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3-day public holiday to facilitate SAARC

July 16 (SAMN) As part of stringent measures to thwart any LTTE attacks targeting the summit of the SAARC, the government Tuesday declared August 1, 2 and 3 as public holidays and also said the Fort Railway Station will be closed for five days, along with 50 schools. The moves are part of an unprecedented security measure that also sees the establishment of four high security zones in the city. more..

Mahaweli H zone, faces water scarcity

July 16 (SAMN) Mahaweli H zone faces a grave shortage of water for irrigation, and the daily needs of the farmer settlers. Around 32,000 have been settled within a land area of 80,000 acres, expending of Rs. 32,000 million by the government, to enhance rice production in the country under the Mahaweli development programme. The main water supply to the H zone is from Kalawewa reservoir which has a capacity to irrigate 27,000 acres of land. more..

Progress in democracy and Human Rights will continue

July 16 (DN) As President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made remarkable and impressive gains in establishing a process for the resolution of Human Rights issues, the International Community would like to help Sri Lanka as she makes progress along the lines of action initiated by the President. This was the view expressed by Britain’s Lord Malloch Brown when he met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday morning. more..

Conspiracy to cripple State blood bank bared

July 16 (DN) A conspiracy to create a long lasting blood shortage in Sri Lanka was revealed by the National Blood Centre (NBTC), Colombo yesterday. The main component of this conspiracy is a media campaign to discredit the NBTC, launched by a popular private television channel assisted by some forces including certain elements with vested interests, Director, National Blood Bank, Dr. Mangalika Bindusara said. more..

House Committee seeks enhanced fuel allowance for MPs

July 16 (Island) The directive was given at a meeting chaired by Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara. Members of the House Committee, Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara, Water Supply Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, JVP MP Nihal Galappaththi and UNP MP Edward Gunasekera were present at the meeting. Well informed sources said Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and non-Cabinet rankers, too, would benefit from the latest increase. more..

President wants PMB to fight with private sector for Yala harvest

July 16 (Island) Trade Secretary Dr. R. M. K. Ratnayake said yesterday the government would compete with the private sector for the Yala harvest in August. "We intend to buy about 140,000 m.t.," he told The Island. This would help to prevent unscrupulous traders from manipulating the market at the expense of the consumer, he said. Ratnayake said President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently directed the Paddy Marketing Board to buy 140,000 m.t. of paddy. more..

Open letter to Arjuna

July 16 (DM) Please permit me to send this open letter to our former World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga through your esteemed newspaper for which I shall be very grateful. My dear Arjuna, I too joined the millions of Sri Lankans to hail and support you as a player and captain during your heydays. It was great having you as a player. But I am afraid I cannot extend the same respect and regards to you as an administrator since you have become a total misfit vg more..

Is Pakistan being taken for granted by Sri Lanka ?

July 16 (DM) Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan ,Benazir Bhutto once, in a letter addressed to former President,the late Premadasa said : the only thing on which she and Zia had agreed was providing Pakistani assistance to Sri Lanka. By this what she meant was that , although she was diametrically opposed to the decisions taken by Pakistan’s former President Zia ul Haq’s administration, she did not however oppose the solitary decision to render assistance to Sri Lanka. more..

Brandix supports Sri Lanka schools swimmers

July 16 (F2F) Sixteen elite Sri Lanka schools swimmers now competing at the 3rd Asian Schools Swimming Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, have received the inspirational support of Brandix Lanka Limited, the country’s largest apparel exporter. At the request of the Sri Lanka Schools Aquatic Sports Association, Brandix has come forward as clothing sponsor for the contingent comprising of eight boys, eight girls and four officials. more..

Don't ignore Tests, Ranatunga says

July 16 (AFP) Sri Lanka's legendary former captain Arjuna Ranatunga on Wednesday urged players to preserve Test cricket in the face of the challenge posed by the lucrative Twenty20 format. Ranatunga, who led his country to their only World Cup title in 1996, also said the players needed to focus more on Tests. "You need Twenty20 to get more money, but ultimately you have to realise that Test cricket is the major thing," said Ranatunga, more..

