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Sri Lanka to increase defence spending to US$ 1.74 billion this year

July 18 (AN) Sri Lanka’s defence budget is to reach 200 billion rupees (US$ 1.74 billion) this year. This is about 17 per cent of overall government spending for the year. Last year defence spending stood at 166 billion rupees (US$ 1.4 billion). Earlier this year the Defence Ministry had requested a raise to 177 billion rupees (IS$ 1.54 billion) to pay for the war against Tamil rebels. more..

Tireless campaigner for rural health services

July 18 (NZH) Upali Manukulasuriya, QSM, GP, Sri Lankan spokesman. Died aged 69. Dr Upali Manukulasuriya, better known to his Taumarunui patients as Dr Manu, was a determined campaigner for better rural health services. A chronic shortage of doctors in small New Zealand towns in the late 1990s led Dr Manu to take on local area health boards and the government to try to get help for overworked country GPs. more..

Bodyguards of east PC minister surrender over assault

July 18 (CT) Two bodyguards of a minister of eastern provincial council have surrendered to police over an incident of assault. The suspects, two police constables, had reportedly beaten up and caused injuries to a driver of a CTB bus that had been plying from Batticaloa to Kalmunai. According to a complaint lodge with Kattankudy Police, the incident had taken place yesterday (July 16). more..

Sri Lanka tea prices rise sharply

July 18 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea prices rose sharply at this week's Colombo auction as volumes began declining, brokers said. The sharpest price gains were in the high grown teas made by plantations companies, some of which rose 20 - 30 rupees a kilo and others up to 80 rupees. Teas from the Uva region also rose in price, showing signs the quality season was beginning, brokers said. more..

The Non-Aligned Movement

Sri Lanka financial intelligence unit in deal with Nepal, Philippines

July 18 (LBO) The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Sri Lanka's Central Bank has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with FIUs of the Philippines and Nepal, a bank statement said. Under the MOU the countries will share financial information to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of people suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing, it said. The MOUs were signed in Brisbane, Australia more..

Death rates among IDPs in Sri Lanka

July 18 (RW) The attention of the Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition has been drawn to reports circulating in the International media regarding the death rate among the internally displaced persons currently residing in welfare villages in the Vanni. The Ministry is reliably informed that certain persons and agencies have reported deaths as high as 1400 per week in the IDP villages, a figure which is totally inaccurate and arbitrary and more..

Hikkaduwa beach fest is back

July 18 (AT) The much awaited ‘Hikkaduwa Beach Fest 09’, I to take place from the 30th of July to the 2nd August. Held in the southern coastal strip of the country, last year’s Hikkaduwa Beach Festival attracted more than 10,000 people. Organized by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Hikkaduwa Beach Fest is Sri Lanka’s biggest beach event, with top international artistes and DJs flown into Sri Lanka especially for the four day mega event. more..

Cabinet has approved a proposal of Reforms to Muslim matrimonial law and upgrading

July 18 (AT) The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Minister of Justice and Law Milinda Moragoda to bring in certain reforms to the Muslim personal law and to uplift the system of Quazi courts and enhances the knowledge of Quazis. Quasis are appointed under section 12 (I) for the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Registration Ordinance No. 13 of 1951 – They are appointed by the Judicial Services Commission as more..

“To Care for them who have borne the Battle and for their Widows and Orphans”

July 18 (AT) The contract between the soldier and the state is unique. It is ‘You must do your duty even at the cost of your life. If you should die in doing so the state will look after your wife and children’. Despite this in 1983, when 13 soldiers were killed in Jaffna, the defence ministry and the army did not know how, when and where to bury them. What followed is history. The conflict has left about 25,000 troops dead, more..

Gay rights activists get hope from across the Palk Strait

July 18 (LG) The recent landmark court ruling in India where Delhi's High Court said the law outlawing homosexual acts was discriminatory and a "violation of fundamental rights", has brought new strength and cheer to Sri Lanka’s small gay and lesbian community. “It was a fantastic judgment. I shouted, ran, screamed in the office (when it happened on July 2) – this was what we have been fighting for,” more..


Western media dirty tricks ( Part II )

July 18 (LG) On the 29th of May 2009 London TimesOnline carried a news story under the screaming headline, ”The hidden massacre: Sri Lanka’s final offensive against Tamil Tigers.” “More than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final throes of the Sri Lankan civil war, most as a result of government shelling, an investigation by The Times has revealed. The number of casualties is three times the official figure. more..

Tamils look for leadership after Tigers

July 18 (BBC) The military defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May has thrown the leadership of Tamil politics wide open. The LTTE never took part in elections but at its peak it had a standing army, a navy, a rudimentary air force and was able to control 15,000 sq km of land. The LTTE proclaimed itself to be the sole representative of the Tamils and killed many leaders and intellectuals who differed from this view. more..

