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Pathetic plight of IDP

Sep 16 (LG) In the face of the war, people are suffering. Many people have continued to live as refugees for 3 decades. They long to live in their inhabited lands. As a result of the war and displacement many people have gone to Tamilnadu seeking refuge. They are still living in refugee camps either in Sri Lanka or in Tamil Nasdu. As a result of the on going war in Vanni, 200,000 internally displaced people have taken refuge at schools and other places. more..

138 charges including 12 financial allegations against Ranil

Sep 16 (LeN) The UNP Group urging for party reforms met this weekend and decided to urge the leadership to implement the restructuring proposals urgently vowing to take the internal struggle led by them to the party grassroots level publicly otherwise. A frontline leader of the rebel group said to Lanka-e-News that mere naming of persons to positions would not cause any advantage to party. more..

Cartoonists meet the President

Sep 16 (LeN) The President who calls the media bosses and editors-in-chief once a month for a breakfast and a chat on the current situation of the country, summoned the leading cartoonists to the Temple Trees for the first time. The President also appeared for a group photo with the cartoonists. Piyal Udaya Samaraweera, Suppaiah Jayapalan, Ruwan Tharaswin, Lalith Senanayaka, Camilus Perera, Wasantha Siriwardhana, Anjana Indrajith, Dasa Hapuwalanage, more..

Supreme Court rejects bid to stall oil exploration deal

Sep 16 (MG) The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid – through a fundamental rights petition – to reverse the recent award of an oil exploration contract to Cairn India in the Mannar basin. The petition was filed in June by Malika Gunasekera, a lawyer, as a public interest litigation case citing lack of transparency among other issues in the agreement with the government. A 3-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva agreeing to more..

Sri Lanka to participate at one of the largest international travel fair in Asia

Sep 16 (GDI) Sri Lanka will participate in the JATA World Tourism Congress and World Travel Fair (JATA-WTF) 2008 which will kick off in Tokyo Big Sight from September 18 to 21. Deputy Tourism Minister Faizer Musthafa leads the Sri Lankan delegation which left the country to participate in this conference for overseas and domestic travel industry related professionals, including media. more..

"Fertilizer subsidy will not be curtailed" – Minister Sirisena

Sep 16 (GDI) The Government has increased the fertilizer subsidy by Rs. 27,000 million for the year 2009, Minister of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Maithripala Sirisena told a media briefing at the Ceylon Fertilizer Company auditorium yesterday (15). According to Minister Sirisena, the Government had allocated Rs. 40,000 million for the fertilizer subsidy in 2008. more..

Forest reserve converts as ‘Tourist Zone’ to increase the tourist arrivals

Sep 16 (LP) To attract both local and foreign tourists to admire the beauty of the forest, the Forest Conservation Department has converted the Badagamuwa Forest Reserve which is located on the Kurunegala-Dambulla main road into a ‘Tourist Zone’. This 500 acre forest has become a very popular place among tourists, well-known for its bio-diversity. This has become the home to hundreds of indigenous flora and fauna. Nearly 90 per cent of the trees found in the forest are endemic. more..

Sampur coal power station to begin work in December

Sep 16 (LP) The milestone to build the Sampur coal power plant will initiate in December said Minister of Power and Energy John Senivirathne. The Sampur coal power plant is a joint project of the Indian Government and Sri Lankan Governments and the project is also due to generate 1000 megawatts to the power supply. He said this addressing a seminar held in Colombo today (16). This project will be completed in the year 2015 added the Minister. more..

Under-20 Schools surprise semi-finalists

Sep 16 (CI) Having kicked off two months ago, the Under-23 Youth Tournament Division 1 is nearing its close, with Sri Lanka Under-20 Schools unexpectedly making it to the semi-finals alongside defending champs Sinhalese Sports Club, Nondescripts Cricket Club and Colts Cricket Club. The U-20 Schools side, comprising many of those who represented Sri Lanka at the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, were introduced this year to the competition in order to more..

