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'COPE report saved country one half of GDP'

Jun 13 (Island) Former COPE Chairman Wijedasa Rajapakshe, PC, yesterday said he was happy that thanks to a damning COPE report exposing a number of questionable public sector deals the country had been able to save a colossal amount of money equivalent to one half of its GDP or 300 billion rupees. Rajapakse paid a glowing tribute to the Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara, without whose assistance, he said, the COPE report at issue would not have entered the public domain more..

SriLankan Airlines’ amazing fares to London

Jun 13 (DM) Cricket enthusiasts are being offered an amazing fare by SriLankan Airlines to travel to London for the T20 Cricket World Cup, where Sri Lanka is among the favourites to don the mantle of World Champions.This remarkable offer of a return air ticket for the price of Rs. 48,150 plus taxes, is available at all SriLankan Airlines ticket offices in Colombo’s World Trade Centre, Kandy, and Galle or contact your nearest travel agent. more..

Police arrest suspects for the killing of millionairess

Jun 13 (DM) The couple suspected for the killing of Mallika Jayaweera, the millionairess of Kurunegala were apprehended on Thursday at Ragama and Ja-Ela, says the Kurunegala Criminal Investigation Unit. Police arrested the suspect woman in Ja-Ela and the main male suspect, was taken into custody at Ragama. Part of the robbed jewellery and money, a digital camera and the knife used in the killing were found in their possession. more..

'A-9 will open after area is cleared of land mines'

Jun 13 (DM) The A-9 highway from Vavuniya to Muhamalai in the Jaffna peninsula will be closed to the public until the threat of landmines is cleared, said Minister, T.B Ekanayake yesterday. The Minister said there are still landmines buried under the A-9 highway and on either side of it and it cannot be opened until the mines are all removed. He said President had advised the Ministry that they should not rush the process of removing the mines. more..

rising from the ashes of war

Jun 13 (DM) Jezeema lost her husband three months before her eighteenth birthday. “I was about six months pregnant when the incident happened. My husband went out in the afternoon to a relative’s place and he never returned,” she said, while trying to appease the crying of her two year old. The young mother from Kiran now lives with the assistance received from her brothers. more..

Sri Lanka Insurance chief promises professional management

Jun 13 (LBO) Newly appointed competent authority to Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), has said that the firm will be managed professionally, setting an example to the private and public sectors, an employee said. Nalaka Godahewa was appointed as competent authority to SLIC after it was returned to government hands on a court order. The government has to appoint a new board to govern the firm. more..

'Sri Lanka private firms too small for mega power plants'

Jun 13 (LBO) Sri Lankan private sector firms are too small yet to start mega infrastructure such as coal plants on their own, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is financing such plants in the region, said. The IFC, the private sector finance arm of the World Bank, likes to partner with the Sri Lankan private sector to develop mega infrastructure projects such as coal power, said Per Kjellerhaug, regional manager, IFC. more..

Sri Lanka 'on a war footing' for Dengue

Jun 13 (BBC) Sri Lanka is battling a difficult health problem: dengue fever, a potentially fatal illness transmitted by mosquitos. Instances of the illness have increased sharply this year compared with the last few years and in recent days the authorities have said it needs to be tackled “on a war footing”. In Colombo and others in Sri Lanka, the mosquitos that carry dengue are on the rampage. more..

Dilshan talks about scoop shot against Pakistan

Jun 13 (Gulf) Sri Lankan opener Tillekaratne Dilshan won the man of the match award against Pakistan for his quick 46 off 39 balls to provide a breezy start. His innovative shots have stunned the bowlers. All captains are finding it hard to set the field for him. When asked about his innings against Pakistan, he remarked, "It was important we get to a good start. more..

Access into Sri Lankan relief camps improves: UN

Jun 13 (PTI) United Nations humanitarian wing has said that access to camps in Vavuniya housing thousands of civilians displaced by the recently ended conflict in Sri Lanka has improved, though some delays are still being experienced. In addition, work on an additional camp in the area has begun, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, adding that workers are clearing more areas for future camps. more..

