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Apparel industry advised to check environment pollution

Aug 11 (BT) The apparel exporters are advised to pay attention on the industry’s impact on the environment or ‘footprint’ and the chemical composition of its products in response to EU demands. The industry's decision to specialize in the manufacture of intimate wear, lingerie and underwear is paying off and its markets share in Europe are increasing. "Social accountability is increasing with issues like the use of child labour a concern for consumers largely because of media exposure," more..

Controversy Over Holmes` Jaffna Meeting

Aug 11 (LNP) A leading Jaffna based civil society organisation was yesterday denied access to a meeting with UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, placing further doubt regarding the transparency of the meeting, after the Centre for Policy Alternatives condemned the event for its heavy military presence. The People`s Council for Peace and Goodwill (PCPG), an organisation headed by religious and community leaders in Jaffna, was not given an invitation for a meeting on humanitarian affairs with Mr. Holmes, more..

Civil groups silenced on raising Rights issues at UN Jaffna meeting

Aug 11 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s Jaffna Military commander had instructed the NGOs and civil society representatives `not to refer to human rights issues and to restrict themselves to issues of humanitarian assistance,` before the meeting with United Nations Under Secretary General, Humanitarian Affairs Mr. John Holmes, charged a group of Rights groups including Free Media Movement (FMM) and Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), in a letter to Mr Holmes, and in a press release issued Thursday. more..

Opposition alleges `suspicious` activities in the port

Aug 11 (LNP) UNP yesterday informed Parliament that any future government which the party would form will cease to honour the $ 400 Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan offered for the Colombo South Port Terminal Project or any other loan that may be raised by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) for the purpose if any corrupt or unlawful practice is observed in the tender process to select a contractor. more..

Yahoo Photos

Aug 11 (Reuters) Uruwarigay Wanniya-laeto, leader of Sri Lanka's indigenous community, holds an axe and addresses his community people during the national indigenous ceremony on World Indigenous Day, at Dabana, Mahiyangana, around 148 km (92 miles) southeast of Colombo August 9 2007. more..

A question of tweedledum and tweedledee

Aug 11 (LNP) Karuna Amman must be regretting that he ever left the LTTE. For, had he been committing what he is accused of?abductions, child recruitment, killings, intimidation and extortion?under Prabhakran, no one would ever have demanded that he be disarmed. He became a bad guy only after March 2004, when he broke ranks with Prabhakaran. UN Humanitarian Affairs chief John Holmes called upon the government to disarm the Karuna Group, as it was operating in the government held areas. more..

Growing conflict hinders de-mining in Sri Lanka

Aug 11 (LBO) An escalating conflict in Sri Lanka has hindered plans to rid the country of anti-personnel mines, with both the government and the LTTE reluctant to give up use of the weapon. An anti-personnel landmine is a type of mine which is placed on or in the ground and explodes when triggered by a vehicle or person. Over 1600 de-miners are working to rid the country of anti personnel mines by 2008 more..

COPE probe: No Govt., UNP consensus

Aug 11 (SAMN) The government and the main opposition UNP Friday failed to reach consensus on the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe issues raised by COPE at 26 state institutions because the ruling party insisted on the need to have 26 separate committees while the opposition insisted on one committee. The matter was taken up at the party leaders’ meeting held in the parliament complex. more..

‘44 UNP MPs sold vehicle permits’

Aug 11 (SAMN) JHU strongman, Minister Champika Ranawaka, Friday said his party would reveal details of 44 UNP MPs who had sold their vehicle permits. Addressing a press conference he further said that opportunity had arisen for them to reveal the activities of UNP members since 1977 on this subject due to the complaint made by former UNP Minister Themiya Hurulle to the Bribery Commission regarding the JHU. more..

Operations back to normal at BIA

Aug 11 (SAMN) Flight operations at the Bandaranaike International Air Port is back to normal, with the resumption of night flights and other 24 hour services Presidential Adviser Basil Rajapaksa told a meeting held at the Defence Ministry on Thursday, states a press release from the Media Centre for National Security. Flight operations had dropped following the temporary closure of the airport during night time. more..

