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Provincial Council system will solve national problem - EPDP

Sep 16 (SO) The EPDP says that the national problem can only be solved by implementing the Provincial Council system, which would not pave the way for a separate land as agreed by all political parties in the democratic stream. The EPDP Leader and Minister of Social Services Douglas Devananda told the 'Sunday Observer' that a political solution could be found in a three phased system where power could be devolved at provincial council level to give the correct leadership to the people. more..

Another plantation strike will have dire consequences - Ravi Peiris

Sep 16 (SO) The tea industry will face adverse consequences and will be unable to recover from the colossal loss if plantation employees resort to another strike backed by Trade Unions, said Director General, Employers' Federation of Ceylon Ravi Peiris. He said the tea industry has not recovered yet from the colossal loss it suffered due to the previous strike and its adverse effects which ran into billions of rupees. more..

Education as a tool of rehabilitation and integration

Sep 16 (SO) As kith and kin of the inmates assemble in a long queue at the entrance to the Welikada prison, waiting for their turn to visit the inmates, Sri Lanka marked yet another Prison Welfare Day, leaving behind manifold issues to be solved. A gamut of officials from rough handling police officers to the charming and ever smiling welfare officers constitute the live-wire that runs the system of prisons in Sri Lanka which is more or less modeled on the British Prison system. more..

State banks to foot bill for soldiers houses

Sep 16 (NS) Three state banks have been asked by the Central Bank to allocate Rs. 6 billion for a housing project for service personnel, The Nation reliably learns. The Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, and the National Savings Bank have each been informed by Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal to allocate Rs. 2 billion each for the project. more..

CWC withdraws from collective agreement

Sep 16 (NS) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) has immediately withdrawn from the collective agreement it signed with the plantation companies and the labour department. The decision has already been conveyed to the employers federation and the labour department through a letter signed by CWC leader and former minister, Arumugam Thondaman. more..

Judiciary stands tall amidst political scum

Sep 16 (NS) In most countries with a decent political culture, Silva would have had to resign and consigned to the dustbin of history. Not so in Sri Lanka. Silva is not merely tolerated, he is elevated to ministerial status and what’s more, has a doctorate to flaunt. In this respect, one heartening change witnessed is the proactive stance taken by the Supreme Court. However, the judiciary cannot remedy all the ills of a nation. more..

Govt in quandary as people support the UNP

Sep 16 (NS) The main question today is whether the UNP and its latest ally, the SLFP(M), can take on the government at the next budget as expected. This question is being asked not only in UNP circles, but by the masses who have rallied around the UNP, hoping to create a major mid -term upset by forcing the government to dissolve Parliament. The UNP’s Getembe Convention called upon the government to announce fresh elections, since people were undergoing tremendous hardships under the present regime. more..

Pistol packing Minister enters Canadian HC, demands Visa for son

Sep 16 (LB) The notorious gun-toting Minister who was involved with his son in several notorious incidents last week and in the past - - and who threatened to shoot ‘everybody in his path’ a couple of days back -- created an unprecedented stir when he walked into the Canadian High Commission at week’s end with a pistol in hand, demanding a Visa for his son. more..

Elephant crossing expected

Sep 16 (LB) Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge kicked off last week’s Cabinet meeting saying that the first proposal to be approved was the presentation of an elephant to Romania. “Our temples and devalas are also asking for elephants,” President Rajapaksa replied. “How can we send elephants abroad without giving them some elephants.” “Don’t worry sir, we will get a herd of elephants after November,” said Mano Wijeratne. more..

It’s the best form of defence, but is attack the only form of attack?

Sep 16 (LB) It’s more than mere rumour that President Rajapaksa met the opposition leader’s confidante Malik Samarawickreme at a rugby encounter in the hills last week. Said the President to Samarawickreme: “Go tell your leader that his politics is getting far too personal these days.” So, it has been noticed...and as if anybody wouldn’t anyway, listening to the way Ranil has been carrying on these days. more..

