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5 suspects accused of assaulting police officer at HR Minister’s residence in courts

Aug 25 (LD) 5 suspects accused of assaulting a police constable on security duty at the residence of Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, was presented to the Magistrate Courts today, (August 24th). Police constable Pushpakumara of the Cinnamon Gardens Police was thus attacked around 10p.m. on the 18th of August. A dispute occurred between the accused and the police constable has lead to the assault in which the constable’s uniform was torn. more..

JDCSI: Why is such a major split being demanded?

Aug 25 (ISL) Granted: The JDCSI Bishop's Stakes from early last year caused a great deal of concerns and worry; this was unfortunate. Granted: The normal procedure of voting by the Jaffna Diocesan Council for at least three candidates considered suitable to the high position of the Bishop of the JDCSI in Jaffna did not take place within the time mandated by the Synod of the Church of South India. more..

Steps to upgrade railway service

Aug 25 (GDI) Government will be taking steps to upgrade the railway sector in Sri Lanka with the treasury agreeing to allocate funds for the projects. According to the Minister of Transport Dullas Alahapperuma the Ministry proposals for a better public passenger transport service was accepted by the Treasury Secretary and thereupon the Ministry will be working towards a qualitative change in the service within the next few months. more..

Compensation for Sri Lankan victims in Lebanon

Aug 25 (GDI) The Sri Lankans who were stranded during the conflict in Lebanon are to be compensated. Many Sri Lankans were stranded in Lebanon during the conflict, following the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hisbullah militant group, and more than 6000 Sri Lankans were repatriated under the sponsorship of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). more..

Myanmar’s Actg Prime Minister to visit Sri Lanka

Aug 25 (GDI) The Acting Prime Minister of Myanmar, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on 27th August 2007 on the invitation of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake. Lt. Sein will lead a high level ministerial delegation including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture and Irrigation, Transport, Religious Affairs and Forestry. more..

'New Markets would boost exports further'

Aug 25 (GDI) Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L Peiris said Sri Lanka needs to focus on Central Asia as a new market. We are discussing the possibilities of including services to the Indo-Lanka FTA apart from the physical commodities. Speaking at the 14th Presidential Export Awards, held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday Minister Peiris pointed out that exports have showed tremendous growth during the first half of this year and some sectors have performed extremely well. more..

No United States Aid to Foreign NGOs with Terrorist ties: USAID Tightens Scrutiny

Aug 25 (AT) The United States Government placed trust on foreign non-governmental organizations and charitable institutions operating on the American soil and in foreign countries who are recipients of federal funds to voluntarily vet their own staff, both in the U.S. and in countries of their operations, and certify to the government that no one associated with the organizations appears on U.S. terrorist watch list. more..

Let’s face an election! - UNP challenges government

Aug 25 (LT) UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake challenged the government to come for an election. He says the mandate the government received is not with them anymore as only people who have been bought from the UNP are with the government at present. Secretary General of the UNP said this at a rally held at Nittambuwa. The rally, which was the fourth organized by the ‘People’s Congress’ consisting of the UNP and SLFP (M), more..

COPE ii reveals Rs.6000 million frauds

Aug 25 (LT) The second report of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) presented to Parliament today reveals fraud, corruption and irregularities in 20 public enterprises that amount to Rs.6000 million. Mr. Wijedasa Rajapakse, the Chairman of COPE presented the report to the Parliament. The report names National Housing Development Authority, Ruhuna Development Bank and Mahapola Fund as the enterprises where large scale fraud, corruption and irregularities had taken place. more..

JVP wants fair recruitment practice

Aug 25 (SAMN) The discrepancies and unfair practices in recruiting public servants became a point of discussion in Parliament Friday with the JVP charging that those who succeed in competitive exams for the public service were left out while henchmen of politicians were appointed to vacant posts. The party also charged that those who resigned from the public sector to contest elections were re-recruited when they got defeated. more..

