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National Parks to be developed

July 23 (GDI) Moves are under way to develop Yala and Kumana National Parks. The Environment Ministry has identified them as priority areas of development to conserve biodiversity of the forests. Attracting visits by foreign nationals and thereby raking in good foreign exchange to the country is an incentive, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranawaka said after opening an information Centre and a park bungalow at Lunugamvehera recently. more..

Summary of cabinet decisions

July 23 (GDI) Full Pension Benefits to Disabled Military Personnel: Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order allowing provisions of full pension benefits to the service personnel who have been medically boarded out due to disability caused as a result of operational duties, terrorist activities and law enforcement duties. more..

Causes championed by Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam must be pursued vigorously

July 23 (TC) When Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam was mindlessly and ruthlessly assassinated by the LTTE 10 years ago, (July 29 2009) he was on a momentous mission which promised to give democracy in Sri Lanka a new thrust and dimension. Essentially, his endeavour was to develop this countrydemocracy to such a degree that it was fully accommodative of the legitimate interests and needs of all of Sri Lanka’s communities. more..

Power workers demand higher wages

July 23 (wsws) Thousands of workers from the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) held a national one-day campaign on July 17 to demand a pay rise and the restoration of previous conditions. Most of the CEB’s 14,000-strong work force participated in the industrial action, an indication of growing opposition to the Sri Lankan government’s attacks on living conditions. Nearly 1,000 power workers demonstrated outside the Fort Railway Station in central Colombo, despite police intimidation. more..

Who can replace Dayan in Geneva ?

July 23 (LG) Dayan Jayatilleka has been, and will continue to be, one of the most controversial public intellectuals of our time. My gut feeling is that if the founding fathers of Marxism in Sri Lanka – Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, Philip Gunawardena, et al – were living today he would be clashing with them too. The force of his personality is such that he leaves no option but to either like him or hate him. more..

No to 13th Amendment which would create a mini eelam

July 23 (LG) We have just liberated the North from the terrorists. How can we devolve power when other Tamil militants are stalking the land.? Have we eradicated Terrorism or the LTTE ? Why do we still live in fear ? Is it not because we have been made to fear the terror tactics of all Tamil militants ? Is one Tamil militant better than the other ? History has proved that they never changed. more..

An analysis in defence of Minister Bogollagama

July 23 (LG) I was deeply disturbed by the articles and scurrilous literature in the media emanating from a dubious media campaign to tarnish the image of Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. It is trite learning that Rohitha Bogollagama is a talented Foreign Minister who has produced results from the time he was appointed as the Foreign Minister. He has been absolutely loyal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Devolution of Powers under the 13th Amendment – Fact or Fiction ?

July 23 (LG) In the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, many expected the government to put forward the promised political solution to the problems of the Tamils which led to the war. Those who expected this were disappointed when the President said at a recent interview with the ‘Hindu’ newspaper that the solution would be put forward only after the next Presidential elections. more..

East PC against land distribution by Centre

July 23 (PSM) Eastern Province Chief Minister has protested the distribution of lands in the Eastern Province without the approval of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC). Chief Minister Mr. Sivanesathurai Chnadrakanthan lashed out at the Central Government for diluting the provisions of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution. According to this provision, the Provincial Councils are devolved with land powers. more..

'If Govt. cannot arrest crime escalation it must accept charges against it of collusion and irresponsibility'

July 23 (leN) Addressing a media briefing yesterday, UNP M.P. Vajira Abeywardena expressed with grief and concern that even this morning there has occurred a brutal murder of a UNP member and Opposition leader of the Municipal Council, Dushantha Seneviratne. The tragedy occurred when he went to buy some food for his children on the way to School. He was shot at , and later succumbed to his injuries. more..

Karuna to meet Diaspora with his former colleagues

July 23 (LT) Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Karuna, the Minister of National Integration, is planning to undertake an international tour with some of his former colleagues to meet the Tamil Diaspora say sources in the ministry. According to sources the government has sanctioned funds for his forthcoming visit to Europe with his close associates. The sources also revealed that his European tour comes at the time scandals after scandals of financial irregularities are revealed. more..

Tiran questioned by CID over alleged plot to assassinate VIP

July 23 (LNW) Tiran Alles was yesterday summoned by the CID for an interrogation that lasted over four hours while he was attending a meeting with the Opposition Leader as a SLFP (M) Wing representative on the power devolution programme. Alles was questioned by the CID to determine if he had any knowledge of an alleged plot to assassinate a VIP. The CID has continuously questioned Alles on his alleged links with the LTTE and his business. more..

