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UNP wants The Island summoned before privileges Committee

Aug 20 (Island) Chief Opposition whip MP John Amaratunga, raising a privilege issue in Parliament yesterday, demanded that the Speaker summon ‘The Island’ and other newspapers which published a statement made by ruling party MP A.H.M. Azwer. Full text of the statement made by MP Amaratunga: I wish to raise a privilege matter under Standing Firstly, the Hon. Member had blatantly violated Standing Order too by interrupting parliamentary proceedings to more..

Woman commits suicide after poisoning her daughter

Aug 20 (DM) A woman had committed suicide by taking toxic seeds after giving them to her 11-year-old daughter in Kirulapona yesterday. The girl was under going treatment at the Colombo National Hospital in a critical condition, police said yesterday. The 43-year-old resident of Vavuniya had come yesterday morning to the house of the lawyer in Kirulapona who was being consulted over a land dispute of hers. more..

Minister fails to substantiate allegation

Aug 20 (SL) UNP MP Mr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who made allegations of corruption against a certain government minister during Tuesday (17) parliamentary session, refused to disclose names, places and other details when contacted by the Sunday Leader. He claimed that the minister in question demanded a commission against a Japanese entity that offered to build USD 850 million worth of housing for more..

President visits Parliament, lunches with MPs

Aug 20 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid a visit to the Parliament complex yesterday to attend the Consultative Committees of the Ministries of Defence and Port and Aviation Services. The Defence Ministry Consultative Committee was attended by the Defence Secretary and the Commanders of tri forces. At the end of these meetings, the President went to the MPs dining room and took his lunch in the company of ruling party and opposition members. more..

President to meet Inland Revenue Chief

Aug 20 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to meet the Inland Revenue Department Commissioner General next week to discuss concerns of employees of the department with regard to last week’s brutal attack on the Matara IRD Deputy Commissioner. Inland Revenue Staff Officers Association President, Sarath Abeyratne told the Daily Mirror that Deputy Minister, Chandrasiri Gajadeera would also meet with the IRD unions today to discuss the employees’ concerns. more..

Sri Lanka govt says preventing rupee appreciation to help exporters

Aug 20 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is preventing the further appreciation of the rupee against the dollar to support exporters after the loss of a trade deal giving duty free access to the European market, a spokesman said. Media minister Keheliya Rambukkwelle said the government remained firm in its resolve not to link the extension of the GSP Plus trade deal given by the European Union to alleged human rights abuses. more..

GSP+: Govt. ready to re-negotiate

Aug 20 (DM) The government is ready to renegotiate GSP+ with the EU only on the conditions laid down at the beginning when the GSP+ concession was offered to Sri Lanka in 2005, the government said yesterday. Cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet news briefing that there were no human rights or fundamental rights issues attached to the original criteria. more..

Sri Lanka Central Bank cuts reverse repo rate by 50 bps

Aug 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank said it has cut its reverse repurchase rate by 50 basis points to nine percent with immediate effect, while keeping the repurchase rate steady at 7.25 percent to support an economic recovery as inflation eased. "The benefits of the improving macroeconomic structure would also raise the potential of the domestic economy to grow, and such potential should now be provided the space to materialise," more..

Over 5,000 personnel dismissed from SLA during Eelam War IV

Aug 20 (Island) The army dismissed over 5,000 officers and men during Eelam War IV following court martial proceedings and also on the basis of recommendations by court of inquiry. Army headquarters told The Island that there had been two categories of dismissals. Sources said that 165 officers had been dismissed following general court martial, whereas 4,788 other rankers faced district Courts Martial. more..

'If UNP changes, will consider working with them'

Aug 20 (DM) DNA Leader Gen Sarath Fonseka said he could consider working with the UNP as a common political front only if the UNP changed its policies Addressing his maiden press conference after the Court Marital conviction, he said that he did politics based on policies only. “If the UNP can agree with our policies, then we can be in the same of it. As it appears, there seems to be policy differences. more..

CPC to write of CEB’s Rs. 55 bn debt?

Aug 20 (Island) Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premjayantha yesterday told Parliament that his ministry was in talks with the Treasury to write off a sum of Rs. 55 billion due from the Ceylon Electricity Board to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. The CPC incurs a loss of Rs. 24.50 from each Litre of Kerosene, he said. The loss incurred by the CPC from a litre of Furnace oil was Rs. 32.62, more..

Consulates of India in Jaffna and Hambanthota?

Aug 20 (LP) During the state visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India, the two leaders had agreed on establishing the Consulates General of India in Jaffna and in Hambanthota to reinforce consular cooperation and friendly links between the two countries. The Prime Minister of India had also welcomed Sri Lanka’s interest in establishing a further Post in India, more..

