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Horana Township project begins

Aug 30 (SAMN) Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena laid the foundation stone for the Horana bus stand and a shopping complex which will be implemented under the first phase of Horana township development project. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena speaking on the occasion said the Government has taken steps to develop all towns outside Colombo. The Urban Development Ministry has already formulated plans to develop and upgrade Gampaha, Kadawatha, Horana and Matugama towns. more..

Sri Lanka round on starting blocks

Aug 30 (UO) Sri Lanka is pushing ahead with its first oil exploration round, with three roadshows planned next month to present data on three blocks in the offshore Mannar basin, the country's Ministry of Petroleum & Petroleum Resources said. The Mannar basin, off the island's north-west coast, has been little explored but seismic data is encouraging, the ministry said on its website. more..

Damning report on killings, disappearances compiled

Aug 30 (FMM) At least 547 civilians have been killed and 396 gone missing in government controlled areas in Sri Lanka this year, a report compiled by three leading Civil Society Organizations has revealed. The report jointly compiled by The Law & Society Trust, the Civil Monitoring Commission and the Free Media Movement includes the names, locations and other details of civilians either killed or reported missing in the first half of the year. more..

A gem of a barber

Aug 30 (DN) At a time when honesty is a rare commodity in our society, two humble barbers in Embilipitiya proved there can be exceptions even in unlikely quarters where this virtue still exists. Poor barbers they have been, but they had the strength and resolve to resist a temptation that perhaps may have tested even the most saintly among us. This is how the narrative goes. more..

'Decision to boycott paper marking not industrial dispute'

Aug 30 (DN) The problem that arose due to the boycott of the marking of Advanced Level examination papers by five Teacher Trade Unions has not been settled as yet an Examination Department source told the Daily News. Accordingly, the Advanced Level answer scripts marking process is at a stand still though the evaluations were scheduled to commence on August 20 at 27 marking centres. more..

Fall of the Rupee: Blame it on anything

Aug 30 (DM) The political parties yesterday came up with different viewpoints regarding the depreciation of the Rupee to 113 against the US dollar, with the UNP attributing it mainly to the downfall of the entire economy while the JVP blamed it on the open market economic policies. UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissananayake said the value of the rupee had depreciated to this level because of excessive money printing, the decline in foreign remittances and the government’s huge borrowings. more..

Tough bus driver licence conditions

Aug 30 (DM) The Department of Registration of Motor Vehicles will issue separate driving licences for bus drivers and other motor vehicle drivers from 2008 on a directive by Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma. “The Legal Draftsman is in the process of drafting necessary amendments to the Motor Traffic Act of 1952. Under the new legal provisions the biometric technology will be used to make the driving licence foolproof and conform to international standards. more..

Myanmar, Sri Lanka work for strengthening bilateral ties

Aug 30 (Xinhua) Myanmar Acting Prime Minister Lieutenant-General Thein Sein's three-day goodwill visit to Sri Lanka, just ended on Wednesday, has strengthened the two countries' bilateral ties, bringing such relations to a new height, said the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar Thursday. The Colombo trip of Thein Sein, who is also First Secretary of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), was a premier- level exchange of visit to the one to Nay Pyi Taw by Sri Lankan Prime Minister more..

Military says it killed 10 rebels in series of battles in northern Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (AP) A series of mortar attacks and gunbattles between government troops and Tamil rebels across northern Sri Lanka has killed 10 insurgents, the military said Thursday. The military said none of its troops were killed in three separate battles on Wednesday. Tamil Tiger spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment. Both sides in the more than two-decade-old civil war routinely exaggerate casualty figures for their opponents. more..

Sri Lanka says no plan for major north offensive

Aug 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has no plans for a major offensive on rebel-held territory in the country's north, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said on Thursday. Government forces have recaptured strategic parts of the island nation's east from separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the past year, fanning talk that they might soon attempt to drive the Tigers out of their main stronghold in the north. more..

