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Transport Minister recommends bus fare reduction

July 25 (GDI) Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma has directed fare reduction to a number of routes from yesterday. Under the Ministers guidance, Sri Lanka Central Transport Board (SLCTB} will implement the fare reduction that was included in a formula drawn up under the scheme to eliminate bus fare anomalies. This new bus fare formula has been introduced by the National Transport Commission. It will rectify most of the anomalies applying in certain route sections. more..

A tale of three cities

July 25 (ANN) Terrorists have to be lucky only once, it is said, and others have to be lucky all the time. Time was when it was thought powerful nations by virtue of their military might were immune to terrorism, which was considered a phenomenon only the politico-economic leper colonies (read the developing countries) were afflicted with. Havoc that terrorists wreaked on those countries became a form of entertainment to the affluent world. more..

Troops find digital camera in Thoppigala

July 25 (PISL) Security forces, in a clearing operation at Thoppigala, recovered a digital camera left behind by the fleeing LTTE cadres. They were able to gather a wealth of information through this find, Military sources said yesterday. However, the source was reluctant to reveal what information had been gathered from the film, but said it contained photographs of 73 people held prisoner by the LTTE in Thoppigala. The pictures revealed that the prisoners had been tortured. more..

Sri Lanka GDP to grow 7-8 pct a year to 2010-cenbank

July 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank said on Wednesday the island's economy was on track to expand between 7.0-8.0 percent annually through 2010, citing a planned multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project drive. The bank also forecast the country's budget deficit would narrow to 7.6 percent of GDP in 2007 from 8.4 percent in 2006. "In the medium term we expect to maintain, at least (in the) next two to three years, growth of around 7-8 percent," more..

Mervyn Silva pleads guilty to cheque fraud

July 25 (LNP) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva who yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of misappropriation of a cheque to the value of Rs. 70,000 was released by Colombo High Court after being ordered to pay Rs. 2500 as state costs. Mr. Silva who appeared through a motion filed by his attorney pleaded guilty to the amended indictment of misappropriation with a dishonoured cheque worth Rs. 70,000. more..

Resumption of night flights from BIA delayed

July 25 (LNP) Night air travel to and from Sri Lanka will have to wait at least another seven weeks as International Air Lines have still not rescheduled their night flights from Katunayake International Air Port. Night flights from the BIA were suspended on May 9 following an abortive LTTE aerial attack on the Katunayake air base adjoining the airport. A spokesman from SriLankan Airlines told the Daily Mirror that International air lines had to reschedule their night flights covering Sri Lanka again. more..

Forces need another 30,000 men

July 25 (LNP) Defence Spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwela yesterday said that the Security Forces need another 30,000 personnel to execute their future plans and maintain the gains achieved in the East. `As we need trained personnel for the purpose, military personnel serving in some of the detachments and policemen from Colombo and suburbs will be transferred to the East until recruits are trained he said. `There is a shortage of numbers and this has to be addressed soon,` he said. more..

SL among UN hunger hot spots

July 25 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has been listed among countries where there exists either extreme hunger or a threat of hunger developing in some part of the country, according to a UN World Food Program (WFP) report. Apart from Sri Lanka the other countries in the list are Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Congo, the occupied Palestinian territories, Zimbabwe and Kenya. According to the UN, people living in ‘Hunger's Global Hotspots’ are not aware of what tomorrow will bring them and they often have to rely on WFP for their next meals. more..

People will kick out govt: Anura

July 25 (SAMN) National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike, dropping a bombshell, had said although some MPs say that the country was prospering, unless the government stops wastage and the excessive use of vehicles, people would kick them out of power before long. Minister Bandaranaike said the government should accept that the cost of living was unbearable and meaningful steps should be taken to reduce it. more..

Plantation sector to be given incentives

July 25 (SAMN) The Government which heavily relied on agriculture to usher in economic development will provide all incentives and encouragement to develop the plantation sector and resolve problems encountered by industrialists in this sector, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President gave this assurance providing over a progress review meeting of the Plantation Industries Ministry at Temple Trees on Monday. more..

