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August 8 polls: Lessons for the minority communities

Aug 19 (BL) Last week, I indicated the messages the voters of the Jaffna Municipal Council and Vavuniya Urban Council sent to the people of this country, and to the international community. I said they had rejected the UNP and the TULF headed by V. Anandasangaree. At the time of writing the column last week, I did not have the preference votes of the UPFA candidates. On the basis of the preference votes released subsequently, more..

Over 15,000 IDP families to be resettled

Aug 19 (MoD) The Government yesterday said over 15,000 IDP families from the Jaffna district will be resettled in their original homes soon. According to Resettlement and Relief Services Minister Rishad Badiudeen, the authorities have already identified over 15,000 displaced families who claim themselves to be the residents of Jaffna and their details have been forwarded to the authorities in the Jaffna district. more..

Allegations of A/L paper leakage a “conspiracy”

Aug 19 (BL) Examinations Department yesterday alleged that a conspiracy had been launched against it in regard to the possible leak of the Advanced Level biology paper and insisted that no such event had taken place. Examinations Department Commissioner General Anura Edirisinghe accused the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) of spreading false stories regarding the leakage of the A/L biology paper when such an incident had not taken place. more..

Opposition parties tell govt to send IDPs home

Aug 19 (BL) The Main Opposition and SLFP (M) parties yesterday made a fresh appeal to the government to release the internally displaced people in camps as they were suffering severe discomfort due to floods. Speaking at separate media briefings spokesmen for both parties appealed to the government to expedite the processing of the displaced so that they could be returned to their homes as soon as possible. more..

Thousands protest against police killings

Aug 19 (wsws) About 5,000 people took part in a funeral procession on Sunday at Angulana, a suburb south of Colombo, to protest against the brutal killing of two youth by police on August 13. The murders are the latest police atrocity in President Mahinda Rajapakse’s fraudulent “war against the underworld”. M.B. Dinesh Tharanga Fernando, 22, and Dhanushka Udayanga Aponsu, 26, were arrested last Wednesday at about 10 p.m. by officers from the Angulana police more..

Couple caught between U.S. & Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (TL) A bounced $1.6 million check to a Sri Lankan financial institution was what got John and Marian Morgan arrested in that Asian country last week, the Herald-Tribune learned Monday. But there is a chance that the couple -- who fled in July to avoid federal contempt charges in connection with a get-rich-quick banking scheme -- will never face the Sri Lankan courts and instead be shipped back to the United States on a revoked visa, an extradition expert said. more..

Arms review urged over fears British weapons were used against Tamils

Aug 19 (Times) Fears that British weapons were used against civilians in Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil rebels have prompted calls for a review of the arms trade. In its annual report due to be published today, the Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls argues that all existing licences to Sri Lanka should be investigated. MPs specifically want to know which British arms were used by Sri Lankan forces in this year’s final offensive against the Tamil Tigers, more..

India likely to demand LTTE chief’s extradition

Aug 19 (DH) Indian investigating agencies are likely to demand the extradition of Kumaran Pathmanathan, the LTTE chief now in police custody in Sri Lanka, to uncover the “real story” behind the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Pathmanathan, one of the senior-most surviving leaders of the LTTE, is learnt to have played a pivotal role in providing logistic support to the conspirators involved in the killing of the former prime minister at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991. more..

Sri Lanka is Asia's best performer

Supermarket chain eyes former war zone

Aug 19 (LBO) Supermarket chain Cargills (Ceylon) said it plans to invest in the former northern war zone as its retail and consumer goods businesses lifted June 2009 quarter profits. The company said in a stock exchange filing that group net profit grew 36.6 percent to 162 million rupees in the June 2009 quarter from a year ago. Revenue was almost flat, growing by just one percent to 7.4 billion rupees in the period more..

Plans for Maha cultivation in Jaffna

Aug 19 (GDI) Nearly 11,200 hectares of low land in the Jaffna district has been earmarked for Maha cultivation. That includes 700 hectares that were not cultivated for over a decade, official sources said. The Commissioner General of Agrarian Development Department, Ravindra Hewavitharana said the idea was spearheaded by MP Basil Rajapaksa under the 180 day Uthuru Vasanthaya programme. more..

