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Internal cost of Southern Highway project - Rs 85b

Oct 24 (DN) Highways and Road Development Minister T.B. Ekanayake told Parliament yesterday the internal cost of the Southern Highway Project has been estimated at Rs. 85 billion. The project from Kottawa to Dodangoda (34 km) funded by JBIC package 01 is expected to be completed by March 2011 while Dodangoda to Kurudugahahetekma (32 km) funded by JBIC package 02 is scheduled to be completed by December 2010. more..

UN 'will help' rebuild Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (BBC) The United Nations Organisation says it is committed to help rebuild the Sri Lanka after the decades of devastating conflict between the government forces and the Tamil Tigers. UN Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator for Sri Lanka Neil Buhne said the UN has been working in close partnership with the government and the NGOs to provide assistance to IDPs in Sri Lanka. more..

Gate-keeper remanded for assaulting student

Oct 24 (DM) A Colombo magistrate remanded a gatekeeper of a government school till November 4 for allegedly assaulting a primary class student. Sergeant (2568) Sirisena of Borella Police produced the suspect before the Additional Magistrate Praharsha Ranasinghe of Colombo and submitted that the suspect being the gate keeper of Susaumyawardena Vidyalaya Borella, had mercilessly assaulted an eight-year-old student of -Grade Three. more..

Parliament not satisfied with police probe: Speaker

Oct 24 (DM) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara said yesterday that parliament could not be satisfied with the manner in which police had conducted investigations into the arson attack on the house and party office of UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara. Mr. Lokubandara informed the House that he had arranged a meeting between the senior police officers involved in the investigations and the party leaders the other day. more..

Medical Negligence: Baby awarded Rs.10 M

Oct 24 (DM) The Colombo District Court in a landmark judgment yesterday ordered the State to pay Rs.10 million to a baby who was crippled as a result of medical negligence. The plaint was filed by baby Harinthi Dabare’s father Ravindranath Dabare. The judgment was written by former District Court Judge Anura Ranasinghe and read by Judge Thahir Laffer. Castle Street Hospital Director Dr. Karanthagoda, the Health Ministry Secretary and more..

Stop selling land in N-E: JVP

Oct 24 (DM) The JVP yesterday called on the government to halt the distribution of land in the North and East till the resettlement process of the displaced people is concluded. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who was speaking during an adjournment debate on the North and East land issue in the House yesterday said the distribution and sale of land should be stopped forthwith so that the displaced could be resettled in their original lands. more..

Minister Fowzie admits fuel shortage

Oct 24 (Island) Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A. H. M. Fowzie, yesterday admitted that there was a fuel shortage in petrol sheds due to the on-going trade union action by CPC employees. He said that he was not ready to welcome or recognise trade unions or act irresponsibly. The President had agreed to meet the CPC unionists after his return from Vietnam on 26th of this month. more..

Beware! Publication of false reports using senior Army Officers' Identities

Oct 24 (LP) It has been observed that certain individuals who intend to engage in political work continue to use names of serving senior Army Officers for baseless reports in some print media and websites, said Military Spokesman Brigadier V.U.B. Nanayakkara in a press release. Section 120 Penal Code and Gazette Extraordinary of Sri Lanka and also in the Army Act and the Emergency Regulations states: more..

Fuel crisis wreaks havoc as vehicle users queue up, fuel stations close and public transport is crippled

Oct 24 (UNP) The work to rule staged by the LPCCTUA which commenced on 22nd, has put the entire public transport into a chaotic disarray. Already winding queues of vehicles are seen at fuel sheds, while some fuel sheds are already closed because the distribution of fuel is virtually paralyzed. The work to rule is expected to end on Monday (26) after discussions with President. more..

Govt. harassing my family – Ranga

Oct 24 (Island) UNP Puttalam District MP Palitha Range Bandara, yesterday told Parliament that the government which had tried to intimidate him by setting his home and offices on fire, was now trying to take revenge on his wife and baby. Raising a privilege issue, MP Range Bandara said that his wife and child had dropped him in Parliament and gone shopping to purchase books and stationary for the child, whose books had been destroyed by the arson attack on his house. more..

