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'We need to bat longer'

Aug 18 (CI) Sri Lanka find themselves at the bottom of a tight table at the halfway stage of the tournament largely due to an insipid top-order batting performance against India. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, often a huge advantage in Dambulla, four of their top five made single digit scores to leave Sri Lanka floundering at 44 for 4. From then on, they rarely managed to loosen India's grip on the game. more..

Lawlessness: A phenomenon fathered by many political parties

Aug 18 (DM) The controversial parliamentarian Mervyn Silva was stripped of his deputy ministerial portfolio by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Tuesday a week after he tied a Samurdhi officer to a tree because he had not attended a dengue prevention programme in Kelaniya. But the damage was done to the country by that ugly incident, first by Mr. Silva and then by the government not acting promptly. more..

Adults models for youth to be catalyst of change

Aug 18 (DM) A few days ago International Youth day based on the theme, Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, was celebrated at the Sugathadasa stadium. It was stressed at this celebration that youth were not only the leaders of tomorrow but agents of social change and stakeholders in peace building. Successive governments, have continued to emphasize the role of youth both in nation building and more..

The GSP fallout

Aug 18 (DM) On February 15 this year, a statement was released in Colombo from Brussels which caught everyone's attention. It was what most had been dreading to hear especially those in the apparel sector. The European Union (EU) member states had decided to temporarily withdraw the GSP+ trade benefits from Sri Lanka. The statement which caused an immediate stir in the country read that more..

Reversing lessons learnt and reconciliation

Aug 18 (LG) It is ironic that at the same time as the government-appointed Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation has begun its public hearings, its reverse has taken the centre stage in the country. The lessons of the past were ignored and reconciliation for the future that embraces the entirety of the country suffered a major setback. A military tribunal recommended that former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka be stripped of all his military ranks, honours and pension. more..

Freewheeling stock markets

Aug 18 (LG) Regulators in Colombo were woken up last week when some share prices reached dizzy highs, halted trading in these stocks and then, unfortunately enforced a blanket price curb on all stocks. Instead of going after the suspect manipulators and errant brokers, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to implement a price ban, restricting stock prices from moving – up or down – by more than 10 %. more..

Development matters - For women too!

What’s worse than war crimes and Wikileaks?

Aug 18 (LG) These days, many Sri Lankans are blaming the United States a great deal of the time and I do not think without reason. The US has been for long persecuting this seemingly insignificant country over the so-called issue of war crimes investigations. Wikileaks which basically haemorrhaged data recently about US war crimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan has not deterred that country’s top command and the legislators from more..

Lesson to be learnt: A point of view

Aug 18 (Island) Had it not been for the Revolutionary war of Independence, America perhaps would have remained a colony of Great Britain for longer than it did. It was the disregard of the demands by American colonists that precipitated this war. The most significant reasons for their discontent were taxation without representation in the British Parliament, and the imposition of unreasonable taxes. more..

Immigration hearings begin for Tamil migrants

Aug 18 (NP) From within a climate of autocracy gone customary as of late, and oppression of all possible aspects of our lives in a land like no other, another culmination was discharged, as the first military tribunal that conducted the trial against (Rtd) Gen. Sarath Fonseka, expressed its views in a report on August 13, 2010, as per the charges filed, indicting him of insulting the Army by politicking while in uniform. more..

70,978 new jobs created last year

Aug 18 (Island) The private sector had advertised vacancies for 70,978 new jobs in 2009 which represented 70-75 percent of total vacancies in the private sector, the Department of Manpower and Employment said. "This was the lowest number of new vacancies recorded during the past five years which was a decline of 37.73 percent compared to 2008 and this may be due to the lag effect of the global financial crisis," the department said. more..

The Rajapakse doctrine and a decree of unreserved malice

Aug 18 (LG) From within a climate of autocracy gone customary as of late, and oppression of all possible aspects of our lives in a land like no other, another culmination was discharged, as the first military tribunal that conducted the trial against (Rtd) Gen. Sarath Fonseka, expressed its views in a report on August 13, 2010, as per the charges filed, indicting him of insulting the Army by politicking while in uniform. more..

'1,000 Sri Lankan refugees have returned'

Aug 18 (TOI) About 1,000 Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu had gone back to their homeland with the assistance of the UNHCR from January this year, Dr Montserrat Feixas Vihe, chief of mission, UNHCR, said here on Tuesday. Delivering a lecture on Protection of refugees in India', organised by Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, Vihe said UNHCR was ready to provide assistance to all refugees who want to return to their country. more..

