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Sri Lanka should open services to India: envoy

Sep 15 (LBO) India's envoy in Sri Lanka Friday urged the island's business community to overcome reluctance to open up the services sector in trade talks between the two countries, especially movement of people, saying it would benefit both sides. India's economic growth was accelerating faster than had been forecast, creating skills shortages that Sri Lankan companies were well placed to fill, Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad said. more..

“The Nation” journalist quizzed over Aston Martin report

Sep 15 (LD) A journalist attached to “The Nation” newspaper was questioned by Criminal Investigation Department officers today (September 14th) in connection with an article about the Aston Martin super luxury car that has reportedly been imported and used by a son of a top politician. Two CID officers had recorded a statement from Indika Sakalasooriya, during a two-hour long interrogation this morning. more..

Sri Lanka turns CID loose on reporter; rights body outraged

Sep 15 (LBO) An international media rights body expressed outrage after police asked a journalist to reveal his sources over a story about a car allegedly imported by a ruling party politician's son. "After last month's death threats against investigative journalist Iqbal Athas, this new case shows that it is getting more and more difficult for the media to do their job in Sri Lanka," the Paris based press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said. more..

Stop ‘excesses’ on Tamils in Sri Lanka, says Captain

Sep 15 (NIP) Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) has urged the Centre to intervene and stop the ‘excesses’ perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government on innocent Tamils. A resolution to this effect was adopted at the party’s state conference held here on Friday, to mark the third anniversary with district secretary N Zahir in the chair. The conference also made it clear that DMDK would extend support to the party, more..

Sri Lanka: A cabinet shake-up due soon

Sep 15 (AT) A cabinet reshuffle is expected soon in Sri Lanka. “Asian Tribune” learnt that four more UNP parliamentarians are expected to cross over to the government side and a public announcement by the President is due soon. In the meantime some other changes are also due. It is understood that Minister of Justice Amarasiri Dodangoda is confined to wheel chair. The day to day functions of the ministry is presently handled by Dilan Perera, the state Minister of Justice. more..

Saudi Dates for Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (AN) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated 223 metric tons of dates to Sri Lanka to be distributed in mosques in the country, the Arab News, the country‘s leading news paper reported. Riyad Al-Kheneni, charge d’affaires of the mission, formally handed over the dates to Hussein Bhaila, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a ceremony held in Colombo on 13 September, Thursday the newspaper said. more..

CAA in turmoil over appointment of Chairman

Sep 15 (LD) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) is in turmoil following the Supreme Court found its Chairman Sarath Wijesinghe in contempt of court and ordered him to resign within a fortnight. The CAA Director Board says it has the powers to appoint a new head, of its choice. However, Secretary to the Ministry of Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs R.M. Ratnayake rejects the claim. more..

Teacher trade unions in dilemma after SC ruling

Sep 15 (LD) The Supreme Court yesterday (September 14th) granted cash bail of Rs. 50,000 each for leaders of five teacher trade unions that are boycotting the evaluation of G.C.E. (A/L) Exam answer script. The SC summoned the five to the court and committed them to remand custody for disregarding an earlier order against disrupting the evaluation process. more..

Manifesto of New National Front headed by JVP to be formulated

Sep 15 (LT) JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath told "Lankatruth" that its polit bureau that met recently has decided to star formulating the manifesto of the new national front due to be formed under the leadership of the JVP. It has been decided to appoint a policy making body comprising intellectuals, artistes, trade union leaders, clergy and representatives from other disciplines for this purpose and MP Vijitha Herath has been appointed to coordinate its activities. more..

Traditional Handicrafts Manufactures to benefit more

Sep 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that his Government will take all the necessary steps to uplift the local handy craft industry and to preserve the industry. This was highlighted by the President Rajapaksa while addressing the winners of the Shilpa-2006 handicraft, small and medium scale industry national exhibition who were offered the opportunity of visiting India in appreciation and encouragement of their contribution to the industry. more..

