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Housing loans at low interest to EPF members under new amendments

Sep 13 (Island) The amendments to the Employers Provident Fund (Special Provisions) Bill passed by Parliament on June 9, 2009 to include benefits such as withdrawal of 30% of a member’s EPF contribution for the construction of a house, has been delayed as this piece of legislation had been referred to the Legal Draftsmen Department for scrutiny by Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara, parliamentary sources said. more..

Special Courts to try LTTE suspects

Sep 13 (Island) The Government has decided to set up special courts to clear the backlog of cases against thousands of LTTE suspects now under detention, Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday. "The idea is to dispose of these cases expeditiously as LTTE cadres who had surrendered have also added to the numbers", the sources said. "This means that there are thousands of cases to be cleared". more..

Lanka Princess wins TUI holly award for best long haul destination hotel

Sep 13 (Island) Lanka Princess Hotel, Beruwala was named by TUI as the number one amongst all its long haul destination hotels worldwide for 2009. Lanka Princess has been among the top 100 or top 10 hotels worldwide in the TUI Holly ranking for the last nine years. The rankings are based on the responses received from TUI clients who rate the hotels they stay at on the basis of the level of satisfaction in terms of service, the standard of the hotel, more..

'Access to global markets crucial for women's development in Sri Lanka's new situation'

Sep 13 (Island) In the new situation developing in Sri Lanka after the eradication of terrorism, the focus is very sharply on economic development, and there are abundant opportunities for participation by French companies, Professor G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, told Madame Anne-Marie Idrac, French Minister of State for Trade and the Economy, more..

Problems in Cherry Blossom land

Sep 13 (ST) It was noon Saturday when Air Traffic Controllers at Japan's Narita International Airport cleared Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 454 to land. The Airbus A-330 taxied to a halt at an arrival gate in Terminal 2. On board was a VIP - Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. In Sri Lanka's precedence table of Government leaders, he ranks number two, just after the President. He was the first to alight from the aircraft and walk through the air bridge. more..

Hiyare's little haven

Sep 13 (ST) Drive along a twisting road to Udugama from Galle, and you will stumble upon one of the best kept secrets of the South. The Hiyare forest reserve, a lush 600-acre picture-postcard rainforest, located only 17 km from the city, is a veritable paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with its pristine beauty and wealth of flora and fauna. Arriving at Hiyare, we enter the premises of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle, to be greeted by an endearing baby porcupine which scuttles around, sniffing newcomers unabashedly. more..

TNA changes policy, plays politics of peace with President

Sep 13 (ST) The coffee was warm, the hoppers fresh. At the end of three hours, very few picked up what was on offer. Seven members of Parliament of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had walked into Temple Trees on September 7 with sheaves of papers in their hands and thoughts of uneasy reconciliations. The TNA’s embryonic past with the LTTE and its political future with the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration were playing on their minds. more..

President intervenes to save GSP

Sep 13 (ST) The Government is to make a strong plea to the European Union to continue the “GSP Plus” trade concession for Sri Lanka’s garment exports despite claims to the contrary by senior officials. To undertake a major diplomatic push, President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a four-member ministerial team on Friday. It comprises Ministers G.L. Peiris, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Milinda Moragoda and Rohitha Bogollagama. more..

Multiple scandal behind Japan Buddhist festival

Sep 13 (ST) Two senior Government dignitaries -- Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and Ports Minister Chamal Rajapaksa -- who traveled to Japan for what was billed as an "Exposition of Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha", it has come to light, were unsuspecting victims of a move to misrepresent Buddha's relics, misuse Sri Lanka's name and engage in a human smuggling operation. more..

Plantation unrest following pay deal

Sep 14 (BBC) Clashes erupted in the up country after sections of the plantation trade unions agreed to a pay deal offered by employers. Police used tear gas to disperse a demonstration led by Up Country Peoples Front Leader (UPF) and Social Development Minister P Chandrasekaran in Hatton protesting an agreement between Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and the Plantation Employers Association. The protesters were marching towards a gathering led by the CWC. more..

