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President Imposes Unitary State Structure on the A.P.R.C

Sep 4 (FI) The All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) is expected to meet this Monday and Tuesday in what may very well be its swansong. After 42 meetings held over a period of 14 months the APRC chaired by veteran Trotskyite Prof. Tissa Vitharana is likely to wind up either this or next week after releasing its final report. The APRC was written off by some political parties and sections of the media some weeks ago. That was incorrect. more..

Even armed forces members behave like terrorists when they’re armed during times other than the war - CJ

Sep 4 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said today (September 3rd) that even the members of the armed forces behave like terrorists, if they take up arms during times other than the war. He was taking up a petition filed against illegal sand-mining in which a Wennappuwa Pradeshiya Sabha member, Kithsiri Samarajeewa is accused of using heavy machinery to excavate a grave more..

CID seeks 2 to 3 years to end Mavilaru Farmer compensation fraud

Sep 4 (LD) The Criminal Investigation Department told the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today (September 3rd) that it would take two to three more years to complete its investigation into the Mavilaru farmer compensation fraud. The CID noted that it was difficult to find witnesses to the alleged swindling of funds, since many are living in camps for the displaced while others have crossed over to uncleared areas. more..

We still pay for bread we ate in 60-70 decade - President

Sep 4 (LT) President mahinda Rajapaksha says that we still pay debts for wheat flour imported to Sri Lanka during 60-70 decade. The President made this remark addressing the ceremony to mark the opening of the programme "Let's grow! Let's build the country!". This ceremony was held at youth Center, at Maharagama and a national agricultural policy was introduced there. The opening of the paddy marking board which had closed also took place at this ceremony. more..

Sri Lanka gets IT going

Sep 4 (BL) Recently in Colombo The first-ever summit to focus on capacity building for the information technology and business process outsourcing industry was held in Sri Lanka, last week. It saw all stakeholders come together to take pragmatic stock of both the global opportunity to get a $2 billion chunk of the outsourcing pie and the challenge of finding the trained hands to do it. more..

'Genuine Tamil grievances have to be addressed within a unitary state'

Sep 4 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa accepted that there were genuine Tamil grievances and those have got to be addressed but refused what is called “a federal solution” due to the mandate he has received from the nation constrained him to be within a unitary state. “I cannot change history or my own political circumstances overnight... You must remember my political legacy and constraints. more..

"Riots - we've seen Sri Lanka, when they switched from English to Sinhalese" -Lee Kwan

Sep 4 (LeN) The mistakes of Sri Lanka and other newly independent 'failed states' made Singapore go in a different direction, its founding prime minister told the IHT in an interview. Lee Kwan Yew, now minister mentor, said when Singapore broke off from the Malayan Federation it had a hostile neighbour and population made of Chinese, Malays and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. The basis of a nation just was not there. more..

Sri Lanka may delay $500 million debt sale, ING, Pramerica say

Sep 4 (BN) Sri Lanka may delay a sale of $500 million in bonds, its first overseas debt offering, as global credit markets slump and a conflict between government forces and Tamil rebels escalates, fund managers said. "All bets are off in a situation where investors are generally looking to decrease risk in their portfolios," said Joel Kim, who manages the equivalent of $10 billion at ING Investment Management in Hong Kong. more..

Saudis Keen on Investing in Eastern Sri Lanka

Sep 4 (AN) Enterprising Saudis have come forward to invest in the former stronghold of LTTE, now controlled by government forces in Sri Lanka, the leader of the island’s trade delegation who wrapped up a 48-hour visit to the Kingdom yesterday, told Arab News. “There are 8,000 hectares of cultivable lands in the newly captured Thoppigala area in the Eastern province where several agricultural crops could be produced,” Sarath De Silva, leader of the seven-member delegation said, more..

Nauru detainees 'walking zombies'

Sep 4 (Age) The Federal Government has refused to set a deadline for when Sri Lankans detained on Nauru will have their asylum claims decided, despite more than 50 entering their fourth day of hunger strikes today to protest the delays. And the asylum seekers - who claim they have been reduced to "walking zombies" - could face a longer wait, with the Government seeking advice on whether immigration processing can continue during the caretaker period once the election has been called. more..

