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President to market devolution package at UN

Aug 19 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is planning to market his devolution package when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly next month. Ministerial sources told The Nation that he would make it an opportunity to ask the international community to bring all parties concerned to the negotiating table, after presenting the package on devolution. more..

Polls chief gets greenlight for LG election in East

Aug 19 (SO) The government has called upon the Elections Commissioner to hold Local Government elections in the Eastern Province to elect members for local government bodies, Minister of Local Government Provincial Councils Janaka Bandara Tenakoon told the Sunday Observer. With the liberation of the people from the LTTE terrorists, normalcy has returned to the Eastern Province. more..

Tax withdrawn on 15 essential commodities

Aug 19 (SO) The Treasury has taken steps to do away with taxes imposed on 15 essential commodities and a single method of taxation has been introduced to provide direct tax benefits to consumers, Treasury sources told the Sunday Observer. Taxes enforced on milk food, Maldive fish, dryfish, B onions, red onions, dried chilies, dhal and green gram have been completely withdrawn and more..

Engineer alleges assault by Bhaila’s son

Aug 19 (ST) A SriLankan-born British passport holder on holiday in Colombo was assaulted allegedly by Deputy Minister Hussein Bhaila’s son on Friday morning in front of his residence in Bambalapitiya after the two got into an argument over their vehicles passing through a narrow road. Paul Savarimuttu, a 57-year-old Sri Lankan Chartered Engineer living in Warrington, was injured in the incident and is receiving treatment at the Colombo eye hospital. more..

Mariakadey diplomacy to combat the world

Aug 19 (ST) Come September and President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa will ascend the podium at the United Nations in New York to address the General Assembly. He will be one of the early speakers and will be in the league of world leaders like United States President George W. Bush, who speak on the opening day. For Rajapaksa, who wants to tell Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and a plethora of dignitaries worldwide the woes of his administration vis-a- vis widespread allegations of human rights violations, abductions, killings, more..

JHU leader warns of AIDS plot against monks

Aug 19 (ST) Jathika Hela Urumaya leader Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thera yesterday warned Buddhist monks of a conspiracy by “fundamentalists” to spread the AIDS virus among the Buddhist clergy and discredit Buddhism. Ven Medhananda Thera told The Sunday Times he had taken up the matter with leading Mahanayakes. “I got information that fundamentalists at a meeting in Kurunegala had decided to eliminate Buddhism from this country. more..

Back to work with a broken neck and useless limbs

Aug 19 (Reuters) Nine months to the day after breaking my neck on assignment covering civil war in Sri Lanka, I was wheeled up to my new desk in London to get back to work. The journey from a dusty roadside, not far from rebel territory, to a sleek desk in the Reuters headquarters in London's booming Canary Wharf financial district proved brutal, isolating and hard. more..

Nandha and Lankan link

Aug 19 (NT) After his jinxed movies, Nandha now seems to be making the right moves in Kollywood. He has a couple of projects ready for release (Aaniver and Urchagam). Both different from each other, but looking to leave an impact on the audience. Aaniver - The Tap Root deals in detail about the atrocities being committed against Tamils in the neighbouring island nation (Sri Lanka). more..

Rajapakse's son meets Rahul Gandhi

Aug 19 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's elder son Namal has returned home after a brief visit to India during which he had a meeting with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. Rajapakse, heading a delegation of his NGO Tharunyata Hetak (Future for Youth), spent over 30 minutes with Gandhi on the evening of Aug 14, sources who interacted with the Sri Lankan youth told IANS. "Meeting Rahul Gandhi was the main attraction of his visit," said one source. more..

Improved security is set to lead to resumption of SriLankan Airlines night flights

Aug 19 (AME) The night flight schedule, which was temporarily suspended in May, will restart on September 15th in time for the peak travel period for expatriates heading home for the Holy Month of Ramadan. Ms Desiree Premachandra General Manager of SriLankan Airlines for UAE & Russia is keen to detail the efforts that are being made by all who have an interest in the carrier's operations in order for it to recommence its night time service. more..

