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It’s trendy to shed tears for IDPs here

Jun 27 (Island) A £1m government scheme to help failed asylum seekers and their children return home resulted in just one family leaving Britain – BBC Headline. Could the British Government be so generous about asylum seekers and their children? Nothing like it; this is just the cost of a dismal failure. And the story reveals something more that is good for us, and BBC that ran the story, to chew on. more..

Workers get raw deal from lack of defined rules

Jun 27 (Island) A recent ILO study on the impact of the global economic crisis on labour and industrial relations in Sri Lanka shows that the traditional unequal bargaining power of workers has been sharply skewed in favour of employers while structural deficiencies of labour authorities has further widened the gap. "There are institutional problems at the Department of Labour. more..

Arnold misses the Mike

Jun 27 (DM) Retired batsman Russel Arnold will have to wait until the end of August to secure any television contract as he is presently on a three month “cooling down” period after Sri Lanka Cricket decided to lift a ban on players who took part in the Indian Cricket League, the Daily Mirror learns. Arnold, who became a television commentator after he retired in 2007, sought a stint with Ten Sports for Sri Lanka’s home series with Pakistan and more..

Profusion of imported food ads, hinders local food drive

Jun 27 (Island) Boosting imported food through various means will be a challenge to the local food drive. Measures should be taken to curtail the intensive publicity campaign carried out to promote imported food items, said Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa at a workshop held at the Ayurvedic Hospital of the Central Provincial Council at Pallekele on the importance of local food consumption for students. more..

Repression, thy colour is white!

Jun 27 (LNP) There seems to be no end to the much dreaded `white van` operations against the media. The latest victim is journalist Krishni Ifham, wife of one of The Island staffers. She was waylaid near her residence in Wattala on Wednesday morning, bundled into a white van and taken all the way to Kandy. She was interrogated on her professional work for hours before being released in the evening. more..

With white van culture, draconian media control laws not needed - Hakim

Jun 27 (Island) SLMC leader Rauff Hakim told Parliament yesterday that there was no need to bring in draconian legislation to suppress the media as the journalist fraternity practices self regulation. He jokingly added that there was no immediate need for press council law since there is a white van culture, obviously referring to the abduction of Inter News Journalist Krishni Ifham who was abducted in a white van more..

Unawatuna tourist village is gradually fading away

Jun 27 (DM) A coastal village of Unawatuna, a few miles off Galle, located in a lovely and attractive countryside with a beautiful sea front which has been a popular tourist destination is declining today. Thousands of people who depended on tourism and while the business community made representations in this regard to the relevant authorities is of no avail. They expressed concern for ignoring their request to restore the past glory of Unawatuna tourist village. more..

Little Sri Lanka gets a big boost

Jun 27 (Silive) Manhattan has its Little Italy and now Staten Island has its Little Sri Lanka. The city plans to promote the Tompkinsville enclave during an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging residents to visit the city's "exotic" locales as a cheaper alternative this summer to out-of-town -- or even out-of-the-country -- vacations. To drive home that point, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) lunched yesterday at Dosa Garden, more..

Analysis: Why do politicians cheat?

Jun 27 (AP) What is it with philandering politicians? Why do men in power — the ones on pedestals — think they are above us and can get away with cheating on their spouses, particularly when media scrutiny is so intense and peccadilloes are arguably more politically damaging than in the past? There's a long list of those who thought they could jet off to Argentina, or cruise on the Monkey Business, or check into a hotel under an assumed name or more..

An adventurous tropical island getaway beckons summer fun seekers

Jun 27 (MEE) This summer Sri Lanka offers the adventurous holiday maker an exciting array of options. The Indian Ocean island is rapidly becoming a destination of choice for those who want a stimulating vacation to recharge their batteries and energise their outlook. Whether it's wandering calmly over the lush central highlands, hanging in a wicker basket as you gaze over the breathtaking views passing lazily beneath you, or more..