Thai capers and mid-sea mysteries

Sep 16 (LB) It has been a cat and mouse game in the seas and underground arms bazaars, yet, the elusive arms smugglers of the LTTE have always been a step ahead of the law enforcing authorities It was as early as 1984, when the rest of the Tamil militant groups were relying solely on India, that Prabhakaran sent his erstwhile colleague Shanmugan Kumaran Tharmalingam to device an arms supply network for the nascent guerrilla movement. more..

US Senate turns against Lanka

Sep 16 (ST) It is a week where security considerations overshadowed political events. That is both in Sri Lanka and abroad. Main among them was the hitherto unpublicised vote in the United States Senate on September 6 approving the State Department Appropriations. Section 690 of the document said: "None of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading 'Foreign Military Financing Programme' may be made available for assistance for Sri Lanka, more..

My story behind the story - By Iqbal Athas

Sep 16 (ST) That evening, August 15 2007, I had returned home after a meeting with Norway's then Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Hans Brattskar. It was two fold - Firstly, I wished him farewell on his departure at the end of his tour of duty. Secondly, I extended my thanks to the Governments of Indonesia and Norway for inviting me to the second Global Inter-Media Dialogue in Oslo in June this year. I had been meeting him in the months before mostly over this event; giving some views, which I felt, would be useful. more..

UNP goes to pola today

Sep 16 (ST) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced the launch of a non-violent direct action campaign against the government starting today titled Dukha Nivana Aragalaya. Their first act today will be to distribute anti-government propaganda material at Sunday polas (fairs) throughout the country, to be followed by a call for mobile phone users not to use their phones for two hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow in protest against the government's recent decision to impose increased taxes on mobile phones and other commodities. more..

Nightclub fracas still in the dark

Sep 16 (ST) As investigations into the case of non-cabinet rank labour minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka Silva allegedly pistol-whipping an accountant continued, attempts by prison authorities on Friday to get the suspect transferred from a private hospital to the prison hospital failed. Prison officials were expecting to transfer him on Friday, but at the last minute a court order prevented the move, with the Mount Lavinia Magistrate Court calling for a medical report to be presented on Monday, more..

Rizana Case: No Date Set for Minister’s Visit

Sep 16 (AN) A date for the forthcoming visit by Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Keheliya Rambukwella has not been set. Rambukwella is planning to meet if possible with the parents of an infant who died while under the care of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan woman facing the death penalty for murder. The maid, whom the parents accuse of murdering their newborn during her second week on the job, contends that the death of the baby was accidental, that the baby died from choking during a bottle-feeding session. more..

Grand idea, ill-judged words, engulf India in religious furor

Sep 16 (AP) For the new India and its booming economy, the idea seemed eminently sensible: Dredge a shipping channel between India and the nearby island of Sri Lanka, cutting voyages between the subcontinent's coasts by up to 30 hours. What could religion possibly have to do with it? Everything, it turns out. The project has set off a blistering debate about who created the shoals and sand to be dredged: Mother Nature, or the Hindu god Rama. more..

UN human rights officials to visit Sri Lanka

Sep 16 (TN) Three top Human Rights officials are expected to visit Sri Lanka in the first two weeks of October and December this year to look into human rights issues in Sri Lanka. UNP Special Rapporteaur against Torture, Manfred Nowak, will be in Colombo from October 1 to 8 and High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour from October 8 to13. more..

46 civilians arrested in Dehiwala, Gampaha

Sep 16 (TN) Seventeen civilians, majority of them Tamils, were arrested in a combined cordon and search operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and police in Dehiwala in Colombo district from Saturday night to Sunday dawn, sources in Colombo said. Police said the suspects were taken into custody on receipt of information that movement of some strangers in the area had been noted. more..

Stir for fishermen's release from Lankan custody continues

Sep 16 (UNI) More than 2,500 boats and 10,000 fishermen in Rameswaram did not venture out into the sea for the second day today, demanding release of 10 Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel on September 11. The fishermen associations had announced a five-day stir from yesterday to draw the attention of the Central and State Governments to arrive at a permanent solution to this problem. more..