Government treats disappearances as ‘normal occurrences’

Sep 4 (ISL) Several Sri Lankan newspapers reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had disclosed in their bulletin that a further 34 persons had been abducted over the past three weeks. The Daily Mirror quoted the ICRC bulletin as saying: “Families throughout the country continued to report abductions of relatives by unknown persons,” the ICRC said. more..

The Appapillai Amirthalingam Eightieth Birthday Celebrations

Sep 4 (ISL) A large gathering of 250 or so persons met at the Indian YMCA Building in Central London on 26 August, the eightieth birthday of the late Hon. A. Amirthalingam, the undisputed Tamil leader for well over a decade and former Leader of the Opposition , to celebrate his life and work. It was organized by the Amirthalingam Trust, with Dr. Baheerathan Amirthalingam, his younger son, doing much of the behind the scenes work. more..

Axis of Evil: Norway-LTTE-Eritrea, and call to ‘expose double standard of the West’

Sep 4 (AT) While the Ethiopian media highlighted the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report iterating the Eritrean government’s direct assistance to Sri Lanka Tamil Tiger rebels, Eritrean media has so far maintained a stark silence except the president of Eritrea dismissed the U.S. State Department accusation that his country is assisting terrorists in Somalia and Ethiopia as baseless. more..

Dilan & Rajitha clash at Temple Trees meeting: President warns Dilan

Sep 4 (LD) The Government Parliamentary Group met yesterday at Temple Trees, chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to discuss the Extension of the State of Emergency and several other matters that will be taken up in Parliament in the near future. At the outset, UNP (Democratic) Group's Rajitha Senaratne charged that the COPE report had exceeded its purview and exposed too much, in a deliberate attempt to target his group, and gave vent to his anger against committee Chairman Wijedasa Rajapakse. more..

We’re scapegoats, if President is not safe in Parliament - Weerawansa

Sep 4 (LD) The United National Party raised objections today (September 04th) against the holding of Parliamentary Committee meetings of the Ministries of Finance and Defence at Temple Trees. Raising a point of privilege, Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera told the House this morning that it was against Standing Orders to hold Parliamentary Committee meetings outside the Parliamentary Complex. more..

International campaign to defend Asoka Handagama

Sep 4 (LD) An international campaign to defend artistic freedom in the wake of attacks on award-winning film director Asoka Handagama’s work has started. Initial supporters of the appeal include renowned British film director Ken Loach, winner of the “Palme D'or” at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival for his creation “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” and director of much acclaimed “Land and Freedom” and “Bread and Roses.” more..

VAT and tax concessions provided to uplift local industries

Sep 4 (GDI) Tax concessions including VAT reduction will be provided to uplift the local industries. According to the Minister of Industrial Development and Ranaviru Welfare Kumara Welgama, the tax concessions to industrialists provide opportunity to import machinery and equipment. He added that the government hopes to provide a solution to the employment problem mainly trough local industries. more..

National Education Act to be introduced next year

Sep 4 (GDI) The Government will be introducing the first ever National Education Act in the Next year. The 17 member Committee to formulate the act is chaired by Former Education Director General G.B. Gunawardana. He said that the Act will be drafted by next year. The committee will mainly focus its attention on the school curriculum, the medium of education, teacher recruitment, qualifications, teacher training and teaching quality, private / international school education, tuition education and pirivena education etc. more..

President says wining the economic battles essential

Sep 4 (GDI) "The need to win the economic battles of the country in extremely important and it would boost the battle against terrorism," pointed out the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Delivering the keynote address at the ceremonial inauguration of the “National Campaign to Motivate Domestic Food Production 2007-2010” under the theme “Api Wawamu-Rata Hadamu”, at the Conference Hall of the National Youth Services Council in Maharagama yesterday, more..

