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SLMC, independent group lists rejected in Jaffna

Jun 25 (TN) The election authorities in Jaffna rejected the lists of SLMC) and an independent group headed by Arumugam Sellathurai to contest for the Jaffna Municipal Council elections as the lists were not complying with requirements of documentation, officials in Jaffna said Thursday. It is a statuary requirement that at least 12 of the candidates should be below the age of 35 and the rejected groups failed more..

Joseph Michael Perera resigns from Negombo

Jun 25 (LT) Chief Whip of the Opposition, UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera has resigned from the post of chief organizer of the UNP in Negombo. According to reliable sources Mr. Perera has handed over the letter of resignation through Secretary General of the UNP Tisa Attanayake to party Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe who has accepted Mr. Perera’s resignation. more..

European Commission places conditions for Sri Lanka to avail of grant

Jun 25 (SLW) Five million Euros allocated by the European Commission to provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people following the civil war is welcome. In the overall handling of this kind of assistance whether foreign or local, these efforts should be on a partnership basis dove-tailing into whatever the Government of Sri Lanka has undertaken on such a massive scale. more..

Dengue combat program decentralised

Jun 25 (GDI) Ten Deputy Directors General of the Health Ministry have been appointed to coordinate the Dengue prevention programmes in ten selected districts and it is expected to spend Rs. 6.8 million on dengue prevention programmes. This decision was taken at a discussion held last evening chaired by Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva. At the discussion, the minister commended dengue prevention programmes implemented so far and said they should be further strengthened. more..

Heroin haul hidden in artificial potatos

Jun 25 (GDI) The Customs yesterday blew the lid off a novel method smuggle in heroin into the country when they made a raid at the Orugodawatte RSK Yard and detected over two kilos of heroin concealed in artifial potatos inside a 40 foot container. The heroin was valued over Rs.12 million. They said that the raid made a break for investigators to probe novel methods adopted by drug barons to smuggle narcotics into the country. more..

Early fruits of peace in Sri Lanka

Jun 25 (UPI) The fruits of the government's decisive military victory over the LTTE, with regard to improving the lives of the people, are already becoming evident. The government's sweeping announcement that all restrictions on fishing in the northern seas have been removed is welcome news to the people in the north. The government also announced that the A9 Highway would open for the transport of commercial items. more..

Gotabaya did Defence Studies at Madras University

Jun 25 (EB) Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who played a pivotal role in militarily defeating the LTTE, has an MSc in Defence Studies from the University of Madras. According to the Department of Information website, Gotabaya completed a course at the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, Nilgiris, in 1983. more..

Student from London has ‘swine flu’

Jun 25 (LT) Laboratory tests carried out in Colombo have revealed that an eighteen year old student who had arrived from London has been infected with Swine flu (New Influenza – H1N1). The student studying in London arrived in Sri Lanka on the 22nd and has got himself admited to IDH at Angoda complaining of fever. At present four patients identified with New Influenza – H1N1 are being treated at IDH, Angoda and more..

Champika’s ‘Dharma Rajya’ levies tax for meditation

Jun 25 (LT) The Department of Forest Conservation under the Ministry of Environment has introduced a new tax scheme for forest hermitages. According to this new scheme tax would be levied according to land area of the hermitage. Accordingly, if the area of the hermitage is less than two acres the assessment tax would be Rs.250.00, Rs.300.00 would be levied for every acre that is from 3 to 5 acres and Rs.500.00 for every acre when the hermitage has more than five acres. more..

Promotion of National Integration through religious and cultural activities Multi Cultural show

Jun 25 (GDI) National Integration programme Unit (NIPU) funtioning under the Ministry of Constitunal Affairs and National Intergration has designed a Multi Cultural Show for the Promotion of better understanding among communities through artistic and aesthetic activities. The show will be held on the 29th June 2009 at the Rehabilitation Centre for Ex-Combatants, Ambepussa. more..

Tholangamuwa bus-van collision kills six

Jun 25 (LP) A private bus and a van collided at Tholangamuwa, Warakapola last evening killing six people. Over 15 others have received injuries due to the accident and the conditions of 12 injured are critical. It is reported that there are 04 children among the injured. Four people have died immediately and two others succumbed to their injuries after they were admitted to hospital. Among the dead were 03 females and 03 males. more..

Six priests held prisoner and in solitary confinement in refugee camps

Jun 25 (AN) Six Catholic priests are kept in isolation in the camps of Sri Lanka. The bishop of Jaffna has requested their release, but has not yet received any response from the Ministry of Defense. A humanitarian worker working in the fields in which 300 thousand displaced persons live tells their story and denounces the disappearance of three government doctors who had circulated the figures of the dead during the last days of war between the army and Tamil Tigers. more..