Colombo Railway Stations to be shut 1st time in history

July 16 (LD) The government is reported to have decided to close the Fort, Colpetty and Slave Island railway stations with effect from 29th this month (July) as a security measure adopted for the forthcoming 15th SAARC summit. All trains on the Matara-Galle coastal line, it is said will operate upto Bambalapitiya while all other trains passing the Ragama railway station will terminate at Maradana, including those that commute on the Kelani Valley line. more..

Indian warships to shield PM during SAARC meet in Lanka

July 16 (TOI) India is not taking any chances with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's security during his visit to Colombo for the SAARC summit early next month. The Centre is planning to despatch three warships, including two frontline guided-missile destroyers, to Sri Lankan waters as security cover for the PM and his entourage from the much-feared LTTE. With national security adviser M K Narayanan personally looking into the issue due to the "high threat perception" from the LTTE, more..

Govt says it has captured key rebel naval base

July 16 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured a key naval base used by the Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern part of the country Wednesday, the government said, a day after fighting in the region reportedly killed 51 rebels and a soldier. A Defense Ministry statement said government troops overran the rebel-held coastal town of Vidattaltivu on Wednesday morning, taking control of an important base used by the Sea Tiger naval force. more..

The infamous white van: A symbol of shame

July 17 (LG) The colour white generally stands for purity, truth, innocence and cleanliness, virtues we proudly cherish; virtues that are pivotal for our well being. People world over, including Sri Lanka, wear white at various functions to demonstrate its significance. At mosques, churches, temples and shrines, white is the preferred colour. Parliamentarians, priests, nuns, religious dignitaries and nurses in hospitals are dressed in white. more..

Anger and violence okay for Tamils but not for others -- UTHR

July 17 (LG) The authors of UTHR boast that it “is always impeccable in citing due processes, principles, norms of conduct etc.” This implies that UTHR means to uphold the high moral principles in judging the conduct of all actors in the national crisis. But if UTHR is serious about this claim how can it twist and turn its arguments to justify the inhuman violence of the LTTE by blaming it on the Sri Lankan government – more..

Child made to glorify terrorism

July 17 (LG) In a catalogue of violations of the Terrorism Act in the UK, photographs posted in the LTTE website tamilnet confirms even under aged children were not spared when the LTTE celebrated Pongu Thamil in London on 12 July 2008. Photograph published in the tamilnet confirmed a child wearing coat depicting the proscribed LTTE’s logo. Glorifying terrorism is an offence under the Terrorism Act and the activists of the LTTE did enjoy exemption from impunity over their conduct. more..

Foreign Ministry issues visa guidelines to UN and International Organizations

July 17 (LG) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a set of guidelines to be followed for visa requests by UN and other International Organizations which have Status Agreements with the Government of Sri Lanka. The guidelines were circulated among all Heads of Organizations at a meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, which was held on Monday, 14 July 2008 at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. more..

Government denies allegation of internment of IDPs

July 17 (LG) The Government of Sri Lanka rejects the allegation by Human Rights Watch that more than 400 civilians displaced by the conflict in Northern Sri Lanka have been detained by the Government. The reference is to the Kalimoddai Welfare Centre in Mannar. At present, the Kalimoddai Welfare Centre accommodates 232 internally displaced families, which includes 110 newly displaced families. more..

The stillborn artificial Sri Lankan identity – II

July 17 (LG) R M B Senanayake states that the western tradition is humanist and he has grown up in a tradition that was not dominated by the Sinhala Buddhist ethos. It is not difficult for anybody who knows something about the history of the world and also for the experts in history to at least write volumes and volumes of what the westerners have done in the other parts of the world. People like RMBS may not refer to these as atrocities but more..

