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President tells UPFA Southern Provincial Councillors: SP on fast track to progress

Oct 30 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa noted that the Southern Province as a whole was on the fast track to development with mega projects and infrastructure facilities being implemented. He instructed the newly elected Councillors to support these endeavours and fulfill the aspirations of the people in the area by working as a team. “Your responsibility and accountability is towards the people and the Alliance. more..

Ranjan pleads for stranded Lankans, some under a bridge

Oct 30 (Island) Sabaragamuwa Provincial Opposition leader Ranjan Ramanayake requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take immediate steps to fly back about 350 Sri Lankans now stranded in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as they were undergoing immense hardship without food, clothing and other basic needs. Ramanayake has, in a letter to the President, stated that he personally investigated complaints received and found that more..

Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement seeks release of all Tamils from camps

Oct 30 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all Tamils held in the camps in Sri Lanka. A resolution, adopted at the public meeting that marked the culmination of awareness rallies taken out across the State here on Thursday, called upon the Indian Government to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of the Tamils. more..

Work on major Irrigation projects progressing rapidly

Oct 30 (Island) Implementation of the Government’s ambitious projects to harness the waters of the Menik Ganga, Deduru Oya, Rambukkan Oya, Kirama Oya, Walave Ganga and Dambulu Oya for agricultural and drinking purposes in the dry zones of the country has proved to be very successful and was progessing rapidly, Director General of Irrigation (DGI) H. P. Shelton Somasiri said on Wednesday. more..

Who can be the President?

Oct 30 (DM) It takes an extraordinary single mindedness and an obsessive dedication to the job, perhaps to the exclusion of other concerns like money, family and the pursuit of pleasure, for one to be a leader of ones own right. Unfortunately there’s a dearth of such leaders in Sri Lanka today especially in politics. Everyone who makes a name in some field wants to change the track and get into politics the moment they become fairly known to a few thousands. more..

Teacher severely reprimanded over assault on six-year-old

Oct 30 (DM) The Colombo Additional Magistrate severely warned a suspect produced before Court on a complaint of assault on a six-year-old girl from a Colombo school. He observed “teachers should not act on personal agendas, but for the betterment of a child’s future. A child should not be subject to mental or physical torture…” Sub Inspector Amarasekera of the Minor Offences Branch of the Dematagoda police complained to more..

Nishantha seeks asylum in Britain

Oct 30 (DM) Nishantha Muthuhettigama who was elected to the Southern Provincial Council has decided to leave the country as he was not given the post of Chief Minister as promised by the UPFA, he told Daily Mirror. Mr. Muthuhettigama who was a notable absentee when the Southern Provincial Council members were sworn in was scheduled to leave for Britain last night seeking asylum. He said it was a blessing to have been removed from the party and more..

JVP will not join opposition’s ‘common alliance’

Oct 30 (LP) The JVP will not join the alliance of the opposition that is being formed with the initiative of the UNP says Information Secretary of that party Vijithe Herath. Responding to ‘Lankatruth’ regarding the invitation extended by Secretary General of the UNP Tissa Aattanayake for the JVP to join the opposition alliance Mr. Herath said the ‘opposition alliance’ of the UNP is formed for more..

State banks will go bankrupt– UNP

Oct 30 (DM) The main opposition UNP said yesterday that the President’s order for State banks to reduce loan interest rates immediately would cost the government a revenue loss of Rs.70 billion while some reports had indicated the loss to even exceed Rs.140 billion. UNP front-liner Ravi Karunanayake told a news conference this sudden move would cause an about-turn for several State banks including the People’s Bank whose profit of Rs. five billion would be more..

State workers receive billions in subsidized housing credits

Oct 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state workers have recieved billions of rupees of housing loans at rates as low as 4.0 percent while homeless ordinary citizens were forced pay high rates as fiscal deficits pushed interest up, it has been revealed. A government statement said during the past four years, state workers had been given 32.59 billion rupees in subsidized housing loans from state bank money. more..

Displaced North Muslims

Sri Lanka inflation accelerates to 1.4-pct in October

Oct 30 (LBO) Consumer prices in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo rose 1.4 percent in October 2009 from a year earlier, against 0.7 percent in September, the government's statistics office said. In the month of October the revised Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) rose 0.4 percent higher than the September rise of 0.2 percent. In October last year prices fell 0.3 percent, which also tends to exaggerate the base effect. more..

US helps Sri Lanka's former rebels

Oct 30 (AFP) The United States on Friday announced funding for up to 1,000 former Tamil guerrillas to reintegrate in society by starting their own businesses or learning new skills. The US embassy here said they were giving equipment and supplies to ex-fighters while vocational training was also being made available to help them start small enterprises in the island's east. "The project, implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more..