Vietnam- Sri Lanka to enter ‘Twin City’ concept

Oct 24 (GDI) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa who embarked on a state visit to Vietnam arrived at the Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon (23). President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation were warmly received at the airport by the leader of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Le Hoang Quan. Deputy Director General, Department of Southeast Asia, South Asia, South Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and more..

Sri Lanka's path to peace

Oct 24 (Guardian) After 26 years of war that cost thousands of innocent lives, the defeat of the LTTE has brought Sri Lanka to a crossroads. Yet despite the government's victory, there has been widespread international criticism about how the war was handled. Success has come at a price in terms of destruction, death and the displacement of civilians. The number of actual deaths during the conflict, particularly in its last days, will never be known, more..

Govt. jittery over Ministers meeting Ranil

Oct 24 (UNP) ‘If the President can meet UNPers, why cant UPFA Ministers meet me’? asked UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. This should be a two way process, he added. He stated this yesterday in the wake of Govt.’ s nervous moves , when the Govt.’s special investigation unit began asking Mr. Wickremesinghe’s Security officers for the names of the Ministers who had met him recently. more..

Kotelawala allowed bail

Oct 24 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday granted bail in Rs. 5 million cash and Rs. 100 million surety, with five sureties each, to the Chairman of the Ceylinco Group of Companies Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and Mrs. P. Karunanayake, a Director of the Golden Key Credit Card Company Pvt. Ltd. The Court stipulated that the sureties should be tax payers who are resident in Sri Lanka. more..

Chess in Paradise: the Ravana Challenge in Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (CB) It is rare that a GM open tournament is organized in a luxurious five star hotel with accommodation to the GMs in the hotel itself. The Ravana Open in Sri Lanka, with a prize fund of USD 20,000, is such a rarity. The tournament, comprising twelve GMs and players from fifteen countries, was organized by the Blue and Gold Chess Club from 12 to 19 September in the Ceylon Continental Hotel, the first ever five star hotel in Sri Lanka. more..

Defenders and Pretenders

Oct 25 (AT) During the Fourth Eelam War, the Lankan war effort was led by a politico-military triumvirate consisting of President Mahinda Rajapakse, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. This ruling cabal adopted a strategy which was almost a mirror image of the total war strategy of Vellupillai Pirapaharan. The Tamils, especially those in operation areas, were treated as enemy aliens. more..

'The heir to the victory is the President, not puppet leader put forward by the opposition'

Oct 25 (LT) The heir to the victory achieved after defeating tiger terrorism is none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse says Minister of Agriculture Hemakumara Nanayakkara. He said the opposition was bringing forward puppet leaders to claim victory to the war. He said the people in Sri Lanka were not prepared for a military coup and they too would not support such a move said Mr. Hemakumara Nanayakkara. more..

Major postal scandal in Colombo

Oct 25 (LG) Postal staff in certain parts of Colombo is stealing the inbound letters from overseas. The theft is alarmingly in the increase and some overseas senders and the local recipients have become victims for a very long period of this scandal. The victims are said to be mainly persons from the minority communities. The areas affected by this scandal are Kotahena, Wattale, Ja-ela and Slave Island and the situation in Kotahena is said to be very worrying. more..

Honour the heroes of war

Oct 25 (LG) The terrorists were decisively defeated on May 18th and peace which was considered unattainable reigns over Sri Lanka after 30 years of murderous strife. The death toll is nearly 100,000. The sacrifices made by the military and the civilians who were maimed and killed should not be forgotten. The peace dividend should usher in good governance and prosperity for all while those who led the country to victory should be held in great honour. more..

Journalism’s forgotten office-bearer

Oct 25 (LG) One of the most prominent figures in the media world is now mute --- afraid to say anything about the media. A fighter for the people’s right to information, Poddala Jayantha is now a forgotten man. “I’m not speaking to you today as I would have done before, for security reasons”, he said as we sat down to an interview, among other things, he recalled what he had gone through a few months ago. more..