No Hiatus in Sri Lankan Humanitarian Aid Programmes and Social Services

Sep 16 (PISL) Over the last month Amnesty International has issued a number of statements about Sri Lanka. Its latest is entitled ‘Blocking Aid Workers Endangers Trapped Civilians’, and is replete with quotes from a gentleman named Sam Zarifi, who has taken the place of the previously ubiquitous Yolanda Foster. Yolanda’s concern with Sri Lanka had not been confined to her Amnesty hat. more..

SAARC opposition to terrorism, support and concern for citizens

Sep 16 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat welcomes the statement by the Defence Minister of India regarding concerns about civilians in the North. Recently, in an interview with the BBC, the question was put as to whether the comments of NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, along with the position of the Indian government, suggested that the Sri Lankan government was being isolated. more..

22 SLA killed in Akkaraayan fighting, arms seized, say Tigers

Sep 16 (LNP) More than 22 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and at least 53 wounded Monday when the LTTE put up stiff resistance against the SLA offensive units that advanced in Akkaraayan area, southwest of Ki`linochchi district, the Tigers said. Releasing photographs taken from the battlefield where they recovered four SLA dead bodies and seized rocket launchers and machine guns, the LTTE officials told media in Vanni that the SLA was pushed back. more..

'Country is seeing the birth of persons who loves the nation'

Sep 16 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that the country is seeing the birth of persons whose love for the nation surpasses their individual remuneration expectations. Addressing a progress evaluation meeting at the Temple Trees this morning the President emphasized that this development is a great impetus to the government in its endeavor to ensure peace and prosperity in the country. more..

Fuel prices to be reduced when fresh stocks arrive in Sri Lanka

Sep 16 (LNP) The government will reduce the prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene oil once new shipments of fuel are received, Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources A. H. M. Fowzie told The Island yesterday (15). He did not specify when the new stocks would arrive but said they were likely to arrive `in due course.` Fowzie said several countries had bought large stocks of oil when the oil prices were escalating recently on speculation that more..

Liberators hiding behind women and children

Sep 16 (LNP) The LTTE launched its armed struggle over two decades ago vowing to protect civilians. But, today it has come to such a pass that it is shamelessly taking cover behind people. When Prabhakaran promised a final solution through war in his heroes` day speech of 2005, a few days after the induction of the present President Mahinda Rajapaksa, one may have thought he was equal to the task. more..

Army consolidates Akkarayankulam East

Sep 16 (SAMN) Troops attached to the 57 Division operating on the Vavuniya front Monday advanced six kilometres east of Akkarayankulam tank amidst heavy resistance from the LTTE further closing towards the Jaffna Kandy A-9 road from the north of Kokkavil, Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said, adding that troops were now operating in Murikkandi general area two kilometres west of A-9 road. more..

Citizenship Bill next week

Sep 16 (SAMN) The government will next week present a new Bill, which provides for the granting of citizenship to some 28,500 Indian origin Tamils who are now living in Chennai as refugees. Parliament appointed a select committee following a request by the JVP, to study the grievances of these people and take appropriate action to grant them citizenship here. Deputy Chairman of Committees JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekar said Monday that these people had fled to India largely after the riots in 1983. more..

SLTnet goes 3G

Sep 16 (SAMN) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), Monday announced the launching of 3 Giga-bits-per-second (Gbps) international internet bandwidth, adding more capacity to its customers. SLT said that the company has direct connectivity to global Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Asia, Europe and the USA as well as the highest-rated social networking web application and video service providers in the world. more..

‘UNP must support electoral reforms’

Sep 16 (SAMN) The Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera Monday called for the support of the UNP to abolish the present preferential voting system which the Ven. Thera noted has led to bitter rivalry and friction among political parties. The Makanayake Thera conveyed this view to the new Opposition Leader of the North Central Province Major General (Rtd.) Janaka Perera who called on the Chief Prelate to seek his blessings. more..

Railway token strike a flop

Sep 16 (DN) The 24 hour railway token strike from Sunday midnight to Monday midnight, called by several Railway Employee Trade Unions proved a total flop as train services continued their usual schedule uninterrupted the whole day yesterday. Contrary to early speculation based on Union leaders’ predictions where they claimed that about 90 per cent of train services would be disrupted, the main control room in Colombo said not a single train was delayed or disrupted from their normal morning schedule during rush hour. more..

