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Government expels UNICEF spokesman

Sep 11 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government has ordered James Elder, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) spokesman in Colombo, to leave the country within two weeks. The directive is another crude attempt to cover up the criminal nature of the government’s anti-Tamil war that ended in mid-May and the appalling conditions inside the internment camps where around 280,000 Tamil civilians remain detained. more..

Tourism Week from Sep 27 to Oct 03

Sep 11 (GDI) The Government has declared aTourism Week to mark “World Tourism Day” which falls on September 27. The Tourism Week will begin on the 27th of this month and will continue until October 3. The aim is to achieve an environment friendly tourism growth. The Ministry of Tourism is keen to give vigor to the industry to usher economic prosperity. Plans are afoot to hold an art, essay and poster competition parallel to the Tourism Week. more..

Welioya-Omanthai roadway free of mines

Sep 11 (GDI) The accelerate mine removal project of the government has paid rich dividends in a brief period with the security forces effectively uprooting mines buried by the LTTE. Mines buried on the Welioya–Omanthai Highway have been completely removed. The Special Task Force handled the removal of mines on this 24- kilometre Road. The de-mining process started in March this year. It continued without uninterrupted. more..

President pays tribute to Anura Bandaranaike

Sep 11 (GDI) A special Pinkama was held yesterday under the patronage of President Rajapaksa to bestow merits on former Minister, late Anura Bandaranaike. The alms giving to invoke merits on Mr. Bandaranaike was held at Visumpaya with the full commitment of the President. Mr.Bandaranaike was a close colleague as well as a friend in private life of the President. Mr. Bandaranaike served as a Parliamentarian, an Opposition Leader, a Speaker as well as a Minister. more..

Passport offices in North and East

Sep 11 (GDI) In the bid to bring the public administration more closer to the people in the North and East, the Department of Immigration and Emmigration will shortly spread its' wings over there. The government is keen to have branches of offices of public needs opened in those areas as the people would be compelled to travel to Colombo for such important needs. The state has already opened many branches of public need in the North and East. more..

Give up petty political aims - Nimal Siripala de Silva

Sep 11 (GDI) "Certain groups are attempting to fulfill their petty political aims by assassinating the President. They are unable to politically defeat the President who has received a massive public mandate", Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva told parliament yesterday (10). The minister was speaking at the debate to extend the state of emergency by a further month. more..

Debrief News - 10.09.2009

Media Center brief journalists on Southern Development

Sep 11 (GDI) The Media Center for National Development (MCND) established to disseminate news and information pertaining to the development activities carried out by the Government, with Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena appointed as the Spokesman of the Center commenced its first workshop in Matara today to brief journalists on the development drive in the Southern part of the country, more..

De-mining expedited

Sep 11 (MoD) The Government has taken the initiative to import more de-mining machines to expedite the de-mining process in the North and to facilitate the speedy resettlement of the displaced civilians now living in welfare centres in the Menik Farm, sources from the Ministry of Nation Building told the Daily News. The latest addition to the de-mining activities, five de-mining machines costing Rs. 270 million, will arrive in Sri Lanka from the Republic of Croatia. more..

Cabinet approves regulations for speedy implementation of Tamil as official language

Sep 11 (TC) In a move that will be welcomed by many, the public will now be able to sue officials of the State, Provincial Council, Municipal Council, Urban Council and Pradeshiya Sabha if they do not communicate with the public in a preferred language, according to new regulations to be gazetted next week. “This follows from a decision to implement the ‘National Language Policy’ under the 13th Amendment in a bid to more..

Large weapons haul recovered

Sep 11 (LNP) Police unearthed a large stock of arms and ammunition from Vellaimullivaikkal on information provided by LTTE cadres, police spokesman Senior DIG Nimal Mediwake said. He said two LTTE suspects under police custody had divulged the information of arms and weapons hidden in Vellaimullivaikkal. Task Force VIII launched a substantial search operation in Puthukudiyiruppu and Sugandipuram areas on Wednesday and recovered a haul of arms. more..

'Govt. violates constitution by detaining Wanni IDPs'

Sep 11 (TC) The government is acting outside the law and violating the Constitution by holding more than 250,000 displaced people at camps in the Wanni District, opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charged yesterday. Mr. Wickremesinghe who spoke during the emergency debate said no law in the country allowed the government to detain people in camps without detention orders. more..

Staunch UNP, JVP supporters join UPFA

Sep 11 (LNP) A large number of staunch supporters of the United National Party and many JVP activists in the Hambantota Urban Council limits joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party recently. They had been thoroughly displeased with the party leadership and its prevailing state of affairs. They have dissolved their branch offices and sought membership with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. more..