Undercover LTTE agent gunned down

Jun 25 (MoD) Soldiers gunned down an undercover LTTE cadre at Iyattalai in Jaffna last morning. According to the defence sources, troops detected the terrorist during a special search conducted in the Kodikamam area. The search operation was launched on civilian information revealing terrorists presence in the area. "As the troops passing IYATTALAI area around 8.00 a.m., troops observed one suspect hiding himself behind a bush and attempting to throw a hand grenade towards them. more..

Citizenship to 29,489 Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu refugee camps

Jun 25 (LT) An interim report was presented to the Parliament yesterday on 29,489 Sri Lankans living in 117 refugee camps in India as “stateless” people who are to be awarded citizenship in Sri Lanka and resettle them said Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee tasked with bringing back Sri Lankans of Indian origin living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekar. more..

Govt. must think of the challenges and country's problems instead of endless celebrations and self glorification

Jun 25 (LNP) The war victory does not give cause to the Govt. to celebrate and for the President to use it to self glorify forever. There are greater challenges and urgent burning problems of the people to solve as they made the greatest sacrifices enduring all the hardships imposed by the Govt. blaming on the war while the Forces made their sacrifices in the field , said S.B. Dissanayake more..

Our losing battle against corruption

Jun 25 (LNP) The main reason why Sri Lanka failed to win her war on terror for nearly three decades was that she never made an attempt to account for terrorist leaders. The military was made to launch much advertised large scale operations scores of miles away from Prabhakaran`s bunker. The country under successive governments naturally suffered more losses than victories. The inevitable outcome was that terrorism thrived and grew resistant to traditional remedies. more..

Astrologer arrested

Jun 25 (LNW) 'Irudina' astrology columist, Chandrasiri Bandara has been arrested by the officers of the CID, yesterday night at his home at Thalawathugoda. Mr. Bandara was taken away by the CID officers, saying that they need to clarify a news article which was published in weekend sinhala news paper 'Irudina'- a sister paper of " Sunday Leader". Mr. Bandara was the key speaker of the workshop held recently, organised by the Media & Propaganda Committe of UNP, more..

Deadly Dengue deprives a young mother of her life

Jun 25 (LP) 28 year old pregnant mother, Sewwandi Agalawatta in Weligalla Udunuwara who was suffering from dengue fever died after delivering her baby at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital on 23rd of June. When contacted Preradeniya Teaching Hospital sources disclosed that the victim to Dengue the young mother of 29 had died on 23rd and death certificate received on the 24th at Teaching Hospital. more..

Season of the Spirit Bear: Part 3

Politicians, intellectuals join forces against authoritarian presidency and dictatorial constitution

Jun 25 (AN) Sri Lanka is run by an authoritarian presidency under a dictatorial constitution, this according to Platform for Freedom (PFF), a group that includes opposition lawmakers, civil society groups, human rights activists and intellectuals. Some 800 representatives of the various organisations that belong to the PFF met yesterday in Negombo, north of Colombo, to express their opposition to more..

The Police reprimanded for not apprehending suspects of Nandana Balage murder

Jun 25 (LT) The suspects of the murder of JVP member Nandana Balage were able to obtain bail within a short period of 16 days due to the bias of police officers said the counsel for the plaintiffs when the case was heard before Additional District Judge. He said failure to apprehend the driver of the double cab involved in the murder and the two vans that were present at the murder scene is good proof that more..

Uva polls on August 8

Jun 25 (DN) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday set August 8 as the date for the elections to the Uva Provincial Council. The UNP and the JVP were among the major political parties who handed in their nomination lists yesterday. All nominations had been submitted by 12 noon yesterday. Badulla Returning Officer Rohana Keerthi Dissanayake said. The UPFA had already filed their nomination papers on Tuesday. more..

Ragging, irreparable damage to the mind

Jun 25 (DN) These sessions are repeated in the morning and evening daily for almost six to seven weeks which constitute about half the 15 weeks of the first academic semester or 5.8 percent of the entire duration of stay in the University for a student following a four year special degree course. The intensity of these sessions not only create physical fatigue but also mental exhaustion often leading to a few students collapsing and having to admit to the University Health Center. more..

Twenty percent bonus interest on RFC, NRFC accounts

Jun 25 (DN) The Government is seeking Parliamentary approval for a supplementary estimate of Rs. 1,500 million to meet the expenditure on the payment of 20 percent bonus interest on RFC and NRFC accounts and payment of interest premium for "Economic Resurgence Certificates." The proposal on this supplementary estimate was moved in Parliament yesterday by the Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene. more..

