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Bogollagama fiddles with another Rs.3.5 million

July 24 (LT) Foreign Minister Rohithe Bogollagama, who spent Rs.4.5 million for his daughter’s birthday bash in New York, has spent more than Rs.3.5 million during the last few months for his unofficial trips to London say sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Whichever tour Minister Bogollagama undertakes to any destination he used to spend a few days in a super luxury hotel in London and this is how Rs.3.5 million had been spent points out a spokesperson more..

Stay order against Vishnu Devalaya

July 24 (DN) The Matara Civil Appellate High Court issued an order on Wednesday staying an enjoining order issued by the Matara District Court that prevented the Upulwan Sri Vishnu Dewalaya of Dewinuwara from holding its Esala Salpila or any fair in the Devinuwara Pradeshiya Sabha area. The Court issued the order after Basnayaka Nilame of Upulwan Sri Vishnu Dewalaya, Kanchana Wijesekara filed an appeal before the Civil Appellate High Court claiming that more..

'Protect your children from ill conceived degree programmes'

July 24 (Island) The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) which has been at loggerheads with the Allied Health Services (AHS) degree programme from the outset, yesterday issued a statement warning parents of advanced level qualified students, of the possibility of their children becoming prey to what the GMOA termed as "ill conceived degree programmes initiated by various opportunistic elements". more..

Did IDPs attack President’s son?

July 24 (Island) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday said that a section of the press had doctored a photograph of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eldest son, Namal taken at Carlton Super Cross in the South on January 22, 2007 to allege an attack on him during a recent visit to Manik farm welfare centre in the Vavuniya district. more..

Hakgala gardens –148 Years from Experimental Station to Botanic Gardens

July 24 (Island) August will soon be upon us and Nuwara Eliya’s little season will begin. Memories take me back to Nuwara Eliya, the little country town of my birth and upbringing. The cool, crisp air that I breathed in over the years keeps tugging these old heartstrings of mine and my footsteps lead me on to one of Nuwara Eliya’s most beautiful Haunts - "Hakgala Gardens". more..

No complaints of polls violence from the North – PAFFREL

July 24 (Island) There were no complaints from any individual or political party about involvement of armed groups to hamper the election campaign, especially in the Jaffna and Vavuniya local government bodies, the PAFFREL said yesterday. PAFFREL Executive Deputy Director Rohan Hettiarachchi told a media conference at the Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo that no complaints were received to date from the Jaffna and Vavuniya local government areas. more..

War on Terrorism over:war on underworld begins

July 24 (DM) Newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka, who led his army to wipe out the Tamil Tigers from the country, recently vowed that action would be taken to wipe out underworld terrorism from the country soon, as he did to the LTTE.The pledge came, as President Mahinda Rajapaksa too claimed that he directed the police and security forces to wipe out the underworld menace from the country. more..

The passenger bus and the missed bus

July 24 (DM) While the opening of the A- 9 road for passenger transportation has been welcomed by many as a move that is sure to accelerate the pace of reconciliation, reports from IDP camps confirm that very little has been done to resolve some of the fundamental issues of the internally displaced people. Even the most recent visits to Manik Farm go to confirm that the monumental mistakes made by the government in preparing accommodation and more..

Secret deal for IMF loan: UNP

July 24 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday accused the government of requesting the IMF to withhold documents that state the conditions and reasons for granting the loan facility to Sri Lanka. “Documents like the IMF Article 14 that evaluates the financial standing of a country and the Letter Of Intent (LOI) which is a requirement when applying for the loan should be made public,” more..

Lots of vacancies but no qualified personnel

July 24 (DM) A large number of vacancies exist in the government sector due to the dearth of qualified people to fill these vital vacancies, Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said yesterday. He told parliament that candidates aspiring to fill some of these vacancies needed to have not only a university degree but further qualifications as well. more..

