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Lanka – Russia negotiated a mutual legal assistant treaty

Sep 24 (AT) The second round of bilateral negotiations was held in Moscow from 16 – 18 September 2009 between the Delegations of Sri Lanka and the Russian Federation in order to conclude a bilateral treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the two countries. During negotiations, the two sides exchanged views on current developments relating to enhanced cooperation on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and emphasized the need to cooperate at more..

Deaths from Rabies Reduced by 50 per cent

Sep 24 (AT) Health Care and Nutrition Ministry of Sri Lanka has reduced human deaths which occurred from Rabies by 50 per cent compared to last year. The Ministry has achieved this success through a special program which was introduced to control the spread of Rabies in the country last year. The Rabies Prevention and Control Program have been drafted with the objective of eradicating the disease from the island by 2016. more..

Amazing Sri Lanka

Sep 24 (TOO) Sri Lankan Holidays, the leisure arm of Sri Lankan Airlines, has just launched three special tours of the island nation showcasing the country’s rich and colourful diversity. Valid until November 30 2009, the 5 days/4 nights packages are: Tour 1 – Colombo, Tour 2 – Colombo/Kandy and Tour 3 – Colombo/beach, priced at RO244, RO262 and RO253 respectively. While packages can be customised to suit your particular tastes, more..

'I personally believe Muthuhettigama to be mentally depressed, but voters should decide his fate'

Sep 24 (AT) With the UPFA candidate Nishantha Muthuhettigama -- whose mental stability is now being questioned by the court -- contesting Southern polls, its Secretary Susil Premajayantha said he personally believed the controversial contender to be “mentally depressed”, urging now the voters to decide his fate. He told Asian Tribune today the party “warned” Muthuhettigama several times yet it was of no use. more..

Sri Lankan leader skips meeting in US

Sep 24 (National) When world leaders met at the opening of the annual United Nations General Assembly yesterday, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, was a notable absentee. The president instead sent his deputy, prime minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, to lead the country’s delegation at the UN’s 2009 session in what is widely see as a reluctance to meet western leaders critical of the government over human rights issues, according to analysts. more..

Treatment of Tamil IDPs and Muslim refugees: Double standard on human suffering

Sep 25 (TC) It is heartening to note the swift international response to the misery of Internally Displaced Tamils. There is no doubt that every country, every organization and every individual should make every effort to ameliorate the conditions of about 280,000 unfortunate Tamil IDPs who were herded and used as human shields by the LTTE against advancing Sri Lankan forces. more..

Sri Lanka Red Cross spends US$220mn on tsunami re-building

Sep 24 (LBO) The Red Cross movement had spent 220 million US dollars to build 30,000 houses, upgrade healthcare centres, re-build water supply and drainage facilities in villages devastated by a tsunami in 2004, officials said. "The tsunami operation has been an unparalleled challenge for the Red Cross movement in Sri Lanka," Paul Fmes, head of delegation, international federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent said. more..

Civilians clash with SLA in Vavuniyaa internment camp

Sep 24 (TN) Additional police and Sri Lanka Army troops were brought into the College of Education internment camp in Vavuniyaa after clashes erupted between civilian inmates and Sri Lankan forces following the arrest and assault of a Tamil youth in the camp. Several civilians and armed personnel sustained minor injuries, sources in Vavuniyaa said. On Monday, a 31-year-old Tamil youth Paranchami Chandramohan, was taken by force by the SLA. more..

Eden Resort & Spa

Generals and Politics: In Memory of Major General Janaka Perera

Sep 24 (AT) There have been a few Generals who took up to politics in the recent past after retirement from the Sri Lanka Army. Major General Lakshman Algama, Major General Sarath Munasinghe and Major General Janaka Perera are three of them that I can recall to my memory. Major General Sarath Munasinghe after retirement from the Army contested as a People’s Alliance (PA) candidate, won the election and was appointed as the Deputy Speaker. more..