Highway going at snail’s pace: DM

Jun 25 (DM) Taking a swipe at the slow construction work of the proposed highways Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne said in Parliament yesterday that delays in constructing these highways were unjustifiable. “One cannot understand as to why the relevant authorities are taking so much time to build these highways,” the Minister said speaking during the debate on the Road Development Authority Amendment Bill, in the House yesterday. more..

Wimal warns of Opp. bid to exploit IDP issue at Northern polls

Jun 25 (Island) National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, on Tuesday (June 23) accused the UNP-led opposition of making a political issue out of displaced civilians accommodated in welfare camps in Vavuniya and Jaffna districts. He said that the opposition would cause a furore over the issue, thereby paving the way for international interference. more..

Hot air over USD 50 million Indian loan

Jun 25 (Island) State Revenue and Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya yesterday (24) told parliament that the National Savings Bank had borrowed US dollar 50 million from India’s ICICI Bank and had lent it to the government. Minister Siyamabalapitiya answering a question raised by UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake said the loan was borrowed on October 22, 2007. more..

Facelift for Northern archaeological sites

Jun 25 (DN) A committee comprising leading archaeologists in the country, representatives of ministries and directors of Cultural and Archeology Departments, will be appointed by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, to protect and rehabilitate archaeological sites in the North. The Prime Minister has agreed to initiate, implement and monitor projects for the management of archaeological sites and historic monuments in the North more..

Speaker regrets any pain of mind caused to Minister Siyambalapitiya

Jun 25 (Island) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara yesterday said that he regretted if there was any pain of mind caused to State Revenue and Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya by a statement made by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake on previous day. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake on Tuesday made a statement in Parliament alleging that Minister Siyambalapitiya had recommended the granting permission to re-open a liquor shop shut down by the Excise Department. more..

VAT case: Witness remanded

Jun 25 (DM) A witness in the country’s biggest VAT fraud case of Rs. 3.9 billion was remanded by the Colombo High Court yesterday for allegedly giving false evidence. High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa remanded the prosecution witness Mohamed Housain Nirshak, following an application made by Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluvihare who complained that the witness was giving false evidence. more..

FM’s foreign travel costs Rs 10,512,716

Jun 25 (Island) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has spent Rs. 10,512,716 for 25 visits abroad since January 2008 upto last month, Parliament was told. Of this amount Rs. 10,188,617 has been spent on airfaire and the balance of Rs. 324,099 had beent spent as other expenses, Foreign Minister Bogollagama told Parliament. The highest amount Rs. 19,598,79 was spent on his visit to Brazil on 12/9/2008. more..

Lokuge holds up media manager

Jun 25 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) important media manager’s post has been turned into a joke with Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge holding back the appointment of former television host Brian Thomas, the Daily Mirror learns. Thomas’ was unanimously picked by Sri Lanka Cricket as its new media manager from as many as 40 applicants but Lokuge, the virtual de facto SLC head, has put on hold approval for Thomas. more..

Grant Tamils, the status enjoyed before independence: William

Jun 25 (DM) Newly appointed TNA MP Thomas William in Parliament yesterday called on the government to grant the Tamils, the status they enjoyed before the country gained independence. Speaking during the debate on the Road Development Authority (Amendment Bill) in the House yesterday Mr. William said all communities in this country could co-exist peacefully as Sri Lankans if such status was granted to Tamils. more..

Bank of Ceylon expands services to refugees

Jun 25 (LBO) Bank of Ceylon has expanded its services inside camps housing nearly 280,000 refugees in the north of the island, adding mobile computerized branches housed in shipping containers. Last week the bank added four retail units to its existing branch in the Manik Farm refugee camp complex in the northern Vavuniya district. "These are fully fledged semi-permanent banking units that even have automated teller machines (ATM) facilities," more..

New life after LTTE rout

Jun 25 (AN) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella sat down with Arab News recently to talk about government priorities following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. “We want to give the members of the Tamil community jobs both inside and outside Sri Lanka since they have been victims of the war and they were practically immobilized in rebel-held territories in the north and east of the island for a considerable period of time,” he said. more..

A way out for Sri Lanka's child soldiers

Jun 25 (IT) Ranjendran has the acne and somewhat awkward gait of many a 17-year-old schoolboy. He has already completed is O-Levels and is studying for his A-Level examinations, the local equivalent of the Leaving Certificate. He says he would like to be a teacher in the future, an aspiration that possibly comes from having his own childhood brutally cut short. Ranjendran pulls up his sleeve to reveal a fearful scar arching down his forearm, just below the elbow. more..

Solving inequality Sri Lanka's next challenge

Jun 25 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a 25-year war with the Tamil Tigers long viewed as unwinnable, but now faces the challenge of reducing social and economic inequality that fueled that war and other insurgencies. The effective end in May of the Tamil Tigers' rebellion is no guarantee of long-term peace unless the government can also deal with the root causes that linked the Tiger fight with two bloody Marxist uprisings, analysts say. more..

