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Investment and judicial independence

Sep 18 (LNP) Sri Lanka needs a vibrant private sector and foreign investment is a prerequisite for national development. Our misguided experiments with socialism from 1970 to 77 ended with disastrous consequences. However, the remedy unplanned economic liberalisation administered in 1977 under a different regime proved to be as bad as the malady. We, as a nation, never dip our toes when we embark on new ventures and have the bad habit of taking blind plunges fatalistically. more..

British Sri Lankan Forum holds demo against Channel - 4

Sep 18 (DN) A demonstration against the Channel-4 Television Corporation organised by the British Sri Lankan Forum (BSLF) was held on September 5 from 11 am to 2 pm in London. The BSLF also has launched an online petition campaign which is circulating around the world collecting signatures. Channel-4 News in the UK broadcast an unauthenticated video clip, accusing the Sri Lanka Army and the government of war crimes. more..

'President uses military victory over Tigers to flout democracy'

Sep 18 (Island) "Under the cover of the military victory over the Tigers, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has violated the rule of law and ridiculed the voters’ franchise by engaging in a game of dirty politics," said JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, addressing an election rally in support of JVP candidates contesting the Southern Provincial Council elections. more..

Bus fare hike from Sept. 22

Sep 18 (Island) LPBPA Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne yesterday said that both private operators and the SLTB would increase bus fares from September 22, but the fares of the first and second sectors which was Rs. 6 and Rs. 9 would not be increased. He expressed dissatisfaction at the manner in which the National Transport Commission had handled the fare increase and said there are many discrepancies in the fare structures as regards both long distance and short distance travel. more..

HR probe: Lanka informed of US move

Sep 18 (Island) Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asian Affairs has informed Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Washington Jaliya Wickremasuriya that a report on the conduct of government forces during the war against the LTTE would be submitted to the US Congress on Monday (September 21). Ministerial and Defence sources told The Island that this was expected as part of their strategy to pressure Sri Lanka on the human rights front. more..

President never adopted Churchill’s ‘Blood, sweat and tears’ approach

Sep 18 (Island) Continuity of the current regime is a national need to consolidate what has been achieved against overwhelming odds, Professor G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, said in Tangalle this week. Prof. Peiris, who is playing a leading role in the UPFA campaign in the Hambantota district, was addressing a large gathering of teachers in the area. more..

Remnants of LTTE use U.S. as base to bifurcate Sri Lanka with passive State Department nod

Sep 18 (AT) In an interview to BBC a couple of days after he met with a group of Tamil Americans who claimed to be representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in the United States on August 11 at his Washington State Department office former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka and now assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake echoed the sentiments of the Tamil delegation warning Sri Lanka not to more..

Launch of book on power sharing

Rs 9 million a day for IDP upkeep

Sep 18 (MoD) There are about 250,000 IDPs in welfare villages and centres. Those people were herded by the LTTE but we rescued them from the ruthless LTTE after 30 years of terrorism and now provide them with shelter, food, water and sanitation, education, health and other facilities spending nine million rupees a day but we did not invite them, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told the Cabinet press briefing yesterday. more..

Vehicles with illegal number plates in Colombo

Sep 18 (DM) Some high profile figures in Colombo are allegedly using unauthorized number plates for their vehicles with poeple around Colombo spotting vehicles with red number plates and white lettering reading “WPC- 2008/2009”. However sources in the Technical Department of the Registration of Motor Vehicles said such number plates were not issued by the Department. Red number plates were issued for security purposes and more..

Sri Lanka Hires HSBC, JPMorgan, RBS to sell bonds

Sep 18 (BN) Sri Lanka, which is rebuilding its economy after the end of a 26-year civil war, hired HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc to sell $500 million of bonds overseas, the South Asian island’s first in two years. The selection was made from among seven banks that submitted proposals to manage the sale planned for October, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said in an e-mailed statement today. more..

'Anarkali uses VIP’s backing to discredit me'

Sep 18 (DM) Southern Provincial Council Candidate Nishantha Muthuhettige alleged that fellow UPFA candidate Anarkali Akarsha was using the backing of a certain VIP to discredit him. “She is using the strength and the backing of those in the higher ranks of power and their sons to get me out of the race,” Muthuhettige said. He said that such candidates like Akarsha and Sajin Vaas were inexperienced politicians in the Galle area. more..

'Sri Lanka targeted for defeating LTTE terror'

Sep 18 (MoD) Sri Lanka was targeted by a section of the international community for being successful in her war against the LTTE, a group proscribed by India, US, UK and EU, and a section of the international community have conveniently forgotten the death and destruction caused by the LTTE, said Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in an interview with The Island today. more..

