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Sri Lanka mixes business with pleasure

Sep 7 (Hindu) Visiting pristine beaches and a number of world heritage sites in Sri Lanka coupled with corporate conferences could be a dream vacation mixed with business for many executives of corporate houses. Aimed at providing a stiff competition to Southeast Asian countries that are popular among the business houses for their annual meetings and conferences, Sri Lanka has unveiled attractive packages to lure Indian corporate houses. more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka Pledge to Enhance Trade to $ 1Bln Mark

Sep 7 (PT) Traders in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are looking forward to adopt aggressive approach in achieving the potentional bilateral trade capacity that is over $one billion. While assessments and thorough research show that the existing Pakistan-Sri Lanka bilateral trade capacity is highly encouraging, present trading bring about $250 million only 25 percent of the capacity, more..

“Partnerships between universities and companies are a win-win for both sides”

Sep 7 (TW) I’d like to thank Zone 24/7 for their kind invitation to address you today. This is my second visit to Moratuwa University, one of Sri Lanka’s finest. In all of the conversations I have with the business community and others about the need for capacity to train students to succeed in working with new technologies, this university always figures prominently as one of the best. more..

LTTE Supremo’s ‘Martyrs’ Day’ expected to end ethnic crisis

Sep 7 (IL) Tamils inhabiting the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka are weary of the continuous, on-and-off clashes between the Sri Lankan government forces and the cadres of the LTTE. The people want to find a solution to this never-ending crisis, be it in the battle-field or on the negotiations table. The final picture will be revealed in the ‘Martyr’s Day Speech’ by the LTTE Supremo on November 27, 2007, when he will declare the final verdict on the anniversary of the deaths of members of LTTE cadres, will declare final war. more..

Film on Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka

Sep 7 (PVS) The film company "Tamizh Pasarai" is making the history of Elam Tamils in northeastern parts of the island nation, Sri Lanka; into a big-budget movie. V.C. Guhanathan directs it. Deva scores the music. Riaz Khan plays the role of the king of Sri Lanka. Besides some leading actors, Archana, Rari and Suja are in the cast. According to Guhanathan, the film is relevant to the present situation in Sri Lanka, where LTTE has been waging a relentless war to carve out a separate nation of Ethnic Tamils living in Eelam. more..

Sri Lanka tightens labour laws

Sep 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is doubling the time given under its labour laws for aggrieved employees to seek redress, rolling a back a previous decision to limit the period, a senior minister said. Minister Anura Yapa said the cabinet of ministers had approved a request by labour minister Athauda Seneviratne to increase the time given to seek relief under the Termination of Employment Act from three months to six months. more..

Sri Lanka presses France to clamp down on Tamils

Sep 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka's foreign minister said Thursday he had won assurances from French authorities that they will take action to curb the activities of Tamil rebel supporters in France. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said his government was "very satisfied" that Paris authorities were clamping down on suspected members of the LTTE, which the European Union has branded a terrorist group. more..

The shorter game is more open - Jayawardene

Sep 7 (CI) The last time Mahela Jayawardene left Sri Lanka for a South African summer, the cricketing gods were not smiling on him and the 2003 World Cup was the low point of his fine career as he scored just 21 runs in nine matches. Jayawardene returned to Johannesburg on Thursday but this time it was with a typically cheery Sri Lankan smile. The captain has had much to be pleased about in the last 18 months - his personal form was stunning as he led his team to the World Cup final, more..

Sri Lanka : The Quest for Peace

Sep 7 (AT) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said Sri Lankans are saddened by the misperceptions, distortions and deliberate aspersions cast upon the Government of Sri Lanka in foreign countries, for they do not reflect the reality of the ground situation, in a country that is endeavoring to rid itself of the menace of terrorism. more..

Susanthika gets Rs. 500,000 from AASL

Sep 7 (LD) The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) organized a reception yesterday (September 06th) in honour of Susanthika Jayasinghe, who won a bronze in the women’s 200 metres event at the 11th IAAF World Championship in Japan. At the function, the AASL presented her with a cash cheque for Rs. 500,000. The ace sprinter, her mother and her husband/coach Dhammika Nandakumara also attended. more..

