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Dilrukshi Handunnetti on the media

UNP-led alliance soon

Sep 14 (DM) The UNP-led alliance would be formed within a period of one month, and nine political parties and civil society organizations have agreed to join, UNP MP for the Puttalam district Palitha Range Bandara said yesterday. Mr. Bandara said that the policy document of the proposed alliance had been sent to the parties and groups willing to join hands with it. “Most likely, the alliance will be sealed by the end of this month. more..

UAE's Etisalat bids for Millicom Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (Reuters) Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) said on Monday it had submitted a binding offer on Sept. 4 to buy a 100 percent share in Millicom, Sri Lanka. The statement on Abu Dhabi's bourse website did not give further details and the United Arab Emirates company, which operates in 18 countries, was not immediately available for comment. Millicom has announced its Asian assets in Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia are to be sold, more..

'Sri Lanka economic bubble triggered by financial repression for deficits'

Sep 14 (LBO) Severe financial repression and money printing to finance post-2004 deficit triggered a housing and credit bubble and drove savers to seek higher rates in unregistered financial institutions, an economist has said. "These macro-economic imbalances set the stage for bubbles in the economy," R M B Senanayake, vice president of the Sri Lanka Association of Economists (SLEA) at its annual sessions. more..

Sri Lanka economy expands 2.1-pct in second quarter

Sep 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy expanded 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2009 from 7.0 percent a year earlier, but was up from the 1.5 percent growth in the first quarter, the government's statistics office said. Growth for the first half of 2009 was 1.8 percent compared with 6.6 percent in the first six months of 2008. In the second quarter of 2009 industry grew 3.0 percent, services 1.1 percent and agriculture 4.4 percent. more..

Sri Lanka to resettle the IDPs in the area west of A-9

Sep 14 (Island) The government is planning to resettle as many internally displaced persons as possible in the area west of the A9 before tackling resettlement in the Vanni east. The army is of the opinion that all its efforts should be directed at clearing the western part of the Vanni in keeping with the original plan, though some have called for simultaneous resettlement of the displaced on both sides of the A9. more..

Sri Lanka to offer oil blocks to India for exploration

Sep 14 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan government wants to rope in Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries for exploration of oil in the island nation. “We are in talks with Reliance for petroleum exploration,” Sri Lankan Minister for Investment Promotion, Mr Navin Dissanayake said at a CII function here today. He said he would be visiting Mumbai tomorrow to meet senior RIL officials. “We have identified couple of blocks exclusively for India,” more..

A/H1N1 flu cases rise to 90 in Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan health authorities said on Monday that one more A/H1N1 flu case has been confirmed, bring the cumulative total cases to 90 in the country. The Epidemiological Unit of the Health Ministry said in its latest report that the new patient has arrived form India. Health officials said about 90 percent of the patients contracted the disease abroad, while 10 percent of them contracted in Sri Lanka. more..

Owner nabbed for defaulting Rs. 430 million

Sep 14 (DM) The proprietor of Sriyavi Homes Lands and Investment was taken into custody by a special police team in Bambalapitiya yesterday for allegedly defaulting Rs. 430 million promising real estate and housing construction. Police Spokesman SDIG Nimal Mediwake had told the Daily Mirror that the suspect named Narangoda Liyanage Don Hasantha Minol Narangoda was arrested by the Panadura Police Crime Investigation Unit on a tip-off. more..

Sri Lanka growth slows to 1.8 percent in first half

Sep 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's economy grew 1.8 percent year on year in the first half of 2009, dragged down by weak demand for clothing and tea, official data showed Monday. The figure contrasted with 6.6 percent expansion in the first half of 2008, but analysts expect an economic revival after government forces crushed the LTTE in May. "The impact of the global downturn reduced demand for our exports and resulted in this reversal," more..