Full text of the speech made by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Sep 15 (GDI) "In the coming months I very much look forward to country visits to both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan" said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mme. Louise Arbour in her closing remarks at the 6th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held at the Palais de Nations, Geneva, on 13th and 14th September 2007. more..

Traditional Handicrafts Manufactures to benefit more

Sep 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that his Government will take all the necessary steps to uplift the local handy craft industry and to preserve the industry. This was highlighted by the President Rajapaksa while addressing the winners of the Shilpa-2006 handicraft, small and medium scale industry national exhibition who were offered the opportunity of visiting India in appreciation and encouragement of their contribution to the industry. more..

Steps to upgrade the livelihood of prisoners and their families

Sep 15 (GDI) Addressing at a function organized to celebrate the Prisoners Welfare Day for the ninth successive year held in Colombo Prisons Commissioner General Brigadier Vajira Wijegunawardena said that the Government has taken special concern on the issue of welfare facilities of prisoners and their families. The function was organized by the Prisons Department. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals seen recovering with easing of travel advisories

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka is confident of achieving its target of attracting 600,000 tourists this year following the relaxation of travel advisories in key markets, tourist board officials say. "We are confident that this year, looking at the progress we have, we'll be able to achieve 600,000 tourists for this year," S. Kalaiselvan, director general of Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) told LBO. more..

Sri Lanka government on track to complete computer linking

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka is on track to complete computer networking of 200 government offices, the state information technology agency said. The Lanka Government Network project hopes to connect 325 ministries, departments, provincial councils, district and divisional secretariats by the year-end the ICT agency said. The ICTA has also developed High-level Information Security Policy for the government. more..

Three-wheeler as effective advertising medium

Sep 15 (LNP) After a prolonged study, substantiated by a research survey, `Rolling Wheels`, the latest media institution, was launched at a media briefing held on Thursday, at the Sea Food Restaurant in Colombo. `We are launching this initiative with a dual purpose: The first is to introduce Sri Lanka`s first media based on the use of the three-wheeler and secondly to enhance the quality of life of the community of three-wheel drivers and owners`, more..

Couple arrested with 150 walkie-talkies

Sep 15 (LNP) Police yesterday arrested a couple, whose identity was not disclosed and seized 150 walkie-talkies from their possession following a raid on a house close to Colombo. The couple was being questioned at length as they had made contradictory statements, police said. They were living in a house owned by a Sri Lankan domiciled abroad and claimed that the owner had sent the walkie-talkies to them, police said. more..

Special programme to promote Ceylon Tea

Sep 15 (LNP) An international programme to promote Sri Lankan tea across the world would be implemented shortly. The promotional work would be done methodically with the participation of Sri Lankan embassy network. Under this programme, an agent from each Sri Lankan embassy will be trained in tea promotion aspects and deployed. The promotions would be categorised in to three aspects as Generic promotion, Uni-national promotion and Brand promotion. more..

A case for closing down prisons

Sep 15 (LNP) Our ancestors` love and thirst for learning were such that they likened the closing down of a seat of learning to the opening of a dungeon. (We don`t give two hoots about folk wisdom, do we? That`s why we are where we are?on the fast track to a failed state. In a country known for ancient engineering marvels and many other achievements that were made possible by a huge reservoir of knowledge and a work ethic that our forebears were blessed with, more..

GMOA accuses Minister of double-dealing

Sep 15 (SAMN) Another showdown is imminent in the health sector with the GMOA accusing Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva of going back on his decision to give postings to Medical graduates based on the merit list. As a means of easing the acute shortage of doctors in the north and east, the Health Ministry had originally decided to appoint Jaffna University’s medical graduates to hospitals in the two provinces. more..

Siyarata stays with UNP

Sep 15 (SAMN) The Colombo Commercial High Court Friday issued an order preventing UNP’s official newspaper “Siyarata” being published by anyone other than the UNP. UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, and Egodage Nihal Abeysekera filed the application under the Intellectual Property Act citing R. M. D. Sirisena as the defendant. more..