Lanka Navy rescues eight Indian fishermen

Aug 19 (PTI) Eight Indian fishermen were rescued by Sri Lankan navy off the island's northern waters, officials said today. A group of four men were found drifting off the islet of Delft early this morning while another four were rescued four days ago in the same area, officials said. Today's group were clinging onto some floating objects when the navy found them after their craft had run in to trouble," a naval spokesman said. more..

MiG deal: More twists, turns and threats

Aug 19 (ST) There is another sequel to The Sunday Times exclusive revelations last week on the controversial MiG-27 procurement deal from Ukraine. Now, the Government of Sri Lanka will investigate the billion-rupee transaction, which has led to widespread allegations of corruption and serious irregularities. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake declared on Thursday that the Government had decided to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe matters relating to the MiG-27 deal. more..

Jeyaraj slams Ban Ki-moon

Aug 19 (SAMN) Senior government Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Saturday launched a scathing attack against United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, declaring that he did not give a ‘damn’ about whatever that ‘foreigner’ (Ki-moon) had to say. In yet another of his regular verbal harangues, Fernandopulle, who is also the Chief Government Whip, said, “I don’t give a damn about what this UN boss has to tell me or Sri Lanka. He can say whatever he wants, but I will still go by what I said and that is, John Homes is a terrorist who takes bribes from the LTTE.” more..

Millions lie unused

Aug 19 (SAMN) The million dollar question being raised in financial circles is why the government wants USD 500 million raised in the open market, when the Treasury has already allocated US$ 1.64 billion for disbursement for developmental projects from donor funds. Even more puzzling was that the Government has utilised only US$ 295 million during the first six months of the year, according to the Treasury Reports. The government has not yet utilised US $ 579 allocated for this year’s disbursement. more..

State assets to build SLFP hq.

Aug 19 (SAMN) Heads of state corporations and statutory boards have been called upon to dispose idle assets and contribute to complete the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) headquarters in Battaramulla amidst opening of an Elections Office at Temple Trees and preparations for polls. The instructions were given during a meeting Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and Senior Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle held with the heads at the Presidential Secretariat recently. more..

8th Asia-Pacific AIDS congress to begin in Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (AP) Thousands of government officials and health care workers from across Asia gathered in Sri Lanka on Sunday for an international conference aimed at ensuring the AIDS epidemic does worsen in the region. "The Asia and Pacific region has a low prevalence of HIV/AIDS, but the challenge across the countries is to keep the prevalence low," Deborah Landey, deputy director of UNAIDS, told a news conference more..

Tamils held incommunicado denied

Aug 20 (BBC) Police officials in Sri Lanka have denied accusations that three Tamil men are held incommunicado in Colombo. Three Tamil men are currently held incommunicado by Sri Lankan police in the capital, Colombo, Amnesty International (AI) said. Sujith Gunapala, Sasikaran Thevarajah and Satyaphavan Aseervatham were arrested by the police Criminal Investigations Division (CID) upon arrival from Thailand. more..

No more inquiries needed – Punish the Corrupters! – COPE chairman insists

Aug 20 (LT) 'Without appointing select committees to probe on fraud and corruption cases revealed by the parliament's Committee of Public Enterprises, government must take immediate steps to punish the culprits of those fraud and corruption charges' insists Mr. Wijedasa Rajapaksa, chairman of COPE. Speaking to media he says that as a result of COPE probes the fraud and corruption cases have been revealed with clear evidence and no more inquiries and probes needed to identify the culprits. more..

Karl Gunasena is dead

Aug 20 (AT) A leading Lionel Wendt actor, popular broadcaster, Sinhala cinema star and an editor of a Buddhist journal ,Dhamma , Karl Gunasena (83) died and was cremated in London, in his adopted home. “Karl Gunasena, actor, philosopher, broadcaster, traveler, husband, grandfather, ‘interminable student’ and a dear friend, was a one of those rare gems Sri Lanka had ever produced,” said Dr. Tilak Fernando writing an obituary. more..

Chandrika Meets Norwegian Ambassador

Aug 20 (AT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga who has arrived following another self exile in London to align herself with an opposition political movement to topple the Mahinda Rajapksa government made it a priority event to meet Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar. Sources in Colombo said the former President met the Ambassador just hours after returning to the island at her office in the independence Avenue. more..

