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New Buddhist meditation centre in Arizona

Sep 20 (DN) Those interested in meditation have a new place to learn and practice it in the Southeast Valley. The Arizona International Buddhist Meditation Centre has established a venue in Mesa. The registered, tax-exempt, non-profit society is primarily run by Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Ven. Siyabalagoda Ananda and Rev. Dhammapala Kennard. “I’ve been here 17 years trying to get a centre. Finally, we can start the work,” said Dhammapala of Chandler, more..

British HC warns of rogue job agents fleecing Lankans

Sep 20 (DN) The British High Commission yesterday warned of bogus recruitment agencies defrauding Sri Lankans seeking work in the UK. A High Commission spokesperson said they have received an increased number of complaints about so-called UK recruitment agents offering jobs that do not exist. “Some claim to be acting on behalf of well-known international companies, while others are offering au pair or hospitality jobs,” more..

US report slams Lanka over religious freedom

Sep 20 (DM) The 9th Annual Report on International Religious Freedom released to the US Congress last week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes references to Sri Lanka and its failure to protect religious freedom mainly as a result of a controversial anti-conversion bill first introduced in 2004. On Sri Lanka, the report states, that the US Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights more..

EPF launches new project to eliminate fraud

Sep 20 (DM) The Employees Provident Fund has launched a project to re-register over 2.5 million of its members under their National Identity Card numbers which will serve as their account numbers for all purposes, Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratna said. “This will help eliminate fraud and step up the efficient functioning of the Fund,” he said. Minister Seneviratna said the Central Bank and the Labour Department have jointly set up a database replacing the old account numbers with the new employee numbers of active accounts. more..

Clinical Australia cruise into the semi-finals

Sep 20 (CI) A match billed as a winner-takes-all contest was as good as decided before latecomers had even taken their seats at Newlands. In that time Australia blew away Sri Lanka's top order, and though they made a recovery of sorts to reach 101, it was a dismal performance and Australia strolled to a ten-wicket win with almost half their overs intact. In Twenty20 terms, it was a massacre. more..

Consider Sanctions Says Parliamentarian

Sep 20 (IPS) As the nationalist government of President Mahinda Rajpakse continues to resist calls for a United Nations rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka an elected Tamil leader said the time may have come to consider international sanctions. "We have at least seven local bodies or committees set up to improve the rights situation here, including the National Human Rights Commission, a new presidential commission and now a committee made up of ministers, but we have not got anywhere," more..

Sri Lanka's Tamil Rebels say their war is `Defensive'

Sep 20 (BN) Sri Lanka's rebel LTTE said it's fighting a "defensive war" against the government, in its first comments since losing control of the country's east after 14 years of conflict. "The LTTE is maintaining patience and still restricting itself to a defensive war," S.P. Thamilchelvan, head of the group's political wing, said in an interview with TamilNet yesterday. more..

Chinese threat to Indian dominance in Lanka vehicle market

Sep 20 (HT) Chinese models are minnows in the Sri Lankan vehicles market, but they have the potential to demolish Indian dominance over this sector in the near future, says auto industry analyst Viraj Manatunga. "1996-99 was the Indian era, when Indian makes edged out established Japanese makes in the commercial vehicle and motorbike segments. But two to three years from now, we will see the dawn of the Chinese era," more..

Sri Lanka's air force bombs rebel ammunition site, causing massive explosions

Sep 20 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed a major Tamil Tiger ammunition storage site Thursday morning, setting off a wave of explosions in northern Sri Lanka that lasted more than 1 1/2 hours, the air force said. The bombing of the underground bunker near Puthukkudiyiruppu, in the rebel-controlled area of northern Sri Lanka, dealt a major blow to the Tigers ability to fight off the military, more..

Ethnic Problem Is Best Understood In Terms Of A Paradigm Of Racism

Sep 21 (FI) The last few paragraphs of D.B.S. Jeyaraj’s article Tamil speaking aid workers an ‘endangered species’ in Sri Lanka (Sunday Leader, August 26 - Tamil Week Aug 31st ) were of extraordinary interest to me because they are very relevant to the view that I have been advancing for some time that our so-called ethnic problem is best understood in terms of a paradigm of racism. more..