Express train mows down three elephants

Aug 25 (SAMN) Three more wild elephants including two calves were mowed down by the Colombo bound express train at Kitulkotte in Kantale Friday morning, raising this year’s death toll of wild elephants to 71. Kantale police said a herd of elephants were crossing the railway line when the accident occurred at the 153rd milepost, killing the three elephants aged one, six and 25. more..

Daughter to stop book on mother’s life

Aug 25 (SAMN) The daughter of Adlin Vitarana came before the Colombo District Court 48 after years since her mother’s murder seeking an injunction order restraining novelist Newton Gunasekara and Dayawansa Book Publishers from publishing and selling the novel Dadakeliya, the Adlin Vitaranage Kathawa, citing the book was defamatory of her mother. more..

APRC much alive: Prof.Vitharana

Aug 25 (SAMN) Party leaders attending deliberations of the APRC met under the chairmanship of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Thursday night and discussed ways and means of moving forward to reach consensus on a final solution to the ethnic conflict, JHU representative and Chairman Central Environment Authority, Udaya Gammanpila said Friday. more..

City shares its financial know-how

Aug 25 (HFX) If there's one thing this city knows how to do well, it's tax people. And it's sending that knowledge to tsunami-hit Sri Lanka.Yesterday, a delegation of people from five municipalities in Sri Lanka toured City Hall as part of a Canadian trip to learn more about how municipalities run themselves in this country. It follows work the Federation of Canadian Municipalities embarked upon following the Boxing Day Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. more..

Religious feast prompts brief lull in escalating conflict

Aug 25 (IRIN) Uliyankulam, a key checkpoint along the line of control that separates Sri Lankan government-controlled areas from those held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), only gets about 1,600 people passing through per week. An upsurge in fighting in the area has left civilians hesitant to travel: The checkpoint is now open only three days a week after an LTTE attack on a nearby Sri Lankan army camp on 24 July. more..

Changing times in Jaffna ......

Aug 25 (Fri) Kumaradasa Mapana Mudaliyar, the Manager of the Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil, Jaffna decided to conduct the annual festival of the temple this year limiting the ceremonies and the colourful procession of the deities, to the inner premises of the temple due to the turbulent conditions that prevail in the North. The Nallur Temple is historically and spiritually significant for the Hindus in the Peninsula and the country at large. more..

Why step-motherly treatment for Nadeeka?

Aug 25 (Fri) Today, our back page contains the pictures of an event to welcome Nadeeka Perera, who brought glory to Sri Lanka winning the International Model of the Year 2007. Nadeeka on arrival at the airport was greeted by a few of her friends. She was not given state patronage. Later, a few models gathered at a tiny restaurant at Mt. Lavinia to felicitate her. Nadeeka not only brought glory to her country but, also honour and fame. more..

National programme to promote indigenous food production

Aug 25 (DN) The Government will launch a three-year food production war to promote indigenous food production through the intervention of the Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Development Ministry. Details about the implementation of this national programme titled ‘Let’s Grow-Rebuild the Country” were discussed at a meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Monday. more..

Charges for letting out Colombo New Town Hall high, says Councillor

Aug 25 (DN) The charges for letting out the Colombo New Town Hall are comparatively high, said Councillor Hemantha Kumara Weerakoon at the monthly meeting of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) on Monday. Weerakoon made these remarks at the debate on the proposal of the Finance Committee for installation of a Public Address System at the New Town Hall. He said the Town Hall was normally rented to Trade Unions and educational movements. more..

House to report corrupt state bodies to BC

Aug 25 (DM) Parliament yesterday decided to lodge a complaint with the Bribery Commission against 13 government institutions where the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in its first report submitted to the House on January 12 exposed financial scandals running into millions of rupees. A motion seeking parliamentary approval was presented by COPE Chairman and SLFP MP House to report corrupt state bodies to BC Wijeyadasa Rajapakse shortly after he presented the Committee’s second report revealing more incidents of corruption at 20 other state bodies. more..