'Released' IDPs still in camps

Sep 14 (BBC) Displaced Tamil people released from the camps in Vavuniya are still in camps, local political leaders say. R Thurairatnam, a member of the eastern provincial council, told BBC Sandeshaya that 123 families released from Vavuniya camps are still kept in camps in Batticaloa. 360 people are currently kept in two schools, Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya and Kurukkalmadam Vidyalaya, in Batticaloa in early morning on Saturday. more..

Harrassed Tamils languish in prison-like camps in Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (Guardian) Living by a palm-fringed golden beach on the edge of the Indian Ocean, Suganthinhi Thesamanikam considers herself lucky to be alive after living through the hell of war. Caught between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan army, she dodged bullets and shells for two years before ending up on the sandy littoral where the rebel leadership was routed in May, in a bloody ending to a 25-year-old civil war. Three of her cousins were killed during the last days of heavy aerial bombardment. more..

Palestine to press Arab league to help Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (AT) Palestinian National Authority has decided to press Arab League to help Sri Lanka in this hour of need specially in the areas of rehabilitation and development connected with the relocation of displaced persons in North and East. Sri Lanka Representative for Palestine Dr.T.Jayasinghe held a series of discussions with Dr. Ahmed Soboh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Palestine and more..

Meet Hathurusingha: Sri Lankas shadow coach

Sep 14 (IE) Including youngsters in the national team to groom them for the future may be commonplace but Sri Lanka have decided to go one step ahead with current coach Trevor Baylisss contract expiring after the 2011 World Cup, they have not only already decided on his replacement, they have even ensured that he gets to work with the national team before he formally takes charge. more..

Chastened India seek quick turnaround

Sep 14 (CI) After seeing off New Zealand's timorous challenge, Sri Lanka and India will contest bragging rights in the Compaq Cup final. Sri Lanka hold the edge in the clash between two sides who generally don't do dull finals. The winners will go into the Champions Trophy in positive mood, leaving the loser to put salve on their injured pride. While Kumar Sangakkara said a decision on Muttiah Muraliatharan's availability would be taken on Sunday evening, more..

'We're not out for revenge'

Sep 14 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara is not out for revenge against India after the recent history the two teams have shared. Sri Lanka surrendered their last two home series to India but scored an emphatic victory on Saturday, one that left Sangakkara pleased at the way the team had shaped up. "I think you learn from your past games and you move on and you face newer teams, different combinations every single time you go out. So the past is the past really," more..

Sri Lanka's political-military shuffle

Sep 14 (Reuters) To win a quarter-century war four of his predecessors could not, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa did what none of them would: gave the military near-unlimited power. But now that he has claimed victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels in one of Asia's longest-running wars, Rajapaksa has moved quickly to diffuse the military's influence as he eyes another term in office and rejuvenating the war-hit economy. Analysts and officers say Rajapaksa is at once sharing the spoils of war and diffusing the military's post-war power, more..

Phase of Oz: Doing and teaching journalism

Sep 14 (LG) One of my major newspaper articles appeared in the national daily, The Australian, as its featured Forum column on Feb. 23, 1977. The article, which appeared with both my byline and picture, was headlined Telling the Third World like it is. It was an attempt to explain the network of dependent co-arising factors that engendered the proposal for a nonaligned news agency pool, which The Australian and other Western mass media thoroughly criticized. more..

Learning English from the sub-continent

Sep 14 (LG) Reports of Indians being brought to Sri Lanka to teach us the English Language resulted in our memories flitting back to the 50s and 60s when middle class Sri Lankans were justly proud of their command of the English Language and found the English spoken by our sub- continental brothers quite amusing and at times even hilarious. To middle class Sri Lankans of those times Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims competence in English was even greater than their mother tongue. more..

Tourism in crisis: Small vs Big

Sep 14 (LG) For the second time in three years, Sri Lankas tourism industry is confronted with a problem.An industry, the quickest like the Colombo stock market to take off during peace times, should be steaming ahead and prepare for the ambitious figure of 2.5 million arrivals in 2016 from a current 400,000-plus but recent developments have caused uneasiness in the sector. A World Bank $20 million project to build capacity in the sector is also in jeopardy. more..