Start too early and form counts for nothing

Sep 21 (CI) That one of the teams that fought out the World Cup final earlier this year had to be eliminated before the semi-finals here wasn't a tragedy. Australia and Sri Lanka had been worthy finalists in West Indies but they haven't been half as dominant here. Australia were surprised by Zimbabwe and outplayed by Pakistan, Sri Lanka were routed by Pakistan and struggled to put up a score against Bangladesh. more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions

Sep 21 (GDI) The cabinet has granted its approval to a memorandum submitted by Hon. Janaka Banadara Tennakoon as the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils to provide provisions for canceling nominations and calling of fresh nominations and the holding of elections in respect of one Municipal Councils, five Urban Councils and twenty seven Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Northern Province where elections to such councils and sabhas have been postponed due to unforeseen and urgent circumstances. more..

Sri Lanka rupee ends flat, fending off lows, shares dip

Sep 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended flat on Thursday, holding off new life lows as state bank dollar purchases offset dollar sales by exporters and private banks sold dollars, traders said, while shares fell in thin trade. The rupee closed at 113.45/113.55 per dollar, unchanged from Wednesday's close, and holding off a new all-time closing low of 113.57/113.62 hit on Tuesday. more..

Advani wants food and medicine to be sent to Lanka

Sep 21 (PTI) Expressing concern over "deterioration of situation" in the North and North eastern parts of Sri Lanka due to prolonged curfew imposed by the island government,senior BJP leader L K Advani today said the Indian government should send humanitarian aid to the Sri Lankan Tamils by despatching food and medicine. He told reporters that the aid, in consultation with the Sri Lankan government, should be routed through the Red Cross. more..

Sri Lanka Parliament to probe secret deals with Tamil rebels

Sep 21 (DPA) Parliament in Sri Lanka Thursday approved a probe into allegations that the country's leaders had made secret deals with Tamil rebels since 1989 at the same time that bitter fighting was going on. Over 75,000 people have died in fighting between the ngovernment forces and rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north and eastern parts of the country over the last 25 years. more..

Sri Lanka court released 10 Indian fishermen

Sep 21 (AT) A court in Sri Lanka released the ten Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy when they were found straying inside the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters and poaching in the Gulf of Mannar. The court also has released two vessels belonged to the Indian fishermen. According to Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commission in Chennai, these Indian fishermen would be repatriated soon by the Indian High Commission in Colombo in consultation with the Sri Lankan authorities. more..

Sri Lanka Navy Cripples Tiger Maritime Net: The Turning Point of Eelam War IV

Sep 21 (AT) The Sri Lanka Navy known as the silence service and the first line of defence of Sri Lanka, created history in the three decade long war, when they destroyed three floating warehouses of the LTTE at a distance as far as 1200 Km (600Nm) South East of Dondra Head in a successful Deep Sea Surveillance operation carried out on 10th and 11th of September 2007. more..

Iftar meals distributed across Sri Lanka

Sep 21 (RW) The Muslim Aid office in Sri Lanka will provide food and Iftar packs to over 24,500 widows, orphans and disadvantaged people across Sri Lanka during Ramadan this year. In association with 33 local partner organisations and Cargills, Sri Lanka’s leading supermarket chain, Muslim Aid has begun distributing the packs with enough tea, rice, lentils, sugar, dates and spices to feed a family of five for a week. more..

Emirates upbeat about SriLankan contract

Sep 21 (Gulf) Emirates airline and the Sri Lankan government will meet again next month over the renewal of its management contract for SriLankan airlines, drawing a long and involved round of negotiations closer to resolution. Emirates chief executive Tim Clark is set to lead discussions for the Dubai airline, which has a 43 per cent stake in SriLankan and has managed the airline on a ten-year lease ending next March. more..