Weerawila A’port: Five firms shortlisted

Sep 15 (SAMN) The Government has shortlisted five companies for taking up the construction of Sri Lanka’s second international airport at Weerawila. The five companies including contractors from Japan, Germany and Singapore will be shortly considered by the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) to select the most eligible contractor for the project, a spokesman for the Ports and Aviation Ministry said. more..

No plans for separate district in East

Sep 15 (SAMN) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya said the Government has no plans to carve out a separate district in the Eastern Province nor settle five thousand families from a particular community. The Minister was speaking at a meeting at the Trincomalee District Secretariat during his Eastern tour. “There is no truth in the claims that the Muslims of Kantalai were going to be resettled in Kinnia,” Minister Jayasuriya said. more..

Four-storeyed building in Maharagama gutted by fire

Sep 15 (DN) A four storeyed building housing a photo studio close to the Training College at Maharagama was gutted yesterday by a fire which erupted around 11.00 am, causing injury to 15 including three women who tried to escape by jumping out of the third floor. They were rushed to the Kalubowila Base Hospital. According to Police, the fire which broke out in the morning caused heavy damage to the building and goods. more..

Wide support for political settlement - poll

Sep 15 (DN) A deliberative poll result showed that there was wide spread support for a political solution involving the LTTE within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. It also showed the distrust towards the LTTE by Sinhala and Muslim communities with 84 per cent support for a military defeat to the LTTE. The poll carried out by the Marga Institute in collaboration with the National Peace Council with a sample size of 1800 from 18 districts more..

Anwar Ismail passes away

Sep 15 (DM) Non-Cabinet Irrigation Minister and national list parliamentarian Anwar Ismail passed away on Thursday night after a prolonged illness. His body was flown to his home town Samanthurai in the early yesterday by helicopter. The 40-year-old minister first entered parliament in 2001 as a member of the SLMC from the Digamadulla district and had earlier served as Deputy Minister of Eastern Infrastructure Development. more..

EDPD - Karuna at loggerheads over latest killing

Sep 15 (DM) The EPDP yesterday blamed the Karuna faction over the killing of one of its associates in the East and claimed that it showed once again the violent acts being carried out by the armed group. The Karuna faction however denies any involvement in the killing. Vellayutham Illeyarajah was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Valachchenai, Batticaloa on Thursday. However the EPDP, in leaflets distributed in Batticaloa, blamed the Karuna faction for the killing and said the time has now come to bring Karuna under control. more..

Jayasuriya stars in Sri Lankan win

Sep 15 (CI) The new-ball bowlers bowled canny spells to set the game up, and despite a swashbuckling 62 from Ross Taylor, it was Sri Lanka that romped to an seven-wicket victory at the Wanderers to maintain their perfect record in the competition, and illustrate just why they are so highly favoured to go all the way. Once again, it was Sanath Jayasuriya that blazed the trail with a punishing 44-ball 61, and there was a delightful cameo of 37 at the end from Mahela Jayawardene as New Zealand were contemptuously swept aside. more..

Nedumaran calls off fast following Karunanidhi's assurance

Sep 15 (TOI) Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P Nedumaran called off his indefinite fast here on Saturday evening, after PMK founder S Ramadoss met him and conveyed Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's assurance to take steps for sending relief materials to suffering Tamils in Sri Lanka. Nedumaran told reporters that he was calling off the fast accepting the Chief Minister's assurance conveyed through Ramadoss. more..

Military: Bomb, clashes kill 29 across northern Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (AP) A roadside bomb blast and clashes between soldiers and secessionist Tamil Tiger guerrillas across Sri Lanka's volatile north have killed 29 people, the military said Saturday. A bus with soldiers was hit by a bomb planted by the rebels Friday night in the northern Jaffna peninsula, killing two soldiers and wounding seven others, an official at the Defense Ministry's information center said. more..

