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Genetics , Human rights and Social justice

Sep 10 (LNP) Genetics is the study of an individual s entire genome or the genetic structure of a person. In developed countries genomics is viewed as a saviour because it will be possible to develop personalized medicine by studying a patients' genome. The World Health Organization (WHO) used bio-ethics to frame the relationship between Genomics and World Health and has adopted a health and human rights perspective in their report on Genomics and World Health. more..

Estate crisis: If TUs, employers fail to agree, Govt to intervene

Sep 10 (DN) Minister D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament yesterday the Government will intervene to sort out the crisis in the estate sector, if Trade Unions and plantation companies fail to reach an agreement on the pay hike issue of plantation workers. The Minister said: “The Government should be fair to both parties. When initiatives are taken to safeguard the workers’ rights, measures should also be taken to safeguard plantation companies”. more..

Happy to return home after 19 years

Sep 10 (DN) They came in fifteen buses from Puttalam to Musali primary school grounds. There were the old people who remembered many things and the children who had never come here before. Languishing in temporary shelters for 19 years after being chased out of their villages, they had faced uncertainty living on welfare facing many a predicament. On this day finally they had returned to their own villages to settle down in peace, resettlement program started by the Special Presidential Task Force. more..

War against inefficiency in public sector

Sep 10 (LNP) As we have mentioned often in these columns with the end of the war the Government`s attention is increasingly being focused on fields which were hitherto largely neglected. Even during the victory celebrations in the immediate aftermath to the end to the war the President declared war on drugs, alcohol, corruption, the underworld etc. These evils largely escaped the attention of all Governments whose focus was on the war. more..

Channel 4 video: Local elements will be exposed soon

Sep 10 (MoD) Minister Dullas Allahapperuma yesterday said the local elements who were involved in the production of the video footage that was telecast on Channel 4 television will be divulged soon. He said the Government has received information that several persons have connived with international elements in the production of this video footage which brought the country and the Security Forces into disrepute. more..

Govt warns of foreign conspiracies

Sep 10 (DN) The Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa will not succumb to any outside pressure in executing the mandate given to it by the people of this country. No international force can deter the President who has won the hearts and minds of leaders of progressive countries in the world, said Construction and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne. The Minister was addressing the weekly UPFA press briefing at the Mahaweli Centre yesterday. more..

Malaysia detains 114 Sri Lankan illegal migrants

Sep 10 (SBS) Malaysian authorities have arrested 114 Sri Lankans and two Indians allegedly on their way to Australia illegally. They were caught during a raid in the southern city of Johor Baru. It's the first time immigration authorities have caught Sri Lankans in Johor indicating a new front has opened in the human trafficking of illegal immigrants to Australia. The Sri Lankans and Indians were found hiding in several apartments and more..

Women want better pay, out of Free Trade Zones

Sep 10 (IPS) The room is dingy and cramped. The walls are unplastered and its rough cement edges can scrape the skin easily. Furniture is strewn all over the place, plastic chairs stacked one on top of the other, boxes on top of them, handbags hanging from the wall and clothes on a rack. A small kerosene cooker is kept on the side of the room while a bicycle is parked next to the only bed in the 10-by-10-feet room. more..

Rajitha confirms Presidential polls first

Sep 10 (Island) Construction and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that the government would hold the presidential election ahead of parliamentary elections before April next year. Addressing a press conference, at the Mahaweli Centre, chaired by SLFP heavyweight Dallas Alahapperuma, Senaratne said that the presidential poll would follow elections to the Southern Provincial Council scheduled for October 10. more..

Largest ancient sluice found

Sep 10 (Island) Possibly the largest sluice, three Buddha statues and a number of other items of archaeological value were discovered during an excavation jointly carried out by Japanese and Sri Lankan archaeologists at Yakkure village in Wasgamuwa. Department of Archeology Exploration Officer T. M. C. Bandara said he was confident that most items discovered during the excavation belonged to the Anuradhapura era while some belonged to the Polonnaruwa era. more..

