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JVP-UNP tie-up in the offing?

Sep 17 (SAMN) Strengthening speculations that the formation of a new political alliance in Sri Lanka is in the offing, with JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe hinting at the possibility of working together with the main opposition UNP to decide the future of the country. “There is a possibility that we could work together as both parties want to see the end of this government. The JVP does not completely oppose the UNP. more..

No media independence in draft policy

Sep 17 (SAMN) Article 19 and the Centre for Policy Alternatives have urged government to either drop entirely the idea of developing a media policy or to restart the process from the beginning through a broad consultation with interested stakeholders to determine what such a policy should contain. The two organisations made this request in a Joint Submission to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information on its Proposed National Media Policy (draft Policy), released on 22 August 2007. more..

Budget support: JVP undecided

Sep 17 (SAMN) The politbureau of the JVP has decided to take the decision on the 2008 budget after it is presented to parliament. It has also been decided to pay special attention on the measures to be taken by the government, party sources said. The politbureau of the JVP has decided to take the decision on the 2008 budget after it is presented to parliament. It has also been decided to pay special attention on the measures to be taken by the government, party sources said. more..

Muslim leaders should be united: TNA

Sep 17 (SAMN) TNA leader R. Sampanthan called on the Muslim leadership to be united and also for Tamils at this hour to face pressure mounted by 'ultra- nationalistic' elements that, to some extent, are influential in the decision making process of the present government. Delivering the keynote address at the seventh Commemoration of late SLMC leader M.H.M. Ashraff, the TNA leader said that he was not referring derogatorily to any particular Muslim leader when making this call. more..

Lanka-Austria to avoid double taxation

Sep 17 (DN) Negotiations for entering into a bilateral treaty between Sri Lanka and Austria for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion concluded last week. DIRECTOR GENERAL International Tax and Customs Department Federal Ministry of Finance Austria Dr Wolfgang Nolz said this initiative would boost bilateral trade between Austria and Sri Lanka. more..

'Govt will endure conspiracies and become stronger'

Sep 17 (DN) The Government will go ahead with its development programmes undaunted by a number of conspiracies afoot to topple it and become stronger, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday. Minister Sirisena was addressing a public rally in Kegalle, attended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and senior ministers. “We are not at all perturbed by these developments. Many elements have attempted to topple SLFP-led Governments in the past, but all such attempts were defeated. more..

Indian spymaster speculates whether KP whisked away by FBI

Sep 17 (DM) Adding further confusion to the alleged arrest of top LTTE international operative Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) in Thailand, a former head of the counter terrorism unit at the Indian intelligence agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) B. Raman has speculated whether KP had been whisked away by the FBI to be questioned by them on the LTTE's links with Al Qaeda. more..

Govt. will deal with Mervyn: Jeyaraj

Sep 17 (DM) The government is to take ‘appropriate’ action against Labour Minister Mervin Silva, who had allegedly entered the Canadian High Commission office in Colombo and demanded a visa for his son, the Chief Government Whip said yesterday. Senior Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernadopulle said he would discuss the alleged unbecoming behaviour of Minister Mervin Silva with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and take appropriate action to discipline him. more..

Sethusamudram canal may disturb endangered turtles: expert

Sep 17 (IANS) The Sethusamudram shipping canal project off Tamil Nadu may disturb thousands of endangered Olive Ridley turtles that come every winter to Orissa for mass nesting. There is both support and opposition to the construction of a canal in the sea dividing India and Sri Lanka. The project will enable vessels to save time taken to circumnavigate Sri Lanka while sailing between India's west and east. more..

Myanmar state overseas liner to run Sri Lanka service

Sep 17 (Xinhua) Myanmar's state-owned overseas liner, the Myanmar Five Star Lines (MFSL), will introduce its cargo transportation service to Sri Lanka soon to mark the opening of direct sea link between the two countries to boost bilateral trade ties, the local Flower News reported Monday. With rice and timber as main cargo along with other available goods, the MFSL will add the schedule which is being worked out, the report said. more..