Robbers and hobgoblins

Sep 11 (LNP) The world of incorporeal beings must be like the environs of the Fort Railway station these days following a recent public `pronouncement` by the Sabaragamuwa Governor. The formless inhabitants like demons, elves, eidolons, kelpies, wraiths, Manes and poltergeists must be up in arms fearing an exodus of corrupt public officers in the form of prethayas (hobgoblins) from Sri Lanka. more..

Some members tarnished COPE image

Sep 11 (LNP) Committee of Public Enterprises (COPE) Chairman and Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne yesterday said the reputation of the Committee was damaged owing to baseless statements made by three members of the Committee. Making a special statement in Parliament, he said the COPE was the most important committee in Parliament and as the Chairman of the Committee, he would not let its reputation being tarnished. more..

Visa refusals to Ministers and Govt. politicos: Govt. is architect of its own misfortunes -UNP

Sep 11 (UNP) The UNP which blamed the Govt. over the recent blatant refusals of visas to Ministers and high profile Govt. officials by the High Commissions of UK and other countries of the West, said, this reflects very poorly on Govt.‘s diplomatic relations with countries which had always come to the SL’ s rescue in times of economic and other crises. The country’s reputation is at stake, it added. more..

'What UNP did in two years for the South, Govt. could not do in 15 years'

Sep 11 (UNP) UNP candidate for the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council elections, Manusha Nanayakkara addressing a press briefing today (11) at the UNP media unit, said, the amount of work the UNP did for the Southerners in two years of its rule, this Govt. parties could not do during its fifteen years of existence. Even what was done by the UNP have been undone by the Rajapakse regime, he lamented. more..

Sri Lanka can Lead the way for us to win at the game of climate change

Sep 11 (GV) It was almost a decade since I had been involved with climate change activities, so I was happy when I was invited to a capacity building session held in Kathmandu in July by the Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA). CANSA is part of a global network of NGOs addressing climate change issues in the region. I was eager to learn about the current science of climate change and how well nations around the world are responding to it. more..

Where does US LTTE operative Elias Jeyarajah get funds to lobby State Department against Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (AT) Sri Lankan expatriate domiciled in the U.S. Elias Joseph Jeyarajah, almost the second-in-command of the ‘Global Revival of the Tamil Tigers’ led by the New York attorney Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, has spent US $ 120,000 in 2008/09 for lobbying the policymakers and officials of the United States Department of State and Congressmen. more..

History of power-sharing in Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment

Sep 11 (GV) The Centre for Policy Alternatives recently launched Power-sharing in Sri Lanka: Constitutional and Political Documents 1926 – 2008, a compendium of important constitutional proposals and political ideas that have featured in debates about power-sharing and the constitutional form of the Sri Lankan State since before independence to the present. more..

Suspect commits robbery 'two days after his death', parliament told

Sep 11 (CT) A suspect who had died while in police custody had committed a robbery two days after his death, according to a written reply given to a question raised in parliament. This was brought to the notice of speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. According to this reply, the suspect had committed a robbery on November 20, 2006, although the same response had given the date of his death as November 18, 2006. more..

Sri Lanka's image has suffered internationally - Ravi Karunanayake

Sep 11 (CT) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake says Sri Lanka's image has suffered internationally so adversely that the British high commission had refused a visa to the country's UN ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona. Sri Lanka?s passport will soon become a mere document without any value, Mr. Karunanayake told the media yesterday. This is the treatment the island gets from foreign countries for having committed human rights violations, he said. more..

'Sri Lanka's biggest drug dealer is a minister'

Sep 11 (LP) Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, a dissident of the ruling party, says that that the Police Narcotics Bureau has informed him that the country’s biggest drug dealer is a minister. He pointed out that racketeers are spending millions of rupees of black money in their polls campaigns in recent Provincial Council polls aiming to obtain ruling party ticket in the upcoming general election. more..

'Terror suspects languish in prisons for more than 10 years without trial'

Sep 11 (LP) C.J. Weliamuna, one of Sri Lanka's leading human rights lawyers says that some Tamil Tiger rebel suspects languish in the island's prisons for 10 to 15 years without being convicted or acquitted. The judges cannot grant them bail as they are either indicted or detained under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), said Weliamuna delivering the keynote address of a seminar held in Colombo more..

Estate workers salary demands: Fresh talks today

Sep 11 (DN) The Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) said they have not given instructions to their members to resort to Trade Union action or engage in unlawful activities in the Estates in the back drop of employers’ failure to come to an agreement over its demands for a salary hike. CWC leader and Minister Arumugam Thondaman categorically denied such a move and said any element involved in the disruption of day to day activities of the Esates would be punished by law. more..