Minister Mervyn Silva’s son assaults accountant at restaurant

Sep 7 (LD) Malaka Silva, son of Labour Minister Dr. Mervyn Silva, assaulted and seriously injured Chaminda Serasinghe, an accountant at a private institution, during a brawl at a restaurant at Duplication Road in Bambalapitiya last night. Malaka Silva had been under the influence of liquor at the time, and had reportedly fired a pistol into the air, before being escorted away by a group of Ministerial Security Division personnel. more..

Speaker gives stern warning to members over their conduct

Sep 7 (LD) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara gave a stern warning to members yesterday (September 06), telling them not to treat his accommodating ways as a weakness, and that he would act accordingly if terror tactics are used in Parliament. “If there is anyone suitable for my post, I am willing to leave at any time,” he said. When the House resumed sittings this morning, Lokubandara took a firm hand, as members continued to behave in an unruly manner, more..

We deplore the situation in parliament – JVP

Sep 7 (LT) Kurunegala district JVP parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake says that JVP deplores with contempt the situation that erupted in parliament when five amended tax bills came up for voting. He said this when inquired by us about the stand of the JVP about the amended tax bills passed in parliament yesterday. In his comments he said "We at the first instance deplore with contempt the situation that erupted in parliament today. None of the JVP parliamentarians got involved in this brawl. more..

Sri Lanka Insurance in deal to insure star cricketers

Sep 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka Insurance, has announced an agreement with the Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association to be the official life insurance provider for all its members. The life insurance cover offered by the company would be extended to national cricketers of the past, the company said in a statement. The association and the insurance firm also plan to hold two events to be called 'Sri Lanka Cricket Legends 2007' with the aim of raising money for a pension fund for all national cricketers. more..

Implications of Mannar Coastal Operations

Sep 7 (TC) The Sri Lanka security forces in a swift operation on September 2, 2007 took over control of the western coastal area south of Mannar along Arippu Silvatturai Kondachchi. The LTTE who had been expecting this move for some time now, made a tactical pull out, without offering much resistance, though they appear to have lost a dozen cadres. The region was under the nebulous control of the LTTE who used Silvatturai and other points to smuggle their needs and also to off load supplies more..

ActionAid commends Sri Lankan education system

Sep 7 (GDI) "The Sri Lankan education system is well known for its success in achieving widespread access to primary and secondary education in South Asia,” stated the ActionAid Sri Lanka Policy Manager Thusitha Siriwardena. This appreciation was made in the Action Aid’s message for the International Literacy Day, which is to be celebrated tomorrow (8th September). more..

Foreign Minister meets the President of ACF

Sep 7 (GDI) Sri Lanka Government’s strong condemnation of the killing of 17 Aid workers in Muttur, was expressed to Mr Denis Metzger, President and Mr Francois Danel, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger (ACF) by the visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama during his meeting with them in Paris. Minister stated that the Government saw this act as a grave attack against humanitarian aid workers and more..

Sri Lanka keen to restart peace process – Foreign Minister

Sep 7 (GDI) “Government of Sri Lanka remains ready to engage with the LTTE at any time,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affaires Rohitha Bogollagama. Minister Bogollagama expressed the above view yesterday during a discussion with the French Foreign Minister Dr. Bernard Kouchner at Quai d’Orsay. He also expressed the hope that the LTTE will respond positively to this, at a time when the government through the APRC is seeking to finalise a political settlement through the process of constitutional reform. more..

‘National Institute of Labour Studies’ to enhance productivity

Sep 7 (GDI) With the vision of enhancing industrial peace and harmony for the socioeconomic development of Sri Lanka, the Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower has set up a National Institute of Labour Studies (NILS). Announcing to the media yesterday on its prospective inauguration on 11th September 2007, the Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower Athauda Seneviratne stated that the Government has very well understood that the economic growth is based on the level of production, and more..

New act to protect victims and witnesses

Sep 7 (GDI) The Government is planning to introduce a new Act to protect the victims and the witnesses of crime scenes. Sri Lanka is already having a law to protect the victims and witnesses and through the new act the Government will be looking into protecting them with enhanced rule of law and speeding up the inquiries. It is reported that the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Human Rights currently patronage the drafting of the bill. more..

