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We are all Sri Lankans

July 20 (DN) The country is undergoing a healing process after being gripped by a three-decade long war. Promoting harmony and mutual understanding between the communities may lay a firm foundation to build the country, the members remarked. “We want to be welcomed as Sri Lankans. I hope we can do that as fast as possible. There is no question that I want to be a Tamil, but I want to be a Tamil Sri Lankan, not a Sri Lankan Tamil. We are all Sri Lankans. more..

‘High state expenditure on IDPs prevents immediate CoL relief’

July 20 (Island) ‘When holding wedding receptions, a private citizen is saddled with feeding only 300 guests. However, today it is the responsibility of the government to provide three square meals daily to 300,000 IDPs in the North and the daily meals bill for these persons is a high Rs. 250 million. Feeding these IDPs over the next six months is likely to cost the government Rs. 45,000 million and more..

Met Dept quashes tsunami rumour

July 20 (DN) The Meteorology Department categorically denied the rumour that a tsunami will hit Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia on July 22. Many people in the coastal areas had panicked by the rumour which has no scientific basis. There has been a rumour with a solar eclipse would trigger a tsunami affecting several countries including Sri Lanka on July 22, which has no scientific basis whatsoever, more..

New vice chancellor for Peradeniya University

July 20 (CT) Prof. S.B.S. Abeykoon has been appointed vice chancellor of the University of Peradeniya. Following his appointment by president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the new VC will assume duties on August 01. He was previously dean of the faculty of engineering of the university. Prof. Abeykoon succeeds Prof. Harishchandra Abeygunawardena, who completes his four-year term at the end of this month. more..

Gota offers to help banks transfer cash safely

July 20 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that banks could ask for police protection when they moved large amounts of cash. Commenting on a recent robbery of billion rupees while it was being transferred from Kurunegala to Colombo, he said that the banks shouldn’t take unnecessary risks. He said that the police would help banks as private security firms couldn’t be entrusted with the responsibility of transferring cash. more..

New life for child soldiers

July 20 (DN) All under-aged children who carried arms in the North will not be prosecuted by the Government, instead they will be integrated into society after proper rehabilitation, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Mahiyangana on Saturday. Speaking at a ceremony organised by the people in the Uva Province to fete President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Former Army and Navy Commanders, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilake and more..

SLT to expand communication network to North and East

July 20 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT),has extended its fullest support to the Government by continuously upgrading and expanding its communication network to cater to the needs of the people with special emphasis on the Northern and Eastern areas of the country. “As a top corporate entity in the country, SLT is looking positively at the post conflict scenario in Sri Lanka, to make a healthy contribution towards development with the national interest in mind”. more..

Tea soars BOPF record sensational gains at Rs. 70 - 80 per kilo

July 20 (Island) Tea, good times continue to roll. Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings better known by its common metaphor BOPF, scored another sensational week.. Gains recorded upwards Rs. 70. to 80. per kilo was not to be dismissed as matter - of - fact or, run-of-the-mill results. By any token these were good results. At least it was so from Colombo's perspective. Prices for this grade in actual terms were in the upper price league of Rs. 495. per kilo. more..

A patriot guillotined!

July 20 (LNP) There are two kinds of domesticated elephants those used to pull heavy loads or kota adina ali and those maintained at a huge cost to be paraded in processions or perahere yana ali. And kota adina ali never get either caparisoned or fairly treated. This is also true of bipeds toiling away in various spheres of activity. Our comment today is about a load-pulling diplomatic jumbo in Geneva. Dayan Jayatilleka is his name. more..

TMVP refutes UNICEF allegations of having child soldiers

July 20 (DM) The UN Children’s agency UNICEF has informed the TMVP that there are more than 100 child soldiers still believed to be with the party, a claim the TMVP firmly denies. UNICEF officials told Daily Mirror that according to the latest statistics, as of May 31 there are 107 child soldiers still with the TMVP, of which 30 are under the age of 18, while 77 were underage at the time they were recruited, but are now adults. more..