Govt, other bodies hail efforts of business community to secure GSP+ facility:

Sep 11 (DN) The Government and other leading bodies have commended the efforts taken by the business community to secure the GSP+ facility. A high-powered business delegation will visit the European Union shortly to lobby for the GSP+ facility. The Government appreciates the efforts taken by the business community to lobby for the GSP+ facility and we are confident that the GSP+ facility would be made available to us. more..

Free laptops for students

Sep 11 (DN) In line with the national drive to arm the younger generation with the knowledge of English and Information Technology, the Education Ministry has taken steps to issue laptop computers to students in 13 schools. The program is carried out under the One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC) conducted by the Education Ministry in collaboration with the University of Colombo. Under this program, 1,250 laptop computers will be distributed to students in 13 schools. more..

Tissainayagam judgment: Lanka slams US over double standards

Sep 11 (Island) Construction and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne said he was taken aback when he first heard about the sentencing to 20 years in prison of J. S. Tissanayagam for his involvement in the LTTE. But, after he went through the judgment and consulted independent lawyers, he had come to realise that there was no basis for international criticism of the Sri Lankan judiciary. more..

Govt. warns of JVP hand in anti-forces conspiracy

Sep 11 (Island) Had a recently captured hardcore LTTE operative died after taking cyanide, the identity of two of the most important LTTE agents –– Lakshman Cooray and General Sarath Fonseka cook would have remained undisclosed. Although the terrorist had taken cyanide when detectives swooped on him, the medical staff at the National Hospital saved his life thereby giving investigators an opportunity to elicit vital information from him. more..

Now, less train derailments

Sep 11 (DN) Road Passenger Transport Minister Lasantha Allagiyawanna told Parliament yesterday train derailments reported this year have recorded a slight decrease compared to the figures of 2007. According to the Minister, 63 main train derailments and 142 other train derailments had been reported in 2007. However, only 36 main train derailments and 66 other train derailments have been reported during this year. more..

Protecting the poor in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (WB) The impact of the current global economic crisis is already felt by the poor, many of whom were already hit hard by the food and fuel price crises. The pace of poverty reduction has slowed as a result of the crisis. Past experiences with crises have shown that a slow and/or failed response can have deeper and lasting impacts on the lives of the poor. Focus should be given to responses that will have a longer-term economic development rather than short-term gain. more..

Dallas on why some call MR Percy Mahinda…

Sep 11 (Island) SLFP heavyweight Dallas Alahapperuma Wednesday said that southerners would teach a lesson to those who ridiculed President by calling him Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa as part of a political strategy. It was a subtle campaign, he said. The Transport Minister said that even after MR won the presidency people called him ‘Mahinda Mahattaya,’ though a section of the Opposition had sought to poking fun at him. more..

COPE checks on accounts of Parliament funded projects

Sep 11 (Island) Both the Government and the Opposition unanimously agreed to amend Parliamentary Standing Orders to enable the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to call for and look into the accounts and deals of companies for which funds are passed by the House, even if they do not come under the supervision of the Auditor General. Opposition lawmakers expressed their inability to summon companies such as Mihin Lanka, Lankaputhra and Maga Neguma although the House passed funds for them. more..

The Tissainayagam Ruling

Selling Sri Lanka's military strategies

Sep 11 (DM) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been considered as one the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world. But almost four months ago they were successfully defeated by the Sri Lankan armed forces. This success is the main talking point presently among international and local defence circles who believe that the unique strategies adopted by the Sri Lankan armed forces was the chief reason for victory . more..

'House will become haven for racketeers'

Sep 11 (DM) SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera charged yesterday that a certain UPFA candidate for the Southern Provincial Council had spent Rs 27 million for the poster campaign alone while another had purchased a house for Rs 20 million for the polls campaign. Mr. Samaraweera told a news conference yesterday that a similar situation was seen at the recently concluded other provincial council elections as well. more..

UN patience wears thin in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (BBC) The UN says it cannot continue to indefinitely fund the main refugee camp in Sri Lanka where the government is keeping nearly 300,000 people. The Menik Farm camp holds the Tamils who fled the fighting in the months before the civil war ended in May. Sri Lankan authorities say they are still screening everyone for possible links with the Tamil Tiger rebels. The UN says the civilians living there should be allowed to leave as soon as possible. more..

UPFA Ministers openly violate election laws’

Sep 11 (DM) PAFFREL and the Network for Election Violence (NEM) accused the ruling UPFA government yesterday for myriads of election related violences in the run up to the October 10 PC polls, adding that the violence against opposition parties, using state resources and open violation of the election law were on the rise in Galle, Matara and Hambantota. Executive Director, PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi told Daily Mirror that more..