Sri Lanka to party for 'biggest' naval success

Sep 17 (AFP) Navy chiefs in Sri Lanka organised a party to welcome back teams involved in what they claim was the government's biggest success to date against Tamil separatists. The six patrol craft and their supply ships were reported last week to have sunk three Tamil Tiger gun-running ships in international waters 600 nautical miles (1,100 kilometres) off the island's southeastern coast. more..

Rajapaksa revises stand on unit of devolution

Sep 17 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had earlier favoured the "district" as the unit of devolution, is now understood to favour the "province" as the unit, to accord with the wishes of the minority Tamils and the international community, particularly India. According to informed sources, Rajapaksa told leaders of the ruling alliance recently, that he wanted the "province" to be the "unit of devolution", and the "district" to be the "unit of administration." more..

Crushing rebels is only way to bring peace to Sri Lanka, top defense official says

Sep 17 (AP) The only way to end the island nation's 24-year civil war is to crush the separatist Tamil Tigers with military force, Sri Lanka's top defense official said Monday. Many Sri Lankan politicians, as well as foreign diplomats, have expressed hope that the conflict could be resolved through negotiations to shore up a tattered 2002 cease-fire agreement, and to resolve the Tamil minority's demands for greater recognition. more..

No tie up with UNP: country should not fall from frying pan into fire – Somawansa Amarasinghe

Sep 18 (AT) Somawansa Amarasinghe, said that Mangala Samaraweera, the breakaway fragment of the SLFP, has ruined his future by joining the UNP. He said that the National Congress – a combination of UNP and Samaraweera’s two-man band -- was formed by the desperate UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to grab power. After failing 14 times Wickremesinghe is so desperate that he is prepared to sacrifice his party’s name, its symbol and all what it stood for in the past. more..

Foreign traveler cautiously trickle down to Sri Lanka

Sep 18 (AT) To see any substaintial progress in the tourism industry, the most important and the only prerequisite is to stop the war and to establish peace in the country, as you cannot have good tourism industry in the country, while there is war like the proverb "You can't have the cake and have it". While there are various views are expressed with regard to the present status of the tourist industry in Sri Lanka now, the ground realities are quite different from those views. more..

Lankan navy seized vessel with Pak weapons for India's NE insurgents

Sep 18 (AT) Giving a lie to Pak denials of its links with Northeast India 's insurgent groups, Sri Lankan navy seized a Panamanian registered vessel carrying Pak military supplies to ULFA. The NE insurgent groups generally pick up their military hardware and weapons from the Chittagong port where these are dumped by the supplier. more..

Sri Lankan business gives nod to 'limited' military action against Tigers

Sep 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top business chamber wants to create a lobby group to push for peace but at the same times has acknowledged the necessity for a limited military campaign against Tamil Tigers. Mahen Dayananda, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce chairman, said its leaders had recognized it was almost impossible to separate business from the issue of peace on the island. more..

Pakistan raise allround game in easy win

Sep 18 (CI) Magnificent half-centuries from Shoaib Malik, the captain, and Younis Khan propelled Pakistan to a formidable total and a miserly three-wicket spell from Shahid Afridi then choked the life out of the Sri Lankan chase as they romped to a facile 33-run victory at the Wanderers. Sri Lanka had started superbly, with Dilhara Fernando producing an impeccable spell of 2 for 17, but their subsequent nightmare was best summed up by the plight of the legendary Sanath Jayasuriya, pummelled for 64 in his four overs and then knocked over for just five. more..

Pakistan's all-round performance

Sep 18 (CI) Considering the way the two teams had played so far, not many would have given Pakistan much of a chance against a rampant Sri Lankan side, but certain teams, it would appear, prefer some match-ups to others. Mahela Jayawardene denied at the post-match chat with the media that his team had any specific problems against this opposition, but for Pakistan, Sri Lanka is clearly a good team to play against - there has been a pattern to their one-day matches of late. more..

Bangladesh with their backs to the wall

Sep 18 (CI) After coasting through their first three games, reality hit hard for Sri Lanka following their 33-run defeat to Pakistan at the Wanderers. Their batting, particularly the lower order, was tested and Pakistan emerged deserved victors. Now at third position in Group F, Sri Lanka will be expected to come out blazing against Bangladesh and improve their standing. For Bangladesh, inconsistency has been their biggest worry and after being tamed by Australia, they find themselves at square one. more..