Colombo to explain post-conflict work at U.N. meet

Sep 14 (Hindu) Sri Lanka will discuss the government’s plans in the post-conflict scenario and the telecast of an unverified controversial video footage by U.K.-based Channel 4 at the session of the U.N. Human Rights Council which commences in Geneva on Monday. This is the first session that Sri Lanka is attending after the military defeat of the LTTE in May this year. more..

Lessons from the Sri Lankan conflict

Sep 15 (ME) South Asia is a part of the world where life is really cheap and the silent genocide of millions every year due to neglect and poverty does not touch the conscience of the public. And societies that are willing to accept a silent and invisible genocide in their midst will over a period of time also accept a loud and visible genocide when it happens. Nowhere else in the entire world will so many people be allowed to die silently of poverty, disease, sectarian conflict every day as happens in South Asia. more..

India, Sri Lanka likely to ink new trade deal in 2010

Sep 15 (IANS) India and Sri Lanka are expected to sign a new economic agreement next year covering both goods and services, said the island nation’s Minister of Investment Promotion Navin Dissanayake. Discussions are expected to iron out differences, paving the way for the signing of an expanded Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement before 2011, said the visiting Sri Lankan minister. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to revive abandoned property projects

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry is trying to revive a large number of high-rise property projects which are abandoned or whose apartments remain unsold with the end of a property boom, officials said. The projects are those started well into the property boom, which ended with the collapse of the global financial and commodity bubble last year, leaving investors unable to fund construction and buyers not willing to pay up. more..

Sri Lanka shares at 30-mo high

Sep 15 (Reuters) Stock market surged to its highest in 2-1/2 years on Monday after government data showed signs of recovery in the island nation and last week's rate cut boosted sentiment. The market jumped as much as 1.1 percent to 2,871.52 points, its highest since March 8, 2007, before ending up 0.77 percent at 2862.25 points. Banking shares and diversified firms, led gains, as both sector indices hit record highs, led by conglomerate Aitken Spence and Hatton National Bank. more..

Australia boosts funds for Sri Lankan displaced

Sep 15 (ABC) Australia is giving another $3 million towards the resettlement of thousands of Sri Lankans still in camps after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers by government forces earlier this year. The amount is on top of $2 million announced on the weekend. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says Australia will watch the resettlement process and treatment of the displaced closely. more..

Indian wins Compaq Cup

Sep 15 (CI) An explosive start from Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya promised a classic finish to the final, but a pumped-up Harbhajan Singh made immediate impact and punctured Sri Lanka's hopes of completing an improbable chase. There was no way Sri Lanka were going to get close to the target by playing Sachin Tendulkar-like, risk-free cricket and both the openers were prepared to take their chances. more..

President falls from chair at literary awards ceremony

Sep 15 (LeN) The President who was the Chief guest at a State literary awards ceremony at the President’s Secretariat today (14) fell down from the chair that was assigned to him due to a fault in the chair. The President a little while later left the venue without addressing the gathering. The ceremony commenced at 10.35 this morning at the Secretariat. The President however arrived at 11.25 a.m. more..

38 tons gold to be illicitly sold without Cabinet approval – Ranil

Sep 15 (LeN) The Govt. in order to settle foreign loans , is seeking to sell illicitly 38 metric tons of gold with the Central Bank . Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe made this revelation at a meeting in the Dambadeniya electorate on 13th. The Govt. which had obtained a foreign loan of Rs. 130 billion and having wasted these monies owing to corruption , profligacy and mismanagement is in a quandary unable to re pay the loan. more..

Mahinda regime is neither proletarian nor socialist

Sep 15 (LG) Some people believe that the Mahinda regime, is an anti American, anti West, nationalist regime. One cannot blame them too much when, the old Left including Vasudeva is busy white washing this regime. The old Left too, insist that the Mahinda regime is progressive and better than the UNP regime. Of course, they find it difficult to explain the political and social policies of the regime. more..

