army commander Sarath Fonseka nor is the near-subsequent announcement of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that the President would be willing to consider any appeal for redressal in the matter. Shorn of nuances, if any, Gotabhaya’s observation that it was an internal and personal matter needing more..

Colombo takes control of historic Kanniyaa hot wells in Trincomalee

Oct 8 (TN) The Government Agent of Trincomalee Major General (retired) Ranjith de Silva Tuesday stopped the Trincomalee Town and Gravets Pradesya Saba (PS) from maintaining the historic Kanniyaa Hot Wells stating that it belongs to the Department of Archaeology. The Government Agent (GA) also directed his men to remove the name board put up by the Pradesya Saba stating that the ancient King Raava'nan founded the hot wells and more..

Buddhist prelate says Fonseka should appeal to President

Oct 8 (LG) A leading Buddhist prelate today said that if former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was to be pardoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr. Fonseka will have to make a personal appeal to the President. “There is no use of others such as the Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe appealing on behalf of him. Mr. Fonseka himself should make an appeal”, Ven Kamburugamuwe Vajira thera said more..

SLA stops volunteer teachers’ demonstration in Ki’linochchi

Oct 8 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers in Ki’linochchi did not allow more than 300 volunteer teachers of Vanni to stage their token protest demonstration in front of Ki’linochchi Education office Wednesday demanding Sri Lanka government to appoint them permanently in their posts. The volunteer teachers have been serving the schools in the districts of Ki’linochchi and Mullaiththeevu without salary for the last ten years and even during the war on Vanni, more..

Sinhala men continue to intimidate Tamil cultivators in Eastern Province

Oct 8 (TN) Sinhala men continue to intimidate the Tamil cultivators in the Tamil villages located on the boundaries of the districts of Batticaloa and Ampaa’rai in Eastern Province preventing them from cultivating their paddy fields, P. Selvarasa, Batticaloa district TNA parliamentarian said. The Tamil cultivators uprooted from their villages due to war had resettled in their places after a period of 25 years during which more..

'I am not being groomed for UNP leadership'

Oct 8 (LB) UNP Gampaha district MP Ruwan Wijewardene says that recent media speculation of him being currently groomed as a future party leader is malarkey. In an interview with Jatila Karawita, MP Wijewardene - a scion of a political dynasty in Sri Lanka - noted that he still needs to get sufficient political experience before aspiring for the party leadership. more..

Flood misery for families

Oct 8 (NS) “We don’t even have place to sit and read a book. This year I am sitting for my O/L examination. We live in a place which is like a tent and even our clothes cannot be kept dry when it starts raining,” says D K Surekha with tearful eyes, as she describes the hardships of her family. We met Surekha at the Matara Thihagoda, Kithalagama Central Community Hall and both she and her elder sister who are preparing for the A/L examination this year, more..

Preserving our rich past

Oct 8 (NS) When the Portuguese arrived in our island in 1505/6 overtly to procure spices for which this paradise island was famed throughout the world, they not only bought and exported our spices, but took away with them much of our cultural heritage mostly in the form of artefacts. The fact that these artefacts had been designed and fashioned by indigenous craftsmen whose talents had been inherited from their forefathers from the time of our more..

Medical surgeon M. Ganesaratnam receives honorary degree

Oct 8 (TN) Jaffna University bestowed honorary PhD degree to medical surgeon Dr. M. Ganesaratnam attached to Jaffna Teaching Hospital in its twenty-sixth convocation ceremony held Wednesday in Kailasapathy Auditorium, sources in Jaffna said. Chancellor M. Sivasuriya presided at the event in which more than 1200 students, including 22 of the medical faculty received their degrees. more..

UNP blunders in bringing no confidence motion against Prof. G. L. Peiris

Oct 8 (TC) The motion brought by the UNP against the Minister of External Affairs seemed a heaven sent opportunity for the government to clarify a number of issues regarding the External Relations of this country over the last few years. In particular it made clear the erosion of what might be termed the international agenda of the principal opposition, a factor of great importance since, though the most dangerous threat facing this country, more..

Universities in Sri Lanka and International Standards

Oct 8 (LG) I read the news item about raising the standards of five universities in Sri Lanka up to international level. Dr Sunil Navaratne, Secretary to the ministry of higher education has announced that Peradeniya, Colombo, Moratuwa, Sri Jayewardenepura and Kelaniya Universities have been selected for this project under which infrastructure, curricula and many other aspects of these universities would be improved in order to maintain the more..

‘Sarath Fonseka’: the grand plaything of Sri Lanka’s politicians

Oct 8 (GV) Sarath Fonseka’s emergence as a politician was of immense political benefit to a number of politicians and political parties in Sri Lanka; not necessarily for good reasons though. ‘Sarath Fonseka’ was, for those who stood to benefit from his (imagined) success in politics, a mere political plaything. This is something that many, including Sarath Fonseka, ought to have realized a long time ago. more..

Sri Lanka UNESCO Bazaar proceeds help visually and hearing impaired children in Colombo and Jaffna

Oct 8 (MoD) The Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO in association with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris organized the annual Sri Lanka Bazaar 2010 for the fourth consecutive year at UNESCO on 23rd June 2010. The proceeds from the Bazaar were donated this year to the School for the Visually Impaired in Ratmalana, the School for the Hearing Impaired, also in Ratmalana and more..

Reflections on Sri Lanka's constitution – part 2

Oct 8 (LG) This is a photo of Mr Ganegoda Sinhage Haritha Lakmal (30) of No. 590/2A, Middle Gate Upper Road, Addunkelle Watte, Ahangama, who became an unfortunate victim of an assault by Sub Inspector (SI) Nelumdeniya and several other officers of the Ahangama Police Station, for no reason. The police officers identified themselves as "licensed thugs". Due to an attack with the knee of the SI and kicks by other police officers he suffered serious injuries. more..