Three fined Rs.25,000 each for noise pollution

Sep 16 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday fined three persons Rs.25,000 each after they were found guilty of violating the Supreme Court order on noise pollution. They had operated amplified sound equipment in a night club in Hikkaduwa. The Court to remanded the trio on September 1. They had been produced before the Hikkaduwa Magistrate for operating sound equipment during the night disturbing the neighbourhood in violation of more..

National Immunization programme a total success

Sep 16 (Island) The National Immunization Programme implemented by the Health Ministry’s Sri Lanka Family Health Bureau has achieved 100 per cent success during the past 4 years. The success of the programme could be attributed to effective implementation of rural and urbanized maternal and infant healthcare programmes including B.C.G. and Triple vaccination to infants, the Health Ministry said. more..

Indigenous Medicine Ministry faces problems over need for cannabis

Sep 16 (Island) The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine will require around twenty acres of land to cultivate cannabis sativa L- (ganja), a main ingredient in a number of Ayurvedic drug preparations. There are around 22 types of drugs which require cannabis in their pharmacopeias. The Ministry and the Department of Ayurvedha have their hands tied as cannabis is among the types of dangerous drugs and has been declared illegal in Sri Lanka, more..

Asgiriya prelate seeks pardon for SB

Sep 16 (DM) Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter the Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera yesterday requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to grant a presidential pardon to UNP national organizer S.B. Dissanayake who was deprived of his civic rights following a court order. In a letter to the President, the Mahanayake Thera said the opposition did not appear to conduct itself with responsibility during the present national crisis and the war situation. more..

Minister bitten by snake

Sep 16 (DM) Nation Building Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardane was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital in Kalutara yesterday, after he was bitten by a snake at Payagala. The incident had taken place while he was inspecting a sports complex in Payagala on Sunday. He was admitted to a private hospital in Kalutara yesterday after he fell sick. According to informed sources he has been bitten by a Humped Nosed Viper which is said to be moderately poisonous. more..

Civilians urge UN not to leave war zone

Sep 16 (IPS) As the Sri Lankan army stands poised to capture the rebel headquarters of Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka, residents of the town are urging United Nations agencies not to vacate the region as ordered by the government. Last week, the defence ministry asked all humanitarian agencies, including those from the United Nations, to pull out of the war-ravaged region, citing the government's inability to guarantee protection. more..

Govt. betrayed national security - JVP

Sep 16 (LD) The Sri Lankan government has betrayed national security by assigning Indian nationals to be in charge of the local radar surveillance system, said JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath. The JVP MP was speaking to ‘Lanka Dissent’ on his party's stance following news reports of two Indian radar operators being injured in the LTTE attack on the Vavuniya military complex. more..

Arjuna complains STF harassment

Sep 16 (LD) UPFA MP for Colombo Arjuna Ranatunga has claimed a drunken group of police Special Task Force members had abused him in filthy language. The ex-cricketer had complained to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that he had been in a vehicle with friends near Global Tower in Colombo yesterday when the altercation happened. Mr. Rajapaksa had ordered the IGP to investigate the matter, following which a team from the Police Headquarters had visited the scene of the incident. more..

Janaka Perera wants govt. honesty

Sep 16 (LD) The UNP is prepared to support efforts to eliminate terrorism if war is not made political tool, said opposition leader of the North Central Province retired Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera. He was speaking to the media in Kandy, where he called on chief prelate of Malwatte Chapter, Most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera yesterday. The soldier-turned-politician said he was prepared to return to the warfront if the government waged the war with honest intent. more..

Lanka Dissent’s response to Sunday Island

Sep 16 (LD) The Editor of Lanka Dissent responded to a news report carried by the 'Sunday Island' newspaper of 07th September, 2008, titled “Jeyaraj quits Rivira / Nation group under new ownership” that introduced the “lankadissent” news website as belonging to Mr. Mangala Samaraweera. The 'Sunday Island' of 14th September carried the response in part with an apology and we publish below, the full text of the response sent. more..

