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Sri Lanka ease past South Africa

Sep 9 (LNP) Sri Lanka's bowlers did an excellent job of restricting hosts South Africa to 161 for 9 in Potchefstroom before their batsmen knocked off the target with five wickets in hand and seven balls to spare. After being put in, Graeme Smith stood firm at one end, scoring 46 off 35 balls, but South Africa lost Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers cheaply at the other. Justin Kemp hit three sixes during his 32 off 22 balls but South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could never build up momentum. more..

Pakistan coast to five-wicket win

Sep 9 (CI) A solid opening stand of 94 between Salman Butt and Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan ease to a five-wicket win against Sri Lanka at Centurion. Butt scored 51 and Hafeez 45 as Pakistan chased down the target of 163 with more than an over to spare. After being put in to bat, Sri Lanka were off to a good start with Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga adding 45 in five overs. Mohammad Asif, who missed the warm-up against Zimbabwe due to a thigh injury, removed Tharanga for 30. more..

Tea producers told to warm up their global image at Sri Lanka parley

Sep 9 (AFP) Faced with falling prices and competition from coffee growers, global tea producers are being stirred into action to boost their image in order to regain consumers in the cut-throat beverage market. Tea, the world's most consumed drink behind water, is seen as an "old ladies' drink" and is being abandoned by youngsters who pay top dollar for trendy coffees such as mochas and frothy cappuccinos, industry officials say. more..

HR agencies to be informed of controversial statement

Sep 9 (GDI) The controversial statement issued by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) over certain cases of disappearances in the country will be brought to the attention of international human rights agencies by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, next week. This was revealed by Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe a few hours prior to his departure to Geneva to attend the International Human Rights Commission Conference. more..

Food and shelter for displaced at Silawatura

Sep 9 (GDI) The Government will provide food, shelter and sanitary facilities to the displaced families at Silawatura in the Mannar district with the help of the Armed Forces and Non Governmental Organisations, Minister of Re-Settlement and Disaster Relief Services, Risath Bathiyutheen said. Over 2,112 families who lived in Mannar, Silawatura, Arrippu and Musali were provided with temporary shelter at schools in the Murugan and Nainatan areas. more..

Chinese carriages to improve rail services

Sep 9 (GDI) The first shipment of Rail compartments ordered by the Railway Department from China arrived at the Colombo Port on Friday. These passenger carriages will be put into operation shortly, a spokesman for the Railway Department said. He said the Railway Department ordered 100 carriages from China and 25 have already arrived at the Colombo Port and the remaining 75 carriages will also arrive at the Colombo Port within the next three months. more..

What diplomats and ex-diplomats do to their country?

Sep 9 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse was right in summoning the diplomats abroad and giving them a pep talk telling them that there are greater missions in the diplomatic world than circulating in the cocktail circuit with a glass in hand. He told them to pull up their socks and work for the good of the nation in these critical times. But nothing seems to have changed since then. Some of them don’t even turn up at their desks in time. more..

The Emerging Sri Lanka

Sep 9 (AT) The rich and the poor do not inhabit the same world. Sensible policy makers try to lessen this gap, to make the poor feel that they too are stakeholders of the world of the rich, lest a clash of the worlds happen. Sadly, sensibility is conspicuous by its absence in the mental universe of the present administration. Wittingly or unwittingly, the regime is acting in a manner that serves to widen rather than narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, while squeezing the middle class more than any previous administration did. more..

Tamil Nadu politicos challenge Delhi on crossing Palk Strait to enter Jaffna

Sep 9 (AT) The Tamil Nadu Police is adopting a ’wait and watch policy’ with regard to political stunt adopted by P.Nedumaran, a leading Tiger proxy in S. India who has threatened to cross the Palk Straits to distribute food, medicine and other essential items to the Tamils of Jaffna. In the meantime, V. Gopalasamy, popularly known as Vaiko, has flayed the Government of India for refusing to give permission to cross the Palk Strait. more..

Army victories in Mannar cut supply routes to Vanni

Sep 9 (AT) Sri Lanka Armed forces which launched a blitzkrieg on the small hours of last Sunday 02 September has completed their mopping up operation on Friday morning after the take over of the Mullikuam located 2 KM north of the Puttalam district border. The military operation began with the eviction of the Tamil Tigers from Musali, Arippu, Silavathurai, Kokkupadayan, and Kondachchi and ended up with the successful take over of Mullikulam. more..

