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Why peace seems elusive in Sri Lanka

Sep 24 (Rediff) If war-scarred Sri Lanka is to re-emerge as a tropical paradise, it has to build enduring peace through genuine inter-ethnic equality and by making the transition from being a unitary State to being a federation that grants local autonomy. Yet even in victory, the Sri Lankan government seems unable to define peace or outline a political solution to the long-standing grievances of the Tamil minority. more..

Hikka 2009: Missing arm bands expose doctored pics

Sep 24 (Island) The police said that the absence of complimentary arm bands given to those who had visited the recent 4-day Hikkaduwa Beach Fest had helped investigators to rule out the possibility of nude and semi-nude pictures posted on the internet having been taken there. A senior police official told The Island that none of the men and women posing nude wore the arm bands. According to him, a set of pictures had been e-mailed to Minister Faizer Mustapha on two different days more..

Combination of Ranil and Mangala is too diminutive to be named an “Alliance”

Sep 24 (GDI) The ‘coalition’ of the three opposition groups including UNP and Mangala Samaraweera is too minute to be named as an ‘Alliance’ as the word ‘Alliance’ itself has a great energy to reinforce it, said Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa today. “This small coalition will not have any impact on the society or the country at large as it comprise of a group of politicians that more..

Nishantha complains of police harassment

Sep 24 (Island) UPFA Galle District candidate for the Southern PC polls Nishantha Muthuhettigama yesterday said that he was being unduly harassed by the police. Speaking to The Island from the Galle prison, an irate Muttuhettigama, who is also the SLFP organiser for Akmeemana, said that he had reacted angrily as he felt the police had sided with actress Anarkali Akarsha, also contesting the Galle district on the UPFA ticket. more..

Doc. Suspended for attempted sexual abuse of pregnant patient

Sep 24 (Island) Director General of Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis has suspended a doctor attached to the Sri Jayawardenepura Teaching Hospital, following an investigation into an allegation that he attempted to sexually abuse a pregnant woman. Health sources said that this would be brought to the notice of the Sri Lanka Medical Council for further action. Sources said that investigations carried out by the hospital administration, as well as the Ministry had faulted the doctor. more..

I was beaten and made to sign a confession: Jashiharan

Sep 24 (DM) Vetrivail Jashiharan facing charges of helping to print, publish and distribute the ‘North Eastern Monthly’ magazine in his evidence said he was beaten up by TID officers and was made to sign a document which was in Sinhala, a language he did not understand. He said this during the preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether the confession alleged to have been made by Jashiharan to the TID was made voluntarily. more..

Election laws blatantly broken -PAFFREL

Sep 24 (DM) An election monitoring body has filed a rights petition in the Supreme Court for a direction to enforce the provisions of the Provincial Council Act relating to illegal campaign practices. PAFFREL and an elector W.P.Wilson in their petition filed through Attorney-at-Law Mohan Balendra has cited Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, Returning Officers of Galle, Matara and Hambantota District Secretariats, the IGP, more..

Business community unites over Ramazan

UPFA politician with LTTE connections arrested

Sep 24 (DM) A Chilaw UPFA Municipal Councillor Member Joseph Anthony Rodrigo has been arrested on charges of having links with the LTTE. He is also reported to be involved in a job scam where he had collected some Rs.20 million on the promise of finding jobs for unsuspecting youth. In the process, this politician is said to have been working closely with some LTTE leaders and even had helped them to send some LTTE activists abroad. more..

11,000 businesses destroyed due to Tsunami- SLRC

Sep 24 (DM) The Sri Lanka Red Cross in its latest report has stated that a total of 11,000 businesses were destroyed due to tsunami that hit the island in 2004. This was revealed by the SLRC at the recent launch of the book titled ‘Rebuilding Communities through dedication and professionalism’. It was revealed that the SLRC has spent US$122 million on constructing 30,000 houses and US$39 million for reconstruction and refitting of 80 healthcare facilities. more..

