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Civilians still seek protective custody

Aug 8 (SAMN) Forty-two civilians continue to be kept in protective custody due to threats to their lives, Jaffna Human Rights Commission (HRC) officials said.The official who did not wish to be quoted said the persons were kept in the Jaffna prison. Most of those who had sought the protection of the HRC and who were kept in protective custody have already been released, the official said. more..

To stay or not to stay: UPF undecided

Aug 8 (SAMN) The Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) is to announce its final decision on staying in the government after the party’s central committee meets today. UPF Leader and Minister P. Chandrasekeran said the sub-committee appointed by the central committee was expected to submit its report late Tuesday night or early this morning. "The central committee would meet as soon as the sub committee hands over the report. more..

Graduate teachers decide not to strike

Aug 8 (SAMN) Members of all Ceylon graduate teachers’ Union have changed their earlier decision to keep away from marking answer scripts of students sitting the GCE A/Level examination, which commenced on Monday (06). These teachers had earlier taken a decision to boycott the marking of papers, as a means of winning their trade union rights. Now they have decided not to make their own students, the victims of their trade union struggle. more..

‘SC order marks end of free education’

Aug 8 (SAMN) The main Opposition UNP said Tuesday the Supreme Court guidelines for Grade 1 school admissions rather than easing the situation would cause a myriad of practical problems. In a statement to the House, Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said this set of guidelines would deny education to the poor while confining it mainly to the elite class. He said the expectation of every parent was to provide a better education for their children. more..

Staggering cost of China tour revealed

Aug 8 (SAMN) The government has spent a staggering Rs. 56 million out of public funds for the Presidential entourage of 192 members who visited China from February 27 to March 4, 2007 on an official tour. This shocking disclosure was made to Parliament by Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Monday in response to an oral question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Ministry to recruit 746 graduates as interns

Aug 8 (DN) A batch of medical graduates recruited to universities for the 2000/2001 academic year and medical graduates of foreign universities, who have passed the exam EPRM/ACT-16 will receive internship appointments in due course. The Health Ministry is expected to appoint 746 medical graduates comprising 66 foreign and 680 Local University Medical Graduates as interns. more..

International Buddhist Zone in Boralesgamuwa

Aug 8 (DN) An international Buddhist Zone will be established in Boralesgamuwa. The Government has made arrangements in this regard on President, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s instructions. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama disclosed this when he called on the Malwatte and Asgiriya prelates in Kandy and obtained their blessings on Monday. more..

CoL heats up Parliament

Aug 8 (DM) Parliament debated the soaring cost of living yesterday with the main opposition UNP calling for a special allowance of Rs. 5000 to all workers, while the JVP found fault with the market economy for the present crisis. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera who moved an adjournment motion in the House yesterday said the cost of living was increasing on a daily basis putting the farmers, labourers, public servants, private sector workers, fishermen and Samurdi recipients into great difficulty. more..

Scanners worth billions lay idle in the port

Aug 8 (DM) Two out of four high tech scanners worth Rs. 32 billion imported for the use at the Colombo Port about two years ago are lying idle gathering dust, a high official of the Sri Lanka Customs told the Daily Mirror. “Even the two Scanners that have been commissioned are not being used to full capacity. At the St. Francisco Port, one of busiest ports in the world only two scanners has been installed and one of them is in mobile service. These scanners are an utter waste of state funds,” he said. more..

Stop sale and supply of arms to Sri Lanka, says Vaiko

Aug 8 (PTI) Accusing the Centre of betraying Sri Lankan Tamils, MDMK general secretary Vaiko on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately stop sale and supply of arms to the island nation and get back the radars already supplied. In a letter to Singh, he said that "contrary" to the decision taken by the Centre at an all-party meeting in 1998, the present UPA government was supplying weapons to be used by the Sri Lankan military against Tamils "represented" by LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka: Back to the future?

Aug 8 (DS) With the capture of the last stronghold of the LTTE in the eastern province, the three-decade old ethnic war in Sri Lanka has entered into one of the most crucial phases for both sides. The rebels from the minority Tamil community have been pushed away from the dense jungle around the lagoon town of Batticaloa they formerly controlled for over a decade. The government-sponsored public celebration of this military victory appears to be a justified and spontaneous reaction. more..