Staff officers demand amendments to service constitutions

Sep 24 (CT) Staff officers in nine state sector services staged an agitation today (Sept. 23) to demand amendments to their respective service constitutions. They gathered in Colombo and marched from Independence Square to Public Administration Ministry, said All Island Federation of Trade Union. Its convener Anton Perera told ‘Colombo Today’ that the participants represented 16 affiliate trade unions. more..

Defence ministry asks German police help to probe JDS

Sep 24 (CT) The Defence Ministry has asked German Police for assistance to probe Journalists for Democracy (JDS) that had reportedly given to Britain’s Channel 4 the video that alleges executions by the Sri Lankan Army. According to human rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, the defence ministry has found out that several Sri Lankan journalists who had fled to Germany are involved in JDS. more..

Rabies among elephants in Sri Lanka

Sep 24 (LP) Veterinary doctors of Sri Lanka have identified two elephants that were infected by rabies. This is the first time the decease was identified among elephants, said Sri Lanka's virology research institute chief Ochala Wimalaratna addressing a seminar held yesterday. The infected elephants are tamed ones that live in Colombo municipal limits, she said. Sri Lanka is among the ten leading countries in the world that report highest death rates from more..

Large Buddha to be unveiled Saturday in Franklin

Sep 24 (CJ) A 25-foot tall Buddha statue, two years in the making, will be unveiled in a ceremony at the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara at 3 p.m. Saturday at the New Jersey Buddhist Temple, 4299 Route 27, Princeton. The Samadhi Buddha statue was crafted by Embulawitiya Medhananda Thero, an artist and Buddhist monk who has created many Buddha statues in his native Sri Lanka. It was constructed from steel, brick and concrete, more..

US for quick rehab of Lankan tamils

Sep 24 (EB) The United States on Wednesday said that resettling the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka was a high priority issue and that it was trying to make sure that the process happened in an “expeditious, humane and just manner". “The US wants to make it sure that these people are moved out of the camps expeditiously. We have invested nearly USD 80 million during the past two years and wish that the process happens in a quick, expeditious humane and just fashion," more..

LTTE were set to get new aircraft

Sep 24 (HT) The LTTE were set to get 10 new aircraft through an Eritrea-based arms smuggling network as the war against the Sri Lankan army was reaching its climax. The aircraft had been dismantled and were to be shipped to the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka when the war reached a decisive stage, a senior army officer told HT on condition of anonymity. "The LTTE calculated that the war would stretch but it didn’t happen; the aircraft could not be delivered," more..

New driving licence in better demand - Minister

Sep 24 (GDI) The Department of Motor Traffic has issued 27,239 new driving licences during the months of January, February and March of this year. New driving licence system was introduced from March 27, Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna told Parliament. According to the Minister a total of 46,010 applications were received for new driving licences in January, February and March this year. more..

EU talks on GSP +

Sep 24 (GDI) Discussing the EU-GSP plus review process, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama expressed some concern on Sri Lanka having to fulfill changing expectations in order to retain the preferential trading terms on 7200 items, when he met Javiar Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, in New York today (23/9). He underscored the need for the European Commission to have greater understanding on the ground realities and more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Sep 24 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a Memorandum submitted by the Minister of Agriculture Development & Agrarian Services Maithreepala Sirisena to set up a Seed Testing Laboratory under the SAARC project. A MoU between India and Sri Lanka will be done to this effect. It has been decided that India would assist setting up of a seed testing laboratory in the interested SAARC member states, including Sri Lanka. more..

“Resettling of 40,000 civilians completed”

Sep 24 (GDI) The resettlement process of persons temporary accommodated at welfare camps in Vavuniya is in full swing and as of today, the Government has resettled 40,000 civilians in their place of origin, Minister Anura Priryadarshana Yapa said today. He reiterated that the de-mining process cannot be completed overnight as the whole process has to be carried out delicately and in conformity with international standards to ensure that more..