Expedite resettlement in Jaffna HSZ - SC

Sep 16 (LD) The Supreme Court yesterday directed to speed up the resettlement of civilians in the Jaffna High Security Zone. A fundamental rights petition filed by TNA MP Mavai Senadhirajah and a farmer was taken up by a bench of judges presided by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva. Citing four respondents, including former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the petition says more..

Sri Lanka to get more concessionary funds: ADB

Sep 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka would get more than 200 million US dollars a year from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) over the next three years and the country would get more money from its concessionary window, an official said. The ADB's country partnership strategy, which outlines its lending program for the island is expected to be approved by the lenders' board next month, country chief Richard Vokes said. more..

Body of an Indian found washed ashore in Sri Lanka

Sep 16 (IANS) The body of an elderly Indian national has been found washed ashore in north Sri Lanka, authorities here said Tuesday. The body was found Sunday on the shores of Kayts, one of the islets in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula. The police found some Indian currency notes and identification papers from his pocket. Indian High Commission sources here said the Indian was a 77-year-old from Gujarat, as per the documents available. more..

Sri Lanka to hand over Prabhakaran to India if caught

Sep 16 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said his government will seriously consider any plea from India to hand over LTTE supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran if he is caught, asserting that his troops were advancing towards tiger nerve centres. At the same time, Rajapaksa ruled out the possibility of any ceasefire with the rebels, implying that the current offensive would be taken to its logical end. more..

Last U.N. staff safely leave Sri Lanka's war zone

Sep 16 (Reuters) The United Nations' last team inside Sri Lanka's war zone safely reached army-held territory on Tuesday after the government told aid workers to leave the north in what the president called a temporary safety measure. A convoy of 10 aid workers reached the Omanthai checkpoint, 265 km north of the capital Colombo, after driving along a road that has been hit by intensified fighting between the army and LTTE rebels. more..

Bus blast in Colombo wounds 4

Sep 16 (AP) A bomb blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels ripped through a passenger bus in the heart of Sri Lanka's capital Tuesday, but no one was seriously hurt because the conductor saw a suspicious package and evacuated the passengers in time, the military said. Dr. Hector Weerasinghe of Colombo National Hospital said that four people were admitted for minor injuries. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels, who more..

President says he will crush rebels

Sep 16 (AP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled out negotiations with the Tamil Tigers, saying the military would soon destroy the rebel group and end the country's long-running civil war. Speaking to foreign journalists late Monday, Rajapaksa said the time for talks was over, the only option left for the rebels was to put down their arms and surrender. "We can crush them, there is no question that we can't," he said. more..

Goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh seized, Lankan refugee held

Sep 17 (PTI) Two persons, including a Sri Lankan refugee, were held by police after they tried to smuggle electronic goods and Indian currency notes to Sri Lanka. Gelestin, a Sri Lankan refugee and Muniyandi were arrested along with DVD players, dish antenna, junction box kit, receiver, wire and cash amounting to Rs 50,000 at Keezhakarai Coastal Othapoo yesterday evening, police said. more..

Baroda approach Fernando as overseas option

Sep 17 (CI) Dilhara Fernando has been targeted as an overseas player for Baroda this Ranji season. "We've sent our terms and conditions to him and we should know in the next few days his decision," VS Indulkar, the Baroda Cricket Association secretary, told Cricinfo. The news comes not long after Sunil Gavaskar, currently the chairman of the BCCI's technical committee, expressed hope that more..

Dhamma or Violence in Sri Lanka

Sep 17 (GV) A few weeks ago while in the Uda Walawe area I met an opposition party MP who had come to help in the provincial election campaign for the local candidates. As I listened to the interesting stories he was relating, I could not help but be amazed as to what we have come to accept as normal, even if the behavior was total unacceptable to civilized society. He told me of the impending violence, the gangs of thugs coming into the area to support the government party and more..

