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Mammoth number of devotees at Madhu festival

Aug 13 (GDI) In an unprecedented turn of events after restoration of democracy and peace in the Madhu Church area following the crushing defeat of the LTTE, a record breaking number of devotees have flocked to pay homage to the Statue of Our Lady of Madhu since August 6. Over thirty thousand pilgrims have flocked to the venue over the past few days to pay homage without fear or hindrance. more..

Malaysia keen to invest in Sri Lanka

Aug 13 (GDI) Trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia has shown a rapid increase from last year and investing opportunities in the South Asian island nation by Malaysian investors seemed to gather momentum,trade sources revealed. With the crushing of LTTE terrorism in the country, Malaysian investors have shown greater interest to come into Sri Lanka, sources said. Both Colombo and Kuala Lumpur governments have opened trade and investment doors more..

Colombo electricity sub-stations to be developed

Aug 13 (GDI) The Ministry of Power and Energy will develop all Colombo based electricity sub-stations to increase efficiency in the distribution of power to the city. The proposed plan will uproot outdated electrical equipment installed decades ago at these sub-stations and resolve all technical problems. The proposed development plans will eliminate frequent power failures now experienced in the city and towns of Colombo. more..

Students Counselling Centre from NCPA

Aug 13 (GDI) In a bid to strengthen the mental and psychological capacity of the student population,the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) will shortly establish a National Student Counselling Center, according to NCPA Chairman, Jagath Wellawatte. Students will be able seek counselling from this Centre either by visit or over the telephone to overcome issues. more..

Fish production increase in North

Aug 13 (GDI) Fish production in the North has shown a sharp increase with fishermen enthusiastically moving in seas for the catch,Fisheries Ministry sources disclosed. They said the catch in Jaffna and Mannar seas have tremendously increased and at present the some fishermen were utilizing the excess catch into dry fish in the Mannar region. Fishing in the North gathered momentum after restrictions were lifted following the defeat of LTTE terrorism. more..

Vietnam investment to flow to North East Sri Lanka

Aug 13 (GDI) Vietnamese investment will shortly flow into North and East of the country following discussions between Investment Promotion Minister,Naveen Dissanayake and Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister, Dao Viet Trung. Minister Dissanayake stressed the need to attract more Vietnamese investment into the once strife torn North and East where permanent normalcy have been now restored. more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Aug 13 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Minister of Construction and Engineering Services, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to urgently construct 500 toilets at IDP welfare centers at Menic Farm, Chettikulam. The construction involves septic tanks for every five toilet units. The total estimated cost will be Rs. 20,500,000. The funds for this task are already available with the Ministry. more..

US Envoy to Sri Lanka Butenis indicates she’ll speak her mind in Colombo

Aug 13 (AT) United States ambassador-designate to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis did not conceal the obvious when she met Sri Lanka envoy to Washington Jaliya Wickremasuriya that she has a reputation of blunt diplomatic expression. If three Asian Tribune reports exposing her interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh almost turning that country a U.S. client state when she was ambassador there would more..

Banning ethnic and religious parties: Putting the cart before the horse

Aug 13 (TC) On the face of it, a reported decision by the government to bring in the relevant legislation to ban what are considered religious and ethnic parties, could be just what this country needs, but would not it be a case of the state merely papering the cracks in our divided polity, or another instance of the state putting the clichetic cart before the horse? This is the issue that needs to be looked at critically if plans are indeed afoot to prohibit the kind of political parties in question. more..

Vidatha centres train IDPs in life skills

Aug 13 (MoD) The Science and Technology Ministry through its Vidatha Resource Centres scattered throughout the country has taken several measures to help the IDPs in the North and the East provinces under the Program, Vadakkin Vasantham. Technical equipment worth of Rs. 756,192 (Yoghurt incubators, bakery technology ovens, vegetable dehydrators and wood gas stoves) have been distributed in Mannar and Vavuniya districts to transfer technologies to the needy people. more..

Jaffna Muslims demand Deputy Mayorship

Aug 13 (PSM) Muslims from Jaffna Municipal Council area have demanded that the Deputy Mayorship of the Jaffna MC to the Muslim. Four Muslims are elected from the All Ceylon Muslim Congress(ACMC) through the UPFA to the Jaffna MC. Additionally another Muslim MMC is elected from the Independent group. This is the first time 5 Muslim MMCs are elected to this Council. The ACMC has already made representation to the UPFA leaders to this effect, informed sources said. more..

KP's capture and absence of euphoric ebullience

Aug 13 (LNP) When Prabhakaran and his partners in terrorism met their waterloo in a swamp in May, people found themselves dancing in the streets. Celebrations lasted for days on end to the point of riling some members of the international community reeling from their failure to save the LTTE leaders. But, intriguingly, euphoric ebullience was noticeable by its absence when the self-appointed new LTTE leader KP was captured and brought to Colombo last week. more..

