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'Migrants risked lives to flee to Canada from post war-torn Sri Lanka'

Oct 21 (CP) A Vancouver businessman says his memories as a Sri Lankan teenager tossed into a violent jail made him understand why 76 of his countrymen have risked their lives to reach Canada aboard a rusty freighter. "It's nicknamed Meat Shop," Roy Ratnavel said Tuesday of the jail where he spent three months. "So you can take that and imagine it in your head. I'm not going to go into all the details because I don't want to relive those moments." more..

Myanmar, Sri Lanka to boost bilateral trade, investment

Oct 21 (Xinhua) Myanmar's biggest business organization of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and diplomats of Sri Lanka have recently met here to seek ways of boosting bilateral trade and investment. Their discussions focused on tapping potential markets in Sri Lanka for Myanmar agricultural produce, enhancing cooperation between businesses of the two countries and holding trade fair to show their products. more..

President gifts Dehiwala fly over to the public

Oct 21 (GDI) It was another gift to the public by the Rajpaksa administration. It was also the fourth of a series to ease the traffic congestion in the city and suburbs. President Mahinda Rajapaksa offered this gift to the public early this morning when he declared open the new fly over bridge at Dehivala, the stretch of the Galle Road earlier congested by traffic. more..

Former Tamil child soldiers to continue education in Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (DPA) Former child soldiers in the Tamil rebel movement now in custody of the government after the rebels' defeat earlier this year are to carry on with their education in Sri Lanka's capital, Justice Ministry officials said Wednesday. The first batch of 168 students, including 76 females, arrived in the capital from their rehabilitation centres in the north to resume their disrupted education, officials said. more..

People elected this Govt. not to hold elections whole year , waste billions of people’s money

Oct 21 (UNP) UNP M.P. Gayantha Karunatileke said this Govt. was elected to serve the people, develop the country and fulfill its promises. Instead, the Govt. has been wasting the people’s monies holding elections throughout the year while its Ministers and parliamentarians have been wasting their time on election campaigns and unlawful election activities, whereby the country’s economy, more..

'I am only people's guardian'

Oct 21 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday emphasized that he was no King but was a guardian of the people. Addressing a large crowd following the commissioning of Sri Lanka s longest bridge, in Kinniya, the President said when he came to this function he saw some hoardings and posters which had the title King before his name. I am no King but I am the guardian of the people today, tomorrow and in the future, more..

Sri Lanka says EU trade loss won't hurt exports

Oct 21 (Reuters) The potential loss of a European Union trade concession that helped Sri Lanka boost business in its largest export market will not have an adverse impact on exporters, the island nation's central bank said on Wednesday. The EU published a probe on Monday that found Sri Lanka in breach of human rights laws, which threatens the Indian Ocean island nation's access to the GSP Plus scheme. "Our exporters are resilient and the loss would be minimal," more..

Sindhis’ Sri Lanka connection

Oct 22 (TN) ‘Muni Kundanmal, an 83-year-old Sindhi businessman, met me at the Capri Club in Colombo last Saturday. “What Diwali drink could I offer you?’’ he asked. In the next two hours, Kundanmal and I, over half glasses of red wine and Lion Lager, chatted about the past and future of the remaining 650 Lankan Sindhis. The story of the Lankan Sindhis begins with migration; most were from Hyderabad in the Sindh region of Pakistan. more..

Sri Lanka regulator buys surveillance system to monitor growing market

Oct 22 (LBO) Markets watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission, inked a 20 million dollar deal with Millennium Information Technologies (MIT) to buy an automated surveillance system. "Presently we have a manual system. The new system will be implemented in the first quarter of 2010," Udayasri Kariyawasam, chairman of the SEC said. Hardware and software costs are included in the 20 million rupee price tag. more..

