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Education 'a right for every child'

Aug 26 (BBC) A recent directive by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court over admitting pupils to year-one in state schools has sparked a debate over country's free education. Admissions to the most popular and prestigious schools has always been controversial in Sri Lanka. Leading educationalists in the island say the Supreme Court recommendations may signal the end of decades-long right to free education for every child irrespective of the social class. more..

SLFP-JVP: the pathetic tryst

Aug 26 (LB) The APRC could not reach consensus on the National Question last week. There are all manner of feelers that are being made by the government’s think-tanks on the process that is to follow the APRC now. Some say a referendum is being mooted. Others say that a meeting of party leaders will be convened with the Prime Minister presiding, to iron out the problems arising from the government’s inability to agree on the APRC final proposals, which fall short of federalism but reject the unitary state. more..

'Ranil is Don Juan re-born'

Aug 26 (LB) The JHU is again charged with another allegation of selling a TV/Radio licence obtained to propagate Buddhism in the country. But JHU Legal Advisor Udaya Gammanpila denied the allegation. Jayantha Sri Nissanka, LAKBIMAnEWS staffer interviewed Udaya Gamanpilla regarding the allegation. Following are excerpts from this interview. Ln: How do you differentiate your party with other political parties in the country? more..

‘Tiger’ no longer...

Aug 26 (LB) Rumours have started swirling that Chandrika Kumaratunga will enter active politics again. First, there was this story that she had tried to poach SLFP Polonnaruwa Organiser Wasantha Senanayake to the SLFP (M) wing. But her office quickly denied it. Then, she attended a party hosted by the Bangladesh High Commission in honour of visiting Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Here, she bumped into UNP Parliamentarian Jayalath Jayawardena. more..

The Conspiracy Syndrome

Aug 26 (LB) A person cannot pee in this country without being accused of a raging conspiracy against somebody or the other. Gareth Evans was a conspirator. Alan Rock was a conspirator. John Holmes was a terrorist conspirator. Or a conspiratorial terror. All foreign diplomats are conspirators. The international community - manipulated by Norway - is conspiring against Sri Lanka. The NGOs are conspiring against Sri Lanka. more..

Some European countries, INGOs eyeing NE offshore petroleum deposits - Hemakumara

Aug 26 (SO) The United National Party Democratic Front (UNPDF) says that with the alleged secret deal by Charles Gnanakoon to bribe their MPs to topple the government, the lives of the UNPDF MPs are in danger. Minister of Agriculture Hemakumara Nanayakkara told the Sunday Observer that the Charles Gnanakoon issue should not be taken lightly. more..

Foodstuff doubled to Jaffna

Aug 26 (SO) The government has taken steps to double the quantity of foodstuff from 18,800 metric tons to 35,000 metric tons to the Jaffna Peninsula. The increase in foodstuff will be made through the "Co-op City Centres" in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, Minister of Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardana told the 'Sunday Observer'. more..

Initiate talks to raise estate worker wages - President

Aug 26 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratne and Ministry Secretary Mahinda Madihewa to meet the Plantation Company owners and open immediate discussions to explore the possibility of increasing the wages for estate workers. President Rajapaksa met the representatives of the estate sector in Nuwara Eliya on Friday. Later a meeting was held between the Minister and the leaders of estate worker unions. more..

Help Lanka to combat terrorism

Aug 26 (MoD) A group of Sri Lankans here has appealed to the Japanese Government to play an active role in Sri Lanka's struggle against terrorism. The 'Lankans Against Terrorism' (LAT), a group of Sri Lankan expatriates, in Japan, has called upon the Government of Japan to play a greater role in Sri Lanka's battle against terrorism and achieve a lasting peace. "We appreciate Japan's role as one of the Co-Chairs in the peace process. Japan has been Sri Lanka's premier donor country. more..