Seismic stations needed at universities

July 25 (SAMN) In the backdrop of a series of disturbing earth tremors, Geo-scientists yesterday voiced the need to revive the currently defunct seismic stations located in three universities, Eastern, Rajarata and Ruhuna. It was revealed that the only functioning local station that can record earthquakes is at the Peradeniya University’s Geological Department but data from this centre alone will be useless without supporting readings from different locations, to make an exact assessment of a tremor within the country. more..

Public warned of possible black July strikes

July 25 (DN) Government Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella appealed to the public to be extra vigilant as the LTTE was preparing to shift their terror to Colombo following its humiliating defeat in the East. The Minister said intelligence reports reaching the Government indicated that the LTTE was planning to create mayhem in the city especially during the Black July week. more..

Over Rs. 104 m netted from hooch fines

July 25 (DN) The Excise Department has netted a staggering Rs.104.8 million as fines in the first six months of 2007 by taking a stringent approach towards the strict implementation of legislative provisions regarding the abuse of excise rules and regulations. According to excise sources 30,000 suspects were arrested in over 29,016 successful raids in the first half of the year, with contraband worth millions of rupees being taken into custody. more..

Vehicle bomb story, ploy to scare our crowd: Sripathy

July 25 (DM) The UNP and SLFP (Mahajana) Wing charged yesterday that the news about the arrival of an explosives-laden lorry and a car in Colombo was a total fabrication by the government to deter the public participation in their protest rally tomorrow. Former Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi told a news conference organized jointly with the UNP that he had contacted a senior intelligence official to ascertain the veracity of this news. more..

Against Govt. principle to act outside constitution: Minister

July 25 (DM) It is not our principle to act outside the constitution and customs in working for the benefit of the people although the JVP, in order to gain short term benefits, carries on agitation and protest campaigns said Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijeyalal de Silva at a press briefing on the protests of the JVP group of Provincial Council members. Speaking further, the chief minister said the normal custom was to dissolve committees at the end of a session of a Provincial Council and more..

Sri Lanka complete series whitewash

Juny 25 (CI) A frustrating, wide-ridden start with the ball from an inexperienced Sri Lanka bowling attack accounted for five Bangladesh wickets as the hosts pressed for a clean sweep in Colombo. Farveez Maharoof winked out two in no time, and Mohammad Ashraful failed for the third time in a row as the Sri Lankans used the short-pitched deliveries to excellent effect and left Bangladesh on 78 for 5. more..

More war for Sri Lanka?

July 25 (UPI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's address to the nation to celebrate the government's victory in the battle of Thoppigala is being hailed as establishing him as one of the most powerful orators the country has seen. Even though the battle for Thoppigala, a remote jungle in the east, had no direct impact on life in the rest of the country, the manner in which the president spoke would have done credit to the Battle of Britain. more..

EU to send US$21 million in aid to help victims of Sri Lanka civil war

July 25 (AP) The European Union said Wednesday it would send €15 million (US$21 million) in humanitarian aid to victims of the conflict in Sri Lanka, including refugees who have fled the fighting and now live in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu. EU Development Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said the European Commission was "extremely worried by the increase in violence" in Sri Lanka, which has put thousands of civilians and international aid workers at risk. more..

This government should be toppled! However, a front to develop country should be formed first - Tilvin Silva

July 26 (LT) There is no debate that the present government should be toppled. However, it should be done not to replace it with the old bad one but only after creating a broad National Front that could build a new alternative government said Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP. The UNP has no ability to topple the present government and more..

Reveal Ranil – Mangala secret pact immediately!

July 26 (LT) The secret pact signed between Messrs. Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mangala Samaraweera should be revealed to the country immediately says Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. He said this at a media briefing held in Colombo today. Minister Fernandopulle said other than the agreement signed between Leader of the Opposition and Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, another secret pact has been signed between Mr. Wickremasinghe and Mr. Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Cruising to a double whitewash

July 26 (CI) Captain Mahela Jayawardene said that it was difficult to judge how much Bangladesh pushed Sri Lanka because of the quality of cricket his team played in both the Test and one-day international series. Jayawardene's men swept Bangladesh under the carpet with a comprehensive 3-0 victories in both the Test and one-day series and not giving the opposition any chance to make a come back. more..