Five Finance Bills passed

Sep 7 (GDI) The Government has been able to pass the money bill amidst unruly scenes created by the opposition. Amidst the chaos, the five Amendment Bills seeking increased taxes on mobile phones, motor vehicles and electrical appliances were passed. Bills were approved with 106 MPs voting for them and 81 against. While the ruling alliance and the CWC voted for, the UNP, JVP and TNA voted against. more..

Over 30,000 displaced eastern families resettled

Sep 7 (RW) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake yesterday told Parliament that the Government has already resettled over 30,000 families displaced in Vakarai, Kadiraveli, Verugal and Eechalampaththu in the Eastern Province, recaptured by the Armed Forces from the LTTE. Commencing the Emergency debate, the Prime Minister said 15,299 families in Vakarai and Kadiraveli areas were displaced due to LTTE terrorist activities. more..

Dubai Police recover stolen jewellery

Sep 7 (KT) The Dubai Police have recovered the jewellery stolen by a Sri Lankan gang involved in breaking into apartments and villas in Dubai last month. Khamis Mattar AL Mazina, Director of General Department of Criminal Investigation, said that the stolen jewellery was hidden in a refrigerator and a tape recorder which had been shipped to Sri Lanka. The CID recalled the consignment and recovered the jewellery concealed in the appliances. more..

Oman, Sri Lanka sign MoU to boost bilateral trade

Sep 7 (KT) Oman and Sri Lanka have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to encourage bilateral trade and investment cooperation. The agreement, inked here on Wednesday after discussions between President of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) Khalil bin Abdullah al Khunji and a visiting Sri Lankan trade delegation, also seeks to enhance ties between businessmen in the two countries, exchange of expertise and participation in exhibitions in each other's country. more..

Doon NGO to help Lanka on human rights

Sep 7 (HT) Close on the heels of the Sri Lankan government planning to train its civil servants at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, help of another Doon Valley-based organisation is being sought by the troubled island nation to tackle human rights related issues. Lauding the efforts undertaken by Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), a local NGO at propagating human rights and promoting local self-governance, the Sri Lankan government has sought its assistance in these sectors. more..

Court Allows Rito`s Cremation

Sep 7 (LNP) On the request of the family, the Colombo Magistrate ordered the cremation of the body of 17-year-old German youth Rito Carl Joseph Steurer who was found dead at the Royal Park condominium premises on Monday, September 4. Filing an affidavit through attorney-at-law Upali Gunaratne, the father of the youth Dr. Roland Steurer, Director of German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), informed court that he did not suspect foul play. more..

Student takes teachers` union to task in court

Sep 7 (LNP) While the 2007 GCE Advanced Level examination paper marking has come to a standstill due to trade union action by some teachers` unions, the Supreme Court yesterday made an order restraining the unions from threatening and intimidating the Assistant Examiners who were to scrutinize the answers scripts. Court made this order following a petition filed by H.S. Rukman Senananda, a student who had sat the examination, citing more..

Prisoner Escapes From Hospital

Sep 7 (LNP) R. Premaratne (32), a suspect in a double murder case, who was admitted to the Ragama Hospital escaped from two prison guards on Tuesday night. He had been escorted to the toilet, which he entered and locked the door. That was the last seen of him. When he told the guards that he wanted to go to the toilet his hand cuffs attached to the hospital bed were removed and he was accompanied to the toilet. more..

Mechanic Crushed To Death

Sep 7 (LNP) A CTB mechanic engaged in work underneath a bus was killed when the bus toppled over crushing him. This was revealed at the inquest into the death of Ratnayake Mudiyanselage Jayantha (30), a father of two children and a resident of Maligawilla. The inquest was held by City Coroner Edward Ahangama yesterday. Giving evidence at the inquest, witness Chandrasiri said that on the day of the incident both of them travelled to the Kesbewa Depot to dismantle an axle from a bus and transport it back to the Moneragala Depot. more..

