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The law is a dangerous thing ( Part 2)

July 8 (LG) (A Dialogue on investigations. Written for the occasion of the commemoration of Lasantha Wickrematunge, six months after his assassination. Lasantha Wickrematunge, a Sri Lankan journalist, was assassinated on the 8th January 2008). This is a discussion among several imaginary characters. These imaginary characters do not represent any living persons. The Characters: A journalist who is conducting the interview; more..

Watching history happen

July 8 (LG) There are three types of people; the one’s who make things happen, the one’s who watch things happen and the one’s who exclaim "what happened?" This is a story about someone who watched things happen. In July 1985, I was appointed a Captain with Air Lanka, on the Boeing 737-200 twin-jet. The aircraft was leased from an Irish company called Air Tara, a subsidiary of Guinness Peat Aviation. more..

'Mahinda Chintana -rob rich and give poor'

July 8 (LG) UNP M.P. Kabir Hashim addressing a Press briefing at the UNP media center today (8Jul), said, during the war ,the Govt. blamed the war expenditure to exact taxes and heap burdens on the people . But, now even after the war is over, what the people witness and experience day by day are continued hardships and sufferings. more..

'Greatest UPFA victory on August 8'

July 8 (GDI) “I feel sorry for the main opposition. There is no one in Badulla or Moneragala to raise a flag or paste a poster for them. Their PC polls campaign is such lukewarm that the UPFA candidates do not have a slightest challenge. The first PC election held after the military victory against the LTTE will ring a historic victory for the UPFA and the party does not have a fight there and the UPFA will record the greatest ever PC polls victory on August 8., more..

Dengue still on infliction

July 8 (GDI) There have been 163 deaths and 14,750 people infected from dengue this year so far,said the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA). The current figures of dengue statistics are more than double the number of last year. Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry claimed most of these patients were reported from the, Kegalle, Kandy ,Gampaha, Kurunegala and Colombo districts. more..

Documentary films for disabled

July 8 (GDI) The Ministry of Social Service and Social Welfare has taken step to present a documentary film program for the disabled in district level. The main purpose of this program is to educate the public about the facilities provided by the Government for disabled people with the priority to introduce new facilities for the disabled. Ministry sources said that the disabled society should be treated with dignity and respect and, more..

Energy Minister appoint committee to probe LECO

July 8 (GDI) Power and Energy Minister,John Seneviratne yesterday appointed a committee headed by a ministry permanent secretary to probe on reported irregularities in the Lanka Electricy Company (LECO), a subsidiary of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). A news release from the ministry stated that the weekly newspapers last Sunday had published adverse reports on LECO and the minister summoned the chairman of LECO and the board for a meeting. more..

Fishing industry expands

July 8 (GDI) The Government is scheduled to set up a canned fish factory in Akmeemana,Galle, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera. This would be a joint venture with a New Zealand Company and the agreement in this regard has already been signed. Approval of the Board of Investment has been granted to establish this factory. The minister said all possible steps were being taken to expand the fishing industry to boost production. more..

Military to complete development project

July 8 (GDI) Multi- faceted military men, are close to complete one more massive project in the East undertaken last year. Three phases of the Somawathiya-Seruwavila (A-15) road restoration and construction project that extends to a stretch of 30.7 km were entrusted to the Army Engineers Unit in April 2008 after the Army cleared the East of terrorism. The unit of engineers under phase one completed the construction from Seruwavila to Arippu Junction, more..

'Eastern development quite smooth'

July 8 (GDI) Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan today said the eastern development proceeded smoothly with ministers visiting the area to monitor projects after a lapse of thirty years. He said the activities in relief villages operated quite well to uplift the standards of the people. The minister pointed out that both the Sinhalese and the Tamils in the east worked with an understanding and more..

On Sri Lanka’s Solution …

July 8 (AT) The world’s worst terror outfit was eliminated by Sri Lanka – No foreign consultants, no foreign governments, no foreign armed forces provided the strategy and the manpower. Sri Lanka did it Sri Lanka’s way. A Government that faced endless diplomatic hostilities with calls for ceasefires and amnesty for LTTE leaderships withstood enormous pressures and as a result won plaudits from the Sri Lankan masses, therefore more..