Uthuru Mithuru - "Yal Devi" train

Sri Lanka sets date for first post-war polls

Jun 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka on August 8 will hold elections for the first time since declaring victory over the Tamil Tigers last month, the government said on Thursday. The local government polls will take place in Jaffna and Vavuniya, two cities that were at the periphery of the territory controlled by the LTTE for most of the 25-year separatist war. The upcoming elections are aimed at entrenching a civilian administration in an area wracked by war for decades. more..

Sri Lanka lifts travel alerts after defeating rebels

Jun 25 (BN) Sri Lanka is lifting travel alerts for the country after the defeat of the rebel LTTE as it wants to attract tourists to the South Asian island, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “We have ended the need for travel advisories that crippled tourism,” Rajapaksa said. “With terrorism defeated after three decades, our people can now travel freely. Tourists should have no fear to visit our attractions.” more..

Depressed prices lead to downturn in Coconut industry

Jun 26 (FP) President of the Coconut Growers’Association, (CGA) Parakrama Jayatilleke said concerns facing the industry would be discussed at the CGA AGM at the BMICH on the 27th of this month. He said there were substantial depressants causing serious dissent among coconut growers which led to dangerous consequences to the industry; more importantly that many such coconut land owners would eventually be lead to penury. more..

Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral ties with Slovenia

Jun 26 (ISRIA) The importance of bilateral interests as opposed to multilateral compulsions in shaping relations between two countries was underscored by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama during his discussion with Miklavz Borstnik, Charge d’ Affaires of Slovenia, who is on a two day visit to Sri Lanka coinciding with the National Day of Slovenia. The Minister observed that strong bonds of friendship within the international community would be more..

Summary of Cabinet Decisions

Jun 26 (GDI) Cabinet approved a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Finance and Planning Mahinda Rajapaksa to extend the service of the two rating agencies namely, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) as per the advise given by the Attorney General, to authorize the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to sing agreements with the two rating agencies on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and more..

Foreign employment goes to East today

Jun 26 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLFEB) will open a new office in the East to promote foreign employment opportunities to the people in those areas, a news release issued by the Government Information Department said today. A centre to train personnel in vocations suitable for overseas employment will be an additional feature in this promotion scheme meant to educate the eastern people on values of more..

'Clandestine trip by Rajapakses to India is suspicious'

Jun 26 (LT) The clandestine tour carried out by Basil Rajapakse, Gotabhaya Rajapakse and other senior government officials is very suspicious says Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He said this addressing a rally held under the theme “Tigers have been defeated – Here’s the path to develop the Motherland” at Anuradhapura yesterday (24th). more..

Our Lady of Madhu feast on August 15

Jun 26 (GDI) Catholics will celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Madhu on August 15 under state patronage and all arrangements have been made to hold the "Annual Madhu Feast" on a grand scale, the Ministry of Religious Affairs said. The Catholic community in the country have expressed their gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Government and the Armed Forces for liberating the nation from terrorism more..

Parliament passes chief-of-defence-staff bill

Jun 26 (CT) Parliament today (June 25) passed with amendments a bill that introduces the chief-of-defence-staff position for the armed forces. Prime minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake presented this bill 16 days ago. According to the bill, the CDS will be responsible for the coordination of activities between the armed forces and the Defence Ministry. The CDS shall, subject to the discretion of the President, hold office for a term of two years. more..

15-year schoolgirl raped & killed

Jun 26 (CT) A 15-year old student of Ellawala Maha Vidyalaya in Eheliyagoda has been abducted, raped and killed in a jungle area in Ellawala, police say. The victim, identified as Kushani Piyumi Madhushika, was returning home after a prefects' meeting after school hours when the incident occurred. She has a twin brother as well as two other siblings. Though the assailant had hurled the dead body over a cliff, it has got stuck among tree roots of the hill. more..

Burning of newspapers doesn't augur well for free elections: TNA

Jun 26 (TN) "We do not believe that the elections are going to be free and fair. The burning of newspapers on the eve of nominations raises a big question about the circumstances under which the elections are going to be conducted," said TNA Parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah and Suresh Premachandran at a press conference Thursday afternoon after tending nominations for the Jaffna Municipal Council elections. more..

Tamil woman journalist abducted, later released

Jun 26 (TN) Tamil journalist, Ms Krishni Kandasamy, was abducted by unidentified persons in a white van Wednesday morning from Wattala in Colombo division, and was released later in the evening the same day in Kandy in the central province after being interrogated. She had been working for a leading Tamil daily published from Colombo, Virakesari, for 10 years, according to complaints lodged with the Wattala Police. more..