Improving rural 3G Access in Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (CN) Qualcomm has announced the launch of its Wireless Reach initiative in Sri Lanka through the opening of a Last Mile Initiative (LMI) Center in Wennappuwa, which provides community IT centers in rural areas. The center, known as Easy Seva, is one of 15 that will be launched in the country with support from Qualcomm, Dialog Telekom, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Development Bank (NDB) and Synergy Strategies Group (SSG). more..

Sri Lanka tea growers want to slash acreage, boost yields

Aug 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry should slash the vast acreages under cultivation by half and improve yields as it was becoming unaffordable to run huge plantations, a top tea plantations company official said Thursday. "No longer can we have huge plantations," said Dan Seevaratnam, Executive Deputy Chairman of the listed Kahawatte Plantations, part of the MJF Group. more..

Sri Lankan sports apparel maker ties up with Fastreact

Aug 31 (F2F) MAS Active, part of the Sri Lankan based MAS Holdings, has chosen Fastreact to provide its production planning and control functions, including both capacity and critical path management, working with and interfaced to its SAP business system. MAS Holdings specialises in design-to-delivery solutions in intimates and sports apparel for the world’s leading brands. more..

Christian group gives post-tsunami children the “gift” of hope

Aug 31 (AN) About six thousand families affected by the December 2004 tsunami in Hambantota district, about 400 kilometres south of Colombo, can now hope to have a “bright future” thanks to the Christian Children’s Fund (CCF), which has implemented various support programmes in the area, one of the poorest in Sri Lanka. “We help for example children in their education but also we take care of their families’ development,” more..

Sri Lanka journalists march against intimidation

Aug 31 (AFP) Dozens of Sri Lankan journalists took to the streets Thursday to condemn censorship and support a columnist who exposed alleged corruption in the purchase of second-hand supersonic jets. Reporters, cameramen and editors carried placards and chanted slogans outside the main railway station in Colombo, expressing solidarity with Iqbal Athas of the Sunday Times. more..

Editorial: Tamil Tigers Recruit Child Soldiers

Aug 31 (VoA) People in the northern Sri Lankan city of Kilinochchi say the LTTE, or Tamil Tigers, insurgents are forcing families to turn over at least one family member to serve as combatants. Among those forcibly recruited are children. In testimony before the European Parliament, Charu Hogg, representing Human Rights Watch, an independent human rights monitor, says the Tamil Tigers have “forcibly recruited for combat boys, girls, men and women.” more..

JHU on Al Jazeera

Aug 30 (TC) On Wednesday, Al Jazeera TV aired its second in a series of short documentaries about the Sri Lankan conflict. The focus was on the JHU. Champika Ranawaka, the JHU member of Parliament and several Buddhist monks were interviewed. Although the program itself was balanced with JHU and anti-war monks and campaigners being interviewed, those representing the JHU and those sympathetic to their point of view did not do any favours for Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka tea growers want to slash acreage, boost yields

Aug 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry should slash the vast acreages under cultivation by half and improve yields as it was becoming unaffordable to run huge plantations, a top tea plantations company official said Thursday. "No longer can we have huge plantations," said Dan Seevaratnam, Executive Deputy Chairman of the listed Kahawatte Plantations, part of the MJF Group. more..

Sri Lankan born Japanese academic releases a book on Sinhala Grammar

Aug 31 (AT) Sri Lankan born Japanese Professor Dileep Chandralal introduced his latest book g Language and Space h for the local academics to educate them on Sinhala language and the grammar. Prof. Chandralal has already released this book for the international academics and the universities last year. Speaking to media in Colombo the Professor said this book attempts to establish the interrelationship between the category of space and the case categories in language. more..

“I am not a Wahabist” – Chairman BCAS

Aug 31 (AT) A.Rahman, Chairman, of British College of Applied Sciences (BCAS), Colombo, Sri Lanka, has written to the Asian Tribune, denying any connection to Wahabism or any other form of political extremism. He states: “I am a moderate Muslim who upholds honesty, credibility and integrity in my private and social life. I have never had any association or contacts with the so called Muslim factions such as Washbasin, Sunnis, Shiites or Sufis. more..

