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Keeping disruptive elements at bay

Oct 28 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, at a discussion with a group of pro-government trade union representatives at the Temple Trees, warned of an international conspiracy to destabilise Sri Lanka. Evidently, a plot is being hatched to effect a regime change and install a puppet government so that the West would be able to turn this country into its playground again and create a situation conducive to the revival of the secessionist forces now more..

Investment from UK to develop Agri-Forestry

Oct 28 (GDI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval for Asia Plantation Capital Limited to grow cash crops and forestry. Dhammika Perera, Chairman, signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Mr. Arjuna Dissanayake, Director of Asia Plantation Capital. The venture is an initial investment of Rs. 28 million, sponsored by Oxigen Plantations Limited, UK. more..

KDU confers degrees to achievers in the defence services

Oct 28 (MoD) The General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) awarded degrees to the servicemen who successfully completed their degree progrmmes at the convocation held at BMICH yesterday. President Mahinda Rajapakse graced the occasion as the chief guest. Chancellor of the Kotalawala Defence University Lt.Gen Dennis Perera conferred degrees to the graduates and more..

Rs. 48 m per month for upkeep of displaced

Oct 28 (CT) The government spends around Rs. 1.6 million per day towards the provision of food and other requirements to war displaced people in the north, said minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. He told the media that this upkeep expenditure amounted to a monthly spending of Rs. 48 million. 70,490 people have been resettled by October 25, a far better record when compared to other countries facing similar situations. more..

Piece of plastic in saline bottle

Oct 28 (LT) A piece of plastic has been found in a bottle of saline said to have been imported from India. The bottle of saline with a red label, manufactured in June 2009 and expiring date given as June, 2014, was found at Elpitiya Base Hospital yesterday. The piece of plastic had been noticed when the bottle of saline was to be used. About a week ago too a piece of aluminum had been found inside a vial of a vaccine at Elpitiya Hospital.

Ramadoss flags off rally for Tamil refugees

Oct 28 (Hindu) PMK founder S. Ramadoss flagged off a rally from the city on Tuesday to make people aware of the conditions of Tamil refugees in camps in Sri Lanka and to demand their immediate release. Similar rallies were flagged off on Tuesday from Coimbatore (by Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P. Nedumaran), Rameswaram (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko) and Kanyakumari (Communist Party of India state secretary D. Pandian). more..

Customs to implement AW system

Oct 28 (DN) Sri Lanka Customs will implement the ASYCUDA World (AW) System which is the latest UNCTAD ASYCUDA software from January 1, Customs Director General S.A.C.S.W Jayathilake said at the introductory seminar on AW at Cinamon Lakeside Hotel yesterday. He said the implementation of AW application which provides door to door facility through IT, is the main topic discussed at present. more..

Lanka can enthrone justice now - Judge Weeramanthry

Oct 28 (DN) There is a unique opportunity to set an example to the world to build peace not only in Sri Lanka but internationally through enthroning justice, former Vice President of the International Court of Justice, C. G. Weeramanthry said. Speaking at the UN Day celebrations organized by the United Nations Association Sri Lanka at Royal College Colombo on Saturday, he said the UN and its Charter shows the way to do it and more..

New reservoir to cultivate more paddy lands in Mannar

Oct 28 (DN) A reservoir as big as Parakrama Samudra is being built in Kappachchi area on the border of Anuradhapura and Mannar to cultivate 27,000 acres of paddy land, Minister of Irrigation, Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said at the opening ceremony of the Water and Man National Hydro-culture exhibition for schoolchildren at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress premises, Colombo, yesterday. more..

'Govt. politico to buy Ceylinco Shriram subsidiaries for a song'

Oct 28 (Island) Some of Ceylinco Group’s assets are to be sold for a song, to the kith and kin of a government politico, Corruption Watch alleged yesterday. Media Spokesman of Corruption Watch Shiral V. Lakthilaka, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that subsidiaries under Ceylinco Shriram Holdings, with a net worth of over Rs.1 billion, are to be disposed for around Rs. 100 million. more..

Cash bail Rs. 5 m deposited for Kotelawela

Oct 28 (DN) A cash bail in a sum of rupees five million was deposited with the Supreme Court registry yesterday on behalf of Ceylinco Group Chairman Lalith Kotelawela, a Court official said. The official said that the five senior executives of the Ceylinco Cisco Security Company also signed the personal bail as sureties. The certified bail of Rs. 100 million will be signed by the five tax payers tomorrow and more..

'Scheme for unemployed a non starter'

Oct 28 (Island) A senior official says the proposed Unemployment Benefits Insurance Scheme (UBIS) is facing funding impediments and is not likely to see the light of day unless the Termination of Employment of Workers Act (TEWA) is sacrificed. "There is no rat to bell the cat," the senior official of the Ministry of Labour told the Island Financial Review in response to a query with regards to the implementation of the UBIS. more..