Tourism Act to bring in Rs.1bn

Sep 7 (SAMN) The proposed Tourism Act would bring an annual income of nearly Rs. one billion to the industry, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism George Michael said adding that the money would be collected from the CESS fund, being accumulated from a levy from registered hotels and a percentage from the Embarkation tax. Michael said the Treasury is annually forwarding around Rs. 450 million to run the activities of the Ministry of Tourism and also for its promotional budget. more..

Media contributing to conflict: Hakeem

Sep 7 (SAMN) Bulk of the media institutions in Sri Lanka are contributing to the cycle of violence here through their own subjective reporting and it is imperative that the media houses developed a system of self regulation in order to minimize their contribution to the conflict, SLMC leader and Minister, Rauff Hakeem has said. Minister Hakeem had made this observation while making the keynote address titled “Media and Ethnic polarization” at a forum of the Sri Lanka- America Society on Monday. more..

Reports of malnutrition exaggerated

Sep 7 (SAMN) Statistics pertaining to nutrition levels in Sri Lanka, a country whose resources have been severely taxed by a long drawn out conflict for almost three decades, when compared to other countries beset by conflict and even those free or relatively free of terrorist attacks such as those launched by the LTTE, indicate that the situation is far from alarming, a recent study by the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) shows. more..

Economy poised to achieve 8% growth

Sep 7 (SAMN) Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama Thursday told Parliament that the Government through 2008 Budget proposals intends achieve eight per cent economic growth. Minister Amunugama said amidst various challenges, the country during the past six months of this year has been able to achieve a significant economic growth. more..

'MiGs biggest problem LTTE faces today'

Sep 7 (DN) The biggest problem faced by the LTTE today is the Sri Lanka Air Forces MiG aircraft. When MiGs take off from Katunayake Airport all the LTTE terrorists creep into their underground bunkers. Now the LTTE has given the task of removing MiGs from the Air Force to the Opposition Leader, Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. Minister Aluthgamage said that the task handed over to the Opposition Leader by the LTTE is now in action. more..

RAD predicts UNP downfall after Budget

Sep 7 (DN) The UNP says Rata Iwarai Perata Warew (Country is finished (destroyed), Come forward!) but we have to say Pakshaya Iwarai Perata Warew (The party is destroyed, Come forward!), United National Party Democratic Group Secretary R.A.D. Sirisena said. Addressing the weekly press briefing at Seth Sevana, Colombo yesterday, he said it is sad to see the present status of the UNP which celebrates its 61st birthday this year. more..

Cross talk in House over COPE report

Sep 7 (DM) Contradictory claims initially made by the parliament authorities and the Bribery Commission regarding the submissions of the COPE report for further investigations became a hot topic in the House yesterday. Cross talk ensued between the COPE members and Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara who informed the House that he had instructed the Parliament Secretary General to refer the COPE report to the Bribery Commission as recommended by its Chairman Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa. more..

Media Ministry waits for request

Sep 7 (DM) The Media Ministry yesterday said it was prepared to intervene and resolve the security issue of Sunday Times Consultant Editor and Defence Columnist Iqbal Athas, if he made a personal request. Media Minister Laxman Yapa Abeywardane told journalists he could not intervene in the matter if there was no such request. Mr. Athas earlier told the media that he had made such a request from the government but the minister rejected the claim and more..

Commentary: Disappearances are not 'normal occurrences'

Sep 7 (UPI) Several Sri Lankan newspapers have reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross disclosed in a bulletin that 34 people have been abducted over the past three weeks. The Daily Mirror quoted the ICRC bulletin as saying that "families throughout the country continued to report abductions of relatives by unknown persons." more..

SLanka needs reform to right economy-World Bank,ADB

Sep 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka needs to cut government spending to reduce fiscal imbalances, lift real interest rates, and rein in money supply growth to stabilise its economy, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank said on Thursday. The government also needed to make sure public sector workers increased productivity in exchange for a wage rise, and it had to take long-term steps to cut the high current account deficit, the multilateral agencies said at seminar in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka opposition seeks to block planned bond

Sep 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's main opposition party said that if were to come to power it would revoke the HSBC's local licence for helping the government with a planned $500 million bond that the party wants to block. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe last month wrote to HSBC and the other two joint lead managers, JPMorgan and Barclays Capital -- who do not have banking licences -- saying the bond would pose too much of a burden for the island's finances. more..