Tamil Speaking Aid Workers Becoming an Endangered Species in Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (FI) It was the morning of Monday August 20th 2007. Two Tamil youths were going along Kasthuriar road in the heart of Jaffna town on a motor cycle. Both of them were members of the field staff at the Danish De - mining Group , a respected Non - governmental organization doing yeoman service in mine - clearing in the North. 31 year old Sivaswamy Sreetharan , a native of Puliyankoodal in the off - shore Island of Velanai was the rider. more..

U.S. Senate investigation reveals eritrea providing military aid to Tamil Tiger rebels

Aug 31 (AT) A United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee report reveals that the Government of Eritrea is providing direct military assistance to Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The Senate report does not generalize that military assistance is coming from ‘Eritrea’ but authoritatively says ‘Government of Eritrea’ providing ‘direct military aid’ to the Sri Lankan rebels. more..

Potato export to Sri Lanka halted

Aug 31 (DT) The export of Pakistani potato to Sri Lanka has come to a halt for the last one month due to enhanced tariff by the government of Sri Lanka. The halt has resulted in a loss of millions of dollars to the national exchequer. Earlier the ratio of tariff was Rs 5 per kilogramme on imported potato, which was enhanced some three weeks ago to the level of Rs 15 per kilogramme with the aim to support and protect interests of local farmers of Sri Lanka and boost their agricultural output. more..

Govt. dumb to British conspiracy to interfere in Sri Lanka! -JVP

Aug 31 (LT) A British conspiracy to interfere in Sri Lanka making use of human rights and peace exists but the government is deaf and dumb to that conspiracy states the JVP. This allegation was made public by the JVP at a media briefing held at the Library Auditorium in Colombo today. Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP addressing the media said, “Our country is subjected to a large number of foreign interventions during the last few years. more..

Sri Lanka central bank talks up the rupee

Aug 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank is talking up the rupee saying a one percent fall in the currency during the past two weeks is 'unwarranted' because exports are strong, imports weak and remittances are flowing in. The comments came after the spot dollar broke the 113.00 rupee barrier this week and the Central Bank says the rupee had fallen 0.99 percent against the dollar from August 16 to August 29. more..

Sri Lanka needs stronger laws, value addition to develop gem trade

Aug 31 (LBO) Updating laws on gem mining and trade, value addition and better certification methods will help Sri Lanka to develop the country's gem industry, officials said. Minister of export development and international trade G L Peiris, opening the Facets2007 gem exhibition said the country's policy structure that addresses the concerns of the gem trade is somewhat outdated and it has to be reformed to suit the current developments. more..

Norway hits back by cutting aid to Ethiopia

Aug 31 (AT) Shocked by the expulsion of six diplomats Norway has reacted by cutting aid to Ethiopia. The Minister of International Development, Erik Solheim, told the Norwegian daily Aftenposten that “important aid projects in Ethiopia may be reduced, after six diplomats at the Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa have been asked to leave.” This is the second time that Norway cut off aid to Ethiopia. more..

Sri Lanka August inflation eases to 17.3%

Aug 31 (LBO) Consumer prices in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo eased 0.8 percent in the month August, with the 12-month inflation at 17.3 percent from 17.5 percent a month ago, the government's statistics office said. The Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) fell to 5453.2 points from 5496.2 points a month before. August is traditionally a low inflation month in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka foreign favorites stocks shoot up in last minute trade

Aug 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top listed foreign favourite counters shot up in last minute trading Friday pushing the Colombo Stock Exchange's benchmark All Share Index up 1.5 percent at the close. The liquid Milanka Index, which went up 2.2 percent closed at 3435.92. Market analysts suspect that one or more foreign funds which were hit by collapsing markets around the world could have pushed up the stocks in Sri Lanka's tiny illiquid markets to make the month end portfolio values look good. more..

Sri Lanka's mistakes taught Singapore to do different: Lee Kwan Yew

Aug 31 (LBO) The mistakes of Sri Lanka and other newly independent 'failed states' made Singapore go in a different direction, its founding prime minister told the International Herald Tribune (IHT) in an interview. Lee Kwan Yew, now minister mentor, said when Singapore broke off from the Malayan Federation it had a hostile neighbour and population made of Chinese, Malays and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. more..