‘Govt has an obligation to release civilians and provide adequate assistance'

Aug 13 (MSF) Hans van de Weerd, General Director of MSF Holland, has recently returned from Sri Lanka. Here we ask him about the situation in the northern district of Vavuniya, where there are over 260,000 displaced people as a result of the now ended war between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE. Q: What is the situation in the camps in Vavuniya? more..

This is not a police station but a restaurant – Angulana residents say

Aug 13 (LT) Residents of Angulana carried out a protest campaign this afternoon opposing the killing of two youths arrested by Anagulana police last night. The residents clashed with the police thrashing the police station with stones and various missiles. Despite the police shooting in the air to subdue people’s anger it was not possible to control the crowd. The residents protesting against the police said the police station was like a restaurant. more..

Siripala embarrassed over Anarkalee issue

Aug 13 (LT) Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva commenting on their election campaign at a media conference yesterday said that SLFP didn't want to inspire electors through women with pretty faces and muscled men. There he ridiculed the effort made by UNP in the western provincial council election by giving nomination to Rosy Senanayake. A journalist asked the minister whether Anarkali Akarsha would contest the forthcoming elections to the Southern Provincial Council on the UPFA list. more..

Police takes over underworld duties

Aug 13 (LT) Bodies of two youth who have been killed by the police were found near Angulana railway crossing yesterday. Angulana police had arrested the two youths alleging that they had passed remarks at OIC of Angulana police. Youths were detained after the arrest and their relatives had met them at the police station at night. But when they went to see them in the morning they were told that the police hadn't arrested such youths. more..

Rs.10 million for the advertisement for northern railway project

Aug 13 (LT) There is information that more than Rs.10 million of public money is being spent to create a three minute TV commercial to promote the project to construct the Northern railway line. The creation of the TV commercial has been handed over to a private firm and a crew of nearly 200 have been engaged for the project spending for accommodation, food, travelling overtime allowances etc. more..

Party stalwarts sidelined as Weerawansa and Karuna are taken to New York

Aug 13 (LNW) Key among the delegates accompanying President Mahinda Rajapakse to New York on his visit to attend the UN General Assembly in September would be the former LTTE rebel Karuna and JVP defector Wimal Weerawansa. It is learnt that party stalwarts who have also worked to bring Rajapakse to the helm like Ministers Maithripala Sirisena and D.M. Jayaratne have not been included in the list of the President’s contingent to New York. more..

Thilanga earns President’s wrath for supporting Sarath N. Silva

Aug 13 (LNW) Managing Director of the Lakbima Newspapers, Thilanga Sumathipala has earned the President’s wrath after learning that he is secretly conspiring to make former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva’ the common candidate of the opposition at the next Presidential election, sources from temple Trees said. The President has learned that Sumathipala has had a secret discussion with Thilak Karunaratne at the earl’s Regency Hotel in Kandy a few months back to more..

'JVP-UNP relationship caused Marxist Party’s downfall'

Aug 13 (Island) National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP said that the JVP’s relationship with the UNP was having a devastating impact on the party. The former JVP heavyweight said that nothing could be as bad as being pushed in to the fourth place in the Badulla district. A section of the JVP leadership which had adopted a strategy similar to that of the UNP had ruined the party. more..

President holds secret discussion on government’s defeat in Vavuniya

Aug 13 (LNW) The President and several of his closest advisors had recently held a secret discussion on the government’s defeat at the Vavuniya Urban Council elections. They have discussed the reasons for the government’s defeat in Vauniya even after completely defeating the LTTE and killing its Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The President and his advisors have been shocked that the people of Vavuniya had not voted for the government even after more..

National event to mark the signing of new Alliance agreement in September

Aug 13 (LNW) Sources from the Opposition Leader’s Office say that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had informed SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem, SLFP (M) Wing Leader Mangala Samaraweera and DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan during a discussion on Tuesday that the agreement to form the new Alliance could be signed on a date after September 9 and before October. Wickremesinghe had said that he had received astrological advice not to make any decisive moves before September 9. more..

Work at SLT comes to a standstill following clash between Chairman and CEO

Aug 13 (LNW) A trade union leader attached to Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) told Lanka News Web that the conflict between SLT Chairman Leisha de Silva and Chief Executive Greg Young on purchasing equipment and services for the Company has resulted in a standstill in work at SLT. While Young and representatives of Maxis Malaysia have proposed that equipment and services for SLT should be taken from more..

A day for Sri Lankan culture to shine

Aug 13 (BG) Imagine if you only had to go to Acton to experience the sounds, sights, and tastes of Sri Lanka. The tantalizing aroma of crisp-edged hoppers (rice and coconut crepes) and fiery curries would fill the air, a 40-person drum orchestra would beat out centuries-old rhythms as a pageant of glittering paper elephants parades by, crafts from batik to lanterns would be on display, and dancers and singers in ornate costumes would serenade the sunset on the park’s stage. more..