Rajapaksa committed to power sharing, feels Japan

Jun 13 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is committed to sharing power with the minorities, now that he has crushed the Tamil Tigers. This is the feeling of Japan, whose Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi held extensive discussions with the president this week. Rajapaksa told Akashi over breakfast that he realizes that defeating the LTTE does not automatically amount to ending the long-standing Tamil grievances that fuelled the ethnic conflict at the first place. more..

Terror campaign of sex attack student

Jun 14 (TIS) Sex offender Achala Dadallage groped female students walking back to their university digs in the early hours of the morning. The 27-year-old Sri Lankan struck three times at Keele University campus between November and January, grabbing his victims' breasts from behind. Dadallage, of Keele Road, Newcastle, also followed two girls round a church in Newcastle on December 23 before groping a 17-year-old's breasts on the stairway to a car park. more..

Sri Lanka approaching top gear

Jun 14 (CI) There are signs that Sri Lanka are beginning to find the sort of form which makes them so dangerous in one-day cricket. South Africa and India may have started as pre-tournament favourites, but Sri Lanka's 19-run win over Pakistan contained plenty in it to suggest they're about to hit their straps. Tillakaratne Dilshan scorched 46 from 39 to give them another flying start, an innings which contained his absurdly audacious flip-flick over the wicketkeeper's head. more..

Military officer taught LTTE cadre assassination tricks: Lanka court

Jun 14 (HT) The LTTE had made suicide assassination attempts on President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the help of a military officer on their payroll in the last six months, a criminal court was told on Friday. The revelations came after a suspected LTTE suicide cadre was arrested from Colombo. According to the army, the suspect received training in Kilinochchi for assassinating VIPs. By the army’s own admission, the attempts failed by a "whisker." more..

'We will have no regrets if UNP decides to reject the idea of political alliance'

jun 14 (LeN) Mangala Samaraweera’s name was never discussed for the post of Secretary of any alliance with UNP. On the contrary there is unanimous agreement during the discussion that the posts of Leader, General Secretary and Organizer of the proposed alliance at national, district and local levels should be reserved only for the UNP. Assuming LeN news on UNP politburo on alliance matter correctly reflects what actually happened at the UNP politburo meeting, more..

'We’ll rally the masses to defeat the attempt to implement 13th amendment'

Jun 14 (AT) “The war is over now. Some ask us why we don’t come forward to share the booty. We don’t want to that as there are devolution proposals underneath the booty. Hence we say if there is an attempt to implement the 13th amendment with maximum devolution of powers it should be defeated. We would join all progressive and patriotic masses in this country to defeat such a sinister attempt,” more..

Lord Buddha’s preaching’s reverberated in the Scottish parliament

Jun 14 (AT) On 3rd June 2009, Venerable K.Sri Rewatha Thero (Bhante), addressed the Scottish Parliament by leading Time for Reflection before the main business of the day. Although monks are members of the Sri Lankan parliament, this is the first time that a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk has had the opportunity and great honour of addressing a European parliament. Bhante Rewatha chose teachings of the Buddha as the foundation of his talk. more..

UAE Foreign Minister visits Sri Lanka

Jun 14 (AT) United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited Sri Lanka today (Saturday) – the first high level visit from that country since his father, the then Foreign Minister visited Sri Lanka in 1976. Addressing a media conference in Colombo, Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that this is a unique event in view of the highest level of engagement taking place between the two countries after nearly 35 years. more..

Family appeals over killer rapist

Jun 14 (BBC) The family of a woman raped and strangled in east London has appealed for help to find her attacker. The partially-clothed body of Michelle Samaraweera, 35, of Walthamstow, was found by a passer-by in Queens Road Park in the early hours of 30 May. Her older sister Ann Chandradasa, 37, said the family was in pieces and sickened by the manner of her death. She urged any other rape victims to come forward after police said the same man may have attacked other women. more..