Making molehills out of mountains

Sep 10 (Island) The ruling coalition calls itself the United People's Freedom Alliance or the UPFA for short. But, if the inane utterances of some government politicians are anything to go by, it is doubtful whether they are au fait with people's burning problems. They seem to think that the war was the only problem people ever had and now that the LTTE has been crushed, everything is hunky dory. more..

Walking for peace

Penny rejects Sri Lanka offer

Sep 10 (DM) Trevor Penny has declined an invitation from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to be their team's assistant coach. The 42-year-old Salisbury (now Harare), Rhodesia born Penny was recently approached by SLC to replace Paul Farbrace, who at the end of the current ongoing tri-nation series involving India and New Zealand is returning to Kent as their head coach. This was revealed by Tom Moody, the Warriors Manager and Head Coach at Western Australia Cricket Association. more..

'Muddle in IFS research council'

Sep 10 (DM) JVP charged yesterday that several eminent scientists employed at the Institute of Fundamental Studies (IFS) research council which plays a major role in scientific research have been unduly dismissed, JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told parliament that even Professor Kehelpannala who gave a prior warning of a tsunami ravaging Sri Lanka in 2004 was also subjected to this unfair treatment. more..

SB calls for intervention

Sep 10 (DM) Government has to intervene in the estate workers wage crisis to ensure that all estate workers receive Rs. 500 as a basic daily wage, UNP National Organizer S.B.Dissanayake said yesterday. “A majority of the estate workers get paid at the rate of Rs. 200 per day, and only if they put in 75% attendance will they be paid Rs. 270 per day. That is simply not fair, when the daily wage of a farm hand is Rs. 600 with meals. So it is only fair to ask for an increment up to Rs. 500 per diem,” more..

Lankan maid acquitted of theft charges

Sep 10 (GT) A Doha court of first instance has acquitted a Sri Lankan housemaid of charges of stealing gold jewellery from her employer’s house. The judge ruled that the plaintiff lodged a police complaint against the maid with “malicious intention” to avenge the woman’s escape to a nearby police station, seeking protection. The judge ordered the immediate release of the 49-year-old maid, who has spent almost a year in prison “unless she was jailed for another reason.” more..

Cost of living a minor issue - Champika

Sep 10 (Island) Top UPFA spokesman defended his ministerial colleague Champika Ranawaka’s assertion that the issue of cost of living, media freedom and executive presidency should not be allowed to divert the attention of the ruling coalition. The JHU nominee in the government had said that such minor issues could not be allowed to hinder the country’s progress in the aftermath of victory over LTTE terrorism. more..

Aug tourist arrivals surge 34 pct

Sep 10 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by more than a third in August from a year ago, the third monthly rise since May due to the end of a decades-long war, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism board said on Thursday. August tourist arrivals rose 34.3 percent to 41,207, the highest since December, up from 30,672 recorded a year ago. The rise in arrivals and expectations of post-war investment have driven the more..

India: Any country would have found IDP influx

Sep 10 (Island) Appreciating India’s support for eradicating terrorism and strengthening Sri Lanka’s capacity to meet the emergency medical situation in the north, Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday said that India had been fully aware of the actual ground situation at the height of the conflict. Speaking at a ceremony at Hotel Taj to felicitate Indian medical personnel, who had been involved in the humanitarian mission in the North, more..

Australia offers help to Sri Lanka Unicef spokesman

Sep 10 (ABC) The Australian Government says help has been offered to the UNICEF spokesman in Sri Lanka who has been ordered out of the country. James Elder is an Australian citizen who has been accused of spreading anti-Government propaganda. The Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says at this stage Mr Elder says he does not need help from Australia. Mr Smith says it seems he has only been doing his job. more..

UK High Commission insists no political bias in visa process

Sep 10 (DM) The British High Commission in Sri Lanka, in a press statement, said that while they expedite visa applications for senior political and official figures from Sri Lanka and other countries they do this in accordance with UK immigration rules and this means, for example, that they cannot issue free visas for personal visits. Responding to recent press reports of political bias in the handling of visa applications, more..