Main Madhu road shut

Aug 11 (SAMN) The Madhu road in Mannar did not open Friday for pilgrims to attend the Madhu church feast after the ICRC failed to turn up resulting in the military agreeing to an alternate route via Uyilankulam, military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said. A spokesman at the Mannar Bishops office confirmed that the Uyilankulam road was opened for the pilgrims Friday as an alternate route to the Madhu church and more..

Govt. provided facilities to estate community

Aug 11 (DN) The estate community in the up country cannot forget the services rendered by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Government. It is this Government that provided them with electricity for the first time and also schools, hospitals, roads, water supply schemes and community centres, said Deputy Minister of Health Vaduveil Suresh at a press conference held at the Ministry of Nation Building in Colombo yesterday. more..

Mahaweli Mahaseya completion: President calls for greater public cooperation

Aug 11 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed for greater co-operation and assistance from the public in expediting the completion of the Mahaweli Mahaseya which had been delayed over two years. President Rajapaksa made this appeal when he met a delegation of philanthropists and donors of the Mahaweli Cultural Foundation to inquire into the present status of the construction of the Mahaweli Seya and more..

CMC crisis: Rajendran threatens fast unto death

Aug 11 (DM) Deputy Mayor of Colombo S. Rajendran yesterday threatened to go on a fast unto death campaign to force the government to establish stability in the Colombo Municipal Council and remove the present Municipal Commissioner. This was said at a press conference jointly held by him and CMC Opposition Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Mr. Nanayakkara said the Councillors of CMC are divided into two groups today. more..

JVP queries hiring of vehicle at ‘high’ rent

Aug 11 (DM) Science and Technology Deputy Minister, Faizal Cassim, using a vehicle on a monthly rent of Rs. 150,000 became a hot topic in Parliament on Thursday. The cross talks between the government and JVP after Science and Technology Minister Prof.Tissa Vitarana informed the House that his Ministry had obtained a vehicle on a monthly rent of Rs. 150,000 for the use of his deputy. more..

Corruption costs Sri Lanka 2% economic growth: senior economist

Aug 11 (LBO) Public sector corruption in Sri Lanka is a key factor driving poverty and the country is losing two percentage points of economic growth a year from resources lost to sleaze, a senior economist said. "We always talk about the loss in growth due to the terrorist war, but we hardly talk of the loss due to this other terrorism – corruption," President of the Sri Lanka Economics Association (SLEA) A D V de S Indraratna said more..

Jeyaraj imports 9700 vehicles illegally; the loss to the govt. Rs. 6 billion

Aug 12 (LeN) United National Party (UNP) MP Lakshman Kiriella says that the Government Chief Whip and the Minister of Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has made a loss of six billion rupees. The loss was incurred through importing 9700 vehicles illegally during the immediate aftermath of tsunami disaster while Mr. Fernandopulle was the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. more..

Few devotees attend Maaviddapuram CAR festival

Aug 12 (TN) Only around two thousand devotees entered through Sri Lanka Army (SLA) checkpoint in Thellippazhai to attend the Thear festival of the historic Maaviddapuram Kandasamy temple located inside the Valikaamam north High Security Zone (HSZ). After the SLA offensives in 1990 civilians living close to temple and surrounding areas were evicted, and in 1999 the area was demarcated to fall within the HSZ, despite protests from Chaiva organizations. more..

Sri Lankans told no 'free lunch', urged to change attitudes

Aug 12 (LBO) Sri Lankans need to change attitudes that are holding the country back despite it being reasonably well endowed with human and natural resources, a top economic analyst has said. Anila Dias Bandaranaike, a former director of statistics at Central Bank who had gained widespread respect for her independent analysis of economic trends said everybody – citizens, private businesses, state organisations and political leaders – are responsible for the country's present plight. more..

Sri Lanka Tourist Hotels Association elects Cooray as president

Aug 12 (LBO) The Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka has elected as its president Hiran Cooray of Jetwing Hotels, a tour operator with a chain of hotels that's also promoting eco-tourism in a big way. Four vice presidents were also elected at the association's annual general meeting representing different segments of the industry which is going through difficult times owing to a sharp downturn in arrivals caused by the escalating ethnic conflict. more..