Women to the fore

Sep 24 (LP) It was a memorable moment when two leading and representative women of Sri Lanka met in a worthy national cause on behalf of their motherland. “Small is beautiful” and this is very true of Sri Lanka where the tiniest flower, sweetest fruit, most beautiful waterfalls and warm waters of the ocean right round the island make it the priceless pendant on the chain of the Indian ocean. more..

Australia appreciates Sri Lanka’s cooperation on people smuggling and trafficking issues

Sep 24 (GDI) The resettlement of the IDPs is foremost on the Sri Lanka Government’s agenda in the post-conflict phase emphasized Rohith Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs when he met his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith today (22/09) on the margins of the 64th UNGA Sessions. Minister Bogollagama elaborated that the Government recognizes the correlation of resettlement with the reconciliation process and more..

Bogollagama meets his Danish and Jordanian counterparts in New York

Sep 24 (GDI) It is imperative to maintain the screening and registration of the IDPs as a local process as being carried out at present, emphasized Foreign Minister Bogollagama during his discussion today (22/09) in New York with his Danish counterpart Per Stig Moeller. He stated that while 162,000 had been screened there was still another about 100,000 to be completed. more..

The return of the Ugly Americans to Sri Lanka – Part I

Sep 24 (LG) On September 17, 2009 American Ambassadress, Patricia Butenis, appears before President Mahinda Rajapakse in Colombo and presents her credentials. On the same day in Washington Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asian Affairs informs Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Washington, Jaliya Wickremasuriya, that a report prepared under his watch, criticizing the way the Sri Lankan forces waged the most successful more..

Fast-Tracking the Peace Talks

Sep 24 (LG) UNP Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe needs to be applauded for reiterating his party’s commitment to support the APRC proposals on power-devolution. Coming as it does after the first post-war talks between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan, the UNP offer should go a long way in helping to close a sordid chapter in the nation’s history and open a new page aimed at restoring peace and prosperity that more..

Mahinda 1991 Vs Mahinda 2009

Sep 24 (LG) In fact when an ageing father was taken into custody in lieu of his son suspected of DJVP activity in the South in 1991 – this is how my friend and joint conveynor of Mother’s Front, Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse responded in Parliament; -Hansard – 21st May 1991- p427. “Listen to this, Mr. Deputy Chairman ; the son has done the wrong, the complaint is against the son. They have taken the ageing father from home and keeping him at the Police in lieu of the son. Which devil’s law is this? more..

A reply: Terrorists or tomorrow’s allies?

Sep 24 (LG) I write with reference to the article which appeared yesterday in the Opinion Page of your newspaper titled “Terrorists or tomorrow’s allies?” by Mr Bruce Haigh. I wish to address you on two major concerns contained in this article i.e. the distortion of the national flag of Sri Lanka and facts presented by Mr Haigh on Sri Lanka. At the outset, I place on record the objections of the Government of Sri Lanka that a reputed newspaper such as yours published a distorted version of more..

Biriani, Arrack and Kassipu for 'Some' Journalists- part 2

Sep 24 (LG) We have received the following response to the statement we published on the above mentioned subject from a reputed professional who wishes to remain anonymous. In order to encourage further discussion on this subject, we publish this comment and invite further comments. Perhaps some comments regarding this discussion are needed. Our complaint is not about the free media but about corrupt media, which is not free at all. more..

Debrief News - 23.09.2009

Unions collaborate in police witch-hunt of plantation workers

Sep 24 (wsws) Union leaders assisted the police in bringing 18 plantation workers from Bogawanthalawa before the magistrates court in Hatton on Tuesday. The workers are accused of attacking an office of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and police officers during a workers’ protest against last week’s wage deal. The police are yet to frame charges against the workers, but, given the nature of the allegations, the penalties could be serious. more..

Rajapaksa regime in grip of "missing the enemy" syndrome

Sep 24 (TC) Is the Rajapaksa regime caught in the grips of the ME Syndrome? - Missing the Enemy, that is. Over the last two weeks, the leading lights of the regime have warned of conspiracies to destabilize the regime and even to replace it and have used the state controlled media as well as the defence ministry website to launch propaganda attacks against alleged conspirators, this columnist included. more..

