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Pressure on top

Sep 9 (CI) The last two seasons have been good for us in Test cricket, and it shows in how we have moved up to the No. 2 spot. But we now move into an area of our game that has caused us concern in recent times and needs more focus. Over the last year, we have been patchy and inconsistent in ODIs. That's the best way to put it. We have won matches, but at the same time we have lost many. Our No. 7 rank in the ICC ratings is a fair indicator of where we stand. more..

'Friends, relatives of IDPs to step in to hasten resettlement'

Sep 9 (AT) Advertisements will soon come up in papers calling for friends and relatives of those in IDP camps in the North, giving them a chance to provide accommodation for the displaced, in a bid to ease off the relocation process, MP Basil Rajapakse has said. He made these comments on Monday, in response to a request by the Tamil National Alliance, at a meeting presided over by President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Blow to media freedom

Sep 9 (Hindu) The August 31 verdict of a Colombo High Court sentencing the veteran journalist and columnist J.S. Tissainayagam to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment under the country’s draconian anti-terror law has raised concerns across the world on the state of freedoms in the country. The punishment is extremely disproportionate to the alleged crime of writing articles criticising the military in his North Eastern Monthly magazine. more..

On Sri Lanka’s accession to the ICCPR Optional Protocol

Sep 9 (GV) Terrorism poses a significant challenge to the promotion and protection of human rights. Many countries have faced problems, and many others continue to face problems, when trying to strike that balance which helps them fight terrorism effectively whilst also protecting the human rights of its citizens. Countries such as the US, the UK, come to mind. Their anti-terror laws, and the passage that led to the drafting of such laws, more..

Maldives leader skips foreign trip to save peoples' money

Sep 9 (AFP) The Maldives, whose fight against rising sea levels has become a cause celebre for environmentalists, said Monday it would have to skip UN climate change talks in Copenhagen this year to save money. "We can't go to Copenhagen because we don't have the money," President Mohamed Nasheed told reporters, adding that he was staying away to set an example of cost-saving to the rest of the government. more..

Which king would reign from this palace?

Sep 9 (LT) A viewer, who has not revealed his name, has sent photographs of the ‘mansion’ that is being built at Deniyaya. Three journalists of ‘Lanka Irida’ who tried to collect information regarding the construction of this large building using assets of ‘Maga Neguma’ were arrested and detained under Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for several days but were released on bail by Morawaka Magistrate when they were produced in court today. more..

‘Lanka’ journalists released

Sep 9 (LT) Shalike Wimalasena, Daya Neththasinghe and Ravinda Pushpakumara, the three journalists from ‘Lanka Irida’ arrested by Deniyaya Police, were released on bail when they were produced before Morawaka Magistrate today afternoon. They were arrested while coming back after collecting information regarding constructions on a private land in Deniyaya using assets of ‘Maga Neguma’ including a large number of its vehicles. more..

Sri Lanka slips in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings

Sep 9 (BL) Perhaps reflecting the trying circumstances for the entrepreneurial community, Sri Lanka has slipped in the influential and annual global rankings of Ease of Doing Business, released yesterday by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Sri Lanka was ranked at 105 in the Doing Business 2010 rankings, down three slots from 102nd position in the 2009 list. more..

Tamils should present a united stand

Sep 9 (BL) The reconciliation process would be further strengthened if the three groups that won the backing of the Tamil people in the local government elections in Jaffna and Vavuniya- TNA, EPDP and PLOTE- place a common formula acceptable to the Tamil people. The outcome of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa- Tamil National Alliance meeting of Monday evening was not known when this column was written. more..

Go slow stains tea industry

Sep 9 (BL) The stand off between estate unions and plantation owners have already cost the industry Rs. 1 billion dollars and seems set to wreak more damage as striking workers are sabotaging the movement of produce resulting in buyers being discouraged. With the government refusing to intervene to break the stalemate plantations stakeholders yesterday warned that if the situation is not brought under control soon it would result in international buyers moving elsewhere, more..

