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Asian minnow Sri Lanka grapples with own cash crunch

Aug 22 (Reuters) While global credit crunch fears have had little impact on Sri Lanka, the island is grappling with a homegrown liquidity crunch after the central bank curbed access to its funds in an effort to contain inflation, analysts say. The central bank placed restrictions on its reverse repurchase agreement window in January in a bid to control money supply and slow bank credit. But interbank lending rates, or call rates, have soared as a result as banks scramble to borrow. more..

Hundreds of ethnic Tamils apply to join Sri Lanka's police force, official says

Aug 22 (AP) Hundreds of ethnic minority Tamils have applied to join Sri Lanka's Sinhalese-dominated police force for duty in the troubled east where the military recently routed Tamil separatists, a spokesman said Wednesday. Around 4,000 new police officers are required for the Tamil-majority eastern region and the government plans to enlist recruits locally, police spokesman Jayantha Wickremaratne said. more..

President admits public servants’ problems, but fails to address them - NTUC

Aug 23 (LD) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), an affiliate of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, says that the government had admitted at talks with trade unions that public servants are encumbered with various grievances. “This has been confined to a mere admittance by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers, and they are not taking any remedial measures,” NTUC President and JVP Parliamentarian Lal Kantha told the media more..

Intelligence, a must for education, but not for politics - CJ

Aug 23 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva remarked today (August 22nd) that one doesn’t need to be intelligent to get elected to parliament, but that it needs intelligence to have an education. The CJ was considering a petition filed in the Supreme Court by a Secretary of Ananda College, Colombo that claims the new circular issued by the Education Ministry for Grade One admissions amounts to an insult of the judiciary. more..

Wickramarachchi Ayurvedic Hospital to be vested in Indigenous Medicine Ministry

Aug 23 (LD) A draft bill was presented before Parliament today (August 22nd) for vesting Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital, in the Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine of the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. Minister of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karaliyadda tabled the proposal, and said that the Ministry of Higher Education would be responsible for the academic activities of this Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital. more..

Bring Dr. Rani Fernando of CNH before Privilege Committee – UNP MP

Aug 23 (LD) UNP parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara claims that a statement attributed to Deputy Director of the Colombo National Hospital, Dr. Rani Fernando, as published in ‘Divaina’ newspaper, has breached parliamentary privileges. “Dr. Rani Fernando has told the newspaper that parliamentarians who speak out in the House against proposed educational circulars should be given a two-year rigorous imprisonment, just like to S.B. Dissanayake,” more..

No further action against veddhas

Aug 23 (BBC) Sri Lanka government authorities has decided not to take further legal action against a group of Indigenous people who were arrested while gathering honey for a traditional offering at the temple of the tooth. The Veddha leader Uruwarige Wannia told BBC Sandeshaya, the tribesmen were arrested by forestry officers for carrying firearms inside the Maduru Oya sanctuary where they were gathering honey. more..

Pujara and Kaif take India to series triumph

Aug 23 (CI) India A called all the shots at Nairobi today, winning the toss, bowling out Sri Lanka A for 165 and then easing to a nine-wicket win to clinch the final of this three-nation tournament. There were big wickets from the pace bowlers and seamers and positive innings from Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammad Kaif as India reached their target inside 26 overs. more..

Sri Lanka’s failed public diplomacy results in reduction of U.S. Economic Assistance and suspension of Military Aid for 2008

Aug 23 (AT) Sri Lanka does not seem to be having a coherent diplomatic strategy that involves a comprehensive understanding of her own internal and external interests and that of the ‘mindset’ of U.S. Foreign Service Officers based in Colombo and their superiors in the South Asian and Central Affairs Bureau of the State Department in Washington. more..

Sri Lanka students clash with police in Colombo

Aug 23 (Xinhua) A student demonstration blocked a main highway in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo Wednesday as police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse them. The Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) had gathered students from 14 universities to protest against privatization plans of education and to urge government to stop action to curb student protests. more..