Yala remains open until 15th September

Sep 4 (GDI) The Yala National park will be kept open for all tourists until the 15th of this month. ‘With the good rainfall enjoyed this year, the park is not sencountering water problems as in previous years, which usually prompts the closure of the park,’ a media release issued by the Sri Lanka tourists’ board states. The decision to remain the park open was taken by the Director General Wildlife Conservation on request of the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. more..

Day rations for Northern displaced Muslims

Sep 4 (GDI) Government has issued directives to the respective co-operative shops to issue day rations to Northern Displaced Muslims living in Puttalam and elsewhere before the beginning of Ramadan Fasting. As the displaced Muslims have not received their dry rations for two months, Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Rishand Bathuideen has instructed officials concerned to take measures to issue dry rations immediately to them. more..

Sri Lanka's cutting edge tea logistics slashes delays, costs

Sep 4 (LBO) Sri Lankan companies have invested millions of dollars to develop modern warehousing for tea sold at the Colombo auction, the world's biggest, slashing lead times to hours or even minutes, an industry official said. They provide real time cataloguing and computerised systems that enable quick transfer of goods from producer to buyer, said Anil Cooke, Senior Vice President, of brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities. more..

The power vested in ‘we the people’!

Sep 4 (KT) SOME years ago, I read a feature article on mercenary protesters in Indonesia. These protesters were for hire. They had even business cards, calling themselves professional protesters. What matters for these paid protesters is money, not the cause. In Sri Lanka, too, there are hired protesters, although they are yet to organise themselves into a business venture. During May Day rallies mainstream political parties spent millions of rupees to tempt villagers to come to Colombo by offering them money, free meals, liquor and free transport — up and down. more..

International Buddhist centre for Yatinuwara

Sep 4 (SAMN) Urban Development and Sacred Areas Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardane, said it is a national duty and a great responsibility to impart pure Buddhism to the younger generation as it is the most valuable contribution that we can give to the world. The Minister made these observations at a ceremony, after declaring Yatinuwara, Suriyagoda, Sri Narendrarama Raja Maha Vihare a Sacred Area, on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Grads protest campaign ends

Sep 4 (SAMN) A month long protest against the health ministry decision to appoint Jaffna Medical Faculty graduates for internship only to the hospitals in the north east disregarding their merit placements came to an end yesterday, when Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva withdrew the suggestion, as the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Health met in Parliament Monday. more..

The Deadly Mahasohon Brigade

Sep 4 (SP) In Sri Lanka, one of the more successful units of the army are the "Deep Penetration Units," that go into rebel territory to collect information, and destroy rebel morale and combat power. These are Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRPs). They belong to the Sri Lankan Special Force Regiment, which was established in 1986, as one of many military reforms aimed at dealing with a rebellion by the Tamil minority (18 percent of the population). more..

CMC in in a garbage controversy?

Sep 4 (SAMN) It transpired at the sessions of the commission inquiring into charges against the CMC that CMC had decided that solid waste collection and disposal should be done by the CMC itself although the contract that was to expire was extended by two years. This was revealed at the sessions held at the Western Province Chief Minister’s office Monday. more..

House debates human rights violations

Sep 4 (SAMN) Reports of human rights violations and the settling of Sinhala communities in areas inhabited by Tamils and Muslims in the Eastern province would be subject to a full day debate in Parliament Wednesday, on a motion submitted by the TNA. Human rights violations like extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances as well as political issues such as the de merger of the North and East and government moves to settle the Sinhalese in the Eastern province would be the focus of the debate. more..

New Act for responsible pet care

Sep 4 (DN) A Parliamentary Act is in the offing making dog owners liable for prosecution in the event of neglect of their pets and harm caused by them to the public. There are 2.5 million dogs in Sri Lanka and 29 persons have already died from rabies during the past eight months. There is a possibility of this figure further increasing, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. more..

Susanthika to train in Los Angeles

Sep 4 (DN) Celebrated woman sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe, who created history by winning her second IAAF World Championship medal after a decade, plans to commence her Olympic training in the United States before the end of this year. The 31-year-old Lankan sprint queen said she would go to Los Angeles before the end of this year to undergo intensive training in her lead up for the 2008 Olympic Games in China. more..

