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Are Sri Lankan Tamil politicians continuing the same folly?

Oct 28 (LP) Tamil speaking political parties TNA, SLMC, DPLF, EPRLF - Naba Wing, DPF and the TULF are to meet today to work out a common programme to form an alliance to pressure the government for a political solution for the minority communities. The alliance is still in its infant age. However, the minority alliance seems to miss the Upcountry Tamils mostly looked down on upon by the elite Tamils due to their Indian origin and the low economic situation. more..

Judge orders agency to monitor religious runaway's phone, Internet use

Oct 28 (CD) An Ohio court today ordered that authorities monitor telephone and Internet use of Fatima Rifqa Bary, the 17-year-old religious runaway who left Columbus for Orlando over the summer. The girl has has yet to return from Florida. At a dependency hearing today, both sides in the case agreed to continue the case until next month. Her phone and Internet use will be monitored by Franklin County Children Services. more..

Debrief News - 27.10.2009

'We'd rather die than go ashore here': Sri Lankan asylum-seekers

Oct 28 (TA) The 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking have threatened to kill themselves rather than walk off the ship and be interned in Indonesia. The Australian visited the ship, anchored in the South China Sea 10km southeast of the island of Bintan, yesterday morning to find the Sri Lankans in an open area below the top deck at the stern. They told their story by throwing messages in plastic bags tied to empty plastic water bottles into the water. more..

Holding on to hope for Sri Lanka's missing

Oct 28 (Age) Samsun Nihara's pain shows in her dark eyes. Her husband and son disappeared more than a year ago. Her nightmare began last September, when her 24-year-old son, John Reid, vanished. He and his fiancee were returning from a trip to a beach north of Colombo, when the van he was driving was blocked by four armed men on two motorcycles. They hijacked the van, dropped the woman at a busy Colombo intersection and sped away. Mr Reid has not been seen since. more..

Sri Lanka may sign anti-landmine treaty

Oct 28 (AFP) SRI Lanka may consider joining the global treaty banning landmines following the government's defeat of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the army chief said on Tuesday. Sri Lanka had previously refused to sign up to the 1997 Ottawa Convention against landmines, arguing that the military could not unilaterally abandon mines in their bloody fight against the Tamil Tigers. more..

Trade unions petition for rights

Oct 28 (BL) The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday granted leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights (FR) application filed by trade unions stating that procedural rule published in the Gazette Extraordinary No 1589/30 dated 20/2/2009 cause grave prejudice and hardship to public offices. The Bench comprised of Chief Justice J. Asoka Nihal de Silva and Justices Mrs. Shiranee Thilakawardana and S.I. Imam. Government Workers Trade Union Ratmalana, Railway Workers Union filed this application. more..

Relief at last for SLRC and Captain Ali aid

Oct 28 (BL) Officials from the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society will be meeting with the Vavuniya Government Agent today to discuss the distribution of the 884 tonnes of aid, finally released by the ports authorities on Saturday. The 27 containers of aid which was formerly transported to Sri Lanka aboard the controversial Captain Ali vessel was diverted to India and sent back to the country aboard Cap Colorado on July 31. more..

Double vote in the offing?

Oct 28 (BL) Double elections seem in the offing following a government statement that the possibility of holding both Presidential and General Elections on the same day in one fell swoop is being considered. The announcement came as the UNP promised a “fresh political twist” with new parties tipped to join the common opposition alliance. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena noted that such an option was being considered by the government and more..

Sri Lankan asylum seekers 'refuse to leave boat'

Oct 28 (Age) Asylum seekers aboard an Australian Customs vessel in Indonesian waters are reportedly refusing to go ashore. They are also refusing health and identity checks on board the Oceanic Viking anchored 10 nautical miles off Bintan Island. The development comes after the governor of the Riau Islands, Ismeth Abdullah, refused permission for the group 78 Sri Lankans to be landed on Indonesian territory, more..