Sri Lanka govt transport policy slammed by critics

July 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's draft national transport policy came in for strong criticism at a public forum by experts who said it ignored important modes of private transport and private sector investment. Rohan Samarajiva, head of LirneAsia, a regional think tank, said the policy was also silent on opportunities in rebuilding transport infrastructure and services in the north and east, where much of it was destroyed by the ethnic war. more..

Five found guilty of Udathalawinna massacre acquitted

July 24 (LG) The five persons, sentenced to death over the killing of ten persons at Udathalawinna on December 5, 2001, were acquitted of all charges by the Supreme Court today. The five military officers had been found guilty of the charges in the murder case by a three-member panel of judges in the Colombo High Court and had been sentenced to death. Some time back, the High Court acquitted General Anuruddha Ratwatte and two of his sons who had been charged over the killings in Udathalawinna. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to revive ferry links with India

July 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to propose reviving ferry services and a railway link with India, across the Palk Straits, at a conference of south Asian transport ministers in Colombo, the island's transport ministry said. The two proposals will be put forward by the government during a meeting of transport ministers of the SAARC in Colombo on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka power output down in May, diesel sales up

July 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's electricity generation in May 2009 fell 3.6 percent to 834 million units (GigaWatt hours) from a year earlier, while diesel sales were up 22.2 percent, the latest government data showed. Thermal power generation at state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) tripled to 243 million units from 81GWh a year earlier amid dry conditions, while hydro generation fell to 211GWh from 512GWh. more..

Wary peace as war-torn island recovers from 26-year conflict

July 24 (IT) ON THE surface, Sri Lanka’s eastern town of Batticaloa seems to be leaving a harrowing past behind it. Home to 480,000 people and hugging the Indian Ocean, the town was badly affected by the island’s 26-year conflict and its outskirts were lashed by the December 2004 tsunami. Troops still appear on the streets and there are still police checkpoints where bags are prodded and ID cards scrutinised. more..

'IMF satisfied with Lanka’s economy'

July 24 (ANN) Investment Promotion and Export Development Minister GL Peiris Thursday said that that Sri Lanka’s success in securing US$2.5 billion IMF stand-by facility had reflected that criticism of the Rajapaksa administration over waste, corruption and irregularities had had no bearing on negotiations with the international lending agency and that Sri Lanka was a bankable economy. more..

India signs agreement to rebuild infrastructure in north Sri Lanka

July 24 (PTI) India will help rebuild public and private infrastructure in war-ravaged Tamil-dominated northern Sri Lanka and has signed an agreement under which latest technology will be used for mass-scale construction there. The pact will cover construction of buildings and utilities under the massive rehabilitation and reconstruction programme in the north, more..

A/H1N1 flu cases increase to 44 in Sri Lanka

July 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan health authorities said on Friday that three more A/H1N1 flu cases were confirmed on Thursday, bringing the total number of A/H1N1 flu cases in the country to 44. The Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health said in its latest report that the new patients have arrived from Australia and Britain. The first confirmed case of A/H1N1 flu in the island was reported on June 16. more..

Sri Lanka to resettle 3,000 war displaced families before election

July 24 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government will resettle 3,000 Tamil families displaced by the last battles between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels ahead of two local elections in the north, officials said on Friday. The Department of Government Information said in a statement that the 3,000 families would be resettled in 35 villages in the northern Vavuniya district by Aug. 7. more..

Presidential pardon for 1800 deserters

July 24 (LeN) Some 1815 Army deserters including 50 officers, who have been convicted by a Military Tribunal and are serving prison terms for desertion, will be released on Monday on a special pardon given by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Justice Ministry Secretary has already informed the Commissioner General of Prisons Major General V.R. De Silva Thursday in this regard. more..

Sangakkara helps Sri Lanka to a draw

July 24 (CI) In the end, neither team wanted it badly enough. Sri Lanka couldn't quite summon up the courage for one final dash, and Pakistan spent much of the afternoon merely going through the motions. When play was called off with the 15 mandatory overs to be bowled, Sri Lanka were 101 short of the 492-run target, and Pakistan had toiled all day for just one wicket. more..