Hospital Seeks Help to Identify Dead Patient

Aug 26 (AN) Authorities at Al-Eman Government Hospital here are seeking assistance from the public in order to identify a man, presumed to be Sri Lankan, who died in the hospital 10 days ago. The man, who was identified only as Robert, was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 8 with injuries due to a fall. He died on Aug. 15 after being several days in a coma. According to hospital sources, the man was brought there by three Sri Lankans who disappeared immediately following his admission. more..

Education system in crisis

Aug 26 (NS) Mishaps in educational policy can have far reaching and devastating consequences. Some would go so far as to say that the ‘district basis’ policy of university admissions introduced in the seventies gave rise to the northern insurrection which has erupted into the menace of terrorism today and that argument is not without its merits. Sri Lanka in its post-independent era has for long taken pride in the social luxuries it provides for its people; most notably, free healthcare and free education that it offers, more..

Uncertainty prevails as protagonists enter the fray

Aug 26 (NS) A period of conjecture is presently prevailing for many in the government as well as the opposition. The main reason for this is because nobody seems to be certain about what is taking place within their own confines. There is suspicion all over and the true state of affairs is yet to be revealed. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is definitely a worried man since the opposition is exerting pressure on the government from various fronts. more..

Lankan dance troupe woos Kashmiri audiences

Aug 26 (ZN) Overcoming cultural and language barriers, a dance troupe from Sri Lanka mesmerised audiences here by performing to the beat of Kashmiri songs. Currently on a 10-day tour of the city, the 32-member troupe has been performing at various venues and audiences have been awestruck by teenagers who dance to the beats of "Bumbro Bumbro" (a Kashmiri song) and "Paranda" (a Jammu folk song), besides their own traditional numbers. more..

Corrupt Officials, Politicians Exposed

Aug 26 (NS) SLFP backbencher and Chairman, Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Wijedasa Rajapakse has the nerve to call a spade a spade. A member of the UPFA, he has opted to take on all the corrupt State institutions and individuals by their horns. As a result, he has become a hero in the eyes of the public, who are witness to widespread corruption initiated by the politicians themselves. more..

'I know this is the right path'

Aug 26 (NWH) Judy Franklin knelt before her spiritual teacher, Buddhist monk Bhante Sujatha, and asked to be ordained as a novice nun.She pledged not to take things not given freely, to abstain from sex and false speech, intoxicants, music, dancing and entertainment, and not to wear jewelry or adornments. “Kindly be my teacher,” she asked Sujatha, bowing her shorn head to the floor three times as he accepted. She was surrounded by 20 women, fellow Buddhists who supported her new life. more..

Government sidelines Karuna, promotes new front in East

Aug 26 (ST) In a significant shift of strategy and political alliances in the east, the Government is believed to have virtually dumped the Karuna faction and is supporting a new Tamil front for local elections in the east later this year, political sources said. The new front led by TULF leader V. Anandasangaree and including the PLOTE and the EPRLF (Pathmanabha Wing) is to begin its political activities in the east within the next few weeks. more..

Athas in desperate situation

Aug 26 (ST) The reverberations that followed The Sunday Times exposures were more shattering than the burst of fiery engines of a MiG-27 fighter jet. Parliament on Tuesday decided to appoint a Select Committee to probe the latest procurement from Ukraine, badly tainted with allegations of corruption, misdeeds and even misinformation. Even if the strained efforts of some to brush the questionable deal under the carpet with verbal machinegun fire, the fact more..

Asian AIDS expert hits out at President

Aug 26 (ST) The former president of the AIDS Society for Asia and the Pacific (ASAP) has hit out strongly at Mahinda Rajapaksa’s early departure, following his address at the opening ceremony of the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), saying the President failed to listen to those in vulnerable communities.“The voices of those in vulnerable communities and those with HIV have to come before Government speakers. more..

More Lankan firms invest abroad

Aug 26 (ST) An unfriendly business environment plus an uncertain climate are among new reasons for some conglomerates and middle-sized companies with exceptional skills to invest overseas, an analysis by The Sunday Times FT shows. Boldness and being where the action is (India and China), labour costs, infrastructure constraints and inconsistent policies are also reasons for Sri Lankan companies to venture out. more..

