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100,000 in apparel sector have lost their jobs

Jun 15 (LT) The government has admitted that more than 100,000 people in the apparel sector have lost their jobs owing to the current world financial crisis and is making arrangements to take billions of rupees from unclaimed EPF and ETF funds to compensate them. Since the start of last year an estimated 200 garment factories have been closed down and the number would increase owing to the global crisis and other factors more..

500 taken ill after meal in temple

Jun 15 (LT) About 500 people who partook of meals served during a Hindu festival at an estate in Wedamulla, Ramboda were taken ill and admitted to Gampola, Pussellawa, Kotmale and Wahugupitiya hospitals. They developed symptoms of vomiting and purging after a meal of rice with potatoes, dhal, brinjals and pumpkin. The patients were rushed to nearby hospitals in lorries. Six people whose condition was serious were rushed to Gampola Hospital. more..

Lieutenant apprehended with van from Vanni

Jun 15 (LT) Three persons including an Army lieutenant and a police constable were apprehended with a van, T-56 rifle and several equipments by Habarana Police yesterday. Among the other goods apprehended were a motor bike without number plates, 30 T-56 ammunitions, a lap top and GPS communication equipment. The goods had been brought to Kebethigollawa earlier and while transporting them to Hasalaka they were apprehended at Irioya police check point at Habarana. more..

No security arrangements to engage in electioneering in Jaffna – JJ complains

Jun 15 (LT) UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardene has complained to the Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dishanayake that the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense has not taken any measures to provide facilities for those who intend going to Jaffna Municipal area to organize election campaign for the forthcoming local government election. Mr. Jayawardene wrote to the Commissioner of Elections on the 29th of last month asking him to more..

Ex- soldier mother fined for abandoning newborn

Jun 15 (CT) A 19-year old woman, who was arrested for abandoning her newborn, was released on a Rs. 100,000 surety by the Additional Galle Magistrate, Geethani Wijesinghe. The infant was also handed back to his mother. The suspect, a soldier who deserted the Army and a resident of Thalpe in Habaraduwa, Galle, had abandoned her baby after giving birth three months earlier. more..

Sri Lanka aims self-sufficiency in fisheries

Jun 15 (LNP) Sri Lanka can save USD 400 million annually in foreign exchange by becoming self-sufficient in fish while providing employment to thousands of people, Chairman Maubima Lanka Foundation Ariyseela Wickramanayake said. We import 61,000 tonnes of canned fish annually despite the huge trade deficit. We are already self-sufficient in maize. With the end of the war the sea around our country is free for fishing and we can be self-sufficient in fish too, he said. more..

Fishing restictions in East coast revised

Jun 15 (PSM) The government has revised the fishing restrictions in the sea off the Eastern coast today after two decades as part of the process to return the Eastern Province back to normalcy, MP Basil Rajapaksa said. However, all the fishing vessels except small boats will be allowed to do fishing right throughout the day in the outer perimeters of the Trincomalee harbour. Small boats will be allowed to engage in fishing in this area from 4 a.m. till 6 p.m. only. more..

A war the Opposition could lead

Jun 15 (LNP) UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake is to be highly commended for a query he raised in Parliament the other day. He asked the government how much President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s foreign travel in his present capacity had cost the country. It was a whopping sum as Minister Dinesh Gunawardana revealed to the House. The President has travelled abroad 18 times and the expenditure incurred is 209 million rupees! more..

Pirates capture ship with Lankans

Jun 15 (DN) At least seven Sri Lankans are believed to be on board a cargo ship hijacked by suspected Somali Pirates off the coast of the Gulf state of Oman on Saturday. According to unconfirmed sources, the Chief Engineer of the ship and several high ranking officials on board are believed to be Sri Lankans. A Foreign Ministry official confirming the incident, said they were trying to get in touch with the Lankan mission in Oman and more..