The old rush

Sep 15 (CI) Sachin Tendulkar's 134 in Sharjah in 1998 set the bar for his centuries in one-day finals, but damned if today's effort doesn't at least nip at its skirts. The biggest performers - and few come any bigger than Tendulkar - invariably deliver on the big occasion and today, with India looking to snap a run of five straight completed finals defeats to Sri Lanka, Tendulkar dazzled. more..

Harbhajan ensures India's cup overflows

Sep 15 (CI) Two rapturous celebrations by Harbhajan Singh told the story this evening. The first was when he bowled Thilina Kandamby, the second when he sealed India's first finals win in Sri Lanka this decade. Even with seven wickets down, and the required rate touching 10 an over, India were not taking victory for granted until Sri Lanka's latest version of the Ice Man was dismissed. more..

Happy hunting grounds for hypocrites

Sep 15 (LG) Is the state supposed to fight terrorism with one hand tied behind its back? What of Claymore mine victims, bus bomb victims, border village victims, all victims of solicitous LTTE terror? Don’t Rice award winners’ hearts bleed for these “people"? No, absolutely not. There is no gravy train, for one thing, if one fights for terrorist victims. The gravy train is flowing thick and gooey out there, for those who scream against rights abuses of the state. more..

UN concern over Sri Lanka displaced

Sep 15 (BBC) The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, says civilians displaced in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka have been effectively detained under conditions of internment. The comments were published in her prepared address to the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva made available to the media. In the statement she said an intolerable number of people continued to live in the camps and more..

EU sanctions on Sri Lanka to hit 'cheap' clothing over human rights abuses

Sep 15 (Times) They were billed as “garments without guilt” — cheap, good-quality lingerie, casual clothes and sportswear made in Sri Lanka and sold in stores such as Next, Tesco and Marks & Spencer. For the past four years, such clothes worth billions of pounds have been imported, tax-free, to the European Union under a trade scheme intended to help Sri Lanka’s recovery from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. more..

The Magic of Immigrant Charm

Sep 15 (HP) The customer, dressed in whites, looks flustered as she stares at the menu on the "NY Dosa" cart at Manhattan's Washington Square Park. She asks the man behind the cart details about his dosa's ingredients. "Rice and lentils, only," he explains. She isn't convinced and asks again. "All vegan, just rice and lentils," he assures her. Hesitant but now a little more satisfied, she gets her dosa packed. more..

'TNA for political solution within undivided Sri Lanka'

Sep 15 (TC) 'We will continue to work towards a political solution to the National Question within the framework of an undivided and united Sri Lanka. The TNA’s aim continues to be substantial political autonomy for the Tamil and Muslim peoples in the areas they historically inhabit in this country. It is our assessment that the Tamil-speaking people are strongly behind these aims. We want to engage in political activities which would emphasize this position’, more..

Selling of Sri Lanka's gold reserves: Central bank governor denies

Sep 15 (AT) The Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal strongly denies the allegation that the CBSL was about to sell its gold reserves to pay off the country’s short term debts. The allegation was made by the Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He had reportedly said that the CBSL was about to sell off its gold reserves valued at some Rs. 1,400 million to pay off the country’s urgent debts. more..

Salute to Tissaranee, Sara and Jehan

Sep 15 (GV) As I scanned the Sunday newspapers today, I saw the ‘wanted’ faces of Sara and Jehan and the bold article by Tissaranee who are but a few brave patriots in our country who are virtually sticking their necks out to uphold the time tested values of justice, peace and equity in our beautiful isle. Criticizing the regime is deemed as high treason and poor Tissanayagam had to pay the price for it through a showcase trial that warned everyone to shut up or else! more..

The sentencing J.S Tissainayagam: Not in my name!

Sep 15 (GV) I am Sandun Ratnaweera, a 59 year old Sri Lankan Sinhalese from the Galle District. I attended Richmond College, and I have a government job. Sinhalese is the language that my family speaks at home. Therefore I would consider myself a very common Sinhalese man – just as regular as most of all other Sinhalese in this island. It is on this basis and identity that I was shocked and appalled at the conviction and more..