With peace new adventures ready for take off

Oct 28 (BL) With the threat of aerial attacks over with the end of the war, Adventure-Asia, the only commercial balloon operator in Sri Lanka is looking forward to an optimistic season of hot air balloon rides starting November 7. Adventure-Asia Director Peter Stewart explained that the company started their air-safari rides in 2003, but within five years, the business deteriorated with the escalation of the war and many were afraid to take to the skies in a hot air balloon. more..

De-mining in eastern Sri Lanka completed

Oct 28 (Xinhua) De-mining in Sri Lanka's entire Eastern Province has been completed and the process is being accelerated in the north, a senior government minister said on Tuesday. Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Risath Bathiyutheen told reporters that 118 villages in the Northern Province has also been demined and the demining process in other parts of the province is being accelerated. more..

Sri Lanka will end Analog TV and Radio transmissions, plans to go Digital

Oct 28 (AT) Sri Lanka will end analog radio and television broadcasting system but plans to introduce digital radio and television transmission system to provide a better reception for the local listeners and Television viewers. “These projects are initiated under the instructions of President Mahindha Rajapaksha and the Mahindha Chinthana , said Managing Director of the On Air World Ceylon Pvt Ltd and more..

Lankan scholar caught in Tamil meet politics

Oct 28 (AT) Renowned Sri Lankan Tamil scholar Karthikesu Sivathambi finds himself caught in the politics over the World Classical Tamil conference being held in Coimbatore in June 2010. Denying reports that Prof Sivathambi will not be attending, Chie Minister M Karunanidhi has said the scholar has written to him, agreeing to take part and even suggested topics for discussion. more..

Psychoanalytical notion of Aksharaya

Oct 28 (LG) Asoka Handagama's controversial movie Aksharaya discusses one of the bitter and hidden issues of the society which is generally termed as incest. Although the movie received a major criticism and viewed via Sinhala Buddhist and Victorian moral spectacles the incestuous relations were discussed in the Jathaka Stories as well as in the Holy Bible. Incest has been documented in most civilizations. more..

'Minister becomes protector of drug producer'

Oct 28 (LG) The Director of the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital says that an anti-venom serum that was not in a usable state has been discovered at his hospital. At a media briefing yesterday, the All Ceylon Government Medical Officers' Association said that several spoilt vaccines, including rubella vaccines had been imported from India. The anti-venom vaccine was discovered from the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. more..

'60,000 IDPs re-settled this week- It’s not a Number Game'

Oct 28 (AT) Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Risath Bathiyutheen revealed that there are around 185,000 Internally Displaced Persons now remaining in the welfare villages facilitated by the government. He said that this week alone almost 60,000 have been resettled in their original places habitat in the North and East provinces. more..

VIP escort vehicles a public hazard on our roads

Oct 28 (LG) Not a day passes without a road accident, often serious ones resulting in deaths, caused by speeding so-called “VIP Vehicles”. The most recent incident involving a VIP vehicle caused the death of a motorcyclist who was killed by a speeding VIP back-up vehicle. Our President and others are shouting from every rooftop that the 30-year war has come to an end. Well, if that is the case, then why do we go on putting high-security convoys at the disposal of more..

Post -war economic prospects

Oct 28 (LG) Peace has generated expectations of moving the economy into a higher trajectory of growth. The end of nearly three decades of war and terrorism could usher in a new era of economic development. The pace of the economic acceleration would depend on the policies of the government, the response of private enterprise and the participation of people. Peace alone will not bring in the expectation of prosperity. more..

How about South Asia going the Api wenuwen api way?

Oct 28 (LG) My thoughts are with Wasim Akram, former captain of the Pakistan cricket team. I read this morning that Wasim Akram’s wife had passed away after a brief illness, but this is not the only reason why I remembered him. I remembered Wasim Akram for a remark he made in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Mumbai. In a bloody three-day period in November 2008, Mumbai was virtually besieged by terrorists and when it was all over, 173 people were dead and 308 wounded. more..

