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United Nations calls for faster resettlement of war refugees

Sep 12 (VoA) The United Nations is calling for faster resettlement of war refugees in Sri Lanka, and warns that it will not indefinitely fund a camp which houses tens of thousands of Tamils displaced by the fighting in the country. A quarter-century-long civil war ended in the country in May. The Menik refugee camp in northern Sri Lanka is cramped with nearly a quarter of a million Tamils who fled their homes to more..

Sri Lanka must allow dissent, relax curbs on media

Sep 12 (NB) Nobody is above law. Yes, even journalists. The rules of the game are same for everyone in a democratic setting. Yet, under an unwritten convention, the journalists enjoy some leeway which is not available to others. That is because they are an essential pillar of democracy. It is their job to hold a mirror to the society and the government; advice and caution all those who matter for the well being of the people. more..

Sri Lanka steps up death video rebuttal

Sep 12 (C4) The Sri Lankan government has stepped up its campaign to discredit footage claiming to show Tamils being executed by Sri Lankan soldiers, which was broadcast by Channel 4 News last month. The footage, obtained by Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), apparently shows government troops summarily executing Tamil fighters by shooting them in the head. JDS says the footage was filmed in January by another soldier using a mobile phone. more..

Counting the human cost of Sri Lanka's conflict

Sep 12 (AI) The Government of Sri Lanka announced a plan on 23 May to resettle most civilians displaced by conflict by the end of the year. The government’s target of 80% was later revised downward to 60%. The 180-day process was to include both people newly displaced by fighting in the north, as well as people who had been displaced for extended periods of time. Some Sri Lankan families have been displaced for years or decades and more..

Sri Lanka's displaced face uncertain future as government begins to unlock the camps

Sep 12 (AI) Only a fraction of nearly 300,000 people who were displaced by recent fighting in the north east of Sri Lanka have been allowed to leave government camps since the war ended in May. More than a quarter of a million people remain detained and under military guard in crowded, unsanitary conditions that are still far below international standards. The government finally agreed on Tuesday to allow displaced people wishing to leave the camps to stay with more..

“Pottu Amman” and the Intelligence Division of the LTTE

Sep 12 (DBS) Shanmuganathan Sivashankar alias Pottu Ammaan a.k.a. Pottu, the intelligence division chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was judicially confirmed dead last week when Colombo High Court Judge Kumudini Wickremasinghe allowed an amendment to the indictment filed in the trial regarding the murder of former Foreign affairs minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. more..

Yuvraj and Nehra knock New Zealand out

Sep 12 (CI) India stumbled in pursuit of 156 under lights but MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina kept cool heads to steer them to a six-wicket win with 57 deliveries to spare and with it end New Zealand's tournament. New Zealand, after opting to bat, made a complete mess of things and ended up with 155, a total that briefly challenged India but eventually proved to be inadequate. Inspired by their two most experienced bowlers, New Zealand refused to surrender without a scrap but more..

President grants amnesty to a group of prisoners

Sep 12 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has granted a general amnesty to prisoners on the occasion of the prisoner’s welfare day, which falls on the 12th September. The President has granted approval for the release of these prisoners on a recommendation made by Minister of Justice and Law Reforms Milinda Moragoda. The Minister in his letter dated 3rd of September has recommended to the President that a general amnesty be granted to a selected group of prisoners under more..

Nalini moves court yet again for release

Sep 12 (AT) Nalini Murugan, life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, on Friday moved the Madras High Court seeking release on the ground that she had already spent 18 years in jail and the Tamil Nadu Government had not implemented the earlier order of the court to reconstitute the advisory board to consider her plea. In her petition, the third in the last four years, Nalini referred to the order of the Madras High Court in September 2008, more..

Kaduwela Magistrate transferred after hearing Nipuna Ramanayake case

Sep 12 (LNW) Justice Ministry sources say that Chief Justice Asoka de Silva has decided to transfer Kaduwela Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Prashan de Silva, who is currently hearing the case related to the assault of SLIIT student Nipuna Ramanayake, to the Judicial Services Commission as its Secretary. The Chief Justice had arrived at this decision following a Presidential directive to transfer the Kaduwela Magistarte even by granting him a promotion. more..