Rebels and Army exchange mortars in north Sri Lanka

Sep 16 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan Army and the Tamil Tiger rebels have exchanged mortar fire in the north of the island, defense officials said Sunday. The LTTE rebels fired mortars at the Army at Kokkuthuduwai area in the Welioya district bordering north with the east around 7:30 p.m. Saturday (1400 GMT), officials said. The Army retaliated with mortar fire. No damages and casualties on both sides not known, officials said. more..

‘Whodunit’ via Legal Passage

Sep 17 (TW) As a teenager, I could remember a cricket match played at the Colombo Oval between a team of Ceylonese cricketers and a team from Australia. I couldn’t watch the match as I was living in Maddakkalappu and there was no TV in the late 1940s. I was a keen cricket enthusiast then. Famous Aussie cricketers like Don Bradman, Keith Miller, Arthur Morris, Ray Lindwall, Neil Harvey and the like and from Lanka (it was Ceylon then), there were big guns then M. Sathasivam, Saram, C.I.Gunasekera, more..

On restructuring the Sri Lankan State

Sep 17 (FI) The need to restructure the Sri Lankan State is widely acknowledged by all concerned persons, who are disgusted with the lack of progress in all major fields-social, economic and political-during the past several decades, except the Sinhala extreme nationalists who want to transform it permanently into an exclusive Sinhala Buddhist nation. more..

He found 'gold' in mountain streams

Sep 17 (AT) Monday September 17 marks the 133rd birth anniversary of one of Sri Lanka's greatest sons – Devapura Jayasena Wimalasurendra, father of the island's hydro-electrical power. Yet, 54 years after his death around 40 percent of the country's population still does not have electricity, although work on Sri Lanka first hydro-power project the began in 1940 - before the British left our shores! more..

The games Norwegians play

Sep 17 (AT) Norway’s partiality to the Tamil Tigers is now well documented. To recap the key point, let me quote from my analysis of two years ago in a widely reproduced article titled Lanka’s New Nordic Overlords: Norway’s sinister agenda bodes ill for Lanka. Behind the suave façade beats the heart of a marauding Viking on a power trip. It is time to learn the lessons from the long history of European subterfuge, for those who refuse to do so are doomed to repeat them. more..

Sri Lanka in a bid to increase its market share of Tea in Canada

Sep 17 (AT) Sri Lanka is vigorously trying to increase its market share in tea in North America’s second largest market of Canada by ten percent in the coming year says the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa. “Within the next one year Ceylon tea imports to Canada can be easily increased from the present level of USD 8 million by ten percent ,” said the Trade Secretary Susiri Kumararatne of the Sri Lanka High Commission of Ottawa more..

IDPs settled 'away from home'

Sep 17 (BBC) Tamil parliamentarians in Sri Lanka accused the authorities of resettling Internally Displaced People (IDP) away from their ancestral homes. Trincomalee district legislator K Thurairatnam said refugees from Eachchalampattu were resettled in Udappukerni and Sinnakulam on Saturday. "These peoiple were not even provided with basic facilities such as toilets and water," he told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

'Weakening of LTTE gives an advantage to Sri Lanka in finding a political solution'

Sep 17 (Hindu) Emphasising the urgent need on the part of the Sri Lanka government to follow up the recent military gains in the east with “imaginative and sound political programmes,” the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N. Ram, on Saturday maintained that the apparent weakening of the LTTE gives a major advantage to the government in pushing through a political solution to the ethnic conflict. more..

It will be an exhibition of skills, says Jayawardene

Sep 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene anticipates a keen contest between explosive batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and Pakistan’s pace bowler Mohammad Asif when the two teams meet in the Super Eights match of the ICC World Twenty20, here today (Monday) at the New Wanderers stadium. “I think much will depend how Jayasuriya handles Asif and if he overcomes him (Asif) then we can make a big difference against Pakistan,” he said on Sunday. more..