Sri Lanka sets January deadline to settle displaced

Sep 18 (AP) Sri Lanka's president promised Friday to send nearly 300,000 Tamil war refugees who are being held in military-run camps back to their homes in the next four months, the government said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa made the pledge at a meeting with U.N. Undersecretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe amid international criticism of the government's treatment of those displaced by the civil war with the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

The trouble with reporting on Sri Lanka

Sep 19 (C4) There is really very little to actually report when you cover Sri Lanka. That sounds ridiculous, but let me qualify myself: there is no real, first hand information or experience that you can lay your hands on. It’s all potentially tainted somehow. You spend your time explaining that the other side disagrees with the other side’s claim, and that you can’t tell who’s telling the truth as you’re mostly stuck in a hotel in the capital unable to more..

Exports fall 18.9-pct, imports 35.3-pct to July

Sep 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka exports fell 18.9 percent in the 7-months to July while imports fell 35.3 percent as a trade contraction continued, while the trade deficit narrowed 6.5 percent to 1,883 million US dollars. In July exports fell 23.1 percent to 652.2 million compared with exceptionally high growth recorded last year, the Central Bank said. Tea exports were down 21.9 percent to 112.2 million US dollars. more..

Sri Lanka Public Interest Litigation: "Fraud unravels all"

Sep 19 (LBO) "Fraud unravels all". This was a central claim made by Mr K. Kanag-Isvaran, P.C., at the LBO/LBR CEO Forum’s panel discussion on the economic implications of judgments of the Sarath N. Silva Supreme Court. If a fraud is established in the privatization of a state asset, the appropriate remedy would be to restore the status quo ante. There appeared to be some level of agreement among the panellists that more..

Private sector told could have challenged powerful chief justice

Sep 19 (LBO) Private sector should have been more forceful in challenging a chief judge seen as brilliant but dominating whose judgments raised questions about the process of public interest litigation, a public forum was told. Affected businesses could have asked for immediate reviews of what they considered bad decisions of the powerful former chief justice Sarath Silva who reversed three privatization deals, more..

Northern Province sports festival commence

Sep 19 (MoD) After about three decades, with the elimination of terrorism under the leadership the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the sports loving peoples of Jaffna, especially the athletes are able to show their prowess in athletics. These athletes are now able to compete freely in the various events that they have entered in, thanks to the "Vadakkin Vasantham" program that is being monitored by Basil Rajapaksa MP, more..

Sri Lanka has a better story than what's getting out today - Pascoe to President

Sep 19 (MoD) Sri Lanka has a better story than is getting out to the world on matters of concern to the United Nations such as IDPs, Human rights and Post Conflict Development was the view of B. Lynn Pascoe, United Nations Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, following his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mr. Pascoe met the President after visiting Vavuniya and other areas of the North more..

Roots of Tamil Nadu secessionism in India

Sep 19 (DBS) It was only a few months ago that the world witnessed the military defeat of the LTTE at the hands of Sri Lanka’s armed forces.The LTTE popularly known as tigers posed a threat to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. The tigers or LTTE espoused the creation of a separate state-Tamil Eelam-comprising the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka and launched an armed struggle to achieve this goal. more..

Understand our problems: Colombo

Sep 19 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday appealed to the U.N. to understand problems the country faced re-settlement and rehabilitation of nearly three lakh war-displaced. He was responding to a letter from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlining concerns of the international community on the situation of the war-displaced housed in government-run relief camps. The letter was delivered to Mr. Rajapaksa by B. Lynn Pascoe, U.N. Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs. more..

'No approval for Private Medical Colleges'

Sep 19 (GDI) The Chairman of the UGC, Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said that the UGC had not granted approval for the establishment of Private Medical Colleges. In the recent past, there has been much debate about the establishment of Private Medical Colleges (PMC) in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, several intellectuals and academics have stressed the need to have Private Medical Colleges in the country since the government alone cannot meet the demand for doctors. more..

Army turns 60 military celebrations to mark the milestone

Sep 19 (GDI) Elaborate and multifarious arrangements are underway to mark this milestone, giving preference to customary religious observances of major denominations beginning 2nd October 2009 under the theme “Victory through Commitment, Dedication, Sacrifice and Professionalism ”. The modern Army counts its birth after its founding in 1949 as a commonwealth force of the post-independent Ceylon and more..

IDPs: Unraveling fact, fiction and faction

Sep 19 (AT) Sri Lanka has become a carnival ground for international players, a sort of Hawkers Street for foreign experts peddling their wares. Do we really need foreign experts to advise us on how to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State? Surely, our own Service Commanders, native to our soil, know best what needs to be done. What we in the Opposition say to these worthy experts, there are many from different nationalities, more..

Support smoke-free public places

Sep 19 (AT) There is a fast-growing campaign around the world demanding for 100 percent smoke-free laws that ban smoking in all work and public places. Public health authorities worldwide have concluded that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Secondhand smoke causes serious diseases and premature death. Secondhand smoke has been proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), low birth weight, and serious respiratory conditions. more..