The prolonged course of agony imposed on the Tamils

Sep 14 (LG) The conviction of the journalist J.S. Tissainayagam is the latest event in a long history of repression of Tamil views as well as the Tamil people. The Committee for the formation of the Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam notes that the Sri Lankan governmentcontinues with the gross violation of human rights in a multiplicity of ways despite the condemnation of the international commnity. more..

Dayan's father and the LSSP

Sep 14 (LG) DJs attempt to seek congruence of his recall from Geneva with his father Mervyn de Silvas fortunes in Lake House, published in last weeks Sunday Island is indeed interesting reading despite its several inaccuracies in respect of what he sees as an attempted take-over of Lake House in 1964 by the short-lived SLFP-LSSP government of that year, and the fate of his father in the hands of the Lake House owners in their false or mistaken belief that it was MdeS, more..

Is there a higher law than the Prevention of Terrorism Act?

Sep 14 (LG) The above statement by Helasingha Bandara in the article The greatest Country on Earth, agree Simpleman? once again raises some very important questions of a philosophical nature. Does Sri Lanka have any law higher than the anti-terrorism law? The importance of this question can be illustrated by an announcement in the court yesterday, the 11th of September 2009, releasing George Master and Daya Master. more..

The collective conscience of the silent majority

Sep 14 (LG) Scrutinizing the Tissainayagam judgment this week indicates two primary points that define current parameters in regard to freedom of expression in general and freedom of the press in particular in Sri Lanka. First, the government used the standard of the ordinary or reasonable man to contend that the writings in issue constituted an incitement to communal hatred among communities or racial and religious groups, as prohibited by Section 2 (1) more..

Plantation workers crisis settled

Sep 14 (GDI) The wages crisis of the plantation was settled with successful discussions and the aggrieved party agreeing to a daily wage of Rs.405/-, Minister DM Jayaratne said. Representatives of the plantation workers and the employers engaged themselves in a fruitful discussion to resolve the crisis. Minister Jayaratne said the Employers and the management of plantations must work with an understanding with plantation trade unions to reasonably assess demands of the workers. more..

"Excon 2009" in October

Sep 14 (GDI) The Chamber of Construction Industry will hold the Sri Lanka's First International Construction Trade Fair titled - "Excon 2009" from October 30 to November 01 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre in Colombo. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Sri Lankan Missions abroad has provided a wide publicity for the event to attract overseas markets. "Excon 2009" is an event of National importance. more..

Many development programmes in Matara

Sep 14 (GDI) The Government has taken measures to implement several economic and infrastructure development programmes in Matara at a cost of Rs. 10,000 million from 2006. These development programs include road network, electricity, water supply, irrigation, health, social welfare and spiritual development in all Divisional Secretariat areas, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. more..

President want literate child

Sep 14 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's noble task is to create an educational revolution through the school system to create a fully-fledged child, Secretary to the President Lalith Weerathunga told a meeting at the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Auditorium in Ratnapura recently. The President, who completely wiped out terrorism from this soil will leave no room to raise its head once again, he strained. more..

Tsunami displaced in Kalutara housed

Sep 14 (GDI) The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) commissioned the Kalutara Bihanimulla Fisheries Housing Scheme for the tsunami displaced recently. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry propelled this project. It was funded by International Funds for Development of Agriculture (IFAD). Fisheries Minister Felix Perera and Housing and Common Amenities Minister Ferial Ashraff jointly opened the scheme last week. more..

Crack down on narcotics operations

Sep 14 (GDI) Police will adopt different strategies to arrest international strongmen connected to local drug trafficking. The police have commenced an extensive programme to arrest international strongmen connected to drug racketeering in Sri Lanka. The Police Anti Narcotics Bureau is implementing the programme with the assistance of the intelligence divisions. The programme was being carried out with joint collaboration of overseas institutions. more..

East CM & Ministers write to President to remove Governor

Sep 14 (PSM) Eastern Province Chief Minister and Board of Ministers have jointly written to President requesting the removal of the EPC Governor on the grounds of intolerable interferance and undue influence by him and his domination of all the affairs of the EPC whilst belittling the powers of the Chief Minister and the Board of Ministers. This site disclosed this communication previously and more..