'Remove SLA camps, HSZ, checkpoints from NE'

Sep 11 (TN) R. Sampanthan, TNA MP, told parliament Thursday that the government could not cite any reason for the delay in resettling hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Tamils in their own places in Vanni region. "High Security Zones (HSZs) should be removed from the north and east. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camps and check points should be dismantled immediately to restore normalcy in the provinces," more..

Court frees Daya Master and George Master on bail

Sep 11 (AFP) A Sri Lankan court on Friday released on bail two members of the Tamil Tiger rebel group who gave themselves up a month before the military leadership of their movement was wiped out, officials said. Court officials said former Tiger spokesman Velayudam Dayanidi, better known as Daya Master, and a top Tiger translator V.K. Pancheratnam were released on cash bail of 22,000 dollars each. more..

Sri Lanka gets US$75mn World Bank credit for villages

Sep 11 (LBO) The World Bank has approved a 75 million US dollar credit for village infrastructure development in Sri Lanka to expand its 'Gemi Diriya' project, the multilateral lender said. The project which is already active in the Uva, Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces of Sri Lanka has helped about 870,000 in over 1,000 most remote and poorest villages, the World Bank said. The money is going into community infrastructure more..

Sri Lanka resettles nearly 10,000 war refugees

Sep 11 (AP) Sri Lankan authorities sent home nearly 10,000 war refugees Friday amid growing international concern for the nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians still detained in government-run camps. The civilians were displaced during a military offensive that crushed the Tamil Tiger rebel group in May and ended the island's decades-old civil war. Since then, the displaced ethnic Tamils have been confined to overcrowded, military-run camps, where their movements are restricted and sanitation is poor. more..

The larger picture and the smaller picture

Sep 11 (DM) If one is to believe the declarations by senior ministers at Wednesday’s news conference, the government is quite gung ho about turning Sri Lanka into a South Asian miracle – virtual heaven on earth. Their only worry appears to be the conspiracies to topple the government by international players and their local counterparts. According to them everything else is in order – the will, the discipline and perhaps even the resources. more..

Rajapaksa says West should support Sri Lanka, stop criticism

Sep 11 (BN) Sri Lanka wants the West to help it rebuild after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and stop criticizing the country over human rights and the treatment of refugees, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “We want western nations to help us, to trust us and stop listening to LTTE propaganda,” Rajapaksa said, in an interview with Italy’s Le Figaro daily newspaper more..

Rajapaksa plans to call for elections next year

Sep 12 (PTI) Riding high on his victory against the LTTE, Mahinda Rajapaksa says he plans to call for early presidential polls in Sri Lanka by the beginning of next year, nearly two years ahead of schedule. The president said his government was ready to go a "little bit further" to resolve the Tamil question by going beyond the 13th Amendment of the Constitution which provides decentralisation and the establishment of provincial councils. more..

Milan to Colombo direct on SriLankan Airlines

Sep 12 (BTN) SriLankan Airlines will launch a new twice-weekly direct service from Milan to Colombo on 16th December, to enhance Italian tourism into Sri Lanka and serve the sizable Sri Lankan community in northern Italy. The new service will support the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to encourage Sri Lankan expatriates residing overseas to visit their native land following the Dawn of Peace. more..

Sri Lanka needs massive increase in hotel rooms

Sep 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs a massive increase in hotel accommodation to cope with the anticipated influx of tourists with the end of the 30-year ethnic war, a senior travel trade official said. "The eradication of terrorism and the country returning to normal have created a window of opportunity and conducive business environment for tourism," said Chandra Wickramasinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO). more..

Central Bank cuts policy interest rates by 50bp

Sep 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank said it had decided to reduce policy interest rates by 50 basis points each from Friday with the repurchase rate to be 8.00 percent and reverse repurchase rate 10.50 percent. It said in a statement its Monetary Board decided to cut rates as inflation was low and to encourage further reductions in market interest rates which had not fallen as much as desired by previous policy rate cuts. more..

'IMF has strengthened fiscal stability of Sri Lanka'

Sep 12 (LP) Addressing a group of eminent British lawyers, including Queen’s Counsel, in London Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said in London last week that it is important for the international community to be aware of the extent and tenacity of the misinformation campaign engaged in by groups close to the terrorist organization, he said. The aim and objective of these interests is to ensure that more..

Anti-Human, human trafficking a terrorist ploy

Sep 12 (LP) Human trafficking is the commerce and trade of people, legal and illegal, including both legitimate labor activities as well as forced labor. It is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion. The Council of Europe states, "People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion more..