Fishing equipment furor hooks parliament

Sep 9 (BL) A life jacket, fish hooks and a ball of nylon caused a furor in parliament yesterday causing the afternoon session to be suspended twice. JVP Matara District MP Premasiri Mannage brought the items into parliament as part of a demonstration to pin point the effects taxes by the government were having on the fisheries industry. However, it caused strong security concerns among the other MPs resulting in JVP members walking out of the chamber. more..

Massive road development network

Sep 9 (GDI) The Ministry of Highways has taken steps to develop roads countrywide. Many roads are being developed and some newly constructed, in addition to the building of bridges throughout the country. The work is being carried out under the supervision of Minister T.B. Ekenayake. Many flyovers have already been constructed in many areas. Among them are the flyovers in Kelaniya, Dematagoda and Nugegoda. more..

UN's Ban criticizes Sri Lanka over official's visa

Sep 9 (Reuters) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Sri Lanka on Tuesday for revoking the work visa of a spokesman for the U.N. children's foundation UNICEF, whom Colombo accuses of spreading rebel propaganda. "The secretary-general strongly regrets the decision of the Sri Lankan government to expel Mr. James Elder, spokesman for UNICEF in Sri Lanka," more..

National Dengue Control Week begins on Oct 21

Sep 9 (GDI) The National Dengue Control Week organized by the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will begin on October 21 countrywide. The dengue epidemic is now under control and the death rate is zero. The number of dengue cases reported during the 36th week is only 49, Media Secretary to the Health Ministry W.M.D Wanninayaka told today (09). more..

First Lady meets Sri Lankan undergraduates studying in China

Sep 9 (GDI) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa who is on an official visit to China made a courtesy call to the TianJin Medical University to meet with the Sri Lankan undergraduates studying in the Faculty of Medicine yesterday (08). The TianJin Medical University is the first ‘Higher Medical Collage’ in China which is approved by the Administrative Council of People’s Republic of China (PRC). more..

Fuel subsidy for 3 wheelers to be implemented

Sep 9 (GDI) Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena today presented to parliament a supplementary estimate to obtain 900 million rupees for the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Facilities. The Minister explained that the funds will be utilized to provide a fuel subsidy to three wheel owners who contribute immensely for passenger transport in the country. more..

Ways and means of preventing terrorism

Sep 9 (LG) When J.S. Tissainayagam was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week, the entire world howled in protest. Rarely has a decision of the Sri Lankan courts been so roundly condemned. It is natural. Although we have been told very little about the case, we do know that it rests on what Tissainayagam wrote. The Government says that he took money from the LTTE for the purpose, but the sum alleged is so tiny as to be insignificant, more..

A socialist program for plantation workers

Sep 9 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) warns plantation workers that the trade unions are preparing to impose a poverty-level wage deal in collaboration with employers and the government. We urge workers to reject the machinations of the unions and mobilise independently to defend their pay and conditions on the basis of socialist policies. The unions involved in the negotiations—the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), more..

Army takes initiative in renovating the historic Jaffna Fort

Sep 9 (LP) The historic Jaffna which was badly damaged and partly destroyed due to the terrorists activities of the LTTE, is to be renovated by the Sri Lanka Army. The renovation work will be conducted under the guidance and supervision of Jaffna Commander and 51 Divisional Commander with the assistance of the Northern Province Governor’s office said Army sources. The Jaffna Fort was built as a small garrison by the Portuguese in 1618 more..

Gala of the Udappu guarding deities

Sep 9 (HA) As the Sun began to spread its rays towards Udappu, people of this small hamlet began to bustle, devotees thronged the temple. The roosters were still crowing while mild breeze blows, trees dance for the mild breeze. It was 4th of August 2009-Tuesday, a day before the fire walking. Certain rituals take place on this day. more..