War-damaged Sri Lankan church is becoming a peace centre

Aug 25 (ENI) The buildings of Christ Church along Jaffna's main road stand pock-marked by shell holes, as a grim reminder of the many pitched battles fought between Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan forces in this Tamil heartland on the northern fringe of Sri Lanka - writes Anto Akkara. Built in 1871, the Anglican church is, however, now getting a facelift. New roof tiles have been put in place, and major holes in the walls are being patched up. more..

Sri Lanka Navy rescues six Indian fishermen

Aug 25 (Xinhua) The Sri Lanka Navy has rescued six Indian fishermen off the eastern coast from a trawler that was in danger of being wrecked, defence department officials said Saturday. The Media Centre for National Security said in a statement that the multi-day trawler Ishan Lahiru with six fishermen on board developed problems in the sea off Sri Lanka's eastern Batticaloa district on Aug 18. more..

Sri Lanka all party panel to hold crucial talks

Aug 25 (Xinhua) An all party political panel appointed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to recommend a solution to the island's long drawn separatist armed conflict will meet next week for a crucial round of talks, a senior official said Saturday. 'Two parties who are members of the government, the SLFP and MEP have asked for the convening of a party leaders' meeting,' Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology said. more..

The Bloody End in Sri Lanka

Aug 25 (SP) After 24 years and over 70,000 dead, the Sri Lankan civil war is approaching its end. The LTTE separatist rebels still have a population of nearly 500,000 Tamils under its control in the north (out of a total Sri Lankan population of 20 million). There are about 3.5 million Tamils (whose ancestors came from southern India) on the island. Most are tired of the violence, so the LTTE has to use increasing amounts of force on the Tamil population. more..

Frauds, frauds and more frauds

Aug 25 (DM) As controversy swirled over the shocking first report of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises and the government’s inaction on it, COPE yesterday issued an even more shocking second report disclosing financial malpractices to the tune of a staggering six billion rupees in another 20 state institutions. In this second report, COPE Chairman Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa said the Foreign Employment Bureau had failed to pay compensation to 11,130 repatriated workers affected by the Kuwaiti war of 1991, more..

Ruling Sri Lanka is a family affair

Aug 25 (LAT) The Rajapakse family business is virtually everyone's business on this island. That's because the family's line of work is running the country -- and fighting a civil war, to boot. Between them, the four Rajapakse brothers occupy the most powerful jobs in Sri Lanka's democratically elected government, including the biggest plum of all: the presidency. Indeed, by appointing his siblings to key posts, President Mahinda Rajapakse has ensured that 70% of the national budget is under the control of his family, critics say. more..

Are we all Lankans?

Aug 26 (TW) This country belongs to me and I belong to her just as much as the others born and bred in this blessed isle claim ownership to Lanka. But there are a few amongst us who have an idealistic perception that it belongs to a chosen few. While the majority of the right-thinking and magnanimous Sinhala Buddhists do not subscribe to this hegemonic view, a handful of them proclaim that the majority Sinhala Buddhists are mighty in view of their numerical strength. more..

Commentary: Who is the bully, Sri Lanka or the U.N.?

Aug 26 (UPI) Sri Lanka's Deputy Solicitor General Savindra Fernando has been quoted in the local press stating that Sri Lanka has often been bullied into signing United Nations' conventions. He was speaking during celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention. Such international instruments on human rights and humanitarian law establish international laws and standards and result from consensus by the members of the United Nations. more..

Religious leaders highlight critical role of faith-based efforts in AIDS battle

Aug 26 (CP) Religious leaders at the recent International Interfaith Conference on HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka pledged to fight against the deadly disease by utilizing their places of worship, educational and available health facilities. More than 200 Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim delegates across Asia attended last weekend’s conference, which began ahead of the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) that also took place in Colombo. more..

What happens in the aftermath of an LTTE military defeat?

Aug 26 (AT) The word from the Wanni does not spell good for Velupillai Prabhakaran. Reports indicate that the LTTE’s supply of arms have diminished to a trickle for various reasons, chief among them being the Navy’s recent successes in apprehending several Tiger arms shipments. The recent capitulation of the East has also denied the Sea Tigers several important Naval bases and Sea Tiger staging points. more..