Situation of Civilian Population in Jaffna Continues to Deteriorate

Sep 9 (TW) The abnormal conditions in Jaffna make it unlike any other part of Sri Lanka.There is no road link to Jaffna with the closure of the A9 Highway. Those fortunate to travel by air are photographed and given Temporary Entry Permits after being photographed. On the return journey they surrender these permits and are photographed again before they board the return flight. more..

Unity is strength

Sep 9 (TW) Whether Sri Lanka is a unitary, united, devolved, fragmented or federal state we should not be stupid. We should set aside our ego, prestige, old hurts, greed for power etc. and intelligently analyse the situation and make wise decisions. All those who talk from a distance, have been talking and will continue to talk but never find solutions as their bread is buttered. more..

Speaker to review vote on tax bills

Sep 9 (SAMN) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara is to reconsider the fate of the five financial bills passed in Parliament under controversial circumstances on Thursday. “I need time to study the fate of the five bills before signing them,”. Lokubandara said Saturday throwing open the possibility that the Bills intended to raise taxes on mobile phones, tobacco, and vehicles, may have to go back to Parliament’s Order Paper. more..

JVP No Confidence moves on COPE MPs

Sep 9 (SAMN) The JVP will move No Confidence Motions on several government Ministers exposed in the COPE report and several others who are implicated in court cases, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said Saturday, adding that the party will also go to Court against culprits exposed in the two consecutive reports issued by the COPE. Dissanayake did not name the parties against whom the No Confidence Motions would be presented, but referred to several key government Ministers as being corrupt. more..

Govt. promises impartial probe

Sep 9 (SAMN) The government has conveyed to the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict that it would adopt necessary measures to cause an independent and credible investigation into allegations made against some elements of the security forces, in connection with the abduction and recruitment of children by the Karuna faction. more..

Youth getting old waiting for jobs

Sep 9 (SAMN) A National Action Plan for Youth Employment was launched this week to help find solutions for Sri Lanka’s long standing youth unemployment. Despite investing in public funded health and education for children and despite many employment opportunities created through an open economy, Sri Lanka is yet to make productive use of its large youth population. more..

Not even the world’s local bank can save them?

Sep 9 (LB) Thursday’s parliamentary showdown was an indication of what ad- hoc measures can do for a country that’s financially far from sound by any reckoning. Sarath Amunugama, wittingly or unwittingly, seemed to underline the fiasco of the situation. Amunugama said that “the highest number of handphones were issued during the period of the SLFP government” and he proceeded to quote from the figures. more..

The frequent closure of roads within the city of Colombo

Sep 9 (LB) Be it delaying flights or road closures, these politicians will go to any length to protect their lives! Any human life is valuable, especially the lives of politicians in Sri Lanka! For the commendable service they render towards the betterment of the public and the country, all bigwigs in Sri Lanka need maximum security at any cost. But not at the cost of the lives of commuters! more..

Big district, small squabbles

Sep 9 (LB) At the UNP Working Committee meeting on Tuesday, former Hambantota District MP Ananada Kularatne spoke strongly about an old dispute that was threatening to be renewed. “Sir, the problem has started again,” he told Ranil Wickremasinghe. “Sajith (Premadasa) is using the pretext of the Jana Suvaya programme to work in electoral divisions that don’t belong to him. He is setting up branch societies throughout Hambantota.” “Jana Suvaya is a development programme,” responded Wickremasinghe. more..

Govt., shaky , war only option for survival

Sep 9 (LB) Two events that took place last week would portend the government’s military strategy. The first is the capture of Silavathura, a Tiger enclave in the South of Mannar, with a little resistance from the guerrillas, thereby confining the guerrillas into the main Tiger stronghold in the Wanni. The second development, perhaps the more important of the two, as far as the direction of the government’s military strategy is concerned, took place in the lobby of Parliament, amidst chaotic scenes of fist fights between peoples’ representatives. more..