Six LTTE sympathisers convicted

Aug 18 (TOI) The assistant sessions court in Tambaram on Tuesday convicted six LTTE sympathisers and sentenced them to one year imprisonment in a case registered against them by the Q Branch police in 2007. The Q Branch personnel arrested five LTTE sympathisers, Thambianna, Senjames, Jayakumar, Pushpadanraj, Bominathan and Ravikumar, for trying to smuggle out a boat to Sri Lanka for the alleged use of LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka cites Indian Docs' example

Aug 18 (HT) Defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday cited the example of the first batch of Indian doctors who treated the internally displaced Tamils in 2009 to argue that Sri Lanka did not have anything to hide about civilian casualties. Deposing before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), set-up to look into the last years of the civil conflict, Rajapaksa said the Indian medical team was the first one to treat those displaced more..

Cinemas too come under threat when CEPA comes into operation

Aug 18 (LB) Sri Lankan entrepreneurs who strongly oppose the CEPA between India and Sri Lanka recently drew attention to the fact that even the cinemas would not be spared in Sri Lanka, if the agreement was signed. According to CEPA, under provisions of audiovisual services, Indian ownership of up to 50% can be allowed for 25 physical cinema establishments here in Sri Lanka -- and more..

Government cracksdown against narcotics

Aug 18 (LP) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne affirmed that just as the government was unwavering with regard to the eradication of terrorism in the same breath it will take measures to end the use of narcotics in the country. Premier pointed out that government intends to setup a nationwide programme to prevent the use of narcotics in the country and that large-scale drug dealers will be heavily penalised. Mr. Jayaratne made these comments as the Chief Guest of more..

Sri Lanka rules out construction bank

Aug 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government is not in favour of setting up a specialist construction bank as a matter of policy despite requests for one by the industry, a senior official said. Construction ministry secretary Nissanka Wijeratne said this was because experience has shown small specialised banks find it difficult to survive on their own. But the government plans to invest 40 billion rupees in housing next year giving opportunities for the industry, more..

IDPs 'ordered to move'

Aug 18 (BBC) Around five thousand internally displaced people (IDP) are being sounded to be ready to be shifted from one camp to another giving the inmates less than 24 hours notice, a Tamil lawmaker has said. The IDPs at zone 4 of the Menik Farm camp have been instructed to be ready to move to the Kadirgamar camp on Wednesday morning according to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Vanni distrisct MP Vino Noharathalingam. more..

Mervyn exits the house

Aug 18 (SL) Former Deputy Minister of Highways Mervyn Silva left Parliamentary proceedings, after interrupting an Opposition MP during oral question time earlier today. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara was quizzing the Ministry of National Heritage and Cultural Affairs on the maintenance of the World Heritage site, Sigiriya rock. Jayasekara queried whether chemicals had been used to chase away the wasps which nest on Sigiriya. The Ministry denied this strongly. more..

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s lessons learnt (Analysis)

Aug 18 (SL) The eminent panel is obsequious to the gray haired gentleman that takes the stand. He sits with his back to the crowd, thick with reporters from the BBC, Reuters, and India. The man is Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the first star witness and the first with any real power. It is palpable. Mr. Rajapaksa has very little personal security but a big pile of files that he brandishes at various points. more..

Letter from Migrants

Sri Lanka seeks Singapore funds to bail out SriLankan Airlines

Aug 18 (ST) After aid and investment from China and India, Sri Lanka is now turning to Singapore’s biggest investment arm, Temesek Holdings, to bail out state entities like SriLankan Airlines and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), through equity investments, official sources said. They said a team including External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, Deputy Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama and more..

Editorial: Jaguars, Tigers, jumbos & White Tigers

Aug 18 (LNP) Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has drawn heavy flak from some quarters for being driven about in a Jaguar. The UNP says it is not a new car but the one that President Mahinda Rajapaksa used when he was the Opposition Leader from 2001 to 2004. We do not dispute the UNP`s version of the story. Instead, we believe that the Opposition Leader deserves a decent vehicle and the State is duty bound to provide him with hassle free conveyance. more..

Teak ‘Sakvithi’ arrested

Aug 18 (LT) The Managing Director of ‘Helpgreen’ who is said to have defrauded a large number of investors for millions of rupees was arrested at Welikada yesterday by the Special Unit of Mirihana Police. The suspect had advertised over the media that he would sell plots of land with hundred teak trees for Rs.500,000. Mirihana Police had received 20 complaints against the suspect. Mirihana Police say there could be a large number of people defrauded by the suspect and more..

Domestic airports to be renovated

Aug 18 (DN) Ports and Aviation Ministry will renovate 13 inland airports to boost the inland air transportation system. Under this initiative Polonnaruwa, Hingurakgoda, Palali, Rathmalana, Koggala, Katukurunda, Weeravila, Trincomalee, Sigiriya, Batticaloa, Ampara, KKS and Vavuniya airports will be renovated. The runways of these air ports will be lengthened and widened to accommodate medium scale aircrafts, more..