Rs. 16,895 million spent on maintaining jumbo Cabinet

Sep 12 (LNW) Corruption Watch member Shiral Lakthileka said that each minister in the present government had six secretaries with a sum of Rs. 100,000 spent on each of them on a monthly basis. He said that each of these secretaries were entitled to a salary of Rs. 25,000, a telephone allowance of Rs. 5,000, fuel allowance of Rs. 15,000 and an official aid at a cost of Rs. 10,000. more..

“No rejection of a visa to the former Foreign Secretary”

Sep 12 (AT) In a statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified the issue of issuing visas to Sri Lankan officials travelling abroad by foreign missions in Sri Lanka. In its clarification, the Ministry pointed out that ‘there was no rejection of a visa to the former Foreign Secretary.’ The Ministry statement added, “The British High Commission in fact informed that they were seeking to facilitate the issuance of the visa in keeping with their procedures in respect of the type of visa applied.” more..

Post-LTTE, Sri Lanka gives more thrust to promoting tourism

Sep 12 (BL) With the threat of the LTTE over and the northern and eastern areas regaining peace, Sri Lanka is reopening this region for tourism promotion after more than two decades and plans to start a low-cost Kochi-to-Colombo sea route ferry for tourists and others before end-2009. With plans to make tourism the third largest source of foreign exchange — after garment exports and remittances received from Sri Lankans working abroad — the island-nation’s Government is more..

Empowering rural communities to bridge income gaps

Sep 12 (WB) May 2009 marked the end of Sri Lanka’s nearly three decades long armed conflict, leading to a surge in optimism for stronger economic growth and poverty reduction. Yet even with the conflict, Sri Lanka has posted strong growth rates, putting the country on track to achieve most MDGs by 2015. During the last five years, poverty has declined rapidly. For example, the poorest Southern Province has cut poverty in half, from 28% in 2002 to 14% in 2006/7. more..

Steered through Sri Lanka

Sep 12 (TS) It’s best to see Sri Lanka at a slow pace, but when on someone else’s time, you must keep up and do your best to size up the country in six days. The first thing that hit me when I got out of Colombo airport was the humidity. The weather is pretty similar to Malaysia except that it’s slightly more humid. Happily, it was free from haze. I was thankful to escape the horrible haze in Malaysia, if only for a few days. more..

UNP has appealed to the EU to reconsider position on GSP, Tariff concession

Sep 12 (TC) UNP has appealed to the European Union requesting the EU to reconsider its position on GSP and tariff concessions for Sri Lanka. The full text of the appeal issued by UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya is reproduced below: We are greatly disturbed by reports indicating that Sri Lanka’s deteriorating human rights record may lead to the country losing its GSP Plus concessions granted by the European Union, more..

Interview: Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

Sep 12 (C4) The spokesman for Sri Lanka's ministry of disaster management responds to claims that his country was involved in human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings. A transcript of Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s interview with Professor Rajiva Wijesinha of the Sri Lankan ministry of disaster management. KGM: You’ve been urged by the international community to investigate human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings. Have you started yet? more..

Media war in Sri Lanka

Green Paradise Agro Eco Hotel to open shortly

Sep 12 (GDI) Green Paradise Agro Eco Hotel is an Italian hotel project of the BOI, near complete is expected to be opened in December 2009 or in early 2010. Dhammika Perera, Chairman/Director General of the BOI visited this project recently. Its total investment value is around Rs 500 million and could go up to Rs 1 billion. The hotel has 50 rooms and is a full Italian investment. The project will start with a workforce of 120. more..

Debrief News 11.09.2009

World Habitat Day - 'Planning our urban future'

Sep 12 (GDI) The Government will implement an islandwide development program with Negombo as a central town and its surrounding areas in view of ‘World Habitat Day’ on October 5 .The theme is‘Planning our Urban Future’. The main objective is to implement various development programs to benefit the tourist industry, fisheries industry as well as agriculture in the next 10 years. more..

