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SLRCS to help distribute Indian relief in Vavuniya

July 14 (DN) The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society is making arrangements to despatch 650 metric tons of relief items sent by the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) for IDPs in Vavuniya. SLRCS Deputy Director General Suren Peiris said the SLRCS is awaiting documents from India for customer clearance and security checking to take over the relief items received from the IRCS in 27 forty foot containers. more..

Presidential Probe into Massacre of aid workers: Army and Navy exonerated

July 14 (Island) There is strong evidence of LTTE presence in the city centre on the morning of the 4th August. A Rev. Father and a Divisional Secretary have also testified to the presence of the LTTE in the Mutur town on 4th August. Army and the Navy have been totally exonerated by the Report of the Presidential Commission Inquiry into the Killing of the 17 aid workers of the INGO, Action Contre La Faim (ACF). more..

Pow Wow over Ceylon House

July 14 (Island) Joint Convenor of the Haj Festivities and Governor of the Western Province Alavi Mowlana said yesterday that the Government of Sri Lanka had made representations to the King of Saudi Arabia with regard to an alternate residence or early compensation for the acquisition of "Ceylon House" which was used as accommodation by Sri Lankan Haj Pilgrims for decades. more..

COI regrets end

July 14 (DM) The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) set up to investigate serious violations of human rights has said in a report to the President it was saddening to note its failure to investigate the 16 serious crimes that were mentioned in its Terms of Reference. It said that if the CoI had the opportunity to inquire into all these cases, then allegations of human rights violations by the security forces would have been minimized in international forums. more..

Sri Lanka scores high in the Happy Planet Index

July 14 (Island) The Happy Planet Index (HPI) was initially launched in July 2006 by the New Economic Foundation (NEF) as a radical departure from our current obsession with gross domestic product (GDP). It presented a completely new indicator, which measures ecological efficiency, with happy and healthy lives that are supported. The HPI provides a measurement of what truly matters to our wellbeing in terms of a long happy and meaningful life, more..

'Z score reliable'

July 14 (DN) The Z score obtained by candidates who sat for the G.C.E. A\L Examination 2008 may change after the reassessment of answer scripts, said Education Minister Susil Premajayantha in a press statement issued yesterday. This is a fact that was clearly informed to both school and private candidates. Though 240,000 students sat for the G.C.E. A\L Examination 2008, only 46,000 students had applied for university entrance. more..

Analyst's Department delays: 15,000 denied bail

July 14 (DM) Around 15,000 remand prisoners have been prevented from obtaining bail due to delays in the issuing of Investigation Reports by the Government Analyst, the Commissioner General of Prisons, Major Gen. V. R. Silva, told the new Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda, yesterday. Of those who had been taken in to custody for offences such as drug trafficking and the possession of firearms and explosives, most have been in custody for more than six months already, more..

Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera tipped as ambassador

July 14 (DM) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, who is due to retire tomorrow from his present position as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), is to be appointed as an ambassador, an informed government source said. Five countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Vietnam, have been suggested as possible postings. Air Chief Marshal Perera has held many key positions, including that of Commander of the Air Force. more..

Police protection for Chinese nationals at Norochcholai

July 14 (DM) The Defence Ministry has instructed police stations in the Puttalam district to take steps to augment the security of Chinese nationals working on Norochcholai power station and allied work sites. Instructions to this effect were issued at a conference held at the Defence Ministry and attended by senior police officers from the Puttalam and Kurunegala districts. Fifty percent of the work on stage 1 of the project has been completed. more..

New York Times says solutions to Tamil issues not priority of Sri Lanka

July 14 (AT) The widely read New York Times mostly comprehended by the liberal-leaning policymakers of the White House and State Department of the Obama administration does not believe that the Government of Sri Lanka is in a mighty hurry to evolve a political solution toward national reconciliation and redressing the grievances of the ethnic Tamil minority. The Times report carried in its July 13 issue also opines that more..