New Korean Ambassador Meets Army Commander

Sep 17 (SLA) NEWLY APPOINTED Korean Ambassador for Sri Lanka Mr. Choi Ki Vul, along with a few officials of the Embassy, paid a courtesy call on Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka Monday (15) morning in his office at Army Headquarters, Colombo. Army Commander, after receiving the diplomat and his retinue on their arrival to his office, briefed him about the ongoing humanitarian operations in northern areas where thousands of innocent civilians are trapped in the clutches of the LTTE terrorists. more..

Sri Lanka port to call terminal bids in October: minister

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is hoping to call fresh bids for a container terminal concession in an expanded port in Colombo in October, a government minister said, after an earlier bidding round was abandoned partway through the process. Port development minister Dilan Perera says "nearly 80 percent" of the work on bid documents have now been completed and authorities are hoping to call tenders in October. more..

UN completes relocation from Tamil Tiger areas

Sep 17 (IRIN) UN agencies have relocated all international staff and offices from areas under the control of the LTTE in the north to areas under government control, with the last convoy of UN vehicles leaving on 16 September. "The convoy left in the morning and was assured safe passage through areas they control by the Tigers and also through areas where there is now fighting by the Sri Lankan forces," Gordon Weiss, UN spokesman in Sri Lanka, told IRIN. more..

Sri Lanka gets extra funds for roads, education, housing: World Bank

Sep 17 (LBO) The World Bank has inked deals worth 151 million dollars to lend extra money for road, education and housing reconstruction in conflict-hit areas of Sri Lanka, the multilateral lender said. World Bank country chief Naoko Ishii said the additional financing will support the growth of infrastructure in lagging regions, the return to normalcy of conflict affected people and strengthen service delivery of the government. more..

'Extra vigilance need of the hour'

Sep 17 (GDI) With the security forces reaching a decisive phase in the war against the LTTE and positioned 6 kms behind the terrorists last bastion, Kilinochchi, the Tigers are doing their best to create panic among the civilians and disrupt normal civil life in other parts of the country, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today (16). The minister referred to the failed attempt of the terrorists to kill innocent civilians today in Colombo and more..

'Massive project to upgrade roads'

Sep 17 (GDI) The Government has taken necessary initiatives to upgrade the national road network with 600 kms of super-highways expected to be completed by the year 2017, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today (16), at a media briefing. Apart from this, 22 kms of six-lane tracks, 481 kms of four-lane tracks and another 4876 kms of two-lane tracks will be added to the road network, the Minister added. more..

Jaffna Bishop meets Wanni SF commander

Sep 17 (LG) Bishop Rev. Fr. Dr. Thomas Soundranayagam, during his visit to Mannar and Vavuniya, met Commander Security Forces -Wanni (SF-W) Major General Jagath Jayasuriya in his office at SF-Wanni Headquarters on 15th September. Matters pertaining to providing welfare facilities to civilians arriving from un-cleared of Mullaittivu and Kilinochchi areas due to terrorist activities of the LTTE were among the important subjects discussed during the meeting of Jaffna Bishop with Wanni Military Chief. more..

Tsunami survivors caught up in Sri Lanka's conflict

Sep 17 (AN) In 2008, Caritas Internationalis - the umbrella organisation for 162 national Catholic charities - commissioned photojournalist David Snyder to travel to Sri Lanka. There he met the people who'd survived the 2004 tsunami only to find themselves then caught in the nation's conflict. This is an audio and visual diary of his trip, the people he met, and their stories of hope as they sought to overcome one crisis after another. more..

UNP blasts Govt. over failure to tackle noise pollution

Sep 17 (ML) THE UNP yesterday criticised the government’s inability to introduce regulations to curb sound pollution for the past three years, which has brought undue hardship to the people. UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella accused the Environment Minister of failing to make the first move to bring new regulations in order to restrain the much talked of sound pollution in the country and said that it alone shows the government’s incapability to bring in new policies. more..

The fate of the missing

Sep 17 (ML) Amidst growing international concerns over the country’s human rights record in the recent past, there appears to be a silver lining in the form of a decrease in abductions. The fact is that the deterioration in the rate of abductions has reduced the prevalent tension somewhat, mainly among the Tamils in Colombo and the suburbs. Though the ‘white van syndrome,’ as it was called, had plagued the Tamils from the north living in Colombo and the suburbs, more..