Sri Lanka: The war that the West thought was a picnic

Jun 14 (AT) From a Western perspective and the likes of New York based Human Rights Watch, Sri Lanka’s war should have been fought like a picnic outing. Innocent civilians should have been asked to get to a side so that the Sri Lankan Forces and the well armed LTTE cadres could have shot at each other without harming any civilians. The LTTE personnel should also have worn T shirts or some other garment that clearly identified them as LTTE so that more..

Petition seeks freedom of movement for displaced

Jun 14 (Hindu) The Centre for Policy Alternative (CPA), a Colombo based think-tank, has filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka challenging the restrictions on the free movement of the 2.8 lakh war-displaced sheltered in government-run camps spread across three districts in the north of Sri Lanka. In its petition, the CPA said restriction of free movement of IDPs was a violation of their fundamental rights. more..

Tiger prisoner describes end of the war

Jun 14 (BBC) A former prisoner of war of the Tamil Tigers who managed to escape days before their final defeat says there was no offer from the LTTE leadership to surrender. Chaminda Kumara Hewage of the Sri Lankan navy was captured by the LTTE with six others in November 2006. The group managed to escape with fleeing civilians and Tamil Tigers early in the morning of 17 May. "Many Tamil Tigers had already surrendered and the unit guarding us also decided to give themselves up so we made use of the opportunity to flee," more..

The disappearing act in Sri Lanka

The Tamil Tigers last battle

Jun 14 (LG) The Tamil Tigers fought to the last ditch- or, more precisely, a section of swampy beach along Sri Lanka’s Northeast coast. The bloody end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year old civil war is tragic and appalling. But it may also have been the only way to end that nation’s bitter civil war. Large numbers of sick, starving, shell-shocked Tamil refugees are being herded into government security compounds. Some estimates put the number at 100,000. more..

Wars & civilian deaths

Jun 14 (LG) The world has seen civil wars, revolutions, coups, insurrections, global wars & now terrorism. All throughout civilians have been affected in some way or the other. What makes modern terrorism more lethal than the varying types of conflicts we have faced historically is that terrorism is almost invisible & the terrorist without the gun becomes more dangerous than the terrorist holding the gun. more..

Sri Lanka : ten actions

Jun 14 (LG) Every unpunished massacre in history always spawns a dozen more as those who carry out new carnages are confident they will never be condemned.“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Adolf Hitler was supposed to have said in a speech in August 1939, on the eve of Nazi Germany's invasion of neighbouring Poland. Hitler was reminding his generals of how the Ottoman Empire annihilated over more..

China diagnoses ti-lakkhana—anicca, dukkha, and anatta

Jun 14 (LG) China, the emerging superpower, has achieved its success through the pragmatic application of its three-pronged cultural inheritance based on a hybrid of Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist principles. Pragmatism, defined so elegantly by the illustrious Deng Xiaoping—“It does not matter whether a cat is black or white; if it catches mice, it’s a good cat”—illustrates the crux of Chinese multi-dimensional thinking, more..

Pressure to implement devolution as promised

Jun 14 (LG) Internationally, the presence of the old Left (Ministers Dew and Tissa with Vasu) in the government is very useful to Mahinda Rajano. In fact, in the UN Human Rights Council debate, the fact that the government document stood for devolution as a solution to the Tamil national problem helped the government immensely to get the votes of countries such as Cuba. more..

The Deal of the century

Jun 14 (SL) Harry Jayawardena must have been ecstatic back in 2002: By purchasing the controlling interest of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation for Rs. 6 billion he got for himself control of a fund worth Rs. 50 billion – nearly eight times the amount he paid! They don’t call him Goldfinger for nought. His earnest efforts to control the blue chip commercial elite in Sri Lanka came to an ignominious end when a Supreme Court bench headed by more..

‘Well-wishers will fund northern development’

Jun 14 (SL) Government Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella believes that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) would require an additional 50,000 soldiers to maintain law and order and to secure the territory once under LTTE control. Rambukwella claimed that some 16,000 sq kms were lost to the government together with two thirds of the sea but following the unification, more..