Britain refuses visa for Kohona

Sep 10 (DM) The British High Commission in Colombo yesterday refused visas to outgoing Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona and former Deputy Tourism Minister and MP Arjuna Ranatunga. Dr. Kohona and Mr. Ranatunga had submitted their passports to the British High Commission for a visa to London but to their surprise the passports were returned without any valid reason for turning down their visa applications. more..

Bharti Mulling Millicom Sri Lankan operations buy

Sep 11 (WSJ) Bharti Airtel Ltd. is considering the acquisition of the Sri Lankan operations of Luxemburg-based Millicom International Cellular S.A. in a deal which could be worth $100 million to $120 million, a person close to the development said. "In Sri Lanka, if you need to be a significant player in the market, you need to do an acquisition... greenfield, you will not be successful," the person told Dow Jones Newswires, more..

‘Saturn becomes state deity of Sri Lanka’

Sep 11 (TN) Reports reaching from Colombo indicate that the saturnine rulers of Sri Lanka, panicked at the transit of the planet Saturn said to be taking place this week, has geared up the state to undertake propitiatory measures. In this respect, the Malayala mandriks have become more powerful in Sri Lankan affairs than the prelates of the Buddhist chapters, commented journalist circles in Colombo. more..

Turbulent Sri Lanka opts for offshore tourism

Sep 11 (TN) Some European investors and a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, relieved about the ‘end of war,’ are embarked upon building a 175 million dollar luxury tourist resort in the offshore tracts of the Dutch Bay in Katpiddi, media sources in Colombo reported Wednesday. The narrow stretch of land lying between the Dutch Bay and the Indian Ocean will have 60 chalets and 20 villas in the first phase, costing 1000-1500 dollars per night and will have 80 villas in more..

Pakistan's naval academy annually trains 70 SLN sailors

Sep 11 (TN) The Captain of Pakistan’s newly acquired Chinese built guided-missile frigate PNS Zulfiquar, which docked in at the Colombo Port earlier this week, told media that his country was training 70 SLN personnel on annual basis and that the SLN would acquire Pakistani built small frigates in the future. Captain Zahid Ilyas, speaking to media persons on board PNS Zulfiquar, said that it was the first of four frigates being built by China, more..

No serendipity in Serendip

Sep 11 (IE) In Michelle Tramezzino’s fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, first published in Venice in the 16th century, the heroes “always made discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” Considering Sri Lanka’s penchant for producing accidental cricketing heroes, it isn’t surprising that Serendip is the old, Persian name for the teardrop island where the love for the sport remains undiluted despite decades of internal strife. more..

Bourse up on construction, diversified shares

Sep 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market on Thursday rose for a sixth straight session, with the construction and diversified holdings sector indices hitting record highs. The market rose 1.27 percent to hit 2,815.01 points, its highest since April 30, 2007, before closing 0.42 percent or 11.65 points firmer at 2791.44, Reuters data showed. Turnover hit 1.29 billion rupees ($11.2 million), more..

Lanka’s barbed wire

Sep 11 (IE) It is now three months since President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared the country “liberated” from LTTE rebels after a 26-year war. He said then that he wanted to settle most of the displaced Tamil civilians within 180 days — but today, with more than half that time elapsed, nearly 300,000 are still being held in “internment camps”, to which the media and humanitarian organisations have virtually no access. more..

Gautam Gambhir out of Sri Lanka tri-series

Sep 11 (Reuters) In-form opener Gautam Gambhir will miss the ongoing one-day tri-series in Sri Lanka with a groin injury, the BCCI said on Thursday. Left-handed Gambhir strained the muscle and will return home to rest for 10 days, the BCCI said in a statement. Virat Kohli has been named as his replacement. India open against New Zealand on Friday and play Sri Lanka the following day with the final slated for Sept. 14 in the short series more..