TEC -115 Exhibition and Job Market kicks off

Aug 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka Technical College, Maradana which commemorates 115 years of continued service to the student population in the country, jointly with the International Vocational Education Training Association (IVETA) will conduct an exhibition and a job market under the theme-'National strength'. The event kicked off today(19) and continue till 22nd. The exhibition will commenced at 10 am on today and more..

First ever power generating windmill in Puttalam

Aug 19 (GDI) The Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka has granted approval to a proposal submitted by a joint private venture to set up two Windmills in the Puttlam district, Assistant Manager BOI, Dudley Perera said. This will be the first ever Windmill project in Sri Lanka that will add another 20 megawatts to the national grid after completion. Accordingly two separate Windmills will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs. 4255 million (USD 37million). more..

It is Hobson’s Choice for Tamils

Aug 19 (LG) Two major events –the arrest of Selvarasah Pathmanathan, better known by his acronym ‘KP’ alias Kumaran Pathmanathan and the union council elections in Jaffna and Vavuniuya in the first ten days of August – have put the five-decade old Tamil struggle at cross roads. After the elimination of V Prabhakaran and the military defeat of the LTTE, Tamils are now faced with two choices – both unpalatable potions if past experience is any guide. more..

Solheim, Tigers and KP

Aug 19 (SLW) We are privileged to publish this account because we feel this gives an insight into how Sri Lanka undertook the “Arrest KP Mission” so efficiently and by doing so has not only helped Sri Lanka in its pursuit fighting terrorism to the last terrorist but has surely made a major dent on international underworld operations. KP is a global menace still not understood properly by the International Community. more..

Move to establish CM's Fund held by Governor, EPC

Aug 19 (PSM) The Governor of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) Mr. Mohan Wijewickrama has blocked the establishment of the Chief Minister’s fund by not giving assent to the relevant statute, informed sources of the EPC disclosed. Instead the Governor wanted to create a Governor’s Trust Fund. As a result, the statute to create the Chief Minister’s fund has been referred to the Supreme Court, the sources added. more..

'Rajnikanth, Vaiko, Ramdoss received Tigers’ money'

Aug 19 (AT) Did Rajnikanth, Vaiko and Ramdoss benefit from LTTE money? Yes, they did, alleges Minister for Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen, who also claims that the Tigers funded business ventures and set up Tamil radio and TV stations in the West and Far East. In a freewheeling interview, the minister was economical on facts. more..

'Govt of the view the entire political outlook should change'

Aug 19 (LP) President Rajapaksa intends to leave before the people a political ideology of national consensus, in the upcoming General Elections and thereby earn a 2/3 majority for a stable and meaningful political solution to national problems said Minister of Mass Media Laxman Yapa Abeywardena. He emphasized that the government is not prepared to come up with political solution to benefit certain elements who fail politically. more..

Pioneering effort in Tamil language training for Police

Aug 19 (LP) The British High Commission in Colombo is funding the Asia Foundation Access to Justice (A2J) project’s pioneering effort to provide intensive Tamil language training for Police officers from the constable to sergeant level. These new language skills – along with insights gained through complementary discussions about ethnicity, justice and equality – are empowering male and female Police officers to serve citizens in a more effective, sensitive, and responsive manner. more..

New rat eating plant discovered - Not new to Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (LP) Botanists believe they have discovered one of the world's largest carnivorous plants in Southeast Asia. Nepenthes northiana - the carnivorous pitcher plant prepares to tuck into a rat. The giant pitcher plants were located in Palawan, central Philippines by a team led by UK botanist Stewart McPherson. The second largest species, now called Nepenthes attenboroughii has been named in honor of more..

Call the JVP`s bluff!