Nimal defends curbs on media freedom

Jun 27 (DM) House Leader and senior Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday the media should not be allowed to enjoy unbridled freedom, claiming that Press Councils existed in most countries and should be looked at in a wider perspective. “We have seen journalists practicing their profession with so much freedom. We must also look at it from the side of the aggrieved party. more..

Dark tales of Tamil ex-child soldiers

Jun 27 (BBC) At a camp situated on top of a hill overlooking scenic rubber and coconut plantations in Sri Lanka, more than 100 former Tamil Tiger child soldiers are undergoing a year-long rehabilitation course. Bala, who is now 17 years old, was one of the child soldiers who swelled the ranks of the feared LTTE. "LTTE cadres took me away when I was 13. First I found it hard to carry the rifle. Then I got used to it. I went to the frontline and fired at the troops," he said. more..

Five boats, 25 Lankan fishermen arrested off Chennai

Jun 28 (AT) Five Sri Lankan fishing boats illegally fishing in Indian waters, about 35 nautical miles northeast of Krishnapattinam, near Andhra Pradesh, was arrested on Wednesday, and fish catch impounded. The 25 Lankan in the boats were produced before a city magistrate and were remanded to Puzhal jail. They all are Singala fishermern. The Indian coast guard ship ‘Sarang’ in coordination with a coast guard dornier aircraft while on patrol, spotted the boats. more..

People's Bank gets adequate capital, rating lifted by Fitch

Jun 28 (LBO) Fitch Sri Lanka has upgraded state-run People's Bank's (PB) long term rating by one notch to 'A(lka)' from 'A-(lka)' and changed its outlook to 'stable' from 'positive' at the new level, after reaching minimum capital requirements. The bank's individual rating has been revised to 'D/E' from 'E'. Its support rating has been confirmed at '4'. PB's national long-term rating has been upgraded after achieving minimum capital adequacy ratios and more..

The turn against the ‘rapacious West’ and the re-turn of communalism

Jun 28 (TC) “The rapacious West” was the epithet Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike flung at the West, feeding off the anti-imperialist fodder of the 1960s. That was during her first stint as PM and she chose the occasion of a State Banquet in Beijing to deliver the insult. J.R. Jayewardene, famous for his after dinner wit, would have cracked a few Chinese jokes. more..

A Government in Exile the Gateway to a Global Community

Jun 28 (LG) The situation in Sri Lanka has changed dramatically. Now, the Tamils are without leadership. They are victims of greater oppression with about 300,000 Tamils in internment camps. Access to the camps is denied to the world community and even to local NGOs and media by Sri Lanka. While the LTTE fought on behalf of Tamil freedom militarily, the Tamils in Sri Lanka and elsewhere faced difficult times. more..

Kandy, Sri Lanka: Highland jewel in an enchanted isle

Jun 28 (JT) The war is over, peace-building is under way, and Sri Lanka is one of the most enchanting islands you could ever imagine. There are very few destinations in the world that offer so much in such close proximity. The ancient temples, Buddhist statues and ruins are magnificent; the beaches are superb; the people are probably the most hospitable on earth; and the food is to die for. more..

Western Province governor speaks out

Jun 28 (AT) Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana – the fifth governor of the province since Provincial Councils were set up in the late 1980s is an outspoken man. A past student of St. Peter’s College, Colombo 4 and Zahira College, Colombo 10, he reminisced about the days when the youth were disciplined, when proper values were inculcated in children, when the young respected the elders, more..

‘Collective efforts needed to enhance trade under FTA’

Jun 28 (DT) Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan Jayalath Weerakkody has said there is a wide scope of expanding bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan but the current volume of trade is at the lowest ebb. Addressing a seminar on 'Business opportunities with Sri Lanka', he said that Sri Lanka and Pakistan were enjoying highly cordial relations and these ties would further be strengthened with the passage of time. more..

U.S. State Department travel warning : Sri Lanka similar to a Police State

Jun 28 (AT) When a volatile situation erupts in a foreign land with uncontrollable atmosphere due to political turmoil or terrorist activity the United States Department of State reserves the right to provide a travel warning to American citizens who intend travel to such foreign territories. In Sri Lanka, the US State Department warns even Anuradhapura, has been declared a ‘No Travel Zone’ for American citizens. more..