Nandana to make Sigiriya accessible

July 23 (LT) Tourism Minister Nandana Gunatilake yesterday informed Parliament that his ministry would provide facilities to those who could not visit the Sigiriya to go there. "You are the Minister of Tourism now. Your own party leader once told Parliament that he did not have the opportunity to visit Sigiriya. Would you tell this August Assembly whether you would take him there to see Sigiriya?" UNP MP Range Bandara asked the Minister in the Parliament. more..

Ranil agrees to devolve power

July 23 (LNW) UNP sources say the party along with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe have arrived at a consensus on the basic framework on power devolution. Wickremesinghe had reached this agreement during a discussion with Rauf Hakeem, Mangala Samaraweera and Mano Ganeshan yesterday (21). Wickremesinghe had telephoned Hakeem, Samaraweera and Ganeshan and requested them to attend a crucial meeting to discuss the stance on power devolution. more..

Two School girls Attempt Suicide

July 23 (LT) Two grade 9 students studying at a leading girls’ school in Colombo, who attempted suicide hospitalized around 10 am, yesterday. Four girls were found by the school prefects having mobile phones inside the classroom. They were warned by the prefects and were summoned to the Principal’s office. One student had insisted on going to the toilet. But she had not returned after 15-20 minutes. more..

Term Test Papers Place Parliament in a Quandary

July 23 (LT) The mid-term examination papers given to the school children have placed students in a quandary, JVP MP Anura Dissanayake told parliament today. He said the question papers were set by the Education Departments of Provincial Councils. He charged that there were numerous factual and spelling mistakes in the mid-term examination papers given to schoolchildren in several provinces. more..

Health Ministry warns stern action

July 23 (DN) The nurses who do not accept their transfers and do not report for duty at Angoda Mental Hospital will be considered as vacated their posts. The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will not change this decision on any grounds, said Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. he said that he held discussions with the trade union and came to an agreement in connection with the demands presented by them. more..

Postal theft suspects brought to court

July 23 (LT) Eleven employees of the Postal Department who are charged with having broken open the mail bags at the Postal Department and removed several important documents were brought before the Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Gihan Pilapitiya. After submissions by the defense counsel the Judge directed them to appear before court again on September 30. more..

A truth and reconciliation commission for Sri Lanka?

July 23 (DBS) Most of us know about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission appointed by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in the post-Apartheid years. According to Wikipedia - “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. Anyone who felt that he or she was a victim of its violence was invited to come forward and be heard. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from prosecution.” more..

Pakistan hands over proofs of RAW involvement in Sri Lankan team attack

July 23 (AT) Pakistan has handed over to India evidence of the involvement of its external spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in terrorist activities in this country, including the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and on a police academy on the outskirts of the city earlier this year. The media reports said on Wednesday a dossier containing proof of India’s involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan was handed over by more..

Feeding IDPs: WFP, INGOs ease govt. burden

July 23 (Island) The World Food Programme (WFP) and about a dozen other INGO/NGOs are helping the government provide three meals a day to nearly 300,000 internally displaced persons accommodated at welfare centres in the north. Well informed sources told The Island that the WFP with the help of international donors had taken the responsibility to supply rice, flour, sugar, dhal, salt and vegetable oil to welfare centres managed by more..

I'm prepared for any challenge: Mangala

July 23 (CT) Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera told the media this morning before giving a statement to the CID that he was prepared to face any challenge. Referring to president Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said, “Mahinda my friend, I cannot be silenced when you are attempting to steal the country’s democracy as well as the freedom of living and speech by wearing a crown wrought out of the sweat of war heroes. more..

Land grabbing taking place in cleared areas in northeastern SL

July 23 (LNW) A mass scale land encroaching is reported from areas like Welioya (Manalaru), Kokkuthudai, Kokilai etc. in the northeastern terrain of Sri Lanka. Civilian activities were restricted in these areas for a long period of time due to the fighting between the Army and the Tamil Tiger rebels that claimed for a Tamil homeland in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. more..

Perseverance key to netballers' success

July 23 (DN) Many accolades overwhelmed Sri Lanka's Netball team from all corners of the country after they clinched the Asian Netball Championship this year, but only a few were aware of the hard times the team mates have experienced. Many don't know that they have won the tournament three times but haven't been successful in winning a good sponsor. Netball has been labelled as a women's game from the time it was played in Sri Lanka and more..

Hidden arms and emerging picture

July 23 (LNP) Time was when Sri Lanka used to be known as the Granary of the East. Now, it may be dubbed the Armoury of the East. Large caches of weapons continue to be detected from many areas which were once under LTTE control. The police said yesterday they had unearthed a haul of over 2,500 kilos of high explosives in the Vanni. Disaster that the LTTE would have been able to wreak on the country with that amount of plastic explosives could be gauged from the Central Bank blast (1996), more..