Debrief News - 18.09.2009

UN political chief voices concern about displaced after wrapping up visit

Sep 19 (UN) IDPs living in Government-run camps in Sri Lanka lack basic rights of freedom of movement, and the country is not making the expected progress towards a lasting peace in the wake of the end earlier this year to fighting between military forces and Tamil rebels, the United Nations political chief said today. B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told a press conference in Colombo at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka that more..

Sri Lanka’s Muslims split over ideological differences

Sep 19 (DPA) Ramadan, the month of fasting meant to bring Muslims closer to God, is being marked in Sri Lanka by an ideological rift dividing the faithful. With the end of the Tamil separatist insurgency in May, the country’s Muslims no longer face persecution from rebels who terrorised them in recent decades. But the Islamic community is now beset by internal divisions over a rivalry between two sects to define the customs and faith of 8% of the country’s 20mn population. more..

Colombo risks squandering Sri Lanka's hard-won peace

Sep 19 (JT) If Sri Lanka is to become a tropical paradise again, it must build enduring peace. This will only occur through genuine interethnic equality, and a transition from being a unitary state to being a federation that grants provincial and local autonomy. Yet even in victory the Sri Lankan government seems unable to define peace or outline a political solution to the long-standing cultural and political grievances of the Tamil minority, more..

Temporary monks for better society

Sep 19 (AT) After six years, the largely negative attitude among many Sri Lankan Buddhists towards temporary ordination has undergone a welcome change. The credit for this achievement goes to the Buddhist Cultural Centre (BCC) Nedimala, Dehiwala, which arranged for lay Buddhists to become monks and nuns temporarily in 2003. The scheme has become highly successful attracting many young Buddhists to the BCC -run Dekanduwala Meditation Centre, more..

'All 21 Indian fishermen were poaching in Lankan territorial waters'

Sep 19 (AT) The Navy today reiterated that the twenty one Indian fishermen captured by them were illegally poaching in Lankan territorial waters.Also the Sri Lankan Navy denies any knowledge of Indian allegations. All 21 fishermen were poaching off Thalaimannar and they have been handed over to Mannar police for further investigations, Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake told Asian Tribune. more..

A brief history of the Tamil people and their contributions to the colonial regime

Sep 19 (IL) European colonial powers, especially Britain, have had a great influence in shaping the history of Dravidian Tamils. During colonial rule, the Tamils, either willfully migrated or were taken by force to far flung British colonies where they contributed immensely to the British Empire. The empire benefited from the skilled workforce of more than 10 million Tamils throughout the former British colonies; more..

Sri Lanka - Bentota Beach Hotel

Schoolgirl commits suicide by hanging

Sep 19 (CT) A 17-year-old schoolgirl had committed suicide after writing a letter that she was ashamed by not having anything to take to school for her midday meal. She had hung herself with a saree at her home after returning from school in Kuliyapitiya. The girl had been in the care of her grandmother as her mother has been employed in a remote area. At the postmortem examination, judicial medical officer Dr. Y.M.G. Tilakaratne Bandara returned a verdict of death due to hanging. more..

UPFA candidate surrenders over Anarkali threat

Sep 19 (CT) A UPFA candidate at upcoming southern provincial polls surrendered to court today (Sept. 18), hours after a warrant was issued for his arrest over an alleged threat to fellow candidate and popular actress Anarkali Akarsha. Galle chief magistrate Thamara Tennakoon who had previously issued the warrant against Nishantha Muthuhettigama, later released him on a Rs. 200,000 surety. more..

SEP campaigns among Free Trade Zone workers

Sep 19 (wsws) As part of its campaign for the Southern Provincial Council elections on October 10, the Socialist Equality Party spoke to workers from the Koggala Free Trade Zone (FTZ), 16 kilometres from the provincial capital of Galle. The SEP is standing a slate of 26 candidates for the Galle district. It takes three and a half hours by public transport to travel the 132 kilometres from Colombo to Koggala along the coast. more..

Alston sings on lying channel

Sep 19 (LG) Among the types who are known to rush in where even angels fear to tread is Prof. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the UN on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions. He made great haste to issue his original statement demanding action against Sri Lanka on the basis of the Channel 4 video of alleged “summary executions” of Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan “Security Forces”, concerning the contents of the video, more..

Getting a grip on ‘fear psychosis’

Sep 19 (LG) ‘There is an atmosphere of fear and lack of freedom in Sri Lanka,’ Chandrika Kumaratunga is reported to have said in Kerala recently. She says that even though ‘it is a government of (her) party in power,’ she doesn’t feel safe. Implying of course that people who are not members or supportive of the party in power would feel even less safe. The war may be over but a country that has suffered for three decades would be silly to let down its guard immediately after the tyrant has been vanquished. more..