Progeny of UPFA top guns have all the luck

Oct 30 (Island) Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath’s eldest son Kanaka will contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Yatiyantota chief SLFP Organiser Srilal Wickremesinghe last Saturday announced Kanaka’s entry into parliamentary politics. The announcement was made at the Kegalle District annual general meeting of the SLFP Youth Organisation presided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eldest son Namal. more..

EU to Sri Lanka on GSP plus probe: ‘No Tit for Tat’

Oct 30 (IPS) Despite acrimonious exchanges between Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) over human rights violations on which rests the fate of continued tax-free exports to Europe, development assistance continues unhindered to the Indian Ocean island, according to Europe’s top diplomat here. "Relations between Sri Lanka and Europe are much bigger than the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus issue," more..

President visits the birth place of Lord Buddha

Oct 30 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa visited Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha on Friday 30th. Nepalese children welcomed the President and the Sri Lankan delegation on arrival at one of the most holiest places for Buddhists all over the world. President lit up oil lamps near Asoka Pillar, which was discovered in 1896 by Nepalese archeologists. more..

'Sri Lanka rupee weakens against Euro helping exporters'

Oct 31 (LBO) The Sri Lanka rupee has weakened against the Euro and Sterling since November 2008 increasing the edge of exporters to Europe and helping offset a possible hit from lost trade concessions, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "It is our contention that Sri Lanka's exporters' competitiveness to the European Union had increased sharply since November 2008," Cabraal told reporters Thursday. more..

Bourse at fresh 1-month low on economic woes

Oct 31 (Reuters) Stock market ended at a new one-month low on Friday, as investors stayed cautious on economic worries, repercussions from a U.S. insider trading case and the possible loss of an EU trade concession. The All-Share Price Index of the Colombo Stock Exchange fell 0.23 points or 0.01 percent to 2976.93, its lowest close since Sept. 30. "Investors are waiting for directions," said Prashan Fernando, executive director at Acuity Stockbrokers. more..

British boy, six, killed after falling 60ft down a well during family holiday

Oct 31 (DM) A British boy has died after falling down a 60ft during a family holiday to Sri Lanka, it was revealed today. Matin Nochad, six, was just two hours into the trip with his parents and two-year-old sister when the tragic accident happened. The youngster had been playing in the garden of the family holiday home when the cover of a well he was standing on, gave way. more..

Fisher families going hungry in Batticaloa because of illegal fishing and drought

Oct 31 (AN) Small-scale fishermen in the Batticaloa lagoon area will go soon hungry. Drought and illegal fishing, tolerated by local authorities, are wiping out their already meagre earnings. For months, the coastal area of the North-Eastern Province has not had a drop of rain, and the water level in the lagoon is so low that bottom rocks are starting to surface making fishing impossible. more..

Tamils ride their luck

Oct 31 (Age) In Andimunai, it feels that everybody wants to leave. The normal population of the sleepy fishing town on Sri Lanka's west coast is about 10,000. But locals say at least 2000 of them have gone overseas by boat. Another 1000 or so have returned after being deported from places including Europe, North America and Australia. Many of them will try another getaway. "Each family has someone who has left, come back and tried to go again," more..

Indonesia demands time line for Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Oct 31 (JP) The government said Thursday it would demand a time line of how long the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, on board an Australian vessel in Riau province, would stay in Indonesia once their statuses have been finalized. Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia could not afford to let the boat people, who wish to go to Australia, stay in its territory for an indefinite period of time, as has been the case in the past. more..

A triumph over disaster and a beacon of hope for the next generation

Oct 31 (IOM) On a bright Tuesday morning in late September, Vakarai – a sleepy fishing village located about 300 kilometres east of the capital Colombo on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka – bustled with activity. Its villagers, who recovered from the destruction of the 2004 tsunami and the devastation of the armed conflict earlier this year, savour the peace and tranquility that now surround their village. more..

Debrief News - 30.10.2009

Kevin Rudd ready for influx as Christmas Island asylum centre doubles

Oct 31 (TA) Kevin Rudd is preparing to double the size of Australia's Christmas Island detention centre in a stark confirmation that his government expects a continuing flood of asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka. The multi-million-dollar upgrade, sparked by a sharp increase in boatpeople arrivals in the past month, is expected to lift the facility's capacity to as much as 2300. more..

Israel Defence Attache calls on Commander of the Navy

Oct 31 (SLN) Defence Attache of Israel Colonel Yossi Resaelov called on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo on the 26th of October 2009. Colonel Resaelo, who functions attached to the Embassy of Israel located in New Delhi, was accompanied by Acting Israeli Defence Attache Lieutenant Colonel Matan Sagi. more..