Bodies to be brought to Lanka, compensation for kin

Jun 15 (DN) Arrangements have been made to bring the bodies of five Sri Lankans who died in a major road accident in Riyadh-Dammam Highway in Saudi Arabia on Thursday night to Sri Lanka, authorities said. The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said that in addition, compensation too would be paid to the next of kin. The SLBFE added that all the deceased migrant employees were insured under the stipulated scheme ‘Sahana’. more..

Ira Handa Yata strikes real life

Jun 15 (DN) Imagine shooting in the depths of the wilderness in the zone which had been under the LTTE for the past three decades. Devise creating a movie surrounded by dangers like wild elephants, bears, snakes and other creatures of the forest. These are exactly the prospects which greeted the media team who visited the location of Bennett Rathnayake’s latest movie Ira Handa Yata. The movie is based on a striking incident which takes place during the conflict period. more..

Pilgrimage to Jaffna...

Jun 15 (DN) Twenty two years have gone by since my last visit to the northern capital of Sri Lanka, Jaffna. The Jayewardene-Gandhi accord was just signed and the then government was in a severe political crisis. Its own cabinet divided over the signing of the accord; Ministers Gamani Jayasuriya and Cyril Mathew were highly critical of the accord. Prime Minister Premadasa and National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali did not pay even lip service to it. more..

What is Sri Lanka hiding?

Jun 15 (TS) Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation. It had the right to bar Liberal MP Bob Rae and Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, from entering the country. Canada, after all, recently barred British MP George Galloway for the same reason Sri Lanka says it did Rae -- security concerns. Which just goes to show countries can act within their rights and still be wrong. Canada argued Galloway gave "material support" to Hamas. more..

Govt insists Prabhakaran killed in mangrove swamp

Jun 15 (ANN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa dismissed a statement attributed to UTHR that the army captured LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and tortured him before killing. He said that there was absolutely no truth in claims of Prabhakaran or any other hardcore being taken alive. Army Chief Lt General Sarath Fonseka and Major General Kamal Gunarathne, too, had denied reports that Prabhakaran was taken alive. more..

Road project delayed by too expensive bids

Jun 15 (LBO) Government has decided to call for fresh tenders for the Greater Colombo Urban Transport Development Project as previous bids were too high. The project, meant to ease traffic jams in Colombo, is funded by a 223 million US dollar loan from Japan, the finance ministry said in a report. It listed the project as one of the under-performing projects in 2008 as 29.2 million dollars of the disbursement target of 30.5 million for the year was not used. more..

Buttala campus for Sinhala, Muslim students selected for Eastern, Jaffna universities

Jun 15 (Island) Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof. Gamini Samaranayake told The Island yesterday that the Z scores for the enrolment of students at national universities for the academic year of 2008/ 09 would be released shortly. The UGC is awaiting re-correction results from the Examination Department. "The Examination department is to finish the re-evaluation of results. more..

Rs. 928,000 to maintain each ministry

Jun 15 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged that a huge Rs.928,000 was spent monthly for the upkeep of each minister and his staff, and said it was high time the government thought out its strategy of rebuilding the country by reducing the giant cabinet. UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara told a news conference the government should practise what it preached and reduce the giant cabinet and thereby cut down its expenses for the sake of the nation. more..

TNA calls for explanation from Kishor

Jun 15 (DM) The TNA said yesterday that it would call for explanations from its Wanni district MP Sivanathan Kishor for abstaining from voting on the extension of Emergency Regulations in Parliament last Tuesday. Mr. Kishor abstained from voting on the day despite all his party colleagues voting against the emergency as usual. TNA MP N. Sri Kantha told Daily Mirror that Mr. Kishor would be asked to give an explanation on his decision at the next parliamentary group meeting of the TNA. more..

President outlines two challenges: Rehabilitation livelihood renewal

Jun 15 (moD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa currently on a State visit to Myanmar said that his latest challenge is to rehabilitate the war torn region and bring normalcy to the lives of the people. The 30 year old cruel war against terrorism cost 100,000 lives, he said. Expressing satisfaction at being able to successfully conclude the humanitarian operation against terrorism, the President said his visit to Myanmar is the first one after the victory. more..

