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Sri Lanka Telecom sale case put off till November

Sep 14 (LBO) The hearing of the case on the sale Sri Lanka Telecom shares by its Japanese shareholder has been put off till November 22, lawyers said. The Supreme Court halted the sale of shares of the country's largest fixed access operator to a Malaysian firm in June, after a lawmaker filed suit against the deal. Originally a government committee with treasury officials that is drawing up a new management agreement for Sri Lanka Telecom was expected make written submissions through the attorney general, at a court hearing this month. more..

Sri Lanka give thumbs up for new lube players

Sep 14 (LBO) The Sri Lanka has given approval for three more companies to sell lubricants in the island, raising to nine the number of companies in the market which is dominated by the US brand Caltex. The new companies to enter the fray will be local firm Laugfs Holdings, Japan's Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Waxpol Industries of India, information minister Anura Yapa said. more..

Basil to get newly vacant National list MP post?

Sep 14 (LD) The position of the National list MP, which fell vacant following the death of Non-Cabinet Irrigation Minister Mohamed Ismail Anwar Ismail, is to be offered to Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, according to reliable political sources. Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry, which is currently under Rohitha Bogollagama, is tipped to be handed over to Basil Rajapaksa, who is a brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

5 teacher union leaders ordered Rs. 50,000 bail each

Sep 14 (LD) Leaders of five teacher unions were summoned to the Supreme Court today (September 14th ) for violating a court order against disrupting the G.C.E. A/L answer script evaluation. Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva ordered that the respondents be released on a Rs. 50,000 bail each, the payment to be made today itself, failing which, they be sent into remand custody. more..

Bishop Malcolm Ranjith refutes press reports over his meeting with Rajapaksa

Sep 14 (TN) Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcom, the secretary of the Congregation of Divine Worship of the Vatican, who visited Vanni Thursday to meet Liberation Tigers Political Head S.P. Thamilchelvan, has refuted press reports in Colombo which said that the Bishop had appreciated the Sri Lankan president for his measures to "wipe out terrorism," when he met the SL president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Monday. more..

Sri Lanka statistician propounds new theory; takes on central bankers

Sep 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top statisticians put forward a new theory on exchange rates and took on the central bank governor and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke in a bid to explain rising inflation with long discredited failed ideas. Questioned by journalists about the falling Sri Lanka rupee, especially at a time when the dollar was being routed by the Euro, Sri Lanka's Department of Statistics said the phenomenon was explained by the 'hidden' reason. more..

Why the ethnic conflict cannot be resolved within the framework of a unitary state

Sep 14 (FI) Today, Sri Lanka stands at a critical juncture. It can continue down the path of destruction, as it has on all previous occasions when faced with a similar choice; or it can strike out on a new path which is less familiar, but contains the promise of peace and prosperity. With the final APRC proposals expected in the near future, newspapers report that the APRC has been forced to adopt the label of a ‘unitary state’, which it had so strenuously avoided in the past. more..

SCOPP to streamline established procedures in handing over child soldiers to their families

Sep 14 (AT) The Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) has anounced that it is in the course of streamlining established procedures relating to issues such as handing over child soldiers to their families. This was revealed to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission’s (SLMM) query at the regular weekly meeting used to be held on Thursdays between them. more..

Two Lankans killed at work

Sep 14 (GT) TWO Sri Lankans were killed at work in the past month, the latest death taking place a few days ago, according to a spokesman of the Sri Lankan embassy. At a work site near Kuwait Building in the Najma area, a Sri Lankan worker fell to death from the seventh floor of a building under construction. Identified as Sivarasa Thangaiah, the 25-year-old victim had come from Matale in the Central part of the South Asian island. more..

Bio diesel factory in Anyradhapura

Sep 14 (GDI) A Bio diesel factory will be established in Anuradhapura by a Korean Company, Heung Cook Energy Corporation.The factory which is an outcome of a discussion between the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Company Chairman Ko Wang Slecho. The factory will manufacture bio diesel using maize as raw material. It will also assist the expansion of the maize cultivation in the Anuradhapura district. more..