Tamils rail under Sri Lanka's heel

Sep 15 (Guardian) When the Sri Lankan government routed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the sandy beaches of the country's north east, few would have predicted that the government offensive would continue. Yet in the months that have followed there has been little magnanimity, let alone reconciliation. Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians are still being kept in camps surrounded by barbed wire. more..

Priests, media and rights activists call for Terrorism Act repeal

Sep 15 (UCAN) The lengthy sentence handed down to Tamil Christian journalist J.S. Tissanayagam has led to a broad-based call for the repeal of the country's Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Hundreds of citizens have been punished under the 1979 law, under which some have languished in remand for 15 years without trial, according to activists. Christian priests, journalists, rights activists, lawyers and artists gathered at more..

UN political chief heading to Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (AP) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is sending the U.N. political chief to Sri Lanka to press the government to step up the release of nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians who have been detained since the South Asian nation's civil war ended in May. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe said Monday he will also press the government to keep its pledges to more..

No evidence runaway convert would be in danger

Sep 15 (NBC) A report released Monday said investigators didn’t find evidence that a Columbus teenager would be in jeopardy if she returned home, despite her claims that she fears for her life for converting from Islam to Christianity. The 17-year-old ran away from her parents’ home in suburban Columbus in July, saying she feared being killed for changing religions. The family immigrated from Sri Lanka in 2000. more..

Bishops say all must be allowed home

Sep 15 (Cafod) Bishop John Rawsthorne of Sheffield and Bishop John Arnold of Westminster call for Tamils displaced by civil war to be allowed to return home after visiting camps in Sri Lanka. Two English Catholic bishops have recently returned from Sri Lanka where they gained a rare insight into life in the post-conflict camps. Alongside CAFOD, they are calling for the end of forced confinement of nearly 300,000 Tamil survivors of the country’s more..

SL Ambassador of USA continues Diaspora outreach

Sep 15 (SLE) Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya recently expanded his outreach campaign with the Sri Lankan community in the United States with visits to both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Ambassador has been meeting with Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and other Sri Lankan ethnics groups throughout the U.S. to discuss reconciliation following the conclusion of the 25-year conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. more..

Ban on publishing photographs of women on newspapers

Sep 15 (LNW) The government has unofficially informed several newspapers and magazines not to use photographs of women in a provocative manner on the front page of newspapers and magazines. Director of the Women’s Bureau, Pradeepa Serasinghe said there was no law on the matter, but was made on moral grounds. Additional Secretary for Planning and Development at the Media Ministry, Priyantha Mayadunne said there were mortal grounds for it although there were no laws on it. more..

Arrested for operating a brothel, actress Sureni Senarath released due to political pressure

Sep 15 (LNW) Actress Sureni Senarath, who was arrested along with six young girls for operating a brothel under the guise of an ayurvedic spa in Mt. Lavinia, has been released by the police following political pressure. The six young girls and two other employees arrested by the police from the brothel were presented to court and released on a Rs. 250,000 bail after testing them for sexually transmitted diseases. more..

Sri Lanka sells US41mn 3-year bonds

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has sold 41 million US dollars of 3-year dollar denominated bonds rolling over 35 million US dollars of maturing 2-year debt, the government's debt office said. The dollar bonds are aimed at domestic investors including banks who are eligible to hold dollar assets. The bonds, labeled Sri Lanka Development Bonds, were priced at the 6-month London interbank offered rate (LIBO) plus 425 basis points, more..

Debrief News - 14.09.2009

Sri Lanka hosts wacky tuk-tuk race

Sep 15 (BBC) Two dozen brightly-coloured auto-rickshaws have just completed a nine-day charity rally around the hills and valleys of Sri Lanka. The Great Sri Lankan Tuk-Tuk Challenge was organised partly to boost tourism after decades of war. Not all the vehicles appeared entirely reliable, with a number of mechanical problems reported by contestants. Nonetheless, it was an exuberant finish for racers from countries ranging from New Zealand to Switzerland. more..