'Deye Diviya "Life of the Nation" has introduced an alternative path to this wrong economy'

Aug 23 (LT) The General Secretary of the Patriotic National Movement, Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa says that Patriotic National Movement not stopping at criticizing this socio economic political system has moved to practical activity to get rid of it. He said this day before yesterday (21) at a ceremony of organized by the "Deye Diyaniyo" organization to make the distribution of machinery for making food stuffs using rice flour instead of wheat flour among bakery owners. more..

Sri Lanka rupee tests new lows against greenback; cash rates stabilize

Aug 23 (LBO) The Sri Lanka rupee tested new lows against the greenback Thursday while overnight cash rates moderated after the monetary authority relaxed access to its discount window. In mid-day trade the spot dollar changed hands around 112.25 rupees with offers at 112.30 levels, dealers said. Official intervention was seen in the market in earlier in the at 112.18 levels. more..

Sri Lankan corporates form alliance to combat HIV/AIDS

Aug 23 (LBO) Sri Lankan companies have formed a business coalition on HIV/AIDS saying increasing awareness and gearing up workplaces to handle the pandemic helps reduce its financial and economic costs. "HIV affects the most productive segment of the society. We need to promote a coordinated, standardised HIV workplace program approach," Jaspal Bindra, director and regional CEO of Standard Chartered Bank said at the launch. more..

Tamil Tigers control a portion of Montréal’s one billion dollar drug trade - Jane’s

Aug 23 (AT) Citing Royal Canadian Mounted Police sources the Jane’s Intelligence Review said the LTTE controls portion of US Dollar one billion drug market in the Canadian city of Montreal. The "Jane’s Intelligence Review" said that one of the main ways of earning money out of its USD 200-300 million annual income of the LTTE is narcotics smuggling using its merchant ships, more..

Real Hela Urumaya against Jathika Hela Urumaya

Aug 23 (LeN) A new organization named as Saba (real) Hela Urumaya is now in the formation against the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). National Sangha Conference former Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara and Vitharandeniye Medhananda Theroes are the pioneers of this organization. JHU did not fulfill any expectation of the people who hoped that it would end the corrupt politics of the country, says Rev. Vitharandeniye Madhananda Thero. more..

Government will not establish private universities under any circumstance

Aug 23 (GDI) "Government is committed to protect the right to free education and under any circumstance we will not establish private universities," stated the Government Media Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Minister Yapa responding to a question on the allegation made by the university students that the government is planning to grant permission for private universities to operate in Sri Lanka, rejected it as a false accusation. more..

Maximum devolution of power within unitary state,- Cabinet Spokesman

Aug 23 (GDI) "The Government always believes that maximum devolution of power under a unitary constitution is the most comprehensive method to devolve power in this country," said the Government’s Media Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. He stated that the Government is also waiting for the final set of proposals of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and is hoping that the final document would be a consensus of the majority of the political parties in Sri Lanka. more..

'Opposition Leader’s use of religious precepts to malign editors is unethical'

Aug 23 (GDI) Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe’s use of Pali stanzas used in daily prayers among the Buddhists to ridicule the editors of leading Sinhala newspapers is unethical. "While it is totally wrong to criticize media for not carrying out his speeches in full, to use religious stanzas used for worship of the Buddha, Dhamm and Sangha to malign editors is unbecoming of a former prime minister and a leader of opposition," he said. more..

summary of the Cabinet decisions

Aug 23 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Hon. Karu Jayasuriya on the Exercising of Political Rights-Amendment to Section I of Chapter XXXII of the Establishment Code. The provisions of section 1:3 of chapter XXXII of the Establishment Code have been amended by Public Administration Circular No.7/2004 dated 15.12.2004, more..

Ranil blasts Govt. over foreign loan

Aug 23 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has accused the government of leaving the future generations in massive debt, by obtaining foreign loans in an authoritarian manner. “Is this the economy policy introduced in Mahinda Chintana, he asked, while making a special statement in Parliament today. Wickremesinghe lambasted the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime over its economic policies, foreign loans and for curtailing public concessions. more..