Let’s replace political charades with a movement for public accountability

Oct 25 (LG) Open violence and rank intimidation have raised their ugly heads again, as harbingers of things to come in 2010. Another piecemeal provincial council election has come and gone. The ruling party alliance has won, if not handsomely, at least forcefully. More thugs and sycophants have swelled the ranks of the new political elite. Open violence and rank intimidation have raised their ugly heads again, and, as harbingers of things to come in 2010, more..

Throwing stones from glass houses may cause damage for both parties

Oct 25 (LG) Firm instructions have been given to the Police and other intelligence Authorities to strictly enforce the laws immediately under below sections by the Defense Secretary. The circumstance caused on this issue not need to reiterate as it known truth. The particular Section read as follows. Newspapers and websites have been carrying false reports using the names of senior Army officers in service as participating in politics. more..

Former child soldiers move on in Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (AP) Vinojan's boyhood ended when Sri Lanka's civil war reignited. Fifteen at the time, he says he joined the separatist Tamil Tigers to save his older brother from forcible conscription, and became a reluctant fighter as the rebels fought their last, desperate battles for survival. Now, having won the war, Sri Lanka is trying to make patriotic citizens out of child soldiers like Vinojan and others who just months ago were fighting against the nation. more..

Sri Lanka to go nuclear

Oct 25 (LB) The government is seriously considering “going nuclear’’ after the recent submission of a Cabinet paper by Minister of Power and Energy John Seneviratne. When contacted Minister Seneviratne said that there is a proposal to develop nuclear energy as future requirements can be achieved only through cheap energy generation such as nuclear power which is environment friendly. more..

Journalists can’t use Sarath Fonseka’s name in vain

Oct 25 (LB) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed authorities to take action against journalists who expediently promote General Sarath Fonseka’s possible entry to politics in their articles. “The Government reiterates that those failing to do so (comply) are liable for prosecution”, Military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara stated in a press release, Friday. more..

GSP and the inconvenient truth

Oct 25 (LB) This week Suresh Premachandaran and UNP’s Jayalath Jayewardene briefed the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and other UN agencies about the IDPs. They say IDPs are the main reason GSP facilities are in doubt — and no doubt the EU acts as if the main reason now that GSP plus facilities are being withheld is the long duration detention of IDPs. At a superficial level at least, one cannot underestimate the president’s luck however. more..

'I dare SLFP to conduct disciplinary inquiry against Mervyn'

Oct 25 (LB) Southern Provincial Councilor of the UPFA Nishantha Muthuhettigama challenges the SLFP to conduct a disciplinary inquiry against Minister Mervyn Silva before subjecting him to one. Excerpts of the interview. Q: Your feelings toward president Mahinda Rajapaksa who reunited the country after ending a war which lasted three decades? I am really proud of him. The people of Galle know how hard we worked to make him the president and I am happy about his victory which is the result of our dedication. more..

Common candidate?: whores dancing to Western dictates

Oct 25 (LB) The National Freedom Front candidates vying in the southern provincial council (SPC) election effort faced a humiliating defeat. Culture Minister Piyasiri Wijenayaka said what is expected from Wimal Weerawansa cannot be expected from his brother Sarath Weerawansa. Excerpts. Q: Most people expected the government to record an overwhelming victory at the SPC polls. But political critics point out that the government was shown the ‘red light’ at the SPC polls. more..

Tamils live harmoniously in Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (IL) I COMMED Wilson Tuckey for his forthright views and alerting Australia to the terror threat from the boat people. Look at what the Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers have done. They sabotage their vessel, call the Australian Maritime Security to come and rescue them while still in Indonesian waters. Once safely anchored, they issue threats of hunger strike, blowing up the vessel and offer deals to the Australian government to get them accepted. more..

Funding LTTE and Investing in Sri Lanka: Dual Role of Raj Rajaratnam?

Oct 25 (TC) Raj Rajaratnam was arrested for insider trading in the United States. But here in Sri Lanka, where this billionaire investor was born and had completed his school education, the word “terrorism” — with all its nasty implications — is again dogging his footsteps. Rajaratnam was already a rich man when, encouraged by prominent Sri Lanka business figures, he started investing in local stocks. more..