Sri Lanka exports picking up: Central Bank

Oct 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports, which down 6.7 percent in August from a year earlier were showing a steady month on month rise with a recovery seen in the key apparel sector, the Central Bank said. Industrial exports had fallen 6.0 percent in August with weaker petroleum, rubber products, machinery diamond and jewellery exports. "Textiles and garments exports rebounded by 8.5 per cent, year-on-year, more..

Shares claw back on bargain hunting

Oct 22 (Reuters) Stock market closed 1.2 percent firmer on Wednesday on bargain hunting, after plunging 4 percent in an early selloff sparked by a U.S. insider trading case involving one of Sri Lanka's biggest investors. The arrest of Sri Lankan-born Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, in New York on Friday helped fuel a 5 percent drop in the first two days of trading this week, given he or Galleon hold large stakes in blue chip firms. more..

Oil union calls protest ahead of polls

Oct 22 (Reuters) Workers at Sri Lanka's state-owned oil company on Wednesday called a four-day protest, in what is likely to be the first of many pre-election tussles between opposition-allied unions and the government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, since coming to power in late 2005, has mostly avoided conflict with Sri Lanka's labour and student unions, after asking them in 2006 to hold off on strikes until the military defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers. more..

Debrief News - 21.10.2009

BOI signs Rs. 4 billion investment agreement with Unilever Sri Lanka

Oct 22 (GDI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to Unilever Sri Lanka Limited to set up a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at the Horana Export Processing Zone. Dhammika Perera, Chairman / Director General signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Mr. Amal Cabraal, Chairman of Unilever Sri Lanka. more..

Supplementary estimate of Rs. 10,600 million to pay interest and loan floatation expenses

Oct 22 (LG) The government today presented a proposal to parliament seeking a supplementary estimate of Rs. 10,600 million for payment of interest and loan floatation expenses saying government revenue anticipated since January 2009 up to now has dropped by Rs. 133 billion. In explaining the purpose of the supplementary estimate the government said it is difficult to control the expenditure corresponding to the shortfall in revenue owing to more..

Patriots, Traitors & J.B. Muller

Oct 22 (SLW) Bravo Mr. Muller! Your well written article paints a realistic picture of the current political situation in Sri Lanka. we like your style, how you let all of the political types, off, without mincing your words. However, it is not only sad that the opposition of this country is being annihilate like this, but it is also dangerous. In a democracy there should be an opposition. No questions about that. more..

Sri Lanka slams reports

Oct 22 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has expressed concerned over the country being mentioned in a section of the Canadian and Australian media in connection with the “boat people” attempting to enter illegally their respective countries. A senior government official told The Hindu: “It appears there is no due diligence in ascertaining the origin and nationality of these unfortunate people. Just because some one claims to be a citizen of Sri Lankan does not make him or her citizen of the country”. more..

Bloomfield inch closer to top spot

Oct 22 (CI) Shanuka Dissanayake managed a maiden double century in his 14-year first-class career to help Bloomfield Cricket & Athletic Club secure an innings-and-90-run win against Badureliya Cricket Club and move to within three points of table leaders Nondescripts Cricket Club at the end of the third week round of matches. The 32-year-old allrounder brought his experience to the fore, and followed up his 5 for 29 with more..

VCK puts Congress in a spot

Oct 22 (EB) Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K V Thangkabalu on Tuesday found himself in a tight corner when asked to react to VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan’s criticism of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers. All he said was “each party has its own policies and Congress was for the early resettlement of the Tamils living in the refugee camps." The VCK chief on Monday had urged the international community to more..

Asylum boat had holes drilled in hull

Oct 22 (Age) The 78 asylum seekers plucked from Indonesian search and rescue waters by the Australian navy at the weekend sabotaged their boat by drilling holes into its hull. And another boatload of asylum seekers was intercepted yesterday, carrying 22 passengers, believed to be from the Middle East, and two crew, near Ashmore Island, and was being taken to Christmas Island. more..