JVP accuses govt. of failure to control veggie seed prices

Aug 18 (Island) The JVP yesterday said that the government had failed to control the soaring prices of vegetable seeds which had gone beyond the reach of cultivators. Due to the high price of seeds the cost of production had increased resulting in sharp increase in retail prices, it said. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that at present the seed market was being handled by a few private companies. more..

Editorial: Food security and safety

Aug 18 (DM) As the floods continue to ravage Pakistan, Northern India and China rampaging on fertile agriculture land destroying millions of acres of paddy and other crops fears loom large over a possible food crisis in the region especially in Pakistan. With the three countries being biggest exporters of rice the impact of the natural disaster many fear would be felt beyond the borders. With global warming playing havoc with food security with floods, more..

Gampaha digitally mapped

Aug 18 (DN) A Special project to digitally map the Gampaha District's land and houses was launched by Economic Development Ministry and Ministry of Defence with the assistance of the Kelaniya University. The aim of the project is to utilize geographical and residence data for decisions-making purposes. The project which is a pilot project would be carried out in 3 stages. After the project the completed data would used to formulate effective policies which would help in the economic development. more..

'Dilshan instructed Randiv to bowl no-ball'

Aug 18 (PTI) It was Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan who suggested off-spinner Suraj Randiv to bowl a no-ball to deny Indian opener Virender Sehwag his century during Monday's controversial tri-series match, according a newspaper report. Sri Lanka Cricket, which has ordered an internal probe into the no-ball controversy, is yet to make the report official but according to 'The Island' it was Dilshan who suggested Randiv to bowl a no-ball at more..

President shelves proposed pensions for PC members

Aug 18 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected a Cabinet paper which proposed a pension scheme for provincial councillors. The proposal was submitted at the last Cabinet meeting by the Minister A.L.M. Athaulla. The proposed scheme was for the Provincial Governors, Chief Ministers, Ministers and Councillors. President Rajapaksa said that at a time people were undergoing hardships, funds could not be allocated for pensions for provincial councillors. more..

Bees attack 180 people

Aug 18 (DM) Some 180 people were seriously injured when a swarm of bees attacked them during a pooja at a temple in Glanorwatte, Haputale yesterday. “The injured were rushed to the Haputale Hospital. Some of them were treated and discharged, whilst the rest are still undergoing treatment,” he said. Mr. Piyasena said that two victims who were in a serious condition had been transferred to the Diyatalawa Hospital. more..

UN praises Canada's handling of migrants

Aug 18 (TS) The UN is giving Canada the thumbs up for its handling of a boatload of 490 Tamil migrants who were smuggled into the country off the coast of B.C. last week. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees praised Canada for accepting the third largest amount of Tamil refugees of all the wealthy countries. The UNHCR in a press briefing in Switzerland said the arrival and disembarkation of the migrants were well-handled by authorities. more..

Ranil, Sajith agree to make UNP victorious once again

Aug 18 (Island) UNP MP, Sajith Premadasa said yesterday that he and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, had agreed to harness all party resources and make the UNP victorious once again. Premadasa told The Island that he had held a one-to-one meeting with Wickremesinghe at Srikotha for 45 minutes. Thereafter Karu Jayasuriya and Tissa Attanayake had joined them and the discussions had gone on for another 30 minutes. more..

Jaffna peninsula security: Govt to return civilian land

Aug 18 (DN) The civilian lands acquired for security purposes in the Jaffna peninsula would be reduced and would be given to owners while others whose lands have to be kept to maintain certain essential security establishments would be provided either compensation or alternative land, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said testifying before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission yesterday. more..

'50 million spent to maintain 4 WPC Ministers, staff'

Aug 18 (Island) Nearly 50 million was being spent annually to maintain the four Ministers and their staff in the Western Provinical Council, but performance wise, it has turned out to be a disaster, the UNP said yesterday. UNP Western Provincial Councillor Shiral Lakthillake, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that despite the large sums being spent, the output was negligible. more..

'No decision yet on new Constitution'

Aug 18 (DN) No decision has been taken yet to go for a brand new Constitution or to amend the existing Constitution according to the requirement. But everything will be done within the legal framework already provided by the existing constitution. Nothing will be done outside the recommendations of the Supreme Court. The people's consent will always be sought, Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said. more..

'Measures to protect civilians caused losses to military'

Aug 18 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says the huge losses suffered by the Army during eelam war IV revealed the true extent of the LTTE fighting capability. The LTTE, he says, had weapons used by the army and the amount of artillery and mortar rounds fired by the outfit was a testament to its fire power. In his presentation before the Lessons Learnt Commission headed by former Attorney General C.R. de Silva, more..