Sri Lankan Envoy Feels Bitter About Being Recalled Home

Aug 8 (AN) Sri Lankan Ambassador A.M.J. Sadiq, who last month was asked by his government to return to Colombo, is set to leave on Friday. Local media had reported earlier that the ambassador drew the anger of the Sri Lankan government after failing to secure appointments for the visit to Saudi Arabia by Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila, his delegation and the parents of Rizana Nafeek, more..

Sri Lankan economy grows despite conflict

Aug 8 (AT) "We admit terrorism has an impact on us," Central Bank of Sri Lanka governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal acknowledged recently, but, he added, "With or without terrorism, Sri Lanka is on a growth path." Despite significant economic impact, the recent escalation in violence in Sri Lanka has failed to derail the economy, with the country expected to record its fastest growth in nearly three decades, according to the Central Bank. more..

Sri Lanka Welcomes First Ecumenical Conflict Research Team

Aug 8 (CT) War-torn Sri Lanka has welcomed the first of a series of visits around the world by an ecumenical team seeking to learn more about the peacemaking efforts of local churches in conflict-stricken regions. The team – composed of church leaders from the United States, Kenya, Indonesia and South Korea – have been in Sri Lanka since last Saturday and will remain there until 12 August, the World Council of Churches (WCC) announced last month. more..

UN Under Secretary Holds Talks in Jaffna

Aug 8 (SLA) VISITING UN UNDER SECRETARY GENERAL for Humanitarian Affairs & Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes and his retinue with Sri Lanka based officials flew to Jaffna Tuesday (7), as part of his itinerary in the island-nation. Commander, Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna Major General G. A Chandrasiri giving a detailed account on the improved Human Rights situation, ongoing Humanitarian and welfare projects, meant to raise living standards of Jaffna populace, Measures being adopted to restore normalcy, more..

Military says 2 Tamil rebels killed in eastern Sri Lanka; Tigers deny claim

Aug 8 (AP) Sri Lanka's military said troops fatally shot two ethnic Tamil separatist guerrillas in the east Wednesday, but the rebels denied the claim. Soldiers patrolling the district of Trincomalee saw a group of rebels and opened fire, killing two, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said. The bodies were recovered along with a grenade launcher, explosives, rifles and communication equipment, more..

Sri Lanka's outlook upped to stable on fiscal improvements - S&P

Aug 8 (CNN) Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) Ratings Services said it has revised its outlook on the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to stable from negative. At the same time, the agency affirmed the South Asian nation's 'B+' long-term foreign currency and 'BB-' local currency sovereign credit ratings. The 'B' short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings were also affirmed. more..

Sri Lanka renegades to disarm once safe from Tigers

Aug 8 (Reuters) A breakaway faction of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers seen allied to the state said on Wednesday it would dissolve its military wing once its security was ensured, the first such offer since it was set up three years ago. Aid workers say members of the Karuna group, which split from the mainstream Tigers in 2004 and who analysts say are helping the military to fight the Tigers, are roaming armed in the eastern district of Batticaloa, unimpeded by the state. more..

War is not 'liberation' for Sri Lanka's embattled people

Aug 9 (UPI) The high cost of the war recently fought by the government in eastern Sri Lanka -- and the purpose of the war -- become agonizing considerations when one is face-to-face with the reality on the ground in the "liberated" part of the country. In the abstract, the government's justification for making war was to bring security and democracy by eliminating the LTTE, the separatist group that has been condemned internationally on account of its terrorist practices. more..

NCPA ordered to arrest Kalutara City Medical Registrar in illegal adoption case

Aug 9 (LD) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has been ordered to arrest the Kalutara City Medical Registrar Turin Perera and to produce him before courts in connection with faking documents to help a Dutch couple to adopt an infant illegally. Colombo Chief Magistrate Sarojani Kusala Weerawardana gave the order today (August 08th) when the Officer In Charge of the Police Unit at the NCPA sought a warrant for the arrest of the official. more..