Political Extremism

Oct 25 (LG) Political extremism is any political theory favoring immoderate uncompromising policies with the actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived political center of a society with the violation of moral standards. Political extremism is a damaging factor to a country both economically and spiritually. Political extremism has many faces and the end result would be always disastrous. more..

Teaching English Composition in Tianjin

Oct 25 (LG) On the last Friday afternoon of April 1994, David Klos and I walked to the shopping street on Nankai University campus, just behind the wall that separates Nankai from Tianjin University. There, while a street barber gave me a haircut for ¥ 2.50 (or 29 U.S. cents), Klos settled on a stool at a nearby watering hole to inebriate himself with beer. Inebriation facilitated him to indulge in the local custom of spitting on the floor and trampling on the spit. more..

Muthur Muslims lose lands to govt. program

Oct 25 (PSM) Muthur Muslims have complained of their lands being lost under the govt's program "Api Wawamu Rata Hadamu”. A public notice is out in Muthur area complaining that the Muthur Muslims are losing their paddy lands under the "Let us grow more food to build the Nation" program launched by the govt. These lands include the paddy lands and highlands located in areas in Sambaada Aaru, Uppu Adasal, Murivu, Kattaivulundaan, more..

'No able competitor to challenge President at Presidenial Poll'

Oct 25 (GDI) Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said there was no competitor able to pose a challenge to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next presidential election. The President will be able to decide the date of the presidential election after the 17th of November,said the minister. The next general election will definitely be held at the beginning of next year, he firmly predicted. more..

President shocked to see war crimes of US troops in War Remnants Museum of Vietnam

Oct 25 (GDI) An overwhelming enthusiasm was seen at today's Vietnam- Sri Lanka Business Forum held over there with a large number of Vietnam business magnates participating in the presence of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the ministerial team and Lankan business delegation at Sheraton Hotel, Hanoi. more..

Government replies to unfounded charges of Human Rights violations

Oct 25 (LP) Responding to growing US, EU and UN criticism of victorious Sri Lankan forces over alleged war crimes in their battle against the LTTE, the government said that an attempt was now being made to undermine the Rajapaksa administration ahead of forthcoming elections. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the issue of war crimes directed at Sri Lanka Army does not hold ground as Sri Lanka is very confident about the performance of the forces, and non involvement of any sort of war crimes. more..

Defence Authorities Pooh-Pooh Concocted web stories and E-Mail Campaigns

Oct 25 (MoD) It has been brought to the notice of the defence authorities that certain pro-LTTE and anti-Security Forces websites continue to burn midnight oil by way of publishing various concocted stories, replete with hypotheses and utterly false fabricated stories. The latest were a series of purposely planted such stories and e-mails being published in a website called "Sri Lanka Guardian" in which more..

Hudson does ‘the bull’ in SLBC

Oct 25 (LT) It is reported that Chairman of SLBC Hudson Samarasinghe had been infuriated when Mr. Himananda who was presenting the programme ‘Subharathy,’ broadcast over the SLBC today morning had the JVP MP K.D. Lal Kanthe join in live over the telephone. He had intervened midway through the programme, removed Mr. Himananda immediately and had conducted the programme himself. more..

Meeting by APRSL at British Parliament on way forward in post-war Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (TC) Alliance for Peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka (APRSL) had a Parliamentary meeting at the House of Commons meeting rooms on Monday Oct. 19, exactly five months to the day that the LTTE were defeated. The theme was Post-war in Sri Lanka: Peace and reconciliation- a way forward. Andy Love MP chaired the meeting. Other British participants were, Des Brown MP and Siobhian McDonough MP. more..

President Rajapakse must promote Sarath Fonseka as Field Marshall immediately

Oct 25 (TC) The terrorists were decisively defeated on May 18th and peace which was considered unattainable reigns over Sri Lanka after 30 years of murderous strife. The death toll is nearly 100,000. The sacrifices made by the military and the civilians who were maimed and killed should not be forgotten. The peace dividend should usher in good governance and prosperity for all while those who led the country to victory should be held in great honour. more..

