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'Agriculture failed to reduce poverty'

Sep 27 (SAMN) A USAID sponsored study of Sri Lanka's economic performance last year found that 34.3% of the labour force is engaged in agriculture, while it is generating only 17.8% of GDP, said Mission director, USAID, Rebecca Cohn. Speaking at the annual general meeting of the National Agri Business Council, (NAC) she said that FAO data for Sri Lanka show that production is virtually unchanged from 15 years ago and more..

Graduate to stage sathyagraha

Sep 27 (SAMN) Graduates who underwent job training under the Tharuna Aruna programme will stage a Sathyagraha next Monday to protest against the failure on the part of the government to grant employment at state institutions.Spokesman for the graduates Ven. Udugala Jinaratana told the Daily Mirror yesterday that they would also stage a protest march from the Fort Railway Station to the Fin ance Ministry on the same day. more..

UNP’s rejection of federalism shows main parties’ failure to address Tamils’ issues - TNA

Sep 27 (LD) The UNP’s denunciation of the federal system that had been agreed to as a solution to the national question at the Oslo talks establishes the fact that main political parties have failed to resolve issues of the Tamils, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said. It is a major setback for the Tamil community that a main political party like the UNP had rejected a practical way out of the ethnic question, the TNA said, more..

We’re ready to think positively of UNP if it accepts unitary state - JVP

Sep 27 (LD) JVP Parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha has urged the UNP to recognize Sri Lanka as a unitary state and to take up the challenge of defeating separatism. Saying that his party is not anti-UNP or anti-SLFP, Lalkantha said the JVP would not entertain a positive attitude towards the UNP as long as Ranil Wickremesinghe persists with his economic policy and the stance on the ethnic issue. more..

Refugee girl wins third place in year 5 scholarship exam

Sep 27 (DN) Mohammed Fathima Fusrin, a student of the Al Aksha National School in Kalpitiya is among the winners of the Grade Five Scholarship examination. A student from the Tamil stream, Fathima was placed third in the overall results receiving 187 marks. What is significant is she grew up in a refugee camp deprived of the facilities and comforts of other students. more..

Fire destroys 35 tsunami houses in Ratmalana

Sep 27 (DN) A major fire completely gutted nearly 35 tsunami houses while rendering several others partially burnt on Maligawa road, Ratmalana yesterday morning. There were no casualties reported. The OIC of the Fire Brigade Unit in Mount Lavinia told the Daily News that even though they had taken immediate steps to quell the raging fire, they had been unable to prevent a large number of houses going up in flames chiefly due to inferior materials used in the building of the houses. more..

Grade 1 admission seekers low

Sep 27 (DM) The number of applicants seeking Grade one admission to national schools has dropped drastically this time mainly in Colombo, compared to the previous year, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Minister Premajayantha told a news conference on Tuesday that the school authorities would find it easy to process the applications received. Most leading schools in Colombo have found that the number of applications has dropped by about 1000 this year, and more..

Bribery Commission needs more details from COPE

Sep 27 (DM) The Bribery Commission has sought more material from the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to proceed further with the commission’s ongoing investigations into the 15 public enterprises listed in COPE’s first report, Investigations Director Neville Guruge said yesterday. He added that 14 of the public enterprises, including the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the National Water Supplies and Drainage Board (NWSDB) were already under investigation. more..

Row over Sri Lanka stadium ahead of England tour

Sep 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's tsunami-hit cricket stadium at Galle is embroiled in a heritage row as it races to host the final Test of the England tour in December, officials said. Jayananda Warnaweera, the curator overseeing its reconstruction, said conservationists had objected to a new building at the stadium that could obstruct views of Galle's 17th century Dutch Fort, a heritage site. more..

Lanka escapes censure at UN rights council

Sep 27 (HT) Sri Lanka has escaped censure at the 6th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) now on in Geneva, despite the best efforts of rights groups and the media both in the island and overseas. The European Union (EU), which was expected to table a resolution critical of the island's government, did not submit any. more..