Sri Lanka company directors get jail terms, fines for securities offence

Sep 8 (LBO) A Sri Lankan court Friday sentenced four directors of an export company that went bust several years ago to jail and imposed fines in the country's first ever securities fraud conviction. They were charged with non-disclosure of material information of a price-sensitive nature. Colombo's Fort Magistrate's court sentenced the four directors of Magpek Exports to three years rigorous imprisonment on two counts and fined each five million rupees. more..

Sri Lanka's HSBC defends record, following threat to cancel license

Sep 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's HSBC branch defended its record in the island following a threat by the country's opposition leader to cancel its license in the future over its involvement in a planned international bond issue. Opposition United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has earlier said that parliamentary approval has not been obtained to raise 500 million dollars from international markets. more..

'Democratic Governments combating terrorism need international support'

Sep 8 (GDI) Terrorism is, without doubt, the greatest challenge faced by the world community in our time and requires a concerted effort at the international level if the democratic way of life is to survive, said Professor G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade. Delivering a lecture at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, he said, "Within a country, terrorism has found expression in the use of duress to collect money from persons residing in parts of the country controlled by the terrorist organization, more..

ActionAid commends Sri Lankan education system

Sep 8 (GDI) "The Sri Lankan education system is well known for its success in achieving widespread access to primary and secondary education in South Asia,” stated the ActionAid Sri Lanka Policy Manager Thusitha Siriwardena. This appreciation was made in the Action Aid’s message for the International Literacy Day, which is to be celebrated tomorrow (8th September). more..

Hudson denies government post with Rs. 84,000 salary

Sep 8 (LeN) Hudson Samarasinghe who conducts the popular 'Newspaper Headlines' and 'Rata Yana Atha' in 'Isira FM radio' has rejected the appointment granted by the government as the adviser of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) and Lakhanda Radio. A letter dated September 04, signed by the Minister of Information and Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa granted the appointment subject to cabinet approval. more..

Tax bills 'illegally passed'

Sep 8 (BBC) The opposition parties in Sri Lanka have questioned the legality of passing five tax bills amidst MPs protesting against the way the vote was conducted. The main opposition, United National Party (UNP), insisted that the five bills on tax and fiscal amendments were passed illegally on Thursday. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera urged speaker WJM Lokubandara to convene a party leaders' meeting in the parliament to resolve the matter. more..

ICRC temporarily withdraws from Uyilankulam crossing point but boosts aid

Sep 8 (ICRC) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) decided on Monday 3 September to temporarily withdraw its employees from Uyilankulam crossing point. “The ICRC’s decision comes in the wake of a deterioration in the security situation in the area, jeopardizing the safety of civilians and ICRC personnel at the crossing point,” says ICRC head of delegation Toon Vandenhove. more..

Cricket: 2020 format makes debut on world stage

Sep 8 (AP) The world's top cricketers take a leap into the nearly unknown on Tuesday when the first ever 2020 World Cup begins in South Africa. The format, in which each team has a single innings of 20 six-ball overs, is so new that the tournament will more than double the total of 2020 internationals ever played. There have only been 19 to date. The next fortnight will see a further 27 played, starting at Johannesburg on Tuesday, more..

Talk or Shoot to be Heard

Sep 8 (FI) Bathed in the glare of the media and a high-pitched war rhetoric, the military operations in the East were the visible war efforts to most of us in this country and abroad during the past few months. But simultaneously, elsewhere in the East, the government had stealthily opened up another war front away from all the publicity and fanfare. This particular battle was part of a longer term strategy than anything that had been envisaged by the security forces in the North-East. more..

Surge in violence displaces thousands in Mannar district

Sep 8 (UNHCR) More than 3,000 people have fled their homes in north-west Sri Lanka's disputed Mannar district to escape fresh fighting between government troops and the rebel LTTE over the past week. The Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, citing local government officials in Mannar, said 3,109 people had moved from southern parts of Mannar to Nanattan division in the north of the district. Slightly more than half were staying with friends or family. more..