Response to Glimpses from the Mahavamsa

Aug 26 (AT) In my first response to Dr. Mithra Fernando, I acknowledged that the early parts of the Mahavamsa do not have corroborating evidence from other sources, compared to the later sections (from King Devanampiya-Tissa), and thus I do not automatically accept the early sections as established history. I personally believe that the story of Vijaya is a myth and that Gotama Buddha had probably never visited the isle of Lanka. more..

The Stalemate

Aug 26 (AT) The problems are senseless; the contradictions are irreconcilable; both are mounting. And they stem from the very nature of the ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’. ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ commits the President to a unitary state; a political solution to the ethnic problem which exceeds the unitary structure is a sine qua non to win the backing of the minorities and the international community. more..

SLA issues special ID cards to Jaffna residents

Aug 26 (TN) The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has again begun issuing special Identity cards (ID) to residents within the Jaffna Municipal Council limits, and those staying close to the SLA 51-2 Brigade Head Quarters are to be issued new ID cards beginning Sunday, a top military official announced in a communiqué issued to the local media. The ID cards will be continued to be issued to other parts of the Municipal area until September 8th. more..

Sri Lanka micro lenders learn from Grameen Bank

Aug 26 (LBO) Bangladesh's Grameen Bank has reached out to 124 million poorest families globally during its 31 years of existence, its founder, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus says. The Grameen Bank reaches into 'risky market segments that formal banking sectors in poor countries dare not reach, touching the lives of millions of people. more..

Sri Lankan military desecrates war cemeteries in Batticaloa - TNA parliamentarian

Aug 26 (TN) Tamils returning to their villages after months in refugee camps in Batticaloa were frustrated to find out that the cemeteries of their LTTE war dead sons and daughters have vanished without any trace, said Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian P. Ariyanenthiran. Sri Lankan military has recently bulldozed and desecrated Tiger War Heroes Cemeteries in the district. more..

Recruitment of women workers to Middle East - India imposes new restrictions

Aug 26 (AT) In the backdrop of serious abuses by employers as well as by the police forces especially in Saudi Arabia India said it would impose tighter regulations that would govern household workers starting from September 1. Under these new restrictions India said 18 countries including Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Middle Eastern countries will be under mandatory obligations to pay USD 400 monthly salary and a security deposit of USD 2,500 in the form of a bank guarantee with the Indian mission. more..

Don't dismantle the precious sentinels of generations

Aug 26 (ISL) No community in its right senses will tolerate the break-up of an institution like the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) that is being attempted by a group that seems indifferent to traditions that we value and how we have nurtured and developed precious sentinels in our society over the years. more..

Virgin land of 65000 acres cannot be allowed to spoiled - Wimal Weerawansa

Aug 26 (LT) 'A virgin land of 65000 acres cannot be allowed to exploitation and there by spoiled by a foreign company' Wimal Weerawansa, Parliamentarian and the Propaganda Secretary of JVP says. Mr. Weerawansa said this at a public rally to protest the land being handed over to a British BookerTate company for Sugarcane plantation, at Bibile yesterday (25). more..

No decision on unitary or united! – APRC

Aug 26 (LT) APRC has not been able to come to a final decision on several matters in the set of proposals they were expected to present to All Party Conference to bring peace to the country. This situation has arisen due to the SLFP and the MEP not agreeing to the state structure that has been proposed states Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Head of APRC. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa follows footsteps of Don Asavedu - Ranil

Aug 26 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said on August 24th that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was using 75 per cent of public money, just like Don Asavedu did during the rule of the Portuguese. Wickremesinghe was addressing the ‘Janarala’ protest rally organized by the ‘Jathika Sabha’ (UNP and the SLFP (Mahajana) Wing) attended by thousands of people,in the SLFP heartland of Attanagalle. more..