Sri Lankan peace official visiting India

Aug 26 (IANS) The head of Sri Lanka's peace secretariat is visiting India this week for interactions on his country's barely alive peace process and also to release an anthology of short stories. Rajiva Wijesinghe, secretary general of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), will arrive here Tuesday on a three-day visit. It will be his first trip to New Delhi after he took charge in June. more..

Sri Lanka's biggest Buddhist pageant goes ahead despite bomb scare

Aug 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka police Sunday defused a powerful bomb near the route of a major Buddhist festival in the sacred city of Kandy, officials said. Police removed the three-kilogramme (6.6 pound) bomb from an abandoned building near a path taken by the Kandy Perahera, or pageant which moves through the city's streets, officials said. more..

Sri Lanka defence analyst silenced amid fears for life

Aug 26 (AFP) A top Sri Lankan defence columnist stopped writing fearing for his life after he exposed alleged corruption in the purchase of second-hand supersonic jets, the Sunday Times weekly said. The "Situation Report" by Iqbal Athas was not being published Sunday after the government withdrew police body guards who had been assigned to protect him for over nine years, the paper said. more..

Five bodies dumped in Sri Lanka river

Aug 26 (AP) The bodies of five men apparently killed in a gang clash were found Sunday dumped in a stream south of the Sri Lanka's capital, the defence ministry said. The bodies were found near Panadura, a town about 40 kilometres south of Colombo, an official at the defence ministry's information centre said on condition of anonymity, citing policy. He said the killings were not related to the civil war between government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, but were the result of fighting between two criminal gangs.

Lanka troops 'focusing on north'

Aug 27 (BBC) Sri Lanka security forces are focusing on to 'liberate' Tamil Tigers' northern stronghold, a senior defence official said. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the next target for the troops is to re-capture Wanni from Tamil Tigers after the military victories in the east. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's younger brother made the comments addressing a passing out parade of special group of Civil Defence Force in Anuradhapura. more..

UNP cannot come back to Power - Mahanayaka Thero of Asgiriya chapter

Aug 27 (AT) The most Venerable Udugama Ratanapala Sri Budhdharakkhitha Mahanyaka Thero of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siamese sect said “Due to the practice of insulting religious concepts of the country by the Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe , the United National Party (UNP) could never come to power in Sri Lanka once again." more..

We need level playing field-Local Footwear manufacturers

Aug 27 (AT) Local Footwear Manufacturers accuse the government institutions like the Armed forces of purchasing imported footwear to fulfill their annual footwear needs. However these institutions never purchased locally manufactured footwear, they said. Speaking at a media briefing to announce forthcoming Footwear and Leather Goods Fair in Colombo, the manufacturers said the government has no plans to support local leather wear manufacturers and protect local industries. more..

Embassy Official Visits Rizana Nafeek in Jail

Aug 27 (AN) Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan maid whose death sentence is currently being reviewed in an appeal court, looks confident and says Almighty Allah will protect her, according to a senior Sri Lankan Embassy official who visited the maid in Dawadmi Jail on Saturday. Nafeek, who had arrived in the Kingdom underage, was convicted of murdering an infant under her care by a three-member bench at a high court in Dawadmi on June 16. more..

Sri Lanka power engineers suspend industrial action

Aug 27 (LBO) The powerful engineers union of Sri Lanka's state-owned electricity utility has temporarily suspended industrial action started last week, following talks with senior government officials. Secretaries to the President, secretaries to the treasury and energy and the CEB chairman met the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) Sunday after a work-to-rule campaign began to cripple the national distribution system over the weekend. more..

Hindus protest India's channel dredging project near Sri Lanka

Aug 27 (BN) More than 35,000 Hindu activists protested plans to dredge a waterway between India and Sri Lanka, pledging to take their agitation nationwide in two weeks. Wearing saffron robes, headbands and beating drums, religious groups and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party chanted hymns and shouted slogans in the temple town of Rameswaram, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka forex market uncertainty returns; no two way quotes yet

Aug 27 (LBO) Expectations that two-way quotes would resume and exporters would start selling in Sri Lanka's forex markets were dashed early Monday after official interventions spread unease among dealers. Banks stopped quoting two-way in the interbank forex market after the central bank started intervening and terrorizing dealers a few weeks ago. more..

