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JVP’ll back Govt. if it agrees to our plan to control COL – Somawansa

Aug 15 (LD) Taking to the streets has become the norm of the day to convince the government on any matter. We gave prior warnings to the government, and it had ample time to act. Now it is too late. The JVP has taken to the streets,” said JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe addressing a demonstration rally at Lipton Circus in Colombo yesterday. It was the first of a series of protests the JVP is organizing against price hikes of fuel, gas, milk powder and other commodities as well as rampant state corruption and wastage of public money. more..

Autonomy for the States, federalism at the Centre

Aug 15 (FI) The DMK is of the view that for proper and ideal Centre-State relations, there should be more powers for the States. To be more appropriate and precise, there should be autonomy for the States and federalism at the Centre. The demand for restructuring Centre-State relations is as old as the adoption of the Constitution of India in 1950. The creation of a new structure of constitutional government for independent India deserves to be seen in historical context, particularly by taking into account the objective political situation that existed then. more..

Corruption is responsibility of officials, not ministers - Jeyaraj

Aug 15 (LD) Chief Government Whip, Minister Jeyaraj Fernadopulle has said that the corruption rampant in state institutions that have been named by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) was the responsibility of officials, and not cabinet ministers. Speaking to the media in Colombo today (August 15th), the Minister said that Parliament cannot take action against the cited malpractices. more..

Ex-President Kumaratunga visits marketplace

Aug 15 (LD) Ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga visited the weekly marketplace near Liberty Plaza in Kollupitiya, Colombo yesterday (August 14th) and took down the prices of essential commodities. The media had not been aware of this unexpected visit to a fair by the former head of state. Just as an ordinary citizen would, she had inquired from traders about the prices of vegetable, rice, dried fish, potatoes and onions. more..

Ministerial delegation to Azerbaijan

Aug 15 (AT) The Azerbaijani ambassador for Sri Lanka resident in New Delhi Tamerlan Garayev said that a Sri Lankan ministerial delegation interested in oil will visit the oil rich former Soviet republic by the Caspian Sea from August 16 to 18. The delegation comprising of Minister of Development of Export and International Trade Dr. G.L. Peiris and Oil and Oil Resources Minister A.H.M. Fowzie with others are expected to negotiate oil purchases at reasonable prices since the Indian Ocean island republic is currently hit by rapidly rising oil prices. more..

'Next government will be formed by Patriotic Forces allied with the JVP'

Aug 15 (LT) General Secretary of the JVP Mr. Tilvin Silva said that the next government will be established by non other than the patriotic forces rallied round the JVP. He said this yesterday (14) addressing the rally held at the end of protest march organized by the JVP. "Government has heaped enough burdens on the people. Provide now, immediate relief to the people. All people including fishermen, estate workers have been oppressed and resources of the country are being privatized. Government must put an end to this policy immediately", more..

5 teaches unions to boycott A/L answer script marking

Aug 15 (LD) Five teachers unions came to a collective agreement yesterday (August 14th) to boycott their participation in the marking of answer scripts of this year’s G.C.E. (Advanced Level) Examination. The decision was taken after the failure to sort out the 10-year-old salary anomalies of teachers and principals at a discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksa the previous day, the unions told the media. more..

Sri Lanka stocks perk up on hospital, finance shares

Aug 15 (LBO) Active trading in a hospital and financial sector stocks helped Colombo stocks close higher Wednesday, dealers said. The all share index closed up 4.7 points or 0.2 percent on a turnover of 243 million rupees. "There was a bit buying interest today," says Vajira Premawardena, of Lanka Orix Securities. "The market is looking for direction." more..

Govt grants housing assistance for 198 families devastated by terrorist activities

Aug 15 (GDI) Government has taken steps to provide housing assistance for 198 families affected by terrorist activities in 1992/ 1993 period. Accordingly, these families from Nikkahena, Kudapotha, Ahamadpura and Palliyagodala villages in the Medirigiriya Division of Polonaruwa district will receive assistance to resettle in their original places. more..

500 million dollars for development plans

Aug 15 (GDI) Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said that the US $ 500 million bond issue will be made through the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), which has been finally selected from short-listing eligible parties. He stated this at the weekly media briefing held to inform the current political situation at the Department of Government Information today (15). more..