IMF reserve target does not include borrowings

Sep 24 (Island) The IMF says it would not consider borrowed funds built up in Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves although increased foreign investments into government securities is a positive sign. It says it will focus on a narrow definition of reserves built up through external trade and remittances. The Central Bank estimates reserves to be over US$ 4 billion and dealers say it could soon reach US$ 5 billion driven by foreign investments into government securities, more..

Over 30,000 acres of paddy to be cultivated in North

Sep 24 (MoD) Agriculture, the main economic activity of the people of the North and East will receive an impetus with the Government's rehabilitation programs of Uthuru Vasanthaya and Negenahira Navodaya in the forthcoming Maha crop season with the North East monsoon expected a few weeks from now. The farmers would cultivate more than 30,000 acres of paddy land in the North this season, more..

Uva job applications in Chief Minister’s garbage heap!

Sep 24 (LT) A bundle of job applications obtained from voters during the campaign for Uva PC election by present Chief Minister Sashindra Rajapakse was made available to media by JVP MP Anura Dissanayake today. Mr. Dissanayake displaying the job applications at a media meeting said, “These are job applications obtained by present Chief Minister Shashindra Rajapakse. They were found in a garbage heap near Pelawatta Sugar factory. more..

An appeal to the Rev. monks of the JHU

Sep 24 (LT) Residents of Dompe area protested against a proposed garbage disposal project initiated by the Ministry of Environment at ‘Maligawatta Wana Uyana’ at Dompe, Kirindiwela. This had been organized by a movement called ‘Protect Dompe’. They held a media conference at Hotel Nipon prior to this protest in Colombo. Expressing his view the President of this movement Mr W A Ariyaratne said that this forest Maligawatte forest reserve covers 88 acres. more..

Police constable hospitalized consequent to an assault by Minister’s son

Sep 24 (LT) Mr Rasika Ekanayake, a Provincial Council member attached to the Central Nuwaragama Is to be taken into custody following an assault on a Police constable. He is the son of Minister of Highways, Mr W T B Ekanayake. The victim, who has been assaulted by PC member Mr Rasika Ekanayake has served as a security guard of his father, Minister of Highways, Mr T B M Ekanayake for a few years. more..

Dilan’s ministry vehicle caught transporting liquor illegally

Sep 24 (LT) The ministry double cab of Minister of Justice and Port Development Dilan Perera has been seized by Customs for attempting to illegally transport liquor from ‘Duty Free’ shops at Colombo Harbour. The double cab bearing Reg. No. 63-2558 and its driver H.M. Bandara were seized by Sri Lanka Customs on Friday. However, due to pressure from above the drive was released but the double cab still remains under the custody of Customs. more..

Muthuhettigama in sound mental state – Medical report

Sep 24 (LT) Ms. Kokila Muthuhettigama, wife of the remanded UPFA candidate for Southern PC election from Galle and SLFP organizer for Akmeemana Nishanthe Muthuhettigama, has said Dr. Ajith Jayasekera, Psychiatrist, has examined her husband and according to his report her husband was in sound mental state. She says according to the report her husband does not suffer from any mental state. more..

Deniyaya Police reprimanded for retaining possessions of ‘Lanka’ journalists

Sep 24 (LT) It has been revealed that identity cards, mobile phones, cameras and equipment and clothes in possession of ‘Lanka’ journalists who were arrested by Deniyaya Police on 2nd of September have not been handed over to them. The three journalists from ‘Lanka Irida’ weekend newspaper were arrested by Deniyaya Police alleging that they had intruded into an estate where a mansion is being built by a VVIP using equipment and personnel of Road Development Authority. more..