'90% IDPs resettled in North'

Aug 20 (MoD) UN Resident and Country Representative Neil Bhune stated that 90% of the IDPs in the North had been resettled and that resettlement should be complete within the coming months. He was addressing at a ceremony held to commemorate World Humanitarian Day yesterday (19 Aug). 'We hope that future humanitarian work will only be needed for people who are affected by natural disasters', he said. more..

Presidential Pardons To 19,271 Prisoners Since 2005

Aug 21 (SL) The government says that a total of 19,271 prisoners have been granted Presidential pardons since 2005 to date. Deputy Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minster Wijithamuni Soysa told parliament in response to a question posed by Democratic National Alliance (DNA) parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti that 19,271 prisoners were freed under presidential pardons since 2005. The minister however requested for a period of one month to present more..

UN 'should probe' Lanka violations

Aug 21 (BBC) The London based human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI) has called on the United Nations to independently investigate serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka. In a statement issued to mark the World Humanitarian Day, the AI recalls that many humanitarian workers and their relatives victimised during the height of the conflict are still waiting for justice. The killing of 17 aid workers in Muttur in 2006 in particular, AI says, is yet to be properly investigated. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 21.08.2010

Dinesh asks Ravi to withdraw question on Birth dates of Judges

Aug 21 (Island) Chief Government Whip Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday requested UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake to withdraw a question listed in the Order Book of Parliament asking for information about the dates of birth of judges serving in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and Magistrate Courts. "It is better if you withdraw this question. more..

SF complains of breach of his privileges

Aug 21 (SL) Democratic National Alliance (DNA) parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka told parliament today (20) that his parliamentary privileges have been breached again. Fonskea said that he was prevented from attending the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting of the Defence Ministry held yesterday (19), which was chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The meeting was held at the parliamentary complex. more..

Rain halts Sri Lanka's charge

Aug 21 (CI) New Zealand went against the grain, choosing to field first to let their fast bowlers exploit the overcast conditions, but it was when they took the pace off that they pulled Sri Lanka back after a frenetic start. Tillakaratne Dilshan, responsible for that fiery opening, missed a fifty for the second time in a row as Scott Styris and Jacob Oram followed in that noble dibbly-dobbly tradition, more..

Sangakkara cleared of offence after collision

Aug 21 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara was found not guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct after colliding with offspinner Nathan McCullum during the abandoned ODI against New Zealand in Dambulla. He had been initially charged with breaking clause 2.2.4 which deals with "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between Players in the course of play during an International Match". But match referee Alan Hurst cleared him of any offence. more..

Police beating of an MP--Does It Matter?

Aug 21 (LG) A Member of Parliament yelled during a parliamentary session stating that police officers beat him up when he went to make a complaint on behalf of some people. He did this by way raising an issue relating to parliamentary privilege. While the speaker was mumbling something about looking into the matter, government backbenchers were shouting that in the past when they were in the opposition they were also beaten up. With that the matter ended. more..

Further assistance from Germany for IDPs

Aug 21 (MoD) Germany has granted Euro 135,000 to support ongoing emergency assistance project accommodated at Menik Farm, Vavuniya implemented by Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB). This would bring relief to IDPs still at Menik Farm. She quoted the German Ambassador Jens Ploetner as saying Germany was concerned about those unable to return to their villages over one year after the conclusion of the war in May last year. more..

Doosra for eternal rule

Aug 21 (LG) The spin doctors were spinning within hours. In the morning it was said that Mervyn Silva, was ‘sacked’. But before the day elapsed, the spin doctors were giving a vigorous spin to the ‘sacking’. On a talk show that night, a noted exponent of rendering Rajapaksa Bakthi Gee was pointing out how unique it was to see a political leader cracking down on indiscipline, so soon, so fast. Such indiscipline and anti-social behaviour was against the philosophy of the party and more..

Resistance And Its Limitations

Aug 21 (LG) The Samurdhi officials have shown that there is still a way. By refusing to tolerate the barbaric injustice done to a colleague and by using their collective strength to resist the über-power of the power-wielders, they compelled the Rajapaksa regime to digress, however temporarily, from its habit of impunity. Whether this unprecedented victory becomes a trailblazer to a more liveable future or a mere footnote in the history of a Rajapaksa Sri Lanka will depend, more..

Bringing women in to politics quotas and other challenges

How many beatings does an opposition MP need to learn a lesson?

Aug 21 (LG) The beating of an opposition Member of Parliament by officers of the Galle police raises one important question: how many times do you have to beat an MP before he learns his lesson? The politicians of the present generation are not good learners. They certainly are not the type that learns by reading; nobody ever asks them how many books they have read. Let us just leave that out. Do they learn by seeing and hearing? Let us take the immediate example. more..