A State of Injustice

Sep 16 (AT) The Rajapakse administration is resisting the LTTE, as it should; as it must. The Navy’s destruction of three Tiger weapons ships last week symbolises the government’s readiness to take on the LTTE. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about its willingness to treat civilian Tamils with justice. The living conditions of the North-Eastern Tamils continue to deteriorate, plagued by devastating scarcities and frightening security concerns. more..

Prabhakaran plummets from peak to pit

Sep 16 (AT) Velupillai Prabhakaran had reached the peak of his power by Christmas day of 2004 – a turning point in his political career. He had come along way from that fateful day in 1975 when he got his first Tamil scalp by killing Alfred Duraiyappah, the mild-mannered Mayor of Jaffna. On the way from 1975 to Christmas Day in 2004 he had climbed over mountains of Tamil corpses to reach that peak. more..

Norway arming and financing LTTE through Eriteria, Prabhakaran offered asylum in Eriteria

Sep 16 (AT) Arms and Funds to the LTTE from Norway through Eriteria? It is no longer a conjecture. A top Sri Lankan government minister confirmed this even as the US State Department has said that Eriteria is supporting directly LTTE. In a wide ranging interview to Asian Tribune, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Chief Government Whip, disclosed that Norway was providing arms and money to LTTE through Eritrea. more..

Mahinda listens to Ministers' misdeeds, but silent on public woes - Ranil

Sep 16 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today (September 14th) accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of double-dealings, saying that he was persuading other ministers to criticise their colleague Mervyn Silva, while at the same time exerting pressure through his Rajapaksa Brothers' Company to prepare false B Reports in support of the Labour Minister. more..

Sri Lanka struggling to reach inflation target: economist

Sep 16 (LBO) A World Bank economist said Sri Lanka should trim the budget deficit if it wanted to achieve eight percent economic growth and monetary policy should be tightened to reduce inflation. "Unfortunately I think policy makers are not quite clear about what the objectives are in terms of setting the interest rates, the exchange rate," Senior World Bank economist Ismail Radwan in Colombo said more..

Sri Lanka says military campaign needed for stability and investment

Sep 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's defence establishment has told the business community that it was working to a plan to defeat Tamil Tiger terrorism that would create the stability they needed for investment. "For you to do your business, first there must be a country," Gothabhaya Rajapakse, Secretary to the Defence Ministry, was quoted as saying in a statement. more..

An impeachment against President if UNP comes to power, says Aththanayaka

Sep 16 (LeN) A people mandate to UNP will not only decide the perimeters of the President but can also be followed by an impeachment or a campaign urging the President to resign, said the UNP General Secretary Thissa Aththanayaka. When a weekend newspaper enquired from him if an executive President from another party would not hamper a future UNP government, as happened in the past, the UNP General Secretary said that the same follies would not be repeated. more..

Customs duty on Jaffna foodstuff lifted

Sep 16 (GDI) The government has taken steps to abolish customs duties on foodstuff to bring down the price of food items in the Jaffna Peninsula. This decision was taken at a meeting held between officials of the Defence Ministry, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES), Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda said. more..

Archbishop commends Govt's move to resettle displaced families in East

Sep 16 (GDI) The Secretary of the Congregation of Divine Mercy of the Sacrament Archbishop, Rt. Rev. Dr Malcolm Ranjith commended the Government's move to resettle displaced families in the Eastern Province when he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at President's House last week. During the discussion they exchanged views about the development programs launched by the government to upgrade the living conditions of the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. more..

Nedumaran ends protest fast over aborted passage across Palk Straits

Sep 16 (FI) Pazhaniappan Nedumaran the 74 year old leader of India’s “Thamizhar Desiya Iyakkam” (Tamil National Movement) has commenced a fast unto death campaign in the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai. Nedumaran’s fast is an act of protest against the alleged conduct of both the state government of Chief minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi and the Central govt of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. more..