Aide Memoir on human rights and humanitarian issues to EU

Sep 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka has handed over an Aide Memoir on recent developments relating to humanitarian relief and human rights concerns to the European Union (EU). Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on yesterday handed over the Aide Memoir to Dominic Chilcott, British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka who is also representing the EEU Presidency in Sri Lanka in the absence of a Resident Embassy of Portugal which currently holds the EU Presidency. more..

Foreign Minister emphasises importance of economic diplomacy

Sep 14 (GDI) The Minister of Foreign Affaires Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday (13) held discussions with the Vice Chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Mr. J.D.Bandaranaike and Senior Officials of the Chamber and Presidents of the 19 Business Councils. Discussions focused on the promotion and advancement of economic objectives of the country by strengthening linkages between and among the Chamber, Business Councils and the Foreign Ministry. more..

Teacher’s salary anomalies to be cleared from January 2008

Sep 14 (GDI) The Education Ministry will be taking action to clear the salary anomalies of the teaching sector from the January 2008. According to a press release by the Ministry of Education as informed in the discussion held between the teacher trade unions and the officials of the Education Ministry and the Salary and Carder Commission, on 12th September 2007, more..

6.4% GDP for the second quarter of 2007

Sep 14 (GDI) The economic performance is encouraging for the second quarter of 2007. The GDP Growth Rate was 6.4 per cent for the second quarter of 2007. GDP growth rate was 7.7 per cent for the same quarter of the Last year. This was stated by Mrs. D. B. P. Suranjana Vidyaratne the Director General of the Department of Census & Statistics today addressing a press briefing held at the Government Department of Information. more..

Sri Lanka's Tigers take a big hit

Sep 14 (AT) If Tharmalingam Shanmughan alias Kumaran Pathmanathan was indeed detained in Bangkok on Monday evening, then the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have reason for alarm. Kumaran Pathmanathan (or "KP" as he is widely known) has been in charge of the LTTE's international arms-procurement network and was allegedly involved in the 1991 assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. more..

Report on Hindu god Ram withdrawn

Sep 14 (BBC) The Indian government has withdrawn a controversial report submitted in court earlier this week which questioned the existence of the Hindu god Ram. The report was withdrawn after huge protests by opposition parties. The report was presented to the Supreme Court on Wednesday in connection with a case against a proposed shipping canal project between India and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka probes complaint against Hutchison port firm

Sep 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top law official has begun probing a complaint of anti-competitive practices against one of the main bidders to build and operate a container terminal in the planned new deep-draft port next to Colombo, officials said. The Attorney-General's Department is looking into the complaint against the bidder, Hutchison Port Holdings, one of the world's top port operators, of having been involved in anti-competition litigation in Indonesia. more..

Mervyn Silva`s conduct will not be condoned - Bandara

Sep 14 (LNP) Several SLFP and UNP Democratic Group Parliamen-tarians will never condone the threatening behaviour of Mervyn Silva in public. On several occasions he has threatened to shoot his opponents and be a law unto himself. It is the responsibility of the SLFP Disciplinary Committee to take appropriate action against Minister Silva`s before he tarnishes the image of the government. ` more..

Principals alleged to have barred students from school

Sep 14 (LNP) Principals of some government schools have been accused of not allowing students to enter school premises yesterday. Teachers said this had been done in support of yesterday`s one-day token strike called by five major teacher trade unions to pressure the government to give in to their demand for immediate upward revision of salaries. `Some students were forced to leave,` a spokesman for teachers who opposed yesterday`s strike called by unions including one affiliated to the JVP told The Island. more..

Looters thrive on tsunami panic

Sep 14 (LNP) A second earthquake in as many days, which rocked Sumatra yesterday and triggered a regional tsunami warning, was a boon to looters in Sri Lanka, reports reaching police headquarters said. News of the massive quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, which shook Sumatra for the second day yesterday morning, following Wednesday`s quake of 8.4, sent panic striken villagers of the Northern, Eastern and Southern coastal belts of Sri Lanka, running helter-skelter in search of higher ground, in fear that a second tsunami would hit them. more..