Armed forces of Sri Lanka ready to wipe out terrorists from north - PM

Aug 12 (AT) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said the armed forces of Sri Lanka are ready to wipe out terrorists from Sri Lanka’s Northern Province in the same manner they wiped them out in the Eastern Province of the country. “Our valiant forces are ready to wipe out the terrorists from the Northern Province like they did it in the East,” said the Prime Minister addressing a public meeting at Horana. more..

Forked tongues of Gareth Evans and John Holmes

Aug 12 (AT) By now those Sri Lankans who have their eyes wide open must be quite familiar with the descendants of the colonial masters arriving in plane loads, carting their moral bag and baggage with them, to tell how the natives should behave according to what they say and not according to what they do. Sir. John Holmes, the UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief, has arrived hard on the heels of Gareth Evans of the International Crisis Group. more..

A Plague of Indifference

Aug 12 (AT) We are burning the candle not just on both ends, but also on the middle. Two recent reports reveal how profoundly Sri Lanka is failing her people, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim. The Human Rights Watch’s ‘Return to War; Human Rights under Siege’ highlights what liberation has come to mean for Eastern Tamils while the Asian Development Bank’s ‘Inequality in Asia’ highlights what development has come to mean for the Lankan poor. more..

Income tax revenue up by 66%

Aug 12 (LNP) Government revenue by way of income tax and duties increased by 66 percent for the period January to May 2007 compared to the corresponding period last year the Mid Year Fiscal Position Report of the Finance and Planning Ministry released last Friday said. According to the report, the Corporate Profit Tax, Personal Income Tax, Tax on Interest Income and Economic Service Charge brought in 41.1 billion rupees. more..

Indictments on Kadirgamar killing will take a little more time - AG

Aug 12 (LNP) Indictments will be filed against three members of the LTTE now under detention for the brutal assassination of former Foreign Affairs Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, Attorney General C. R. de Silva said. `Indictments will take a little more time as we have to record another one or two statements`, he said. `We are now on the job`. `The investigative aspects have already been completed`, he noted. `There is sufficient evidence against the suspects`. more..

Sri Lankan Shot Dead In Italy

Aug 12 (LNP) The body of a Sri Lankan shot dead in Italy was sent to Colombo last Tuesday. The 42-year-old victim, R. Joseph Fernando, a resident of Fathima Place, Wennappuwa, had been shot through the head presumably by the son of the owner of the orchard he worked in, a coroner`s inquiry heard last week. As a police report from Italy did not accompany the body, Inquirer into Sudden Deaths, Ragama, H. M. S. Tissera observed that the Sri Lankan authorities should pursue this matter and ensure that proper legal documentation was sent from Italy. more..

Stop all duty free permits

Aug 12 (LNP) The one clear conclusion emerging from the now dying fuss over the JHU monks` car permits is that MPs do not deserve to get these permits. We had a senior minister (Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle) going public saying he had himself sold a permit (or permits?) and later advocating that the restrictions applying to the transfer of vehicles purchased by MPs on a duty free basis be removed. more..

Govt. demands ICJ apology on Muttur

Aug 12 (SAMN) The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is being asked to apologise by the government for its previous allegations that the government had tampered with the evidence in the killing of 17 aid workers in Muttur. On behalf of the government, the Secretary General of the Secretariat to Coordinate the Peace Process, (SCOPP), Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe has been asked to write to the President of the ICJ, Justice Arthur Chaskalson demanding an apology after more..

APRC likely to oppose Westminster System

Aug 12 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC), scheduled to wrap up its sessions on Tuesday, is likely to bring out a majority report proposing the Westminster System. The system, adopted by India, recommends a ceremonial President and identifies the country’s Prime Minister, as the most powerful person in the Government. Political sources said the majority of the APRC will accept the Tissa Vitarana proposals on devolution of power with some minor modifications to some aspects of the proposals. more..