Police expose major extortion racket in south

Aug 27 (LD) Police have exposed a major extortion racket in the southern province that has been masterminded by a criminal currently being detained on the charge of murdering a high-profile politician. The racketeers have been operating mainly in Kamburupitiya, but the police in the area had allegedly not investigated related complaints in a proper manner. more..

Railway employees go on strike

Aug 27 (LD) Railway employees called a one-day token strike from midnight yesterday (August 26th), urging authorities to solve six key problems in the railway service. They are, enhancing efficiency instead of cancellation and delay of trains, solving salary anomalies resulted from the 06/2006 circular, ensuring promotions that are overdue for the past 15 years, and to granting job permanency to all replacement, casual and contract employees. more..

5 more murdered in Panadura over long-drawn personal dispute

Aug 27 (LD) A long-drawn personal dispute in Panadura has claimed its latest victims, 5 youth who had been found shot and hacked to death in a gruesome multiple murder. They had been returning from a funeral house on 2 motorcycles and a bicycle when assailants struck near the Golukotuwawatta canal on Dibbadda Road at Nalluruwa in Panadura in the early hours of August 26th. more..

Bandula Gunawardane is the ample example to show the crisis of economic system - Wimal Weerawansa

Aug 27 (LT) 'Minister Bandula Gunawardane could be introduced as an ample example to symbolize the crisis that the economic system prevailed for 30 years.' Wimal Weerawansa, Propaganda Secretary of JVP said. JVP parliamentarian group leader said this to Lankatruth, commenting on the hiking prices of goods and the role of the Minister of Consumer Affairs. more..

'SMART people learn from Experience, but WISE people learn from the experience of others'

Aug 27 (LeN) Whatever the outcome, Unitary, Devolved, Dissolved, Fragmented, Federalized or separated by walls; we should not be stupid. Let us set aside (Or Even Put to Sleep), EGO, Prestige, Old hurts, POWER HUNGRYNESS, MATERIAL gain, EXPLOITATIVE ideas, intelligently analyze the end result outcomes and make our decisions wisely of what we want. more..

Acting Myanmar PM arrives in Sri Lanka

Aug 27 (GDI) Acting Prime Minister of Myanmar, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, who is currently in the Island for a three day official visit on the invitation of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake met Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama this morning. He leads a high level delegation including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture and Irrigation, Transport, Religious Affairs and Forestry in Myanmar. more..

Human Rights awareness programmes for Security Force

Aug 27 (GDI) In their series of ‘Awareness Programmes’ carried out by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to educate the officers of the security forces, conducted another successive work shop for the officers of Civil Security Force attached to Polonnaruva and Batticoloa zonal offices recently. This programme was aimed at enhancing the knowledge of human rights among the officers of civil security forces. more..

Govt. to encourage local pharmaceutical industry

Aug 27 (GDI) To fulfill the domestic requirement for pharmaceutical products with locally manufactured products the Government has focused attention on taking several steps to encourage the local pharmaceutical industry. This follows the strengthening of local pharmaceutical manufactures with providing them additional benefits and incentives to the industry. more..

High level Chinese delegation for ‘Esala Perahera’

Aug 27 (GDI) A 125 member strong Buddhist Delegation lead by Most Venerable Shi Yie Chang, the President of the Buddhist Association of China has arrived in Sri Lanka. The delegation will be in Sri Lanka until 31 August 2007. The Chinese delegation has been invited by the Chief Custodian of the Dalada Maligawa- Nilanga Dela Bandara to reciprocate the sentiments and the hospitality extended by the Chinese Buddhists during the state visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to China early this year. more..