Sri Lanka accuse Indian fishermen of poaching

Aug 20 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) said Sunday that constant straying into its waters by Indian fishermen for poaching has caused problems for the Navy. SLN officials made the remarks after the Navy rescued four Indian fishermen who were in severe difficulties in the northern Sri Lankan territorial waters around 5 a.m. local time (2400 GMT). more..

The way the JHU sold the TV license

Aug 20 (LeN) Information is flowing in to Lanka-e-News on how the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) sold, at Rs. 100 million, the TV and radio licenses granted to them in return of supporting the government. A company named 'Peoples' Media Network (Pvt.) Ltd.' belonged to two supporters of the JHU have obtained this license. The two businesspersons are Subaweerage Jayadeva Ranjith Dias of 128, Divulapitiya, Boralesgamuwa and Jayampathi more..

Chaos at Sathosa compensation function

Aug 20 (LD) Yesterday, (August 19th) the Trade Ministry organized a ceremony to provide the former workers of the Sathosa with a compensation in return for being sacked. The function was held at the Sugathadasa indoor stadium. Ministers Bandula Gunawardena and Karu Jayasuriya attended the event as chief guests. According to the agenda, the workers received their compensation letters form the minister. more..

Sri Lankan rupee weakens further against dollar

Aug 20 (LBO) A Sri Lankan state bank's offers for spot dollar moved above 112 rupees Monday with the bank, which usually represents Central Bank transactions, offering at 112.04, dealers said. On Friday, inter-bank deals closed above 112 despite the official offer being at 111.97. Import demand is seen driving the local currency lower, dealers said. The spot rate was 112.24 in mid-morning trade and more..

Sri Lanka's crisis prone currency and sterilized intervention

Aug 20 (LBO) It seems incredible that Sri Lanka is on the brink of yet another currency crisis less than a year after we got over the last one and the official response and indeed its contribution, to the emerging crisis is comic as it is tragic. This column has repeatedly warned authorities against the ills of sterilized intervention and its tendency to cause and worsen currency crises. more..

'Three LTTE suspects deported from Bangkok are not held incommunicado'

Aug 20 (AT) The three LTTE suspects who were deported by Thai authorities to Colombo for possessing of illegal arms are not held incommunicado in Sri Lanka said Sri Lanka’s Deputy Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramaratne. He was responding to London based Amnesty International (AI) charges that they were held incommunicado in Sri Lanka and they were unable to contact their relatives. more..

'Govt cannot be toppled by howls of Ranil Wickremasinghe'

Aug 20 (LT) “The government cannot be toppled. It cannot be toppled by the howls of Ranil Wickremasinghe, Mangala Samaraweera and others. People have given a mandate to ‘Mahinda Chinthana’and the government will not be dissolved until Mahinda Chinthana is completely implemented. The JVP will never join the UNP and the TNA. Hence, this government will go on until its official tenure is over,” said Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Minister of Highways & Road Development and Leader of the House. more..

Tissa Vitharana’s proposals legitimize racialism! - Udaya Gammanpila

Aug 20 (LT) The set of proposals put forward by APRC head Tissa Vitharana legitimizes racialism says Mr.Gammanpila, Legal Adviser to JHU. In a media briefing held to apprise the relevant proposals Mr. Gammanpila pointed out that the Constitution could never be changed according to Prof. Tissa Vitharana’s proposals. According to Prof. Vitharana’s proposals the constitution could be changed only with a two thirds majority in the Parliament and the approval of all Provincial Councils. more..

Raja's uncle 'too poor to help'

Aug 20 (GDN) A 10-year-old boy abandoned in Bahrain by his parents has an estranged uncle living here, who says he is too poor to help, it emerged yesterday.Raja Thanee Prasad was abandoned by his Sri Lankan mother when he was two and left to fend for himself when his Indian father was deported last August.The GDN yesterday tracked down the father's elder brother Shivaram Paramu, who runs a laundry in Sanabis. more..