Face the threat from rump Tigers in the West politically

Jun 28 (AT) The Rajapaksa Government is seriously considering mobilizing the Sri Lankan diaspora through a governmental organization. Asian Tribune has suggested long ago that a separate ‘Ministry for Sri Lankans abroad, be set up to look after the interest of the Diasporas in the Western Countries. Already the President has appealed to the diaspora to return home and work for the development of the country. more..

Pakistan signs $2mn deal to put Lanka rail on track

Jun 28 (GT) The Pakistan Railway Advisory and Consultancy Services (PRACS) has signed a $2mn agreement with Sri Lanka for rehabilitation of railway tracks damaged in the civil war, training of railway employees and modification of the rolling stock. Under the agreement revealed yesterday, Pakistan Railway will help Sri Lanka rebuild a 250km track and 600 passenger coaches damaged in the civil war, Managing Director Mahmood Rashid said more..

Local authority elections in Jaffna

Jun 28 (SL) There are many priorities that weigh on the minds of the people of Jaffna. The A9 road has to be opened and passenger movements to Colombo and rest of the country normalised, so as to reduce the currently experienced exorbitant costs of travel by air and sea; transport of goods must be regularised with minimal processes of security so as to avoid undue delays and the consequent rise in the prices; clearance procedures for every traveler, more..

Playing pandu with People’s money

Jun 28 (SL) In a fresh Supreme Court action, the public interest litigator Nihal Sri Ameresekere has petitioned the Supreme Court asking for the payments in connection with the "Hedging" deals to be cancelled. The new action cites the fresh values, having taken into account the interest that the foreign banks are seeking from international arbitrators and the High Court in London. more..

‘CM will not be allowed free reign’

Jun 28 (SL) Western Provincial Council Opposition Leader, Rosy Senanayake in an interview with The Sunday Leader spelt out the difficulties she is facing in carrying out her duties for and on behalf of those who elected her. Having garnered 80,000 votes at the last provincial council election, Rosy, says she is determined to work towards a new political culture despite more..

Caught in the debt trap

Jun 28 (SL) In the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s mounting debt, both domestic and foreign that had increased manyfold, the issue of financial discipline in borrowing patterns has resurfaced yet again. The Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have repeatedly highlighted Sri Lanka’s mismanagement of public funds and associated corruption while lending organisations such as the World Bank and more..

Availability of Sri Lankan manpower underscored

Jun 28 (SG) The Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Employment, Promotion & Welfare, organized a seminar last week in the premises of the consulate that aimed at involving Saudi government and companies to enhance Sri Lankan manpower and to introduce the new policies of the Sri Lankan ministry. more..

Govt for ‘lucky 13’

Jun 28 (LB) In an effort to streamline the government and give it broader scope , the government is attempting to sideline extremist elements such as the NFF and JHU in order to implement the 13th Amendment as a solution to the North and East problem, LAKBIMAnEWS reliably learns. In such a scenario the NFF headed by firebrand politician Wimal Weerawansa is likely to be deprived of the Ministerial portfolios which the government pledged to offer them, more..

Astrologer nuts, police stark raving mad

Jun 28 (LB) Policing in this country is so first-rate, I tell you, that they even know what the astrologers are saying in various corners. True, the police may be quite foggy about a slew of other crimes perpetrated by real criminals but one must admit that it takes immeasurable talent to keep track of what the astrologers are saying (whilst also trying to catch real criminals). Firstly, we have so many astrologers around that Sri Lanka is practically swarming with them. more..

HEDGING CROOKS: Gambling and living it up...

Jun 28 (LB) A public interest activist has asked the Supreme Court to direct Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) to remit back to Sri Lanka more than US$ 100 million transferred out between December 2008 and April 2009 in violation of a Central Bank directive barring SCB from making such remittances in relation to the controversial hedging agreement. In a petition filed on Thursday, Nihal Sri Ameresekere says SCB had ignored directions given by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank more..