Expanding private sector contribution in national development

Aug 26 (GDI) Government hopes a 7.2% growth in the manufacturing sector and 9 - 10 % growth in the services sector next year which is primarily managed by the private sector of the country, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. Minister Amunugama, at a meeting organized by the Sri Lankan Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, addressed the business society highlighting the importance of the private sector in the sphere of national development. more..

Private sector lauds new Tourism Act

Aug 26 (LNP) The long delayed implementation of the new Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 was enthusiastically and warmly welcomed by private sector stake holders in the industry as a most timely piece of legislation which could foster public-private sector cooperation and collaboration in the industry. The Act which will come into operation from Oct. 1, 2007, in terms of the gazette notification of August 23, 2007, provides more..

Jaffna civilians hampered by atrocious pricing

Aug 26 (LNP) Essential items in Jaffna continue to be sold at appalling prices, despite attempts by authorities to control prices in the peninsula. `Despite a decision taken by the Jaffna Government Agent to impose a price controlling formula in the peninsula, the businessmen are paying scant regard to the price controlling formula and are jacking up prices in an ad hoc manner, according to their whims and fancies,` sources told The Nation. more..

CEB loses billions using wrong fuel

Aug 26 (LNP) The country is losing billions of rupees by using the wrong fuel to generate power. Adding to the losses is the ongoing wastage in certain power plants. The government has also rushed to finalise the new expensive auto diesel-guzzling Kerawalapitiya project. The CEB engineers are blaming politicians and certain key officials for the alarming state of the power sector and mounting financial losses. Already CEB is suffering a daily loss of Rs. 55 million. more..

The bond issue

Aug 26 (LNP) Despite the many economic challenges the country faces, Sri Lanka up to now has not defaulted on the repayment of its foreign debt. That has stood the country`s creditworthiness in good stead. Given the ever-mounting debt, both domestic and foreign, whether the track record that has hitherto been maintained is sustainable or not is an open question. It is in this context that the UNP statement that a future government led by it will not honor the USD 500 million bond issue that the government is floating raises issues that are, to say the least, troubling. more..

270,000 children exploited due to war

Aug 26 (SAMN) Some 270,000 children in Sri Lanka have been exploited due to the over two-decade long ethnic conflict in the country. This shocking disclosure was made during the ICRC sponsored 30th anniversary commemoration of the adoption of the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention held recently. Colombo University’s Law Faculty Senior Lecturer Wasantha Seneviratne emphasised that the majority of the exploited children were used as child combatants by the LTTE to fight government security forces. more..

VAT scam probe dead

Aug 26 (SAMN) CID investigations into the VAT (Value Added Tax) scam running into Rs. 3.6 billion, once described as the largest tax fraud in South Asia has been stalled, according to official sources. This glaring inaction on the part of law enforcement comes in the wake of a detailed report by the former Auditor General, S.C.Mayadunne, who pointed out the scandalous discrepancies in the refund of Value Added Tax amounting to Rs.3.6 billion. more..

Security checks cheese off NGOs

Aug 26 (SAMN) International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs), including the United Nations (UN), are reportedly irritated about the security checks which their vehicles in the north and east are constantly subjected to, sources said Saturday. An official from a leading NGO said that that owing to the checking, the activities of these organisations have been hampered in both the north and east. more..

New committee to overshadow APRC

Aug 26 (SAMN) In yet another twist to the power sharing saga, a new committee is being set up to discuss a southern consensus, overshadowing the already existing APRC, which is at the centre of controversy over its devolution proposals. According to government sources, the committee will be chaired by Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremenayake and will meet regularly to iron out the differences on controversial matters such as nature of State and the degree of power devolution. more..

JHU monks 'being exploited'

Aug 26 (BBC) The Buddhist-monk led political party in Sri Lanka has been taken over by a group with personal agendas, a former senior party leader said. Certain leading monks and laymen in Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have betrayed the party principals, Galabodaatte Gnanasara thero said. "JHU is the only party which currently has no internal democracy at all," the thero, who was the former deputy organiser for JHU, told BBC Sandeshaya. more..