Sri Lanka: Reject wage sell-out by plantation unions

Sep 15 (wsws) The plantation workers should reject the wage deal reached between the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and the Ceylon Employers Federation (CFE). The new collective agreement, which is due to be signed tomorrow, is a sell-out that binds half a million tea, rubber and coconut plantation workers to poverty-level wages for another two years. The CWC had initially called for a combined daily wage of 750 rupees ($6.50), but quickly backed down to 500 rupees. more..

500 Vanni IDPs to be settled in the islets of Jaffna against their wish

Sep 15 (TN) 500 IDPs detained in the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) internment camps in Vaviniyaa were brought to Jaffna Monday and efforts are being made to settle them in the abandoned houses in the islets of Jaffna that are in the full control of Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), sources in Jaffna said. In the name of resettlement Vanni IDPs are being just relocated from the internment camps in Vavuniya against their wish to another area more..

Sri Lanka's melody queen to launch two CDs

Sep 15 (GDI) Sri Lanka's 'Queen of Melody' who leads the oriental and classical type of music with her ringing voice, Visharada Nanda Malani will launch two CDs on September 19 to coincide with the International Book Fair launch at the BMICH, Colombo. The two CDs are titled- 'Dedunu Paya' and -'Mahagiri Arane' which comprise popular and award winning film songs of this renowned songstress. more..

Narahenpita sales outlets for textile and shoes

Sep 15 (GDI) The textile and shoes shopping complex of the Narahenpita Dedicated Economic Centre (DEC) to be opened at the end of October, will be a boon to consumers. Measures are underway to provide sales outlets to marker textiles and shoes, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He pointed out that, this latest complex will be an additional unit of the present DEC shopping complex located in Narahenpita which is the first outlet. more..

GCE O/L begins on December 12

Sep 15 (GDI) The GCE Ordinary Level examination will commence on December 12 this year and continue till December 23, the Commissioner General of Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe, said in a statement yesterday. Department of Examinations said that 545,000 candidates would sit for the examination this year. Of these 340,000 had applied through schools. 300,000 candidates will be sitting for the first time; 40,000 are repeaters. more..

Solutions to contaminated water in Jaffna

Sep 15 (GDI) A project has been launched at a cost of 170 million rupees to prevent water in the Jaffna Peninsula from being mixed with sea water. Drinking water has been a dire necessity for the people in Jaffna. Civilians in the Jaffna Peninsula are experiencing difficulties as the water used for drinking purposes and cultivation is contaminated with sea water. A programme has been launched to prevent the water been contaminated with sea water. more..

WB Ganegala new Secretary Media Information Ministry

Sep 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today appointed WB Ganegala as the Secretary to the Ministry of Media and Information. The incumbent Secretary of the Ministry, A. Dissanayake has been appointed Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage. Prior to his new appointment back at the Media Ministry, Ganegala served as Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development. more..

Along the path of the one who followed those who went first…

Sep 15 (LG) With SJV peaceful struggle for Tamil Eelam, Tamil Eelam War I, came to an end. With Prabakaran the armed struggle, Eelam War II, came to an end. But the Tamil struggle has not come to an end. The sovereignty we lost 500 years ago and the political rights we lost 60 years ago have not been won back. Many of us are still unable to believe it has happened. We are suffering a psychological block because we are unable to accept what our intellect says is true. more..

IMHO and LTTE Connection

Sep 15 (LG) The ceaselessly protean LTTE has appeared in numerous guises, using various names, creating and molding the terrain to fit their agenda. TRO, White Pigeon, Illankai Thamil Sangam - are just some of its avatars. If shut down in one place, they rise up brimming with energy in another. Along with the decline and fall of the LTTE, there’s been a flurry of activity in the US Tamil diaspora with their front groups and operatives hitting on all cylinders as they hastily reinvent themselves, more..