Sri Lankan ship owners give warning on import charge

Sep 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's ship owners have warned that an unresolved dispute with Customs over a tax on vessels could force them to leave the Sri Lanka flag of registry. This could hurt the island's prospects of building up its merchant fleet and encouraging foreign owners to register their vessels in the island, local owners said. Such a move, affecting the growth of the industry, could lead to possible loss of jobs and substantial foreign exchange earnings. more..

Sri Lankan unions prepare to cave in following widespread teachers’ strike

Sep 21 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government has reacted to a one-day strike of public sector teachers on September 13 with a campaign of police intimidation against individuals and a punitive Supreme Court case against the teacher unions involved. In response, the five unions have all but shut down any further campaign without achieving any pay rise. more..

Parliament gets hot

Sep 21 (LT) Tension reigned in parliament yesterday when Mr. Sripathi Sooriarachchi moved a motion alleging that the President gave money to the Tigers organization and demanding that a parliamentary select committee should be appointed to investigate the matter. Government MP's proposing to make amendments to the motion came to be heavily criticized by the opposition. more..

Basil's inaugural speech becomes interrupting Mangala; Parliament in pandemonium

Sep 21 (LeN) Basil Rajapakse who swore in as a MP yesterday (19), pushed the parliament into pandemonium today by interrupting the speech of Mangala Samaraweera instead of making his inaugural speech. The parliament debated today a proposal put forward by SLFP-PW MP Sripathi Suriyaarachchi to appoint a parliamentary select committee to probe the allegations leveled at the President and the government that they offered money to the LTTE before and after the Presidential. more..

List of Ministers regularly absent at House to be sent to President

Sep 21 (LD) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara today instructed Parliament officials to prepare a list of Ministers who do not attend sittings regularly, and send a copy of the same to the President. The move came after UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake referred a question to Minister of Civil Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa in his absence. When Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation, Sarath Gunaratne attempted to evade the query, the MP got involved in an argument with him. more..

4 Finance bills to be referred to Parliament Committee

Sep 21 (LD) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara has decided that four of the five Finance Amendment bills that were passed by electronic voting on September 6th, despite objections by the opposition, should be referred to a Parliamentary Committee. Delivering his ruling on the five controversial bills today, the Speaker concluded that only bill no:256 had been referred to a Parliamentary Committee as per tradition and procedures. more..

De Silva: Sri Lanka Too Dependent On Seniors

Sep 21 (C365) Aravinda De Silva believes Sri Lanka are too dependent on their older players and should have used the World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa to introduce young talent. De Silva, a World Cup winner in 1996, is one of the greatest Sri Lankan batsmen of all time and became a national team selector when he retired in 2003 and he also suggests specialist players would have benefited the team following their exit in the Super Eight stage of the competition. more..

Eritrea denies connections with Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers

Sep 21 (AT) Eritrea denied to Asian Tribune that it has anything to do with Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers nevertheless praised Norway’s role in mediating a settlement in the South Asian nation while conveniently evading to give a denial or any other explanation when asked whether Eritrea would give asylum to Tiger leader Prabhakaran and his top LTTE brass if Government of Sri Lanka current military offensive succeeded in driving the separatist out of its control in the Northern Province. more..

Central Bank Governor confident of 8 per cent economic growth in 2008

Sep 21 (GDI) Central Bank Governor, Ajith N. Cabraal said that the country could achieve an eight percent economic growth in 2008. He said that Sri Lanka had achieved an economic growth of 7.4 per cent recently. However due to high oil prices, granting of subsidies and other overheads such as importing wheat and milk powder at high costs the country would not be able to achieve a 7 per cent growth end of this year. more..

President assures adequate protection for judges

Sep 21 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured that the government would provide adequate security for the judges. This assurance was given when the representatives of Association of the District and Magistrate Court Judges called on the President at the Temple Trees yesterday. President has immediately instructed the Inspector General of Police Victor Perera to immediately look into the issue of security of the judges and take appropriate action. more..

Steps to develop Coir industry in the South

Sep 21 (GDI) Ministry of Nation Building an Estate Infrastructure Development has stepped in to revive the coir industry in the South by providing for those engaged in turning out coir products suitable markets and training in marketing their goods. Rural Economic Development Project of the Southern Province has come forward to help these small industrialists. more..