NGOs asked to give details of operations

July 20 (DM) The government has decided to seek the details of the work done by the NGOs engaged in humanitarian relief and their period of operation in the country to ascertain whether they have lived up to their pledges. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told Daily Mirror yesterday that the government had taken the stand that there was no use in allowing NGOs who have failed to deliver on their pledges to stay in the country. more..

Fate of Dayan – An Athenian saga or local drama?

July 20 (DM) ‘Hubris’ is a concept one often bumps into when studying Greek and Roman Literature. The word is used to describe ‘excessive pride in oneself’. According to Greek mythology hubris is a quality that is sure to lead one, to one’s downfall and Greek and Roman literature is full of kings, generals and other personalities who meet with tragic ends due to their excessive pride. more..

Unemployed not more than 40,000

July 20 (ANN) A highly placed official of the Labour Ministry said unemployment caused by the global financial crisis was not as bad as expected with less than 40,000 job losses. However, according to the Census and Statistics Department the Apparel industry lost 60,000 jobs during the first quarter of 2009 while the construction industry lost 36,000. The Island Financial Review contacted the official of the Labour Ministry to find out the outcome of a fresh survey carried out by more..

Minister’s daughter’s B’day bash in USA cost Rs.4.5 million

July 20 (LT) Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohithe Bogollagama is in a dilemma as the American Embassy has refused to pay the bill of Rs.4.5 million the minister has spent for the birthday celebration of his daughter held during Minister and his family’s tour to the USA. The birthday of the minister’s daughter had been celebrated when the minister and his family toured the USA recently. more..

Sri Lanka signs IMF loan deal; awaits board nod

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka has signed a formal document setting out an agreed program with International Monetary Fund staff that is now awaiting approval from its top decision making body, a top official said. A 'letter of intent' signed by both the central bank governor and the country's finance minister sets out in detail the plans the country proposes to take to stabilize its economy including budget deficits and a monetary program setting out targets. more..

Sri Lanka connectivity links seen bridging ethnic divide

July 20 (LBO) Better transport infrastructure and services linking northern Sri Lanka with the south would help to bridge the ethnic divide after the end of the war, transport experts said. Had such links existed before the conflict began 30 years ago, they might have helped prevent the war by Tamil Tigers for a separate state in the island's north and east, they said. Investment to rapidly rebuild transport infrastructure linking the north and east with more..

LTTE mastermind behind A’pura Air Force Base attack arrested

July 20 (LP) Thabo Ruban (26), the mastermind behind the LTTE attack on the Anuradhapura Air Base attack carried out on 22nd October 2007 where a number of aircrafts were destroyed has been arrested from an IDP camp in Vavuniya. Police sources disclosed that Ruban -a resident in Kilinochchi is believed to have reached the IDP camps in Vavunia together with other fleeing Tamil civilians on or after 18th May 2009. more..

Manzoor and Yousuf lead Pakistan recovery

July 20 (CI) It may have been the last bow for Chaminda Vaas, a veteran of 111 Tests with 354 wickets to his name, but apart from a Thilan Thushara over in mid-morning where two wickets fell, there was little for Sri Lanka to celebrate after they sent Pakistan in to bat under overcast Colombo skies. At 36 for 2, some might have feared another embarrassment, but instead, a fluent innings from Mohammad Yousuf and a slightly less convincing effort from Khurram Manzoor wrested the initiative more..

JVP proposals for ‘All Party Committee for Development and Reconciliation’

July 20 (LT) In a letter to Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga informing that the member of the Political Bureau of the JVP and its Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake has been appointed to represent the party at the ‘All Party Committee for Development and Reconciliation’ convened by the President, the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva has raised several queries and made a few proposals to make the participation at the committee meaningful. more..

Cuban specialists on Dengue missing on way to Sri Lanka

July 20 (Xinhua) Two Cuban epidemiologists who were invited to help Sri Lanka to handle the fast spreading Dengue epidemic in the island did not arrive in Colombo as expected, a local English newspaper said on Monday. The Daily Mirror reported that Cuba's chief epidemiologist Aramis Martinez and assistant epidemiologist S. Yalina were expected to arrive here on 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. more..