'Corruption rampant in the education sector'

July 8 (LeN) “How do principals in popular schools maintain private vehicles and live in luxury houses? We all get the same salary,” a principal from a school in a difficult area asks. “Although I gave Rs 80,000 to a go-between to get my daughter admitted to a well-known popular school in the area, it didn’t work out. Now the go-between is repaying the money to me in small installments,” laments a parent in the central hills. more..

APRC meets amidst closure notice on its convenor

July 8 (PSM) 122nd session of the APRC takes place today in the midst of SCOPP - the convenor of the APRC being directed by the govt. to close its activities by the end of this month. Meanwhile, the APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana said that there would be no absolute or unchecked power devolution to the periphery and proposes to establish separate state bodies for policy making and monitoring of contentious national issues such as police, land power and water. more..

Artifacts with historical value gone with ‘Deyata Kirula’

July 8 (LT) A sword and an ancient statue of Hindu deity Natarajah, of historical value are being missing since they were taken from Colombo Museum to be displayed at the ‘Deyata Kirula’ exhibition held at the BMIC in February says JVP MP Lakshman Nipunarachchi. He said the sword had belonged to Mr. E. W. Perera of Kotte lion fame and the Natarajah statue was one of the most valuable artifacts of Sri Lanka’s national Hindu heritage. more..

Bandula says he’s rebuked for lowering gas prices

July 8 (LT) Minister of Trade, Bandula Gunawardene says he is not prepared to be rebuked and at the same time take measures to bring down the price of gas. He said this in response to a question posed by the JVP MP Premasiri Mange. He said, “When companies want to increase the price of gas I ask them to reduce it. I’m also rebuked when I get the price of gas lowered. more..

Rs.12.5 million to hire vehicles for Ministry of Justice

July 8 (LT) A supplementary estimate of Rs.1,23,51,896, funds necessary to pay for 79 vehicles that had been hired to be used for official duties of the Ministry of Justice and Law Reform was presented to Parliament yesterday. This was presented to the Parliament by Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardene on behalf of Minister Vadivel Puttirasigamani. more..

'Welikade Prison is major market for heroin'

July 8 (LT) Police teams involved in operations to eradicate drug abuse from the country say 75% of the large scale drug involved rackets carried out in Colombo and the Western Province are being manipulated from a ‘head office’ maintained in Welikade Prison at Borella. The police teams point out that the rackets involving not only drugs but other underworld crimes are being directed by principal drug dealers who are inmates of the prison more..

'We vote to extend state of emergency to defeat separatist terrorism'

July 8 (LT) “There are talks again on the 13th amendment. Minister come out with various versions. Some stop talking of the 13th amendment when two ministerial posts are given. We support extension of state of emergency only to defeat separatist terrorism,” said JVP MP Vijithe Herath. “The President says the political solution would be presented only after holding the presidential election. more..

FR petition against former CJ filed

July 8 (LT) A Fundamental Rights application was filed in the Supreme Court yesterday against the former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva by Padmasiri Balasuriya of Kandy. The petitioner states that he had been committed to the remand prison for 294 days by a District Court Judge at the instance of the respondent, when the respondent was functioning as the President of the Court of Appeal. more..

Politician in 'questionable exchange'

July 8 (CT) A leading government politician in Ratnapura had exchanged three Bantom Cocks worth Rs. 25,000 and another animal, with an African Grey Parrot valued at around Rs. 200,000 from Dehiwela Zoo. The exchange had taken place on May 15, according to reports. As African Grey Parrots can be taught to speak any language, a pair is worth around Rs. 400,000. Therefore, this exchange with the politician is a loss for the Zoo.