Minister calls India to invest in Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (LP) Delivering the keynote address at an Investment Seminar, New Delhi on September 14, Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Investment Promotion asked the investors to come to Sri Lanka firstly as businessmen, secondly as businessmen and thirdly as businessmen. Quoting the famous Indian savant Chanakya, Minister Dissanayake said that "there is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. more..

Ministry spends Rs. 550 million on IDP health

Sep 14 (MoD) The Health Ministry has spent over Rs. 550 million to improve the health of the IDPs over the past three months, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. The Minister addressing the 62nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for South East Asia in Kathmandu last week said many countries including India, Germany, Italy and USA and several organizations supported Sri Lanka in providing a good health service to the IDPs. more..

War heroes feted; President graces the occasion

Sep 14 (MoD) Valiant soldiers eliminated brutal terrorism and safeguarded the sovereignty of the motherland through a three-decade long struggle. The historic victory over separatist terrorism paved the way for the building of a peaceful society inwhich people may live without fear and suspicion. To felicitate the brave members of the security forces; Army, Navy, and Air Force who so valiantly fought the terrorists and achieved victory and more..

LTTE intelligence leader escapes from Menik Farm

Sep 14 (CT) Authorities have been alerted that Nargesh Sudardeepan alias Deepan, a LTTE intelligence leader, has escaped from Menik Farm welfare camp, where he was held. Deepan, who allegedly was as a military and intelligence leader until the final battle, is said have been a close confidante of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Intelligence units have found out that Deepan has escaped with the intention of fleeing abroad after giving a bribe of Rs. 600,000 to several persons. more..

Avoiding collective humiliation

Sep 14 (LNP) Harassment Sri Lankan VIPs suffer at the hands of visa officers of western embassies in general and the shabby treatment meted out to Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the Narita airport in Japan the other day in particular are despicable, to say the least. Politicians of all hues in this country claim they are perturbed. But, some of them seem to derive a perverse pleasure from the harrowing experience of government leaders and top state officials. more..

60 mental patients in welfare camps

Sep 14 (CT) The Ministry of Health and Nutrition says that measures will be taken to admit 60 mental patients presently living in welfare camps in North to the Angoda mental hospital. Once recovered, they will be handed over to a home for the aged since their relatives have refused to accept them. Noting that the mortality ratio at welfare camps in Vavuniya has dropped to 5.2 persons per 100,000, more..

IMF loan too being frittered away Ranil wants Govt. to express and explain the truth

Sep 14 (UNP) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing an lection rally at Bandaragama on 12th Sep. said, the Govt. has taken the IMF loan claiming it is for the people and the country, but it cannot explain what is it going to do to the people. It had utilized US $ 2.5 billion, like its private funds, for it considers itself not responsible to the people or the peoples representatives in Parliament. more..

'Estate workers struggle will not be betrayed'

Sep 14 (LT) While workers of the estate sector are carrying out a struggle without any party or other differences to get their daily wage increased to Rs.500, the so-called trade union leaders have betrayed the struggle complains President of the All Ceylon Estate Workers Union MP Ramalingam Chandrasekar. The CWC, without consulting other trade unions of estate workers has agreed with employers to restrict the daily wage of a worker to Rs.405 and more..

Electricity for all to promote sustainable development - Power Minister

Sep 14 (DN) The Power and Energy Ministry is to provide electricity and meet the demand of the energy services with an affordable, reliable, diverse, safe and environmentally acceptable choice for the people of Sri Lanka. Such services are to be provided in the most economically and socially efficient manner, thereby promoting sustainable economic development for the social well-being of the country, more..

SLIIT to set up Jaffna IT campus

Sep 14 (DN) The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) plans to set up an IT campus in Jaffna shortly, said SLIIT President and Chief Executive Officer Prof. Lalith B. Gamage. There are many opportunities in the Northern and the Eastern provinces for IT education. The demand is not only for IT, but also for any type of education and we need to tap this potential. The setting up of a campus will be a catalyst for other industries to move forward, he said. more..