LTTE's intl network remains intact: Sri Lanka

July 20 (PTI) Observing that the LTTE's international network in Europe remains "intact" even two months after its military defeat, Sri Lanka has asked the European Union to act against people connected with the outfit. Sri Lankan Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha said though the military capacity of the LTTE has been "destroyed" the outfit's "international network, particularly in Europe, remains well intact." more..

'Sri Lanka not to prosecute child LTTE soldiers'

July 20 (PTI) In a humanitarian gesture to Tamils, Sri Lanka has said that child soldiers recruited by the LTTE would not be prosecuted, and instead made to go to schools. The gesture was announced by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa who said: "our hearts are not vicious. We will not prosecute children who are 12, 13 and 14 years of age and were forced to take up arms." "We need to integrate them into society after rehabilitation," he said. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa: The Hard-Liner

July 20 (time) When asked about the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa says all the right things: that Sri Lanka is one nation, which respects all peoples and faiths. Yet the strident Sinhalese nationalism, in Rajapaksa's party and in his more extreme allies, helped mobilize support for the war and influenced the way it was conducted. The U.N. issued several warnings — which Colombo ignored — more..

Govt in desperate bid to win local elections

July 21 (wsws) Sri Lankan government ministers have travelled to Jaffna town in recent weeks in an effort to boost the chances of the ruling UPFA in next month’s local council elections. The Jaffna municipal and Vavuniya urban council elections are scheduled for August 8. President Mahinda Rajapakse called the elections in a bid to provide a democratic façade for the ongoing military occupation of the island’s northern region following the army’s defeat of the separatist LTTE. more..

Hospital refuses to admit IDP child

July 21 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has expressed surprise over doctors' refusal to admit an injured displaced child without a court order. A three-member bench chaired by Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike ordered the Vanni commander to immediately admit the 13-year old girl, injured in a shell attack, to Anuradhapura hospital. The counsel appeared for the state informed the courts that doctors at Anuradhapura hospital had refused to admit the girl for treatment without a court order. more..

ICRC cuts back Sri Lanka operations after govt order

July 21 (AFP) The Red Cross on Monday announced the closure of four offices in Sri Lanka following a government order to foreign aid agencies to scale down operations. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said its four offices in the embattled eastern province were closed at the weekend. "The ICRC reaffirms its commitment to meet the humanitarian needs of those directly or indirectly affected by the recent conflict," more..

Gotabhaya makes changes in military positions

July 21 (LNW) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaske has decided to make changes and reorganize certain sections of the army following the retirement of General Sarath Fonseka. As a first step, the Defence Secretary has appointed new officers to 31 positions in the army. A senior official of the Defence Ministry Media Unit told Lanka News Web that although the Defence Secretary intended to reorganize the army after the end of the war, he could not do so due to objections raised by Fonseka. more..

Hakeem, Mangala and Mano object to UNP’s –bhoomiputhra” proposal

July 21 (LNW) SLMC sources say that SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem, SLFP (M) Wing Leader Mangala Samaraweera and DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan have objected to certain areas in the UNP’s “unitary state – bhoomiputhra” proposal to form a broad opposition consensus. The five page set of proposals prepared by the UNP’s Political Affairs Committee on forming a broad opposition political consensus that received Working Committee approval was presented to the SLMC Leader by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe last week. more..

Senior army officers to retire in protest over new appointments

July 21 (LNW) A senior official at the Defence Ministry told Lanka News Web that a group of senior army officers have decided to retire in protest due to the ignorance of seniority when appointing the new Army Chief and the allegedly unreasonable changes made in the top posts in the force recently. While the Chief of Defence Staff post has always been filled by forces personnel who have retired, General Sarath Fonseka has now become the first Chief of Defence Staff to be appointed while in active service. more..

UN praises resettlement efforts

July 21 (BBC) The United Nations has praised the joint efforts by the UNDP and Sri Lanka government to help and resettle Internally Displaced People (IDPs). After a fact finding mission to Manik Farm and Jaffna IDP welfare centres, the UN Assistant Secretary General Jordan Ryan has congratulated the government's efforts, a statement issued by the UNDP said. more..