JVP leader says elections should be held in the east

Sep 18 (Hindu) The JVP is of the firm view that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government should hold elections to the provincial council in the east as soon as possible, under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, to consolidate the recent gains made by the military against the LTTE. JVP leader Somawansa Amaresinghe said that though his party was opposed to the 13th Amendment, made as a follow up to the 1987 India-Sri Lanka Accord, it believed that elections in the east would encourage democracy and promote development. more..

Jayawardene hopes Bangladesh less trouble than Pakistan

Sep 18 (Reuters) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene hopes Bangladesh's bowlers will pose fewer problems to his batsmen than Pakistan did in winning Monday's Twenty20 World Cup Super Eights match. Sri Lanka, beaten by Pakistan by 33 runs, play Bangladesh in Johannesburg on Tuesday in a match they need to win to keep their semi-final hopes alive and regain the momentum they had in the group stage. more..

PA PS member & 3 others found guilty of destroying public cemetery

Sep 18 (LD) A People’s Alliance member of the Wennappuwa Pradeshiya Sabha and three others were today (September 17th) found guilty of contempt of court in a case in which they had been accused of destroying a public cemetery at Pothuwatawana. PS member Kithsiri Samarajeewa, K.M. Pushpakumara, Nihal Premasinghe and Daya Ranjith Indrajith were found guilty of breaching an earlier court order. more..

Sri Lanka church assists villagers displaced by war after rescue effort

Sep 18 (UCAN) The Church is supporting Catholic villagers in the northwest who were trapped by fighting but eventually were able to flee while their diocese was trying to arrange safe passage for them. A week after 850 Tamils fled Mullikulam village on foot, the church is providing assistance to them in a nearby area. The displaced people from Mullikulam, a coastal village 270 kilometers (about 170 miles) north of Colombo, are more..

Activists want U.N. rights outpost in Sri Lanka

Sep 18 (Reuters) Human rights activists argued on Monday for a United Nations presence in Sri Lanka to stop abuses they said had spiked due to inaction by authorities since the country's peace process broke down last year. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other groups said a U.N. human rights field office could act as a neutral body to record and look into complaints of kidnappings, disappearances and other abuses in the civil war. more..

Tamil's history of support for Tigers

Sep 18 (TA) AN Australian Tamil accused of raising funds to support terrorism told immigration officials 10 years ago he was aligned to the Tamil Tigers separatist group. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy - who is charged with being a member of the alleged terror group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam - revealed in a refugee application that he had supported the group for years before fleeing Sri Lanka for fear of persecution. more..

Unitary State is An Obsolete Concept Now

Sep 18 (FI) A few days, or perhaps a fortnight ago, there was an article about the possible outcome of the APRC that I wish to engage with for two main reasons. One for it raised the issue of a “unitary State” and two, because it discussed about “devolution” of powers, both in very linear form. Two concepts that were treated as issues that keep political parties divided at the APRC. While it is so, the two concepts or terms have more reasons and confusions than that to be discussed. more..

Ensuring Good Governance in Sri Lanka

Sep 18 (FI) Thank you for the honor of inviting me to this year’s 20th annual session of the Organization of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka. It is a special pleasure to be able to address an organization that represents 38 Professional Associations, with a combined membership of over 34,000 professionals; an organization that has as its vision to provide leadership and development of Sri Lanka’s professions; and more..

Sri Lanka bank bad debts on the rise

Sep 18 (LBO) Bad debts in Sri Lanka's banks are rising and loan to deposit ratios are deteriorating as the lagged effects of a credit bubble driven by loose monetary policy are beginning to be felt, the latest emerging data shows. Loan growth last year was 29 percent and has slowed slightly to 11 percent in the first half of 2007 as the effects of central bank's recent efforts to slow credit growth is starting to show results. more..