'COPE findings refer mainly to alleged secret dealings during 2001-05'

Aug 15 (GDI) "26 Parliamentary Select Committees will be appointed to probe in to the each allegations and issues made in the report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE)," said Minister of Water Supply Mahinda Amraweera. He mentioned this at the Government’s weekly media briefing held in Colombo today (15). Minister while rejecting the accusations made by the opposition groups claiming that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa is interfering in to the investigations carried out by the COPE members said more..

Libya encourages Sri Lankans to take over 100,000 job opportunities

Aug 15 (GDI) Prime Minister of Libya Dr. Al Baghdadi Ali Al Mahmudi has requested the Sri Lankan Government to consider sending Sri Lankans for 100,000 job opportunities in Libya in their development activities that will be implemented in the very near future. During the discussions with the Sri Lankan foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama held yesterday (14) Dr. Mahmudi added that both countries should consider entering into an agreement for the supply of man power to Libya. more..

The controversial guideline for Grade one admission ruled out

Aug 15 (GDI) The controversial guideline given by the Supreme Court to consider parent’s educational qualifications, profession, and student’s skills for the calculation of marks for Grade One admissions will not be taken in to effect. According to the Ministry of Education, final discussion on the criteria for Grade One school admission was held on last Monday (13) between the Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and the officials of the Education Ministry where the above decision was taken. more..

Yovun Divimaga to provide career guidance, counselling

Aug 15 (GDI) The Youth Affairs Ministry has launched a national programme titled “Yovun Divimaga” to provide career guidance and counselling to 4.2 million youth to help them obtain employment and equip them with vocational skills. Under this programme, the initial “Yovun Divimaga” camp organised by the Ministry was held at Ruwanpura College of Education, Kahawatta on August 12 under the patronage of Youth Affairs Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi. more..

SCOPP suggests Govt. probe into Muttur aid workers’ deaths

Aug 15 (GDI) The Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) yesterday called on the Government to initiate an independent inquiry to ascertain the circumstances of the death of the 17 aid workers in Muttur. SCOPP also listed eight points highlighting the negligence and irresponsible conduct of the Action Contre la-Faim (ACF) in exposing the aid workers to danger wanting this too to be probed in the inquiry. more..

600,000 new houses for low and middle income families

Aug 15 (GDI) Under the Government’s policy ‘Shelter for All’, 600,000 new houses for middle and low income earning families will be built islandwide, Ministry of Construction and Engineering Services informs. Currently the construction works are under way to build 100,000 houses which will be completed within the next three years, ministerial sources further state. Houses will be constructed under two main categories with the objective of providing houses at a rate of six lakhs to fifteen lakhs for more..

Muslim concerns

Aug 15 (FL) IT was a breezy July evening. At a seaside club close to the Presidential Palace in Colombo, the city’s elite had gathered to enjoy the performance of a foreign cultural troupe. As the show ended, a Tamil businessman sighted a fellow Muslim entrepreneur and yelled across, “Brother, didn’t I tell you two months ago your turn would come sooner than later”. The reference was to the cases of abduction of half a dozen prominent Muslim businessmen for ransom in the previous weeks. more..

Eastern cauldron

Aug 15 (FL) ON July 11, soldiers of Sri Lanka’s elite Special Forces hoisted the national flag at the summit of Baron’s Cap (Thoppigala /Kudumbimalai in Sinhala/Tamil), a rocky hill in the Eastern province. With that symbolic gesture, the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) announced that the Eastern province had come under its full control. On July 19, a grand ceremony paralleling an Independence Day celebration was held in Colombo. more..

Power from garbage soon

Aug 15 (PISL) An energy plant, which could generate 32 Megawatts of electricity from garbage, is to be constructed, under the Power and Energy Ministry’s Renewable Energy Development Project, in Muthurajawela soon. Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne told The Island that the time had come to use alternative methods to generate electricity in the face of a looming energy crisis. In the Colombo city itself around 100 tons of garbage is collected each day. more..

Problems with Sri Lanka’s education system

Aug 15 (KT) EVERY government in Sri Lanka since Independence has been criticised for ruining education. With every change of government, there comes a change in education policy complete with changes in school syllabi and teaching methods. Changes are necessary in education systems in keeping with the demands of the job market, argue advocates of the change. But others say changes create confusion while teachers and parents take several years to come to terms with them. more..