UNP group wants common candidate

Jun 15 (DM) A group of UNP MPs are trying to work out a consensus among opposition political parties to field a common candidate at the next Presidential Election with a pledge to abolish the executive presidency within three months after the election. An MP representing this group told Daily Mirror yesterday they were now attempting to reach a consensus among all the members of the UNP parliamentary group before approaching the other parties in the opposition. more..

Big battle looms at Consumer Affairs Authority

Jun 15 (Island) Trouble is brewing again at the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) with its Chairman Rumy Marzook and Director General Mrs. R. K. Jayasooriya on a collision course. Marzook, a former Prisons Commissioner walked out of a recent meeting following a heated exchange of words with the former army officer fueling speculation that they readying for a major confrontation. more..

Burma-Sri Lanka Connection: Religion and Terrorism

Jun 15 (TI) Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapakse paid an official visit to Burma to cement ties between the two countries. Burma was the first country to be visited by President Mahindra Rajapakse after his government defeated the Tamil Tigers guerrilla forces in May. Inside sources in Burma said that Burmese military leaders who recently launched a military offensive against Karen rebels in eastern Burma were impressed by Mahindra Rajapakse’s military strategy used against the Tamil tigers. more..

Govt. seeks election deal with EPDP, DTNA

Jun 15 (DM) The government said yesterday it hoped to accommodate the EPDP led by Douglas Devananda and the Democratic Tamil National Alliance (DTNA) led by V. Anandasangaree at the elections to the Jaffna Municipal Council and the Vavuniya Municipal Council under the betel symbol. Minister and SLFP general secretary Maithripala Sirisena told Daily Mirror a final decision would be taken after President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned from Myanmar. more..

Men who killed Thamilselvam speak

Jun 15 (Island) With the war against the LTTE spearheaded by the army coming to an end, the armed forces had discussed some of the operations undertaken by them, ranging from raids conducted by LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols) deep inside enemy-held territory, to bloody ground assaults in the Vanni theatre. In brief interviews with The Island, Commanding Officers of SLAF Jet Squadrons, Group Captain Sajeewa Hendawitharane (MiGs/No 12), more..

State pumped in half a billion rupees to defunct public enterprises

Jun 15 (Island) The Government Treasury said Rs. 506 million was paid into defunct public enterprises in 2008 while 48 out of 92 companies the government had invested in had paid dividends at lease once during the past eight years. "Out of 92 companies, on average, 75 percent of the them have not paid dividends during the last eight years which is not an acceptable situation, given the large investments that the government has made," more..

Sri Lanka military says rebel sub found

Jun 15 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops have recovered the first submarine believed to have been used by the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, the military has said. Troops found the 24-foot submersible on the coast of the northeastern district of Mullaittivu, where the LTTE were defeated last month, ending decades of ethnic conflict. "It had reportedly been used by the LTTE, most probably by their senior cadres, for clandestine sea movements before the LTTE was wiped out," more..

Pakistan gifts ambulances to Sri Lanka

Jun 16 (APP) The Government of Pakistan, through its High Commission in Colombo, gifted three fully equipped and high-roof ambulances to the Health Ministry of the Government of Sri Lanka. The High Commissioner, Shaheen A. Gilani, handed over the keys of the ambulances to Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. In his brief remarks, Gilani said that the gift of ambulances was only a token of the high esteem and affection of the Government and people of Pakistan for more..

Employees strike work at Dehiwela Zoo

Jun 16 (CT) Employees of the Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela briefly struck work today (June 15) to demand the elimination of their salary anomalies and granting the transfers due to them. As there was no staff to give food to the animals in the zoo, the animals had become agitated during the morning. The media had been prevented from accessing the zoo, sources said. Latest reports said the strike ended around 1.00 pm, and the animals given their food. more..

UNP asks govt. to allow foreign monitors to north polls

Jun 16 (CT) Terrorism of the LTTE may have ended, but the ruling party is unleashing state-sponsored terrorism in Jaffna and Vavuniya in the north to target upcoming local government polls there, alleged UNP councilor Rohana Gamage. Mr. Gamage, who represents the north central provincial council, told the media in Colombo, Sri Lanka today (June 15) the government should immediately allow foreign election monitors access to the two areas. more..