Interview on IMF loan

‘Our air quality monitoring stations old, dilapidated’

Aug 13 (DN) The air quality monitoring stations used by Central Environment Authority (CEA) are decades old and are in a dilapidated condition. The two Air Monitoring Stations, the air pollution meter based in Colombo Fort to monitor local air quality and the pollution meter based in Anuradhapura for monitoring trans-boundary air quality are in poor condition, Environment and Natural Resources Ministry sources told the Daily News. more..

Cure your snoring visit 'sleep lab' at NH

Aug 13 (DN) The first ever 'Sleep Lab' in Sri Lanka is open at the Colombo National Hospital. Persons who have sleeping disorders, especially snoring, can obtain treatment from this lab in the ENT Unit. The ENT clinics are conducted on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said the sleep lab opened last week is under the purview of three ENT specialists, more..

Night rider romeo haunts A'pura

Aug 13 (DN) An unidentified man who has applied grease all over his body haunting at night has driven fear into the minds of residents in Periyakulama, Hahanelubewa, Athuruwella, Vijayapura and Anuradhapura Municipal Council area in recently. Residents said the man who has been named as Grease Yaka used various ruses to enter houses at night. The man who has grease all over his body to make him slippery when anyone tries to catch him had a soft corner for women. more..

Govt. says KP helped Obama with election campaign

Aug 13 (Island) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told the media yesterday that according to the International Crisis Group Kumaran Pathmanathan aka KP and his associates based in the US had backed Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign. He said that the international community had misunderstood Sri Lanka’s stand on the LTTE’s international activities but the government was determined to decimate the LTTE’s international network. more..

'Only 19 per cent of USD 4 billion foreign aid utilized'

Aug 13 (Island) The Government had utilized only around 19 per cent of foreign aid of about USD four billion, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said, yesterday at a ceremony to mark the completion of Forest Resources Management Project (FRMP) at the Central Environment Authority in Battaramulla. Despite allegations that FRMP would lead to privatization, it had been successfully completed. more..

Ranil will not contest at the Presidential election

Aug 13 (LNW) A senior SLMC source told Lanka News Web that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had indicated to SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem, SLFP (M) Wing Leader Mangala Samaraweera and DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan at a meeting on Tuesday that he would not be contesting at the next Presidential election if there is one held early next year. The senior SLMCer said that it was definite that Wickremesinghe would not contest at the next Presidential election unless more..

Promotions due to SLAS officers will be expedited

Aug 13 (Island) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama, yesterday said all promotions that were due in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) would be given in the near future and 117 appointments to the Supra Grade had already been made. The Minister said the vacancies in the Supra Grade had been filled after a lapse of three years. Amunugama said hitherto promotions were given in the SLAS on marks obtained at an exam and more..

'UPFA can get two-thirds majority'

Aug 13 (DN) The UPFA is quite capable of achieving the two thirds majority at a future General election or Presidential election, SLFP General Secretary Maithreepala Sirisena told a press conference in Colombo yesterday. The UPFA has changed the idea that a political party cannot achieve the two third majority under the present electoral system. “The UPFA dispelled the notion in the public minds that a party can more..

The war in Sri Lanka has ended but the suffering continues

Aug 13 (MSF) Any health system would have difficulties responding to the needs of over 260,000 people who recently came out of a war zone. And so, facilities in the Sri Lankan IDP camps are overstretched. People sometimes need to wait days before they can see a doctor for treatment and at night non-medical people decide who gets referred to a hospital and who does not. The suffering continues. more..

Response from deserters

Aug 13 (DM) Sixty-two sailors who had deserted their ranks on or before May 31, 2009, had turned themselves in as of yesterday afternoon, Navy authorities said. “With the Navy announcement of an honourable discharge to deserters, we have a good response from them (deserters) during first two-days,” Navy Spokesman Captain D.K.P Dassanayake said adding that the enlisting of the deserters commenced from Monday and would continue until September 10. more..

Referring to a ‘King’ is not anti-govt: Counsel

Aug 13 (DM) The Counsel appearing for the two undergraduates remanded for allegedly writing anti-government slogans on a wall submitted in court yesterday said that the two students had referred to a ‘King’ and since there was no king in Sri Lanka at present what they did was not anti-government. Considering the submissions Colombo Additional Magistrate Kumari Aberatna yesterday granted bail on the two u’grads Udul Premaratna and Gihan Seneviratna who more..