Big demand for non-kernel coconut products in Europe

July 23 (LNP) There is a big demand for non-kernel coconut products (husk-based) especially for activated carbon in many countries in Europe. Therefore there should be a proper mechanism to collect the non-kernel raw materials for the industry, said the Chairman of the Coconut Development Authority (CDA), Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe. Sri Lanka now exports value-added coconut products unlike earlier when only raw materials such as raw fibre, coconut shells and charcoal were exported. more..

President orders officials to expedite Southern Express way

July 23 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed the officials of the Highways and Road Development Ministry to expedite the construction of the Southern Expressway with urgent attention given to replacing the bridges that were sub-standard at a progress review meeting. Representatives of the contracting companies also attended the meeting and the President directed that though the necessary consultancy services were provided more attention needed to be paid by more..

Displaced to remain in camps until LTTE infiltrators are found

July 23 (CT) Minister of human rights Mahinda Samarasinghe says war-displaced people will have to remain in welfare camps until the LTTE infiltrators among them are found. The Minister told Parliament yesterday that not only the welfare of these homeless, the government also has to ensure the safety of other Sri Lankans from any threats to their lives. Mr. Samarasinghe has just returned from an inspection tour of welfare camps in the north. more..

Healing Sri Lanka updated

Normal law of the land should bind on Undergraduates

July 23 (LP) Following a complaint by University Authorities on the out burst of violence and interruption of normal academic activities in the Arts Faculty of the Colombo University, the Cinnamon Garden Police were able to take in to custody seven university students and produce them before the Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi on charges of creating a disturbance in the university Premises. more..

Black July of 1983 marks 26th anniversary today

July 23 (CT) Today marks the 26th anniversary of Black July of 1983 disturbances following the LTTE’s ambush of a convoy of soldiers in Tirunelveli in Jaffna, killing 13 of them, including their leader Lieutenant Vaas Gunawardena. A large number of Tamils were killed and attacked by state sponsored armed groups in the violence that was unleashed in the dark hours that followed. A Curfew was in force for weeks to control the violent situation and more..

Ranil against reactivation of Press Council Laws

July 23 (Island) Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament the government was attempting to bring back the Press Council Law, which had been de-activated with the approval of all political parties. "The government should have consulted other parties represented in Parliament before it commenced the process of re-activating the Press Council laws," he said. more..

Cancer Hospital nurses walk out in protest

July 23 (Island) The All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU) staged a walk out last morning and a picket at 12 noon at the Maharagama Cancer Institute (MCI) demanding the cancellation of their transfers. Fifty four nurses of the MCI were transferred to the National Hospital and the Angoda Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH). The nurses of the Kandy and Kurunegala Hospitals, too, had staged a two hour demonstration in support of the demand made by the nurses of the MCI. " more..

Colombo-Jaffna bus service

July 23 (DN) The Government yesterday restrengthened the link between the South and the North with the symbolical restarting of the Jaffna – Colombo CTB bus service along the A-9 road which was abandoned for the past two decades, enabling the people of Jaffna to reach the South through a land route. MP Basil Rajapaksa inaugurated this bus service from Jaffna after deploying five buses from the Jaffna depot. more..

People must back up BTI: Cuban expert

July 23 (DM) The two Cuban epidemiologists who are now in Sri Lanka said yesterday, people too should be involved in stopping the spread of the dreaded dengue epidemic, and pointed out that the Bacillus Thuringensis Israelensis (BTI) bacteria alone would not help eradicate the disease-carrying mosquito. Dr. Aramis Martinez told the media that a properly planned strategy was needed to control the disease and the use of the BTI bacteria was only one of the methods that could be used. more..

With Tamil Tigers gone, Sri Lanka opens the Ramayana trail for Indians

July 23 (IANS) With a quarter-century of ethnic conflict and terrorism in Sri Lanka left behind, the island nation, known for its sun-kissed beaches and rolling tea gardens, is wooing Indian tourists like never before by developing a Ramayana trail to enable them to visit the Lanka of demon king Ravana. The Sri Lankan tourism department has identified about 50 sites that are said to be connected to the Ramayana more..

Be on alert about school van drivers:DIG

July 23 (DM) Deputy Inspector General of Police Lucky Pieris said that every school student is a police officer and they are the only persons other than the police who could stop a vehicle according to the Road Traffic Act in the country. He also said there is duty on students to report to the school or to their teacher when they find that the driver of a school vehicle is either drunk or not conscious of his duty as a driver. more..

Security passes relaxed for vehicles from East

July 23 (DM) The compulsory security passes for the vehicles coming out of the Eastern Province due to security reasons have been relaxed, Police Headquarters announced last evening. Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara told Daily Mirror that the vehicles coming from the two districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa do not need to obtain security passes to reach the South or any other part of the country in the future. more..