First to chaos, then to school

Aug 12 (SAMN) Amidst mounting criticism of the Grade One admission selection guidelines proposed by the Supreme Court, the Education Ministry has decided to revert to the old system with certain modifications. The Education Ministry’s fresh guidelines will avoid the clauses that are seen as violating fundamental rights. Government members and all major political parties are supporting the former selection process with modifications, amidst more..

No evidence of alleged offer: Rajitha

Aug 12 (SAMN) No evidence has been gathered so far about the allegations that businessman Charles Gnanakone offered bribes to the UNP dissident group to vote against the Government at a crucial time, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said they were in the process of gathering the evidence and so far had only the information that two of the members had been approached by Gnanakone. more..

Hitching a ride on an elevator

Aug 12 (LB) Ranil Wickremesinghe briefed the media on Thursday about the proposed grade one admissions circular. The conference was held at the Parliamentary complex. After the meeting, Wickremesinghe walked towards the elevator which would take him to his office on the third floor. He was accompanied by Tissa Attanayake, Gayantha Karunatileka,, Ranga Bandara and Mahinda Ratnatilaka. The elevator stopped at the second floor. Its doors opened. more..

Air Force on major procurement drive

Aug 12 (LB) After a long overdue, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) last week took the delivery of a Chinese built JY 11 Low altitude Air Surveillance Radar, which will be the first ever (3D) three dimensional radar in SLAF’s inventory. The JY-11 is a frequency-scan low-/medium-altitude 3D air surveillance radar developed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), which is designed to detect and track targets at low-altitude and provide target information for air defence weapon systems. more..

MIG probe stalled -- nobody is giving documents

Aug 12 (LB) The investigations made by the Bribery Commission into the controversial MIG 27 deal had been deadlocked after repeated requests made by investigators for relevant documentations had not been granted. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption initiated an investigation into alleged irregularities in the purchase of four MIG 27 ground attack craft from the Ukrinmash, more..

Hoardings are meant to educate

Aug 12 (LB) Parliament was told last week that a Government institution had frittered away 2.2 million rupees on five hoardings to mark the first anniversary of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidency. The Agricultural and Agrarian Services Insurance Board had spent 781,250 rupees on each useful hoarding and planted them at five strategic locations in Anuradhapura to edify every farming family in the district. more..

Verbal beating for CJ’s critics

Aug 12 (NS) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva snapped back at his critics yesterday when he said that none of the people who expressed their views on the court ruling with regard to grade one admissions could come up with an acceptable solution. Commenting on views expressed by some people regarding the Supreme Court guide lines, the Chief Justice told The Nation that since there were many Fundamental Rights Applications the court had given three judgments from March. more..

President feels the heat as UNP opens fire

Aug 12 (NS) The opposition United National Party is making headway once again while keeping abreast of the political developments in the country, which appear to be crucial for both the Government and the opposition. The latest significant development is the resolution passed by the Western Provincial Council (WPC) deploring the unbearable cost of living along with the rampant corruption and waste within the government. more..

Hemantha Nishantha in unholy tie-up with clergy

Aug 12 (NS) Hemantha Nishantha became a household name when Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charged that the JHU abducted Hemantha Nishantha, a prominent businessman and UNP supporter, who had purchased a vehicle from the JHU leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera. A few days later, Mr. Nishantha walked into the Homagama police station and claimed that he was not abducted. more..

Tigers enhance firepower

Aug 12 (NS) Eelam War III saw the LTTE use artillery fire effectively. How effective the Tigers were, could be gauged by the success of Unceasing Waves. The LTTE routed the security forces in 2001, when the military launched Operation Agni Keeli (Rod of Fire) to recapture the southern part of the Jaffna Peninsula and the Elephant Pass Base, lost to the Tigers months before. more..

Lives of UNP dissidents threatened - Karu

Aug 12 (SO) After the UNP dissidents' group revealed that two of their MPs were approached by a representative of business tycoon Charles Gnanakoon and sought their help to topple the Government, the members of the group have received death threats, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Karu Jayasuriya said. He was speaking at the district convention of the UNP Democratic Front at Gampaha yesterday. more..