Dr. Dodd's mistake should be highlighted: Samarasinghe

Sep 4 (DM) Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, has requested the Attorney General's Department to submit the supplementary report by Australian forensic Pathologist, Dr. Malcolm Dodd to the Commission of Inquiry investigating the killings of 17 Action Contre la Faim aid workers in August 2006. The Minister made this request as there were accusations by various international bodies of the government tampering with evidence. more..

SB optimistic of UNHRC judgment

Sep 4 (DM) The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission has completed hearing the appeal of UNP National Organizer S.B. Dissanayake, and the judgment is expected to be delivered within the next few weeks. Mr.Dissanayake was jailed in 2004 for two years for contempt of court arising from a statement by him. He was also deprived of his civic rights for several years. While being in jail, he filed an appeal with the Human Rights Commission. more..

Jaffna students to participate in National Sports meet in Colombo

Sep 4 (TN) The first group of students from Jaffna will travel by ship to Trincomalee and from there to Colombo by land to participate in the National Sports meet to be held in Colombo, according to Education officials in Jaffna. The officials met with Sri Lanka Army (SLA) authorities in Palaali Head Quarters on this matter before making the announcement, Monday. 119 of the 500 students selected for participation, will travel to Trincomalee Tuesday and the rest are to be sent later in two groups. more..

Man held for carrying LTTE books

Sep 4 (NT) A Kuala Lumpur-bound traveller was arrested Monday night at Chennai airport for carrying books published by the banned Sri Lankan militant group - the LTTE. Sources at the airport said, Suresh of Mannargudi was about to board a Jet Airways flight when emigration authorities found books and stickers related to the separatist group. The sources added, the Q-branch of the police was alerted immediately. more..

Tsunami prompts Sri Lanka to tackle mental health

Sep 4 (AN) The Indian Ocean tsunami has led to a marked improvement in mental health services in Sri Lanka, according to health experts. Disasters and conflicts often trigger depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress syndrome and other mental health disorders. But humanitarian crises can also spur major developments in mental health care, says Dr Shekhar Saxena of the World Health Organisation (WHO). more..

Sri Lanka joins hands with Maldives to promote tourism

Sep 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka has teamed up with the neighbouring island paradise of the Maldives to woo tourists from China, Russia and the Middle East, officials said Tuesday. The Maldives, South Asia's most exotic holiday destination, hopes the joint effort will help convince well-heeled tourists to stop in Sri Lanka and then visit the Indian Ocean atoll nation. more..

Sri Lanka says reserve money on target, but domestic assets rise

Sep 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said Tuesday reserve money growth is on target, but domestic assets in the monetary base continued to rise, indicating a further weakening of international reserve backing for the local currency. Reserve money for the end of August 2007 was 257.1 billion rupees and the monthly average was 254.7 billion rupees. more..

Sri Lanka welcomes Indian Ocean naval drill

Sep 4 (AFP) A massive naval drill opens in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday with warships from the United States and four other nations flexing their muscle in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Twenty-seven ships and submarines from the United States, Australia, Japan and Singapore will join seven from host India off the Andamans archipelago in the Bay of Bengal for the six-day manoeuvres, officials said. more..

Sri Lanka military: Weapons recovered from seized rebel territory

Sep 4 (AP) Sri Lanka recovered hundreds of mortars, anti-personnel mines and grenade launchers from a key northern coastal territory captured over the weekend from the Tamil rebels, the military said Tuesday. The weapons were found in two main rebel camps seized by army troops in the northern district of Mannar, which served as a supply point for insurgents in the north, an official at the Defense Ministry's information center said on condition of anonymity, in line with policy. more..

Sri Lanka mulls cost of carrying its fight to Tamil heartland

Sep 4 (AP) Sri Lanka's government has denied it is preparing to launch an offensive to drive Tamil rebels out of their fortified heartland in the north — a move analysts warns would exact a heavy death toll. Speculation has been mounting that the military might push into the dense jungles of the Vanni — as the rebel stronghold is known — after soldiers captured a sliver of rebel territory over the weekend. more..