Sri Lanka smallholder tea factory capacity outgstrips leaf

Aug 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry in the southern part of the region where low grown teas are cultivated mainly by smallholders have too many factories chasing the available leaf supply, a top industry official said. Smallholders, who now produce more than half the island's tea crop, have grown rapidly in the past two decades, driven by good prices for the low grown teas which are much in demand in the oil-rich Middle East and Russia. more..

“Desathiya” back fortnightly

Aug 31 (LD) The Government Information department’s fortnightly magazine “Desathiya”, formerly established in the 70’s, managed to carve a special niche for its own in the history of local magazines with its’ unique style. The magazine, which was later stopped, will be reintroduced fortnightly, in a new format from today. The re-launching ceremony was held today, at 10.30 a.m. at the Government Information Department auditorium with ‘Desathiya’ founder, Dr. Sarath Amunugama as chief guest. more..

Sub-committee to solve Teachers Union crisis. Discussions today

Aug 31 (LD) A special cabinet sub- committee lead by Minister John Senevirathne was appointed to resolve the crisis raised by the boycott of A/L evaluations by 5 Teacher Unions. The Teacher Unions took this decision urging the government to solve the salary anomalies of teachers and principals. This was one of the key issues raised at the cabinet meeting yesterday (August 30th). more..

Iqbal Athas refused protection - Media Minister Minister’s statement not true - Iqbal Athas

Aug 31 (LD) Yesterday (August 30th), Non Cabinet Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said that The Sunday Times Consultant Editor, Iqbal Athas had refused to accept police protection he was provided with. At a media briefing, the Minister said a journalist has the right to seek protection if he is under threat. He further said that certain sections with vested interests are trying to exploit the situation. more..

Sri Lanka to check report on Eritrean support for LTTE

Aug 31 (GDI) Cabinet Spokesman said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be asked to take up the issue of alleged links between Eritrea and the LTTE. Speaking at a press briefing in held in Colombo Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that he will request the foreign Minister to look in to the revelations made in the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee report about such a connection. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Aug 31 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Education Minister Hon. A.D.Susil Premajayantha on the New National Teacher Transfer Policy. Based on the analysis of the results in the scholarships, GCE Ordinary Level and the Advanced Level examinations and the surveys conducted by the National Education Commission, National Institute of Education and various other institutions it is revealed how the serious anomalies have developed relating to student performance. more..

Notable increase in Malaysia-Sri Lanka trade – Malaysian envoy

Aug 31 (GDI) Malaysia commemorates its 50th Anniversary of Independence today (31). This year also signifies the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Sri Lanka. In a message extended by the High Commissioner- Designate of Malaysia Rosli Ismail says that the warm and friendly bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Sri Lanka is continuing. Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Sri Lanka has shown a notable increase over the last two years. more..

Govt to reestablish the Paddy Marketing Board; more benefits to farmers

Aug 31 (GDI) Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that in order to provide long lasting solutions to the dilemmas of paddy cultivation sector of the country the Government plans to reestablish the Paddy Marketing Board. The Paddy Marketing Board, established under the Paddy Marketing Board Act carries more powers than the Agricultural Marketing Authority which has been established under the Companies Act. more..

Local school uniform manufacturing reduces import bill by Rs.192 million

Aug 31 (GDI) Textile Industry Development Ministry says with the starting of local manufacturing of School uniform material, the country saved 192 million rupees drained off as foreign exchange for the direct import of material from China. According to Minister Jayatissa Ranaweera an overwhelming amount of Rs 764 million goes as import expenditure for this purpose. more..

Foreign exchange position sound – Central Bank

Aug 31 (GDI) The Central Bank stated that the recent depreciation of Sri Lanka Rupee against the US dollar is unwarranted. The rupee declined by 0.99 per cent during the past two weeks against the US Dollar. Pointing out that the depreciation is not based upon any fundamental macroeconomic factors, the Central bank said that the export earnings continued to increase during the first half of 2007 outperforming the high growth recorded in the same period in 2006. more..