Massive protest march by JVP against executive presidency

Oct 28 (LT) A massive protest march and agitation organized by the JVP demanding the government not to hold another presidential election and to abolish the executive presidency was held today. The protest march that commenced from Campbell Park marched through Borella, Maradana to Lipton Circus. The leaders of the JVP addressed the participants at Lipton Circus. The government’s attempt to obstruct the protest march could be noticed more..

'Flow of arms to terrorists must stop'

Oct 28 (LG) Poised to realize the vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which is also the dream of each and every citizen of Sri Lanka. We have to think, and act as one people, one nation to achieve lasting peace and stability in our country. In reaching towards our goal, I wish to thank the organizers of this seminar for the timely initiative taken by them to familiarize the key stakeholders in the Government more..

Presidential hopefuls and escape-routes for the ‘hopeless’

Oct 28 (GV) The buzz in political circles these days is the possibility of there being a ‘common candidate’ (CC) to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid for a second term in the event that a Presidential Election is called before he completes his term, most likely in January 2010. Among the names thrown around for the CC post are those of former Chief Justice Sarath Silva and General Sarath Fonseka. more..

Domestic inquiry into abuses a smokescreen

Oct 28 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government's proposal to create a committee of experts to examine allegations of laws-of-war violations during the conflict between the government and the separatist LTTE is an attempt to avoid an independent international inquiry, Human Rights Watch said today. The government made its proposal in response to a report by the US State Department, published on October 22, 2009, that detailed hundreds of incidents of more..

EDITORIAL: Undermining Sri Lanka

Oct 28 (WT) Sri Lanka is joining Israel as a country facing a war crimes investigation for effectively fighting back against terrorism. America should support the Sri Lankan government or keep its nose out of Colombo's business. Last week, Stephen Rapp, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, filed a report to Congress on incidents during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka that "may constitute violations of international humanitarian law or crimes against humanity." more..

Sri Lanka accelerates settlement of civil war refugees in North

Oct 28 (BN) Sri Lanka said it is accelerating the settlement of Tamil refugees held in transit camps since the defeat of the LTTE in May, after coming under international criticism for delaying their release. President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a team comprising lawmakers and government ministers to oversee the return of refugees and development in the north, the Ministry of Defense said on its Web site yesterday. more..

Legacy of abuse in Sri Lanka

Oct 28 (HRW) For several months during and after the end-game of the decades-long civil war between the government and the LTTE, Sri Lanka's government brushed off Western criticism of its abusive practices. It has relied instead on moral and financial support from states less concerned with such matters, such as China and Pakistan. Countries with similar problems and equally questionable human rights records are paying close attention more..

Dilshan - The Re-Invention

Oct 28 (CW) Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag and Sanath Jayasuriya are the kind of opening batsmen that ask questions of the new ball bowlers as averse to allowing them to seriously examine their defieiciencies in the opening exchanges. Bowlers around the world are aware of the small margins of error against these powerhouses, pressure on the bowlers is inevitable, they need these batsmen out and the sooner they can remove them, more..

Sri Lanka real estate firm under new name, employee buyout

Oct 28 (LBO) Ceylinco Land Exchange, a real estate firm in Sri Lanka's troubled Ceylinco group, is striking out under a new name, while employees are negotiating to buy out the firm, officials said. The firm is now operating under the name of People's Realty Limited. "The management is negotiating with relevant companies [to buy the shares]," chief executive director of People's Realty Bhathiya Satharasinghe said. more..

Plantation unions accept wage sell-out

Oct 28 (wsws) One week after the Hindu festival of Deepavali, all the Sri Lankan plantation unions have effectively fallen into line behind a sell-out pay deal that binds 500,000 workers to poverty-level daily wages of 405 rupees ($US3.50) and higher productivity targets for the next two years. The betrayal is another graphic demonstration that it is impossible for workers to defend even their most basic rights without breaking from the unions, more..