Teacher postings for 12,000 who failed maths

July 8 (CT) Education minister Susil Premajayantha has said that teaching postings were given during the 1988-89 period to 12,000 Samurdhi recipients, who had failed mathematics as a subject. Granting permanency for them has become a serious problem for the government, he said. The minister was responding to a question raised by JVP’s Nawaratne Banda in Parliament yesterday (July 07). more..

Give me a chance says new Tourism Minister

July 8 (BL) Newly appointed Tourism Minster Nandana Gunethileke yesterday took over duties and pledged to promote local tourism, as the first phase of a short, medium and long-term recovery strategy. He also called on the industry not to jump to hasty conclusions regarding his political past and unite with him to develop the Tourism Industry. more..

Sri Lankan fans in candlelight vigil for Michael Jackson

July 8 (CT) Sri Lankan fans of Michael Jackson observed a candlelight vigil this evening (July 07) in Colombo, as the memorial concert for the late pop singer is due to begin in Los Angeles in a few hours time. Michael Jackson fans in their numbers gathered for the vigil in front of the busy Majestic City shopping complex at Bambalapitiya. They displaced placards immortalizing the 60-year-old icon who more..

Free Colombo land for 3 armed forces commanders

July 8 (CT) Urban development minister Dinesh Gunawardena has decided to grant prime plots of land from Colombo to the commanders of the three armed forces for giving leadership to the war against terrorism. The cabinet has already given its approval for the measure. Accordingly, Army commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, Navy commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Force chief Roshan Gunatileke will receive 10 perch of land each.

6 months into Lasantha's murder, protest against media repression today

July 8 (CT) With the elapse of six months since the murder of ?The Sunday Leader? editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, a protest will be held in Town Hall, Colombo today (July 08) against authorities? inaction to bring the killers to book. The protest begins with a march from Viharamaha Devi Roundabout at 3.00 pm and the participants thereafter gather at New Town Hall for a meeting. more..

No presidential polls this year

July 8 (DN) The Government will not have presidential elections this year, SLFP General Secretary and Agriculture and Agrarian Services Development Minister Maithreepala Sirisena said yesterday contradicting certain media, reports. “The SLFP or coalition partners have not taken such a decision with regard to the Presidential election or Parliamentary election,” he said. more..

Caroline Anthony Pillai: The Lioness of Boralugoda

July 8 (DN) On July 6, 2009, Caroline Anthony Pillai, the last living link to the early socialist movement in Sri Lanka passed away at the age of 102. She was a pioneer in many ways. Drawn into politics by her fiery elder brothers, Philip and Robert Gunawardena, she participated in the nascent Ceylonese Nationalist Movement of the early 30s and helped launched the LSSP in 1935. more..

No decision to close down colleges

July 8 (DN) Education Minister Susil Premajayanth told the Parliament yesterday the Government has not taken any decision to close down the Colleges of Education or cancel some of the courses conducted by these Colleges of Education. He said there are 18 Colleges of Education in the country. A total of 27,420 students have been enroled to these Colleges of Education from the year 2000 upto 2008 of these 18 Colleges of Education, four have been established in Vavuniya, Addalaichenai, Batticaloa and Jaffna. more..

DMK member pleads for release of Indian fishermen

July 8 (PTI) A DMK member on Wednesday urged the government to ensure the release of Indian fishermen from Sri Lankan custody saying the fishing community in southern Tamil Nadu had gone on strike to protest such acts of the Sri Lankan Navy. Noting that the latest arrest of 21 fishermen and seizure of five boats was the third such incident in over a month, film star-turned MP J K Ritheesh said the more..

TRC in talks with CB for remittance payments via SMS

July 8 (Island) The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka is in talks with the Central Bank seeking approval to allow remittance payments to be paid to unbanked rural households via the mobile phone. "There are many households that do not operate bank accounts so we are looking for a way these households can collect any remittances from relatives overseas via mobile SMS," more..

Tamils debate: What went wrong?

July 8 (BL) During the four weeks I was sick two matters concerning the future of the Sri Lankan Tamils were intensely debated. The Sinhalese debated the suitability of the 13th Amendment and the Tamils, mainly disapora, tried to find answers to the questions: ‘What went wrong with the armed struggle?’ and ‘Why India played the role it played?’ Thirty eight years ago, in June 1971, a small group of Tamil youths headed by Nadarajah Thangavelu, more..