Mahinda, Gota and Sarath share the same Sinhala supremacist vision for Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (TC) During the Fourth Eelam War, the Lankan war effort was led by a politico-military triumvirate consisting of President Mahinda Rajapakse, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. This ruling cabal adopted a strategy which was almost a mirror image of the total war strategy of Vellupillai Pirapaharan. The Tamils, especially those in operation areas, were treated as enemy aliens. more..

Identical death threats sent by post to "Sunday Leader" editor and news editor

Oct 25 (TC) Identical Death threats in red have been sent by post to the Editor in chief of "The Sunday Leader" Ms. Frederica Jansz and the News Editor Ms. Munza Mushtaq. The letters postmarked on Wednesday October 21st were received on Oct 22nd Thursday. We reproduce here an excerpt from a front page article in the newspaper regarding the incident under the heading "And Now They Come For Us" more..

Defeat of LTTE cannot be classified as a "Great military victory"

Oct 25 (TC) How does one judge whether a particular military victory is ‘great’? During the years and centuries of Western domination, ‘native hordes’ (sic), sometimes in their thousands, were defeated by a few hundred men. But that had less to do with courage, and much to do with progress in science, technology and fire-power. Conquest and exploitation; expropriation and settlement (America, Canada, Australia, etc); and more..

Sri Lanka: Five Months After

Oct 25 (MW) President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be a rare civilian leader who has given birth to a new military concept by winning the war against the LTTE. Defence academies and experts have been studying what has come to be known as the “Rajapaksa model”. The unexpected and complete demolition of the LTTE—long considered the most feared terrorist organisation in the world which had successfully withstood the might of the Sri Lankan state for more..

'Confidence in judiciary is fast eroding'

Oct 25 (SL) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says confidence in the country’s judiciary was eroding and that the implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution could address the issue to an extent. Silva told The Sunday Leader that justice must not only be done but appear and seem to be done. “It is a matter of confidence, and confidence in the judiciary is fast eroding,” he said. more..

SriLankan CEO optimistic but employees losing hope

Oct 25 (SL) Employees at SriLankan Airlines say they have ‘lost confidence’ in the management’s ability to pull the company out of its Rs. 10 billion loss. “We have taken pay cuts in an effort to help the national carrier pull out of its financial debacle while even our collective agreements have been violated,” senior employees who wished to remain anonymous said. The employee complained that despite them already making sacrifices, the management was only demanding for more sacrifices. more..

Behind Sri Lankan Bloodbath

Oct 25 (MW) Colombo’s victory over the Tamils shows India’s power is on the wane. Thousands of non-combatants, according to the United Nations, were killed in the final phase of the Sri Lankan war this year as government forces overran the Tamil Tiger guerrillas. Nearly five months after Colombo’s stunning military triumph, the peace dividend remains elusive, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa setting out—in the name of “eternal vigilance”—to expand by 50 per cent more..

Foreign ministry gone to the dogs

Oct 25 (SL) The latest news we have is that a servile officer serving in the ME who does not know the ABC of treaties has been sent by the very honourable minister of affairs that are foreign to him to represent this country at a meeting in China on treaties when the Ministry has an officer who has been dealing with treaties and is presently preparing an index of treaties — that officer has been by-passed as she has probably not yielded to the very (dis) honourable demands. more..

Ceylon Hotels Corp. continues to lose but upbeat about future

Oct 25 (Island) Ceylon Hotels Corporation PLC, owners of a string of the better rest houses in the country and controlling shareholder of Lihiniya Surf Hotel, Bentota, Hotel Suisse and Queen’s Hotel in Kandy, has posted another loss making year ended March 31, 2009 with the group losing Rs.98.4 million and the company Rs.101.4 million, its just released annual report reveals. This compared to a group loss of Rs.330.1 million in the 15 months ended March 31, more..

Mannar Bishop praises Basil for re-settlement of 41,685 IDPs in four districts

Oct 25 (TC) As the bloody war in the North and East came to a conclusion on May 19 this year, the next major issue that the government faced was to find proper shelter for the people who were saved from the humanitarian operation which was conducted by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in the war affected areas. Hence the Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services along with more..