'Sri Lanka needs more time to resettle Tamils'

July 24 (BN) Sri Lanka will need extra time to resettle more than 280,000 ethnic Tamil civilians stranded in transit camps in the country’s north since fleeing a military offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, the foreign minister said. About 60 percent of displaced people should be able to return home within the 180-day period promised by the president in May, Rohitha Bogollagama said in an interview. more..

Sri Lankan held in Krishnasamy’s murder probe

July 25 (TS) The police have confirmed that a Sri Lankan man was facilitating investigations into the murder of Tenggaroh state assemblyman Datuk S. Krishnasamy early last year. Sam @ Mohammad Razue, 39, is currently under police custody after he was detained by a police team in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah in Skudai about 9.50pm, two days ago. The suspect has been remanded until July 29. more..

Sri Lanka, fishermen win the war: invasive techniques banned

July 25 (AN) In a battle that has lasted years, finally the small fishermen of Sri Lanka have won their war: the National Supreme Court has banned certain types of fishing nets and other methods that have a devastating impact on marine flora, accepting a legal action initiated by trade associations and human rights activists. On July 21 last the Sinhalese judges put an end to the dispute, stating that more..

India, Lanka to ink MoU on power transmission

July 25 (Hindu) India has proposed to sign a MoU with Sri Lanka for conducting a feasibility study for establishing a power transmission system of 1000 MW capacity using overhead and sub-marine cables between two nations. “The system will have two High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) terminal stations at both sides of the link,” Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, Power Minister said in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. more..

A license to USA from Gammanpila to plunder Sri Lankan genes

July 25 (LT) It is reported that former Chairman of Central Environmental Authority and present UPFA Minister in the Western Provincial Council Udaya Gammanpila has made available a license to commence construction of the hotel complex that was to be built at Enasalwatta village in Sinharaja natural reserve during the former UNP government but was abandoned later. more..

MV Ali: Refugees yet to benefit from relief

july 25 (EB) The Sri Lankan Red Cross (SLRC) has written to the Indian High Commission here to help it clear the 840 tonnes of relief material sent by the Indian Red Cross (IRC) from the Colombo port. However, the Indian officials seemed reluctant to get involved, sources told Expre­ss, adding that it was essentially a dispute between two NGOs — the SLRC and the IRC — and that it would be better if the two resolved the issues between themselves. more..

Booker Tate to back two candidates of Uva

July 25 (LT) Information is received that ‘Booker Tate’ company is spending liberally for the election campaign of two candidates contesting the Uva PC election from Monaragala District. Last year Booker Tate company had planned to grow sugar cane in 65,000 acres of lands in Uva-Wellassa but had to abandon the project due to massive opposition from masses. Now the company is boosting the campaign of the two candidates after getting assurance from theme to allow the company to commence their sugarcane project. more..

Arjuna Ranatunga complains alleging corruption in 2 sports bodies

July 25 (CT) Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga complained to the Presidential Investigation Unit today (July 24) alleging mass scale corruption in Sri Lanka Olympic Committee and Sri Lanka Cricket. In his complaint, Mr. Ranatunga calls for a special inquiry into the awarding of cricket broadcasting rights to Nimbus Company. He alleges a loss of around Rs. 400 million to SLC due to this deal. more..

A Lankan Lament

July 25 (Tehelka) These are the opening lines of a poem by Sumathy R, who worked as a volunteer for a few days in a Tamil refugee camp in Sri Lanka. She describes the travails of the destitute and the orphans living in army-controlled camps According to reports, about three lakh Tamils displaced from erstwhile LTTE-controlled areas by war are treated like prisoners in these camps in North Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka expedite stringent action against human trafficking

July 25 (LG) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama meeting with Senator Christopher Evans, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on 24th July 2009 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that issues on illicit migration is very serious and that Sri Lanka is taking stringent action to prosecute those involved in such illegal activities. While strongly condemning illicit migration, more..