Public servants cannot re-enter service after failure as candidates at elections

Aug 23 (LD) The Cabinet of Ministers has decided that public servants who resign their posts to contest future elections will not be re-recruited to the public service. Earlier, such public servants had been able to re-enter the service had they been defeated at elections. However, the Cabinet decided at its meeting yesterday (August 22nd) that a public servant who has completed 10 years of service is entitled to a pension if he unsuccessfully contests elections.

Speaker says SC given ingenuity by Parliament

Aug 23 (LD) Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara told the House today that consensus among people’s representatives in Parliament who have been elected, without a test of their intelligence, has given ingenuity to the Supreme Court to consider parents’ social level in admitting their children to Grade One of government schools. Parliament continued to debate the SC guidelines on school admissions, when the speaker made this remark. more..

Jihad armed men on the rampage in the East

Aug 23 (AT) Jihad armed group has suddenly gone berserk killing recently two Tamils in the East. On the last 20 August, according to reports, Jihad armed men have killed, Jeyaraj (29 years old), a three-wheeler driver, at Jinna Nagar, a suburb located at the Third Mile Post, three km north of Trincomalee Town. Also on the same day, Jihad gunmen killed Thiyagachandran (54 years old) at Valaichchenai, who is the brother of the TNA Batticaloa parliamentarian S. Jeyananthamoorthy. more..

Cordon, search operation troubles fishing in Earaavoor

Aug 23 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA), Police and Special Task Force (STF) commandos cordoned off fishing villages 18 km northeast of Batticaloa Wednesday early morning. The search operation in the coastal villages, where Sri Lanka Navy has banned fishing during nights, affected the fishermen, causing scarcity of fish in Batticaloa town and Vaazhaichcheanai. Earaavoor police said the search operation was launched after monitoring the presence of armed attackers in the coastal villages. more..

Nalloor devotee attendance affected by curfew hours

Aug 23 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna announced a half hour cut in the curfew hours, only in the Nalloor Divisional Secretariat area, in response to requests made by Chaiva devotees to relax the SLA imposed curfew on the entire Jaffna peninsula, enabling them to attend annual Nalloor Kanthasaamy Koayil festivals. more..

SLAF bombs Mullaiththeevu before GCE(A/L) exams

Aug 23 (TN) Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fast attack aircrafts bombed twice on populated areas in Mu'l'livaaykkaal in Mullaiththeevu district Wednesday morning causing panic among students waiting to sit the G.C.E (Advanced Level), P. Ariyaratnam, Mullaiththeevu Zonal Director of Education said. The attack damaged two houses but no casualties or injuries were reported. more..

JVP warns Govt. it will oppose budget if APRC proposal accepted

Aug 23 (LNP) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna yesterday warned the government that it would face dire consequences, at the forthcoming budget, if it backs the All Party Representative Committee proposals for a Federal State. Publicity Secretary Wimal Weerawansa said they had been informed of an attempt, by the APRC, headed by Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana, to finalize a report that was largely based on views of its pro-federalist bloc, constituting several Tamil, Muslim and Socialist parties within the government. more..

Govt. to ban doctors prescribing drugs by brand

Aug 23 (LNP) The Government is to introduce legislation banning the prescription of drugs by brand names. Health Minister Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told The Island that in future doctors will be compelled to prescribe drugs by their generic name. The reason for this he said was the government spends Rs.16.5 billion to Rs.19.2 billion annually to purchase drugs despite the annual allocation for the Health Ministry to import drugs is only Rs.7.4 billion to Rs.10.1 billion. more..

See Lanka sunk in lucre`s sordid charms ?

Aug 23 (LNP) The Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) has made a revelation which is so shocking as to make every Sri Lankan sit up and take notice. Nearly 40 per cent of Sri Lanka`s national budget goes down the gurgler because of waste and corruption! Worse, none of the political parties have responded to the OPA`s request for an opportunity to discuss ways and means of minimising the twin evils taking their toll on the ailing economy and social well-being. more..