'We brought him to power and we can throw him out'

Oct 28 (DM) The JVP took to the streets yesterday calling for the abolition of the executive presidency, and bringing traffic to a halt in the centre of Colombo City. It said the party would build up a strong political force and defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next presidential election, but would not create an environment that would enable the UNP to come to power. more..

Three persons sentenced to death in one day in Sri Lanka

Oct 28 (LP) A Sri Lankan judge yesterday sentenced three persons to death in three separate murder cases. The verdicts were delivered by High Court judge Menaka Wijesundara in Anuradhapura High Court, situated in the North Central Province, which is a rural farming area bordering to the former war zone. Two of the convicted are ex-soldiers. Of them, one was found guilty for gunning down five persons more..

Why the Sri Lankan Govt. won’t allow India to interrogate K.P.

Oct 28 (DM) India took a lot of pains and interest to interrogate K.P. in connection with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi when he was taken into custody. At the outset, the Indian secret intelligence service, ‘RAW’ requested from the Sri Lankan Govt. to meet and question him unofficially. But, the Sri Lankan govt. turned down the request and informed India’s ‘RAW’ secret service that, more..

Unemployed graduates plunge Fort into chaos

Oct 28 (Island) Unemployed graduates who had been on a hunger strike opposite the Fort Railway Station, marched to the Finance Ministry yesterday. Thousands of graduates participated in the protest congesting the Fort area. When the police anti-riot squad closed the road leading the Ministry near Lake House, graduates sat on the road for two hours demanding access to the Ministry. more..

Mayor, police at cross roads on yellow line

Oct 28 (DM) A move by the Kandy traffic police to fine errant pedestrians has hit a snag after Kandy Mayor L.B. Aluvihare told a Municipal Council meeting that the police had no right to fine pedestrians who did not use the 'Yellow line' when crossing the road or walked outside the pavement railings. Mayor Aluvihare said the police had not informed the KMC traffic committee that pedestrians would be fined for what police sees as violation of road rules. more..

General Sarath Fonseka in Washington DC.

US report tarnishes Sri Lanka victory

Oct 28 (AT) A United States State Department report detailing possible violations of the laws of war in Sri Lanka during the first half of 2009 is adding to pressure for an independent, international investigation into alleged atrocities committed by government forces and LTTE separatists. "The government of Sri Lanka has said that they are determined to establish a reconciliation process with the people of the north, but we believe strongly that more..

'Ensure rights of Lankan Tamils'

Oct 28 (Hindu) The Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the Central government to take immediate steps to ensure the right and welfare of the Internally Displaced People in Sri Lanka. Speaking to presspersons on Tuesday, CPI leader, R. Nallakannu, said that more than 3.50 lakh innocent Tamils were being kept within iron fences for the last six months. They were put to untold hardship as they were denied basic rights and infrastructure facilities. more..

US welcome acceleration of the resettlement of IDPs

Oct 28 (AT) The United States welcomes the Government of Sri Lanka’s acceleration of the voluntary return of IDPs to their villages. US Embassy in Colombo in a statement said: “We are encouraged by the Government’s announcement that it intends in the next few weeks to facilitate the voluntary return of over 40,000 of the approximately 250,000 IDPs in the camps, and we understand that thousands have already been released. more..

'Northwest Sri Lanka running out of groundwater'

Oct 28 (LBO) Puttalam in Sri Lanka's northwest is rapidly running out of groundwater due to paddy farming, with the water table falling alarmingly and facing the threat of sea water contamination, an official has warned. "Ground water levels have dropped in the Puttalam district as ground water is being used extensively for paddy farming," N P Wijayananda, chairman of Sri Lanka's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GMSB) told reporters more..

'War-crimes probe a smokescreen'

Oct 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka's agreement to probe war crimes allegations related to its defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels is a smokescreen to avoid an international inquiry, a human rights group said Wednesday. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Sri Lanka of trying to buy time and questioned the sincerity of the government's decision to investigate the allegations detailed in a US State Department report. more..

Australia refuses Tamil refugees

Oct 28 (BBC) Australian authorities have said 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Indonesia will not be taken to Australia, their intended destination. The ethnic Tamil asylum seekers have spent 10 days on an Australian customs ship in Indonesian waters. Indonesia agreed last week to take the group to have their claims examined, but local officials are refusing to allow the Australian vessel to dock. Australia has been faced with a sharp increase in asylum seekers this year. more..