2009 Sri Lanka Economic Update

Oct 22 (WB) The rapid rise in global food and commodity prices during the first half of 2008 which led to a significant worsening of the Sri Lankan terms of trade. Rising international commodity prices also put significant strain on the balance of payments, with the current account deficit reaching 9.3 percent of GDP in 2008 – the highest in nearly 25 years. The price shocks also helped fuel consumer price inflation, which reached a peak of 28 percent in June 2008. more..

It can be prevented and treated

Oct 22 (AT) Eighty percent of strokes occur in developing regions and 60% is in the Asian countries. It is the third leading cause of death occurring in Sri Lanka, and the commonest cause for adult disability. “But much care or attention is not drawn towards stroke when compared with other heart diseases,” said Dr. Padma Guneratne, Consultant Neurologist, National Hospital, Colombo, at a press briefing more..

New Jaffna mayor speaks out

Oct 22 (AT) Newly appointed Jaffna Mayor Yogeswari Patkunarajah today spoke to Asian Tribune of her request to President Rajapaksa to implement the 13th amendment fully, hold early local polls amid many other plans to rebuild the city back to its former glory. Mrs. Patgunarajah took oaths at the Presidential Secretariat on October 12 as the 23rd Mayor of Jaffna and she is the second woman to hold the post. more..

United we stand divided we fall

Oct 22 (AT) There is very little that the International Non Governmental Organizations and other local Non Governmental Organizations funded by vested interests can do to destabilize our country, if and when the people of this country stand united. With the defeat of the LTTE by the Security Forces of this country, under a correct political leadership, the pendulum swung heavily towards a united nation, with the majority of the people calling for more..

Under-fire Raj Rajaratnam explains to employees, investors, friends

Oct 22 (LG) Alleged insider-dealing US trader Raj Rajaratnam on Wednesday issued a letter to employees of his Galleon Fund and its investors proclaiming his innocence on charges framed against him by US authorities last week. News of the Sri Lankan-born billionaire’s arrest and subsequent bail has been widely reported in the international media. On Wednesday, the New York Times carried the letter written by Rajaratnam. more..

Journalist complains of death threats and unknown persons pursuing him

Oct 22 (LG) Mr. Senaka Ekanayake, the editor of SATANA, a local newspaper, complained of constant death threats received over the last few days and of unknown persons visiting his house in search of him, in a telephone interview given to the Asian Human Rights Commission yesterday, October 20, 2009. He further mentioned that despite of complaints having been made to the Sri Lankan police and other authorities he has not received any protection. more..

EC investigation report faults Lanka’s poor adherence to 3 UN conventions

Oct 22 (AT) The European Commission’s final investigation report released today faulted Lanka’s poor compliance with 3 key UN conventions, and member states are now considering whether to suspend the GSP plus trade benefits temporarily or not. The investigation identifies significant shortcomings in respect of three UN human rights conventions – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), more..

The Sankara Pillai series

Oct 22 (LG) The Kerala academic, Professor K.G. Sankara Pillai, seems to have written his series on "The return of the native: An appreciation of Basil Fernando's poems" for an erudite audience of literature buffs rather than for an average newspaper audience. The second and third parts of the Sankara Pillai series hardly referred to Fernando's work. I wondered how they contributed to an appreciation of Fernando's poems. Applying my journalistic judgment, I would have edited them out as out of focus. more..

The return of the native : an appreciation of Basil Fernando’s poems –Part V

Oct 22 (LG) Later I translated this poem of Basil into my language Malayalam, which owns with pride the great heritage of Indian Upanishads in Sanskrit, where the Master and the disciple are the two main characters wholly immersed in a holy search for answers to the eternal philosophical questions about life and death. Masters like Bodhi trees filled great space in inner and outer worlds, their answers were brighter then, and more..

Executive Presidents manipulate democracy!

Oct 22 (LG) It is true people are not bothered about the executive presidency for now. Even politicians complain about it only when they are in political doldrums unable to grab power. However, there is a serious allegation against all executive presidents of this country. They have abused democracy. A king rules with people’s consent though there was no process of manifesting it. The moment the king becomes unpopular he is either ousted or neglected by the people. more..