When disaster management becomes a disaster

Sep 14 (LNP) We are a peculiar nation. We first learnt the word tsunami after thousands of lives were lost to the sea in 2004. It was a pity that despite millennia of learning, we lacked the basic knowledge of a forest-dwelling primitive Negritoid tribe of the Andaman Islands, called Jarawas, who escaped from the Boxing Day tsunami without losing a single life notwithstanding the proximity of their land to the epicentre of the killer seaquake. more..

Gov. to revive buffer zone proposal

Sep 14 (SAMN) Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said Thursday the Government may have to reconsider introducing the 100 metre buffer zone which cropped up in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami disaster. Responding to queries of journalists at the Cabinet press briefing Yapa said that the matter has to be looked into as a safety measure and said as a responsible Government they have consistently pursued the '100 metre buffer zone' policy. more..

UNP ready to accept Speaker’s verdict

Sep 14 (SAMN) The UNP Thursday conceded the party has no choice but to accept the ruling of the Speaker given in connection to the passing of five Finance Bills in Parliament last Thursday as no institution or individual is permitted to challenge him. “We are bound to accept th Speaker’s ruling as final because it cannot be questioned in or outside of Parliament or in a court of Law whether we agree or not,” UNP MP Kiriella said. more..

Man and nature cripple school work

Sep 14 (SAMN) Both man and nature crippled academic activities in most schools Thursday resulting in several students being forced to either skip school or go home early. School education activities came to a grinding halt due to a token strike launched by five teacher trade unions demanding a rectification of their salary anomalies, and precautionary action taken by the government after earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks in Indonesia triggered tsunami warnings. more..

Rauff asks TUs to bear with him

Sep 14 (SAMN) Minister of Post and Telecommunications Rauff Hakeem Thursday called on trade unions to understand the situation in the country before making demands. Addressing a ceremony organised by the Ministry to present permanent appointment letters to 834 acting sub post masters in the Ministry he said trade unions should understand the practical problems the Ministry is undergoing at the moment. more..

More UNPers to join Govt. after budget

Sep 14 (DN) The UNP (D) group yesterday asserted that the UNP's alleged threat to topple the Government during the Budget vote in November was a day dream entertained by the Opposition Leader. Minister Dharmadasa Banda speaking to the media said that since the last election 42 disillusioned UNP MPs had joined the Government and more would follow after the Budget in November. more..

No Government politician linked to Aston Martin

Sep 14 (DN) Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa yesterday asserted there is no link whatsoever of any Government politician with the Aston Martin car of James Bond fame as reported in certain media. Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing yesterday at the Government Information Department, Minister Yapa categorically denied that he was aware that a person named Dr. Namal Senasinghe domiciled in England, owned an "Aston Martin'. more..

Defence leak cause for ‘KP’ arrest denial

Sep 14 (DM) The Defence Ministry “leak” of the arrest of LTTE’s arms procurement Chief Kumaran Padmanathan and the wide media publicity it generated led to Thailand authorities denying the reports until he was deported to Sri Lanka owing to its sensitivity, well informed government sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday. While insisting that the LTTE frontliner, also known as ‘KP’ was under Thai custody and moves were afoot to seek his deportation to Sri Lanka the source said that more..

Credibility, good faith imperative for ceasefire: Prof.G.L. Peiris

Sep 14 (DM) The experience in Sri Lanka indicates that there are several circumstances which must exist before a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities can be sustainable, Professor G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, said at a meeting with Lord Malloch Brown, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in London. One of the essential requirements is credibility and good faith, the Minister pointed out. more..

Sri Lanka overwhelm Kenya

Sep 14 (CI) It was minnow bashing at its best as Sri Lanka, led by Sanath Jayasuriya, pulverized Kenya, beating them by 172 runs at the Wanderers. Jayasuriya's whirlwind 88 and Jehan Mubarak's late fireworks lifted Sri Lanka to a record team score of 260 for 6, a target way out of reach for the opposition as Kenya managed just 88. Records tumbled as the victory margin of 172 set the record for the biggest ever in Twenty20 internationals. more..

Military: 10 Tamil Tiger rebels killed in northern Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers killed 10 Tamil Tiger separatist rebels on Friday who tried to attack a northern defense line, the military said. Soldiers manning the defense line in Muhamalai on Jaffna peninsula saw the guerrillas and engaged them with mortars and rifles, sparking an hour-long battle, the Defense Ministry information center said. Two government soldiers were wounded, it said. more..