Sri Lanka's Saudi envoy denies recall move

Aug 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's ambassador to Saudi Arabia said Wednesday his imminent reposting was not related to a report criticising his handling of a mission seeking clemency for a teenager condemned to death. A.M.J Sadiq told AFP he was scheduled to return to Columbo on Friday after having a transfer request accepted, dismissing a report he was being recalled. "I'm not being recalled. I submitted a transfer request some months ago for personal reasons," he said. more..

Tamil rebel sea camp destroyed in air strike, military says

Aug 9 (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets destroyed a separatist Tamil Tiger sea camp in the north on Wednesday, the military said. The camp lying south of Mannar, some 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of the capital, Colombo, had been identified as an arms and explosives supply center for the insurgents, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said on customary condition of anonymity. more..

Demand for media workers outstrips supply

Aug 9 (TC) The rapid expansion of the media industry in recent years has created a major demand for media practitioners; a demand that is currently proving very difficult to meet, according to owners. Authorities say approximately 40 applications for radio and TV licenses are pending approval. The Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, Vajira Narampanawa says, “Daily two to three people come to me to get media licenses. I don’t know who is going to listen to all these channels.” more..

Media Freedom: Let’s earn it!

Aug 9 (FI) The recent attempt by the government to re-introduce the criminal defamation law set off alarm bells in the media and concerned civil society actors. Concerted action appears to have stalled the move for the moment but the possibility of it being re- imposed lurks like the proverbial sword of Damocles. The media industry has enjoyed five years of relative “free expression” with the casting aside of the criminal defamation Bogeyman. more..

SME Bank assists Big oinion farmers in Sri Lanka

Aug 9 (AT) A special project to assist big onion cultivators would be implemented by SME Bank in collaboration with the Agriculture Department of the Central Province during the Yala season. Under this project selected big onion cultivators will receive a grant of Rs.50,000/- from the government, the required technology and assistance from the Agriculture Department, and a soft loan of Rs.70,000/- at a concessionary interest of 9% p.a. from SME Bank, more..

UK in landmark Sri Lanka ruling

Aug 9 (BBC) Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers in the UK are at risk of torture if returned to Sri Lanka, according to a landmark ruling by a British tribunal. An asylum and immigration tribunal on Monday upheld an appeal by a Sri Lankan refugee known only as Mr LP. The ruling is also intended to offer guidance for similar cases in the UK. Mr LP's lawyers argued that he was at risk of torture if he returned home because of his perceived support for Tamil Tiger separatists. more..

UN relief chief tours conflict-wracked areas of eastern Sri Lanka

Aug 9 (UN) The top United Nations humanitarian official toured eastern Sri Lanka today, meeting with some of the tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the region and holding talks with local authorities to try to improve the relief effort there. John Holmes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, visited an IDP settlement near the town of Batticaloa, close to the scene of recent fighting between Government forces and Tamil separatists. more..

Vanishing Tribe of Sri Lanka

Aug 9 (AT) The Vanishing Tribe of Sri Lanka, Vanniyeley Aetto (Indigenous People) met yesterday 08th in order to Celebrate the World Indigenous Peoples Day due on tomorrow 09th August. Their annual meeting or the festival called "Wariga Sabha" commenced yesterday with colorful Tribal Dancing and songs at Dambana. Wariga Sabha was to be represented by four main tribes, which are "Uru Warigaya, Morana Warigaya, Unapana Warigaya and Thala Warigaya." more..

SriLankan Airlines voted runner up in Best Asian Airline survey

Aug 9 (TBB) SriLankan Airlines has been voted one of four runners up in Best Asian Airline survey conducted by UK’s Daily telegraph. The “Ultratravel 100” survey was carried out by the newspaper on reader’s experiences in luxury travel. The readership of the Daily Telegraph consists of up-market people with reader’s personal experiences in regard to tour operators, hotels, airports, destinations, airliners all surveyed. more..

Glittering Awards Gala

Aug 9 (HA) The much awaited annual awards ceremony for the journalists in Sri Lanka got under way glamorously last night. Journalism Awards for Excellence 2006 was held at the BMICH on August 7 th 2007. There have been more than 450 applicants for the awards this year. Journalism Awards for Excellence 2006 was organized by the editors' Guild of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The awards were selected by a panel of judges comprised of experienced journalists. more..