'The original SLFP with policies is defunct'

Sep 9 (UNP) UNP group leader for Matara district, Buddhika Pathirane said, but for the UNPers who crossed over to the Govt., there would not be existing a Rajapakse Govt., as the original policies are obliterated by the Rajapakses. What exists now is the corrupted version of the SLFP under one ‘pakse’, the Rajapakse. The Rajapakse oligarchic Govt. is riding roughshod over the country’s economy. more..

Sri Lanka islet resort by Six Senses chain

Sep 9 (LBO) International luxury hotel chain Six Senses is to manage a resort built on an islet on the north west coast of Sri Lanka becoming the first tourism project to be announced after an ethnic war ended, officials said. The first phase of the project in Dutch Bay in Kalpitiya, off the north-west coast, will cost 75 million dollars and consists of 60 mangrove chalets – two-storey villas with plunge pools – and 20 luxury villas on the lagoon. more..

A chairmanship to Gen. Fonseka

Sep 9 (LT) The government is considering appointing Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Sarath Fonseka as a chairman of an institution that comes under the Ministry of Export Development & International Trade. According to government sources Gen. Fonseka first rejected the proposal to take over the chairmanship of an institution in the ministry that deals with foreign finances. more..

'We’ll defeat Mahinda Rajapakse under any condition'

Sep 9 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has no right to hold another presidential election, he should abolish executive presidency as promised and if he is not prepared to do it the JVP was prepared to defeat him under any circumstance said General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Mr. Tilvin Silva said this addressing the public when the JVP launched a leaflet distribution campaign to educate the public on ‘why executive presidency should be abolished.’ more..

Police apologize for illegal arrest

Sep 9 (LNP) Four Police officers attached to the Avissawella Police yesterday apologized to a salesman who had complained to the Supreme Court against illegal arrest and detention. The petitioner had also sought compensation in ten million rupees. As suggested by court the petitioner agreed to a settlement and moved to withdraw the case. Petitioner W.M.G.L. Weerasinghe of Avissawella cited Chief Inspector Nalin Attanayake and five others as respondents. more..

Prosecution allowed to remove names of Prabhakaran, Pottu Amman

Sep 9 (LNP) Colombo High Court yesterday permitted the prosecution to remove the names of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman from the indictment filed in connection with the former Foreign Minister Laksman Kadirgamar assassination case. Colombo High Court Judge Kumuduni Wickramasinghe allowed the removal of their names from the indictment after the Court was informed that those two were dead. more..

IMF, budget deficits and Mahinda Chintana

Sep 9 (LNP) The other day I was invited to a closed door seminar organized by the Pathfinder Foundation to discuss the IMF stand by arrangement. A total of about twenty five or so policy makers, professionals, academics, and businesspeople attended and engaged in a fairly mundane discussion on why we had to go to the IMF. While some squarely put the total blame on the global economic crisis others were more intellectually honest about the domestic causes. more..

The long walk to reconciliation

Sep 9 (LNP) When coming down Castle Street towards Borella a few posters on the wall of the Devi Balika Vidyalaya catches the eye. It is a poster printed in Sinhala by a tutor to publicize `Tamil language` classes conducted by him. The name of the tuition master one Selvakumaran, was given on the posters with the place where he conducts his classes. Quite a few of these posters were on the parapet walls of the buildings further down the road. more..

No degrees for 50 professions: JVP

Sep 9 (DM) The JVP said yesterday the university system did not conduct degree programmes in at least 50 professions and the government should look into this matter. JVP front-liner Bimal Ratnayake told parliament the government had suspended para medical degree courses after them for two years. “We need qualified para medics to run the health service along with the doctors. We also need graduate nurses and laboratory technicians,” he said. more..

Once more on Universities

Sep 9 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for high ethical standards and social responsibility from those products of the country`s higher education system. Delivering the Convocation Address at the conferment of Post Graduate Degrees of the Colombo University on Sunday the President noted that Sri Lanka not only needs well-educated specialists from its higher education system but also expects it to produce individuals with high ethical standards and social responsibility. more..