Chinese FM pledges to assist Sri Lanka’s development

Aug 31 (GDI) Foreign Minister of China Yang Jiechi assured their firm support for the development efforts of Sri Lanka and insisted that timely action be taken in implementing the agreed proposals. He made this assurance to the Sri Lankan ambassador K. Amunugama at the meeting held with the Heads of Mission of the SAARC Countries in China recently. These discussions were focused on bilateral and regional issues of interests among the SAARC nations. more..

Road shows for oil exploration next month

Aug 31 (GDI) The Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development will commence its oil exploration activities from the beginning of September. To begin with, the Ministry will launch three road shows in September to present data on three blocks in the offshore Mannar basin, stated the Ministry's website It is said that the road shows will take place in London, Houston and Kuala Lumpur. more..

More power projects planned

Aug 31 (PISL) Four medium scale hydro power projects, generating 260 mw are to be built under the10 year National Energy plan of the Power and Energy Ministry. Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne told The Island that the Ginganga medium scale hydro-power project would generate 49 Mw and the Cabinet had already approved it. It would be built at the upper reaches of Ginganga, Demodara, near Deniyaya town. more..

Sri Lanka hikes wages of maids

Aug 31 (Gulf) The minimum wage for Sri Lankan housemaids in the UAE will be increased from Dh550 to Dh600, said the Sri Lankan Ambassador. Mohammad Nabavi Junaid said the decision was taken recently by the Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) under the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare in consultation with the embassy in Abu Dhabi. The decision will take effect on September 1 and apply to new recruits, Junaid told Gulf News. more..

Foreign Ministers take Metro ride

Aug 31 (Hindu) The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which is much in demand as a consulting agency among several countries planning a similar transport system, hosted foreign delegates from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Guatemala here on Thursday. The visiting dignitaries travelled on the Metro railway to get acquainted with the modern transport system. Sri Lanka’s Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma travelled from Central Secretariat to Chawri Bazar, and then to Rajiv Chowk (Connaught Place) and Pragati Maidan. more..

SLA orders special IDs to Jaffna residents

Aug 31 (LNP) The Sri Lankan Military Command for Jaffna based in Palaali has instructed all the residents of the Peninsula, above the age of ten, to obtain a special identity card issued by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) before 12 September, according to a press communiqué released on Wednesday. Earlier, the 51-2 Brigade command in Jaffna city had ordered the residents, above the age of ten, living within the municipal limits to obtain such identity cards. more..

Cop jailed for bribery

Aug 31 (LNP) A police sergeant who solicited and accepted a bribe of Rs. 6,000 from a bootlegger, promising not to prosecute him was sentenced to 4 years rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court Judge on Wednesday (29), Director Investigations Bribery Commission SSP Neville Guruge said. The sergeant had visited the kasippu dealer in 2002 and solicited the bribe promising him that he will ensure that police will not raid the kassippu den and prosecute him. more..

Chandrika gets set to take the stage

Aug 31 (LNP) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has thrown in her lot with the National Congress to take on the Government. She is expected to take the stage to campaign for the Congress formed by UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe and the SLFP breakaway group led by Mangala Samaraweera, UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake told The Island yesterday (30). Talks between Kumaratunga and Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe on Wednesday (29) had been successful and will continue, he said. more..

Batti tense as ‘war lords’ convene

Aug 31 (SAMN) The Batticaloa district was tense as the funeral of Murali, the slain associate of Pillayan, was set to take place in Kalawanchikudi Thursday afternoon amidst fears the internal feud of the TMVP – Karuna faction- could fuel further as a result of the latest killing. Sources in Trincomalee said the post mortem carried out on the death of Murali, indicated his tea was poisoned and he was later shot dead in the eye at close range, adding that this proved the killing was part of an internal rift and not carried out by the LTTE. more..

Gorgeous flavors at Sri Lankan restaurant Nirvana

Aug 31 (DN) Sri Lankan food is like Indian food - sort of. Think basmati rice, curries, pickles and dhals, but all darker, sweeter and quite a bit hotter. A Sri Lankan cook roasts his spices slowly. He adds dusky aromatics like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. And then he puts in enough chili powder to lift off the top of your head. That's not quite how it is at Nirvana. When cooks at this brick-walled new restaurant prepare the $8.99 lunch buffet, more..