Sri Lanka retail chain starts discount offer

Aug 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Cargills Food City supermarket chain has announced a month of discounts on a range of consumer goods, including milk powder which has risen sharply in recent days. The company said it was offering price cuts despite inflation hitting 17.6 percent in July. “There is a severe shortage of milk powder in the world market due to impacts of climate change etc, and as a result, prices are rising globally," more..

'Country has lost billions in taxes due to impotent political leadership'

Aug 9 (LT) The government has not been able to recover billions of money in taxes as a result of the absence of a proper political leadership says JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake. He said this in response to a statement made by Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in the Parliament yesterday. Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle answering a question raised by UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake had said the total amount of taxes that was not recovered by the government for last year was Rs.43591 more..

'Consequences of allying with diverging groups are felt by the government'

Aug 9 (LT) JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said that the government is experiencing the consequences of allying with a diverging group with disregard to the peoples mandate and thereby the people in the country have been dragged into a huge crisis for subsistence. "The President allying with a group of UNPers purportedly for the stability of the government is wrong. We pointed that out at the first instance. more..

Probe all the secret deals with the Tigers

Aug 9 (ANN) Leader of the UNP reformist group and Minister Karu Jayasuriya has made a startling allegation in Parliament: There is an LTTE-backed conspiracy to buy over the ruling party parliamentarians by bribing them with Rs. 110 million each so as to bring down the government. The LTTE is hell bent on effecting a regime change. Hoist with his own petard as regards the polls boycott of 2005, which backfired, Prabhakaran is obviously in a mighty hurry to topple the government and more..

Mukund leads India's run spree

Aug 9 (CI) A double hundred from Abhinav Mukund and a century by Tanmay Srivastava guided India Under-19s to 491 for 3 declared on the first day of the second Test at Kandy. Sri Lanka had reached 11 for 0 in their reply by the close. On a grassless pitch India won the toss and batted, and Sri Lanka's only success in the first two sessions came when Shrevats Goswami was bowled for 29. more..

Ten Paradigms For Electoral Reforms In Sri Lanka

Aug 9 (FI) Electoral Reform has presently become one of the Principal concerns of a number of persons, Bodies and Institutions. Electoral Reform is one of the principal avenues for good Governance and for a vibrant Democracy. While Voting in Democracies is a key to internalized political stability of a Nation, it could also swing the other way and provide a Nation with instability and in its train, untold harm. It really is a double edged sword. more..

“Liberation” and the human tragedy of the East-A Colombo Perspective

Aug 9 (TC) Vakarai resembles a war zone today. The hospital, schools, places of worship and newly built houses after the Tsunami have all suffered the ravages of bombing that does not distinguish between the enemy and the innocent man caught in between. The Vakarai District Hospital needs nurses, doctors and drugs. Its buildings and functions have suffered both under the siege of the LTTE and the military exercises of the government troops. more..

Sri Lankan maritime community told shipping vulnerable to money laundering

Aug 9 (LBO) Trade finance involving shipment of goods by sea could lend itself to money laundering, a top international maritime fraud investigator has warned Sri Lanka's shipping community. Companies involved in the transport of goods by sea and related business like banks should take more care in their transactions and know better the people with whom they have transactions, said P Mukundan, more..

Sri Lanka gets US treasury help to boost budget skills

Aug 9 (LBO) The United States has completed a program with a Sri Lanka state training institute to improve public sector finance skills of government officers, the US embassy in Colombo said. "U.S. Treasury focused on these objectives because of an urgent need to train young professionals in government service," the embassy said in a statement. more..

Our Mahinda “Chinthana” Rajapaksa ayya and His Lovely Merry Men

Aug 9 (ISL) The JVP has asked a minister in President Rajapakse’s jumbo cabinet to shut his big mouth and for that the JVP must be applauded. This man’s tone and substance and above all his language are most unbecoming of a minister. It is sad the country has produced politicians and ministers of his calibre. We can well imagine what people outside this country must be thinking of the President to make him a spokesman for the government. more..