Raped teenage daughter as wife looked on

Aug 23 (LNP) A 39-year-old father of four was arrested yesterday for raping his 15-year-old school going daughter in the presence of his wife. Police said the suspect, who drinks heavily, had threatened his wife with death, if she were to tell anyone about the incident and proceeded to rape the daughter as the terrified wife just watched. The wife told Police that this was not the first time he had done this to his daughter. more..

LTTE wants Rs.1m ransom from lodge owner

Aug 23 (SAMN) The LTTE has demanded a Rs. One million ransom from the owner of Ideal Guest in Wellawatte as compensation for the loss of two claymore mines detected at the lodge on a tip-off by the owner, Senior DIG Jayantha Wickremeratna said. Addressing the weekly press briefing in Colombo, DIG Wickremeratna said yesterday that Ratnasinghe Selvaraja, the owner of Ideal Guest made this complaint to Police on Tuesday evening. more..

Minister gives assurance to strikers

Aug 23 (SAMN) The Treasury through the 2008 Budget will allocate necessary funds to resolve the salary problems of teachers, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said in Parliament yesterday. Five teacher trade unions are currently boycotting the Advanced Level exam paper marking as a mark of protest. The minister said he had talks in the Parliament Complex yesterday with Treasury officials to discuss the possibility of obtaining funds from the next budget to resolve this problem. more..

'We have vital info on alleged killer'

Aug 23 (SAMN) Vital information has been received regarding the killing of the young girl who was on her way to sit the Advanced Level examination at Passara Maha Vidyalaya on Monday, police said. Lunugala police OIC Channa Abeyratna said two police teams have been deployed to investigate the killing of Kanchana Mahohari of Passara. more..

Housing loans for 25,000 public servants

Aug 23 (SAMN) The Government has provided the housing loans valued at Rs.22,725 million for 25,158 public servants up-to June this year through the State banks spending large amount of money as a subsidiaries for the betterment of public servants, Finance and State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament Wednesday. more..

Sri Lanka-A Blessed or Blighted Nation

Aug 23 (FI) Sri Lanka, the land in which I was born and grew-up retains a hold on me that only death can probably do apart. I am sure a majority of the Tamils share these feelings, although they have been forced to disperse around the globe by circumstances beyond their control. I have had the fortune to have lived in different parts of Sri Lanka and travel across her length and width. more..

Public can play role in lowering prices

Aug 23 (DN) Conceding that the era of State regulated goods prices was a thing of the past, Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardana said the public however, can play an active role in helping lower the prices of essential commodities. “Consumer goods sold at our co-operative society outlets and budget shops are very much less than in the private shops. People can contribute effectively by buying goods at these outlets. Then the traders will have no alternative but to reduce their prices and fall in line.” more..

Ten year economic plan meaningful and pragmatic - NEC

Aug 23 (DN) The National Economic Council (NEC) commended the Government’s proposed ten year plan as the most meaningful and pragmatic ever presented in the country’s history, President’s Media sources said. The learned members of the NEC were of the view that although diverse economic plans had been presented in the past, the ten year plan presented by this government transcends all those and stands out as the most pragmatic and meaningful ever. more..

SC, House differ on admissions

Aug 23 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Education Ministry Secretary to reformulate the national policy on Grade 1 admissions to schools, based on the guidelines adopted by the Court and in terms of the three judgements already delivered on similar fundamental rights violation petitions. The Court gave this direction when the fundamental rights violation petitions challenging the recent circular on the admission of children to Grade 1 next year, came up before the Court. more..

Athas’ security: Govt. gives general answer

Aug 23 (DM) The personal security of The Sunday Times Consultant Editor and defence analyst Iqbal Athas was possibly withdrawn following a fresh personal security assessment, Government defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the media yesterday. Responding to a query from a journalist Minister Rambukwella said that even the security of Government members are re-assessed in similar fashion and their security was either reduced or increased based on the outcome of the assessment. more..

Coalition launched in Colombo to promote male sexual health

Aug 23 (Xinhua) A coalition aiming to address HIV-related vulnerabilities of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Asia and Pacific region was launched here Wednesday at the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and Pacific (ICAAP). The Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), a coalition of civil society groups, government representatives and the United Nations system, plans to increase investment and research, as well as promote individual rights of the MSM and transgenders. more..