Sri Lanka's aging population presents risks, opportunities

July 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's rapidly aging population could be a big burden in future but also provides a window of opportunity - a time of massive productive labour force and low dependents, a report said. Sri Lanka is the fastest aging country in south Asia, with the elderly population posing many challenges, according to a report by the Labour Ministry. An aging population will likely result in a decline in the labour force, more..

Sri Lanka international airport plans expansion

July 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's sole international airprot has plans to expand further if traffic grows beyond existing capacity with the end of a three decade internal war, a senior official said. Existing capacity at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), north of Colombo, is enough to handle aircraft, passenger and cargo movements until 2013, under current projections, said Samantha Abeywardena, senior assistant airport manager. more..

JVP asks Govt. to submit list

July 23 (DM) The JVP in Parliament yesterday called on the government to submit a list of Tamil youth in the detention camps together with their details to the House. JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake who moved an adjournment motion on the IDP issue in the House yesterday said that preparing such a list would make it possible to determine their fate. more..

Rights group urges Sri Lanka aid rethink

July 23 (AP) Sri Lanka's government should be forced to rectify serious human rights abuses before it receives an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund, a human rights group said Thursday. The IMF has given initial approval for a $2.5 billion loan to help Sri Lanka with reconstruction after the end of its 25-year civil war with ethnic Tamil rebels. The IMF board is expected to vote Friday on the loan. more..

Sri Lankan blood on Liberal hands

July 23 (NP) On Tuesday, the National Post's Stewart Bell reported on the contents of an intelligence report, prepared by Canada's Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC), on fundraising in Canada for the LTTE terrorist group (better known as the Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka. The report was formally labelled "secret," but its general outlines have been no secret in Canada for many years now. more..

UNP CM candidate killed in front of his children

July 23 (Island) Opposition Leader of the Galle Municipal Council and UNP Chief Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council election, 40-year-old Deshabandu Dushyantha Seneviratne was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in front of his four children, early yesterday morning at Beligahahandiya in Galle. Seneviratne was killed while taking his children to school. He had left children in his car and gone to buy them breakfast when his killers struck. more..

Sri Lanka make confident start in record chase

July 23 (CI) Set a massive 492 for victory, or more realistically 150 overs to survive, Sri Lanka made steady progress to 183 for 3 by the end of the penultimate day's play. Kumar Sangakkara was still there, but with Mahela Jayawardene experiencing a very rare SSC failure and the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan unlikely to bat, Sri Lanka were up against it. Danish Kaneria was once again the standout bowler, though one of his wickets was a gift from Ian Gould. more..

'Sri Lanka has permitted IMF to publish bailout program'

July 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has authorized the International Monetary Fund to publish its stand by loan agreement with the island, after it is approved by the lender's executive board Friday, minister Gamini Pieris said. Under the new stand by arrangement Sri Lanka's central bank will have access to 2.5 billion US dollars which will be disbursed over 20 months in eight installments of 312 million US dollars, more..

ADB to lend Sri Lanka 50% more to help rebuild after civil war

July 23 (BN) The Asian Development Bank plans to increase its lending to Sri Lanka by 50 percent to help the South Asian island rebuild after ending its 26-year civil war. The Manila-based lender plans to raise Sri Lanka’s annual allocation to $300 million in 2010 from $200 million, to fund road, power and water and sanitation projects in the island’s north and east, among others, said Narhari Rao, ADB’s South Asia lead economist. more..

Concentration camp in Chengalpattu

July 24 (EB) More than 60 inmates of Chengalpattu Sri Lankan refugee camp in Kancheepuram district on Wednesday went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding their immediate release. Most of the inmates, in 20s and 30s, have been languishing in the camp for more than three years. They have been picked by the Q branch for trying to smuggle consignments to LTTE and some on the basis of suspicion. This is the 20th time the inmates are on a hunger strike. more..

Lanka’s Eelam war to be fought overseas

July 24 (EB) With Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias ‘KP’ formally taking over as the head of the LTTE after the death of Tiger founder leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, Sri Lanka’s fight against an independent ‘Tamil Eelam’ takes on an entirely new dimension. After winning the war on the home turf, the Sri Lankan government now faces a peaceful, political and committed LTTE enjoying tacit or open support of countries bearing a grudge against the pluckily nationalistic government of Sri Lanka. more..

Scrappy in Sri Lanka

July 24 (CI) On the eve of the first Test of the current series, Younis Khan spoke about how cordial the relationship between the two teams was. It may now seem to have been that way forever, but once upon a time they played out bitter back-to-back series. The year was 1986 and Pakistan had come to Sri Lanka after having beaten them at home, "to be taken aback by the hostility of the media and the public", as Imran Khan wrote in his book All Round View. more..