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'Sri Lanka’s education was never ever degraded'

July 22 (LG) UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella addressing the media at the UNP media unit, dropped a bombshell to the shock and dismay of all when he exposed that the students were forced to pay the cost of printing of their question papers for their term exams by all Schools of the Central province. Through this, a sum of Rs. 32million has been illegally collected by the Provincial Councils of the Govt., he noted. more..

Sri Lanka air force launches commercial flights

July 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's air force has started domestic commercial flights using aircraft freed from regular transport missions to support government troops with the end of the war against Tamil Tigers. Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) officials said charter flights are on offer to tourist destinations and other towns in the island using helicopters and light fixed-wing transport aircraft. No decision had yet been taken on scheduled flights. more..

Arts Faculty of Colombo Campus closed after clash

July 22 (CT) The University of Colombo today (July 21) closed its Arts Faculty for first and third year students following a clash between two student factions. Police were called in to bring the unruly situation under control, said the campus management. Several students have been injured and a few others have been taken in in connection with the clash. From the possession of one of them, police have found a knife. more..

Main road between Vavuniya & Trincomalee reopens

July 22 (CT) The main road that links Vavuniya and Trincomalee towns were reopened today (July 21) after a lapse of many years. With this reopening, the four-hour journey between the two towns can now be made in half that time. The road remained closed due to threats from the LTTE. The road reopening took place in the presence of minister Tissa Karaliyadde and north central province chief minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake. more..

We didn't bat to our potential - Jayawardene

July 22 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka captain and top scorer on day two of the final Test, has given credit to the Pakistan spinners for putting the hosts' batting under pressure and bowling them out for a total less than Pakistan's. "We've spoken about building up partnerships and batting for long periods of time which we aren't doing," Jayawardene said after top scoring with 79. more..

Clinching a Crucial IMF Lifeline

July 22 (IPS) After months of being at the receiving end of international criticism for human rights violations, Sri Lanka finally clinched a crucial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday for a standby credit facility of $2.5 billion, which will help bolster the country’s foreign exchange reserves depleted by the sharp impacts of the global economic downturn and an expensive war. more..

Another amnesty for Muslim groups to surrender arms

July 22 (TN) Police announced another five-day amnesty period with effect from Monday to hand over all illegal weapons by Muslim militant groups in E’raavur police division in Batticaloa district. Using loud speakers, the police announced that any person, who is carrying illegal weapons, should hand over the weapons to the nearest Mosque within this period. The announcement added that soon after the end of the amnesty period, more..

Injured Dilshan doubtful for ODI series

July 22 (CI) Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan is doubtful for the five-match ODI series against Pakistan after fracturing his right index finger and having several stitches above his left eye on the second day at the SSC. Dilshan, who has been keeping wicket in the series in Prasanna Jayawardene's absence, suffered the finger injury when he caught Khurram Manzoor off Chaminda Vaas for 93. more..

War Without End

July 22 (NYT) The guns have fallen silent in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, but the deep wounds of ethnic animosity have not even begun to heal. An estimated 300,000 Tamil civilians remain essentially prisoners in internment camps run by a Sinhalese-dominated government. To begin easing the deep mistrust between the communities, donor countries will have to pressure the government to be as serious about securing a just peace as it was earlier this year about winning the war. more..

Canadian Police search for weapons after Tamil teen slain

July 22 (Star) Police are asking Scarborough residents to check their lawns and sidewalks for weapons investigators believe may have been dumped after a Sri Lankan male was killed in an afternoon swarming yesterday. Around 12:30 p.m., the victim, who has since been identified as 19-year-old Annushath Indrakanthan, was attacked outside a Daisy Mart in a strip plaza on Bonis Ave., near Birchmount Rd. and Sheppard Ave. E. more..

Christian leaders demand human rights activist's release

July 22 (UCAN) Catholic and Protestant Church leaders have joined protests in front of a Colombo courthouse, demanding the release of a Christian human rights activist who has been detained under emergency laws. Shantha Fernando, 63, a Sinhalese, was arrested by the police and handed over to the Terrorist Investigation Division on Mar. 27 at Colombo airport on his way to India for a World Council of Churches conference. more..

The East and West at the UN Human Rights Council: Never the twain shall meet?

July 22 (GV) Through a fortuitous twist of fate at the end of May I had the opportunity to be a witness to an event of considerable global importance; the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka. The outcome of this meeting has sparked substantial controversy, and has been extensively covered in both local and international press, which I have been following with great interest. more..

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy: Missing the Woods for the Trees

July 22 (GV) Sri Lanka’s decisive military victory over the LTTE owed much to a robust foreign policy as it did to a strong military and political leadership with the resolve to defeat the enemy. The results are evident. At the Security Council, it was the steadfast position of permanent member China that the sovereignty of a member-state cannot be imposed upon through a resolution against it. more..