Rajiv Gandhi's assassin Nalini Sriharan ends indefinite fast

Sep 24 (TOI) Nalini Sriharan, serving a life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, on Wednesday ended her two-day long indefinite fast at Vellore prison. She has been demanding her premature release. Nalini broke her fast this morning after the prison officials prevailed upon her to do so and assured her that her plea would be considered as per law, jail authorities said. Nalini Murugan alias Sriharan had filed a revised petition before the Madras High Court seeking more..

Sri Lankan army clashes with detainees

Sep 24 (AI) A detainee was seriously injured and had to be hospitalized as a clash broke out between the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and detainees being held at a school in Vavuniya in north-eastern Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The detainee, Sri Chandramorgan from Kanahapuram, Kilinochchi, was initially reported to have been killed by the army when he tried to escape from the Poonthotham Teachers Training College, which serves as an unofficial detention centre. more..

Sri Lankan proposal for Jaffna harbour

Sep 24 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has submitted a proposal to India on renovating and rehabilitating parts of the strategically important Kankasanthurai (KKS) harbour in Jaffna in the north, according to media reports. The Sri Lankan Ports Authority (SPLA) recently submitted a list of “what the Lankan government expects at KKS port” to the High Commission officials. SLPA chairperson P. Wickrama attended the meeting. more..

UN envoy visits Sri Lanka: officials

Sep 24 (AFP) The United Nations' top envoy for refugees met with Sri Lankan authorities Thursday to discuss the plight of over 250,000 war-displaced civilians held in camps in the north, officials said. Walter Kalin, the UN secretary general's envoy for refugee rights, arrived late Wednesday and will also tour the camps in the island's north before leaving on Sunday, UN and local officials said. Kalin's visit comes as Sri Lanka once again ruled out any foreign probe into the island's rights record amid more..

SC rules P.B. Jayasundara free to accept state positions

Sep 24 (CT) Former finance secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara is now free to accept positions in the state service, a Supreme Court panel has decided. A seven member panel, by majority vote, ruled in favour of a petition filed by Dr. Jayasundara seeking a reversal of a previous undertaking by him not to hold government positions. more..

Sri Lanka tableware exports to India growing

Sep 25 (LBO) Dankotuwa Porcelain says India has become its second biggest market for tableware and that sub-continental demand could partly make up for possible loss of duty free access to European markets. Sunil Wijesinha, chairman of Dankotuwa Porcelain, said the tableware exporter established a presence in India several years ago but did not aggressively pursue sales because European sales and margins were better. more..

Sri Lanka August tea output down 5.3-pct

Sep 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's production of black tea in August 2009 fell 5.3 percent to 23.9 million kilos from a year ago, with the shortfall coming from the high and mid-grown elevations, according to the Sri Lanka Tea Board. But production of low grown teas, which make up the bulk of the national output, increased four percent to 16.6 million kilos in August 2009 compared with the same month last year, the board's statistics show. more..

'Sri Lanka still has room for foreigners to buy bonds'

Sep 25 (LBO) A limit of 10 percent of outstanding government bonds remains in place, and foreign investors still have room to buy Sri Lanka government bonds, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "The limits remains the same," Governor Cabraal said. "There is no change. "The borrowings will take place as and when the government needs it." Bond market participants said they were instructed not to sell bonds to foreigners temporarily this week more..

Out-of-form England face tough opener

Sep 25 (CI) Andrew Strauss is usually as affable as international captains come, but despite his upbeat sentiments, there was no disguising the exhausted despondency with which he addressed the media in Johannesburg on Wednesday, as England prepared to face the music in a one-day competition that has humiliation stamped all over it. True, they arrive in the country boasting a winning streak of one match, after denying Australia a 7-0 whitewash in the final ODI of the English summer on Sunday, more..

Sri Lanka not underestimating England

Sep 25 (CI) England are still smarting from a humiliating 6-1 defeat against Australia and arrived in South Africa late, with no time for a warm-up match and little time to acclimatize to local conditions. Sri Lanka have just beaten South Africa, the tournament favourites and until recently the No. 1 ODI side in the world. They are unquestionably favourites going into Friday's Group B match at the Wanderers but more..