The tide turns for tsunami-hit entrepreneurs

Sep 27 (Dawn) In several coastal hamlets in Sri Lanka the tide has turned for potters, batik designers and other entrepreneurs whose small-scale businesses were hit hard by the December 2004 tsunami. Their trades are bouncing back and incomes increasing thanks to some post-tsunami assistance from developing countries. Pottery makers at Puwakdandawa in Hambantota District and batik artists in Balapitya in Galle District were among tsunami-stricken people in five Asian countries who received funds, more..

LTTE supremo decides to hand over baton to son

Sep 27 (Dawn) As Sri Lanka’s twenty four year old civil war drags on with no clear solution in sight, reports reveal that a militarily weakening LTTE headed by the ailing war maestro Vellupillai Prabhakaran is facing an internal crisis, three years after the outfit suffered its first major split. A controversy is reportedly in the offing over the rebel leader’s decision to hand over the guerilla group’s leadership to Charles Anthony, the eldest of his three children. more..

Military: Violence in northern Sri Lanka kills 20 rebels, 3 civilians, 1 soldier

Sep 27 (AP) Artillery assaults, gunbattles and a bombing in northern Sri Lanka killed 20 rebels, three civilians and a soldier, the military said Thursday, stoking fears of a new escalation in the country's more than two-decade civil war. The new fighting comes as violence has flared along the border separating government-controlled territory and the rebels' heartland in the north. more..

Why Kurien's White Revolution floundered in Lanka

Sep 28 (HT) Exactly ten year ago, Dr Varghese Kurien, the man who made India self sufficient in milk, had come to Sri Lanka determined to replicate the "Anand model" and reduce the island's abject dependence on high cost, imported powdered milk. But the laudable bid to bring about an indigenous White Revolution failed, not only because of the exertions of the stronger import lobby, but because of the unfavourable cultural, social and economic conditions in Sri Lanka. more..

Extensive power devolution within united SL, a must – Mangala Samaraweera

Sep 28 (LD) The SLFP (Mahajana) Wing has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Ranil Wickremesinghe to fulfill the national need to extensively devolve power within a united Sri Lanka, said its Convener Mangala Samaraweera yesterday. Samaraweera was speaking to journalists at the historic Matara Bo Tree after religious activities to remember SLFP founder leader S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Bandaranaike. more..

Federal or unitary, power can be devolved – Chief Justice

Sep 28 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says power can be devolved to the provinces without having an effect on the central government or getting entangled in terms like federal, unitary etc. The judiciary has shown an example in this regard, he said, at the opening of a Civil Appeal High Court for the North Central Province in Anuradhapura recently. more..

UN Chief assures support for eastern development

Sep 28 (GDI) The United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki Moon has extended his willingness to assist the Government to carry out the development activities in the east. This was conveyed by the Secretary General to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during their discussion at the UN on the 25th. The meeting also gave an opportunity to brief the Secretary General on the latest developments in politics and socio-economical aspects in Sri Lanka. more..

Court will decide on COPE follow up- Minister of Media

Sep 28 (GDI) Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena emphasized that there is no necessity to vest the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) investigation process back to the Parliament as the issue is before the Courts now. The courts will decide on the follow up investigation process, he said. Mr Abeywardane said that a case has been filed before the Courts and the legal authority will have to decide on the next step. more..

UNP new policy 'follows LTTE defeat'

Sep 28 (BBC) Sri Lankan government says UNP has changed its stance on the federal solution. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said on Thursday with the LTTE’s military defeat in the recent past, United National Party has now decided to abandon its stance on the federal solution as a means for resolving the ethnic conflict. He also added that the then UNP government did promote federal system of governance during Oslo peace talks with the LTTE. more..

Carrying the country forward and the right to strike in Sri Lanka

Sep 28 (TW) The right to strike is an archaic notion that originated in America where workers were killed by disgruntled Employers using thugs wielding clubs and knuckle dusters. Under Lenin of Russia the mass strike was used effectively against the czars and land owners to set up a worker’s regime. It did not last long for the worker’s regime was unimaginably corrupt. Today it is capitalist rule and ownership private or by the State. more..