India U-19 storm into final

July 26 (CI) A breezy 63 off 66 balls from Saurav Tiwary helped India Under-19 register a convincing 161-run win over their Sri Lankan counterparts, their third successive victory in the Tri-nations Under-19s Tournament. With this, India booked their spot in the final of the tournament, also featuring Bangladesh. India, opting to bat after winning the toss, piled 248 off 50 overs, with Virat Kohli (32)and Iqbal Abdulla (49*) helping Tiwary take India to a competitive total. more..

Economy badmouthed by terrorists, terror sympathizers, political promoters, ignoramuses: CB Governor

July 26 (LBO) Negative views about Sri Lanka's economy is promoted by terrorists, terror sympathizers, promoters of political agendas and people who are unaware of the real picture, the country's central bank governor said. There appeared to be organized efforts to cripple Sri Lanka's economy and to weaken the state's capacity to take on counter-terrorist measures, Governor Nivard Cabraal said. more..

USAID Sponsors Symposium on Leading Practices in Local Governance

July 26 (AT) Over 1,000 representatives from national, provincial and local governments, the private sector, NGOs and donor agencies convened in Colombo this week for the second annual National Symposium on Leading Practices in Local Governance. Hosted by the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils, the program was sponsored by the USAID, through the Transparent Accountable Local Governance (TALG) Program. more..

Booker-winning Sri Lankan writer Ondaatje's latest novel to be released in India

July 26 (AT) "Having moved from Sri Lanka to England to Canada, the nomadic path certainly appeals to me. And I think we are living in an age where a money specialist in Hong Kong can live in Connecticut on weekends" said the Booker-winning Sri Lankan writer Michael Ondaatje in an exclusive interview with Tehelka. com's Devyani Saltzman. Michael Ondaatje is the author of the novels In the Skin of a Lion, The English Patient, and Anil's Ghost. more..

Fight to save teenage maid from beheading

July 26 (Times) When Rizana Nafeek left her war-torn village in Sri Lanka two years ago, aged 17, she hoped to find a new life of peace and prosperity working as a maid in Saudi Arabia. Instead, she is on death row, facing possible decapitation in the next few months for allegedly strangling the baby son of her Saudi employers. Executions are commonplace in Saudi Arabia: there have been 109 so far this year including four Sri Lankans who were beheaded for armed robbery. more..

University Administration Is A Special Kind of Vocation

July 26 (FI) Before I embark on a discussion on certain aspects of University Administration in Sri Lanka, I would like to distinguish it from Public Administration. Firstly, I would like to post the question whether we can make use of the concept expounded by Max Weber to study administrative structures in the Universities. The term ‘University bureaucracy’ is used, but the University bureaucracy is very much different from the public bureaucracy. more..

All Party Representative Committee Turning Into Parisian Cafe

July 26 (FI) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) reminds one of a sunny Parisian cafe where a bunch of retired bored men and women gather to engage in casual deliberations about various political issues, and, in the meantime, enjoy a good cup of coffee. President Rajapaksa set up the APRC six months after assuming power with the express wish of finding a political solution to the decade old ethnic problem. more..

Globalisation, Foreign Aid and Conflict-The Case of Sri Lanka

July 26 (FI) Since 1977 the influence of foreign aid and institutions administering foreign aid has spread to every corner of Sri Lankan society. Donor interventions now cover a wide range of issues. They are a powerful factor contributing to the integration of Sri Lankan society to the processes of globalisation. Despite this there are very few academic studies that have taken a closer critical look at foreign aid. more..

Hatred and venom unlimited- Another googly of the ‘Asian Tribune’

July 26 (ISL) ‘Muslims in the east have begun to cry loudly of the persecutions, threats and intimidations they daily undergo in the hands of the uncontrollable and ruthless armed cadres of the Karuna Group’ cried the 75 years old ‘Asian Tribune’ editor hiding somewhere in Sweden in his latest reporting. The editor is preoccupied with scavenging for sources of hate news about Karuna and more..