UNP lacks support to topple Govt

Sep 9 (SO) Contrary to the 'dreams' of some politicians of the Opposition, which say the days are numbered to topple the Government, the United National Party (UNP) says that there is no immediate intention as they lack the support of other parties. UNP heavyweight and National Organiser, S. B. Dissanayake told the 'Sunday Observer' that the UNP never said that they would topple the Government during the budget debate or within the next six months. more..

Postal Act to be amended

Sep 9 (SO) Steps will be taken to amend the Postal Act, to mete out justice to all employees, said, Secretary to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, W. M. Piyasena. After consultation with the representatives, it was agreed to appoint a committee to look into all shortcomings and submit a report. He said, the committee will consists of fifteen members including representatives from the Trade Unions, the Public Service Commission and Ministry officials. more..

Gama Neguma and Maga Neguma to develop backward villages

Sep 9 (SO) People in Moneragala, Kegalle, Kalutara, Ratnapura and Galle districts want the Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry to expedite the development projects, carried out under the Maga Neguma and Gama Neguma concept. Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry, Additional Secretary M. M. Amaratunga said the objective of implementing the Gama Neguma and Maga Neguma Programs was to develop backward villages and provide villages with infrastructure facilities. more..

Denying his civic rights till he turns blue?

Sep 9 (SO) The meeting between Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has raised eyebrows of some politicians, National Organiser of the United National Party (UNP) Sumanaweera Banda Dissanayake accused Mrs. Kumaratunga of being responsible for the economy and the North and East problem going from bad to worse during her 11-year tenure. more..

Buttala farmers to sell produce under forward contracts

Sep 9 (SO) Farmers of Buttala will launch a Chamber of Commerce on September 12 to sell their produce under forward contracts to exporters and buyers with the support and guidance of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL). President NCCSL, D. Eassuwaren said that this was the outcome of a meeting held recently between exporters and producers of vegetables and fruits from Moneragala. more..

Two top LTTE cadres slip through immigration net

Sep 9 (NS) Two top LTTE cadres, wanted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), have slipped through the net of Immigration authorities and fled to Singapore. They have made their get-away with the assistance of one Thavarajah. The duo had migrated abroad a few weeks ago. Following this development, S. Thavarajah, a former MP and the second most senior member of the EPDP has left for England. Reports reveal that he is unlikely to return to the country. more..

It is the economy that matters

Sep 9 (NS) The country’s major opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) also appears to have realised that it is after all the economy that matters. They should know: many believe the short-lived United National Front (UNF) regime collapsed in 2004 partly because its economic benefits were designed to give only long term yields and there was no short term redress for the masses. more..

Military push halted in favour of devolution package?

Sep 9 (NS) Having secured Silavathurai, a relatively small area held by the LTTE in the Mannar District, the government has expressed the desire to hold talks with the LTTE to arrive at a negotiated settlement. However, the sentiments voiced by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella will not be sufficient to impress the LTTE, since he attached strings to his statement by proclaiming that such talks could only be possible if the LTTE renounces violence and terrorism as a means of achieving its objective. more..

Govt. point man against corruption

Sep 9 (NS) Justice Minister Dilan Perera seems to be walking a tight rope, following the war of words he had with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and others at last week’s parliamentary group meeting. Perera, an outspoken politician, says that he will not hesitate to highlight corruption and expose it without any fear or favour. This is not the first time Perera has come out against corruption and bribery. He was the only government minister to speak in support of a federal system, and even participated at the anti war front rally, for which he was called a Tiger. more..

Change of course after talks in India

Sep 9 (ST) It was a week packed with local, regional and international significance for both the Government and the Opposition. Main among them was a surprise visit by the front runners of governance in Sri Lanka, led by senior-most official Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President. The other two, intimately engaged in the minute-to-minute running of governmental affairs, at the apex of the corridors of power, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, more..

A/L paper marking boycott continues despite assurance by Exams Chief

Sep 9 (ST) The boycotting of Advanced Level exam paper marking would continue despite efforts by the Examinations Commissioner General to get the marking process to continue after the Supreme Court issued an order that no intimidation or threats should be levelled against those involved in the answer script marking. The Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe told The Sunday Times that union members would continue to keep away from the marking process until their salary anomaly was resolved. more..