Cotton Mealy Bug infesting crops

July 8 (BL) The Cotton Mealy Bug (Phenacoccus Solenopsis Tinsley) which was identified as a new species of alien mealy bugs that have the potential of severely affecting crops has been observed in vegetable crops in the Sittandy area near Batticaloa. According to Eastern University, Head of the Department of Zoology, Dr. Laxmi Vinobaba, the bug is infesting chilli, brinjals and okra (lady’s fingers) crops in particular. more..

Disappointed ex-Uva CM assured chance to contest Moneragala at general elections

July 8 (Island) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said though former Uva Chief Minister Gamini Vijithamuni Soysa had been denied a government ticket to contest the Uva PC, at the August 8 polls, he would be given an opportunity to contest the Moneragala district at the next parliamentary elections. He said that Soysa had been assured of a place in the UPFA list at the general elections scheduled before next April. more..

Rs. 250m daily for Northern civilian upkeep

July 8 (DN) The Government spends over Rs. 250 million daily for the welfare of over 300,000 displaced civilians in the Northern Province, said Agriculture and Agrarian Services Minister Maithreepala Sirisena. He said these funds are utilised for the provision of food, healthcare, education, vocational training and sanitary facilities to the displaced people and their children. more..

Corruption and 'NATO'

July 8 (Island) If there is something in this country that everybody protests against but nobody does anything about, it is corruption. Terrorism flourished as our attempts to extirpate it had been half-hearted and there was no proper leadership for war until about four years ago. It took us thirty long years, in spite of the availability of means to remove the scourge, to get our act together and grasp the nettle. more..

The men who brought down Air Tigers

July 8 (Island) Wing Commander Senaka Fernandopulle, commanding officer of the 32 Land Based Air Defence Wing (LBAD) said that confronting LTTE aircraft over densely populated areas in the South had been one of the major obstacles faced by the SLAF during the Eelam War IV. In a wide ranging interview with The Island, Fernandopulle said though the SLAF had gradually developed the LBAD into a formidable formation, more..

'Govt. denies people their rights'

July 8 (DM) Although CAFFE in the past had campaigned to make identity cards compulsory to stop rigging elections it has adversely affected the people in the Uva Province, National Organizer for the Campaign For Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) Keerthi Tennakoon said yesterday. “We have campaigned to make the identity cards a must but in the case of Uva Province it was denying the poor people their right to vote,” Mr. Tennakoon said. more..

One toilet for every hundred IDPs: TNA MP

July 8 (DM) TNA MP Pathmini Sithamparanathan broke into tears in Parliament yesterday when she spoke about the issues confronting the internally displaced persons in Vavuniya. Speaking during the emergency debate, she said that seven pregnant mothers had died in the IDP camps recently. An emotional MP Ms. Sithamparanathan said the facilities available in the camps were so pathetic that there was only one toilet for every hundred persons. more..

Sri Lanka won't let Ottawa see detained Canadian

July 8 (G&M) Sri Lanka's government has refused Ottawa's request to visit a Canadian citizen who is accused of being a Tamil Tiger combatant and is being detained in a “rehabilitation” camp. The unnamed Canadian citizen is now waiting to see how Sri Lanka intends to deal with alleged Tiger prisoners, as the government in Colombo has yet to clarify its plans on whether detainees will be tried as more..

Doctors and patients losing patience

July 8 (DM) Medicine or the healing of sick people began as a sacred vocation based on the hallowed Hippocratic oath of selfless sacrificial and feet washing service to a suffering patient. Gradually, the vocation which was on the par of spiritual priest hood turned into a profession and later – especially after the onset of the self centred globalised capitalist market economic system – degenerated largely into a trade or booming business at the expense of poor and innocent patients. more..