More obstacles to 'People's Wave'; 'Dr.' Mervin Silva to protest near Hyde Park

July 26 (LeN) UNP General Secretary Thissa Aththanayaka said to Lanka-e-News that all the efforts of the government to destruct the rally jointly organized by the UNP and the SLFP People's Wing would be duly faced and the demonstration and the rally in the theme of the 'Country Devastated; Come Forward!' would be held successfully. more..

Kelaniya University closed due to clashes between JVP and rival student unions

July 26 (LeN) A student monk and few more students were injured and hospitalized due to a clash between JVP led Students' Council and the Science Faculty Council of the Kelaniya University yesterday (24). Registrar of the University Mr. Karunarathna said that the authorities decided to close the university after a discussion between the Vice Chancellor and the Police. The date of opening is yet to be announced. more..

Soldiers security 'put at risk'

July 26 (BBC) The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has no vision on the future path of the island nation, the main opposition has alleged. UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said Rajapaksa is indecisive whether to continue with the war against Tamil Tigers or to find a political solution. "Military is not allowed to defeat the LTTE. No step has taken to find a long lasting political solution," he told journalists in Colombo. more..

More Lankans face death in Saudi

July 26 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has admitted that four more Sri Lankans are facing executions in Saudi Arabia. Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bahila told BBC Sandeshaya that many more Sri Lankans are charged in Saudi courts. At least eight more Sri Lankans are charged with various offences in the Arab nation, according to Al-Madeena newspaper. International rights watchdogs have accused Saudi authorities of imposing death sentences to two more Sri Lankans without a proper judicial procedure. more..

Meaningless rally, says Rajapaksa government

July 26 (Hindu) On the eve of the first public rally of the newly- floated “National Congress’ here, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government put a brave face declaring that it had no reason to be concerned over “meaningless rallies with narrow political objectives”. The public show of the National Congress, an alliance of the UNP led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the rebel SLFP leader Mangala Samaraweera is seen as a test for the alliance to mobilise forces opposed to the policies of the Rajapaksa Government. more..

Minister Douglas Devananda is campaigning for minimum work programme amongst Tamil democratic forces

July 26 (ISL) EPDP leader and Cabinet Minister Douglas Devananda during his two days visit to the United Kingdom urged all the anti-LTTE forces to join hands to work on a common programme. Douglas Devananda met several expatriate Tamil groups individually and at a meeting held at the Central London YMCM on 22 July 2007 before flying off to Colombo and urged the need to take a united stand to politically resolve the conflict in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka liberalizes foreign exchange rules

July 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka has relaxed foreign currency transactions in the country by allowing money changers to sell as well as buy forex and also relaxed rules on operating non-resident foreign currency accounts. The Central Bank, which regulates the industry, said in a public notice that nine money changers out of 62 authorized licensees have been allowed to sell foreign exchange up to 1000 dollars per customer from this month. more..

Sri Lanka's stock exchange opens new regional branch

July 26 (LBO) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) plans to open its fourth branch in Negombo on Sri Lanka's western beach stretch this August, the exchange said in a statement Thursday. The branch, close to the Bandaranaike International Airport, will house 10 brokering firms offering debt and equity facilities, online access to the stock market and other services such as order acceptance and investment advice. more..

Sri Lanka foreign reserve outflow under control: Central Bank

July 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's balance of payments is under control despite the steady loss of foreign reserves in the past few weeks and the rupee coming under pressure, Central Bank officials said. The country has been losing foreign reserves since April when international reserves peaked in the wake of tight monetary policy and sales of rupee bonds to foreign buyers. more..