Diplomatic offensive in Geneva knocks out attempts of pro-Tiger lobbies to censure Sri Lanka

Sep 28 (AT) The pro-Tiger NGO-INGO lobbies making a desperate bid to get the EU to table a resolution condemning Sri Lanka at the Sixth Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva were defeated due to most nations refusing to support such a move. Sri Lanka was solidly supported by India, Japan, China, South Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh. more..

Looking Ahead

Sep 28 (AT) The difference between the SLFP and the UNP in time will be more in name than in policy or principle or spirit. The UNP’ers sit cozily in the SLFP benches more holy to the SLFP than its own lifelong members. The SLFP’ers who crossed the divide are catapulted to prime leadership within the UNP network which party stalwarts cannot aspire with a lifetime of dedicated service to the grand old party. more..

Sri Lanka China relations much beneficial to Sri Lanka

Sep 28 (AT) China has a special place for the people of Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka realizing the value, established friendship and relationship with China 50 years ago, when the whole world did not realize the importance of China Said Dr Saratn Amunugama, Minister of Enterprises Development and Investment promotion addressing the Commemoration Celebrations of the Golden Jublee of the China Sri Lanka Deplomatic Relations organized by the Sri Lanka China Business Cooperation Council and held at Galadari Hotel. more..

Long-term Muslim displaced face significant challenges

Sep 28 (IRIN) It was 17 years ago, but the memory is still fresh for T. Mohamed. “It was 11 June 1990 - that was the day,” he recalled, the one that changed his life. “I was in Colombo, captaining the Jaffna District soccer team and later I found myself cut off from my home town Jaffna,” the 45-year-old Sri Lankan remembered. Mohamed, who is now a social worker, was among the thousands of Muslims forced out of their homes in northern Sri Lanka by the Tamil Tigers in 1990. more..

Muralitharan ruled out of first three ODIs

Sep 28 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has been ruled out of the first three one-day internationals against England. Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's captain, confirmed that Muralitharan's bicep injury had not healed. "We don't want to rush him," he said. "He's almost there, but we just have to make a decision whether we would like to risk him like this soon after injury. We will make sure that we will make a sensible decision." more..

Sri Lanka Political party First Time accepted KP arrested

Sep 28 (LG) Sri Lanka main opposition party the UNP has been accepted an arrested of the LTTE’s arms procurement Kuman Padmandan a.k.a. KP in Thailand in early days on this month. This is first time accepted KP arrested by any political party in the Country as a officially. Meanwhile, Lakshman Kiriella, UNP Parliamentarian explained in detail how this Rajapakse Administration wantonly, or owing to diplomatic and security bungling lost a golden opportunity to apprehend and interrogate case of the KP. more..

Sri Lanka’s perilous political scenario

Sep 28 (ISL) Optimism of any kind is fast dying in Sri Lanka; the whole perilous political scenario is turning into a potentially terrifying nightmare. There are genuine fears that deadly violence could once again break out in the island country as has been the pattern ever since 1958. Unfortunately President Mahinda Rajapakse has failed to impress on the country that he has the guts and the foresight to handle the political complexities of Sri Lanka. more..

Will Sri Lankan Buddhist monks intervene to prevent a massacre of their Burmese counterparts?

Sep 28 (LG) The Buddhist monks in Burma have been on the streets for several days now, falling upon the last resort under their disciplinary code (Vinaya Pitaka), in calling upon the military regime of the country to step down and to respect the people. The people of Burma are facing extremely difficult times. more..

Deadly Sri Lanka clashes spike ahead of rains

Sep 28 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops claimed they have killed 45 Tamil rebels in the past week as they step up attacks ahead of monsoon rains that will make fighting harder. Security forces have been trying to push into territory held by the LTTE in the past week amid intense resistance by the guerrillas, official sources said. "As the rains set in by October, it will be difficult to use artillery and tanks," a military official said. more..