Power-packed Sri Lanka face toughest test

Sep 17 (CI) Sri Lanka have been one of the in-form teams in this tournament, quelling with ease challenges from Kenya and New Zealand, but Pakistan, who beat them in a warm-up match, could offer a tougher challenge. Of late, Pakistan have had the measure of the Sri Lankans, losing just two of the last ten ODIs between them, and while Sri Lanka will still start off as favourites, there could be an upset on the cards. more..

Lanka bid to take costly loan flayed

Sep 17 (HT) A leading Sri Lankan economist has joined the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, in opposing the Mahinda Rajapksa government's bid to take an expensive and short term $500 million commercial loan to fund infrastructure projects when less expensive and long term loans, more suited to infrastructural projects, are available. The Leader of the Opposition has threatened to cancel the loan if his party comes to power. more..

Pragmatic Political Programme of the EPDP

Sep 17 (ISL) It is very unfortunate that over the past 60 years, the Sinhala and Tamil leadership have failed to arrive at a mechanism through which the different communities of the country could share power. As a result, Sri Lanka, which was a role model for other developing countries in terms of education, health and other qualities of life indicators, has now come to the brink of destruction. more..

Sri Lanka busts US$250mn to prop up exchange rate

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has spent more than 200 million US dollars to prop up the rupee during the past four months in an intervention campaign analysts say helped worsen exchange and demand pressure. In August alone when intervention was at its heaviest the bank had busted up 105.6 million dollars to prop up the exchange rate, the latest data shows. In July the bank spent 50 million dollars and in June 29.9 million on a net basis, totaling 197.2 million spent for the quarter. more..

Mavilaru compensation case suspects further remanded

Sep 17 (LD) Five suspects, including the former Chairman of the Agrarian Insurance Board Namal Ratnayake, have been remanded further until October 01st, on the charge of misappropriation of state funds. They are accused of swindling more than Rs. 8.8 million meant for the payment of compensation to farmers who lost their paddy crops following the closure of the Mavilaru Sluice Gates a few years ago. more..

Thamilselvan warns LTTE’s patience is wearing thin

Sep 17 (LD) Archbishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith, Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph and Vicar General of Ratnapura and National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka, Rev. Damian Piyasiri Fernando, met with the LTTE Political Wing leader Thamilselvan Last Thursday (September 13th ) to discuss the plight of the forsaken people of the Madu area of Mannar. more..

CEB employees to launch month-long protests tomorrow

Sep 17 (LD) The United Trade Union Alliance of the Ceylon Electricity Board has decided to launch a series of month-long protests in main towns tomorrow (September 18th) to press for five demands. Its requests include the granting of five salary increment, annual salary increments as well as the Cost of Living allowance for all CEB employees. The CEB trade union alliance also wants five units of electricity free of charge per day for all employees. more..

The church in Sri Lanka must wake up

Sep 17 (ISL) The email is a great medium to discuss issues of concern across lands and continents. Unwittingly, we have created a group with roots in Jaffna for generations that is very concerned about the happenings with the church (JDCSI) that is very special and precious to us. On the feature on our second rung pastors, the Upethesiars and Pirasangiars, a university don reacted that tears rolled out from his eyes on to his cheeks. more..

Sri Lankan plantations firms call for more land security

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's plantations companies have called for greater security of land on which they grow export crops like tea to ensure more investment in the upkeep of estates and factory modernization. Planters' Association (PA) chairman Kavi Seneviratne said new investments were urgently required to maintain estates in good cropping conditions and to modernise tea factories to meet new food safety standards demanded by consumers. more..

Sri Lanka's Galadari Hotel to convert govt debt into equity

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's debt laden five star city hotel Galadari Hotels will be converting a 534 million rupee government loan into equity given the difficulties it has faced in repaying the debt. But analysts said that given the size of the hotel's debt, most of which is owed to the Galadari family, converting low interest government debt into equity would not have much impact on its bottom line. more..

Government to manage estate hospitals

Sep 17 (GDI) Signifying a major development of the free healthcare system in the country the Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition has taken a decisive step forward to take over 110 estate hospitals under the administration of the Government. Accordingly from January next year (2008) the estate hospitals which are at present run by provincial councils will come under the administration of the central Government. more..