Major General Jagath Dias assigned to investigate into JDS organization

Sep 25 (LG) Diplomatic sources said the Defence Ministry has assigned Major General Jagath Dias to investigate into the organization called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) that is said to have given the controversial video footage showing Army soldiers killing several Tamil civilians to Channel 4. Major General Jagath Dias assumed duties as the deputy ambassador of the Sri Lankan embassy in Germany last week. more..

Debrief News - 24.09.2009

Transferring IDPs, instead of releasing them, must stop: Anglican Bishop

Sep 25 (TN) If [IDP] persons said to be released [from the internment camps in Vavuniyaa] are in fact being transferred to camps in different regions, this is misleading and must stop, says Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. de Chickera. The Bishop has urged Rajapaksa government to allow media access to areas in the North and provide public updates on the work regarding resettlement of displaced persons. more..

'TN police not complacent after end of Lanka war'

Sep 25 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Police was relieved after the end of the conflict between LTTE and Sri Lankan forces, but was not complacent, as terror threat persisted, state Director General of Police KP Jain said here today. Police was also further strengthening the coastal security system, as the DGP said, "We have completed the first phase of strengthening the coastal security and the second phase has been launched," he told reporters here. more..

Episcopal Relief & Development continues support in Sri Lanka

Sep 25 (ERD) With heavy rains worsening the situation for displaced Sri Lankans, Episcopal Relief & Development is continuing to support the relief efforts. Earlier this year, a battle between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers rebel group forced nearly 300,000 people to leave their homes. When the fighting ended, the government declared the 25-year conflict over and established camps to temporarily house IDPs while they await resettlement. more..

MAG Sri Lanka - July-August report

Sep 25 (AN) 4,883 individuals from 1,332 families are scheduled to return to the 33 villages where rapid assessment was undertaken by MAG staff during the reporting period. The programme is now in the process of significant expansion with the aim of maximising impact over the coming months in terms of IDP returns. It is anticipated that further returns will take place during October to villages in Mannar District where teams have been working over the past few months. more..

ICRC deplores misleading public use of its confidential findings on disappearances

Sep 25 (ICRC) In the statement, issued on 15 March in response to the United States Department of State's 2007 country report on human rights, the Foreign Ministry said that the ICRC "confirmed a distinct downward trend in disappearances and unexplained killings (...) during the second and third quarters of 2007". The Foreign Ministry cited an "improvement on the ground" based notably on ICRC observations. more..

We are on a momentous era of our history – President

Sep 25 (GDI) Hakmana town upgraded in accordance with a structured ‘modern city’ concept at an estimated cost of Rs. 32 million was officially vested in the people of the area at a ceremony graced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (24). The city is now equipped with 440 marketing stalls as a part of the Rs. 5,540 million Southern development drive initiated by the Government. more..

Plight of Tamil refugees

Sending Indian team to Sri Lanka will serve no purpose: Vaiko

Sep 25 (PTI) Amid demands from DMK and Congress for sending a team of MPs from India to assess the situation in Sri Lanka, MDMK chief Vaiko today said it will serve no purpose as New Delhi "assisted" the island nation in its fight against LTTE. Vaiko, who has strong views on LTTE, alleged that India betrayed the interests of the Tamils in Sri Lanka by helping the island government to"finish off the race". more..

Every match is tough, says Sri Lanka coach

Sep 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka will be keen to cash in on England's inconsistent form and boost their hopes of qualifying for the Champions Trophy semi-finals here on Friday. Kumar Sangakkara's Sri Lankans, having already beaten South Africa by 55 runs in their opening match of the four-team group, are closing in on qualification. In contrast, England go into the tournament after suffering a 6-1 defeat at the hands of defending champions Australia in their last home one-day series. more..

Sri Lanka to amend the Parliament election law

Sep 25 (AT) Parliament yesterday passed a bill to change the registration process of political parties. The Parliamentary Elections Amendment bill seeks to change the registration process of political parties as the current procedure creates unnecessary problems, said Minister Dinesh Gunawardene. Under the current provision, secretary of a political party can make an application for the recognition of the party to the Commissioner of Elections, more..