Killing that shocked Kurunegala

Jun 14 (SL) It is a sweltering hot afternoon in Kurunegala. The town is buzzing with activity and noise. All around us, we see shop fronts and factories, the normal signs of a busy, urban area. Winding through the streets, we come at last, to our destination — a large house, painted a pale orange. Black trellised iron gates open to show a well-tended garden, complete with paved walkways, bowers, and colourful flora. It is an idyllic scene. more..

60,000 IDPs held hostage… by INGOs…

Jun 14 (SL) Senior members of major local NGOs have accused major INGOs operating in the north of the country, of deliberately denying facilities to IDPs in the Wanni refugee camps, in order to humiliate and discredit the government. By limiting their cooperation with the government it is alleged that prominent INGOs are working to ensure that conditions in the camps remain as unsanitary as possible – allowing the international community to heap condemnation on more..

One horse race for Rajapaksa

Jun 14 (LB) Close confidantes of UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe have asked him not to contest against President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next presidential election so that he could win. This, they say is, in recognition of the fact that he rid the country of the scourge of terrorism. They have proposed that negotiations be held for Wickremesinghe to be prime minister. However, Wickremesinghe has vehemently objected to the proposal stating that he more..

No room for extremist fanaticism

Jun 14 (LB) India last week acknowledged that no foreign country had any role to play in Sri Lanka in terms of finding a political solution to the country’s protracted national conflict. The official website of the Government of Sri Lanka quoted Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon as telling a group of Sri Lankan editors visiting India at the invitation of Indian Government that “a political solution for the National Question is a more..

Guidelines by UGC ignored to confer honorary degrees

Jun 14 (LB) Carried away by the government’s decisive victory over the LTTE, several universities have ignored new guidelines set out by the University Grants Commission specifying conditions under which these institutions may grant honorary degrees. The University of Colombo has decided to offer honorary doctorates to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in recognition of services they rendered more..

MCNS must give okay for defence news

Jun 14 (LB) The Defence Ministry issued a communique last week stating that media institutions should first get approval from the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) before telecasting, broadcasting or publishing any defence related news. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa signed the letter which states: “At a time the Security Forces and the law enforcing authorities are fully engaged in limited defensive military action more..

China and Pak armed Lanka, India will feed it

Jun 14 (HT) China and Pakistan supplied fighter jets and automatic rifles to Sri Lanka to fight the LTTE; India could soon send tractors, manure and high-yield seeds to revive Lanka from the ruins of war. M.S. Swaminathan, who helped usher India’s green revolution, presented on Tuesday a roadmap for the revival of agriculture in northern Lankan districts to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

The disappeared

Jun 14 (Guardian) A foul-smelling monsoon closes in from the north, carrying dark clouds of ash from the Hindu funeral pyres burning along the "Highway for Peace and Unity". At the roadside, translucent glasswing butterflies flutter and dance in the charred iron shell of an old British Leyland bus, its undercarriage ripped apart and shredded like paper by a Claymore landmine. Little more than a cratered strip of asphalt running 100 miles due north from the ancient city of Anuradhapura to Jaffna, more..

Ajantha Mendis: more than a nice little turner

Jun 14 (Times) We admire players who do something different,” says Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka’s former captain. You can say that again. Sri Lankan cricket seems to encourage invention and innovation to a point where it is almost unconventional to be conventional. Jayawardene is that unique character: a solid, orthodox batsman and, until recently, level-headed leader in a team of mavericks, more..

Five Sri Lankan dead among Saudi bus crash victims

Jun 14 (AFP) Nineteen men, most of them foreign workers, were incinerated when a Saudi bus caught fire after crashing into a truck during a blinding sandstorm, a transport official said on Saturday. No one escaped from the burning bus when it hit a slow-moving truck entering the road from the shoulder lane Thursday night, an executive of the Saudi bus company SAPTCO said. "There was a big sandstorm. Nobody saw anything," he said. more..