Comic abuse of Defence Ministry website

July 25 (LG) A publication in the Defense Ministry website accusing several lawyers, who appeared for one of the parties in a civil lawsuit, as traitors, was condemned by the president of the Sri Lanka Bar Association, and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), as a serious attack that undermines the legal profession in the country. For a short while the publication was removed from the Ministry’s website. more..

Samaraweera recalled to ODI squad

July 25 (CI) Thilan Samaraweera has been recalled to the Sri Lankan one-day international side after a four-year absence, but there was no space for Chaminda Vaas for the upcoming series against Pakistan. The legspinner Malinga Bandara has also been included in a 15-man squad that includes Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan, passed fit after missing the Tests against Pakistan. more..

Rural Sri Lanka gets IT push from Microsoft

July 25 (LBO) Microsoft Sri Lanka said it had begun a drive to make information technology popular in rural areas, with a local language interface, free software downloads and training. Microsoft country manager, Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, says the objective of initiative branded 'Gamata IT' (information technology for the village) was to reach out to communities that received little no help in IT education. more..

Lanka Bell connects Jaffna

July 25 (LBO) Lanka Bell said it had connected the northern Jaffna peninsular to its network, opening a new base station and an office. "A high quality and purse-easy telecommunication service is an essential need of the people in Jaffna," Lanka Bell managing director Prasad Samarasinghe said. "There are thousands of people who would want to be in touch with the loved ones in other parts of the country or overseas as well as with displaced relatives." more..

Sri Lanka industrial production down 2.5-pct in May

July 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's private sector industrial production fell 2.5 percent in May 2009, from a year earlier, with apparels and diamond processing showing a steep downturn, official data showed. In April, private sector industrial production fell 5.6 percent. A private sector industrial production index released by Sri Lanka's central bank showed that apparel sector volumes fell 19.3 percent, textiles 16.7 percent and leather 19.4 percent. more..

Youth confesses to killing woman carrying his child

July 25 (CT) A youth has confessed to having strangled to death a mother of one with whom he had been having an affair for some eight months. The body of Subadra Kumari was found in a shrub jungle in Balangoda on July 17. The wife of a soldier serving in Jaffna, she had been seven months pregnant from her extra marital affair. Her husband had returned home and finding her missing had made inquiries and led by police identified the body as being his wife’s. more..

'Proud to have contributed to Sri Lanka's growth'

July 25 (CI) Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka's most successful fast bowler, ended his Test career during an emotional farewell at the SSC after the third and final Test against Pakistan ended in a draw with the hosts winning the series 2-0. Vaas, a 111-Test veteran, was given a standing ovation by the spectators, who stayed behind after the end of the match, when he was presented with a memento and one million rupees more..

Nuns deny providing inadequate help to elderly

July 25 (UCAN) Catholic nuns working with displaced people in the north of the country have denied newspaper reports that they neglected elderly people in their charge. Local newspapers say the Missionaries of Charity nuns, who run a center in Vavuniya in Mannar diocese, and other NGO-run assistance centers, have been giving inadequate treatment to elderly people. This has resulted in illness and death in some cases, the reports allege. more..

‘1.4 lakh Lankan Tamils missing’

July 25 (EB) Around 1.4 lakh Sri Lankan Tamils have ‘disappeared’ in the last 14 months in the northern part of the island nation and the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is planning to settle about 2.5 lakh Sinhalese in these areas, pro-Eelam activist and film director Seeman said on Thursday. Seeman also appealed to agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan to cancell his proposed plan to visit Sri Lanka for implementation of “Vadakin Vasantham,’ a scheme for reconstruction of Wanni. more..