Another bridge on Southern Highway collapsing

Sep 24 (LT) The bridge on the Southern Highway built at the entrance to Narawala Walawatte, Poddala is on the verge of collapsing. Villagers have expressed concern as several concrete slabs fell to the ground yesterday. A youth was killed recently when one of the bridges on the Southern Highway collapsed. A study later revealed that more than 35 bridges on the Highway would have to be demolished and re-built due to the poor quality of construction. more..

'GSP+ benefits muddle : Govt. hunting for scapegoats to blame it on'

Sep 24 (UNP) UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing a Press briefing at Leader’s office at Cambridge place today (24), said the Govt. is trying to blame him and the UNP for the GSP+ muddle it has plunged itself into, whereby the country is going to suffer most seriously and economically, in the event of SL not getting those benefits for the ensuing years. more..

Fifty Indian fishermen killed in 2 weeks: A blatant lie, says Lanka

Sep 24 (LNP) Government sources said that a section of the Indian press was making a fresh attempt to discredit the Sri Lanka Navy at the behest of politicians sympathetic to the LTTE. Sources said that this could be part of a campaign against Sri Lanka, now being targeted by several countries and a section of the press over alleged war crimes, human rights violations and suppression of media freedom. more..

MAS Holdings chief highlights challenges in apparel industry

Sep 24 (LNP) The challenges before the apparel industry are to achieve quality, timely delivery and matching international standards to meet the high international competition in the global market to remain as an industry with growth and profitability. Innovation plays a key role in this effort and local apparel manufacturers should attempt to improve innovative products to achieve as an industry, more..

National interest and playing politics

Sep 24 (LNP) Who should defend this country? Is it only the incumbent government and its leaders? Aren`t Opposition politicians and other prominent Sri Lankans duty bound to stand by the country when it is in trouble? These questions may have occurred to one upon reading/hearing UNP Spokesman Lakshman Kirielle`s statement yesterday on the President`s decision not to attend the UN General Assembly this year. more..

'589 garment factories closed down'

Sep 24 (LT) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told parliament yesterday that out of the 789 garment factories that existed in the country 589 of them have been closed down and only 200 of them are functioning at present. Mr. Kiriella said this raising a supplementary question to his question on the progress made in the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto which had promised to set up three textile processing zones to enhance value addition of the apparel sector. more..

Agriculture records 7.5 pc growth

Sep 24 (DN) Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament yesterday the country’s agriculture sector has achieved 7.5 percent growth last year due to moves taken by the Government to develop agriculture as pledged in the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto. The agriculture sector has made a 13 percent contribution to the Gross National Production during 2008. more..

Sindu and Raju make first homage to tooth relic

Sep 24 (CT) The two baby elephants donated to Malwatte and Asgiriya Temples in Kandy recently made their first homage to the sacred tooth relic yesterday. The two were brought from Pinnawala elephant orphanage and kept for some time at Sri Dalada Maligawa, before the donation was made by president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara says both Sindu and Raju are in good health and are tamed, more..

Strengthening intellectual property rights

Sep 24 (DN) One of our major concerns is the creation of an environment where our people can lead a more content and descent life. We all in this meeting agree that the ultimate goal of the IP system, irrespective of the level of development of the Member States, is the active and sustainable contribution to the economic and social development. We have been making all possible efforts, may be at different levels and different pace, to realize this core expectation of the IP system. more..

President ready to face any challenge - Minister Peiris

Sep 24 (DN) International Trade and Enterprise Development Minister Prof G.L. Peiris yesterday said that there is an attempt to charge the members of the Security Forces who led the humanitarian mission to wipe out terrorism from the country of committing war crimes. The Minister said the President who led the Security Forces to free the country from terrorism is ready to face any challenge posed by these elements. more..

Unprotected children get saviour

Sep 24 (DN) The scheme of "Foster Parent Scholarships" has been formulated in the Southern Province to support the unprotected children so that they can escape the perpetrators of crimes or economic and social situations whilst continuing to have contact with responsible family members, said former Southern Range Senior DIG D.W. Prathapasinghe addressing a UPFA election meeting in Matara District recently. more..