How opposition can become popular and end it’s Isolation

Aug 21 (LG) This is very simple. The most painful experience that Sri Lankan people have is its police. Fight against this and PROMISE police reforms as your foremost priority. If opposition does that they will be popular in not time and soon they will be on their way to power. If opposition do not do that, even opposition MPS will get beaten up as it already happened in Galle. People will not come to their rescue as they have not come to peoples’ rescue, when more..

Monks protest to reinstate Mervyn Silva

Aug 21 (BBC) Leading Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have gathered in Colombo to support activities of former minister Dr. Mervyn Silva who was sacked by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The monks who gathered at BMICH said Dr. Silva's tying of a government minister to a tree was not intentional. Prof. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Nayake thero, the Chancellor of the Sabaragamuva University strongly criticised those who described the incident as taking law into the minister's hands. more..

Two centres to upgrade small enterprises

Aug 21 (MoD) The Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry has opened two common service centers in Jaffna to facilitate leather - and coir-based industrialists in the peninsula as part of the Mahinda Chinthana strategy to upgrade 5,000 small enterprises in the Northern and Northeastern provinces to medium and large enterprises. Minister Douglas Devananda opened the Common Service Centre for leather-based producers last week at Vadiri village in Jaffna. more..

Dockyardgate scandal shaken the foundation of three major pillars of the Govt

Aug 21 (LG) The Sunday Leader believes in the role of the media as the ‘watchdog’ of the nation and provides trustworthy information to the public at all times. Our Investigative journalism keeps an ‘eagle’s eye’ on politicians and public officials for the purpose of holding them accountable for any abuse of office. They exercise the sovereignty of the people as the members of the executive and legislature and are expected to more..

There are no permanent enemies in politics..... Or, are there?

Aug 21 (LeN) Mangala Samaraweera is well noted for his scathing criticisms against the President and the Rajapakses politically. However, today (19) when the President met him in Parliament, both of them had a near one hour long conversation. The President was present in Parliament today to attend the Parliamentary advisory Committee meetings of the Defense and Ports Authority Ministries. more..

SriLankan Airlines honours brightest young students

Aug 21 (LP) SriLankan Airlines, which has built a strong tradition of supporting child education throughout the country, recently honoured the finest performing students among its employees’ children. Seven students who obtained the best results of nine A’s or eight A’s at the last GCE Ordinary Level Examination were presented cash awards and gifts at a ceremony at the National Carrier’s premises in Katunayake on 11th August. more..

Sri Lanka shell company bought by Malaysian firm

Aug 21 (LBO) Malaysia's Fly Asia has bought a 70 percent stake in Sri Lanka's Infrastructure Developers (IDL), essentially a loss-making shell company listed on the Colombo bourse, a stock exchange filing said. Fly Asia, an air transport company which operates air services and builds aerodromes, has made a mandatory offer for the remaining shares of Infrastructure Developers after acquiring 3.4 million shares of IDL at 13 rupees a share. more..

Warrant on Buddhist monk

Aug 21 (DM) A warrant was issued yesterday for the arrest of a Buddhist monk who was not present in the Magistrate’s Court when the case on a death fast and the obstruction of police officers was taken up for hearing. The Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne also directed the Fort police to file charge sheets against 12 Buddhist monks who were alleged to have taken part in the fast outside the Fort Railway Station calling for the release of former Army Commander retired General Sarath Fonseka. more..

Regional politician, 7 others surrender

Aug 21 (NF) A regional politician and seven others have surrendered to the police after allegedly abducting three suspects who were in police custody and assaulting them. According to police, the politician in question and the other suspects turned themselves in after one suspect connected to the incident was arrested last night. A senior police officer in charge of the area said that the nine suspects in police custody were being questioned. more..

Monetary board can invest EPF money in stock market: CB

Aug 21 (NF) The Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) has powers to invest in the share market including in the banking and financial sectors, says the Central Bank. Issuing a release the Central Bank emphasizes the fact that EPF as the country's biggest fund, has provided attractive returns to its members. According to the release, the Bank's Monetary Board has been entrusted with the responsibility of managing the EPF fund. more..

Cowardice masking as Obedience

Aug 21 (LG) This is a part of a longer poem by Michael Ondaatje written over a decade ago. In it, Ondaatje laments the loss of traditional values and courtesies, a sense of justice and a belief on age-old customs and principles. These have been abandoned or betrayed by a society that is increasingly lured by power and wealth. We know that what Ondaatje wrote about so long ago has been an ongoing process and has today reached levels unthinkable when more..

'Austin misleads lessons learnt Comm.'

Aug 21 (Island) Rejecting former Defence Secretary Austin Fernando’s claim that the CFA was first brought to his attention by the then Navy Commander Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri, an irate Sandagiri told The Island that the armed forces commanders had not been consulted before the UNF government signed the agreement with the LTTE. The retired navy chief accused ex-Defence Secretary Fernando of trying to deceive the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. more..