12th Annual SriLankan Golf Classic Set to Roll

Sep 18 (AN) More than 200 golfers from around the world will see action in the 12th annual SriLankan Golf Classic to be held at Kandy’s picturesque Victoria Golf and Country Resort next month. The event will begin with two practice days starting on Oct. 10, with the two-day tournament teeing off on Oct. 12, to close with an awards show. “The SriLankan Golf Classic is one of our most popular events, drawing golfers from around the world,” more..

Death threats escalate in Jaffna, doctors flee extortion

Sep 18 (TN) Death threats from Sri Lanka Army (SLA) backed armed Tamil paramilitary groups, have forced many doctors and medical specialists in Jaffna to complain to Human Rights Commission (HRC) and to leave the peninsula fearing death and abduction of their children and family members while more of them are contemplating flight from the peninsula, civil society sources in Jaffna said. more..

Sri Lanka tea broker warns against unethical practices

Sep 18 (LBO) A top tea broker has warned the industry not to take short cuts to get high prices at the Colombo auctions and instead to play strictly by the rules. "It is not advisable to turn a blind eye or encourage the achievement of prices by hook or by crook and instead insist on business ethics alongside a very high service," more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit narrows in July, import growth slows

Sep 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit has narrowed in July with oil imports slowing and exports growing by 33.9 percent, the Central Bank said Tuesday. Exports had grown to 690 million US dollars in July 2007 against 516 million US dollars in July. "The persistently strong demand for apparel has continued to provide the basis for the strong trade performance in July 2007," the bank said in a statement. more..

Basil to be sworn in at 9.30 am tomorrow

Sep 18 (LD) Basil Rohana Rajapaksa, Senior Presidential Advisor and a younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is due to be sworn in as a National List MP at 9.30 am tomorrow. The government was in turmoil due to National Muslim Congress (NMC) leader and Minister A.L.M. Athaulla refusing to surrender the position to the President’s brother. It fell vacant following the death of Mohamed Ismail Anwar Ismail of the NMC, which is an affiliate of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). more..

Bill tabled to upgrade KDA to university level

Sep 18 (LD) JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the House today that it would be a pointless exercise to upgrade Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy (KDA) to university level, without giving it the necessary legal backing and developing its infrastructure. He was participating in the debate on the Second Reading of “Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy (Amendment) Bill that was presented by Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake. more..

Vasu writes to UNICEF on Year One admissions

Sep 18 (LD) Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara has written to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, seeking its intervention to prevent discrimination against poor children in admissions to Grade One of government schools. His letter says that “Sri Lankan children are to be subjected to an unwarranted exercise of being tested for their abilities for admission to Year One in state schools. more..

US Senate and the politics of double standards

Sep 18 (AT) It is reported (Sri Lankan Sunday Times Political Column of 16th September 2007) that a hitherto unpublicised vote in the United States Senate on September 6 approving the State Department Appropriations, if approved by President George W Bush, will have a serious impact on Us Military assistance to Sri Lanka. Section 690 of the document reportedly states: more..

JHU’s brand of Dharmarajya

Sep 18 (ISL) We as Buddhists were very unhappy when the JHU bhikkhus decided to enter party politics and contest parliamentary elections. However, after they entered parliament we expected them to serve as good role models for the other MPs, so that there would be less bribery and corruption among them. But what they seem to have done with their duty free vehicle permits and their attitude towards the alleged agreement between the Rajapakses and the Tigers is shocking. more..

The bloody life in Colombo

Sep 18 (ISL) Woke up to like 5 cops in my living room, rifling through my shit. Literally, there's a guy with a T-56 looking through my DVDs. Re-tie my sarong and sleepily locate my ID. No warrant, no nothing. This is emergency. Thank God we're not Tamil. It's a Tamil neighborhood, which is otherwise lovely. Last week we saw this whale [sic] procession down the street, women with harvesty things on their head. more..

LTTE has neither supporters nor sympathizers in India – The Hindu Editor

Sep 18 (ISL) "Only small parties like that of Pala Nedumaran and some other organizations raise slogans in support of the LTTE. It is usual that these parties engage in agitations in support of LTTE, specifically at times the LTTE becomes weakened. However, such gimmicks cannot fool the Indian population," according to the the Editor of ‘The Hindu’ N. Ram who is on a visit to Colombo. more..