'No officer or soldier in Army could engage in politics'

Oct 31 (LT) No officer or soldier in uniform has any right to get involved in politics and if any such officer or soldier engages in politics stern disciplinary action would taken against such person and removed from the Army says Commander of SL Army Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya. The Army commander said this when he spoke to a cross-section of Other Ranks serving the Colombo Army Headquarters. The ceremony was held at Army Headquarters yesterday (29th). more..

UNP led UNF common alliance inaugural ceremony on 3rd Nov.

Oct 31 (UNP) UNP led common alliance , the UNF, which will comprise four main parties and 16 others will be ceremonially signed on 3rd November at 11.00 a.m. at the Parliamentary complex , according to the Gen. Secretary of the party, Tissa Attanayake. The memorandum of understanding signed by the parties will then be presented to the Mahanayake Theros of the three chapters in Kandy on November 14th. more..

Prof. Hattottuwagama, father of local street drama passes away

Oct 31 (LG) Father of local street drama field Gamini Hattottuwaga passed away today (Oct. 30). Prof. Hattottuwegama, an English lecturer by profession, was also involved in writing and was a renowned film critic. He played a main role in Dharmasiri Bandaranayake’s ‘Thunweni Yamaya.’ Prof. Hattottuwegama also created several talented artistes by producing dramas and conducting workshops and courses. more..

'Further probes' over LTTE leaders

Oct 31 (BBC) Investigations are continued over two senior Tamil Tigers surrendered during the last phase of the war, police in Sri Lanka say. The police earlier did not object to granting bail for Daya Master and George Master, the former LTTE media spokesman and the interpreter for LTTE leaders, respectively. Submitting a report to the court, the CID said the police are still investigating whether the pair was involved in any criminal activity. more..

“Centre should put pressure on Sri Lanka”

Oct 31 (Hindu) The Centre should pressurise the Sri Lankan government to allow all the Tamils in camps to go home immediately. It should grant funds to the Tamils directly and undertake a rehabilitation work such as construction of houses with the help of Indian engineers, said D. Pandian, State Secretary, Communist Party of India. He was addressing a meeting here on Thursday as part of his campaign rally that started from Kanyakumari. more..

Asylum-seeker's eight-hour pole protest

Oct 31 (TA) A group of agitated Sri Lankans facing deportation staged a tense standoff with police and immigration authorities yesterday when one scaled a pole in the Christmas Island detention centre and threatened to jump. The six men were among a large group of detainees due to be flown off the island last night on a government charter and sent back to Sri Lanka without visas. But they refused to leave voluntarily. more..

'Colombo fully committed to resettling Tamils'

Oct 31 (Hindu) Despite the difficulties, the Sri Lankan government was fully committed to rehabilitating and resettling all the people in the camps for the IDP, according to Sri Lankan Minister for Socio Economic Development and Youth Empowerment Arumugam Thondaman. “Around 58,000 people have been resettled after the visit of the delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu and in the second phase it will be about 46,000 people,” he told The Hindu on Thursday. more..

'Govt. is making even elections a commission business'

Oct 31 (UNP) UNP National organizer S.B. Dissanayake said, the sudden lowering of Bank interest rates by the Govt. ostensibly to develop the commercial sector is truly aimed at helping its Mudalalis and henchmen to get loans at low interest before the elections which are round the corner. Such loans are ‘more the merrier’ not only for those Mudalalis, but also for those who facilitate them and obtain a commission. more..

Bishop of Colombo urges impartial probe into Bambalapitiya incident

Oct 31 (LG) Bishop of Colombo Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera on Friday urged the Inspector General of Police and other concerned authorities to conduct an immediate and impartial probe into the incident at Bambalapitiya where a mentally unsound man was beaten by a policeman and several others and drowned as a result. He also urged the IGP to ensure that all those responsible are arrested and dealt with according to the Law. more..

Plan afoot to institutionalize children that do not go to school

Oct 31 (LG) An island-wide campaign to institutionalise children who do not attend school and instead engage in various forms of employment and begging is to be implemented by the Police Child and Women’s Bureau. The bureau noted that this plan would be put into effect after taking such children into their custody and producing them before court. The Bureau added that they were in the process of formulating a circular to present to court along with those children taken into their custody. more..

Student union convener Udul Premaratne given bail

Oct 31 (CT) Convener of Inter University Students Union Udul Premaratne has been released on bail after spending almost one-and-a-half months in remand prison. Produced before Gangodawila magistrate Wasantha Jinasena today (Oct. 30), the student activist was bailed out on two Rs. 100,000 sureties. He was ordered to report to Maharagama Police every Sunday. Mr. Premaratne was arrested, along with 14 other undergraduates, more..

Jobless graduates to petition president

Oct 31 (CT) Unemployed graduates presently on an indefinite fast are planning to hand over an open petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 04. Their union warned of a fast-unto-death if their demand for jobs is not met. After the failure of talks with deputy finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, they have been on a fast for 22 days now in front of Colombo Fort Railway Station. more..