Aug 19 (LNP) The JVP acts just like the proverbial cat which could not resist temptation to play Tom and Jerry on seeing a rat, while holding a lamp on a dinner table. The JVP succumbs to its anarchical tendencies from time to time when an opportunity presents itself. Now, it is threatening to take to the streets unless President Mahinda Rajapaksa abolishes the executive presidency forthwith! The JVP`s meteoric rise in democratic politics has given way to a nosedive and more..

Double standard of British diplomacy humiliates AG

Aug 19 (LT) Attorney General Mohan Peiris was embarrassed by the officials of British High Commission when he applied for a visa to visit the UK for an important official matter. The British High Commission has made Attorney General Mohan Peiris face an interview before issuing him the visa. The AG had no option but to comply as he needed to visit the UK over the very important official matter. more..

Looking for a way forward in a chaotic Foreign Ministry

Aug 19 (LNW) The Foreign Affairs Ministry has now been marginalized like never before due to a government that does not have a fundamentally proper foreign policy to implement and accommodating a Minister who does not command respect in the Cabinet along with a Secretary who is destructive and unfriendly towards his officers as well as to the institution which he is heading. The Sri Lankan Foreign Service is now waiting for the President to hit the final nail on the coffin. more..

Mangala tells Vasudeva

Aug 19 (LNW) “It is more honorable to do the task of a crow and dig out the dirt in the government than to play the role of a dog that wait for bones in the Medamulana Walawwa” SLFP (M) Wing Leader Mangala Samarawera has in a letter to Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that it is more honorable to do the task of a crow and dig out the dirt in the government than to play the role of a dog that wait for bones in the Medamulana Walawwa. more..

Lalitha Rajapakse blames the President for son Shyamlal’s death

Aug 19 (LNW) Shyamlal Rajapakse’s mother Lalitha Rajapakse told several close friends and relatives at Shyamlal’s funeral on Monday that the President also had to take responsibility for his death. Lalitha Rajapakse had lamented that the President who gave many perks and privileges to any one with the Rajapakse has simply ignored D.M. Rajapakse’s family and had not given any proper job to Shyamlal even after making several requests from him to give him a proper appointment. more..

Courts enlarge Sunday leader MD & editor on bail for contempt of court

Aug 19 (MoD) Additional District Judge of Mt.Lavinia Courts Hon.Mohommed Macky Yesterday overruled and rejected two preliminary objections raised by the Counsel appearing for the Managing Director and Editor of Sunday Leader Newspapers, in the application filed by the Defence Secretary Mr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The Defence Secretary was seeking to reprimand the Respondents for acting in Contempt of Court by violating the solemn undertaking and more..

Jaffna to get international sports stadium

Aug 19 (MoD) Several steps were taken recently to stabilise the living standards and income of the Northern people under the Uthuru Vasanthaya rehabilitation program headed by MP Basil Rajapaksa who visited Jaffna last week to inspect the projects in progress. The Alfred Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna will be converted to an international sports stadium with Indian government funding and the matter was discussed at a meeting with Sports Ministry officials, more..

IDPs: Live Journal from Vavuniya

Aug 19 (MoD) The three of us* arrived in Colombo on 14th July 2009 (Tuesday) and were scheduled to travel and visit the orphans at the IDP (Internally Displaced Per-sons) centres in the North-ern district of Vavuniya. Genocide, abuse and as-saults, assassinations, hun-ger, malnutrition, mutilated bodies, continuous cries from children, hunger, an-ger and rage were some of the thoughts that filled our minds before the trip. more..

A/L exam paper allegations in Parliament

Mihin Lanka loses 3 billion – why is Govt. pilfering people’s funds to maintain loss incurring Institutions?

Aug 19 (UNP) UNP M.P. Dayasiri Jayasekera speaking in Parliament yesterday said, he could not understand the logic behind the Govt.’s continuing to waste people’s precious monies on loss incurring Govt. ventures. The Mihin Lanka had sustained three billion rupees loss. The Sri Lankan Airlines is expected to lose Rs. 10 billion by the end of the year, while Sri Lanka Ports authority loss is expected to rise to Rs. 6400 million, he added. more..