Colombo to host the General Assembly of Common Wealth Games

Sep 21 (GDI) The General Assembly of the Common Wealth Games is to be held from 5th to 10th November at Colombo, Sri Lanka. During the Conference the final decision will be taken on the host nation of the 2014 Common Wealth games. The Contestants participating would be Glasgow, Scotland, Abuja and Nigeria. Around 300 delegates are expected to attend the five day summit, which would declare the host nation. more..

New Fisheries harbour at Moratu-Modera Panadura

Sep 21 (GDI) A New Fisheries Harbour constructed at a cost of 300 million rupees funded by the Republic of China was declared open by the Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera recently. It was a long felt need after the destruction of the Panadura Fishery Harbour in the tsunami of December 2004. The Prime Minister of China who personally witnessed the damage caused undertook to provide necessary funding for the project. more..

LTTE top meeting venue attacked

Sep 21 (GDI) The Air Force fighter jets carried out air strikes on a LTTE military complex at Vishvamadu in Puthukudiruppu in North. The attacks took place after receipt of intelligence information that a high ranking LTTE meeting was taking place at the military complex. The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said that at the time of the air strikes a high profile LTTE leaders' meeting was taking place at the location, the Air Force said. more..

Coastal patrol up in Nagapattinam

Sep 21 (Hindu) The Coast Guard has intensified its patrolling off Vedaranyam coast in the district to prevent possible intrusion of LTTE cadres into the 188-km long coastline, following the escalation of fighting between the Army and the LTTE in Sri Lanka. The Coast Guard officials are checking boat of fishermen venturing into the sea. The Fisheries Department has reminded the fishermen to carry identity cards to avoid getting arrested by the police. more..

Jaffna Bar Association boycott against extortionists

Sep 21 (Fri) The Bar Association of Jaffna, which is one of the oldest legal institutions in the country, staged a boycott against the extortionist, currently threatening the Jaffna civil society. Informed sources said that the Attorneys-at-Law of the Jaffna district staged a boycott early this week, urging to put an end to the extortions which is currently on the increase in the Peninsula. more..

Birth of the Home Guard Service

Sep 21 (Fri) With the escalation of LTTE terrorism, the farmers and the inhabitants of border villages were often killed and their villages raided by the terrorists, killing several innocent civilians. Most of there were farmers. They did not have a uniform, and were using repeater shotguns. Because they were guarding their homes from terrorist attacks, they were called “Home Guards”. more..

Leave no room for ethnic enclaves

Sep 21 (Fri) The UNP has been repeatedly claiming that it was they who first liberated the East. Very true but that was the UNP under President D.B. Wijetunge - not under ‘Peace-in-our-time’ Ranil Wickremesinghe. His deafening silence and at times inane comments (Thoppigala) in response to the successes of the Armed Forces is a stark contrast to his lambasting the Government when two LTTE light aircraft dropped a couple of bombs that caused little damage to life or property. more..

Now teachers get caned...

Sep 21 (Fri) We respect teaching as a noble profession. The teachers or the tutorial community of this country is aware that a huge majority of students come from the very poor segment of our society. Many of them study at home under the light of a bottle lamp, exposing themselves to danger, breaking rest past midnight. Their dream is to study and be worthy citizens in this country, like those who taught them. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism braces for busy winter season

Sep 21 (BL) Sri Lanka being selected as host country for World Tourism Day (27 September 2007) by the World Tourism Organisation, will unleash a series of events to capture global attention as well as local interest. This year’s theme is “Tourism opens Doors for Women.” The communication campaign entitled “Men Don’t Get It” will be revealed on this occasion Sri Lanka Tourism has also announced its projects relating to the consolidation and renewal of its identity starting from next week and going on till January 2008. more..

Sri Lanka tax office clearing tarnished reputation, says official

Sep 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tax department is slowly regaining its reputation which had been tarnished by a tax scam and complaints of bullying tax payers, the island's top Treasury official said Friday. "The image of the Inland Revenue Department is changing from being 100 percent bad to being slightly positive," Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said. more..