Mirissa Fishries Harbour commissioned today

July 17 (GDI) The Mirissa Fisheries Harbour which was devastated in the tsunami declared open today after its reconstruction. The harbour was revived under the “Thotupola Aruna” programme launched by the Fisheries Harbour Corporation. The expenditure incurred under US assistance, was 4.1 million US Dollars. The main breakwater is 100 metres in length. There is also another 75-metre breakwater for small trawlers. more..

Dialog Connects Jaffna on 3G Dialog

July 17 (AT) Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka’s leading mobile communications service provider announced the launch of its 3G/HSPA service in Mannipai Jaffna following the setting up of the 530th 3G Base Station in Mannipai, Jaffna. Dialog Telekom earns the distinction of being the first mobile service provider to provide 3G services in Jaffna. Dialog 3G will deliver the unique communication channel of video calling to customers in Jaffna who will more..

Self-evaluation for media

July 17 (AT) In the age of information the role of the media plays an integral part to convey “what’s happening” in ones country as well as internationally. The information relayed in print or electronically is usually left to the viewer or listener to “decide” & “judge” for himself. However, of late, especially in Sri Lanka the very people tasked with bringing “information” to the people find themselves part of that very story. more..

Sri Lanka port to buy more cranes, equipment

July 17 (LBO) Colombo port plans to order more quay-side gantry cranes, mobile cranes and tractors to boost productivity and cope with increasing cargo flows, a senior official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya said the new equipment acquisition was part of the ports efforts to improve efficiency and the port's ability to handle more cargo. more..

"Electroal system" should change

July 17 (BBC) Sri Lanka's electoral system should change; it is a must and a future need, says the Election Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayaka. Commenting on the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections, Election Commissioner, Dissanayake said the present system doest not essentially produce the peoples' local representatives. more..

Choose between politics & sports, Lokuge tells Hashan

July 17 (LD) Former Test captain Hashan Tilakaratne would be appointed manager of the Sri Lanka cricket team on condition that he resigns as UNP's chief organizer for Avissawella, said Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge. Mr. Lokuge was commenting on the delay in approving the appointment, when contacted by 'Lanka Dissent.' "Hashan should choose between politics and cricket," the minister said. more..

CEPA to be approved leaving protests on the sideline

July 17 (LD) The cabinet of ministers is bound to approve the CEPA related proposal this evening (July 16th), says a politico-economic analyst, who claims that protest by Weerawansa and the JHU against the signing of the agreement with India, is only loose talk of typical small time politicians, who can not understand macro economics. Indian and Sri Lankan governments have already agreed on the contents and provisions of the agreement and more..

48 small businesses lost to SAARC security

July 17 (LD) Forty eight small scale business places at Kotte Road in Rajagiriya were dismantled this morning (July 16th), purportedly for the safety of foreign dignitaries attending next month’s SAARC summit in Colombo. After a very short notice, the Urban Development Authority and the Welikada Police had come, armed with a court order and backhoes, and razed the buildings to the ground. more..

Members appointed to COPE & COPA

July 17 (LD) New members have been appointed to the parliamentary committees on public enterprise and accounts. The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) is having ruling party members John Seneviratne, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Susil Premajayantha, Hemakumara Nanayakkara, Lakshman Yapa Abeygunawardena, Chandrasiri Gajadheera, Jagath Pushpakumara, Mahinda Amaraweera, Mervyn Silva, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, H.R. Mitrapala, more..

Owner of Janaka Perera’s office arrested

July 17 (LD) Police have arrested the owner of Lake Side Hotel in Anuradhapura, which houses the office of retired Major General Janaka Perera, the UNP chief ministerial candidate at the upcoming north central provincial polls. Anuradhapura HQI, M.R.P. Sarathprema said the hotel owner was arrested yesterday (July 15th) for questioning in connection with an assault of a UPFA supporter four days ago. more..

A Political Solution and Conduits for Racism

July 17 (TC) Over the last year, I have been struck by the number of times I have been told that a political solution to our problems is not possible unless the two main parties get together. This argument is based on the historical record, inasmuch as two serious attempts at compromise, involving Regional Councils in the late fifties and then District Councils in the late sixties, were stymied because of forceful opposition by the main opposition party. more..