The Reluctant Gourmet — The politics of curry

Oct 8 (Hindu) The elephants come out at lunch time — around the time we're knee deep in Elephant Bay restaurants' spicy Sri Lankan sambol and chicken curry. As they gambol by the river, we drink in the view and lots of steaming Dilmah tea. Sure, India has elephants, but we've never managed to market them as efficiently as Sri Lanka has. On the other hand, when it comes to food, it looks like Indian curry has submerged the world. more..

Seizure of boat: four persons held

Oct 8 (Hindu) Four persons were arrested on Thursday in connection with the seizure of a boat found abandoned at Karaikal. Preliminary investigation revealed that Sakthivel, a councillor belonging to Veerampattinam; Kannan, a Sri Lankan refugee; Jeeva of Vaithikuppam; and Logu Ayappan, a functionary of a Tamil outfit, were trying to send Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to Australia, police said. more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Oct 8 (GDI) Implement an Animal Identification and Traceability System and to establish a Central Livestock Farm Data Base. Cabinet approval was granted to establish a Central Livestock Farm Data Base. The objective of it is to increase, safeguard and upgrade daily animal population in Sri Lanka with the final target of doubling the milk production within the next five years. more..

Ambassador meets with members of Congress to discuss progress in Sri Lanka

Oct 8 (PR) Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States continued a series of meetings with members of Congress in September to brief lawmakers on developments in Sri Lanka, including economic growth, foreign investment and progress in reconciliation. Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya has recently held sessions with Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Rep. Glenn Thompson, more..

Local Government Polls early next year under a new hybrid system

Oct 8 (GDI) The government has observed that there is a wide social consensus for the present electoral system to be changed and to revert back to the ward system in view of the shortcomings in the existing system. On the recommendation of Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils A. L. M. Athaullah, the Cabinet has granted approval to amend the Local Government Elections Ordinance and the Municipal Council Ordinance, more..

Sri Lanka to sell down re-taken gas firm to public: Update

Oct 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government will sell down a 49 percent stake in a liquid petroleum gas distributor after buying out a controlling stake held by Royal Dutch Shell for 63 million US dollars, a government minister said. Media minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government is buying back a 51 percent stake of Shell Gas Lanka and also a 100 percent of Shell Terminal Lanka, a storage firm. more..

'Everybody should join hands for democratic rights'

Oct 8 (LT) Former Dean of Engineering Faculty of Peradeniya and Hong Kong University, Prof. Kumar David said that everybody should join hands against the anti-democratic rule and to win the democratic rights. Prof. Kumar David made this statement at a media briefing held yesterday (06) organized by the 'Movement for Democracy of the University Academics'. Prof. David continued - "I am against the 18th Amendment. more..

Two policemen, who arrested suspect evading court, transfered out!

Oct 8 (NF) A story unfolds from Trincomalee where two police constables, who carried out the DIG's orders and arrested a suspect evading court for over an year, finally ended up being transferred out to Kuchchuveli police station. Junior police officers are ever willing to abide by the orders of the high ranking police officers, especially when they are backed by court orders. Also, disciplinary action is taken against them, more..

Editorial: Musical shows and global debate on noise pollution

Oct 8 (DM) For nearly three years people in this country slept peacefully after 10 pm due to the absence of blaring sounds that disturb them during sleeping hours. Of course those few thousands in the entertainment industry were somewhat affected as they had to close the musical shows after 10 pm but given the benefits enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of public the threshold was viewed as a very prudent move. more..

Run around country completed in 36 days: Saman aims Guinness World Record

Oct 8 (DN) Ex-army commando Pradeep Saman Udugamasooriya, who made a valiant bid to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by jogging, climbing and swimming (triathlon) along Sri Lanka’s 1,340 Km coastline within 40 days, completed his epic run to a hero’s welcome at Galle Face Green yesterday. An enthusiastic crowd including Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana, Galle District MP Nishantha Muthuhettigama, more..

Editorial: Flour, trousers and provender

Oct 8 (Island) Whenever a difficult problem crops up, the kneejerk reaction of the government is to slip under the eiderdown of patriotism to cover its nudity, bellowing rhetoric. It is adept at conjuring up the bogey of the West at the drop of a hat. This is the method it has employed to counter the flak it has come under from an irate public over the skyrocketing bread prices. Minister Wimal Weerawansa has reportedly urged people to spurn the habit of eating bread more..

Church marriage bureaus ensure secure unions

Oct 8 (UCAN) Sonali, like most single girls in Sri Lanka, had dreams of getting married, finding a loving husband and living in a cosy house. But Sri Lankan society does not look kindly to love marriages –marriages based on love. To do so would mean she was of loose character and bring shame on her family. Arranged marriages –arranged by someone other than the couple getting wedded– seems to be the only available choice for boys and girls. more..

Mangi recalls NY brothel visit

Oct 8 (Island) Former Foreign Minister MP Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday that he had taken Galle District MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena to a Buddha Bar in New York when the latter was found spending time in a cheap brothel house in the town. MP Samaraweera shot back after MP Gunawardena asked him whether he recalled how he (Samaraweera) had taken him to a Buddha Bar. more..

Principal not bothered about dengue

Oct 8 (Island) A Pradeshiya Sabha Member and an army officer were ignored by the authorities of a well known government school in Kelaniya, when they went to see him over a dengue awareness programme. Informed sources said yesterday (07) that the principal had asked them to come on Oct. 13 at the conclusion of the week-long National Dengue Control programme. The programme was initiated by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and more..