KP the LTTE arms procurer Chief remains elusive

Sep 16 (TC) “They seek him here;they seek him there; they seek him everywhere”. These lines from a doggerel about the scarlet pimpernel perfectly sums up the life and times of KP - the elusive chief procurer of arms and armaments for the LTTE. The latest round of excitement is over the reported arrest of the man in Thailand. New Delhi and Colombo are supposedly requesting Bangkok to extradite KP to their respective countries. But there is a hitch. more..

News leak botched vital follow-up of KP arrest

Sep 16 (LNP) With Thailand`s controversial decision to disown the recent arrest of LTTE frontliner Tharmalingam Shanmughan alias Kumaran Padmanathan, Sri Lanka has missed a golden opportunity to unravel the LTTE`s vast global procurement network built on what a military official called "a foundation laid by India." The official asserted that this was a serious setback to their efforts to further weaken the enemy`s overseas network which had been dealt a crippling blow due to more..

President to welcome fighting fleet in Trinco

Sep 16 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to be in Trincomalee early this week to welcome Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) returning from what Navy Chief Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda called the SLN`s biggest triumph in the entire Eelam conflict. The government is believed to be planning a media blitz with the state media expected to be at the Trincomalee SLN base in full strength. The private media too has been invited to cover the event. more..

Upgrading rooms to get priority in $ 2 mn. refurbishing at Hilton

Sep 16 (LNP) The Colombo Hilton Hotel is undertaking a US$ 2 million refurbishment utilizing accumulated funds held in the furniture, fittings and equipment reserve of Hotel Developers (Lanka) Limited, the Hilton`s owning company. Hotel Developers have told the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) that in terms of the management agreement between itself and Hilton International which manages the Colombo Hilton, a sum equivalent to US$ 700,000, more..

Gods row minister offers to quit

Sep 16 (BBC) India's culture minister has offered to resign in a row over whether Hindu gods are mythological figures. Officials had presented the argument in court to support construction plans for an area devotees believe has remnants of a bridge built by the Hindu god Ram. Minister Ambika Soni said she would quit if asked to by the prime minister. more..

Prime slot at UN, but at what cost?

Sep 16 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has got the traditional prime-time speaking slot on the opening day of this year's United Nations General Assembly sessions, being the first speaker in the afternoon. Sri Lanka has long been the recipient of this slot. Traditionally, the US President also gets an opening day address. Both President Rajapaksa and President George Bush will speak on Tuesday, September 25. more..

General strike in the offing

Sep 16 (SAMN) The United National Party (UNP) is exploring the possibility of launching a general strike on the ground that the government is interfering with the rights of the trade unions. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had spoken to Ceylon Workers’ Congress Leader Arumugam Thondaman to persuade him to support the opposition’s cause. It is reported that Thondaman is keeping his options open. more..

Politics rule diplomatic world

Sep 16 (SAMN) Senior diplomats are criticising attempts to fill vacant second and third tier slots - as well as many other positions - in overseas missions with political appointees, saying it is “a severe and unprecedented politicisation” of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic machinery. At least 12 political appointees are awaiting Cabinet approval for postings in foreign missions. Among them is an octogenarian who is tipped to be sent to Manila. more..

MEP, JHU to return to APRC

Sep 16 (SAMN) The two political parties which withdrew their support from the All Party Representatives Committee have agreed to work within the framework of the proposals discussed. APRC ran into trouble a few weeks back when the MEP and JHU said they were dissatisfied over the manner in which the meetings were conducted. The MEP which participated at all the meetings, withdrew from the Committee saying the Committee was following its own agenda leaving out key issues which needed to be discussed. more..

State land given to the affluent

Sep 16 (SO) State land valued at Rs 150 million belonging to the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) in Pallekale Gam Udawa grounds has been distributed among affluent people on the pretext of allocating them for landless people in the area, a spokesman for the Presidential Investigation Unit (PIU) told the Sunday Observer. This land has been released by the NHDA to "The Vijaya Nivasa Cooperative Society", a society formed under the Vijaya Kumaratunga Memorial Foundation to help landless people in the area, he said. more..