BTI bacteria samples to be imported from Cuba

Sep 12 (GDI) The Health Ministry will soon import the BTI bacteria samples from Cuba as a measure to counter the virus of the dengue fever. This sample will add to the locally produced bacteria from the Industrial Technology Institute where trials are now being done. The public have been educated alerted on the danger of dengue virus and to keep home gardens clean. The deadly dengue communicating mosquito breeds in places where water accumulates,locations ignored by the public. more..

Expelled Northern Muslims and Tamil polity

Sep 12 (PSM) Recent meeting the TNA had with the President on 7 September 2009 reflects on the change of attitude by the TNA towards the government in the changed political scenario. Among other things the TNA has also discussed the issue of the return of forcibly evicted Muslims from the North by the LTTE in 1990, according to reports. This is the first time the TNA has publicly taken up the issue of expelled Northern Muslims. more..

Muslim lawyers should be bridge between communities

Sep 12 (PSM) "Muslim personal laws in Sri Lanka are the tireless and propehtic efforts of our forefathers in the legal field and Muslim lawyers have major role to protect these personal laws based on Shariah. These personal laws help us to maintain our distinct identity in a plural society with unity and amity. Muslim lawyers have major role to play in building bridge between communities and they shall be model to lawyers of the other communities", more..

'Minister's presence at question time in Parliament vital'

Sep 12 (LP) Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara, said the question time in Parliament was a unique opportunity for Ministers to get over the bureaucratic red tape in the interest of the country. He said it was sad to notice that most of the Ministers do not make use of this opportunity, adding that the Ministry secretaries were bound by Standing Orders to provide information to Ministers to respond with oral answers in Parliament. more..

'Govt. making a corrupt attempt to use temporary prevention of terrorism provisions against media'

Sep 12 (UNP) Speaking on the temporary provisions of the Prevention of terrorism Act which apply to terrorists, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe stated in Parliament that the Govt. is making a corrupt attempt to apply these laws to Media personnel. Referring to the arrest, detention and punishment meted out to Journalist Tissainayagam recently, he said the preamble to these provisions clearly emphasizes that more..

Karainagar striding towards Prosperity with newly dawned Peace

Sep 12 (MoD) Karainagar, an islet in the Jaffna peninsula in Northern Sri Lanka, is today vibrant with human activity. It is all set to reap the benefits of prosperity brought about with the newly-dawned peace after the liberation of the Northern Province from the LTTE terrorist clutches. The islanders, whose livelihoods mainly dependent on thriving fishing industry, are jubilant at the greater freedom they experience with the lifting of fishing restrictions more..

Plan of Deniyaya palace approved after altering dates

Sep 12 (LNW) Disturbed by the expose in the media of the secret palace being built in Deniyaya, the President’s sister Gandhini’s husband, Thusitha Ranawaka, who owns the land the palace is being constructed had visited the Kotapala Pradeshiya Sabha on the 9th to get the date of the plan changed to one in 2007. It is also reported that dates in all related documents have been changed accordingly. more..

PSD officers helping Sajin in his election campaign: JVP

Sep 12 (DM) The JVP yesterday alleged that officers attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) had been connected to Sajin Vaas Gunawardena for his election campaign and were terrorizing candidates at the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council elections campaign, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said yesterday. “The president should be approving it, since his PSD officers go around threatening opposition politicians with more..

Ranil demands that Lanka journalists be compensated

Sep 12 (LNP) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday demanded in Parliament that government pay compensation to three journalists of the Lanka Newspaper, who had been arrested and detained under anti-terrorism laws and later released on bail. They had been detained under the provisions of Prevention of Terrorism Act, he said. 'Being labelled as terrorists, they had to undergo immense difficulty and harassment, and were released only after their innocence was proved. more..