Mangala breathes fire and brimstone at Govt. over the acute miseries of the IDPs

Aug 19 (UNP) SLFP (M) wing leader Mangala Samaaweera issued a dire warning to the Govt. yesterday against its cold callous attitude towards the IDPs who are in abysmal suffering in the Govt. camps. He told a news conference that he will not hesitate to haul up the Govt. before the Int. community to expose the Govt. attitude. 90 days of the Govt’s 180 day deadline to resettle the refugees to their former habitats is over. more..

Leak in AL Biology paper: Exams chief wants CID probe

Aug 19 (DN) Examinations Commissioner General has requested the IGP to initiate a CID investigation to ascertain the truth about allegations about a leak in the 2009 G.C.E. AL examination Biology question paper before the commencement of the examination and submit a report. This follows newspaper reports about a leak in the question paper, said Education Ministry Secretary Nimal Bandara. more..

Nallur festival, a religious inspiration for Hindus

Aug 19 (DN) July is one of the important, interesting and indispensable months not only for Hindus, but also for almost all the people in Jaffna. It can be called the month of spirituality. The Nallur Festival starts six days after the arrival of the new moon annually. The festival continues for 25 days. The Chariot Festival takes place on the 24th day. The festival begins in July and ends in August. more..

Env. Ministry provides water to Yala animals

Aug 19 (DM) Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has launched an emergency programme to provide water to the animals in drought-hit Yala National Park, the Ministry said in a statement issued yesterday. Accordingly, as an immediate measure, several drying up water holes in the park had been cleared of mud and filled with water pumped from outside areas. more..

Graduates to get teaching appointments

Aug 19 (DN) The problem of nearly 1,250 graduates of the Aesthetic Faculty, who had held a protest fast demanding employment would be solved by giving them teaching appointments in the provinces in 2010 Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He said there were a number of problems regarding unemployed graduates but it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who took up the challenge and provided employment for more than 48,000 graduates. more..

US$ 270 mn flows in for govt. securities

Aug 19 (Island) A senior official of the Central Bank said US$ 270 million had come in to the domestic foreign exchange market last Monday with foreign investors showing interest in investing in Treasury bills and bonds. Commercial bank dealers said they expected the Central Bank would absorb these dollars during the course of the day (Wednesday) and create a market surplus of over Rs. 20 billion, a ‘flush in liquidity’. more..

Over Rs. 132m collected from taxes on imported films and teledramas

Aug 19 (Island) The government had earned more than 132 million rupees between January and September 2008 from taxes imposed on television companies importing foreign films and tele dramas, Parliament was told yesterday. This was revealed by Chief Government Whip, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena in response to a question raised by UNP, Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Now, baby tuskers moved to Mirigama

Aug 19 (Island) Baby tuskers Sindhu and Raju, separated from their mothers in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, are now on a coconut estate belonging to an elephant owner in Mirigama. Informed sources told The Island yesterday the two calves had been taken on Sunday night to tame and because of some injury. Sources said Sindhu had a serious injury on a front leg. University of Peradeniya Senior Lecturer Dr. Asoka Dangolla, who is in charge of the two baby elephants said that more..

Non-implementation of 17th A and breakdown of law and order

Aug 19 (Island) There appears to be a complete breakdown of law and order in this country. The editorial in The Island on Saturday has listed the dastardly crimes committed by the Police in the last few days alone and stated that the Police department is rotten to the core and that we need to be protected from the Police! What a disgraceful situation. The Police Service which was a respected service has hit the pits. more..

Lanka cannot 'antagonise' India on fishermen issue: Minister

Aug 19 (PTI) Amid demands by the opposition Marxist JVP that Sri Lanka take up with India the detention of its fishermen straying into the Indian waters, the government here has said it does not want to "antagonise" New Delhi on the issue and favoured an amicable settlement to it. "We cannot antagonise India" on the issue, Fisheries Minister Felix Perera told Parliament yesterday. more..