UNP begins discussions to form consensus based on “bhoomiputhra” proposal

July 21 (LNW) The UNP has decided to hold discussions with other opposition political parties to form a common consensus in the opposition based on the bhoomiputhra economic policies to develop the country. The policy statement titled “Give meaning to our land – a republic instead of a kingdom” was prepared by the UNP’s Political Affairs Committee headed by party Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and received the approval of the Working Committee chaired by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Ball changes upset Alam

July 21 (CI) Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has expressed unhappiness over two ball changes by Sri Lanka during the first day of the third Test. The second replacement helped the hosts as the Pakistan batting collapsed at the SSC. Having been put in, Pakistan were cruising at 285 for 4 on a slowish track when Sri Lanka, who had till then made no impact with the second new ball, called for a replacement ball as it had gone out of shape after 3.4 overs. more..

Thushara happy to play a full series

July 21 (CI) Sri Lanka's promising left-arm fast bowler Thilan Thushara hopes to step into Chaminda Vaas' shoes one day following a successful first day against Pakistan in Colombo. Thushara, who took 3 for 77, has nine wickets in the three-Test series at 27.33 so far and was happy to be playing a full series for the first time in his career. "This is only my sixth Test and although I played in the West Indies and in Pakistan I did not play regularly," more..

Douglas Devananda likely to join SLFP

July 21 (CT) EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, who is a minister in the UPFA government, is likely to join the SLFP. The minister told the media that he would obtain membership of the SLFP, if the government grants a solution that goes beyond the 13th amendment to the constitution. Expressing optimism that such a progressive solution would be forthcoming, he said president Mahinda Rajapaksa has already invited him to become a member of the SLFP. more..

Top Army officer acquitted from treasure hunting charge

July 21 (CT) Top Army officer Maj. Gen. Parakrama Pannipitiya has been acquitted from a charge of treasure hunting. The Gampaha additional magistrate freed him and two other accused in the incident today (July 20). That was after considering submissions by the attorney general. The three were arrested in February on the charge of hunting for a treasure in the Weliweriya area.

Suspect in Kelaniya attack on politician surrenders

July 21 (CT) A suspect in the assault of Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha member H.D. Somawardena surrendered to police today (July 20). The victim of the incident is being treated at Kiribathgoda Hospital. The suspect who had given himself up to Peliyagoda Police is a hotel owner of Kelaniya. The incident had taken place around 5.30 pm yesterday. Upon being produced before court, the suspect was given bail.

IMF, Sri Lanka reach $2.5 billion loan accord

July 21 (Reuters) The International Monetary Fund said on Monday it reached a $2.5 billion loan accord with Sri Lanka, which will be presented to the IMF board for approval on July 24. The IMF said a disbursement of $313 million will immediately be available to the country once the loan is approved. The end of Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war posed a unique opportunity to undertake economic reforms and more..

Sino-Indian factor forces US to help Lanka

July 21 (EB) Strong support from India at the IMF board and the need to match China’s growing clout in the island nation have resulted in the US giving up its opposition to the international funding agency’s extending a $2.5 billion standby facility to Sri Lanka. Sunday Island reported that IMF Executive Board would meet on July 24 to sanction the facility following the submission of a letter of intent by Sri Lanka agreeing to abide by certain conditions imposed by the funding agency. more..

Ambassador of Sri Lanka discusses post-conflict issues with US defense officials

July 21 (IL) Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya last week met with Robert M. Scher, the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South & Southeast Asia at the US Department of Defense. Deputy Assistant Secretary Scher congratulated the Government of Sri Lanka for defeating the LTTE and for eliminating terrorism from the country. Ambassador Wickramasuriya thanked the United States for providing support, more..

'People above 60 released from camps'

July 21 (Hindu) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said his government has released all people above 60 from the temporary camps for the war-displaced while 40,000 children are being given education. Nearly 15,000 people above 60 had reported in the camps. The government on Monday said it would appoint a special group headed by Attorney-General Mohan Peiris PC to address human rights issues and report to the Cabinet. more..