The coordinates of national consciousness

July 17 (FI) Any serious search for a solution to Sri Lanka’s problems has to be found within the known parameters of the people’s consciousness. Even if a solution outside those parameters is sought to be imposed from above and without, it will prove unsustainable. This is the lesson of Iraq. Public opinion can pose a problem if it is at variance with the known facts and scientific analysis, but when mass opinion coincides with the lessons one can analytically arrive at, then more..

Sri Lanka's forgotten conflict

July 17 (BG) PARTISANS of human rights have been rightly outraged this year by the behavior of ruthless regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. But when the government of Sri Lanka was stripped of its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council this spring - a body that includes Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Russia among its members - hardly anyone noticed, outside of the small community of human-rights organizations. more..

Too early to assess Mendis - Jenner

July 17 (CI) Terry Jenner, the former Australian legspinner who mentored Shane Warne, has said while Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis is an exciting prospect, it is too early to assess him. Mendis, who picked up 17 wickets in the Asia Cup last month, including two five-wicket hauls, has had batsmen confounded by his mixture of googlies, offbreaks, top-spinners, flippers and legbreaks. But Jenner said it still had to be seen whether Mendis had the variation of pace to bowl in Tests. more..

Unmarked grave found in eastern Sri Lanka, troops overrun key Tiger base

July 17 (AFP) Several human bones have been found in an unmarked grave in Sri Lanka's eastern district of Batticaloa, police said Wednesday. The site was discovered by a group of people who were digging a well on Tuesday. "We are not sure if it is a mass grave. Several bones were unearthed. It could belong to one person or several people," said police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara. more..

July: Life after 25 years

July 17 (GV) Anoma Rajakaruna shares her photos of people in black and white. Anoma has captured many expressions and many environments. Every photograph speaks differently. As a film-maker, photographer and poet ,Anoma has well captured the many moods of men, women and children around the Island. The exhibition is divided as My story, her story, his story and their stories comprising 34 photographs. more..

Mobile Phones in Sri Lanka: Everyman’s new trousers?

July 17 (GV) One day a few years ago, I found my uncle in a really bad mood. Enjoying his retirement after long years as a senior civil servant, he was highly agitated about what I considered to be a perfectly harmless utility: the mobile phone. “Everyone is carrying hand phones these days,” he complained. “The plumber, door-to-door salesmen — and even the paan kaaraya.” What really irked my uncle was not so much what they were carrying as who was using the gadget. more..

A military pathway to nation building

July 17 (GV) The leaders of the Tamil community and the left movement, who had joined the governments of UNP and SLFP since independence had helped the leaders of these two parties to bring this country to the present catastrophe - war and more war. The Tamil leaders in the first two cabinets supported the Citizenship and the Franchise Acts of 1948-49 which excluded the Tamils of recent Indian origin from the Sri Lankan nationhood. more..

'Vidattaltivu was LTTE's biggest Sea Tiger base on the Western coast'

July 17 (GDI) The fall of Vidattaltivu to the Security Forces is a remarkable victory over the LTTE terrorists, Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said yesterday (16). The Army Commander explained that the LTTE maintained their biggest Sea Tiger base on the Western coast at Vidattaltivu. The terrorists would have never expected to lose this important base, he stated. more..

SAARC village open in August

July 17 (GDI) The 'SAARC village' of 100 housing units in Mahavilawatta Estate in the Nawalapitiya Electorate will be declared open in August during the forthcoming SAARC summit, Assistant General Manager for Special Projects at the National Housing Development Authority informed The establishment of the SAARC village is a unique illustration of the SAARC ethos and organisation. The houses will be given to middleclass people who do not have permanent homes. more..