MP protect Colombo’s rapists and murderers

Jun 28 (LB) “Farji” was the most talked about underworld figure during the recently concluded Western provincial council election. Maligawatta is the headquarter the gang. Farji was very much in news during elections for his unbridled terror campaign. In all his efforts, he was aided and abetted by politicians. He was travelling in and around Colombo in luxury vehicles and was fully armed. But the police, though aware, did not take any action to stop him. more..

Elephant Transit Camp

Sri Lanka trade bemoans lack of Customs automation

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lankan freight forwarders have complained that the lack of Customs automation is a serious obstacle to improving efficiency of trade and achieving the island's aim of becoming a logistics hub. "Progress in the implementation of Customs automation is rather disappointing," said Ruwan Waidyaratne, the outgoing chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders’ Association. more..

Fallow lands to come under plough

June 28 (SO) A recent Agriculture Ministry survey has revealed that a large number of uncultivated lands is still existing due to the negligence of the owners. The Government has decided to grant the temporary ownership of such lands to people who are interested in turning them into cultivable lands. Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena, when interviewed on the progress of the “National Food Week”, more..

Abducted Tamil journalist tells of mother’s anguish

June 28 (TW) Yet another a journalist was kidnapped last week near her home in the capital Colombo. She was held for a day by people claiming to be the police. Krishni Ifham, a mother of two children is a Tamil reporter who works for media development NGO Internews. She said the kidnappers had warned her to give up journalism altogether, according to BBC. Krishni’s remarks about her ordeal, published in the Sunday Times of June 28th tell the more..

Fighter pilots flirted with danger

June 28 (SO) It was a bright and yet another usual day for all except the two `top guns’ of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF). Knowing that they were flying to bomb an important location, Group Captain Sajeewa Hendawitharane was air borne from Katunayake sharp at 5.30 am. Within 25 minutes they came closer to the `prey’. The MiG 27, the `weapon’ that flew at 1,000 km per hour and 18,500 feet above the ground took a surprise move. more..

‘Election fever’ in Jaffna

June 28 (SO) Jaffna is caught up with election fever after many years with political parties holding several public rallies. For more than a decade Jaffna based political parties were unable to engage in any form of election-related activities due to LTTE threats in Jaffna. Following the submission of nomination papers, the political parties in the fray have begun their campaigns, holding meetings with loud speakers echoing for long hours in the night. more..

MRI probes cranes' deaths

June 28 (SO) The National Medical Research Institute resumed investigations on the deaths of the cranes around the Hambegamuwa Tank. The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry with the MOH Office of Thanamalwila under the supervision of the Veterinary Surgeon of the area has resumed investigations following the sudden deaths of a few cranes in the Hambegamuwa Tank in Moneragala recently. On hearing about the incident, the Public Health Unit took steps to inform the Health Minister. more..

New Archbishop to be inducted on Aug 5

June 28 (GDI) The newly appointed Archbishop of Colombo, Most Rev. Dr. Malcolm Rangith, an ardent mover to promote inter-faith in Sri Lanka will assume the Holy See as Head of the Catholic Church, Sri Lanka on August 5. The installation ceremony of the new Archbishop will take place at St.Lucia's Cathedral, Kotahena,Colombo at 9.00 am before the distinguished gathering of devotees and invitees. more..

Grave threat to DEMOCRACY

June 28 (LeN) In 1973 when the draconian Press Council Bill was passed in Parliament an independent English language newspaper headlined it—“ Mephistopheles claims the soul”—referring to the evil spirit to whom Faust sold his soul in the 19th century German legend. Last week this law was reactivated setting off alarm bells as to whether Sri Lanka was going back to the era of the infamous D. E.M.O’ CRACY. obituary, and the cremation of the father of Truth and Liberty. more..