Treasuries yields plummet after presidential 'rate cut'

Oct 29 (LBO) Treasuries yields plummeted across the board Wednesday, a day after country's president ordered a 700 basis point lending rate cut in state banks. The 3-month bill yield fell 60 basis points to 8.50 percent, the 6-month yield fell 41 basis points to 9.35 percent and the 12-month yield fell 34 basis points to 9.88 percent and into single digits. The 3-month yield is now 50 basis points above the repo policy rate of 8.0 percent more..

Sri Lanka: the waning of Liberalism?

Oct 29 (GV) It seems to be the case that over the past few years the State and the public have become much less tolerant of liberal values. In 2006, a bill set out a total ban on alcohol and tobacco advertisements in the media or on billboards as well as free distribution of tobacco or alcohol related products by the manufacturer or the distributor as means of promotion. In September this year, a Magistrate ordered more..

Tsunami kids get stress relief

Oct 29 (EHT) A school-based programme helped survivors cope with feelings of distress after the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, according to results from a community-based controlled trial published this month in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. “This study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting the efficacy of school-based universal approaches in helping children in regions touched by war, terror and disaster,” write Robert Berger and Marc Gelkopf from more..

'National interest sole criterion behind Govt decisions'

Oct 29 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that the national interest will be the sole criterion behind all decisions taken by his Government regarding the development of the country. The Government has never taken decisions with an eye on elections and this will be our policy now and in future.” The President said this when he addressed representatives of all local councils more..

Sri Lanka facing mounting challenges

Oct 29 (UPI) The disruption in fuel supplies that suddenly hit Sri Lanka last week, out of the blue as it were, suggests a precarious economic situation despite governmental claims to the contrary. There had been sketchy media reports of negotiations between trade unions and the government regarding long overdue wage increases. But most people were unprepared to face filling stations closed down with no petrol or diesel to pump, more..

'Drug manufacturers who provide harmful drugs will be prosecuted'

Oct 29 (GDI) The drugs which have become a controversy have been subjected to medical examinations and following the outcome of such examinations and investigations,the responsible will be prosecuted and the medical registration will be canceled, saif Health Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva addressing the media today. Laws will be effected to seek compensation from such drug manufacturing companies,the minister said. more..

Jacqueline Fernandez on her role in Aladin

Oct 29 (RB) JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ, who is making her debut as an actor with Aladin, tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that Katrina Kaif is not what she is today just because of Salman Khan. Q: How would you describe your role in Aladin? I play the role of a very sweet and normal college girl called Jasmine in Aladin. She is not a princess like in the fable. Jasmine is not some one who has a distinct personality. more..

University students agitate demanding release of convener of IUSF

Oct 29 (LT) Students of all universities in the island engaged in a protest campaign today (28th) demanding the release of convener of the IUSF Udul Premaratne who was arrested 44 days ago and has been imprisoned since then and demanding immediate stop to privatization of education. The students who engaged in the protest campaign that commenced at Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo in the afternoon marched to Kollupitiya through Town Hall shouting slogans. more..

Sri Lanka must investigate death threats against two more journalists

Oct 29 (AI) The Sri Lankan authorities must act to ensure the safety of two female editors at a national newspaper who received death threats last week, Amnesty International said. The organization also called for an immediate investigation into the threats, received by Frederica Jansz, Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Leader, and the newspaper's News Editor, Munza Mushataq. The threats, which were written in red ink, were delivered by post to the newspaper on 22 October. more..

Tassie planning to lose Malinga

Oct 29 (TE) TASMANIA is planning for the withdrawal of Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga from its side for this summer's domestic Twenty20 competition, Tigers coach Tim Coyle said yesterday. Sri Lanka's tour of India and an expected tri-series involving those two sides and Bangladesh, which had been in doubt but is now likely to proceed, will prevent Malinga playing for Tasmania. more..

Book review: Tamil militancy in perspective

Oct 29 (LG) At a time when public discourse in Sri Lanka on the ethnic conflict and the issues growing out of it is bristling with misconceptions, misperceptions, jaundiced judgments, and even down right lies, this book makes a welcome entry into our midst with the abundant capability of putting the record straight on a multiplicity of such heatedly-contested matters. Chief among these issues on which clarity and perspicacity is remarkably achieved is the nature of Tamil militancy. more..

Debrief News - 28.10.2009

Opposition support for Fonseka grows

Oct 29 (Hindu) The former Prime Minister and opposition leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has openly come out in support of Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka contesting the Presidential election. Announcement of the date for the general election due by April and a possible Presidential election before it are to be announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the convention of the ruling SLFP on November 15. more..

When friends fail

Oct 29 (LG) Sri Lanka was granted special trade concession, GSP+, back in January 2005 as a goodwill gesture from its “friend” the EU; it is the only country in Asia to benefit from the scheme. That move helped Sri Lanka's garments export industry, which accounts for half of all exports, promote its place as a preferred source for many of Europe's retail giants. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) prohibits discrimination between developing countries. more..