Norwegian children in state of shock after Oslo Tiger violence

Aug 15 (LNP) Norwegian children who witnessed the gruesome battle between two LTTE factions in Oslo on Sunday in which one Tamil man`s arm was cut off with a Samurai sword were in a state of shock, newspapers reported. The man was also shot several times in the chest. Doctors worked through the night at Ullevil Hospital in Oslo, but his condition remained critical. It is suspected that some of the Tamil attackers had come from France and entered Norway illegally. more..

No rehabilitation for surrendering Tigers?

Aug 15 (LNP) Youth fleeing the LTTE and surrendering to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna have to languish in the Jaffna prison instead of undergoing proper rehabilitation as the government has no mechanism for such a purpose, Human Rights sources in the North revealed. So far, a total of 52 males and one female, all below the age of 30, and many fleeing the LTTE, have surrendered to the HRC office in Jaffna. more..

Rambukwelle alleges int`l community playing into hands of LTTE, UNP

Aug 15 (LNP) The government yesterday raised concerns of a possible `serious` international conspiracy against the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration in the wake of contradictory reports by various factions. Government defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle said an Australian forensic expert and the International Court of Jurists (ICJ) had submitted contradictory reports on the Mutur killings and most recently a Human Rights Watch report and a statement made to the Reuters news agency by UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief John Holmes. more..

UNP disciplinary inquiry against Wijeratne

Aug 15 (LNP) The UNP has decided to hold a disciplinary inquiry against the present UNP Opposition leader of the Medawachchiya Pradeshya Sabha Nalin Wijeratne. He was earlier Chairman of the Pradeshya Sabha. Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has directed Anuradhapura UNP Organiser and Parliamentarian G. Harrison, District Secretary and Parliamentarian Ms Chandrani Bandara Jayasinghe and Medawachchiya Organiser K. B. Tennekoon to remove Wijeratne from the post of Opposition leader of the Medwachchiya Pradeshya Sabha more..

I will give the Benz to stray dogs to dwell

Aug 15 (LeN) Jathika Hela Urumaya MP Rev. Ellawala Medhananda Thero today (14) paid courtesy visits to the Chief Incumbents of Malwaththa and Asgiriya Chapters to clarify his innocence regarding the alleged illegal transfer of the Benz car purchased under the duty free permit of the monk MP. The monk said to media after the meeting with the Chief Incumbents that he first opposed the sale of permit but later agreed the party position. more..

CMC suspension: Mayor scoffs at reports

Aug 15 (SAMN) Colombo Mayor, Mohamed U Emtiyaz, Tuesday scoffed at the reports that the Colombo Municipal Council would be suspended shortly. He said while President Mahinda Rajapaksa had spoken to him about the affairs of the Council he had not intimated any intention of suspending the CMC. “There is no such plan to suspend the council although I got to know many rumours going around,” he said. more..

Govt. forcing IDPs to return: UNP

Aug 15 (SAMN) The UNP charged Tuesday that the government was forcing the displaced persons of the border villages to go back to their original settlements and have made payments by cheque to some people who have not been affected by the conflict. UNP Anuradhapura District MP P. Harrison told a media conference that the water tanks that were installed in the IDP camps have been removed while the cleaning of toilets have been stopped forcing the inmates to leave the camps. more..

JVP warns Govt. of withdrawing support

Aug 15 (SAMN) The JVP Tuesday warned the government to opt for a people-friendly administration immediately or face the consequences. Addressing the public rally following a procession from Campbell Park in Borella to Lipton’s Circus with a massive crowd of supporters to protest against the government, JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe charged that the government had failed to benefit the people and warned that the rally itself would be the start of the party’s withdrawal of its unconditional support to the government. more..

104 career choices

Aug 15 (SAMN) One hundred and four careers of different segments have been identified as topics in a Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) sponsored career guidance seminar that is to be launched shortly, said a statement. In the first phase there will be programmes on 28 different careers released on DVD/CDs. These programs will be aired on national television during prime-time as a means of educating the parents as well. more..