Channel 4 must apologise to Lankan Govt - Minister

Sep 12 (LNP) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told Parliament that Channel 4 news of the United Kingdom should tender a public apology to the Sri Lankan Government regarding the telecast of the false and fabricated video aimed at besmirching the name of Sri Lanka and denigrating the Armed Forces. He said if Channel 4 is not willing to do so, they should scientifically prove that the investigations initiated by the Government into the Channel 4 video are false or inaccurate. more..

Secretary Defence visits Mullaittivu

Sep 12 (MoD) Secretary Defence Dr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa accompanied by Army Chief Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya made a visit to Mullaittivu and Oddusudan yesterday. The delegates were received at the Security Forces Headquarters at Mullaittivu on Friday morning by SFHQ(Mullaittivu) Commander Major General Nandana Udawatte, followed by a guard of honor presented to Secretary Defence. more..

Parliament must take a stand on snobbish missions - Speaker

Sep 12 (LNP) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara yesterday stressed the importance of Parliament to take a stand against diplomatic missions based here if they attempt to harass MPs and citizens regarding their visa applications. He said citizens have to face various harassments when their finger prints are obtained by some embassies to issue them a visa. Even our Prime Minister had faced difficulties abroad due to this process followed by a certain embassy here. more..

Ven. Rathana Thero’s vehicle kills University employee on pedestrian crossing

Sep 12 (LT) An employee of University of Kelaniya, run over by the vehicle travelled by Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero, was killed while crossing the road along a pedestrian crossing. The incident happened at Nuge Road at Peliyagoda at about 9.00 p.m. on the 10th. Ven. Rathana’s driver was produced before the magistrate and was remanded till the 18th. The deceased, Susil Devapriya Mallawarachchi, a 39 year old father of one, more..

UNP challenges UPFA for public debate on south development

Sep 12 (CT) The UNP has challenged the UPFA for a public debate on the ruling party’s claim of having satisfactorily served southern province in the past 15 years under its administration. UNP candidate Manusha Nanayakkara announced the challenge at a media briefing in Colombo yesterday. He said the people of the south would give the due response at the upcoming provincial polls to government attempts at misleading them through various means. more..

An exercise in futility?

Sep 12 (LNP) This country has too many political cooks whose forte is spoiling the broth. The education sector has so many ministers and bureaucratic bigwigs drawing fat salaries from public funds, but not even an ordinary school term test gets held without some controversy. The same is true of all other spheres of government activity. We have a Nation Building Minister behind every bush but the Sri Lankan nation is unfortunately far from built. more..

'JVP will not support implementation of laws to destroy democracy'

Sep 12 (LT) The JVP would never support measures being taken by the government to deprive the Nation of democratic rights and suppress activists of the opposition and the media that doesn’t cow down to unjust demands of the government said JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said, “The police is able to detain an arrested person only for 24 hours. Once the suspect is brought before a magistrate he could be detained for another 24 hours. more..

“Allow international agencies into relief camps”

Sep 12 (AT) With the expulsion of one of its nationals from Sri Lanka over criticizing human rights record here, Australia yesterday reiterated its stand to the Rajapaksa Government to allow international agencies have “full and complete access to the displaced people’s camps. “….. it's very important that the international agencies have full and complete access to the displaced people's camps, whether it's UNICEF who does great work, or the International Red Cross,” more..

Sri Lanka losing to Africa due to 'political market failure': economist

Sep 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tendency to follow policies that hurt the average voter and makes the country lag behind other countries is due to 'political market failure' where small groups push policy without evidence, a senior economist said. "This is one of the most literate and educated populations in the world," Shantanayan Devaranjan, World Bank's chief economist for the Africa region said more..

Gardens that radiate life

Sep 12 (DN) To the general public it is Peradeniya Malwatta. The general idea is that this botanical gardens is a haven for the couples young and just a beautiful place to visit and enjoy. This very idea would undermine the universal and historical importance of the Royal Botanical Garden of Peradeniya (RBGP), says the Botanical Garden Department Director General (DG) Sisil Wijesundara. The RBGP holds a unique place among the world of botanical gardens as more..