Daunting road ahead for Sri Lankan govt: Solution of ethnic problem

Aug 23 (Dawn) Sri Lanka’s long road to peace came across several obstacles this week beginning with the nationalistic political party consisting of Buddhist monks dissociating themselves from the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) which is preparing proposals seeking a political solution to the Tamil ethnic question. The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) on Monday opted out of the APRC followed by a tongue lashing aimed at the chairman of the committee, Prof Tissa Vitarana. more..

Government should not go ahead with Sethu canal: BJP

Aug 23 (ET) The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday warned the government against going ahead with the Rs.24 billion Sethusamudram canal project off India's southern tip, claiming it would "damage" a Hindu mythological bridge. Raising the issue during zero hour in parliament, BJP MP Yogi Adityanatah alleged that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was plotting to "blow off the bridge Lord Rama had created near Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu". more..

Sri Lankan students defy tear gas to protest private universities

Aug 23 (AP) Sri Lankan riot police fired tear gas and water cannon but failed to prevent 2,000 students from marching Wednesday to the president's residence to oppose the creation of private universities. The students said the government should increase funding for tuition-free public universities instead of allowing private institutions. more..

Sri Lankan military says it killed four rebels in attacks in north

Aug 23 (AP) Sri Lankan troops killed four Tamil rebels in confrontations in the war-torn north, the military announced Thursday. In one incident in the northern Mannar district, the site of heavy fighting between government and rebel fighters in recent weeks, troops killed three Tamil Tiger fighters Wednesday evening, the military said. more..

HIV delegate denied treatment

Aug 23 (BBC) A Nigerian man attending a major AIDS conference in Sri Lanka says the stigma on HIV in Sri Lanka is worse than many countries in Africa. Jude Chidi Munaonye (43 years) Health educationist from Nigeria say the local hospital in Sri Lanka refused to treat him. He told BBC Sandeshaya that he took ill and was taken from one hospital to another as medical staff even refused 'eye contact' with him. more..

Mangala urges JVP to support ouster of Rajapaksa regime

Aug 24 (LD) Convener of the SLFP (Mahajana) Wing, Mangala Samaraweera is inviting the JVP to join hands with the ‘Jathika Sabha’ to oust the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Speaking to the media in Colombo today, Samaraweera said, “The JVP says that they will not allow the UNP or Ranil Wickremesinghe to come to power. But, the JVP forced former President Chandrika to introduce the 17th Amendment by submitting the draft prepared by K.N. Choksy. more..

Woman begins fast to seek delayed justice

Aug 24 (LD) “Justice delayed is justice denied.” A 45-year-old woman is staging a fast in front of the Human Rights Commission alleging that justice has not been done to a complaint filed by her against the Kadugannawa Police for an incident of assault. “When my daughter and I went to the Kadugannawa Police on 9th October 2003 to lodge a complaint regarding a land dispute, two policewomen and a policeman beat us brutally and then arrested us,” more..

Lessons From Int'l AIDS Meet

Aug 24 (IPS) For Padma, a sociology graduate from a Sri Lankan university, the three-day International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) that ended Thursday was nothing short of an enlightening experience in her life. "When I arrived at the conference, I was filled with fear and prejudice against people with HIV and AIDS. But now, I hold a totally different view. more..

Chandrika white-washing her past crimes with lies

Aug 24 (AT) After UNICEF kicked out the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga when accusations of her past political crimes were exposed by her close friend Victor Ivan, the editor of Ravaya, she has returned to Sri Lankan to present herself as snow white to the local media. In her latest interview to the media she state that “there were only one or two abductions during her tenure and those responsible were brought to book after thorough investigations.” more..

Do not criticize the University-Industry interaction

Aug 24 (AT) Please do not criticize universities, we do not criticize anyone, let us get together and work for a common goal, said Prof Ananda Jayawardane, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, delivering the Keynote address at the Industrial Relations Forum (IRF) of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka on the theme “Importance of University Interaction with the Industrial Relations Forum. more..