In Pictures: Making traditional sweet to welcome “Aadi”

July 18 (HA) Today July 17th, is Aadi Pirappu. Kozhukkattai-Traditional sweet is made to welcome the month of Aadi (Tamil Month of July according to Tamil Almanac). According to the Tamil calendar, Aadi is the fourth month of the year. The first day of this month, usually falling on July 16-17, is celebrated as Aadi Pandigai or Aadi Pirappu, which is an important festival to most Tamils, especially newly-weds. more..

Policy on Tamils haunts India

July 18 (TN) Setting the parameters based on 13 plus and ruling out federal, the Colombo – Chennai – New Delhi axis is learnt to be pressurising Tamil political circles to come out with a political formula, as early as possible, to hastily close the file on Tamil nationalism and to hide all skeletons under the cupboard. The haste in the Indian Establishment is said to be arising from the fear of China’s growing influence in the island resulted from India’s folly of not maintaining balance in the ethnic war. more..

'People in Jaffna live in fear'

July 18 (TN) “The people in Jaffna live in fear of the government armed forces and the paramilitary groups operating with them. They are scared to air their views or to openly participate in election related activities,” Suresh Premachandran, TNA MP, told TamilNet in a special interview Friday in Jaffna. “Though government ministers invading Jaffna continue to offer promises to the people of Jaffna they cannot be deceived as more..

Pakiasothy’s centre in an attempt to revamp the moribund NGO agenda

July 18 (LG) After being very badly exposed and miserably failing in their unholy venture of destabilizing Sri Lanka and promoting the LTTE ‘s agenda , Pakiyasothi Saravanamuttu is planning to have a discussion on “ Rights of the Minorities and their Protection “ in partnership with Minority Rights Group International. The Centre of Pakiyasothi which never referred to the LTTE as a terrorist organization was more..

Crack down on illegal water users mooted

July 18 (GDI) The Ministry of Water Supply Drainage has taken steps to set up five special units to carry out raids on those obtaining water illegally and the Ministry would be able to provide a better service to the public if the programme was successful, the subject Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. According to the Minister, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board is facing a grave crisis due to many obtaining water illegally. more..

Hot water springs 're-surface' in SL

July 18 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s natural resources are once again coming to the fore after the dark era of terrorism was wiped out from the country with 10 natural hot water springs already being found in Sri Lanka. The recent recovery was made from the Polonnaruwa District. It was found near the Nelum Wewa at the foot of the Dimbulagala Mountain within the Mahaweli ‘B’ Zone, Senior Lecturer of the Peradeniya University H.G. Dharma Gunawardena said. more..

BOI boosts diamond-cutting industry - New company signs agreement

July 18 (GDI) The Board of Investment granted investment approval for Nakshatra Overseas Limited for a project that will expand the Sri Lankan diamond cutting-industry. Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman signed the agreements on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to the investors. An investment agreement worth US $ 1.6 million to set up a trading house was signed with Nakshatra Limited. more..

CSE Trading Floor to re-open

July 18 (GDI) The Capital market in Sri Lanka has shown great and tremendous progress gathering investor interest and enthusiasm. Adding vigor to such a progress,the trading floor of the Colombo Stock Exchange will re-open on July 20 after closure of one year. At the invitation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has taken steps to re-open the trading floor ceremonially. more..

CEB employees ignore heavy rains to rally for their rights

July 18 (LT) The employees of Ceylon Electricity Board who had applied for sick leave today as a trade union action demanding a salary increase and several other demands engaged in a protest campaign in Colombo today (17th). Nonpayment of the salary increments due every three years, slashing of overtime and medical allowance and sending on compulsory retirement at 57 are several grievances the employees protested against. more..

Fonseka’s statement puts Foreign Minister in difficulty

July 18 (LNW) A senior Foreign Ministry official told Lanka News Web that irresponsible comments made by former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka in the past few days put Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in a difficult spot during his visit to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Egypt. Fonseka recently stated that the military had to overlook the traditional rules of war and even kill LTTE rebels who came to surrender carrying white flags during the war against the LTTE. more..

Keeping the tradition alive

July 18 (DN) Chitrasena, the doyen of Sri Lankan traditional dance and its evolution, died four years ago on July 18, 2005. His accomplishments have been well documented and its results are manifested in his productions - not only in the theatrical masterpieces he was responsible for, but also in the production of Vajira, Sri Lanka’s first prima ballerina, their daughter Upeka, who succeeded her mother in this role, more..