Power before peace in Sri Lanka

July 14 (AT) The Sri Lankan government has asked international aid agencies to scale back operations as there has been no more fighting after the defeat of the LTTE in May. 'There must be a reduction or scaling down in operations," Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told Reuters. "The challenges now are different," he added. The directive to aid agencies comes at a time when the aid community has been calling for increased access to the camps more..

Sri Lankan businesses warned of growing trade fraud

July 14 (LBO) An international expert has warned Sri Lanka businesses to be more careful of their overseas partners and do background checks as trade fraud and risks grow in the wake of the global financial crisis. Companies engaged in international trade should not rely solely on banks to check the authenticity of documents and seals, P Mukundan, director, International Chamber of Commerce said. more..

Media rights group accuses Sri Lanka of censorship

July 14 (AFP) A media rights organisation on Tuesday accused Sri Lankan authorities of blocking access to websites critical of the government and stifling dissent. The Paris-based Reporters without Borders, RSF, said Sri Lanka most recently blocked a site for reporting alleged incidents inside a camp for civilians displaced by the war with Tamil Tiger rebels. "The blocking is the latest evidence of a decline in freedom of expression in Sri Lanka," more..

Kulasekara, Herath fashion series win

July 14 (CI) A match in which fortunes swung wildly finally ended in an emphatic seven-wicket win for Sri Lanka, as they sealed their first home series win against Pakistan with a convincing performance at the P Sara Oval. Pakistan were left to rue another batting collapse of monumental proportions, one in which they lost nine wickets for 35 to go from a commanding 285 for 1 to 320 all out. That left Sri Lanka with a target of just 171, which they knocked off in a mere 32 overs to ensure a three-day result. more..

Sri Lanka rights probe hampered, commission's head says

July 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's probe into rights abuses including the killing of 17 aid workers in 2006 was hampered by the lack of witness protection and its abrupt winding-up, the commission's head said on Tuesday. On Aug. 4, 2006, 17 mostly Tamil staff members of charity Action Contre la Faim (ACF) were gunned down inside the ACF compound in the northeastern town of Muttur, near where fighting was taking place more..

Relatives 'not allowed' to visit IDPs

July 15 (BBC) Relatives of the IDPs in eastern Sri Lanka say that they are not allowed to visit their loved ones in Pulmoddai camp. An elderly person, himself an IDP from earlier fighting between the LTTE and security forces, said he was twice not allowed to visit his daughter and grandson in the Pulmoddai IDP camp. The daughter, grandson and son-in-law were caught in the cross fire as they travelled to Puthukudiruppu and the son-in-law never returned, he said. more..

Chidambaram to see if any Indian fishermen shot by Sri Lankan Navy

July 15 (ANI) Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday assured the Parliament that he would look into reports of shooting of Indian fishermen off the coast of Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy. Responding to the question in Lok Sabha, Chidambaram informed the Parliament India and Sri Lanka reached an understanding in January 2009 over the issue of fishermen crossing over to each-other's territorial waters. more..

Younis rues his moment of madness

July 15 (CI) Eat your heart out KP. Fret not, Misbah, you have company. For years to come, Younis Khan's reverse-sweep will be discussed, debated, derided, and blamed for the final collapse that cost Pakistan the match and the series. By the time you read this, that shot would have played thousands of times on the loop, reminding everyone of what could have been. Consider the circumstance: Pakistan staged a comeback in true original style. more..

Herath and Kulasekara were marvellous - Sangakkara

July 15 (CI) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara has said his team had expected Pakistan to crack as long as they remained focused on staying in the game, something they hadn't done on the second day. He said his team's seven-wicket win at the P Sara Oval, against the odds, was a great achievement and credited his bowlers - Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara - for out-thinking the opposition. more..

Post reporter wins award for coverage of Sri Lanka

July 15 (NP) The National Post's Stewart Bell has won an award from the South Asian Journalists Association for his investigative series on the civil war in Sri Lanka. Mr. Bell, a senior reporter at the Post, visited the country in September as it headed toward what would become a decisive showdown in the long-running conflict. His six-part series, Inside Sri Lanka, won the SAJA award for a piece or series focused on the troubled island. more..