Uproar in House over Fonseka verdict

Aug 18 (DM) Pandemonium reigned in parliament yesterday as the opposition urged the Speaker to summon before the House the prosecuting counsel and the Judge Advocate of the first General Court Martial against retired General Sarath Fonseka along with the records of its proceedings. In a hard-hitting speech, Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the prosecuting counsel and the Judge Advocate had deliberately misled the GCM which had in its ruling, more..

CID terminates probe

Aug 18 (DM) The CID informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate today that they are terminating investigations into the case where it was alleged that a suspect connived with former UNP MP Johnston Fernando to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The CID said they are terminating investigations on the advice of the Attorney General and sought a date to file the report. The Magistrate allowed the application of the CID. more..

Canada ‘will not hesitate’ to change refugee laws in wake of Tamil ship's arrival

Aug 18 (VS) Ottawa “will not hesitate to strengthen the laws” in order to tackle the “trend” of would-be refugees arriving in Canada via people-smuggling ships, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday. “Let me be clear. We are a land of refuge, but at the same time, I think Canadians are pretty concerned when a whole boat of people comes — not through any normal application process, not through any normal arrival channel — and just simply lands,” more..

Sri Lanka to get investments from India's Mahindra group

Aug 18 (LBO) India's Mahindra and Mahindra group is planning to make investments in Sri Lanka initially in tourism and financial services and also increasing vehicles sales in the island, an official said. "Sri Lanka can provide a platform for large multinationals like us," Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group told a news conference Wednesday. "There is a feeling of Sri Lanka being on the move." more..

UNP calls for return of SL housemaids in Saudi refugee camp

Aug 19 (SL) UNP parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayaka today (18) called on the government to take immediate action to get down 350 Sri Lankan housemaids stranded in a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia. Ramayaka told a press conference that 350 Sri Lankan housemaids were stranded in the Olaya camp in Saudi Arabia and unable to return to the country with the Lankan mission in Saudi not taking the necessary steps to bring them home. more..

Major share of supplementary estimates allocated to defence last year

Aug 19 (SL) The government said that while it had presented 27 supplementary estimates last year to parliament, a majority of the funds approved had been allocated to the Defence Ministry. The government had last year presented 27 supplementary estimates amounting to over Rs. 93 billion. Deputy Finance Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera told parliament in response to a question posed by DNA MP Sunil Handunnetti that bulk of the funds approved in the supplementary more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 18. 08. 2010

Sentenced for Buddha keyrings

Aug 19 (BBC) Two men in Sri Lanka have received a suspended jail sentence after a magistrate ruled that they insulted religion by selling keyrings containing an image of Lord Buddha. Buddhism is the majority religion in the island, the faith of most of its Sinhalese majority population. The men, Abubaker Kalam and Tuan Rajabdeen, were arrested by police in the Pettah, a crowded bazaar area in the city centre, after they were found selling key tags with an image of the Buddha. more..

Police 'assaulted' JVP MP

Aug 19 (BBC) A former Sri Lanka cabinet minister says he was badly beaten by the police as a group of peoples' representatives went to lodge a complaint. Gampaha district MP Vijitha Herath told BBC Sandeshaya that he was beaten at the Galle police station on Thursday as he went to the station together with parliamentarians Arjuna Ranathunga and Ajith Kumara. The DNA MPs have tried to lodge a complaint against the police for batton charging and tear gas attack on protesters in Galle more..

Suraj Randiv gets one-match suspension

Aug 19 (CI) Suraj Randiv has been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket for one match following the no-ball controversy that denied Virender Sehwag a century during Monday's match between India and Sri Lanka. In an extraordinary and unprecedented decision, he has also been docked his match fees for the game, as has Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was reported to have encouraged Randiv to bowl the no-ball. more..

'I regret what happened overall' - Sangakkara

Aug 19 (CI) A day ahead of Sri Lanka's key match against New Zealand, their captain Kumar Sangakkara spent nearly his entire press conference addressing questions about the Suraj Randiv no-ball controversy. Sangakkara regretted the incident, wanted his team to concentrate on Thursday's match, and said the Sri Lankan board would decide whether further action needed to be taken. "I regret what happened overall," he said. more..

Under-fire Sri Lanka face rested New Zealand

Aug 19 (CI) Anyone looking to predict how the second half of the tri-series will pan out will have a hard time finding a pattern from the first set of league matches. Consistency has eluded all three teams, each of whom have had one comfortable victory and one big defeat so far. The team losing on Thursday will be left staring at a must-win situation in their final league match. Missing out on a bonus point has left Sri Lanka at a bit of a disadvantage, but more..