Pension funds to be diverted as unemployment benefits

Jun 14 (LBO) A part of the pension funds of Sri Lanka's private sector workers may be diverted as unemployment benefits to those who lose jobs in the current economic crisis, a media report said. The Sunday Times newspaper said authorities are set to take out billions of rupees of unclaimed Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) money to give unemployment benefits to apparel sector workers who lost their jobs. more..

Total electrification of North by 2011

Jun 14 (GDI) The government anticipates providing the entire Northern Province with electricity within two years, under a three-phase accelerated project costing Rs. 3,750 million. “Cabinet approval has been obtained for the expansion of generation capacity in Jaffna, until the transmission cables from Vavuniya to Chunnakkam are restored,” a Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) official told The Nation. more..

‘Seat-belt law' to be enforced with immediate effect

Jun 14 (LT) Seat belt law for vehicles is to be enforced with immediate effect and the fine for offenders would range from Rs.1000 to 4000. The law would apply to old vehicles as well and owners of old vehicles are advised to fix seat belts to their vehicles if they had come without seat belts. According to regulations, first time offenders will face a fine of between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000 and second time offenders between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 3,000. more..

'Give rule of our province to us in a unitary state'

Jun 14 (LeN) “Two and half lakhs of Tamil civilians are held in camps. Over 1000 were killed. A large number was injured. Children have no parents. Mothers have lost children. Wives have lost husbands. Pregnant mothers and others lack healthcare. No houses; no water. Bathing is limited once in four days. No food; no toilets. One cannot go out since a Sinhala Army has surrounded them. more..

Five Tamil National Alliance to crack soon

Jun 14 (AT) In a dramatic turn of events in post-war politics in Sri Lanka, the once strong Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that feared the LTTE leadership, is set to crack before the next sitting of Parliament, sources close to the TNA revealed. A group of TNA MPs are reported to be disillusioned over the current state of the party and the leadership of R.Sampanthan whom they claim do not give a hearing to junior members in the alliance. more..

Private lorries to ply on A-9 highway

Jun 14 (SO) The Kandy-Jaffna A-9 highway will be opened for the first time in several years. Private traders will be permitted to operate their lorries and other convoys to the Northern peninsula from Thursday, a well-informed Government source said. Up to now only State-owned vehicles were operating services on the A-9 highway transporting food, medicines and other essential items to the North. With this new arrangement, the prices of essential commodities are likely to come down sharply in the North. more..

Talks to defuse tense situation at Kelaniya varsity

Jun 14 (SO) Higher Education Minister Prof. Visva Warnapala yesterday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) and officials of the Kelaniya University to initiate discussions between students and residents living in the outskirts of the Kelaniya University to defuse the tense situation, following the clash that took place opposite the University premises on Thursday. more..

Sinhala Literature: Need for establishment of standards

Jun 14 (SO) Prof. Wimal Dissanayake is one of the brilliant academics Sri Lanka has ever produced. He is the author of a vast number of books and academic papers on cultural studies, literary studies and cinema. Currently Prof. Dissanayake teaches at the Academy of Creative Media of the University of Hawaii and is also the Director of the Cultural Studies Program at the East-West Centre, Hawaii. more..

One-time media critics of war against LTTE, 'playing a different tune now'

Jun 14 (MoD) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that an influential section of print and electronic media which worked overtime against the ruling SLFP-led coalition as it battled the LTTE during the past three years, had now switched sides. "They are playing a different tune now," he said, accusing them of being a critical element of the overall strategy directed against the state. more..

Asoka de Silva, Sri Lanka’s 32nd Chief Justice

Jun 14 (LG) The appointment of Justice Asoka de Silva (P.C.) to the highest position in the judiciary is carefully thought of and well timed appointment by President Mahinda Rajapaksa when the country is going through the most turbulent and decisive era in the annals of history. The appointment is compatible with the 17th amendment, the seniority and all other requirements demanded for this highest and powerful position which more..