Fishermen issue: AIADMK demonstration at Rameshwaram today

Sep 25 (AT) The AIADMK supremo Ms. Jayalalithaa has asked her party workers to hold a massive demonstration at Rameswaram on Friday urging the DMK government to act immediately to ensure the release of 21 Tamil fishermen, in which MGR Mandram secretary D Jayakumar and other office bearers would take part. Condemning the ‘abduction’ of 21 fishermen from Rameswaram by the Sri Lankan navy last week, Ms Jayalalithaa charged that more..

Menik Farm and its children

Sep 25 (GV) These are some notes from a journey to Menik Farm last week. It was my first time in an IDP camp in Sri Lanka. Dust: Dust. My first impression of Menik Farm in Vavuniya, as I jump painfully out of the van and stretch my aching legs, cramped after the 6-7 hour drive from Colombo. It’s about 10 am and hot, but a steady wind staves off the heat. Still, the wind causes more discomfort than relief, stirring up the dry red dust so that it pricks one’s eyes and skin every time a breeze blows more..

India's power project in final stage: Sri Lanka

Sep 25 (PTI) Sri Lanka and India are giving final touches to the proposed $500-million thermal power plant at Sampur in Trincomalee, the island nation’s power minister W D J Seneviratne has said. “We are giving finishing touches to the negotiations with India to construct jointly a coal power plant at Sampur in Trincomalee. This would be the country’s largest coal power plant with a capacity of 1,000 Mw,” the minister said. more..

Nearly 35,000 Vavuniya IDPs shifted to new transit camps under the guise of relocation, alleges TNA

Sep 25 (AT) TNA Leader Sampanthan says meeting with President’s senior advisor Basil Rajapaksa is on the cards where this issue will be discussed. The TNA today alleged the Government of merely shifting nearly 30,000-35,000 IDPs from camps in Vavuniya to that of other transit camps in Jaffna and Trincomalee, under the guise of relocating them. more..

Asian Tribune is to appear in print from early November

Sep 25 (AT) Your favourite Internet Portal, Asian Tribune is going to appear in print from early November. It will be an all color 12-page English tabloid printed and distributed from Colombo once a week. We are pleased to announce that your favorite Internet Portal, Asian Tribune is going to appear in print from early November. It will be an all color 12-page English tabloid printed and distributed from Colombo once a week. more..

American human rights activist forced to cancel her trip to Delhi

Sep 25 (TOI) American physician and human rights activist Ellyn Shander -known for her outspoken views on the alleged atrocities on Sri Lankan Tamils -was forced to cancel her trip to Delhi when India nixed her visa on the eve of departure. Her visa was valid till July 15, 2014. Shander, awarded the Bruno Lima award for her work in disaster psychiatry and humanitarianism, was due to address a meet arranged by the Delhi Tamil Students Union on "genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka." more..

England brace for Mendis challenge

Sep 25 (CI) It could get ugly. England, abysmal England, their top six a mess of indecision and nerves, coming across an unusual spinner they haven't played before; at the Wanderers, it might not be pretty on Friday. When England take on Ajantha Mendis, they are not just taking on their own dodgy past against quality spin, they are taking on their own dodgy past in the ODI game. This will be the first time England face Mendis in an international and more..

Court case mooted against India’s internment camps for Eezham Tamils

Sep 25 (TN) Long continuing human rights violations of Government of India and Tamil Nadu State Government, by the way they treat Eezham Tamils in internment camps and refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, are challenged by I’lanthamizhar Iyakkam (Young Tamil Movement) in Chennai, which is mooting a court case in this regard. Accusing the central and state governments for showing racial discrimination against Eezham Tamil refugees, for committing repression by their police and intelligence services and more..

Steel Corporation vested in a local firm

Sep 25 (GDI) The Steel Corporation is vested in a Sri Lankan owned company. Since 1996, it remained under a Korean firm. Onyx Heavy Industries Company, a fully Sri Lankan owned company in Sharjah of the United Arab Emirates yesterday took over 93.75 percent shares of the Company. The related agreement was inked at the Department of Information. Minister of Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadharshana Yapa was present. more..