Shanti: She lived the spirit of her name fully

Oct 29 (LG) Two generations of the Jaffna College alumni have fond recollections and warm reminiscences of Shantakumari Vignarajah; one as the schoolmate at Jaffna College and the other as the campus guru of those who entered the University of Jaffna and more particularly her students in English. Being what she has been to those with whom she interacted as friend, schoolmate and lecturer, these memories will not only be cherished and more..

The EU spotlight on human rights and democratic freedoms

Oct 29 (LG) The European Union passed a Resolution last week faulting our alleged failures in the enforcement of democratic freedoms and human rights. The Government Ministerial spokesman referred to the need to uphold national sovereignty. But does the upholding of national sovereignty not mean also the protection of fundamental rights and human rights provided for in our Constitution? Doesn’t national sovereignty in here in the people. more..

"Pahan Siluwa" the best music video 2009 launched

Oct 29 (MoD) "Pahan Siluwa", The best music video of the year awarded at the 14th Sumathi Tele Awarding ceremony 2009, was launched for the public entertainment at the Ministry of Defence Public Security Law and Order. The first CD of the music video was handed over to Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa by Lt Col Nilantha Jayaweera. The Sky Entertainments lead by talented Nilan Cooray, has produced the music video free of charge, more..

Rudd hostage to 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Oct 29 (Age) In a diplomatic and practical debacle just over a week after Kevin Rudd and President Yudhoyono's "humanitarian" settlement, the Rudd Government is hostage to 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers Australia rescued, and at the mercy of increasingly obstreperous Indonesian authorities. Neither the Australian nor the Indonesian government has control of the situation. As Australia battles to resolve the immediate impasse, more..

Australia prepared to use force on asylum seekers

Oct 29 (WAT) THE Federal Government is not ruling out the forced removal of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking to end a politically damaging stand-off off the coast of Indonesia. However, the likelihood the Australian Customs ship and its human cargo would be redirected to Australia rose dramatically yesterday when Indonesian authorities said they more..

President is expected to arrive in Kathmandu today

Oct 29 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is arriving in Kathmandu today on a two-day official visit to Nepal. Officials at Ministry of Foreign Affairs said President Rajapaksa is visiting Nepal to complete his earlier visit to Nepal. President Rajapaksa had to cut short his three-day visit to Nepal in March this year, after gunmen fired at the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan. The president and his delegation had left Kathmandu a day before their scheduled departure. more..

Rainforest ecolodge linkages: Deniyaya

Oct 29 (CAO) Complaint: Located close to the Sinharaja Rainforest in southern Sri Lanka, the Rainforest Ecolodge is a joint venture eco-tourism project set up several private sector companies in the tourism industry. The IFC, through its South Asia Enterprise Development Facility (SEDF), is providing technical advisory services to the project which include setting up of supply chain linkages with local small and medium sized suppliers, more..

Overseas workers’ support sought for Lanka’s growth

Oct 29 (AN) Sri Lanka’s government called for the help of its overseas workers to work for the country’s development plans. “President Mahinda Rajapaksa has summoned these workers for a two-day program in Colombo to help rebuild the island’s war-ravaged areas and encourage much-needed foreign investments,” said Sabarullah Khan, chargé d’affaires at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh. more..

Time to expose vultures

Oct 29 (AT) Sri Lanka is entering a phase where extreme vigilance is called for. We have still not seen the end of those ‘peace makers’ who were badly disappointed by the LTTE\s crushing defeat. Now that they have no way of calling for power-sharing with a terrorist outfit these disgruntled elements are obviously exploring new sways of weakening the State. Under the circumstances President Mahinda Rajapaksa getting a little concerned about unsubstantiated rumours of a more..

Hotel Palm Garden

Jaffna Book Exhibition Continues

Oct 29 (AT) Jaffna Book Exhibition – 2009, which was launched on October 27 is expected to continue till next Saturday at the Jaffna Central College. The exhibition includes 15 book stalls where over 15,000 books written in Tamil and English languages are displayed. Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda and the Northern Province Governor Major General (retired) GA Chandrasiri participated in the opening ceremony. more..

Rohit to lead Board President's XI against Sri Lanka

Oct 29 (CI) Rohit Sharma will captain the Board President's XI against the visiting Sri Lankans in a three-day tour opener to be played in Mumbai from November 11 to 13. The 14-man squad, announced by the selectors in Nagpur today, also includes Robin Uthappa who was named vice-captain after an impressive showing in the Champions League Twenty20. "We have made a conscious decision to make sure that we have give lot of opportunities to everybody; more..