60 transferred IDPs arrested from transit centres in Trincomalee

Oct 28 (TN) Sri Lanka Army Intelligence personnel have been 'screening' the IDPs who were being transferred in recent days from Vavuniyaa internment camps to transit centres in Trincomalee and have arrested 60 IDPs for interrogation and 'rehabilitation'. The arrested IDPs had been brought from Vavuniyaa internment camps to be resettled in their villages in Trincomalee district. more..

Vanni IDPs in Jaffna not allowed to go to Vanni

Oct 28 (TN) The IDPs of Vanni origin detained in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) detention camp in Raamaavil in Thenmaraadchi have to stay in the camp if there are no relatives in Jaffna to take them over, according to Jaffna Secretariat sources. Though the government campaigns that Vanni IDPs will be resettled in their own villages, in reality they are not allowed to return to their homes, NGOs in Jaffna said. more..

Muslim police inspector arrested for assisting LTTE

Oct 28 (TN) A team of the Special Task Force (STF) arrested a Muslim police inspector for allegedly assisting the LTTE in earlier days to bring its cadres to reach their targets of attaks. This was revealed by the CID in Colombo Additional Magistrate’s Court Monday when the suspect, Police Inspector Dawood Mohamed Aimeer, was produced. Inspector of Police Ravindra Wimalasiri of the CID filed a report in court. more..

Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism-2009

Oct 28 (GDI) Applications are now being called for Presidential Awards for Travel & Tourism 2009 and can be downloaded either from the web site or collected from the Travel & Tourism Awards Office, 01st Floor at the Ministry of Tourism. This event is organized by the Ministry of Tourism. The presentation ceremony will be held on the February, 2nd 2010 at the BMICH, more..

New scheme for year one admissions

Oct 28 (GDI) Admission of children for year one from next year will be handled by the Zonal Directors of Education and, enrollment of students to other grades other than those selected on the results of examinations will be handled by the respective Principals. These procedures will be effective from 2010. According to Ministry sources, the Ministry has already filled 1,908 vacancies of Principals Grade I and more..

Russia to support demining in the North

Oct 28 (GDI) Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov has assured Russia's fullest support towards the demining process in the North. He said they will support de-mining and in resettling the civilians in the was they helped Sri Lanka to rout terrorism. He appreciated Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar’s vision in achieving peace and the late minister's desire to eliminate terrorism. more..

New party by Nishantha Muthuhettigama

Oct 28 (CT) Controversial southern provincial councilor Nishantha Muthuhettigama has decided to form a political party of his own. Named Senior Citizens United Front, the new party would take the country on a new path for its future, he has told the media. It will have representations of various professions, including judiciary, medicine, military, education and business. more..

Now Russia wants SL Oil

Oct 28 (PSM) Russia has expressed interest in oil exploration in the Mannar bay and the rehabilitation of the Sapugaskanda oil refinery, Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Visiting Russian Foreign Minister has disclosed this during his stay here. Mr. Lavrov, a former diplomat who has worked in Colombo and a Sinhala speaker, is the first Russian Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka since diplomatic relations were established in 1957. more..

More equipment for Northern development

Oct 28 (MoD) The government has purchased huge amount of vehicles, machinery and other equipment from People Republic of China to speed up the development programmes currently underway in the Northern Province under "Uthuru Wasanthaya" 180 day development drive. The equipment were handed over to the state authorities today (October 28) by Chinese Ambassador Yang Xiu Ping at Galle Face Colombo. more..

More land for paddy cultivation

Oct 28 (MoD) Nearly 1,600 acres of abandoned paddy fields around the Palaly High Security Zone in Jaffna would be handed back to farmers to resume cultivation along with millions of rupees as subsidies, Media Secretary to the Governor of the Northern Province said yesterday. He said a total of 33,000 acres would be cultivated in the peninsula during the forthcoming Maha Season and farmers would be given financial assistance, seed paddy and other facilities. more..