Ojha takes five wickets in 44-run win

Aug 20 (CI) Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, took his maiden List A five-for as India A managed a 44-run win over Sri Lanka A in the fifth match of the triangular tournament in Nairobi. A holiday crowd, mainly comprising the Indian and Sri Lankan diaspora, turned out to support the teams. Sri Lanka, who were chasing 199 for victory, lost their way early in the chase. Dilruwan Perera was the first to go, edging Irfan Pathan to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. more..

President orders APRC to forward proposals in a week

Aug 20 (PISL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the All Party Representative Committee to forward its political proposals for a solution for the North East Crisis within a week. This order was issued to the APRC during the President’s meeting with the APRs members at Temple Trees on Saturday (18). The SLFP’s amended proposals for a solution had been submitted to the APRC on the same day, Head of the APRC Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana told The Island yesterday. more..

Young men left in the lurch by recruiting agents

Aug 20 (KT) Saravana Pawan and Neville are two young men who came to Dubai a year back from their hometown in Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, with the dream of earning a good living as electricians. The two, who are related to each other, sold all they could from what they owned and took heavy loans to pay to recruiting agents to realise their dream. After paying Sri Lankan Rs1,50,000 to the agents, the two landed, albeit separately, in the UAE. more..

President reiterates Government’s commitment in combating AIDS

Aug 20 (GDI) Despite of the low prevalence of AIDS in Sri Lank where only 0.1% of the country’s total population is infected with it, President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that the Government is committed in combating the scourge of AIDS. The President stated this while addressing the inauguration of the 08th International Congress on AIDS in the Asia\ Pacific region yesterday at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH). more..

Permanent houses for 20,000 families in East in next 2 years

Aug 20 (GDI) Under the patronage of National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) steps have been taken to construct 19,747 houses for the low income earners living in the Eastern province within the next two years. Several programmes functioning under the NHDA will undertake the construction work of this mega housing project which will be located in different areas of the region. more..

More Tamils and Muslims for Police service in East

Aug 20 (GDI) "Sri Lanka Police will be conducting a mass recruitment drive for the expansion of the Police Service in Batticaloa district," stated the Police Spokesman Senior Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Jayantha Wickramarathne. Senior DIG Wickramarathna stated that already they have received more than 500 applications for the vacancies and most of them are from Tamil candidates. more..

Isn’t this aiding and abetting terrorism?

Aug 20 (ANN) While the government is coming under increasing pressure to disarm the Karuna Group committing acts of terrorism in the government-controlled areas in the Eastern Province, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) has endorsed the government’s position that only the security forces can carry arms, the implication being that neither Karuna nor Prabhakaran nor any other group has a right to remain armed. more..

One fourth of population without electricity in Sri Lanka

Aug 20 (ANN) One fourth of the population of Sri Lanka has no access to electricity yet, Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne told The Island. "We cannot keep a fourth of our population without electricity forever. Therefore capacity addition to the electricity generation systems is a must," he said. Seneviratne said the long-term electricity generation expansion plan prepared by the CEB had not been properly implemented during the last two decades resulting more..

Arjuna says `Howzat`

Aug 20 (LNP) SLFP MP Arjuna Ranatunga said yesterday he had resigned from his post as the party organizer for the Kotte electorate in the Colombo district. The former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga who captained the 1996 world cup winning cricket team tendered his resignation on Friday to President Mahinda. Mr. Ranatunga told the Daily Mirror yesterday that his decision was based on problems he had with Kotte Mayor Swarnalatha de Silva in executing his duties in the area. more..

Shooting ourselves in the foot

Aug 20 (LNP) As our incisive and perceptive columnist, Tisaranee Gunasekara, points out today, the war with the LTTE is far from over and it cannot be fought to a successful conclusion without the support of the international community. In the circumstances, she asks whether it makes sense to adopt the aggressive and abrasive postures evident in recent weeks against various foreign functionaries who have said some things that are not music to our ears. more..