Give this team time before you judge us - Younis

July 15 (CI) Younis Khan has responded to Pakistan's first Test series defeat in Sri Lanka by pleading for more time to rebuild the team after "very little cricket over the last 18 months". Speaking after a game in which Pakistan's batting collapses tilted the balance towards Sri Lanka, Younis said he didn't want to put blame on any individual - the team was lacking by just 20%, failing to stay focused throughout the games and while facing pressure situations. more..

Government to rebuild worship venues

July 15 (UCAN) The Bishop of Jaffna has welcomed assurances by the government that it will rebuild religious venues destroyed in the civil war. Pandu Bandaranayaka, the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment, told UCA News that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is personally supervising the rebuilding program. "We understand the cry of the people," he said, adding that preparatory work has already begun for the renovation of temples and churches. more..

Sri Lanka hotel earnings growth seen subdued

July 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka expects more tourists this winter season with heightened interest in the destination after the war ended but hotel earnings are not likely to improve immediately, officials and analysts said. "We can't definitely see a concrete increase in numbers right now but certainly there's improved sentiment," Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka president Srilal Miththapala said. more..

Sri Lankan women farmers get US support

July 15 (LBO) A US-funded loan scheme has helped Sri Lankan women farmers overcome capital shortages, droughts, and other calamities that threatened their financial security and survival of farms, a US embassy statement said. The Women’s Development Services Cooperative Society (Women’s Co-op) had 60,935 members and provided over a billion rupees in micro credit loans to women farmers in the island in 2008, it said. more..

Sri Lanka cinnamon trade says malpractices giving bad name

July 15 (LBO) Sri Lankan cinnamon prices are on the rebound after last year's crash, but exporters are calling for curbs on malpractices which they say could give the spice a bad name among buyers. Sarada de Silva, a former chairman of the Spice Council, said some producers and exporters resort to shipping cinnamon of inferior quality during times of strong demand and high prices. more..

Caritas aids wounded soldiers after the war

July 15 (UCAN) More than two decades of civil war may be over but for thousands of wounded soldiers, many of whom have lost limbs, the process of getting their lives back on track has only just begun. Realizing this, the Church's social welfare arm, Caritas, recently donated 1.5 million rupees (US$13,000) worth of medical equipment including wheelchairs, trolleys, elbow crutches, stethoscopes and saline drip stands to the wounded. more..

Central bank offers account for refugee welfare contributions

July 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank said it has opened an account to receive contributions from the public for the welfare and resettlement of people displaced by the ethnic war. It said in a statement all contributions to the account, set up in response to public inquiries about making contributions, are exempted from income tax. more..

Aid organisations struggle to operate in post-war Sri Lanka

July 15 (IPS) The Sri Lankan government wants the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to scale down its operations in the country, but is sparing other international nongovernmental organisations amid questions over the post-war role for humanitarian workers. Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC spokesperson in Colombo, this week confirmed that they were shutting down four offices in the eastern region. more..

War-wounded and displaced patients flood MSF hospitals

July 15 (DWB) Working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams in Vavuniya District in Sri Lanka’s northeast have performed more than 5,000 surgeries over the last five months, most to treat conflict-related injuries. Activities are currently focused on post-operative care, including minor surgery, dressings, and physical therapy, as well as hospitalizations for displaced persons. more..

UK aid helps Sri Lanka recover after decades of fighting

July 15 (DFID) The UK has today committed to help rebuild the lives and livelihoods of the 284,000 Sri Lankans who were forced to flee their homes during the recent fighting. International Development Minister Mike Foster allocated £3 million to help support the first stages of recovery from the conflict and prepare for displaced civilians to return home from the camps. Conditions in the camps are improving, but are still basic. more..

The new found Sinhala monarch will “Crown” himself again early next year

July 15 (TC) A collective of well respected Tamil citizens, have come out with their fourth statement, since the final onslaught of the much disputed war that defeated the LTTE and annihilated its leadership in mid May. The emergence of this Tamil grouping in the political canvas of Sri Lanka at this moment, is no doubt very significant and their assumptions as "Concerned Tamil people" also sound quite important. more..