Central bank appoints new assistant governors

Aug 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank said it has promoted six officers as Assistant Governor with effect from August 10, 2009. The officers are W M Karunaratne, P Liyanage , J P Mampitiya, C K Nanayakkara, B D W A Silva and P N Weerasinghe. "These promotions have been made in line with the succession plan of the bank and to address the new challenges of the Central Bank," it said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka to issue US$500mn sovereign bond in Sept-Oct

Aug 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka will issue a 500 million US dollar 5-year sovereign bond in late September or early October to international investors, a media report said. "Minimum benchmark size in the international capital market is $500 million," Reuters news agency quoted C.J.P. Siriwardena, head of Sri Lanka's government debt office as saying. "So our plan is to go for maximum $500 million." more..

SLMC, TNA move SC against Elections Amendment Bill

Aug 13 (TC) The SLMC and the TNA yesterday petitioned the Supreme Court against the Bill Titled ‘Parliamentary Elections (Amendment)’, gazetted on July 20, 2009. The petitioners challenged in particular, Section 6 (6) of the Bill, which states that a political party shall not be entitled to be treated as a recognized political party if, in the opinion of the Elections Commissioner, its name signifies any religion or community. more..

Local Elections in the North

Nirupama’s brother murdered in Tanzania

Aug 13 (DM) In a shocking development Shyamlal Rajapaksa the brother of UPFA Hambantota District MP Nirupama Rajapaksa and nephew of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been murdered in Tanzania yesterday. According to family members Mr. Shyamlal Rajapaksa had been murdered by a gang who had tried to rob his house in the Tanzanian capital. He had met with the unfortunate death while struggling with the robbers. more..

Lanka gets 'valuable information' from new LTTE chief

Aug 13 (PTI) In an unusual move, Sri Lanka's powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa himself grilled detained new LTTE chief Kumaran Pathmanathan about the international connections of the Tamil Tigers and is said to have extracted some "valuable information". Gotabhaya, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told a meeting here on Monday that he had asked some questions to Pathmanathan. more..

Lewke questions claymore find

Aug 13 (DM) Amidst allegations made against Colombo Crime Division head SSP Vas Gunawardena on his alleged connection in the student assault incident, questions have been raised over the recovery of a vehicle laden with 20 claymore mines in Mannar on Tuesday by the CCD. Making a controversial statement Senior DIG Nimal Lewke told Daily Mirror yesterday that the recovery of a vehicle laden with 20 claymore mines made by more..

'Satellite images show Sri Lanka graves'

Aug 13 (AP) A series of satellite images taken over Sri Lanka's former war zone showed the existence of large grave sites and evidence of possible mortar positions near areas that had been packed with trapped civilians, a human rights group said. The release of the images was intended to challenge government claims that the military had ceased using heavy weapons in the final months of its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels in the jungles of the north to prevent large-scale civilian deaths. more..

Colombo to hold first South Asian Vocational Education Summit

Aug 14 (GDI) The first South Asian Vocational Education and Training Conference will be held in Sri Lanka from the 19th to the 22st of this month, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training Piyasena Gamage said at a media conference held today (13) at the Government Information Department. Over 200 intellectuals and scholars are expected to participate in this conference. They will include participants from more..

Malaysia donates US$100,000 to the welfare of the IDPs

Aug 14 (MoD) The Government of Malaysia donated a sum of US$100,000 to the Government of Sri Lanka for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Sri Lankans affected by the conflict. Accepting the donation on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka from the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Sri Lanka, Rosli Ismail, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama placed on record the appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka for more..

Ajmal fined for Sangakkara send-off

Aug 14 (CI) Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan offspinner, has been fined 15% of his match fee for giving Kumar Sangakkara a send-off after dismissing him in Wednesday's Twenty20 match. Ajmal was found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct following a hearing in Colombo after the game. Ajmal was charged under Level 1.6 of the code, which refers to "pointing or gesturing towards the pavilion in an aggressive manner by a bowler or other members of the fielding side upon the dismissal of a batsman." more..

Chandimal ton leads SLC reply

Aug 14 (CI) The New Zealanders put in a hard day's work in the field on the second day at the NCC yet conceded a 27-run lead to Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI. Dinesh Chandimal was the stand-out performer for SLC with a century, helped by Dammika Prasad with a steady fifty, and their stand helped SLC pass the visitors' score before the lower order collapsed. The tourists added 14 to their overnight score before being bowled out. more..

All police in Angulana transferred over 2 deaths

Aug 14 (CT) All police officers, including the officer-in-charge, at Angulana Police Station in Moratuwa have been transferred with immediate effect over the death of two youths while in their custody. Angulana Police now has a new OIC and 11 other officers. The area was in chaos after the area residents came to know of the two deaths. Angry crowds in their hundreds gathered near the police station and the railway track close by. more..

July tourist arrivals up 28 pct

Aug 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped 28 percent in July from a year ago, its second straight rise since May last year due to the end of of a decades-long war, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism board said on Thursday. "This is mainly due to the peace situation in the country," S. Kalaiselvam, director general at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, told Reuters. more..