India unveils her long-term plan against Sri-Lanka

July 22 (AT) The Island of Monday the 20th July 2009 has told us something that no other printed media has said and that is the pressure that Dr. Manmohan Singh has applied on our President when he met him on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt. Manmohan Singh has told the Raj Sabha that he has legitimate concerns about the welfare of the Sri Lankan Tamils and that it has a bearing on Sri Lanka’s relations with India. more..

Island of Gems & Beaches

UNP claims govt. sold out; Amunugama says welfare subsidies intact despite IMF conditions

July 22 (BL) The UNP yesterday charged that the government was bowing down to IMF conditions and cutting down on welfare subsidies and other forms of public spending to obtain the loan. Speaking in parliament UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe voiced concerns over what sort of conditions the government would have to bend knee to after the loan was given. The same question was asked during a press conference by more..

New moves to draw Jaffna’s interests in capital markets

July 22 (BL) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday implemented key measures in Jaffna to attract people in the North to capital markets. In a well coordinated programme, the SEC met with over 100 Northern businessmen, entrepreneurs, professional managers to highlight the advantages of them tapping the capital markets for better return for their investments as well as explore listing. more..

Authorities must share blame for financial scandals – Poll

July 22 (BL) A TNS Lanka survey finds that Golden Key and other sagas have eroded confidence in our financial-services sector, LMD reports. “The public is not amused by the scandalous dealings of financial-services entities,” says business magazine LMD, in its July edition. An overwhelming 78% point the finger at regulatory authorities such as the Central Bank, saying that they have not done enough to monitor the questionable dealings of crooked financial-services entities. more..

Military Memoirs re-lived

July 22 (BL) General Cyril Ranatunga joined the Army in 1950 attracted by the smart uniform, and with fortitude, quickly climbed the ranks. His first significant assignment was as Kegalle District Coordinating Officer during the 1971 JVP insurrection. He was then appointed Military Secretary in 1977 and was confirmed in the rank of Brigadier a year later. In 1982 he was selected as Chief of Staff and Commander Security Forces Jaffna. more..

Let’s hold President Rajapaksa tight to his promise of equal rights

July 22 (SLW) Armed movements for liberation or violence of any kind are not the path for solution for any political problem; for that matter anything that needs an amicable resolution even in interpersonal relations. Anger, hatred, domination and prejudice are an anathema and abomination to the pursuit of solutions. There are no exceptions even if we face hostilities that are brutal and ruthless. more..

UN’s humanitarian efforts this year face $5 billion shortfall

July 22 (UN) More than halfway through 2009, United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners face a nearly $5 billion gap in funding to respond to the most severe crises, with the UN’s top relief official warning today that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people have been hardest hit by the global recession. Of the $9.5 billion appealed for to cover activities for 2009, less than half has been received to date, leaving a $4.8 billion gap, more..

AP writer leaves Sri Lanka after visa not renewed

July 22 (AP) The Associated Press bureau chief in Sri Lanka, who broke news of private U.N. reports outlining civilian death tolls, has been denied permission to remain in the country. The AP's Ravi Nessman left Sri Lanka on Monday after the government declined to renew his journalist's visa. The government denied that the decision was related to his reporting on the final throes of Sri Lanka's quarter-century civil war more..

Sri Lanka says north-east road rebuilding to cost US$750mn

July 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka has drawn up plans to rebuild shattered road networks in the north and east costing over 750 million dollars for which it is seeking foreign funding, a senior government official said. The projects include highways linking the northern Jaffna peninsula with the south, two circular roads around the peninsula itself, and other highways across the northern mainland. more..

Garments turn into cigarettes worth Rs.74 million

July 22 (GDI) The Customs Monitoring Bureau has seized a stock of cigarettes smuggled into the country. The contraband smuggled in from Dubai is worth 74 million rupees. The Government would have lost revenue of 110 million rupees in taxes if the stock was released to the market, Deputy Customs Director Sarath Sudusinghe said. He said the cigarettes had been brought in a container fraudulently exploiting the special facilities granted by the BOI to a private garment factory. more..

National Intellectual Property - US Patents and Trademark Workshop

July 22 (GDI) The National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the US Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA), held a workshop this past Saturday, July 18, at the Hotel Galadari in Colombo. The event, held in cooperation with the Sri Lankan Attorney General’s office, informed legal officers from the Sri Lankan Government about current intellectual property law within Sri Lanka and more..

Fuel prices in Northern Province reduced

July 22 (GDI) The fuel prices in the Northern Province will be reduced with effect from midnight today, Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum, W.B. Ganegala told Accordingly the price of a liter of Petrol has been reduced by Rs. 6.50 and now stands at Rs. 134. The new price of Diesel is Rs. 76.50, after a reduction of Rs. 5.10 while the revised price of Kerosene is Rs. 54, which amounts to a drop by Rs. 5.60. more..