Parent qualification for school admissions scrapped

Aug 15 (DN) Parents Qualifications and the student’s skills will not be considered for Grade One school admissions, Education Ministry sources said yesterday. According to the Supreme Court’s guidelines, parents’ educational qualifications, their profession, and student’s skills were to be considered in the calculation of marks for Grade One admissions. more..

Mihin Lanka unveils flights to Buddhagaya

Aug 15 (DN) Mihin Lanka will expand its route map to Buddhagaya, India. The low cost carrier will launch a new non-stop service between Colombo and Gaya international airport from September 2. The route will be served by an Airbus A320 in economy and premium economy. The new service to Buddhagaya comes as a result of Mihin Lanka’s philosophy, “Where new doors of opportunity to the people to explore and experience the wonders of the world.” more..

Arafa Nagar IDPs allowed to cultivate

Aug 15 (DM) The tense situation in Arafa Nagar in Mutur South is reported to have eased after the military decided to allow the displaced people to go ahead with cultivating crops in the area. Mutur Divisional Secretary M. C. M. Sheriff told the Daily Mirror that the situation had returned to normal but the permission of the military was needed for the people to settle down. more..

‘Don’t make the police political pawns'

Aug 15 (DM) The police said yesterday that they should not be made “scapegoats” for political gains while releasing a video footage to show that the recent university student protests in Colombo were not ‘peaceful’ as claimed. The video showed some protesting students carrying bicycle chains while it also showed damaged property including a gate and part of a wall. more..

Amnesty says over 5,700 'disappearances' in Sri Lanka

Aug 15 (AFP) Hundreds of people disappeared in Sri Lanka in the past year and more than 5,700 such cases from the past three decades were under UN review, rights group Amnesty International said Tuesday. Since 2006, hundreds of people have reportedly been abducted by the security forces or armed groups in areas in the north and east of Sri Lanka, as well as in Colombo, the London-based rights group said. more..

Salients of the press briefing

Aug 15 (RW) Hon. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Defence Spokesman, addressing the weekly media briefing , at the Media Centre for National Security on Tuesday morning (14), dealt with, the statements made by the Mr. J. Holmes, Under Secretary of Humanitarian Relief of the United Nations. The Defence Spokesman pointed out that Mr. Holmes has made separate statements last Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, which are contradictory. more..

Sri Lanka skirmishes kill 10

Aug 15 (AFP) At least nine Tamil Tiger rebels and a government soldier were killed in sporadic clashes in northern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said on Wednesday. Six of the rebels were killed along a de facto border separating the rest of the country from rebel-held Wanni region on Tuesday, the ministry said adding that the soldier was killed during those clashes. Another three members of the LTTE were gunned down by security forces at Weli Oya, more..

Sri Lanka reaches broad consensus on devolution

Aug 15 (Reuters) A raft of Sri Lankan political parties has reached broad consensus on a cross-party devolution proposal aimed at ending the island's civil war, the minister drawing it together said on Wednesday. Tissa Vitharana, minister of science and technology and chairman of the All Party Representative Committee, said he aimed to complete a draft and hand it over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the end of next week. more..

Top Sri Lanka official calls U.N. aid chief "terrorist"

Aug 15 (Reuters) A top Sri Lankan government official called U.N. Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes a "terrorist" on Wednesday after he voiced concern about aid worker safety on the island last week. Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who is also the island's highways minister, told a media briefing he believed Holmes had taken a bribe from separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and had deliberately tried to harm Sri Lanka's reputation. more..

Sri Lanka's government misses deadline for proposals to solve ethnic conflict

Aug 15 (AP) Government and opposition politicians charged with finding a political compromise to resolve Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict missed a crucial Wednesday deadline to hand in their proposals, a lawmaker said. The All Party Representative Committee was supposed to submit its proposals for constitutional reform — which were expected to include a plan for devolving power from the central government — by Aug. 15. more..

Bharti Airtel to start Sri Lanka service early 2008

Aug 16 (LBO) Bharti Airtel was aiming to launch commercial operations in Sri Lanka early next year investing 200 million dollars in the island, the Indian telecom giant said Wednesday. Bharti Airtel Lanka, the locally incorporated subsidiary, is the fifth mobile operator to be licensed in the country. The firm says it will focus on value added services like financial transactions and music. more..