Tamil Tigers prepare a massive recruitment campaign of child soldiers

Sep 5 (AN) Increasingly fewer students are presenting themselves for GCSE exams in Vanni North Sri Lanka. The reason: they are afraid that if they leave their homes they will fall into the clutches of Tamil rebels, who continue to forcibly recruit child soldiers among their ranks. The alarm was sounded by the Minister for Social Services, Douglas Devanada, and the leader of the EPDP. more..

EU pressures Sri Lanka on rights abuses, Govt says only reacting to terror

Sep 5 (LBO) The European Union has told Sri Lanka to ensure there are no more human rights abuses while the government has said its recent military actions were only to defend against Tamil Tiger terrorism. EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner has told Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama the EU is keen to ensure peace returns to the island. more..

Army helps tourists hit by wasps

Sep 5 (BBC) The Sri Lankan military has been deployed to evacuate tourists hit by a deadly aerial menace at the world famous rock fortress at Sigiriya. They have helped take dozens of people to hospital in recent days after they were stung by an angry swarm of wasps. Police say that the prevailing hot weather, combined with the noise made by crowds of visitors, could have roused the normally peaceful wasps. more..

Minor offenders fill up prisons

Sep 5 (BBC) Prisons Welfare Association (PWA) says half of the thirty three thousand inmates serving in prisons are convicted for less than six months. This has led to congestion in prisons and they falling prey to complex prisons administrative set up, officials of the PWA said at a media briefing on Tuesday. The prisons are 400 per cent full, they say. "Another 97,000 suspects are also undergoing prisons terms in addition to convicted prisoners", more..

Amnesty International calls on the United Nations Human Rights Council to address violations

Sep 5 (AI) Amnesty International urges the United Nations Human Rights Council to call on the government of Sri Lanka to address ongoing failures to respect human rights in the context of the armed conflict between government forces, the LTTE and other armed groups. Grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict characterize the hostilities which have escalated since April 2006. more..

President facilitates outstanding sports personnel

Sep 5 (GDI) Players of the Sri Lankan cricket team who bagged the runners up position in the 2007 World Cup tournament and veteran athlete Damayanthi Darsha receive Duty Free vehicle permits in recognition of their service, uplifting the field of sports. The event took place this morning (04) at the Temple Trees headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Presidential Secretariat states in their press release. more..

8 JVP'ers cleared of damaging Ravi K's political office

Sep 5 (LD) Eight activists of the JVP, charged with attacking a political office of Colombo District Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake at Rajagiriya and inflicting damages estimated at Rs. 27,200, were discharged by the Colombo Additional Magistrate today (September 04th) for a lack of evidence. The Colombo Crime Division filed the case, saying the incident took place on 11th March 2004. more..

Premier introduces new definition for terrorism

Sep 5 (LD) Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake introduced a new definition for terrorism, on the instruction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, when Parliament convened this morning (September 04th). Accordingly, terrorism is defined as an illegal act that targets or threatens the territorial integrity or sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka or other sovereign state and/or an act that targets or threatens to create a change in government or in politics. more..

We vote against the bills that put burden on people, says JVP Anura Kumara

Sep 5 (LeN) JVP stated today (04) that they would vote against the four bills that would be tabled in the parliament on Thursday pertaining to impose new taxes on vehicles, mobile phones and few other commodities. The JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka made this announcement addressing a press conference held in the parliamentary complex today. The JVP said that it would oppose these four bills since the colossal cabinet and their families are also run on the tax money levied from the public. more..

Tragedy strikes Royal Park again

Sep 5 (BL) Tragedy struck Rajagiriya’s plush residential condominium, Royal Park during the early hours of yesterday when a German teenager jumped to his death from the 17th floor. Just minutes before his death, 17-year old Rito Carl Joseph, a resident of Battaramulla, had sent three messages from his mobile, using short message service (SMS) to his family saying “I am sorry.” more..