`National Children's Council to mark Universal Childrens' Day 2009

Sep 25 (GDI) The Probation and Child Care Services Department will set up the `National Children's Council' (NCC) to mark the Universal Children's Day 2009. This is the first ever Government Forum to be set up in Sri Lanka to secure children's participation in policy-making, Minister of the Child Development and Women’s Empowerment said at the media briefing held at Government Information Department Yesterday (24). more..

Japan Provides Rs. 8.6 Million for Water Supply Project in the Ampara District

Sep 25 (GDI) The Government of Japan has provided Rs. 8.6 million for “the Project for Providing Safe Drinking Water for War Affected and Poverty Stricken People in the Ampara District” to be implemented by the Child Rehabilitation Centre. The project helps to complete the construction of a safe drinking water system, which was suspended since 2002 due to shortage of funds after the construction of a water storage tank by the village society. more..

Economy resuscitates with exchange of goods

Sep 25 (GDI) Northern products are reaching the South to further strengthen the resuscitating economy, latest development progress reports stated. An opportunity has surfaced for the transport of goods along the A-9 Highway to the South. Also goods required by the Jaffna Peninsula are being transported on this highway from the South. The food storage facility in Naachchikuli has become the centre for various goods being sent from the South on the A9 Road. more..

Vaiko blames Centre for denial of visa to Ellyin

Sep 25 (EB) Blaming the Union government for alleged arms assistance to Sri Lankan government, MDMK general secretary Vaiko on Thursday said that the Indian government is suffering from guilty consciousness for the present situation. Addressing a seminar on ‘Stop the Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka’ at Indian Islamic Culture Centre in the national capital, Vaiko took strong exception to the rejection of visa to the US-based Dr Ellyin Shander. more..

Is 13th amendment to the Constitution valid any more?

Sep 25 (TC) My contention is that it has no validity in the present context. My reasoning is as follows. 1. No consent: That this amendment has been forced on this country, against the wishes of the people has been sufficiently argued and therefore needs no more repetition. It is a well established legal principle that consent obtained under coercion/duress is no consent. However, before proceeding to enumerate further reasons, more..

Is the 13th amendment the panacea for post conflict settlement in Sri Lanka?

Sep 25 (TC) The Tamil Tigers have been comprehensively vanquished, but the detritus of war, most visibly the IDPs languishing in the detention camps still remain. While the search for hidden arms caches, de-mining and the weeding out of the remaining Tamil Tiger fighters is on-going the political process of rejuvenating democracy in the North is progressing unabated. Into this heady mix is also the perennial question of ‘whither the 13th amendment?’ more..

Internment of I.D.P's amounts to collective punishment

Sep 25 (TC) The widespread indifference to the continuing misery of 280,000 interned IDPs, most of them already unlawfully detained for about four months without any charges, is a sad reflection on the moral values of our society. The reported release of a few thousand is most welcome, but what of the remaining 270,000? Attempts made to justify the internment on the grounds that some of the areas from which they were displaced may yet be land-mined is patently false, more..

Countering Diaspora Propaganda – a Strategy still in Its Infancy

Sep 25 (AT) A well-connected Tamil lady, who hails from Muttwal, married to a Tamil from Jaffna, told me this week that she went to Kerala, in India on holiday with her husband. She went on to say that her children, a boy and a girl, who are studying in two English universities stubbornly refused to go to India on holiday, saying they preferred to go to Sri Lanka instead. The parents had been reluctant to make that move and more..

“Vettri Namathe” : The film of portraying the brotherhood of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims

Sep 25 (LG) Inaugural ceremony of the budget movie “Vettri Namathe” (Victory is ours) was held at Atchchuveli Rasamanikkam Reception Hall on the 14th of September 2009 headed by Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare and Secretary General of EPDP. The film will portray the brotherhood of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people, mainly projecting the cultures of Sinhala and Tamil communities. more..