Britain ready to help Lanka achieve political settlement

Sep 9 (ST) Britain is ready to help Sri Lanka reach a political settlement in its conflict with the LTTE, a British minister has said. But Britain would not play a proactive role and would assist if requested. The minister was responding to a comment by Prof. GL Peiris, minister of export development and international trade that the international community had a supportive role to play in Sri Lanka's quest for a political settlement. more..

Glitz and blitz at New York Ritz for huge Lankan delegation

Sep 9 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to lead a delegation of more than 65 to the UN General Assembly sessions in New York later this month, with an advance party leaving as early as next week. The Ritz Carlton hotel has been booked for the delegation. Each suite booked is priced at US$ 2,500 (Rs. 275,000) per night. This year's delegation has been split into three; a Presidential delegation, a First Lady's delegation; and a Foreign Minister's delegation. more..

Sri Lanka launches crackdown on illegal Indian workers

Sep 9 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities have launched a crackdown on Indian nationals who arrive as tourists and stay on to work, an immigration official said Sunday. Eight Indian men were arrested Friday in the south of the island, where they had been employed as farm workers, the official said, adding that all had entered as tourists. "We are holding them at a detention centre and will be deporting them shortly," said the official, who declined to be named. more..

Sri Lanka court allows detention of rebel woman suspect

Sep 9 (Xinhua) A Sri Lankan court has allowed the further detention of a woman Tamil Tiger suspect for gathering information on important economic nerve centers in the capital Colombo, the police said Sunday. The Colombo Magistrate's Court on Friday allowed the suspect arrested in the northern town of Vavuniya to be detained until Sept. 27, the Police Terrorism Investigation Unit sources (TID) said. more..

Australia and Sri Lanka look hot for world Twenty20 glory

Sep 9 (SG) Fasten your seat belts and watch the balls fly- it's crash, bang wallop time. And as the ad for Marmite says: You either love it or hate it. Twenty20 is being touted as the future of cricket. Some feel it's a joke, while it has made others fall in love withthe game all over again. The fact off the matter is that Twenty20 is here to stay. Now, with the first World Championship, there is no better time to preview the game. more..

Wickremasinghe to visit India

Sep 9 (TN) Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), is to visit India to hold vital talks with Indian leaders. This follows the visit to India of Sri Lanka Government three-member delegation headed by Mr.Lalith Weeratunge, Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapakse, accompanied by two Rajapakse brothers, Defence Secretary Mr.Gothabaya Rajapakse and Presidential senior advisor Mr.Basil Rajapakse, media reports said. more..

Navies take stock as Indian Ocean war games end

Sep 9 (AFP) A massive peacetime military exercise ended in the Indian Ocean on Sunday as navies from five nations including the United States disengaged from mock battles. The USS Nimitz, the world's largest supercarrier, had already withdrawn from the Bay of Bengal, where navies from Australia, India Japan and Singapore as well as the United States launched the drill on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka military claims it killed 5 Tamil insurgents in northern clash

Sep 9 (AP) Sri Lankan troops attacked Tamil Tiger rebel positions across northern defense lines, leaving five insurgents dead, and a car bomb exploded in the east, killing a soldier, the military said. Soldiers spotted a gathering of separatist rebels in Nagarkovil village, on the northern Jaffna peninsula, and opened fire Saturday to defend their position, an official at the Defense Ministry's information center said on condition of anonymity, more..

Sri Lanka 'apologises' for India story

Sep 9 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government has apologised for an incorrect statement that said a high-level defence panel has been established with India after a visit by senior officials. The Policy Research & Information Unit (PRIU) of the Presidential Secretariat said on Thursday the panel was established during a visit by three senior officials to Delhi from 3-4 September. more..

Convoy to Jaffna flagged off

Sep 9 (NIP) With a diplomatic stir brewing, Thamizhar Desiya Iyakkam convenor P Nedumaran on Saturday flagged off a consignment of essential goods and medical supplies bound for Jaffna. The consignment is expected to reach Nagapattinam on September 11, from where Nadumaran has threatened to take it across to Jaffna by boats violating maritime and other international laws. The move has been seen by the Sri Lankan Government as an affront to its sovereignty, and more..