'People's shield' to safeguard right to dissent

Sep 11 (CT) Two civil society watchdogs have promised to create a 'people's shield' to safeguard the right to dissent. The announcement came at a media briefing in Rajagiriya today (Sept. 10), organized by Corruption Watch and Development Watch. Speaking here, attorney Shiral Lakthilake said dissenting voices were being threatened through the organized media repression unleashed by the government in recent times. more..

Sri Lanka first sovereign bond trades above par: official

Sep 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's first sovereign bond which has a coupon above 8.25 percent has started to trade above par in recovering from steep discounts seen before an internal war ended, an official said. The bond has traded at a yield of around 7.80 percent this week, the head of Sri Lanka's public debt office C P J Siriwardene said. "From July we have seen an improvement of about 25 basis points a week," he said. more..

JVP silent on emergency voting

Sep 11 (BBC) JVP abstained from voting for the extension of the state of emergency in Sri Lanka along with the United National Party. This is the first time that the JVP has not backed the emergency regulations since 2005. JVP parliamentarian K.D. Lal Kantha told parliament on Wednesday that their party is opposed to emergency regulation "meant to combat terrorism been employed to suppress democracy" even after the "end of war". more..

Educational bigwigs waste millions for an unnecessary foreign course

Sep 11 (LT) The Ministry of Education has sent 17 accountants for a course that is not essential for the country. The money spent to send the accountants for this course is Rs.100 million. The World Bank has refused to fund the course stating it was not an essential one for the country. However, Secretary to the Ministry of Education Nimal Bandara, on a special approval, has made available the money for the accountants from funds allocated for development of educational. more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Sep 11 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Minister of Transport Dullas Alahapperuma to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for Sri Lankan Railways with M/s Mobitel Ltd. for the implementation of the M-seat Reservation System and to open the possibility of reservation of seats through the system, to all other service providers. Furthermore, Sri Lanka Railways intends to introduce more trains with advance booking facilities under it's Value Added Service programme. more..

Samaraweera shows off his one-day skills

Sep 11 (CI) The Dialog pop-up question on my cellphone flashed the umpteenth market-driven gimmick of the day: "What is the term used for a batsman capable of batting for a long duration throughout the innings?" I'm pretty sure the answer isn't Thilan Samaraweera. Not just yet, at least. Sri Lanka's victory would not have been possible without Samaraweera. He was the difference between a meek surrender and a crushing win. more..

Power plants shut down over fuel snag

Sep 11 (LBO) Several power plants supplying Sri Lanka's national power grid has shut down following problem with furnace oil supplied by state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, power sector officials said. Around 270 MegaWatts of capacity held by independent power producers had been taken off line following a problem that is believed to be with a stock of 180csp furnace oil imported into the country. The 100MW Heladanavi, 100MW ACE Ambilipitiya, 23MW Lakdhanavi, 24 MW ACE Matara and ACE Horana have shut down. more..

Sri Lanka to make composite components for water treatment

Sep 11 (LBO) A US-based company is setting up a factory in Sri Lanka to make custom-designed components for water treatment plants for the American market from composite materials, an official said. Edgeng (Pvt) Ltd signed up with the Board of Investment, Sri Lanka's investment promotion agency, to start a factory in the Biyagama Industrial Zone Thursday. "We design and fabricate parts for water treatment plants in the United States," more..

PIL seeks adequate safety for Indian cricket team in Lanka

Sep 11 (PTI) A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking adequate security for the Indian cricket team touring Sri Lanka for the tri-nation series has been filed in the Supreme Court today. The PIL filed by three advocates A Veeramaniganda, A Joel Paul Antony and Raja Ram has also urged the apex court to give direction to the union government to issue proper "travel advisory" to all Indians visiting countries that are distrubed by terrorists and law and order problems. more..