New foreign investments to the tune of Rs. 550m

Aug 27 (GDI) Seven new projects will bring in foreign investments worth more than Rs 550 million. The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) signed agreements for 7 new projects recently. Chairman/Director General of the BOI Dhammika Perera signed the agreements on behalf of the Board and formally handed over the certificates to the investors. Total employment generation would be over 1,500. more..

Terrorism is biggest obstacle to economic development - Media Minister

Aug 27 (GDI) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the protracted LTTE terrorism has been the greatest setback and the biggest obstacle to smooth socio-economic advancement. Pointing out that terrorism has been wiped out for the east and added that the honour and respect of the Thoppigala military victory over the LTTE go to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Security Forces and Police personnel. more..

Govt determined to liberate Tamil people in North and establish peace

Aug 27 (GDI) The Government is determined defeat terrorism and establish peace in the country. Stating this, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said, "the Government is determined to liberate remainder of the uncleared areas in the Wanni from the clutches of LTTE the same way it liberated the East. "The government is committed to see an end to the war and establish permanent peace in the country without leaving the burden of war for future generations," more..

An emerging trade conduit

Aug 27 (Dawn) For long, Sri Lanka has remained a micro dot on the radar screen of Pakistani business. But with the fast changing global and regional environment, an increasing number of businessmen have started eying Sri Lanka as a purchase centre and also as a marketing destination. They are seen in Colombo with a shopping list and exploring avenues for selling their products. Trade figures are still not very impressive but what is noteworthy is the pace of improvement. more..

No LTTE infiltration along east coast: DGP

Aug 27 (NIP) Director General of Police D Mukherjee has denied any LTTE infiltration along the east coast of the State. On a private visit to Madurai on Sunday, the DGP told to this website newspaper that there was no Intelligence report on infiltration of LTTE cadres along the south east coast. He said the State police had been monitoring the movement of people along the coastal areas of Rameswaram, Dhanushkodi, Keelakarai and other coastal villages. more..

Pradhan to visit Lanka from Aug 30

Aug 27 (RN) Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sahana Pradhan will be paying an official visit to Sri Lanka from 30 August 2007, at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Rohitha Boagollagama. According to the programme of the visit, Minister Pradhan will pay a call on President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse and Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, and will also hold bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Bogollagama. more..

LTTE received British expertise in Northern Ireland

Aug 27 (LNP) The recent chance arrest of an LTTE cadre at a police roadblock in Trincomalee has revealed the existence of a previously unknown British link. The 29-year-old suspect Kalimuttu Vinodkumar had been among 12 LTTE cadres sent on a three-month training programme Northern Ireland shortly after the Norwegian arranged CFA came into operation in February 2002. The course had been conducted by foreign instructors with the help of Tamil translators. more..

Camera phones, fun no more warn police

Aug 27 (LNP) With the mobile camera phone now being the `in thing` in Lanka like in many other countries and as a result of its growing popularity the police cautioned that anyone misusing the technology could be taken to task. Police spokesman DIG Jayantha Wickramaratne says the public could go as far as filing civil action and claiming damages from a camera phone user if there is a violation of their privacy. more..

Give state pensioners their due, says ARCD

Aug 27 (LNP) The Association of Retired Cartographic Draughtsmen (ARCD) has requested the government to pass a law in parliament similar to the Act adopted for the payment of pensions of retired members of parliament and ministers, in respect of government pensioners as well, in order to prevent any future pension anomalies. more..

Lanka lagging behind in social protection

Aug 27 (LNP) Under investment in social protection programs and the mismanagement of available schemes by authorities have added to the burden of private sector workers in Sri Lanka who already suffer from inadequate wages. Although experts have emphasized the need to develop a basic social security package to protect workers, schemes such as Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) have been ineffectively handled by authorities depriving the workers of maximum returns. more..

Now CMC faces fund tussle

Aug 27 (SAMN) The financial allocation for overtime payments of workers in the Colombo Municipal Council for 2007 is reported to have been exhausted within the first six months of the year. Informed sources said a request had been made to transfer funds from the amount allocated for capital expenditure. This has to be passed by the Municipal Councillors at their monthly sessions in September. more..