Muralitharan in ODI squad for England series

Sep 18 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has been included in Sri Lanka's one-day squad for the series against England. But the selectors said Murali had been picked subject to his regaining fitness. Murali was ruled out of the ICC World Twenty20 after he sustained an elbow injury while playing for Lancashire last month. He walked off the field with a right bicep strain after bowling more than 33 overs on the first day of the match against Kent on August 28. more..

Now Free, Unpaid Lankan Maid Just Wants to Go Home

Sep 18 (AN) The wheels of justice would move too slow for a Sri Lankan woman who was rescued by Riyadh police after working for years in slave-like conditions: She now says she can’t wait around in the Kingdom for the legal process of suing her sponsor, and just wants to go home to be with her family. “I don’t want to wait anymore for my dues from the employer,” said 40-year-old Anista Marie, more..

Policeman arrested for beating up housemaid

Sep 18 (KT) A policeman identified only as MA has been arrested for allegedly beating up his Sri Lankan housemaid last Saturday, according to police sources. The 33-year old housemaid, JT, was rushed to the Umm Al Quwain Hospital by the police who were called in by MA's neighbours. JT, immediately after being allegedly assaulted by MA had run and locked herself in a bedroom. more..

Deported Sri Lankan held in Bangalore

Sep 18 (Hindu) The Bangalore police have arrested a Sri Lankan, who was deported from Dubai after immigration authorities in the United Arab Emirates found him travelling on a fake visa. Nimala Kasan (21) of Jaffna, who was holding an Indian passport, boarded Emirates Airline flight EK-518 here on Friday. When he was to change flight in Dubai for Paris, the immigration officials there discovered that he was travelling on a fake visa, police sources here told The Hindu on Monday. more..

PM says people show more interest in indigenous goods

Sep 18 (GDI) “Sri Lankans who were formally accustomed to foreign goods are today showing a keen interest in indigenous goods,” said the Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake. Addressing the "Viskam Dethata Saviya Shilpa 2006" Presidential (Handicrafts) awards ceremony at the BMICH Prime Minister pointed out that the local industries which almost crashed with the influx of foreign goods to the market are now slowly picking up. more..

SL participation at UN will be beneficial and significant

Sep 18 (GDI) "Sri Lanka's participation at the 62nd General Assembly sessions of the UN will be especially significant and beneficial," said the Minister of Foreign Affaires Rohitha Bogollagama. Minister Bogollagama, addressing media at the Ministry, stated that this would be significant and beneficial with regard to strengthening its links with the UN and Member States and pointed out that the Sri Lanka's role at the assembly would be pro-active, where more..

Kirinda tsunami project nominated for architecture awards

Sep 18 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s tsunami reconstruction project in Kirinda has been selected as a finalist for the 2007 CNBC International Property Awards in Las Vegas in November. The project is organized by Colliers International and the project was previously honoured at the MIPIM real estate awards in Cannes in March where it won the Best Residential Development award and received a Special Tribute award. more..

Ministry to introduce a New Health act to control mosquito-borne diseases

Sep 18 (GDI) The Ministry of Health is planning to introduce a new act which will focus on controlling the mosquito-borne diseases. According to the Deputy Director General of Health Services (Tertiary Education) Dr. P.G.Mahipala, Mosquito Breeding Prevention Act will be introduced to prevent and control of vector borne diseases by 2008. He added that the draft bill is already before parliament for debate and approval. more..

Talks to finalise Indo-Lanka rail corridor

Sep 18 (GDI) The discussions to finalise the construction of the proposed rail corridor between India and Sri Lanka will be a highlight at the second SAARC Transport Ministers' Conference to be held in Sri Lanka in March next year. The Ministry of Transport revealed that during the discussion the Ministers will also discuss commencing a ferry service between the two countries. more..

Law to ensure only trained pharmacists employed in pharmacies

Sep 18 (PISL) The Health Ministry will soon introduce legislation compelling all private sector pharmacy owners to employ pharmacists who have undergone a thorough training in pharmacology and have successfully completed the External Pharmacology Course conducted by the Health Ministry. Pharmacy owners who do not comply with this procedure will be severely dealt with, Health Ministry sources said. more..