`Tiger` cub to release pop album in US

Aug 20 (LNP) Critically acclaimed Sri Lankan born British rapper Maya Arulpragasam better known as M.I.A. is set to release a `controversial` music album in the US tomorrow focusing on her mother and issues facing Third World countries including the struggle of displaced people in Sri Lanka, the US media reported. The album titled `Kala` is named after her mother, a seamstress who raised her three children alone, and is ostensibly about the survival of displaced people. more..

Air Defence System near completion

Aug 20 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Air Force is ready to face any air threat from the LTTE with more than 80 per cent of the Air Defence System completed with India’s support, Air Force Commander Air Vice Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke said, adding that only a little more has to be done to establish a comprehensive air defence system. He said that 80 per cent that is in place can definitely tackle threats like the three [LTTE air] attacks. more..

State quarterly reports on web

Aug 20 (SAMN) The public would soon have access to quarterly reports submitted by State institutions through the website launched on Friday by the Plan Implementation Ministry. Speaking at the launch Ministry Secretary Mrs. D.S. Wijayatilake said the site was launched to cut down the cumbersome paper work exchanged by ministries as well as to improve the efficiency of all the ministries in submitting their quarterly reports. more..

MR pledges to resolve ‘Ranaviru issue’

Aug 20 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday pledged to look into the alleged corruption at the Ranaviru Seva Authority. The issue was taken up by the JVP parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa at the Defence Ministry Consultative Committee meeting last evening. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the President responded positively to the request to probe various frauds and irregularities at the Authority and resolve them immediately. more..

Excise raids net over Rs. 85m as fines

Aug 20 (SAMN) The Government has collected a staggering Rs. 85,219,150 as fines following raids conducted by the Excise Department under the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Mathata Thitha campaign, a report said. The total number of raids conducted had been 29,007 of which 1112 had been from the North Central Province for which fines collected had amounted to Rs. 2,103,700. more..

Proper diagnosis key to treatment - Prof. Vitarana

Aug 20 (DN) Getting a proper diagnosis of the illness affecting the patient is the key to treatment, Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana said. “If not one may give the most expensive medicine in the world which has no effect and may even do harm,” he said. “Prescribing various medicines for treatment is something that can be gathered from books. The difficult thing is to properly diagnose the illness so that correct treatment could be applied,” more..

Devananda declares open commuter sheds at Jaffna Bus Stand

Aug 20 (LeN) Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, declared open yesterday (19th) bus Commuter Sheds constructed at the Central Bus Stand, Jaffna. Minister Devananda in an earlier occasion too, on his routine visits Jaffna had constructed two such Bus Commuters Sheds for the benefits of the bus travellers from his allocations. more..

Leader and Mawbima joins; Two dailies to be published

Aug 20 (LeN) The Leader and Mawbima newspaper institutes are preparing to join to publish two dailies and two weekend newspapers in Sinhala and English languages. A discussion was held in this regard on August 16th at 'Habarana Lodge' with the participation of Tiran Alles, the owner of the Standard Newspaper Publishers, Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramathunga on behalf of Leader Publications, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe and SLFP - People's Wing Convener Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Relentless propaganda will only promote the cause of undemocratic terrorism- SCOPP Chief

Aug 20 (MoD) Peace Secretariat Chief, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe in a letter sent to the Editor of a web based news portal the International Herald Tribune, responds to a shabby article by Ms. Charu Lata Hogg as an interesting mixture of facts and fiction deliberately ignoring the real ground situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Devananda conveys Jaffna food situation to President

Aug 20 (DN) Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda over the telephone explained to President Mahinda Rajapaksa the necessity to control the soaring prices of goods, their adequate supply and proper distribution in the Jaffna peninsula. The Minister who is now in Jaffna is meeting and sorting out the problems of the people of Jaffna conveyed to the President that at present eight ships are used to take essential food items and more..

Beira stench smothers city again

Aug 20 (DM) The Beira Lake has again begun to emanate an unbearable stench of rotten fish and spoilt fruits while health authorities warn of misery and even death due to the pollution. Grade five students at St. Joseph’s College were scribbling away on their scholarship exam answer scripts when the Daily Mirror entered the college premises yesterday. Although the examination hall was in the centre of the college, some of the students were coughing and breathing audibly. more..