SPC Chief Minister and others take oaths tomorrow

Oct 28 (LP) The Chief Minister, other Ministers and the MPs of the Southern Provincial Council (SPC) will take oaths tomorrow. Shan Wijelal de Silva will take oaths as the Chief Minister of SPC at the President’s office before President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow at 08.00 am. Although it was not officially announced on how the Ministerial posts will be assigned, UPFA sources say that 01 Minister will be appointed from Hambanthota Disctrict, 02 from Matara and 01 from Galle. more..

Kotelawala out, yet not out

Oct 28 (DM) Ceylinco head Lalith Kotelawala, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court last Friday, is still in remand prison, as some of the bail conditions have not yet being fulfilled. The attorneys of Kotelawala deposited Rs. five million in the Supreme Court yesterday, together with Rs 100 million certified bail with five sureties who are taxpayers and who are permanent residents of Sri Lanka. more..

Release convener of IUSF imprisoned by ‘Mahinda Hinsanaya’ – TU leaders

Oct 28 (LT) Several trade union leaders visited convener of Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Udul Premaratne who is being remanded at Welikada Prison for the last 1 1/2 months. The trade union leaders said at a time ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ has been buried and ‘Mahinda Hinsanaya’ has emerged the convener of the IUSF who has been remanded under ‘Mahinda Hinsanaya’ should be immediately released. more..

Ministry of Justice justifies Rajaratnam’s involvement in rehabilitation process of former tigers

Oct 28 (LT) Minister of Justice and Law Reforms Milinda Moragoda has been working closely with international organizations including Tamil diaspora to launch USD 23 million programme to rehabilitate ex-LTTE cadres. A main contributor to this fund was to be Rajanathan Rajaratnam known as Raj Rajaratnam, whose personal income is estimated at between 300 and 400 million US dollars and more..

'Country burning with problems : only media suppression and people oppression are Govt.’s solutions'

Oct 28 (UNP) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, while the country is burning with raging problems, the President and his Govt. are not seeking solutions to them, but only moving heaven and earth to suppress the media which exposes the Govt. weaknesses, corruption and backstreet politics, while also oppressing the people with untold hardships. more..

Sri Lankan gems to shine in China

Oct 28 (LNP) Thirty four gem and jewellery companies will participate in trade fairs in China in November this year. This is the first time a large number of gem and jewellery companies have decided to participate in international trade fairs in China. The first trade fair, the China International Jewellery Fair, Beijing will be held from November 5 - 9 with the participation of 18 Gem and Jewellery companies from Sri Lanka. more..

The Divine Eyes of the US

Oct 28 (SLW) The US, who are the self appointed watch dogs of the world, seemed to be watching any so called human rights violations in the world with an overly keen interest in the hope of bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice. The War Crimes Office of the US State Department, lists 170 offences between May 2 and 18 this year, during the final phase of ground assault on the LTTE and they are in the process of tabling this report to the US Senate. more..

Police seek public assistance in arresting suspects of vehicle crimes

Oct 28 (LP) The Colombo Crime Division has successfully arrested several persons in connection to a large number of crimes related to stolen or hired vehicles from 2006 to date. Police state that these persons have supplied vehicles obtained under lease with false papers to terrorists and other persons. According to the information received the following two persons are wanted in this connection. more..

Severe droughts affect nearly 160,000 families

Oct 28 (CT) Severe droughts prevailing in Moneragala and Ampara have affected around 690,000 people belonging to nearly 160,000 families in the two districts. Since all wells and other reservoirs in these areas have run dry, the National Disaster Management Centre has allocated Rs. 3.8 million to supply drinking water for these people. Around 12,000 needy families have been provided with dry rations as well, said the Centre.

'OHCHR statement uncalled for'

Oct 28 (Island) The Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Management said yesterday that the statement attributed to the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), to the effect that an inquiry, similar to that carried out by the Gaza fact finding mission was required on the final stages of the recently concluded military conflict in Sri Lanka, was unwarranted and uncalled for. more..