Towards innovative agriculture

Sep 9 (DN) The Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna is launching its Second National Symposium on September 10, 2009 at Mapalana, Kamburupitiya. This event is also organized to mark the 31st year of its establishment. Being the academic excellence in the region, the University of Ruhuna caters the nation with many aspects, and in particular the Faculty of Agriculture focuses on, academic programs for the undergraduates and postgraduates; more..

Ragging of freshers in Universities: Minister talks tough

Sep 9 (DN) Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala told Parliament yesterday that undergraduates found guilty of ragging freshers will be promptly expelled from the universities. "We will take strict action against those responsible in terms of the law of the country, the Minister said. Tabling the universities (Amendment) Bill, the Minister said a number of steps have been taken to curb ragging in India. more..

Lanka-Russia to enhance media, cultural ties

Sep 9 (DN) The Russian Federation will make arrangements to develop the Sri Lanka-Russian partnership of communications and cultural relations and continue consolidating and strengthening bilateral co-operation with Sri Lanka, said Russian Deputy Media Minister Alexender Sharov. He said so when Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene met him in Moscow last week. The two sides focused on the exchange of views and experience of both countries. more..

Road to MR’s relative’s house 570 families lose water – UNP

Sep 9 (Island) The community water service to 570 families in Nathagala, Deniyaya, has been disrupted due to a three-kilometre road being constructed to a house of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother in law, the UNP alleged yesterday. Matara District UNP MP Sagala Ratnayake, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that to construct the road, land belonging to Mathurata Plantations had also been acquired by the State. more..

CEB pays Rs. 80 mn in penalties in 2008

Sep 9 (Island) Hemas Power, a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC, announced an Initial Public Offering for 31.3 million ordinary shares which will be listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange hoping to raise between Rs. 532 million and Rs. 626 million to fund projects in non-conventional renewable energy generation. The IPO is expected to raise capital for Hemas Power’s 1.18 MW Magal Ganga Small Hydro Plant, currently under construction, intending to expand its capacity to 2.4 MW. more..

Govt. seeks additional Rs. 350 Mn for basic, welfare facilities of IDPs

Sep 9 (Island) The government yesterday presented a paper seeking Parliamentary approval for the allocation of an additional sum of Rs. 350 million for the provision of basic and welfare facilities of the internally displaced persons. The paper said that during the humanitarian action launched to liberate Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, people of both districts numbering 288,938 became displaced and moved to areas controlled by the government. more..

Dengue death rate zero now

Sep 9 (DN) The National Dengue Control Week organised by the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will begin on October 21 countrywide. The dengue epidemic which hit Sri Lanka last January is now under control and the death rate is zero. The number of dengue cases reported during the 36th week is only 49, the latest statistics of the Epidemiology Unit of the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry says. more..

University teachers exploiting official leave: UNP

Sep 9 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged in Parliament that some University teachers who left the country on sabbatical leave were now engaged in various overseas jobs instead of pursuing further studies. UNP Kurunegala district parliamentarian Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said sabbatical leave was granted to University teachers to follow foreign degree programmes and enhance their knowledge. more..

"Uthuru Wasanthaya" develops 35 villages in Vavuniya district

Sep 9 (MoD) Thirty five villages in the Vavuniya district are being developed under the "Uthuru Wasanthaya " 180-days accelerated program launched by the government to resettle the Tamil civilians sheltered in the welfare camps due to LTTE activities. Under the development project it will improve the pre-identified infrastructure of these villages to provide more facilities for the Tamil civilians to be resettled in the area shortly. more..

500 Tamil police personnel to be appointed in Jaffna

Sep 9 (TN) Jaffna district Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Roshan Fernando, said that 500 Tamil young men and women are to be selected to be trained as police constables, sub-inspectors and inspectors to serve in Jaffna district to meet the need for Tamil police personnel, in a press meet held Tuesday in Jaffna police station, sources in Jaffna said. Gazette notification calling applicants will soon be made, more..