Bob Rae, The Sunday Times and Wikipedia

Jun 16 (GV) In what may be a first for a Sunday newspaper in Sri Lanka, a reference from Wikipedia is used to buttress a case for the alleged pro-LTTE bias of Canadian Liberal MP Bob Rae, recently deported from Sri Lanka after first being issued a visa to enter. The Sunday Times has a full page devoted to a rather long-winded story titled Lanka’s dual track foreign relations. more..

Enigma of Prabhakaran and the Tamil Tigers

Jun 16 (GV) Both in life and death, Veluppillai Prabhakaran divides rather than unites the Tamils in particular, Sri Lankans as a whole. Therein lie the enigma of Prabhakaran (Thambi Anna to me), whom I first met almost thirty years ago in August 1979, and the Tamil Tigers. “Assuming the LTTE finished is fantasy masquerading as fact”, exclaimed a self-styled ‘leftist’ academic (Sri Lankan born American), namely Qadri Ismail, on March 1, 2009. more..

Sri Lanka Twenty20 'favourites'

Jun 16 (BBC) Sri Lanka having qualified for the semi finals are the favourites to win the World Twenty20 currently being held in England says former Indian player and selector V B Chandrasekar. Being a "fantastic bowling side," Sri Lanka has the best possibilities of clinching the trophy with the exit of India having been beaten by England on Sunday, he says. “If at all Sri Lanka have some problems it is with their batting” more..

Two South Korean Navy ships arrive on goodwill visit to Sri Lanka

Jun 16 (MoD) Two ships belonging to the Republic of Korea Navy, ROKS Choi Young (DDH 981) and ROKS Dae Cheong (AOE 58), have arrived on a goodwill visit to Sri Lanka today (15th of June 2009). The two ships, belonging to the 2009 Cruise Training Task Group (CTTG) of the ROK Navy, will stay in Sri Lanka from the 15th to the 18th of June as a part of their annual cruise training programme. more..

Sri Lanka 1Q state revenues down 8.2-pct

Jun 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state revenues fell 8.2 percent to 144.9 billion rupees in the first quarter of 2009, while rising expenses have ballooned the gap in the current account of the budget to an unprecedented level. In the first two months of 2009 revenues fell 10.6 percent with tax revenues falling 12.7 percent. In the first three months to March the total revenues fall has been contained at 8.2 percent from 158.0 billion rupees and more..

Blessings invoked on President Rajapaksa at the historic Shwedagon Pagoda

Jun 16 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was warmly received at the Shwedagon Pagoda, in Yangon, formerly Rangoon, this afternoon by the Director General, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Buddhist Monks, Trustee of the Pagoda, Shwedagon U Ba Shwe and area Commanders of the Army. Thereafter, the President and the Sri Lankan delegation participated in religious observances where they were blessed by the Buddhist monks who also chanted pirith. more..

Reconciliation needed after celebration

Jun 16 (SLW) The phase of public celebration reached its climax with the victory commemoration event and military parade of last Wednesday at Galle Face Green. In a manner that accorded with the past traditions of rulership of the island, President Mahinda Rajapaksa received scrolls from the commanders of the security forces apprising him of duties well done, and of victory, the end of war and the unification of the country. more..

Implementing 13th amendment through elections

Jun 16 (SLW) Shortly after its military victory over the LTTE in the north, the government decided to call for local government elections in the two largest northern cities of Jaffna and Vavuniya. Most of the opposition political parties have protested this urgency on the grounds that the situation in the north is far from normal and that the people are in no mood for an election. more..

The Diaspora created the Tigers; not vice-versa

Jun 16 (SLW) While agreeing with much of what John Thompson (‘What Next for the Tamil Tigers?’, 8 June) says, I should point out that he is wrong on two counts: (1) He refers to the Tigers as a ‘guerrilla army’. In fact the LTTE has been fighting as a conventional army for at least a decade. It has used units as guerrillas for some operations, and has waged urban guerrilla war against the civilian population of the south. more..