Sri Lankan migrants grow in number

Oct 22 (National) A surge in Sri Lankans reported to be seeking political asylum in Australia and Canada in recent days has raised fresh problems for authorities here who believed the end of the military conflict in May would also reduce the numbers fleeing the once strife-torn country. “I really don’t know why people are leaving. It’s a difficult question to answer,” said Nandana Munasinghe, the deputy inspector general of police, who is handling human smuggling issues. more..

Sri Lanka democracy at work

Education Minister tells Parliament on scarcity of English teachers

Oct 22 (GDI) Education Minister Susil Premjayantha told Parliament yesterday that of the 405 graduate teachers qualified to teach Advanced Level students studying in English medium, only eight had passed English as a subject at the GCE Advanced Level examination. Premjayantha said of 76,370 graduate teachers only 405 had been qualified to teach Advanced Level English medium students. more..

Demining in Northern areas continue with specific focus

Oct 22 (GDI) The removal of LTTE buried landmines in the Vediththaltheivu area will begin tomorrow. The army said the de-mining will enable the fishing community to be resettled in the area and to recommence their industry. De-mining has been completed in the Rice Bowl area in Mannar. Landmines were removed in 33 villages coming under 12 Grama Niladari Divisions in Manthai west. more..

Jaffna hospital to be developed and upgraded

Oct 22 (GDI) The Teaching Hospital in Jaffna is being re-developed at a cost of two billion rupees. Financial assistance for this project is funded by Japan. The project is being mooted on the instructions of the President and the guidance of Chief of the “Uthuru Wasanthaya” Task Force and Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa. A new three-storied administrative building which will also house a wards complex, will be built. more..

‘Ministers monopolise Hajj quotas’

Oct 22 (DM) The issuing of Hajj quotas have been monopolised by some Muslim Ministers in the government, the Patron of the Muslim Left Front Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne alleged yesterday. “The government has no formula but an auction sale to distribute the quota amongst the travel agents, and the Ministers are dealing in a corrupt way,” alleged Dr. Karunaratne. more..

Medical Student hostel at Ruhunu University opens tomorrow

Oct 22 (LP) The student Hostel at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ruhunu will be declared open by the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Dr. Peter Hayes tomorrow. The medical students’ new hostel in Karapitiya is built to replace a building in Magalle, which was washed away during the tsunami in 2004. The project was a joint venture of MAGE (Medical Aid to Galle and Environs - a British charity) and the Medical Faculty of Ruhuna University. more..

A short note on published poems

Oct 22 (LG) My first poem was published in New Ceylon Writings while I was a student of law at the Faculty of Law, Colombo, edited by Dr. Yasmin Gunaratne, who was then teaching at Peradiniya University. I published my first collection of poems, The New Era to Emerge, in 1972. Several of the poems published in that short collection were reproduced in several anthologies. Two of the anthologies that I do remember are the ones produced by Dr. DCRA Gunatilake and Dr. Rajiva Wijesinghe. more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Oct 22 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a Memorandum submitted by the Minister of water supply and Drainage A.L.M Athaullah to award the tender for construction of Ja-Ela Ekala and Kandana Water Supply Scheme to M/s Nagarjuna & Sierra construction JV. The amount of this project is JPY 504,988,271.03 and LKR 1,376,528,966.09 plus VAT and other Government approved Taxes and Duties. Town North of Colombo Water Supply Project stage 11 is being implemented with more..

Indian national cadet corps chief meets SL Army commander

Oct 22 (LP) Director General, Indian National Cadet Corps (NCC) Lieutenant General R.K Karwal currently in Sri Lanka in connection with several military ceremonies called on Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya yesterday at the Army Headquarters. Lieutenant General R.K Karwal, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Karwal is presently in the island following invitations extended to them by Ministry of Defence in connection with more..