Sri Lanka safe for tourists - French security analysts

Sep 17 (GDI) The Securite Sans Frontieres (SSF), a leading French security analyst firm stated that Sri Lankan places of tourist attraction are safe for foreign tourists. The SSF arrived at this conclusion after an evaluation conducted over a period of 12 days covering various tourism sites, hotel infrastructures, airport and other forms of transport as well as general conditions of security -(political, social, health and weather- in Sari Lanka. more..

President instructs to increase facilities in universities

Sep 17 (GDI) Additional funds will be allocated to increase facilities for in universities. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Minister of State Revenue Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and the Secretary of the Treasury Dr.P.B.Jayasundara to allocate more funds to be utilized for the education and welfare of university students. more..

16 production villages in East to uplift industries

Sep 17 (GDI) With the aim of fast tracking the industrial development in the recently liberated East the Government has sketched plans to introduce 16 production villages to the region under the ‘Eastern Reawakening Programme’. Under this programme the priority will be given to improve various types of demandable and value added business for the benefit of people in Ampara, Trincomalee and Batticaloa. more..

Lankan performers, jewels dazzle Koreans

Sep 17 (GDI) How do you thank the Korean people and Government for 30 years of diplomatic relations? You throw a party. The Sri Lankan Embassy did just that by bringing in a series of cultural and modern performers not only to entertain but to show off their country’s rich heritage. But it didn’t stop there. There were also four chefs from one of Sri Lankan’s premier hotels to whip up delicacies for a food fair which will be reciprocated with a Korean food fair in Sri Lanka early next year. more..

President Felicitates SL navy in Trinco

Sep 17 (GDI) Speaking on the victory of the Sri Lankan Navy in destroying three LTTE navel warehouses in south eastern seas, the Secretary to the Defence Gotabhya Rajapaksa emphasised that this was not an instance of one community outdoing another. “It is a fight against ruthless terrorism,” he said. Speaking further, the Secretary added that the Sri Lankan forces were determined to eliminate terrorism as it is a humanitarian urgency and not with any intention of causing loss of life to any. more..

President confident masses would back him

Sep 17 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa challenged the United National Party (UNP) to topple the duly elected Government on the forth-coming budget if possible. Addressing a mammoth Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) rally yesterday (16) in Kegalle he said that he is fully confidence of the support of the majority in parliament. “My government is doing all it could in the interest of the rural masses,” President said. more..

Schools to have a new Grade 14 class for English and IT education

Sep 17 (LNP) Deputy Minister of Higher Education M.M. Mustafa says that a proposal to set up a new grade 14 class in government schools will be mooted soon. The new class will entirely facilitate English and IT education for the students who have taken the G.C.E. (Advanced Level) examination. The Minister said that he would discuss the proposal with the President before it would be submitted to the committee appointed to revise the policies pertaining to higher education. more..

Power Ministry: Workers demand bribes to provide new connections

Sep 17 (LNP) The Power and Energy Ministry has decided to seek the Bribery Commission`s help to nab some employees attached to CEB Regional Electrical Engineer Offices soliciting bribes from would-be electricity consumers to expedite the process. CEB employees including clerks and peons attached to offices at Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, Kirulapona, Kataragama, Moneragala and Badulla are alleged to have solicited bribes. more..

When will teachers ever learn?

Sep 17 (LNP) The Supreme Court has hammered home the message to teachers that they should not protest at the expense of innocent children. They needn`t have gone all the way to the apex court to learn that lesson. They could have learnt it from the much maligned private bus crews, whom their employers once called thirisannu (or wild beasts) because of their callous disregard for the commuting public. more..

Bikini cricket for young farts

Sep 17 (LNP) The future of cricket flaunts a six-pack, camo pants, a bandanna and a bra-top, and she would surely be arrested if she swung her hips like that on a Sunday afternoon in Senekal. If she did so in the International Cricket Council (ICC) boardroom there would be pink gin splutters all over the plush carpeting. But not because the guardians of the grand old game would be shocked. more..