Kumaran may be wanted in connection with Mumbai blasts case: Lankan official

Sep 14 (HT) India wants to question Kumaran Pathmanathan, the LTTE's chief arms procurer now in detention in Thailand, for possible involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts among other terrorist acts on Indian soil, an informed Sri Lankan official source told Hindustan Times in Colombo on Friday. However, so far, there has been no word from India itself about KP's possible involvement in the Mumbai blasts which killed hundreds in 1993. more..

Sri Lanka moves to avoid criticism over rights abuses

Sep 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Friday it was ready to accept foreign scrutiny of its human rights record in a bid to head off formal United Nations criticism over a spate of killings and disappearances. At the same time the war-torn island's government, locked in a decades-old war with Tamil Tiger separatists, also argued that criticism of authorities in Colombo would play into the hands of rebel "terrorists." more..

Supreme Court warns striking teacher trade unions

Sep 15 (GDI) Five leaders of striking teacher trade unions were severely warned by the Supreme Court today and they were granted bail on surety of Rs 50,000 each. They were ordered to be in the Courts on September 19. Yesterday the Supreme Court ordered the five trade union leaders to appear before the court today to explain why they had engaged in a token strike in violation of the court orders that restrained them from interfering with the paper marking in the Fundamental Rights Application filed by an Advanced Level student. more..

Sri Lanka commemorates Mine Ban Treaty

Sep 15 (AT) The Landmine Ban Advocacy Forum (LBAF) marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty, prohibiting the use of anti-personnel mines. It is ten years since the historic proceedings in Ottawa, Canada, when 125 countries committed to ban the use, production, stock pile, trade and transfer of anti-personnel mines within their borders. The Mine Ban Treaty is unprecedented both in its scope, in its absolute condemnation of the anti-personnel mine as a weapon of war, more..

The need for a Construction Industry Development Act is greater than ever before

Sep 15 (AT) Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka and its principal constituents enlightened the then Minister of Housing and Construction on the need to have a Construction Industry Development Act as a definite alternative to the proposed Construction Industry Authority Act. The principal stakeholders of the construction industry, in one voice, articulated the issues that should be addressed. more..

Sri Lanka may have the slight edge

Sep 15 (CI) Both New Zealand and Sri Lanka come into this match at the back of resounding wins over minnows Kenya. However, Sri Lanka will surely start favourites purely on the basis that their victory, a 172-run drubbing, was a tad more emphatic than the nine-wicket victory that New Zealand enjoyed. The last time these two met, New Zealand came out with a five-wicket win chasing a mere 115. more..

Sri Lanka break records in convincing win

Sep 15 (CI) Sri Lanka's win over Kenya in their opening game of the ICC World Twenty20 brought back memories of their comprehensive routing of the same team over 10 years ago, when they scored a then-record 398 runs in an ODI on the way to winning the 1996 World Cup. Here are some of the statistical highlights of Friday's game. Sri Lanka's total of 260 for 8 is the highest total in a Twenty20 international, beating the previous best of 221 for 5 made by Australia against England earlier this year. more..

NTPC foray in Sri Lanka hits roadblock

Sep 15 (UPI) India's National Thermal Power Corp. says Sri Lanka, citing security reasons, has dropped the original site for the company to set up a power plant. The Business Line newspaper reported Friday that the Sri Lankan government dropped the site in the Tamil-dominated Trincomalee area, which is controlled by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The 500 megawatt thermal power plant would have been NTPC's first in the country. more..

Cabraal Forecasts Slower Sri Lanka Growth in 2007

Sep 15 (BN) Sri Lanka's economy, constrained by the highest interest rates in Asia and renewed violence in the island's civil war, will post slower growth this year, central bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. The $26 billion economy will expand 7 percent in 2007, Cabraal said in Mumbai, half a percentage point lower than his forecast in July. Sri Lanka's economy grew 7.4 percent last year, buoyed by textile and clothing industries, the biggest export earners. more..