Britain to oppose IMF loan to Sri Lanka over plight of Tamil refugees

July 25 (Times) Britain was poised tonight to take an unprecedented stand against a US $2.5 billion loan being extended by the IMF to Sri Lanka because of fears over the humanitarian situation in the county. A British Government source said that that it was “not the right time to go forward” with the loan, because Sri Lanka is forcibly detaining nearly 300,000 mostly Tamil refugees in internment camps and spending a large proportion of its wealth on its military more..

Suspect in rape & murder of girl killed by villagers

July 25 (CT) A youth who is believed to have raped and killed a 12-year-old girl has been beaten to death by a group in Ampara. According to Central Camp Police, a group of villagers had assaulted and killed the 26-year-old suspect last evening (July 23). The incident of rape and murder had taken place two days ago. The body of the accused had been found from a paddy field in the area. Police are investigating the incident.

Hulugalle orders removal of General Fonseka’s photographs and interview from Silumina

July 25 (LNW) Lake House Chairman, Bandula Padmakumara, acting on a directive issued by Director General, Media Center for National Security (MCNS), Lakshman Hulugalle had ordered the Silumina newspaper editor to remove an interview and several photographs of Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka that were to be carried in last week’s issue of the newspaper. more..

Cannot develop a country without allocating funds for science and technology researches

July 25 (AT) Using technologies alone will not help to control mosquitoes. Preventing the breeding opportunities of mosquitoes is rather important as 90% of mosquitoes that transmit dengue. Mosquitoes breed in clean water collected in tins, bottles, plastic containers, coconut shells, rubber tyres, gutters etc. as such it is the people who are responsible for creating such mosquito breeding places, Minister of Science & Technology, more..

'Dilshan's injuries prompted draw'

July 25 (CI) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara has said that though there was the temptation to go for a clean sweep in the Test series, he opted for the draw. With 15 overs remaining and Sri Lanka needing a further 101 to win on the final day at the SSC, he said his decision was largely dictated by the injury concerns over Tillakaratne Dilshan. "If Dilshan was fit we could have tried a few things out," Sangakkara said. more..

'IMF loan shows increased confidence'

July 25 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan government on Friday said the end of the war against the LTTE has increased the confidence of the international community which is reflected by the decision of the IMF to grant a $2.5-billion loan facility. A statement on the Presidential Secretariat website said the ADB also planned to increase its lending by 50 per cent to help rebuild it after ending its 26-year conflict. more..

India-Lanka swap fishermen detainees

July 25 (AT) Sixty-one Sri Lankan fishermen who ventured into Indian waters to fish and captured were released along with their twelve boats on July 23. They were caught near Tamil Nadu–Andhra border, off Chennai. They were handed over to the Coast Guard in the presence of the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission officials on Friday evening. The fishermen will be handed over to Sri Lankan Navy on July 27 at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). more..

Beginning of the End – July 1983

July 25 (AT) On Sunday morning at about 2 AM on 26th July 1983, I heard the shocking news of the ambush and killing of 13 soldiers of the SLLI at Thinnevelly (Jaffna). As I grieved the loss in SL’s senior most regiment in which my brother Eshin served, I like everyone else did not for a moment think that this incident would lead to 70,000 deaths and the sundering of the fabric of a nation during the next 26 years. more..

Vaas denies he was forced to retire

July 25 (AFP) Veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas insists his international career is not over despite retiring from Test cricket and finding himself dumped from the limited-overs game. The left-armer, 35, ended his Test career at the end of the three-match series against Pakistan on Friday, saying he was still keen to play One-day and Twenty20 cricket till the 2011 World Cup. The selectors, however, did not pick Vaas for the upcoming five-match One-day series against more..

LTTE Cabal opposes “KP” as leader of re-structured Tigers

July 25 (DBS) The politico-military organization known as LTTE has virtually ceased to exist within the borders of Sri Lanka. Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and most military cadres including senior military leaders are no more among the living. Thousands of other tiger cadres including senior members of the political and administrative wings are incarcerated by the Sri Lankan authorities. more..