Another fire in Knuckles Range area

July 22 (GDI) A sudden fire has broken out in Kalugala, Ududumbara in the Knuckles Range. The fire is reported to be spreading in the Medikele region and already over 30 acres have been destroyed by the fire. Several teams have been deployed to control the fire, the department said. Meanwhile, the fire that was spreading in the Galpothukanda Reserve in Ratnapura for several days has been brought under control last night. more..

Transport facilities adding colour to Uthuru wasanthaya

July 22 (LP) The A9 Jaffna - Kandy main highway linking North and South was ceremonially opened to the public this morning after a lapse of several years with Basil Rajapaksa, MP and Senior Advisor to the President, gracing the occasion. A group of civilians have joined this historical journey this morning heading to Medawachchiya by five state owned buses from the Doreiappa grounds in Jaffna. more..

Commercial flights to Jaffna, Sigiriya and Trinco from Monday

July 22 (GDI) The Sri Lankan Air Force announced the commencement and schedules of domestic commercial flight to Jaffna, Sigiriya and Trincomalee. The new flight schedules will come into effect from Monday the 27th of July. Accordingly there will be a ‘thrice weekly’ flight to Jaffna on each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A return ticket will cost Rs. 19100, Air Force sources said. more..

CEB employees set for massive strike

July 22 (LT) The United Trade Union Alliance of the Ceylon Electricity Board has decided to call an all island one day token strike on the 28th as the authorities had decided to ignore the sick-note campaign carried out by employees of CEB on the 17th. The employees of Ceylon Electricity Board engaged in a sick note campaign on the 17th demanding the salary increments due to them every three years and several other demands. more..

Lankans in France to assist northern children

July 22 (GDI) Sri Lankan community leaders in France have formed a new association called Suriya Udawa to mobilize funds for child development projects in the north and east. The new association will launch its first project later this year to help rebuilding of school buildings in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu districts. ‘Suriya Udawa’ will implement several projects on child rehabilitation, education, child health and social upliftment of children more..

Misinformation campaign in media about Muslim armed groups in East

July 22 (TC) Need and necessity for Muslim home guards in the East arose in 1990. It was the worst year of ethnic cleansing of Muslims both in North and in East. After ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the North by the LTTE, and massacre of nearly 400 innocent Muslim men,women and children by the LTTE in the East Muslim political leaders made representations to the govt. and introduced the home guards system to protect more..

Vijithe Herath meets Chinese Official

July 22 (LT) A special meeting between Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath and Liu Hogcai, Deputy Minister of the Department of International Affairs of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was held at the main office of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party states media unit of the JVP. Mr. Herath is touring China with a JVP delegation. more..

Density of Batticaloa district to be changed

July 22 (PSM) Few selected villages in Ampara district that are bordering Batticaloa district are to be re-attached to Batticaloa district soon. Four Sinhala villages near the Batticaloa district were detached from the district 18 years ago and attached to Ampara district. These four villages are now to be re-attached to the Batticaloa district. Gamunupura and Mangalagama in Chenkalady Badulla Road are to be re-attached with Eravur Pattu, Chenkalady Pradeshiya Sabha division. more..

'There are 7 Nation Building Ministers, but the consultative committee has not met for one year'

July 22 (LT) JVP MP Ranaweera Pathirana said even though the Nation Building Ministry has seven Ministers, the Ministry’s Parliamentary Consultative Committee has not met for the past one year. He said though the consultative committee is not functioning, Nation Building Tax is levied from the masses. As a result there was no possibility for anyone to know how public money was spent he furthersaid . more..

SLBC to find compensation funds from land sale

July 22 (LT) The SLBC Chairman and the board of directors have decided to sell the Corporation’s land in Biyagama for a sum of Rs. 1,000 million. Following the decision arrived at by the board of directors chaired by Hudson Samarasinghe, the relevant advertisement is expected to be published in the newspapers shortly. The SLBC is compelled to sell the land in order to find necessary funds to pay compensation to 200 of its employees who have requested to retire following a compensation payment. more..

Don't rob tax payers to pay defaulters

July 22 (LNW) UNP MP for Hambantota Sajith Premadasa has called upon the government to compensate the victims of the so-called Danduvam scam. Danduvam Mudalali, who swindled people out of billions of rupees, is now dead and gone. He had been operating in the Hambantota District for about 14 years and over 18,000 persons deposited money with his finance company which offered unbelievable interest rates. more..

Galle Municipal Council Opposition leader Dushantha Seneviratne shot dead

July 22 (CT) Opposition leader of the Galle Municipal Council, Dushantha Seneviratne has been gunned down this morning (July 22). Police say that two unidentified gunmen had shot Mr. Seneviratne in the neck while he was getting down from his vehicle at the Beligaha Junction to get food for his children. He has died on the spot. Mr. Seneviratne, who was a popular UNP politician, was a father of four.