Devolution of Police powers

July 21 (LG) My one time colleague in the Police, Gamini Gunawardena is perhaps one of the few people in this country who has given deep thought to the question of devolution of police powers to the Provinces. With his years of police experience, admirable academic record and exposure to research on allied subjects in some of the most recognized institutions on policy studies he can be considered an authority eminently competent to discuss the pros & cons of devolution. more..

Dayan Jayathilleka: A victim of extremism

July 21 (LG) The nation of Sri Lanka was waiting for the new era to open with the outright defeat of the Tamil Tigers. The right thinking people also expected the age old pride and prejudice will wither away and sense and sensibility in our conduct will prevail in our dealings with the emerging era. Unfortunately, the Sinhala extremism is not showing any signs of abating and it is sidelining all hopes for a lasting peace that more..

Our men overseas perform better as non-career diplomats

July 21 (LG) Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake, recently indicted in the High Court for possible exchange control violations, made a hue and cry not long ago, saying Sri Lanka’s non-career diplomats outnumbered the career diplomats. He seems to have conveniently forgotten that in the short span of time the UNP was in power, back in 2002, several such diplomatic appointments were made. more..

'Sri Lanka foreign funding case strengthened by IMF loan'

July 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka will have more options to tap foreign investors after it gets a 2.5 billion US dollar standby loan from the International Monetary Fund, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka has signed a deal which has been hammered out with the IMF and is awaiting final approval of its decision-making board on July 24, managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has said. more..

On the growing of the ‘home grown’

July 21 (LG) In September 1988, a group of student activists officially affiliated with the Student Action Committee off the University of Peradeniya and therefore the Inter University Student Federation (IUSF) and unofficially with the JVP, went around the residence halls asking students to sign a petition. The petition was a simple request for a blank cheque: ‘I hereby agree to support unconditionally any decision taken by more..

Sinhala-Buddhist pseudo-historians

July 21 (LG) As usual in Sri Lanka, when the government decides to go for a political solution to the National problem, the extremist forces among the Sinhala-Buddhists become extraordinarily active. One such extremist who is actively propagating a FALSE history of the Tamils is Dr. Nalin De Silva. In a series of articles named “Solution” in the Sri Lankan Guardian in June, 2009, Dr. Silva says there were neither Tamils nor a Tamil race in Sri Lanka or more..

Nationalism, insecurity and superiority — alchemy of conflict

July 21 (LG) Though it’s certainly not this columnist’s intention to mediate or intervene in any way in the spirited debate between Malinda Seneviratne and Dayan Jayatilleke on the 13th amendment in one daily newspaper, I’m inclined to think that a fresh perspective on all of the issues so far aired is called for, and would like to extend an invitation to both Malinda and Dayan to voice their own views on what I think animates this current phase of Sri Lanka’s ongoing national debate. more..

Embassy Row

July 21 (WT) The ambassador from Sri Lanka sounded a bit frustrated in the latest installment of his "Washington Journal." It seems his country, like the comedian Rodney Dangerfield, "can't get no respect." Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya noted that the government recently announced provincial elections for the northern end of his South Asian island nation, where fierce fighting in May ended in victory over a brutal ethnic-Tamil rebel army that waged a 26-year war for independence from the Sinhalese majority. more..

'IMF approved more than requested'

July 21 (GDI) Minister of State Revenue and Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament today that the IMF has agreed to grant USD 2.5 billion exceeding the requested amount of USD 1.9 billion by the Government. Minister Siyambalapitiya further noted that the first advancement of the intended loan is due to flow on the 24th of this month for an annual interest rate of 2.5%. more..

Is Eelam over?

July 21 (LG) The Tamil Tigers are over, Eelam is over. So claimed the Sri Lankan government on the 18th of may – a claim which was echoed by many sections of the Indian media as well. Gory images, of what the Lankan government claimed to be, the bodies of Velupillai Prabhakaran and his son, Charles Anthony were telecast on news channels. The Lankan government also claimed that the entire top brass of the Tigers, including Pottu Amman and Soosai, were killed in the “final assault” on the Tigers. more..