Govt.- Karuna alliance 'dangerous'

Sep 10 (BBC) There is no major difference between the LTTE and the breakaway Karuna faction, a former senior minister of Mahinda Rajapaksa government said. Leader of the SLFP (mahajana wing) Manglala Samarawera told BBC Sandeshaya that he was always against the government dealing with the breakaway faction led by Colonel Karuna. "Although they separated due to an internal struggle Karuna's strategies were not different from those of LTTE," he told more..

'More teachers' joining boycott

Sep 10 (BBC) Teachers' trade unions in Sri Lanka say many more teachers are afraid of marking A/L answer papers as a result of their boycott being challenged in the court. The trade unions that stage a boycott of marking the papers were ordered by the Supreme Court not to intimidate or force those who are marking the papers to join their action. Wasantha Dharmasiri, General Secretary of Education Professionals Association (EPA), said many teachers who did not join the boycott are now fearful whether they would be sued if they make any mistake. more..

Sri Lanka should make better use of existing trade deals: experts

Sep 10 (LBO) Trade analysts say that Sri Lanka should make the most of existing trade deals like the Bay of Bengal Initiative before negotiating more bilateral and multilateral agreements. Sri Lanka became a member of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation or BIMSTEC in 1997. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar are also part of BIMSTEC, though trade under the agreement has not really taken off as expected, eclipsed by other trade deals member countries have signed. more..

Sri Lanka Democracy Forum Calls for Urgent Progress

Sep 10 (NB) The Sri Lanka Democracy Forum insists that the only way out of the destruction and tragedy faced by the people of Sri Lanka over the last two-and-a-half decades is through a political process that addresses the genuine grievances and democratic aspirations of all minority communities. Such a political process needs to discard the legacy of the unitary state and move towards constitutional reform through devolution of power to the regions and power sharing at the centre, with greater representation for minorities in a bicameral legislature. more..

Siri Gunasinha Novel in Thamil

Sep 10 (TW) Acclaimed Sinhala novel of the 1950s, Hevanella (Shadow) by Emeritus Professor Siri Gunasinha is now available in Thamil translation. The translator is Sarojini Devi Arunachalam, a reputed translator conversant in Sanskrit, Thamil, Sinhala and English. She comes from a great family of poets and educationists in Navaaly in Yaalpanam. Her father Navaaliyoor Nadarasa was a poet, critic, and a pioneer broadcaster over the then Radio Ceylon, and a scholar in Sanskrit. more..

Time is precious-Justice Marsoof

Sep 10 (TW) Excerpts from an address delivered by Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Saleem Marsoof at the Islamic Day held at Zahira College, Colombo, Sri Lanka: In Sura Al Asr, Allah swears by the token of time, which is so precious that it is a crime to waste it. Every day, nay every minute, of our school life is precious, and unless we add value to it by maximising its use we will be at a loss. more..

The Philippines to provide expertise to Sri Lanka to establish a coast guard service

Sep 10 (AT) Manila Times, the Philippine national daily in an op-ed piece said Manila and Colombo are in exploratory talks for the Philippines to provide the latter’s expertise regarding establishing a Coast Guard service. “So in this new era of cooperation between nations in a world where terrorism has no international borders, Manila and Colombo are in exploratory talks for the Philippines to provide its expertise to help Sri Lanka create its own Coast Guard operation,” more..

Tigers’ Vennila gang provoke gang warfare in Paris

Sep 10 (AT) Vennila, a ruthless pro – Tamil Tiger gang operating in Paris, Minnal and Mukkala, the rival Tamil gang, are at the centre of the current wave of Tamil violence raging in Paris. According to French sources, the car festival (Ther) of the Paris Manikka Vinayagar Temple located in Marks Dormey, in La Chappelle, Paris 10 took place with pomp and pageantry last Sunday (02 September). more..

Curfew lifted in northern Sri Lanka town for religious festival

Sep 10 (Xinhua) The police curfew in the northern Sri Lankan town of Jaffna is to be totally lifted during Sunday and Monday to facilitate the annual festival of a Hindu temple, defense officials said Sunday. The curfew in Jaffna, a daily occurrence between 7 p.m. to 4 a. m. (1330 GMT to 2230 GMT) will not be imposed on both days as thousands are expected to attend the religious festival in the Nallur Kovil, or the Hindu Temple. more..