'13th amendment needs to be strengthened'

July 18 (LNW) Member, Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and former parliamentarian, Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thero has said that while the LSSP and the Communist Party supported the 13th amendment to the Constitution introduced by President J.R. Jayewardene, the SLFP boycotted the first provincial council election and the JVP unleashed a period of terror against the amendment. Ven. Samitha Thero made this comment during a discussion with several media personnel recently. more..

Woman who complained against Anti Narcotics Bureau receives death threats

July 18 (LNW) A woman from Madapatha, Piliyandala has complained to the Police Headquarters that her son was tortured by a group of police officers headed by Sub Inspector Rangajeeva from the Anti Narcotics Bureau. The woman has complained that the group after entering her house had tied her son’s hands and applied chili powder in his eyes before asking him to crawl on the floor till he passed urine. more..

How Sri Lanka Missed the Moon

July 18 (GV) When Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the Moon 40 years ago this month, they were more than just Americans taking that historic first step on to another celestial body. They did plant the American flag there, acknowledging the nation whose tax payers had financed the massive operation. To allay any fears that one nation was claiming the Moon — which was explicitly ruled out by the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 — they also left a plaque which read: more..

Lopsided ‘conflict resolution’ moves

July 18 (AT) Over the past decade a plethora of both local and foreign conflict resolution pundits,’ governments, academics, international bodies, INGOs and NGOs have been relentlessly advising Sri Lankans how to run their country. These sermons have been directed not only at successive governments but also all those who firmly oppose any covert moves to destabilize the State in the name of power sharing and devolution. more..

Claymore explosion delays opening of A9

July 18 (LNW) Serious incidents that have taken place during the past few weeks has delayed the opening of the A9 route, months after the military has secured areas in the north after defeating the LTTE rebels, reliable sources said. The most serious incident had taken place on the 9th of this months when a claymore targeting a military vehicle had exploded on the A9 route in the Oddusudan area. The explosion had killed an Army captain and two soldiers. more..

Finance companies have no legal rights to seize vehicles

July 18 (DN) Nugegoda Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa directed the Mirihana Special Crime Division to conduct investigations into a complaint made by N.M.C. Amarasekera of Maharagama and produce the suspects, who were involved in an attack on Amarasekera, removing his gold jewellery and his Benz car valued at over Rs. 2 million before court. Earlier, the Maharagama Police filing a 'B' report before the Nugegoda Magistrate stated that more..

Perspectives of the Tamil Diaspora

WB Director highlights challenges of higher education

July 18 (DN) Sri Lanka is on two great waves of opportunity. Firstly, transforming the nation from a low income country to a middle -income country and secondly from a country in conflict to a country of peace. In this context the higher education sector can lead Sri Lanka successfully over these two waves of golden opportunity, said World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka Naoko Ishii at the launch of the World Bank’s Sri Lanka Higher Education Sector Report more..

A highway of death?

July 18 (Island) While northern roads are being demined, there comes the news of many death traps along an highway under construction in the southern parts of the country. Yesterday, we reported quoting a senior official of the southern highway project that of 73 newly constructed bridges on the road 30 would have to be demolished and new ones built in their stead owing to poor construction. Although it is said the contractor concerned will bear the total cost of demolition and reconstruction, more..

Cuban experts to discuss viability of using Bti bacteria against mosquito larvae

July 18 (Island) Deputy Director General (Public Health), Dr. P Mahipala said yesterday (17), that two experts from Cuba would arrive in the country today (18), to discuss the viability of using Bti bacteria to destroy mosquito larvae. We would be able to assess the feasibility of using the bacteria only after discussions with Cuban experts," he said. However, the Ministry will continue with its mosquito breeding control programme countrywide. more..

No State terror against polls campaigners - Lewke

July 18 (Island) There is no State terrorism unleashed against those who are engaged in electioneering activities in Jaffna and Vavuniya and except for the armed forces and the Police no other armed groups are operating in the area, Senior DIG, Northern Province Nimal Lewke told representatives of all political parties contesting the Jaffna MC and Vavuniya UC elections. The meeting was convened at Lewke's office to solve problems faced by candidates contesting the two elections. more..

Battaramulla to get 13 storey office complex

July 18 (DN) The second phase of establishing the administrative capital in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte was started with the cutting of the first sod of earth for the foundation of a 13 storeyed office complex to be built at Sethsiripaya grounds in Battaramulla on Wednesday. Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayaka cut the first sod of earth to excavate the foundation of the building. more..

Sri Lanka unveils corporate tourism packages

July 18 (Hindu) Taking advantage of the return of peace, the Sri Lankan Government on Friday launched the “Meet Sri Lanka campaign” here, unveiling its corporate tourism packages with attractive pricing to business visitors from India. Launching the campaign, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau chairman Prema Cooray, said that the campaign was aimed to create awareness and interest on profile, proximity, and products of Sri Lanka more..