Rs. 110 million bag of money to MPs crossover to opposition

Aug 9 (LeN) Minister Rajitha Senarathna says that a conspiracy is underway to topple the government by giving money to the MPs. He says that a businessperson connected to the LTTE has pledged to offer Rs. 110 million per MP to join a future government set up by Ranil - Mangala alliance. The Minister revealed this at a press briefing held in the Information Department at Narahenpita this morning. more..

“Mawbima” bags 2 Journalism Excellence awards 4 months, 12 days into suspension

Aug 9 (LD) The suspended “Mawbima” newspaper, published by Standard Newspapers Limited, bagged the “Best Designed Newspaper of the Year” and the “Upali Wijewardena Feature Writer of the Year (Sinhala)” awards for Thilina Alahakoon and P. M. Senaratne respectively, at the “Journalism Award for Excellence 2006” ceremony yesterday (August 7th). more..

‘Panchali’ a drama in line with Sri Lankan culture

Aug 9 (GDI) ‘Panchali’ a sinhala drama which depicts the ancient drama trend in Sri Lanka is to be staged on 24th October 2007. It is being staged in the year 2007, which is named as the ‘National Drama Year’ will probably add a new blend to the drama trend in Sri Lanka. It consists of the ancient drama culture of Sri Lanka- the Nadagama tradition- a drama trend which is enriched with the musical tempos indigenous to the eastern music. more..

Compensation for families of massacred French Aid Organisation workers

Aug 9 (GDI) Government will take steps to grant compensation to the families of the slain aid workers of the French Non Governmental Organization, Acton Contre le Faim (Action Against Hunger - ACF). Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe revealing this fact at their commemoration ceremony stated that Government is currently exploring means to compensate those family members of deceased persons whose bodies have been recovered as well as those who have disappeared and have not been found. more..

Media should not fabricate stories - Media and Information Minister

Aug 9 (GDI) Minister of Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that media should never fabricate stories under the dictates of interested parties. He said that the Tamil newspaper Sudar Oli has repeatedly published a fabricated story that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has shouted at an editor of the newspaper at an Editors’ Meeting held at the Temple Trees in August last year. more..

Existing circular to admit students to Grade One for 2008

Aug 9 (GDI) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said the previous circular of year 2006/20 with necessary amendments will be used to admit students to Grade One for year 2008 until a viable education policy is formulated on school admission for 2009. Minister informed this to the Parliament when the house took up the adjournment debate on the New National Policy on School Admission yesterday (08). more..

Immigration Department vigilant on overstaying foreigners

Aug 9 (GDI) Following the Implementation of additional regulations for foreign passport holders visiting Sri Lanka, the number of visa offenders has been considerably reduced. The Immigration and Emigration Department’s Investigation Unit has apprehended over 120 foreigners who had overstayed their visa in 2007. The Unit is currently continuing island wide raids to nab the illegal migrants staying in the island. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Aug 9 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Education Minister Susil Premajayantha on drafting a new Education Bill. The prevailing education act, which is used by the authorities from 1939, with several amendments made from time to time, has provided legal support for making directives to steer the education systematically in order to achieve the expected goals. more..

Sri Lanka recall Hasantha Fernando and Wijekoon

Aug 9 (CI) Sri Lanka have recalled allrounders Gayan Wijekoon and Hasantha Fernando in the 15-member squad for the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in September. Mahela Jayawardene will lead a full-strength squad that includes as many as six fast bowlers. Fernando, the right-arm seamer and lower-order batsman who has played two Tests and seven ODIs, last toured Bangladesh with the senior team in early 2006. more..

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh to Set up Two Textile JVs in Karnaphuli

Aug 9 (AP) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will establish two industrial units in Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone with an investment of US$7.845 million. The two joint venture plants will be known as M/s Shore to Shore (Bangladesh) Ltd and M/s Yunusco K Textile Ltd. M/s. Shore to Shore (Bangladesh) Ltd, which will invest US$5.106 million, will annually manufacture 11.7 million dozens of woven label, more..