Rs. 3 m to repair Speaker’s car

Aug 19 (DM) The government is seeking a supplementary estimate of Rs. 3 million to repair the Speakers car. A supplementary estimate under the head of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs was presented to Parliament yesterday for this purpose. It stated that the official car of W.J.M. Lokubandara needed to be repaired and Rs 3 million was required for this purpose. more..

Fisheries Corpn. loses Rs. 164 m. since 2000

Aug 19 (DM) The Ceylon Fisheries Corporation had suffered a loss of Rs. 164 million since 2000, Fisheries Minister Felix Perera informed parliament yesterday. The minister was answering a question by the JVP MP Premasiri Manage. Mr. Perera said that there was the inability for the Corporation to purchase adequate fish in the competitive market with the private sector. Similarly, he said “that Bonbridge Company had not paid its dues for more..

Customs to register import agencies

Aug 19 (DN) In a bid to save millions of rupees lost due to corruption and smuggling, the Customs Department, the single biggest national income earner, has initiated a program to register all import agencies operating in the country. Customs Director General S. W. Jayatilake said this program will enable the Customs Department to nab fly by night operators who had been cheating the state millions of revenue collected as taxes. There are over 1,000 such agencies in the country but the Department lacks a data bank to verify their bona fides. more..

Canada missed opportunity to right Sri Lanka's wrongs

Aug 19 (TS) In voting last month to approve a $2.6 billion (U.S.) IMF loan to Sri Lanka, the government of Canada squandered an opportunity to press the government of Sri Lanka on its treatment of war-affected civilians following its military victory over the rebel Tamil Tigers in May. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Argentina – holding more than 30 per cent of the IMF's shares – made the highly unusual move of abstaining from the vote, largely because of human rights concerns. more..

United States contributing $6 million to support demining

Aug 19 (AT) The U.S. Government is contributing an additional $6 million for demining activities in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province to help people displaced by the conflict return to their homes as quickly as possible. This funding, through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (State/PMWRA), was granted to four NGOs currently working on demining activities in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka to seek managers to sell $500 million of debt abroad

Aug 19 (BN) Sri Lanka plans to call for bids from investment banks to jointly manage a sale of $500 million of dollar-denominated debt overseas, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. “The timing and structure of the issue will be decided in conjunction with the managers,” Cabraal said in a telephone interview from the bank’s Colombo headquarters. more..

New roles for NGOs in conflict-hit north?

Aug 19 (IRIN) NGOs can expect to take on a new role in northern Sri Lanka, helping to rebuild communities, although when exactly is not clear. “The role of NGOs in doing straight humanitarian work is gradually going to phase down. They are going to have to shift to be more involved with early recovery, but ultimately with development,” Neil Buhne, the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, told IRIN in Colombo, noting the country’s long tradition of community-based NGOs. more..

Religious feast embodies a nation’s hopes for peace

Aug 19 (IPS) The jungle church was once again filled with devotees camping out for days to take part in the feast of the Virgin Mary of Madhu. It had been over 27 years since the last occasion when tens of thousands of believers streamed into the church located at Madhu, in the north-western Mannar District. In 1982 the jungle shrine was caught in the crossfire between government forces and the LTTE, preventing devotees, especially from the south, from travelling there. more..

Thousands attend Nalloor Ther festival

Aug 19 (TN) The Ther festival of the historic Nalloor Kandasamy Temple in Jaffna town was held Wednesday morning with thousands of devotees from all over the island and participating, turning Jaffna into a virtual spiritual town, sources attending the festival said. With 300,000 fellow Tamils incarcerated in the internment camps in Vavuniyaa, and constrained by the curfews the Jaffna citizens still have to endure daily, the festival had added significance to the saiva population in the NorthEast, more..

Central bank says bought $875 mln to cap rupee

Aug 19 (Reuters) Central bank on Wednesday said it had bought $875 million from the market in the first three days of the week, as high inflows into government securities created upward pressure on the rupee. "We bought $270 million on Monday and $305 million on Tuesday from the market," K.D. Ranasinghe, director at the central bank's economic research department told Reuters. "There is an indication of central bank purchasing $300 million today." more..