Colombo- Matara train to go 100 mph

Sep 19 (GDI) The Department of Railway said a substantial development in the railway service could be witnessed within a short period. General Manager of railways P.P. Wijesekara noted that prominence will be given to the Colombo – Matara coastal line. The aim is to operate a train at the speed of one hundred miles per hour from Colombo to Matara. The necessary railway sleepers to repair the track from Galle to Matara have been imported from India. more..

Vavuniyaa residents swell Jaffna internment camps

Sep 19 (TN) Under international pressure as the monsoon looms, the Sri Lanka government is hastily engaged in relocating some of the IDPs detained in the internment camps in Vavuniyaa. However, the inmates are being moved from Vavuniyaa’s barbed-wire ringed camps to similar overcrowded enclosures without facilities in other districts, sources in Jaffna said. Moreover these camps are also in the path of oncoming floods, NGO workers say. more..

New DGM at bankrupt Maga Neguma draws Rs. 125,000 monthly salary

Sep 19 (LNW) The Maga Neguma organization which is facing a severe financial crisis and is even unable to pay the salaries of the staff has appointed a new Deputy General Manager drawing a monthly salary of Rs. 125,000. The Chairman has made this appointment without Board approval. It has been alleged that a former Major in the Army, A.M.A Adhikari had been appointed to cover up the many suspicious activities taking place at Maga Neguma. more..

No confidence motion against Hisbullah in EPC

Sep 19 (PSM) A no confidence motion is to be moved against Easter Provincial Health Minister MLAM.Hisbullah by the opposition parties in the EP Council. Notice to this motion has been given by leader of the Opposition and SLMC Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood. It is stated in the motion that Minister Hisbullah has failed and neglected to give permanency to the casual senior employees working in the health sector of the province and more..

A Helicopter pad too is being built in ‘King’s close relative’s Deniyaya Palace

Sep 19 (LeN) UNP Organizer for Baddegana asked how it has been possible for a close relative of the uncrowned ‘King’ to buy a property worth Rs. 400 lakhs in Deniyaya and build a palace exploiting the State project ‘Maga neguma’ resources, funds and manpower? Upon an investigation into this construction, it has been revealed that over Rs. 500 lakhs of State funds have been siphoned into building and concreting the roads leading to this Palace. more..

Discard Foreign Service?

Sep 19 (LeN) According to a recent newspaper report, the President has scolded the Foreign Minister very badly. The President has directly questioned about the role of the Foreign Ministry in this crucial moment of the history. As stated in the newspapers the President is not satisfied with the work of the Foreign Minister and the officials of the Foreign Ministry. However, the officials of the Foreign Ministry cannot take the responsibility of the failure of the Ministry. more..

Another 7 parties apply to join the opposition alliance

Sep 19 (LeN) SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samarweera who is playing a lead role in building the opposition alliace said, the UNP which is to forge an Alliance with 4 main parties is being joined by a further another 7 parties whose application shave been received. The principal policies of the Alliance will be known in a few days, and after the national elections is announced, the full policy statement will be disclosed. more..

254,000 jobs axed in six months

Sep 19 (LT) 155000 persons in the industrial sector and 99,000 in the services sector have lost their jobs within the first six months of this year. Accordingly the total number of people who lost jobs during the period is 254,000 states reports from Department of Census and Statistics. Meanwhile, the government has taken loans for high interests by issuing development bonds for Rs.150000 million. Out of this amount Rs.75000 million has been allocated to pay loan installments and interest. more..

'Shall build an alternative estate trade union leadership to win workers’ rights'

Sep 19 (LT) An alternative trade union leadership would be developed in the estate sector by driving away the opportunist trade unions that have been deceiving the estate community through out history and continue the struggle to win the legitimate rights of the estate employees said President of All Ceylon Estate Workers’ Union Ramalingam Chandrasekar MP. more..

'Recipients could have been happy if sum equivalent to Wijenayake’s salary was awarded'

Sep 19 (LT) Having the National Literary Festival at Pollonnaruwa was merely a political gimmick to get political leverage says Prof. Sucharithe Gamlath. Speaking to ‘Irida Lankadeepa’ Prof. Gamlath has said, “The festival was only a ruse given to farmers at Pollonnaruwa to show that the government not only develops the country but literature as well. School children as well as those who had little learning were deluded by this. more..

‘Parakrama Samudra’ water wated to protect Minister’s brother’s hotel

Sep 19 (LT) 1000 acre feet of water has been released from Parakrama Samudra in Pollonnaruwa without being used for any purpose but merely for the protection of ‘Sudu Aaraliya’ hotel that belongs to Dudley Sirisena, brother of Minister of Agricultural Development & Agrarian Services Development Maithripala Sirisena. The hotel has been constructed on the tank bed below the spill level of the tank and more..