Sinha Regiment’s lionhearted bravery kills Charles Anthony

Jun 16 (LG) The leadership provided by 12 Sinha Regiment (SR), to kill Prabhakaran`s son Charles Anthony, has come in for much praise. 12 SR was commanded by Major Anil Perera. The second-in-command was Major Lakshman Wedagama. At the time the Tiger hierarchy were planning to escape to the Nanthikadal lagoon from Wellamullaivaikkal, 12 SR’s Bravo Company, were guarding the camp of the second defense line, more..

Tables turn on the diaspora

Jun 16 (LG) 1. capitalized a: the settling of scattered colonies of Jews outside Palestine after the Babylonian exile b: the area outside Palestine settled by Jews c: the Jews living outside Palestine or modern Israel 2 a: the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland b:people settled far from their ancestral homelands c: the place where these people live. more..

Youth 'disappear' from IDP camps

Jun 16 (BBC) An international award winning human rights activist in Sri Lanka says that nearly 20-30 youth have been disappearing from camps in Vavuniya daily. But Sri Lanka government rejects the accusation. Sunila Abeysekara told BBC Sandeshaya that rights activists have received credible reports of regular abductions in the camps. "We accept that the government has the right to search the camps for security reasons. But our concern is that there is no formal registration process," more..

Hard Talk with Erik Solheim: Part 3

Hard Talk with Erik Solheim: Part 2

Hard Talk with Erik Solheim: Part 1

Attacks on journalists slammed

Jun 16 (UCAN) Religious leaders, civic activists and journalists have expressed concern over attacks on media personnel reporting on violence and corruption in the country. "Stop paramilitary attacks on journalists!" shouted activists during a June 10 protest in Colombo. The event saw hundreds of people taking to the streets to highlight the plight of journalists reporting on civil-war issues and state and civil-level corruption. more..

Hot battle for spot in final four

Jun 16 (CI) It's quite simple - the winner goes into the semi-finals and the loser heads home. A second-round exit would be slightly unfair on the undefeated Sri Lanka, but they can avoid the trapdoor with another committed performance when they face New Zealand, who have a much healthier net run-rate despite a win and a loss in the Super Eights. Sri Lanka's first-up success against Australia was followed by wins over West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland, more..

Sri Lanka apparel maker in post-war manufacture

Jun 16 (LBO) Brandix, a top Sri Lankan apparel maker, is planning to boost production at a factory built in Batticaloa, a former war-torn area in the east of the island where ex-female Tiger combatants are also working, an official said. "Our current production is 20,000 pieces and we want to push it up to 50,000 pieces," Theodore Gunasekara, general manager, intimate apparels at Brandix Lanka said. more..

Ambassador: Sri Lanka working to resettle Tamils

Jun 16 (AP) Sri Lanka's ambassador to the United States says his nation's leaders are working to resettle 300,000 ethnic Tamil civilians displaced by civil war. Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya spoke on Monday to an audience at Georgia State University. He denied allegations that ethnic Tamils are being held in welfare camps against their will and said the government is working to get the Tamils back into their homes within six months. more..

Kiwis rely on inside knowledge over Mendis

Jun 16 (AFP) New Zealand hope they can benefit from inside knowledge on Sri Lanka's mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis in their crucial World Twenty20 clash at Trent Bridge on Tuesday. Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori has turned to teammate Brendon McCullum who played with Mendis in the Kolkata team at the IPL. "Fortunately Brendon was at Kolkata with him and saw quite a bit of him," said Vettori. more..

Sri Lanka: task of livelihood rehabilitation

Jun 16 (Hindu) The war has ended, but the struggle for economic survival is just beginning for the Tamil population of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Peace has come, but for it to last a union of hearts is essential. Thus the Tamil population of Sri Lanka needs both peace and bread with human dignity to become proud citizens of the beautiful country that is linked spiritually to India through Buddhism. more..