Mrs. Anoma Fonseka pleads divine intervention at Modera Kali amma kovil

Aug 21 (NF) Mrs. Anoma Fonseka, wife of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, took part in a pooja at the Kali Amma Kovil in Mutwal to plead the intervention of the deities. A number of members of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) also took part in the religious rites. Mrs. Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda also joined the religious rituals. more..

Ambassador detects massive Euros 93,000 fraud at SL s Embassy in Italy

Aug 21 (LNP) A massive fraud running by certain officials of Sri Lanka s Embassy in Italy came to light after Ambassador Hemantha Warnakulasuriya initiated a probe on information he had received from Lankan s domiciled in that country. Warnakulasuriya received a number of anonymous calls, from the Sri Lankan Diaspora in Italy claiming that that the Attache was Bank rolling many Sri Lankans living hundreds of miles away from Rome, but more..

Editorial: No-balls and gal-balls

Aug 21 (LNP) There is a real hullabaloo over Suraj Randiv`s allegedly deliberate no-ball which ruined Sehwag`s chances of scoring one more run in Monday`s ODI for a century. The Indian cricketers have blown a gasket each and are hauling their Sri Lankan counterparts over the coals for lack of sportsmanship. Their consternation is quite understandable. Randiv and Dilshan have been duly disciplined for conspiring to concede a no-ball and disappoint Sehwag. more..

Rs. 700 million for Hambantota Port water filling ceremony

Aug 21 (LeN) According to reports reaching Lanka e news, Rs. 700 million was the expenditure incurred in the Hambantota Port water filling ceremony held on the 15th of August. It is also learnt that Rs. 30 million has been paid to Jackson Anthony for his concept and supervision in this connection. Therefore his pocket filling cost Rs. 30 million out of the project expenditure. more..

Editorial: Over a manioc meal….

Aug 21 (DM) So, love blossomed between the government and the UN over a meal of manioc at the UN compound on Thursday as the two parties went on to preen the ruffled feathers and talked peace. While UN Resident and Country Representative Neil Buhne went on to explain the way the UN has assisted the civilians in the North especially the IDPs, the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa reminded how the UN and the Sri Lankan government joined hands in more..

Raids on 768 illegal gem mines

Aug 21 (DN) The National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) has earned an income of Rs 8.3 million by conducting 768 islandwide raids against illegal gem mining in 2009, Parliament was told yesterday. Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa revealed this in response to an oral question raised by UPFA MP YG Padmasiri. Minister Yapa further said that the total income generated through the export of gems and jewellery was Rs 45,431 million in 2009. more..

Communication breakdown lead to conflict

Aug 21 (MoD) Conflicts are increasing in the world. It will not stop either. All this happens because of a breakdown of communication and lack of economic opportunities. War devastated a lot of lives,infrastructure and investments. But during the war in Sri Lanka, they received enough foreign investment, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. He was addressing the annual symposium organized by the Kotelawala Defence University in Ratmalana yesterday. more..

Move to shift LTTE base to Canada prompted by KP’s arrest

Aug 21 (Island) A top LTTE operative, deeply involved in the LTTE arms smuggling operations throughout the war, is believed to have taken MV ‘Sun Sea’ from Thailand to Canada. The voyage took three months while several navies in the region watched allowing the 59-metre vessel, modified for the purpose, make its way to Canadian waters. Military sources identified the LTTEer as Vinod, widely considered to be among an elite group of cadres responsible for more..

Railway Chief faces bribery charges

Aug 21 (DM) Railways General Manager P.P. Wijesekara has been produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate by the Bribery Commission on charges of having misappropriated public funds amounting to Rs.10 million – but unions complain that the ministry has not taken action against him. Bribery Commission Director General Lukshmi Jayawickrama told Daily Mirror yesterday there was a prima facie case against Mr. Wijesekara and that the next date of the hearing had been fixed for November 23. more..

Students made to suffer for Invigilators’ error – DNA

Aug 21 (Island) A group of candidates who sat the GCE Advanced Level exam in Ratnapura yesterday were kept "under arrest" due to a fault of the exam hall authorities, Parliament was told yesterday. DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament that the invigilators and other officials had by mistake distributed in the morning the English question paper (II) scheduled for the afternoon instead of paper (I). more..

'National program needed to develop export sector'

Aug 21 (DN) A national program is required to develop the country's export and domestic production sector, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said. He said intellectuals in the business field should help in this regard. Prime Minister Jayaratne also affirmed that Government is committed to provide infrastructure requirements and financial assistance in this regard. more..

Drilling damages Sigiriya fortress: UNP

Aug 21 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged that the world famous Sigiriya rock fortress had been damaged by drilling it 422 times for an aborted project of putting up an electrically operated lift. Archaeology Department Chief Senarath Dissanayake denied any moves for building such a lift. He said only a winch to haul sand and bricks to restore some buildings on the fortress had been built. more..