Sri Lanka price controls hit Swiss food giant; company says committed to future

July 26 (LBO) Nestlé’s Sri Lanka unit has reported a fall in profit in the first half of 2007 as government price controls hit its milk powder distribution business, the company said Thursday. Nestlé Lanka PLC profit after tax fell 7.8 percent to 640 million rupees in the six-month period from January to June 2007 compared with the same 2006 period. Turnover grew 11.7 percent to 7.9 billion rupees. more..

BBC asks John Seneviratna whether Mervyn Silva will be summoned before SLFP disciplinary committee

July 26 (LD) The BBC world service program in its broadcast on July 24 asked SLFP disciplinary committee Chairman Minister John Seneviratna on the future position of the SLFP disciplinary committee in regard to Dr Mervyn Silva who stands indicated before the Colombo Chief Magistrate upon pleading guilty for cheque Fraud. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

July 26 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance and Planning, on the revision of tariff on imports from Pakistan under Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. The Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) was implemented by both countries with effect from 12.06.2005. more..

President Rajapaksa greets new Indian President

July 26 (GDI) Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message of congratulations to Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the new President of India said that her election is a reaffirmation of the noble values of inclusiveness and pluralism, which are the constant and firm foundation of modern India; values that the people of Sri Lanka too deeply cherish. more..

Supreme Court orders to submit final document of Grade 1 school admissions

July 26 (GDI) Orders have been made by the Supreme Court (SC) to draft the final draft of the new national policy on the Grade one school admission with the inclusion of the suggested amendments by the SC for the consideration in preparation of the circular. Accordingly the President’s Secretary Lalith Weerathunga will submit the final circular on Monday for the admissions of the students to Grade One in schools for year 2008, more..

42nd Independence of Maldives

July 26 (GDI) The republic of Maldives celebrates their 42nd anniversary of independence today (26). In a special message to Sri Lanka, Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom mentioned that as close friends, neighbors and partners in development, the Maldives and Sri Lanka have enjoyed strong bilateral ties over the years. While appreciating the contribution of the Maldivian community in Sri Lanka, in bringing the two SAARC partners closer, more..

Government committed to provide equal Education- President

July 26 (GDI) "The Government’s vision to provide equal educational rights to all under the ‘Education for All’ concept will wide open the education opportunities for all the children in the country," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Attending the Prize Giving of his Alma Mater, Thurstan College Colombo, President Rajapaksa affirmed this to the gathering. Rs. 70 million have allocated in the last year budget to provide quality education to all and this is the highest grant ever allocated for this purpose, President said. more..

Vehicle revenue license in 2 minutes at Motor Traffic Department

July 26 (GDI) Advancing with the latest technology the Motor Traffic Commissioner’s Department in Maligawatta has implemented a swift system where the motorists could obtain their revenue license in just two minutes by opening the shutter. This ‘On the Wheel’ system which is available at all the Divisional Secretariats in the Western Province will prevent the involvement of a third party in obtaining revenue license. more..

Economy buoyant and FDIs doubled - Central Bank Governor

July 26 (GDI) The Sri Lankan economy is resilient and very much buoyant and foreign direct investments have doubled in recent times. Stating this, the Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal warned against falling victim to false claims and said that much of it is due to a lack of awareness as well as the promotion of various economic and political agendas. The Governor spoke on the perceptions versus realities with regard to Sri Lanka’s current economic situation. more..

Sri Lanka Dialog H1 group net down 1 pct

July 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's top mobile operator, Dialog Telekom , a unit of Telekom Malaysia , posted a 1 percent fall in first-half net profit on Thursday citing losses by its satellite TV business and the impact of civil war. January-June group net profit slipped to 4.87 billion rupees ($43.5 million) from 4.93 billion rupees during the same period a year earlier -- slowing sharply from full-year 2006 growth of 44 percent. Overall group revenue rose 25 percent to 15.36 billion rupees. more..

Mine clearing may take years

July 26 (ANN) Though there was an ambitious plan to make Sri Lanka landmine free by 2008, it may take decades to clear more than two million mines and other explosive devices buried in the North and East during over two decades of confrontation due to the dearth of competent de-miners and lack of funding. It transpired in a recent workshop for the media personal organised by the Landmine Advocacy Forum and more..