Including the disabled through ICT

How Ban Ki Moon tripped on SL’s Diplomacy trap

Sep 9 (DM) Criticisms are being levelled from all quarters these days against UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for not taking steps to halt the Sri Lankan (SL) war concluded recently. ‘The Economist’ magazine has declared that Ban Ki Moon’s popularity is on the decline day by day , based on an opinion poll, adding that, one of the reasons for this popularity wane is because Moon did not perform his duties duly during the SL war. more..

Estate unions vow not to give up

Sep 9 (DM) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the Lanka Jathika Estate Union (LEWU) and the Ceylon Workers Alliance which launched a go slow campaign demanding a daily wage of Rs 500 for estate workers, yesterday said they would change their stance to win the demand if the need arose. CWC Secretary Minister Arumugam Thondaman told a joint news conference of the three unions which are signatories to the collective agreement that more..

Sri Lanka to lease islands for hotels

Sep 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to lease islands off the north-west coast for tourist hotels, as the travel industry recovers after the end of the 30-year ethnic war, government officials said. Tourism promotion minister Faiszer Musthapha said the government will soon advertise the lease of five islands in the Kalpitiya lagoon region which is being developed as a new up-market tourist resort complex. more..

Footage reveals Sri Lanka camp conditions

Sep 9 (C4) New film appears to reveal the victims of Sri Lanka's war suffering poor conditions in UN-funded camps. They are among the victims of Sri Lanka's civil war, living in camps funded by the UN. Now footage has come to light apparently showing how bad conditions are in the camps - patients on intravenous drips lying on mud floors, a man so weak he is unable to brush the flies from his face. more..

Sri Lanka gets US help to clear mines

Sep 9 (LBO) The United States military’s Pacific Command is providing training and equipment to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to helps it clear landmines in the island’s former war zone, the US embassy said. “This training will build additional SLA capacity to clear mines in the Northern Province and expedite the safe return of displaced people to their homes and livelihoods,” it said in a statement. more..

Govt. briefs foreign diplomats on Channel 4 video

Sep 9 (MoD) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing Colombo based diplomats yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat to apprise them of the bogus Channel 4 video footage said that in the face of scientific and expert evidence proving that the video clip was a doctored one the Government expects Channel 4 to rebut the evidence or publish an apology of their unprofessional conduct that has been grossly detrimental to the image of Sri Lanka. more..

38 Presidential advisors gobble up Rs. 11.7 million of people’s funds

Sep 9 (LT) 38 have been appointed as presidential advisors and the amount paid for 22 of them in 2008 is Rs.1,17,29,653.36 revealed Minister Dinesh Gunawardene. Minister Gunawardene revealed this yesterday responding to a question posed by the JVP MP Ranaweera Pathirana. Speaking further Minister Gunawardene said 16 of the presidential advisors don’t draw any remuneration. more..

Sri Lanka to free some ethnic Tamil war refugees

Sep 9 (AP) Sri Lanka said Wednesday it will release some war refugees from government-run camps and let them live with nearby relatives, as international concern grows for nearly 300,000 detained Tamil civilians. The civilians were displaced during a military offensive that crushed the Tamil Tiger rebel group in May and ended the island's civil war. Since then, the displaced ethnic minority Tamils have been confined to a number of military-run camps in the north. more..

Sri Lanka on a collision course with the West

Sep 10 (GV) Why on earth is the Rajapakse regime on a collision course with the West? Okay, we are being bullied by the West, but haven’t we asked for it mainly on account of our stubborn resistance to international appeals for independent investigations into war crimes and human rights abuses? Taking blanket cover under a ‘conspiracy theory’ to undermine Sri Lanka by the West due to our ‘strategic importance’ borders on the ridiculous. more..