Lost in Sri Lanka, got it back in Tirunelveli

July 15 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan refugee, who lost everything and even his right leg in a landmine blast in 1990 in his homeland, has got ‘his leg’ back. Forty-three-year old S. Kumar was caught in a landmine blast in Sri Lanka as intense battle was on between the government forces and the militants in which his right leg was mutilated. When the doctors decided to amputate the severely crushed lower limb in their attempt to save Mr. Kumar, he was left totally shattered. more..

“Indian government has betrayed the entire Tamil race” – Thol Thirumavalavan

July 15 (AT) The Sri Lankan Tamil problem has always been an emotive issue in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu across the Palk Straits. The Dravidian parties vie with each other to project themselves as the real champions of the Lankan Tamils. Ever since 1983 when the Eelam war it has also been an issue in every election, both to Parliament and the state legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu. more..

'Merely saying no minorities will not solve problems of Tamils'

July 15 (CT) Merely saying that there no longer are minorities in the country will not suffice, SLFP Mahajana Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera has said, adding that the Tamil people of Sri Lanka want a reasonable devolution of power as a solution to their problems. Speaking to the media today (July 14), Mr. Samaraweera accused the president of making contradictory statement with regard to devolution of power. more..

Peace – Let us build it, urges Kumar Rupesinghe

July 15 (AT) “Throughout my 25 years in this field, I have dedicated myself to the pursuit of peace, to seek means of preventing conflicts, to promote preventive diplomacy. I helped to form the National Anti War Front and organised many demonstrations against the war. Our position was to persuade the parties to reach a negotiated solution, said Kumar Rupasinghe, a controversial political pundit of Sri Lanka. more..

Orders from Health minister to resolve chemotherapy issue

July 15 (CT) Health minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has ordered the director general of health services to deploy 25 nurses at Maharagama Cancer Hospital for the administration of chemotherapy on patients. The minister has also instructed officials to purchase four chemotherapy machines immediately. Two nurses are to be sent for overseas training on chemotherapy treatment, and they will train the other nurses once they return from the training. more..

Choppy ride for trade

July 15 (BL) Confirming the continuity of the impact from the global recession, the plummet in Sri Lanka’s external trade persist. As per latest trade data released by the Central Bank this week exports were down by 19% to US$ 2.6billion and imports dipping by 38% to $ 3.6 billion in the first five months of the year in comparison to the corresponding period of 2008. However due to external trade heading north, the cumulative trade deficit decreased by 62% to $ 982 million during the first five months of 2009 more..

Tamil aspirations and the 13th Amendment: Part 1

July 15 (BL) I recall an interview I had with S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, founder of the Federal Party and later TULF, on February 21, 1977 when he returned home after the conference of Tamil and Muslim MPs Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike held. He looked pleased. “Has the Prime Minister accepted any of your demands?” I asked. “No” he said and added that the meeting had identified the grievances of the Tamil and Muslim people. more..

The ‘fuse’ behind the human bomber

July 15 (BL) LTTE intelligence agents never spill beans, but one agent of their operation in Colombo did so to The Bottom Line. Last week this column revealed how the LTTE created a human bomb, or a suicide cadre – the most potent weapon of mass destruction that a terrorist organisation ever introduced. The human bomb does not act alone. He or she is only the explosives in the bomb. There are other links which make up the chain and next above the link, more..

President warmly welcomed in Egypt

July 15 (GDI) Presdient Mahinda Rajapaksa was warmly received at the Sharn El Sheian airport with state honors by the Minister of Environment of Egypt, Maged Geroge this afternoon. President Rajapaksa was accorded a guard of honour on his arrival at the airport. President Rajapaska is scheduled to address ‘Head of State' Summit today (15th) which will be attended by the state heads of the member countries. more..

Bill Gates says Lanka poised for greater growth

July 15 (BL) Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Monday expressed his optimism that Sri Lanka “is poised for greater economic growth and development” and expressed the global giant’s support since much of future prosperity would be fueled by the use of software and the power of IT. Positive sentiments by Gates, were conveyed to none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse via a special audio visual message at a ceremony to more..