Row over Vaas as Sri Lanka aim to rout Pakistan

July 18 (AFP) Rampant Sri Lanka go into the final Test against Pakistan here from Monday aiming for a 3-0 sweep despite the uncertain future of veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas. Vaas, 35, was named in a 16-man squad for the third Test at the Sinhalese sports club after being overlooked for the first two matches which Sri Lanka won to take a winning 2-0 lead in the series. more..

National health insurance for all Lankans

July 18 (DM) A question posed to candidates during the second presidential debate in the run up to last year’s election in the United States was, “Is healthcare in America a privilege, a right or a responsibility?” Senator Obama (as he then was) replied as follows: “Well I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they cannot afford to pay for their medical bills – more..

Moves to break Dambulla monopoly

July 18 (DM) The Consumer affairs Ministry has taken steps to break the monopoly at the Dambulla Economic Centre by establishing four new economic centres to market the produce of farmers in the north - east, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. Addressing a news conference at his ministry yesterday Minister Gunawardana said the new economic zones would be established in Omanthai, Jaffna and Mannar in the North and in Batticaloa in the East. more..

Rs. 36 mn to repair VIP bungalow: JVP

July 18 (DM) JVP Uva Provincial Council Chief Ministerial candidate yesterday charged that a VIP bungalow in Mahiyanganaya had been repaired by the government at a cost of Rs. 36 million in view of the forthcoming election. JVP Provincial council candidate Sudath Balagalla told the Daily Mirror the staggering amount was spent at a rate of Rs. 1.8 million a day when the people of Uva were undergoing financial difficulties due to the drought and lack of cultivation. more..

Avoiding ‘disparate treatment’ of Tamils & ‘disparate impact’ on Sinhalese

July 18 (AT) Following the internal annihilation of the separatist-terrorist LTTE on May 18 with the demise of its entire top leadership there is serious pressure from the Western Block of nations, and to some extent from India, on Sri Lanka to formulate and execute a political solution on the basis of race forcing the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) toward a race-based decision process to address national issues. more..

Central bank withdraws some printed money

July 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has Friday withdrawn seven billion rupees, a part of the money printed to finance a government cash deficit earlier in the week, reducing the risk of triggering another balance of payments crisis. The monetary authority sold down 4.0 billion of bills 14 days ahead of maturity and 3.0 billion rupees of bills 21 days ahead of maturity, through 'open market operations'. more..

Major change in UNP policy

July 18 (DM) In what appeared to be a significant policy shift, the main opposition UNP yesterday said in a report to its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) that the party stood for the unitary character of Sri Lanka when it came to the national question. The report prepared by party’s national organizer S.B. Dissanayake states the party would stand for the total independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. more..

'Golden Key needs Rs13bn in outside cash to repay depositor'

July 18 (LBO) Court appointed accountants probing a failed financial firm in Sri Lanka's Ceylinco group have recommended that its chairman directors "bring in" an additional 13 billion rupees to start repaying depositors. The Golden Key Credit Card Company collapsed with debts of 26 billion of which 12.7 billion is capital and 13.2 billion is interest according to initial findings of a Supreme Court appointed committee of more..

French aid agency wants probe of Sri Lanka deaths

July 18 (AP) A French aid agency is demanding an international investigation into the massacre of 17 of its workers in Sri Lanka three years ago, after a government inquiry reportedly failed to identify the killers. The Action Against Hunger local workers were found killed execution-style in a region rocked by heavy fighting between government soldiers and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Affluent mastermind behind biggest ever heist arrested

July 18 (Island) The mastermind behind the Tuesday night’s multimillion-rupee robbery at Kotadeniyawa is a 48-year-old millionaire and ex-Air Force employee. He was arrested early yesterday (Friday) by a special Police team from Galle at his residence at Balapitiya. He is believed to have got inside help. He owns a jewellery shop and a textile shop. At the time of arrest he had over eight million rupees tucked away in his refrigerator. more..

President postpones “political solution” with Tamil elite

July 19 (wsws) In a lengthy interview with the all-India English newspaper, the Hindu, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse declared that his so-called political solution—a promised deal with sections of the Tamil elite after his government’s war against the separatist LTTE—would not be announced, let alone implemented, until after he was elected for a second presidential term. more..

What happened, two freezer trucks that received Minister Karuna?

july 19 (LG) Non cabinet portfolio National Integration Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, nom de guerre Col.Karuna (whilst he was the Tamil Tiger military commander) is said to be implicated in a questionable conduct in the East province recently. According to our correspondent in Trincomalee, ‘the NGO Sewalanka Foundation had handed over two freezer trucks to Col. Karuna to help the people involved in fishing industry in the East’. more..