Few jihadis among armed Muslims in Sri Lanka

July 8 (EB) Only a few of the armed Muslim groups in Eastern Sri Lanka are jihadis, it is learnt. Most of the armed Muslim men are political henchmen or persons enjoying the protection of mainstream Muslim political leaders, informed sources in the Eastern town of Batticaloa told The New Indian Express on Monday. “The jihadis among the Muslim armed men may be just about 30 or so,” one source said. more..

Sri Lanka foreign aid pipeline narrows

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign aid pipeline from Western nations showed signs of narrowing amid deteriorating relations, though draw downs of previously committed aid continued apace, official data shows. In the first five months of 2009, Sri Lanka had fresh aid commitments of only 147.7 million dollars against 1,049.1 billion dollars in the five months to May last year. Last year's aid commitments were boosted by a 450 million dollar package announced by Iran. more..

Sri Lanka state revenues down 9.6-pct, deficit up in first 4-months

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka state revenues fell 9.6 percent while day-to-day expenditure zoomed 34.5 percent driving the revenue deficit up an unprecedented 528 percent to 118.2 billion rupees, the latest official data has revealed. The finance ministry said in its mid-year fiscal report that revenues fell to 190.1 billion from 210.4 billion, and current expenses rose to 308.4 billion rupees from 229.2 billion rupees. more..

From terror to training

July 8 (BL) Over 800 former LTTE combatants and 12000 IDPs in Jaffna are to be provided with a new lease of life with training in technical skills provided by the Technical Training Colleges situated in various parts of the country. The programme conducted by the Ministry of Justice is aimed at rehabilitating and re-integrating former LTTE combatants by providing them with the skills and technical knowledge required to start a new life. more..

Water's edge; More pititions in SC

July 8 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday listed for support on July 20, the matters relating to the orders made after the landmark judgment on the “Waters Edge” development project which envisaged the construction of a high profile Golf-Course and a five-star Club House. Counsel D.S. Wijesinghe appearing for the UDA told the Bench that the impugned orders made after the pronouncement of the Judgment were without jurisdiction and beyond ones legal authority. more..

'Fraud, corruption cost SL Rs 1,000 bn in 20 yrs'

July 8 (Island) Fraud and corruption that big corporate companies have resorted to in acquiring State properties and evading taxes and controls have cost the public purse a whopping sum of over 1,000 billion rupees during twenty years from 1985 to 2005, General Secretary of the Democratic Left Front, Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara has pointed out more..

Local surfers in Sri Lanka

July 9 (BBC) Newquay's Alan Stokes was narrowly beaten into second place at the UKPSA Sri Lankan Surf Championships at Arugam Bay in June 2009. The title was taken by South African Richie Sills in waves of up to six foot. The quarter finals saw Newquay surfers Alan Stokes, Tom Butler and Mitch Corbett all battling it out for a place. In the first semi final Richie Sills and Sam Lamroy surfed consistently to edge out Lee Bartlet and Micah Lester. more..

Presidential clarification: Sunday Times 'Opinion Column'

July 9 (GDI) Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a clarification from the Presidential Secretariat today said the change of portfolio of Minister Milinda Moragoda was done in the course of shifting of portfolios which was a prerogative of the President. He stated that the President's attention has been drawn to the reference in the 'Opinion Column' of Sunday Times of July 5,2009 to the shifting of Moragoda's portfolio which, more..

President respects peoples mandate- Media Minister

July 9 (GDI) Media Minister, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene today observed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was a leader who would not act contrary to the mandate of the people, and ,therefore none could accuse the President of having violated the mandate given by the people. Minister Abeywardene said the President's stand on peoples mandate was clearly manifested in the President's interview to the Hindu newspaper. more..

Sangakkara keen to iron out glitches

July 9 (CI) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara is buoyant after his team's come-from-behind win against Pakistan at Galle, but has said there is a lot of work to be done, especially in the batting department. "We fell very short of our expectations of what we can do. It's a great victory for us as a side but there are a lot of things we have to work on. We have to be very mindful of the fact that we can't get overconfident with one win. more..