Sri Lankan shippers bemoan government inaction as India moves against cartels

Sep 28 (LBO) Sri Lankan shippers complain of government inaction in bringing anti-price fixing rules for shipping while India is moving against shipping lines accused of acting like cartels. The Shippers' Council said they have now been forced to take court action to prod the government into action. "India is taking steps to look after the interests of its exporters by introducing regulations against shipping cartels while our authorities are not doing enough to defend our interests," more..

Sri Lanka government spending to rise sharply

Sep 28 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government's spending is to see a sharp increase in the 2008 budget to be presented in parliament early November, a minister said Thursday. Acting Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the Cabinet on Wednesday night had approved the Appropriation Bill 2008. "The government expenditure will go up by 14 percent over the 2007 estimates," Siyambalapitiya said, more..

Sri Lanka says sinks 3 rebel boats

Sep 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's navy sank three Tamil Tiger rebel boats off the island's northeast coast, killing 18 rebels on board, the military said on Friday. Fighting between the military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who want a separate homeland for minority ethnic Tamils in the north and east, has escalated since the government launched an offensive in the northwest earlier this month. more..

When Monks Get Mad

Sep 28 (Nation) If you think that Buddhist monks in Myanmar currently waging protests against the military powers are passive and peace loving, think again. After a monthlong protest, hundreds have been arrested while dozens of others have died or sustained serious injuries since the Burmese junta began its crackdown. The monks' protest is not surprising in Southeast Asia, where Buddhist clerics and intellectuals have traditionally played important roles far beyond the spiritual life. more..

Batticaloa hospital staff stage token strike

Sep 28 (TN) The doctors and supporting staff of Batticaloa Teaching Hospital staged a token strike Thursday protesting against the shortage of doctors demanding immediate appointment of additional doctors. The two hour token protest against the Sri Lanka Health Ministry beginning at 10:00 a.m. brought all activities of the hospital to a standstill. More than 500 patients in the Out Patients Department (OPD) left the hospital without receiving treatment. more..

First Ever Sri Lanka Cultural Extravaganza in Las Vegas Unveiled

Sep 28 (AT) Goddess Saraswati the only Goddess of the Hindu Pantheon which is devoid of any negative attribute. She is like that mythical river of the same name, flowing calmly and unhurriedly and nourishing the lucid of the devout with its serenity and profundity in a most peaceful way. She is the repository of wisdom and knowledge; she is the origin of all letters and the fount of all creativity. more..

Flour prices up by Rs. 13 & bread by Rs. 5

Sep 28 (LT) The Bakery Owners Association has decided to increase bread prices by Rs. 5 per loaf from tomorrow (September 29th). This follows Prima Ltd., which has the wheat flour monopoly, increasing the price of wheat flour by Rs. 13. Earlier, the import of wheat flour from Turkey was brought to a standstill with the taxes imposed by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. more..

5 more injured in continuing conflict at Ruhuna University

Sep 28 (LD) A conflict brewing between two student factions of the University of Ruhuna has created worries for the campus administration. In the latest incident involving these groups, five students sustained injuries yesterday (September 27th) and two of them needed hospital treatment. Everything began when an argument over how to welcome freshers had gone too far, and in an earlier clash on September 25th, two students were wounded, university sources said. more..

Need for a Substantial Revision of the Victim and Witness Protection Bill

Sep 28 (LeN) The need for an adequate victim and witness protection in Sri Lanka is a critical problem that has been repeatedly highlighted. In July 2007, the Law Commission of Sri Lanka forwarded their Draft Bill for the Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses (the "Draft Bill") to the Ministry of Justice and Law Reform for consideration. more..

Strength of LTTE dwindling says Military Spokesman

Sep 28 (GDI) Addressing the media the Military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara stated that the Government forces had to repulse the attacks made by the LTTE in the North East in the last one and half years. Every attack in the recent past was repulsed successfully. There have been attacks by the LTTE using claymores and Artillery in Jaffna, Vauniya, Mannar in the recent past. more..

Sri Lanka joins International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism

Sep 28 (GDI) Sri Lanka yesterday joined in to the UN’s International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday submitted the Sri Lanka’s Ratification for the convention. He handed it over to the UN Under Secretary General in charge of Treaties, the instrument of ratification of the International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism. more..