Artists to benefit from new Intellectual Property Centre

July 17 (GDI) The foundation stone was laid for the construction of a centre for the protection of Intellectual Property yesterday (16) at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha in Colombo under the direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardhana, speaking at the occasion, said that the Government will immediately amend the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003 in order to prevent pirating and plagiarising of the creative works of artists. more..

Tamil Nadu Fishermen withdraw strike and go back sea from 19th July

July 17 (AT) Tamil Nadu fishermen decided to give up strike and go back to their day to day fishing activities after meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and P.M. Amza, Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Southern India, based in Chennai. Subsequent to today’s meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi this morning, the Rameshwaram fishermen who were on strike since 3rd of this month have decided to withdraw the strike and more..

Sri Lankan industrialists, professionals oppose new trade pact with India

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lankan industrialists and professionals have appealed to the government not to sign a new trade pact with neighbouring India, due to fears that their market shares would be cut without reciprocal access being given to the larger country. They called on the government to first correct weaknesses they said were in an existing free trade deal between the two countries and also claimed that it had not yielded desired benefits. more..

VP’s three day strike a joke: Minister

July 17 (SAMN) The government will not tolerate any incidents like the one at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) as proposed by the JVP parliamentarian K. D. Lalkantha during the proposed three day strike by the JVP, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said that the government did not approve the discipline of both parties at the incident and that they have the responsibility of maintaining discipline of state institutions and more..

Pay for garbage collection

July 17 (SAMN) The Western Provincial Council has decided to levy a fee for garbage collection from residents and commercial establishments in the province. A Western Province Waste Management Authority spokesman told the Daily Mirror that the local authorities will start charging the fee once a gazette notification is issued in two month’s time. Accordingly each resident and commercial establishment will have to pay the local authority Rs 30 a month for the collection of garbage. more..

Careful use of text books to encourage

July 17 (SAMN) The Education Ministry will offer gifts and certificates to students who have utilised Government text books carefully. The Minister is introducing the mechanism to get the best use of school text books distributed by the Government free each year spending millions of rupees. The Ministry issued a circular to principals and educational officials advising them to take measures to reduce the cost by reusing the text books. more..

Need for home grown solution: GL

July 17 (SAMN) The most prominent feature of government policy regarding issues like economy, military action and social initiatives is the central importance accorded to culture and traditions deeply ingrained in our country Minister G.L. Peiris said Tuesday. International Trade Minister G.L. Peiris said all policy was home grown and emerged spontaneously from the aspirations of the people. more..

Somawansa et al throw book at Wimal, demand Rs. 20 mn

July 17 (Island) National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa has been served letters of demand for Rs. 10 million each by the lawyers of JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and General Secretary Tilvin Silva for an alleged breach of copyright due to the publication of his book ‘Nettha Venuvata Aththa.’ The separate letters of demand sent by the lawyers for Amerasinghe and Silva state: more..

Cabinet okays relief for July ’80 strikers

July 17 (Island) The Cabinet has approved a memorandum of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to grant several relief measures to around 40,000 of the 1980 July strikers who were put out of their jobs by the UNP Government. The relief measures include provision of a piece of land to each striker, foreign employment opportunities to sons and daughters and an insurance policy. The 1980 July Strikers Co-ordinating Association is in the process of compiling the accurate details of all strikers who lost their jobs. more..

Japan provides rice for IDPs

July 17 (DN) The Japanese Government donated 5,685 tonnes of rice and 110 tonnes of canned fish for the distribution among internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees and economically affected people in the most insecure and marginalised areas, states a Japanese Embassy press release. The food items worth 500 million yen (approximately Rs. 500 million), have arrived in Colombo and will be distributed shortly through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). more..

Over 350 int'l delegates to attend People's SAARC

July 17 (DN) Over 350 International delegates will arrive in the country today (17) to attend the South Asian People's Assembly 2008 known as people's SAARC scheduled to be held later this month. The People's SAARC is scheduled to take place in Colombo at Vihara Maha Devi Park from July 18 to 20. There will be over 400 participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan and more..