'Workers have to struggle for their demands as there is no budget for next year'

Oct 22 (LT) The hope workers had of getting a salary increase from the budget has vanished and as the government has announced that a budget would not be presented for next year there is no other alternative for the workers but to take trade union actions to win over 8 demands including a salary increase said JVP MP K.D. Lal Kanthe. more..

Prices of essential commodities going up – Gas prices to go up again

Oct 22 (LT) According to sources in the Ministry of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs price of gas would go up from the 1st of November. Already the two gas companies have requested for an increase in prices from the Consumer Affairs Authority. Meanwhile the price of big onions has gone up. At the moment a kilo of big onions is priced between Rs.80 and Rs.88. more..

Deadly injection swathes Ratnapura Hospital

Oct 22 (LT) Another injection immunization bottle has been found with a piece of glass inside at Ratnapura General Hospital yesterday. A patient also has been reported become allergic to another injection at the Hospital. Another child has been admitted to Homagama hospital after taking an injection. A piece of glass was found day before yesterday at this Hospital inside immunization bottle more..

The Role of the opposition in a liberal democracy

Oct 22 (TC) Ladies and Gentlemen, It is indeed a great honour for me to be here this evening on the occasion of the 12th Dudley Senanayake Memorial Lecture. At the same time, I stand before you humbled by the task at hand. So, let me begin by first paying tribute to the memory of Premier Dudley Senanayake. In this regard, I think I can do no better than to laud his political ideals, more..

Dinesh has spent 36 lakhs to find answers to MP Joseph Michael

Oct 22 (LT) To find an answer in response to a question asked by UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera on the total Samurdhi beneficiaries in Gampaha District from 2004 to 2007 has cost 36 lakhs, it was revealed in House yesterday (21) by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Mr Gunawrdena added that the survey is not completed yet and to finalize another sum will have to be spent. more..

Electors starve, the elected junket

Oct 22 (LNP) The Provincial Council system has rightly been dubbed a white elephant. And all members of the Western Provincial Council, save a few, are making grand preparations for a white elephant ride. The Council has, according to the JVP, allocated Rs. 30 mn for a mega junket a tour of China. The WPC has 104 councillors and 101 of them will visit China. Only the JVP councillors have refused to junket. Rathu Sahodarayas deserve plaudits on this score. more..

Freedom of speech, violent fascism, democracy, Nick Griffin and Mahinda Rajapakse

Oct 22 (GV) A milestone in British democracy and the right to freedom of speech happens on BBC’s Question Time program tonight. Nick Griffin the head of the BNP ( British National Party), which allows only white members, will headline tonight. BBC defends it’s decision on responsibility of due impartiality. The BBC trust says it is a question of editorial judgement whether it is appropriate for the BNP to appear. more..

Sri Lanka needs to retain GSP+ concession: NPC

Oct 22 (TC) The final report of the EU investigation team into Sri Lanka’s conformity with the standards expected to retain the GSP Plus tariff concession was handed over to the Government of Sri Lanka on Monday. There is concern that Sri Lanka could lose the concession that has helped it to boost its exports to the EU market and made the EU the country’s leading export market with a 36 percent share of total exports. more..

Fasting of under-graduates to be continued

Oct 22 (LT) The ‘Upawasaya’ stated on 07th October instant is being conducted over the last 15 days without any settlement by the Government. Hence the convener of the unemployed under-graduates Mr Sujith Kuruwita said they have decided to continue the fasting. He added that from yesterday they have started to fast without taking any food for 12 twelve hours in turns. The convener further stated that if there is no response from the Government they will continue the fast unto death. more..

Free Movement on A9 a Must for Reviving Jaffna Economy

Oct 22 (SLNN) Restricted movement along the A9 road, the major access route linking the Jaffna Peninsula and southern Sri Lanka, remains one of the main hindrances to economic development in Jaffna. More than five months after the Sri Lankan forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, economic progress has been slow. “Until the A9 is open for public traffic (freely), some people will be reluctant to come to Jaffna,” more..