Eelam 2.0 the transnational government

June 28 (LeN) With the fall of the final pocket of land under LTTE control and the death of the organisation’s founder and leader, the LTTE’s visions of a separate state seem to have been consigned firmly to history. Sri Lanka’s separatists have proved themselves time and time again to be eternal optimists predicting a sudden resurgence of the LTTE just days before Pirapaharan’s body was pulled out from the Nandikadal Lagoon. more..

The 13th Amendment, Indo-Lanka, Sovereignty

June 28 (LG) Prof Senaka Bandaranaike discerns a pattern in Sri Lankan history of being ahead of the rest of the subcontinent but never being able to achieve a decisive breakthrough and sustain it. This happened at least three times, he once said in a lecture I attended. We now have a second chance. It is as if we have obtained a second Independence, when we were ahead of the game in the rest of Asia but we then blew it. Let’s not blow it yet again. more..

We are the best and greatest through conning!

June 28 (LG) For more than two years we have been wondering whether the Mahinda Chinthanaya (Mahinda’s Philosophy), has been more successful than that of great philosophers and founders of great religions to stop people from drinking. It was presumably the heavy consumption of liquor that induced Mahinda Rajapakse to inaugurate the ‘Mathata Titha’ (Full stop to intoxication) campaign soon after taking office, more..

Viva devolution 13 plus!

June 28 (LG) Maha Rajano issued a decree sometime back forcing a simple division in society. We were told that there should be only two types of humans here: patriots and non-patriots. Accordingly a patriot was a person who stood for the war, and those who wanted peace and a political solution to the Tamil national problem, were non-patriots. On the side of the so-called patriots were chauvinists, communalists, liberals, democrats, rationalists, Che Guevarists, more..

A programme to regulate land administration at district level

June 28 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to implement a programme to regulate land administration at district level with district secretariats placed in charge. Measures will be taken to protect data recorded at district secretariats regarding all lands, Minister of Public Administration, Dr. Sarath Amunugama announced. He pointed out that a number of problems have surfaced pertaining to gem lands. more..

Still active prominant leader `Col. Ram` operating from the forests: KP

June 28 (LNP) The LTTE`s new chief Selvaraja Padmanathan says the group is giving up violence and adopting a non-violent agenda to secure the political rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka. In an exclusive email interview to Indian News media, Padmanathan said one of the priorities of the Tamil Tigers would be to push for revoking the international ban on it. Excerpts from the interview: more..

National energy development

June 28 (GDI) The Ministry of Power and Energy has designed a National energy plan for the development of wind and bio mass energy resource to reach 10% by the year 2016. In this move the government has approved a proposal by minister W.D.J. Seneverathane for Sri Lanka to be come a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The development of indigenous renewable energy is the key solution to more..

The Surreal Island

June 28 (AT) Arresting an astrologer for making a prediction – that was another First for the Rajapakse administration! According to media reports, Chandrasiri Bandara, a well known astrologer, is being questioned by the CID for predicting the imminent ouster of President Rajapakse. Are we to conclude that, henceforth, only predictions favourable to the Rajapakses will be allowed? In Sri Lanka astrologers have been predicting everything and its opposite, politically, forever. more..

'Mathata Thitha' on a successful journey

June 28 (GDI) The 'Mathata Thitha' (Halt to Drug Menace) program initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to rid the nation of the drug menace,looked to proceed in a positive and effective direction,according statistics on drug related arrests in 2008. Drug related offences indicated a 35 per cent decrease in 2008 compared to figures of the previous year 2007. 61 per cent of total arrests made in 2008 were at 30 year age group and more..

18 extremist Muslim groups in Kattankudy

June 28 (CT) Police have gathered information that indicates the existence of 18 extremist Muslim groups operating at Kattankudy in Batticaloa, ‘Sunday Lankadeepa’ reports. Quoting a senior police official, the newspaper said these groups have been identified by their names, and details of the weapons they are also known to the police. Among the firearms they use are around 400 T-56 rifles, between 40 and 50 AK-47 rifles, around 50 pistols, more..