Arms supplier to underworld arrested

July 22 (CT) The TID unit of Mirihana police arrested a man who had sold arms that were bought from the LTTE. The suspect, identified as Gamunupura Sampath alias ‘Gamma’, was arrested in the Gamunupura area in Kaduwela. He is said to be a follower of the underworld leader ‘Weliwita Sooduwa’, who is currently in remand custody. After receiving phone calls on the whereabouts of buried weapons from ‘Weliwita Sooduwa’, ‘Gamma’ retrieves them and sells them to underworld gangs, police say. more..

Reveal conditions of IMF loan - Ranil

July 22 (CT) The conditions imposed for granting the loan by the International Monetary Fund should be revealed, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Mr. Wickremesinghe was speaking in Parliament yesterday (July 21) after Deputy Minister of Finance, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya stated that the IMF had reached an accord with Sri Lanka for the loan. more..

'13th amendment will be implemented through people mandate'

July 22 (CT) A mandate from the people is needed for the implementation of the 13th amendment to the constitution since president Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised not to unilaterally solve national issues, said minister Rajitha Senaratne. This piece of amendment is already enshrined in the constitution, but its execution should have the blessings of the people, he told ‘Colombo Today’ in an interview. more..

Five of same family sentenced to death for murder

July 22 (CT) The Matara High Court yesterday (July 21) handed down the death sentence to five members of the same family who have been found guilty of murder. The convicted are mother, father and their three sons. They stood accused of knifing to death a father of four in Hakmana in March 2003. The jury’s verdict came six to one.

'LTTE squandered opportunity to achieve Eelam'

July 22 (AT) Dr E.M. Surdarsana Natchiappanbelongs to a minority of Indian lawmakers, who are genuinely serious about their job. In Parliament for the past one decade, he has been a member of both houses – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Congress MP from Tamil Nadu is now an upper house member since August 2004 on a six-year term. Natchiappan, 62, shot into national prominence when he defeated Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s present Home Mminister, more..

Sri Lankan maid fractures legs in attempt to ‘escape sponsor’

July 22 (SG) A housemaid, 48, is convalescing in Dammam Medical Complex after she jumped from the second floor of her sponsor’s home to “escape from the torturing sponsor and family”. Rita Joseph from Sri Lanka fractured both her legs as a result of the high jump. Her backbone is also broken. The housemaid revealed her tragic story to Saudi Gazette from her hospital bed. It has been only two months since she came to Saudi Arabia to work as a domestic helper. more..

Huge progress in estate schools

July 22 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that the estate sector has seen tremendous development in terms of education and that teacher shortages in the estate sector have already been solved by appointing over 3600 educated youth in the area as teachers. “We have provided adequate teachers to the Estate schools”, the President added. more..

'Those who violate SC rules are traitors'

July 22 (DN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka told Parliament yesterday the lawyers who appeared for the Sunday Leader newspaper, which has made a treacherous comparison between true patriot Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and murderous Prabhakaran are real traitors. The Premier said: Persons who violate the country’s Constitution and the Supreme Court rules are traitors to the national cause irrespective of the profession they hold. more..

The story of bamboo craft

July 22 (DN) The bamboo (Ochlandra Stridula) craft industry is part and parcel of the social fabric of the villages of Batuwita, Kimangoda, Batuwitta Janasaviya, Kahagala South and Urapola in the Matara district. The bamboo industry is a traditional family industry in the area implemented at grassroot level. These forest dependent villagers lead relatively isolated lives and practise indigenous customs unique to their rural way of life. more..

CEA and Dialog Telekom in M-waste initiative

July 22 (DN) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) together with Dialog Telekom PLC launched a joint venture to manage mobile waste (M-Waste). The MoU was signed on Sunday between the two organizations at the Priyankara Hotel, Weeravila as the initial step for one year. Dialog and the CEA will implement an islandwide program for the environmental friendly management of used mobile phones and accessories. more..

Cop held for killing UPFA politician

July 22 (Island) A UPFA member of the Maharagama Municipal Council Sunil Ranasinghe died on Monday after being assaulted. A constable attached to the Maharagama Police and another suspect were arrested over his killing. A post-mortem was conducted at the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital yesterday and according to the Judicial Medical Officer death had occurred due to heart failure. It was also revealed that the deceased had undergone a heart surgery. more..

One Nation: diversity and multiculturalism - III

July 22 (Island) As we have seen, each segment of the Sri Lankan population has contributed to its development and prosperity in manifold ways. These groups also continue to mix and by so doing continue to enrich the already heterogeneous gene pool. As a strategically-positioned Island in the southernmost extremity of South Asia, it has attracted people from all directions save Antarctica and this has contributed to its diversity. more..