Colombo vows to end terrorism within stipulated time-frame

Sep 15 (Hindu) Sri Lanka Defence Secretary and one of the brother’s of the President, Gothabaya Rajapaksa, on Friday told a group of business leaders that the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government was committed to curbing terrorism “within a stipulated time period” and it would undoubtedly open new doors of opportunity to the business community. He dwelt at length on the current situation in the country and appealed for their support to enable the government realise its goals. more..

Sethu project: Centre to consider alternative alignment

Sep 15 (Hindu) In a major development, the Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it would consider executing the Sethusamudram shipping channel project through an alternative alignment so that the 30-km-long Ramar Sethu/Adam’s Bridge could be protected from damage. The feasibility of alternative alignments would be considered in three months, more..

No information on arrest: Thai Premier

Sep 15 (Hindu) Thailand’s Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram on Friday declined to confirm whether or not Thai authorities recently arrested Kumaran Pathmanathan, a ‘strategist’ of the LTTE. Responding to a question from The Hindu, Mr. Pibulsonggram said: “I don’t have any confirmation of that – none whatsoever.” He made this comment here after holding talks with the visiting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. more..

Nedumaran continues fast despite appeals

Sep 15 (UNI) Notwithstanding appeals from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and leaders of various parties, Tamil Nationalist Movement (TNM) leader P Nedumaran, a staunch supporter of Eelam Tamils, continued his indefinite fast for the third day today. Sources close to Mr Nedumaran told UNI that he was continuing with the fast, demanding permission to send relief materials to suffering Tamils in neighbouring Sri Lanka. more..

Thai police received 20-mln-dollar bribe to free LTTE's Padmanathan: Web site

Sep 15 (UNI) An Indian web site has claimed that Kumaran Padmanathan, LTTE's logistic mastermind in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was reportedly arrested in Thailand, was freed after he paid a bribe of 20 million dollars to Thai police. According to, sources in Thai intelligence agencies were quoted as saying that during his interrogation, Padmanathan revealed the names of several conspirators involved in Gandhi's assassination. more..

Assistance from American people tops $10 million for 2007

Sep 15 (AT) The United States will provide $2 million in immediate emergency relief funding for conflict-displaced in Sri Lanka as part of a $24 million worldwide package announced last week in Washington. The funding, from the U.S. State Department’s Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund will support the work of the UNHCR and NGOs to protect and provide assistance to Sri Lankan internally displaced persons and refugees. more..

Four Sri Lankan Tamils’ detention order quashed

Sep 15 (Hindu) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday quashed the preventive detention orders, passed under the National Security Act (NSA), against four Sri Lankan Tamils accused of smuggling iron balls, used to make explosives, from India to the island nation. The Tiruchi Police Commissioner had passed the impugned orders between March 30 and April 4 against R. Arulseelan (31), more..

Small grants turn tide for tsunami-hit entrepreneurs

Sep 15 (IRIN) In several coastal hamlets in Sri Lanka the tide has turned for potters, batik designers and other entrepreneurs whose small-scale businesses were hit hard by the December 2004 tsunami. Their trades are bouncing back and incomes increasing thanks to some post-tsunami assistance from developing countries. Pottery makers at Puwakdandawa in Hambantota District and batik artists in Balapitya in Galle District were among tsunami-stricken people in five Asian countries who received funds, more..

Visa scam trio 'must pay £2.3m'

Sep 15 (BBC) Three men jailed for their part in a student visa scam have been ordered to pay a £2.3m confiscation order or face more time in prison. Arumagan Kanageswaran, 56, Ponnundurai Puvanandaran, 52 and Harry Wilson, 48, were jailed in 2005. They pleaded guilty to offences relating to bogus applications to stay in the UK made for at least 150 people. The confiscation order follows an inquiry by the Metropolitan Police's London Regional Asset Recovery Team. more..

Teachers 'in contempt of court'

Sep 15 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has released teachers' trade union leaders accused of contempt of court on Rs. 50,000 personal bail. Five General Secretaries of education and teachers' trade unions were ordered to explain their action to call a token strike after the Supreme Court ordered them not to intimidate teachers on 06 September. Chief Justice Sarath Silva said the five leaders' offence amounted to contempt of court. more..