Significant change in LTTE strategy

Sep 28 (GDI) As the LTTE was losing their credibility and support recruitment to the LTTE has gone down in numbers. It is reported that LTTE is trying to use their supporters abroad to canvas their cause. This was revealed at the media briefing held in Colombo today (28). Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake went on to say that the LTTE had suffered heavy naval looses in the recent past. While the Pulmudai battle erupted yesterday (27) and destroyed 3 LTTE yachts and damaged four others. more..

“Terrorism is a cancer on entire human society”- Defence Spokesman

Sep 28 (GDI) The Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the highest international forum- the UN, aired that terrorism has to be eradicated in the interest of human society but that the manner in which it has to be eradicated is still not determined. Minister Rambukwella stated this toady addressing the weekly media briefing on the current defence situation. more..

Nautical training school at Trincomalee

Sep 28 (GDI) Steps are being taken to set up a Nautical Training School in Trincomalee with the aim of expanding employment opportunities for to Sri Lankans to fill vacancies in foreign merchant ships. Accordingly, the project which is now in the process is expected to train 200 locals under the first phase of the programme. The Ministry of Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Service will be implementing this process with more..

International Elders Day theme ‘Elders and Development’

Sep 28 (GDI) A National programme is organized by the National Secretariat for Elders in collaboration with the HelpAge Sri Lanka, to commemorate the International Elders Day, which falls on the 1st October of every year. The Event will start early morning of the 1st October with a walk to promote awareness. Added to that several programmes will be implemented through out the Day with the objective of creating awareness among the public regarding the social and economic problems faced by the elder population, which more..

Minimum monthly wage of US$ 200 for migrant Domestic Helpers

Sep 28 (GDI) From next year onward the migrant workers would be sent only to countries that are prepared to pay them a minimum monthly wage of US$ 200. This was revealed to media by Keheliya Rambukwella - Minister of Foreign Employment promotions and welfare at a media briefing held at the Foreign Employment Bureau. Minister also mentioned that he had discussions with the Government of South Korea for more job opportunities for Sri Lankan workers. more..

Regional approach to uplift gem and jewellary industry

Sep 28 (GDI) Considering the challenges faced by the local stakeholders engaged in the Gem and Jewellery sector Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion has pledged to extend all the possible support for the betterment of the industry. This assurance was given to the representatives of the association of Gem & Jewellery Industry (AGJI) by Dr Amunugama at a discussion yesterday (27) at his Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka inflation jumps in September

Sep 28 (LBO) Consumer prices in Sri Lanka capital jumped 1.1 percent in September keeping the 12-month increase in consumer prices at 17.3 percent, the government's statistics office said. The 12-month moving average of the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) which is an averaged over 24-months to flatten seasonal fluctuations rose to 17.5 percent. The index itself gained 60.6 points to end the month at 5453.2 points, more..

Sri Lanka's business community explores links between religion and management techniques

Sep 28 (LBO) Five traits described in Buddhism which do not help achieve goals in life are also well suited for business and management, a top Sri Lankan management professional said. Restlessness, arrogance, procrastination, indulgence and doubt are traits that cloud one's mind and judgment when trying to achieve goals. more..

England in charge in tour opener

Sep 28 (CI) Ian Bell showed the level-headedness that England had been missing during the ICC World Twenty20, as he eased to the first century of their one-day tour of Sri Lanka. Bell eventually finished unbeaten on 131, as England made 314 for 4 against a Sri Lanka Board XI at Colombo's P.Saravanamuttu Stadium. In reply, the Sri Lankans stuttered to 108 for 5 after 20.4 overs, with a wicket apiece to Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and two for the captain, Paul Collingwood. more..

Female accountants seek flexible hours

Sep 28 (BL) Flexible working is important to the job satisfaction of almost two-thirds of all female chartered accountants, an expert has claimed. A new survey by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and finance recruitment specialist Robert Half, has discovered that only four in 10 men say it is important to them and around three-quarters of all associate chartered accountants are happy with the flexibility offered, it has been reported. more..