'JVP has no right for peoples vote'

Sep 14 (DN) The JVP that destroyed the youth through their weapons culture and terrorism, has no right to tell the people to vote for their candidates at the Southern Provincial elections, Youth Affairs Minister Pavithra Wannaiarachchi said. She was addressing a rally at Tissamaharama on Saturday in support of the UPFA candidates. She said the UNP sheds crocodile tears to win the hearts of people since during its regime, it did not do anything for the downtrodden masses. more..

Maize cultivation in a daze

Sep 14 (DN) Large scale maize cultivation in the Anuradhapura district is in a crisis due to absence of a proper marketing system, Farmer Organizations said. They urge the Government and the private sector to form a joint mechanism for a guaranteed price of Rs. 28 per kilogram in the Maha season. The organizations point out that banks have been indifferent and reluctant to grant loans to the maize cultivation due to the outstanding arrears of previously granted loans. more..

KP met Taliban for arms running

Sep 14 (EB) Sri Lankan experts on the LTTE have said that the outfit had a front company in Karachi to smuggle arms, and a safe house in Peshawar to liaise with the Taliban. According to Shanaka Jayasekara, a terrorism researcher based in Macquarie University, Australia, the LTTEs arms procurer, Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP, had traveled from Bangkok to Kabul through Karachi, on May 19, 2001. more..

Nimal calls for truce among UPFA candidates

Sep 14 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva urged UPFA candidates not to fight with each other though clashes among persons fielded by one party could not be avoided due to the battle for the manape or preferential votes. He said that the UPFA was the only party now affected by in-fighting among candidates. He was speaking close on the heels of a bitter fight between Galle District UPFAS candidates, Sajin Vas Gunawardena and Nishantha Muthuhettigama in the Udugama police area. more..

Police teargas Minister Chandrasekerans protest march

Sep 14 (Island) Police fired teargas to disperse a protest march led by Upcountry Peoples Front leader Non Cabinet Minister for Community Development P. Chandrasekeran in Hatton yesterday. The march kicked off from the Mallippuwa Junction and proceeded towards Hatton in defiance of police orders to stop compelling police to use tear gas. Minister Chandrasekeran and his supporters sat in the middle of the road in protest against the use of force by the police. more..

Traces of civilisation that existed 300 yrs before Vijayas arrival found in Apura

Sep 14 (Island) Excavations at Atulu Nuvara (Inner City) of Anuradhapura have yielded evidence of an ancient civilization that had been engaged in the domestication of horses and cattle and wetland rice cultivation about 300 years before the arrival of Prince Vijaya. Dr. Siran Deraniyagala said the findings had been dated with the help of absolute dating techniques including Carbon-14 or radiocarbon dating system overseas. more..

The Kobe quake that struck Lanka

Sep 14 (DM) Politics is said to be the process by which groups make decisions. Religion is an organized approach to mans spirituality. Though many attempts have been made to detach one from the other, the reality is that one continues to impact the other. As a result religion plays a crucial part in politics not only in this part of Asia but also in the United States and in Europe as well, and as long as it remains a dominant factor in politics there will always be outsiders posing as agents of religion, out to trick gullible politicians. more..

Commandos charged with assault

Sep 14 (DM) Tension gripped Tambuttegama yesterday after a lieutenant and six soldiers of the Army Commando Regiment had allegedly assaulted a timekeeper at the Tambuttegama bus terminus, police said. They had been handed over to the Military Police for further investigations and the badly injured timekeeper was rushed to the Tambuttegama hospital. Police said the commando regiment personnel had come to Tambuttegama for recruitment purposes and more..

Sajin Vaas denies attacking JVP offices

Sep 14 (DM) The Galle district SLFP organizer and Southern Provincial Council (SPC) candidate Sajin Vaas Gunawardane yesterday denied charges of having used Presidential Security Division personnel to attack JVP offices and candidates. He told a news conference that no JVP office existed in the Galle district so how could they have been attacked. JVP has alleged that I am using PSD personnel for my election campaign. No such personnel are employed by me. more..