More de-mining machines imported

Sep 11 (RW) With the objective of assisting in expediting the demining process in the North, the Government of Croatia will send five automatic demining machines worth Rs. 270 million, the Media Director of the Ministry of Nation Building, Kapila Ariyawansha said. These machines will be ceremonially handed over to the Government on the 12th of this month. Last week, the Government of Slovakia sent five Bosena type demining machines- operated automatically. more..

Monsoon worry in Sri Lanka camps

Sep 11 (BBC) A British charity worker who has recently visited camps holding more than 250,000 refugees in Sri Lanka says there are concerns about the monsoon. The worker said that military authorities in charge of the camps were treating the forthcoming rains with some urgency. Last month sudden storms flooded many of the vast camps, submerging toilets and contaminating water. Thousands of makeshift homes were also damaged in the rainfall. more..

'IMF’s Sri Lanka loan review due this week'

Sep 11 (BN) The International Monetary Fund will visit Sri Lanka this week to review progress under its $2.6 billion loan agreement, the nation’s central bank said. The visit to the South Asian island, which begins tomorrow, is expected to help clear the way for a second payment of $322 million to Sri Lanka, Assistant Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said by telephone from the central bank’s Colombo headquarters. more..

Kohona hits out at EU as cut in £1bn trade concession looms

Sep 11 (Guardian) Sri Lanka's top diplomat today hit out at the European Union for "punishing" the country, after EU investigators recommended cancelling a £1bn trade concession over the country's failure to honour human rights commitments. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador to the UN, said the country would "handle the loss" of the export privilege, which allows businesses on the island to export more..

Indian agricultural team to visit Sri Lanka next week

Sep 11 (IANS) A team of agricultural experts from India will visit Sri Lanka next week to help in rehabilitation of displaced people in the north of the island nation, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here Thursday. "Recognising the importance of restoring livelihoods, we are also going to assist Sri Lanka to revive agriculture in the north," Krishna told the Editors' Guild. more..

Media personality Suresh Wickremasinghe passes away

Sep 11 (ITN) He passed away at the Colombo National Hospital this morning. He was receiving treatment at the ICU after facing a motor accident. He entered ITN as a trainee journalist in the year 2001 and began his career as a talented media personality within a short span. Since then, he served in the ITN as a News Reader, a News Producer and a Reporter. He was talented in all these fields. more..

UN extremely concerned over detention of staff members in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (UN) The United Nations continues to be extremely concerned with the case of two staff members arrested by Sri Lankan authorities in June, being particularly troubled over suggestions that they were mistreated during the early days of their detention. The UN was not given any notice when the two men, who are Sri Lankan nationals, were detained while deployed in Vavuniya, in the country’s north, more..

Sri Lanka is tough to beat

Sep 11 (Hindu) The 2009-10 season for India begins with the tri-series in Sri Lanka and since it’s the season before the ICC World Cup in 2011 it will give the selectors an insight into the areas that India needs to strengthen and tighten up on and areas where they need real improvement. The season thus becomes crucial for players, coaching staff, selectors (both senior and junior) and administrators alike for without the complete coordination between more..

BOI to manufacture fibreglass products using composite materials

Sep 11 (AT) The Board of Investment (BOI) granted investment approval to Edgeng Limited for a project to manufacture fiberglass products using composite materials to be exported to the US market. The investment agreement for the business venture was signed between the Edgeng Limited and BOI yesterday. The venture will produce low cost fiberglass solutions which has greater strength than steel solutions. more..

Duplicitous Canadians

Sep 11 (AT) I have refrained from writing much about Sri Lanka since the end of the war on terrorism – although there have been a number of topics on which I could have commented. I am convinced that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has things pretty much under control, and that he is moving the country and its diverse populations forward toward the unity and harmony he has promised. One incident, however, just came to my attention that I feel I must address more..

Sri Lanka to introduce seat reservation via mobile phones

Sep 11 (AT) Transport Ministry is to introduce a system of reserving railway seats via mobile phones in recent future and Cabinet approval has been received for the proposal put forwarded by the Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that the proposal will be brought to Parliament soon, as the Cabinet has approved it. more..