LTTE confirms Soosai`s injury, son`s death

Sep 21 (LNP) The LTTE has, for the first time, confirmed that Sea Tiger leader Soosai was injured in an `accidental` explosion off the Mullaitivu seas recently while his son was killed. In comments over the Voice of Tiger radio on Wednesday, an LTTE official `Radha` said Soosai had now fully recovered. According to the radio report, Soosai was injured during a Sea Tiger training exercise. more..

A breach of traditions

Sep 21 (LNP) WEDNESDAY`S unacceptable behaviour in Parliament by the UNP Opposition during a solemn occasion would no doubt come in for censure by a majority of our citizens cutting across party politics. It was only a few weeks ago that a UNP Member stormed the Speaker`s rostrum during another rumpus and yanked out a set of Bills from the Speaker`s grasp which prompted the latter to state that terrorism has lain seige to the August Assembly. more..

Business letters won`t be opened

Sep 21 (LNP) The Postal Department has suspended its decision to exercise the option of opening business letters posted under ordinary mail following opposition from various quarters, Posts and Telecommunication Secretary W.M. Piyasena told the Daily Mirror yesterday. He said instead the Department would introduce a `Business Postal System` to offset the massive losses incurred annually due to business establishments exploiting loopholes in the Postal Ordinance by posting business letters and parcels under ordinary cover. more..

US, other donors reject military solution: Envoy

Sep 21 (LNP) The United States and other donor countries do not support a military solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka, US Ambassador Robert Blake said just days after Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa was quoted as saying the LTTE would have to be dealt with militarily. Ambassador Blake expressed these views during a ceremony at Orugodawatte on Wednesday while handing over USAID food assistance worth US$ 5 million to Sri Lanka. more..

Land Cruisers instead of freezer vans?

Sep 21 (SAMN) The JVP has charged in Parliament that vehicle permits which were given by the Customs to import freezer vans for the fisheries industry during the tsunami has been used to import luxurious Land Cruisers. This charge was made when JVP MP Premasiri Manage raised an oral question in the House on Wednesday. However Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle denied it saying he was the subject minister then and no permission was given to import Land Cruisers. more..

Govt strong, united: Yapa

Sep 21 (SAMN) Cabinet Spokesperson Anura Priyadarshana Yapa asserted that all members of the Government are united and strong as ever under the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership. Responding to a journalist’s query on the appointment of Senior Presidential Advisor and brother of the President, Basil Rajapaksa as a Parliamentarian following Minister Anver Ismail’s demise Yapa pointed out that the appointment of Cabinet ministers rests solely on the President’s discretion and therefore he has all the right to do so. more..

Kataragama sacred area development

Sep 21 (SAMN) The development of the Kataragama sacred area will be entrusted to a Sacred Area Trust headed by the Maha Sangha, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. The Minister said this at a daham hamuwa which followed the opening of a hot water pond built at the Kirivehera Raja Maha Viharaya fulfilling a long-felt need. more..

Nominations to be cancelled

Sep 21 (SAMN) The Government has called for the cancellation of all nominations received, and for the refund of deposits made by the nominated candidates, for the 33 Local Authorities in the Northern Province where elections had been postponed due to unforseen and uncontrollable factors, Cabinet Spokesperson and Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. more..

Upper Kotmale resettlement begins

Sep 21 (DN) Resettlement of families under the Upper Kotmale Hydropower project has commenced with the first group reaching agreement with the Ceylon Electricity Board to expedite the allocation of the new houses. Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne who visited the site handed over the relevant documents to the families at a simple ceremony at the Project Office Thalawakelle. more..

Minister resolves Matara schools’ problems

Sep 21 (DN) Important decisions in connection with the development of the national school network of the Matara district has been taken following a request by Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma to Education Minister Susil Premajayanth, Ministry sources said. The related decisions were made at discussions with Principals of National Schools and Zonal Directors of the Matara district. more..