13th Amendment, Dayan & Malinda

July 15 (LG) Dayan Jayatilleka and Malinda Seneviratne are two extremely bright young men I have known for many years. I am very fond of both of them. I have watched them grow up with a sort of avuncular interest. I have argued with both of them in private and occasionally in public. I think they believe – as bright young people should – that in argument they vanquished me, increasingly regarded nowadays by some as something of a sacred old cow. more..

Fibs and crimes of London Times

July 15 (LG) The hostile attitude of the ruling Labour Party in England towards Sri Lanka, ever since Prime Minister George Brown and his sidekick, David Miliband, the Foreign Minister of Britain, were told to mind their business without meddling in our domestic affairs, has now spilled over, not surprisingly, to the London Times. It seems as if Miliband and the Editor of The Times have ganged up to run anti-Sri Lankan campaigns. more..

No solution ignoring pre fifty six

July 15 (LG) Mr. K. S. Sivakumaran appears to believe that I have turned a new leaf. He has apparently come to this conclusion based on my article on June 24, 2009, where I said among others, "I have more than a ‘soft corner’ for the Tamils as well as other communities in Sri Lanka, and I respect them as citizens of the country .... Of course, I have no hesitation in stating that the Sinhala Buddhist culture is the significant culture of the country, not the dominant culture." more..

'Percival was not an apostate'

July 15 (TN) “The late Rev. Dr. Kingsley Muthiah (former President of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka) has told me of cowardly verbal claims that Percival turned apostate to undermine his efforts but this is the first time I have seen it being openly stated”, writes Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole responding to a statement appeared in a TamilNet feature that Percival deviated from evangelism and concentrated on education and accusing the article for adding another dimension to anti-Christian diatribes. more..

Minister promises to fulfill President’s dream, in Jaffna

July 15 (TN) ”President Mahinda Rajapakse’s present dream is to make goods available to Jaffna people at reasonable Colombo prices”, Minister of Electricity and Energy, Aluthananda Gamage, said in an event held at Nalloor Divisional Secretariat Tuesday, sources in Jaffna said. The visiting minister, accompanied by Minister Douglas Devananda, further promised that steps would be taken before 1st August to fulfill President Rajapakse’s dream, the sources added. more..

4 border Sinhala villages brought under Batticaloa district administration

July 15 (TN) Four Sinhala border villages which were administered under Ampaa'rai district for the last eighteen years have now been brought under the administration of Batticaloa district. Sinhala villages, Gemunupura and Managalagama located along Batticaloa-Chengkaladi-Badulla highway have been annexed with Ea’raavoor Pattu-Chengkaladi Divisional Secretariat division (DS) and Keviliyaamadu and Pulugannaawa with Paddippazhai DS division. more..

Two more Economic Zones - North & North Central

July 15 (GDI) Plans are afoot to build two mega Economic Centres in Omanthai and Medawachchiya in the North and Nort Central regions. The Economic Zone launched in Vavuniya for the benefit of the civilians of the North liberated from the terrorists has become a busy centre and it is complemented with wholesale traders and consumers. They could buy all their requirements from this centre, the Ministry of Trade claimed. more..

A programme to improve health facilities in the East

July 15 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to enhance health facilities in the Eastern Province on a deadline 18 months. The first stage is due to begin from the Batticaloa District. The cost of the project is estimated at 250 million rupees. Rural hospitals in 14 MOH Divisions of the Province will be improved. A special discussion was held in Batticaloa to attract the need of physical and human resources to uplift the health sector. more..

'IDPs will soon be resettled in their places of origin'

July 15 (GDI) The Northern people are living in the welfare camps at present will soon be resettled in their places of origin. Thereafter, with the produce of these farmers and fishermen this country would be able to assist the World Food Organisation, to provide aid to the countries that are in need, MP Basil Rajapaksa predicted at the handing over ceremony of food stocks for more..