Implementation of National Medicinal Drug Policy: SC grants time to ascertain current position

Sep 12 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday granted time to ascertain the current position in respect of the implementation of the National Medicinal Drug Policy. Senior State Counsel Viveka Siriwardena appearing for the respondents submitted that the Health Minister had already given his approval for the legal draftsman to draft the Bill. She submitted that the process might take sometime since there could be a public hearing on the matter. more..

Cuban Air Force help to spray BTI

Sep 12 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will make arrangements within one month to coordinate between the Sri Lankan and Cuban Governments to obtain Cuban Air Force assistance to train Sri Lankan Air Force officers on aerial spraying of BTI using MI 17 helicopters. Minister de Silva said he will coordinate with the Cuban Government soon to get the training for Sri Lankan Air Force personnel from the Cuban Air Force to conduct aerial spraying of BTI bacteria. more..

Rs 16.7 mn sought for Piyasiri

Sep 12 (Island) The government yesterday sought parliamentary approval for a supplementary estimate of Rs 16,700,000 to meet cost of a vehicle, office equipment, furniture and the maintenance of the vehicle of the newly appointed non-Cabinet Minister of Cultural Affairs Piyasiri Wijenayake. Of this supplementary allocation, Rs 15,400,000 was for the capital expenditure and Rs 1,300,000 for the recurrent expenditure, the paper presented to the House by more..

President warns of treacherous betrayal

Sep 12 (DN) Certain elements who were born and bred in Sri Lanka are engaged in a dirty game of betraying the country to gain narrow financial and political gains, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Galle yesterday. He requested all Sri Lankans not to betray the Motherland for narrow political or financial gains. The President urged the people not to extend any assistance to such sinister moves. more..

UGC errors cost 257 students chance of University education – JVP

Sep 12 (Island) Two hundred and fifty seven students who scored top marks were deprived of their right to enter universities due to mistakes made by the University Grants Commission, the JVP told Parliament yesterday. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, in a special statement, said that the Universities of Sri Jayawardenepura, Ruhuna and Colombo have rejected the applications of 257 students directed to them by the UGC. more..

LTTE Immigration racket busted

Sep 12 (Island) Police intelligence raided an establishment in Sea Street Colombo, said to be involved in sending escapees from the Vavuniya Welfare Centres abroad. Police arrested six men along with a number of forged passports, visas and other documents. Investigations revealed that most of those who escaped from the Welfare Centres were LTTE suspects. The raid was sequel to the arrest of three suspected LTTE cadres who were detained at the Colombo Airport more..

'President not in favour of devolving police powers'

Sep 12 (DM) APRC Chairman and Minister Tissa Vitarana has said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not in favour of devolving police powers to the periphery. Addressing a gathering at the Jaffna University on Thursday under the theme “Solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem” Prof. Vitarana further said a sixty three member Senate was to be established under the proposals drafted by the APRC and handed over to President Rajapaksa. more..

Court wants full hearing on pornographic web case

Sep 12 (DM) The Colombo High Court dismissed the defence application to acquit the accused, Senior Assistant Registrar of Kelaniya University who was charged for distributing and publishing child phonographic material by e-mail and ordered to call for the defence case. At the end of prosecution case, the defence counsel Sunil Abeyratne made an application to acquit the accused, more..

'Govt. is banking on ‘Anarkali’ to pacify angry southern voters'

Sep 12 (Island) Development work carried out in the South by successive UNP governments cannot be matched by the UPFA, which was now banking on ‘Anarkali’ to boost its Southern Provincial Council Election Camapaign, the UNP said yesterday. The UNP’s candidate for the October 10 Southern Provincial Council Election, Manusha Nanayakkara, addressing a news conference in Colombo, more..

We are under threat: TNA tells President

Sep 12 (DM) The TNA has complained to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that its members in the Kalmunai Municipal Council are under threat from a former LTTE member turned democrat who is now with the government. The TNA took up the issue when it met the President on Monday. TNA MP for the Jaffna district N. Sri Kantha said that his party had asked for police protection for six members of the council including opposition leader Henry Mahendran. more..