First Technical University to be set up

Aug 12 (SO) The National University of Vocational Technical Training, the first technical educational university in Sri Lanka will be set up under the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training this year in Ratmalana, Director General, Department of Technical Education and Training, Dr. H.L. Obeyesekera told the Sunday Observer. He said students seeking entrance to the technical university will have to complete the National Vocational Quality (NVQ) system level more..

Udawalawe set on fire: Project flops

Aug 12 (ST) Suspected arsonists set fire to a section of the Udawalawe National park early yesterday for the third time in little over a month destroying about hundred acres before it was brought under complete control by around noon, Park Warden Dhammika Pebotuwa said the fire in the Mau Ara area of the park was detected by a mobile patrol around 3 a.m. more..

Dhammika under fire over ‘quick’ BOI approvals

Aug 12 (ST) The ‘quick-fix’ approval scheme of the Board of Investment (BOI) by powerful business baron Dhammika Perera after he assumed office as its chairman has come under fire from former senior officials. “Those days the BOI got the relevant approvals in place for the investor before the approval was granted for the project. This does not happen anymore,” a former senior official told The Sunday Times FT. more..

CWC’s Cock won’t fight

Aug 12 (ST) Like the cockerel, their official symbol, leaders of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) crowed aloud last Sunday about quitting the Government. As their Vice President, M.S. Sellasamy declared to The Sunday Times, the party's Politburo that met in Kotagala (near Hatton) demanded an apology from President Mahinda Rajapaksa if they were wanted in the Government. more..

MiGs loaded with millions in mega frauds

Aug 12 (ST) The Sunday Times exclusive revelation on December 3 last year of alleged corruption in one of Sri Lanka's largest military deals, the procurement of four old but "life extended" MiG-27 fighter jets and overhaul to four others worth billions of rupees or millions of dollars from Ukraine has had its sequel. As a direct result of this disclosure, the Government of Ukraine has ordered a probe into the deal, authoritative sources in that country's capital Kiev said yesterday. more..

Devotees to Sri Lanka church in rebel area decline

Aug 12 (Xinhua) The number of devotees visiting an annual religious festival conducted by a Catholic church in Sri Lanka's rebel held Northern Province have dropped drastically, religious sources said Saturday. The annual feast of the Madu church in the northern Mannar district is usually attended by hundreds of thousands of devotees coming from all parts of the island. "So far during Friday and Saturday just 404 people had arrived in 16 vehicles," a church worker said. more..

Vaas happy to see his record fall

Aug 12 (DNA) Perhaps Chaminda Vaas may not be disappointed on seeing his World record being broken. Till late on Saturday afternoon, Sri Lanka’s leading left-arm fast-medium bowler Chaminda Vaas had not realised that his (dubious) record has been broken. When it was brought to his notice that his record of most number of Tests before a century was broken, Vaas was relieved. In June, Vaas had scored a century against Bangladesh in Colombo in his 97th Test. more..

End of war not far off, says Lankan Minister

Aug 12 (NT) Sri Lankan Minister of Enterprise Development Mano Wijeratne today said Lankan President Rajapakse had been striving to find a political solution to the current conflict with consensus of all parties concerned and expressed hope that the ethnic issue would be resolved in the near future. Speaking at the commemoration of the second death anniversary of Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Mano said, 'the day is not far when a lasting peace will return to our resplendent island home'. more..

Peace not possible at present: Wickremasinghe

Aug 12 (PTI) With ethnic strife continuing in Sri Lanka, peace was not possible at present, former Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremasinghe said today. It was also "tough to continue the peace talks initiated by the Norwegian team", he told reporters here at the airport. "The economy of the country is also doing very badly and the country is facing a lot of problems," Wickremasinghe, who is in India on a private visit, said. more..

Battered jeans earn big bucks for Sri Lanka

Aug 12 (AFP) The denims look tattered and frayed, but shoppers in Europe and the United States are prepared to pay good money for "distressed" jeans and Sri Lanka is cashing in. In the industrial town of Avissawella east of the capital Colombo, it takes workers around 13 minutes to cut and sew basic five-pocket denims. They then spend another four days torturing the pants by dying, bleaching, and sandpapering them to get a "distressed" look. more..