Sri Lanka official forex market see 'black market' as rupee tumbles

Aug 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's forex markets are defying fundamental economic principles with bids creeping above offer prices in what analysts see as the latest in a series of perversions that have hit financial markets in the country. For over a week bids for spot dollars in Sri Lanka's interbank forex markets have gone above the offer price of a state name that usually acts for the country's central bank. more..

The downside of isolating the LTTE

Aug 16 (UPI) Sri Lanka appears to be having a respite from war, as there are no reports of major military confrontations such as those reported from the east in preceding months. Instead of large-scale military operations by the regular armed forces, the emphasis now appears be on low-profile operations by the Special Forces of the military. On the part of the LTTE, however, there is full-scale human mobilization for a war that has taken, and continues to take, a huge toll on the people living within the areas of their control. more..

Holmes factually correct - UN

Aug 16 (BBC) The United Nations says that Undersecretary John Holmes had all along maintained that humanitarian aid workers in Sri Lanka are at risk. Speaking to Sandesaya, the spokesman to the UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq said that Sri Lanka in the year 2006 was placed second worst country in the world for humanitarian work. "The Undersecretary is factually correct", he said. more..

Glimpses from the Mahavamsa; Did Prince Vijaya actually land in Sri Lanka? Did the Buddha visit Lanka?

Aug 16 (AT) The very interesting debate between two scholars, Mr Sumanadasa Wijayapala and Dr Mithra Fernando has prompted the writer to add to the debate by highlighting some comments made by another scholar, Professor William Geiger in his translation of the Mahavamsa. His comments castes some doubts on the exact location of Vijaya’s eventual disembarkation after he was banished from Lala (present day Bangladesh) and also almost forced to leave Supparaka (west coast of India). more..

Explosive materials found in a guest house in Wellawatte

Aug 16 (AT) The police and the army detected two deadly claymore mines in a travel bag lying in a guest house frequented by people coming from Northern Province to Colombo. “The man who brought the bag to the guest house has come from Vavuniya a besieged district marked by frequent attacks by the LTTE.”said Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, the Sri Lanka Army spokesman. more..

Sri Lankan police break up student protests over deteriorating university education

Aug 16 (AT) Sri Lankan police mounted major operations to break up two student protests on July 30 and August 1 outside the offices of the ministry of higher education in Colombo. Water cannon, baton charges and tear gas were used to disperse hundreds of students demonstrating for better facilities and an end to the government’s cutbacks to free education. Three students were hospitalized as a result of police attacks on the first protest involving students from the Rajarata University. more..

Crossing the line in Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (GU) Discretion is a virtue in the humanitarian aid industry and its workers do think carefully before speaking out in public on controversial matters. However, the recent statement by a top Sri Lankan government official that Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim) were responsible for the massacre of 17 of their own local staff last year through "negligence" and "irresponsibility", deserves some sort of response. more..

Sri Lanka displaced vulnerable: report

Aug 16 (Hindu) A fact-finding mission on the state of the displaced persons in the north and east in Sri Lanka since the escalation of hostilities between the military and the LTTE over a year ago, has said the conflict has led to a “large scale shifting of population” that has become vulnerable to machinations of several actors in the field. A comprehensive report by South Asians for Human Rights (SHAR) led by the former Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral, has concluded that the element of fear has had a major impact on the people and their lives in the regions. more..

Sri Lanka rolls over Rs12bn in bills, short end in demand

Aug 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka rolled over 12 billion rupees of treasury bills heavily weighted towards the short end with yields edging up marginally, the government's debt office said. Three-month bills edged up four basis points to 17.45 percent while 6-months remained flat at 17.12 percent and 12-month bills were at 16.89 percent. The debt office originally offered 4.8 billion rupees worth of 3-month bills and 6.8 billion rupees of 12-month bills, more..

Norwegian police and journos misled on Tamil Tiger violence in Oslo

Aug 16 (AT) With 33 witnesses and three injured victims in hospital, the Norwegian Police is nowhere near to any arrest of the Tamil criminals who went on a violent rampage in Oslo last Sunday. In broad daylight Tamils ran amok hacking their rivals with a samurai sword, shooting another and running a car over third Tamil. The police are now complaining about a lack of information from the Tamil public. more..