General Fonseka’s visit to Washington DC

Oct 31 (LG) We reported in our earlier news about the visit of General Sarath Fonseka to Washington and that the Sri Lanka envoy to the US Jaliya Wickramasinghe was absent in the special religious function held at the Washington Buddhist temple. Our correspondent in Washington now confirmed that the Ambassador was out of state attending another pre-arranged event on the day of the function at more..

Theory and Practice of Democracy in Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (GV) This is one of the subjects that has in recent years put me in constant confusion. To situate my confused status in its context, let me begin with a personal note. In the 1960s when I began my political praxis, I had very clear and precise a position on the subject of democracy. I observed the presence of certain democratic values, forms and institutions in Sri Lanka and while recognizing their importance especially for left politics, more..

Canadian govt wants some Tamil migrants detained on security grounds

Oct 31 (CP) The government is raising security questions during detention hearings for a number of the 76 Tamil migrants who arrived off the West Coast on a decrepit freighter earlier this month. The men, at least three of whom crewed the Ocean Lady across the Pacific from Sri Lanka until it was intercepted in Canadian waters Oct. 17, are undergoing their second and third mandatory detention hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board. more..

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini to meet the Inter-Religious Delegation from Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (AT) An iter-religious delegation from Sri Lanka is expected to meet with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini when they arrive in Rome in the first week of November. The Italian Foreign Minister’s decision to meet the inter-religious delegation from Sri Lanka is another step forward towards strengthening the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and Italy. more..

We built too many walls and not enough bridges

Oct 31 (LG) Three decades of time people of Sri Lanka were gripped by horror, now a great sigh of relief has flow across the entire nation being finally released from the grip of the fear of terrorism. The Sri Lankan Nation now looks to the future with renewed hope and enthusiasm but a political dialogue needs to be initiated as soon as possible to prevent the Tamils from becoming an oppressed people again. more..

Sing along – Commons liars in rhythm

Oct 31 (LG) The "International Community" has every reason to be proud just now. They must be so thrilled they may use the coming Guy Fawke’s Day to have special bonfires to celebrate their victory. They will be celebrating the arrest of Heinrich Boere, 88, a former member of Hitler’s SS, whose trial in a German court, charged with murdering three Dutch citizens during World War II, began this week. more..

Tamil Pensioners not getting their monthly Rs.2,000.00 Cost of living allowance

Oct 31 (LG) For the last several months or may be years the Sri Lankan Pensioners were getting Rs.2,000.00 a month as C.O.L (Cost of living Allowance) but most of the Tamil pensioners abroad are not paid this as they do not know what is happening to their monthly pensions and their breakdowns of the amounts. They are paid a lump sum payment of base pension but the monthly Rs.2,000.00 COL is not paid to them. more..

New York agog at Galleon insider dealing allegations

Oct 31 (Times) The Galleon Group insider trading scandal continues to grip New York two weeks after fraud and conspiracy charges were brought against Raj Rajaratnam, co-founder and one of America’s richest men, and five others. Prosecutors allege that the defendants generated more than $25 million in illicit gains by exchanging privileged information about quarterly earnings and takeover activities at a number of companies, more..

Stamp on eradication of rabies

Oct 31 (GDI) The Philatelic Bureau of the Postal Department will issue a new postage stamp to mark the Humane Eradication of Rabies in Sri Lanka initiated on a directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2006, making Sri Lanka the first South Asian country to implement such a policy. The first stamp of this issue will be cancelled by Acting Minister of Post Prof. G. L. Peiris at more..

Lost sense of social responsibility in a post-war SL society

Oct 31 (SLW) A well-built man supported by four or five men assaulting a much smaller man using a large club while the man pleads not to assault him. The man tries to keep himself from drowning in the sea as the waves take him further away by a few feet from the beach- more than hundred onlookers gathered on the beach watching the scene without uttering a word- and this writer for a moment thought the television channel was carrying a masala scene from more..

Opposition is bankrupt while banks do well - Siyambalapitiya

Oct 31 (GDI) Minister of Finance and State Revenue Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told a news briefing yesterday that the Opposition will have to remain in the opposition even after the future elections as they are politically bankrupt. He was responding to a statement made by UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake on the reduction of interest rates by banks on loans for public servants. more..

Unawatuna coast peaceful line - Discovery

Oct 31 (GDI) Unawatuna beach line in the Southern coast of Sri Lanka has been hailed as the peaceful coastline hemmed with coconut trees, in the 'Discover' entertainment guide of Cathay Pacific. ‘Discovery’, the in-flight entertainment guide on Cathay Pacific, in its October issue cover page titled ‘Cool Asia 2009’, describes itself as the “guide to the best of the region”. In the listing under best beaches is more..