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Kilinochchi to have 54,000 acres under cultivation

Aug 31 (Island) A decision to cultivate 54,000 acres in the Kilinochchi District during the forthcoming Maha season was taken at a progress review meeting held at the Kilinochchi District Secretariat on Sunday. Kilinochchi District Secretary Rupawathi Kethiswaran said that subsidies would be granted to encourage all farmers to cultivate and Rs. 8,000 would be paid to each family to clear all idle lands and make them cultivable. more..

Cabinet approves Constitutional Amendments: GL to issue special statement

Aug 31 (Island) External Affairs Minister Professor G. L. Peiris will issue a special statement on the Constitutional Amendments approved at a special Cabinet meeting held at Temple Trees yesterday. The Amendments were submitted by Prime Minister D M. Jayaratne. The Supreme Court will convey its opinion on the proposed Amendments to Parliament on September 8, Minister Maithripala Sirisena, told more..

Sri Lankan tourist killed fleeing Malaysian kidnappers

Aug 31 (AFP) A Sri Lankan tourist died fleeing kidnappers in Malaysia while a friend escaped and another was rescued by police, the force said Tuesday. The three had just arrived on holiday and to sell gemstones worth RM40,000 when they were abducted last week at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. "The three were trying to get a cheap ride to the city but were instead led into a van and kidnapped by four people and taken to a flat in the suburbs," more..

Mix system for local govt. polls

Aug 31 (DM) The Cabinet yesterday approved the new Local Government Elections (Amendment) Bill which provides for the conducting of polls under a mix of the present proportional representation system and the first-past-the-post system. According to the proposals one-third of the members will be elected to local bodies under the PR system while the rest will be on the first-past-the-post system. As the law stands today, the local council heads have powers to approve the annual budgets of their councils even more..

Officials unable to confirm arrest of Ariyawathi’s sponsor

Aug 31 (AN) The Ministry of Interior has been unable to confirm reports that a Saudi sponsor has been arrested in connection with the sustained torture of a Sri Lankan maid, including hammering nails into her body, a Sri Lankan Embassy official said on Monday. 49-year-old L.T. Ariyawathi, who came to Riyadh in March, was found with 24 nails and needles embedded in her legs, arms, hands and forehead when she returned to her country for treatment. more..

'UNP opposed to continuation of Executive Presidency'

Aug 31 (Island) The UNP is to meet tomorrow to discuss the government’s proposed constitutional reforms, which it had received on Sunday night. Media Spokesman of the UNP, Gayantha Karunathillake told a news conference in Colombo, that they had received the government’s proposals only on Sunday night and therefore needed time to study it carefully, before making any public comments. more..

'The constitutional amendment legalizes power of goons'

Aug 31 (LT) The General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva requests all Members of Parliament not to support the constitutional amendment that legalizes thuggery and the creation of an undemocratic dictator. Mr. Silva points out that the amendment would violate the democratic rights of the very Members who would support it. The General Secretary of the JVP addressing a seminar under the theme more..

HiCorp case on September 16

Aug 31 (DM) The Colombo High Court yesterday fixed the trial involving former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and two others in the HiCorp deal for September 16. The first accused retired General Fonseka’s son-in-law Dhanuna Tillekaratne was not present and his whereabouts are still not known. Dhanuna’s father T. Tillekaratne told Court he was unaware of his son’s whereabouts since February this year and said he had not received telephone calls from him either. more..

Constitutional Amendment Bill before Supreme Court for its determination

Aug 31 (GDI) The Draft Bill for amending the Constitution in accordance with yesterday’s Cabinet Decision was taken up before the five benches Supreme Court this morning. Registrar of the Supreme Court said that the court would notify its determination as to whether the proposed Bill is inconsistent with the Constitution to the Speaker and the President within 24 hours as required by the Constitution. more..

India assures all help to war-displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (PTI) India today assured Sri Lanka's war-displaced Tamils of all kind of assistance, as foreign secretary Nirupama Rao visited the IDP camps in the country's north to get an overview of the process of their resettlement. "We are prepared to assist to the best of our capacity and do whatever we can," Rao, who arrived in Colombo last night, told the locals in Vavuniya. She visited the IDPs in Vavuniya this morning and asked about their welfare. more..

SLFP Disciplinary Committee finds Mervyn not guilty

Aug 31 (DM) Former Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva was found not guilty by the SLFP Disciplinary Committee over his conduct of tying a Samurdhi officer to a tree earlier this month, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Soon after his conduct of tying the officer to a mango tree outside the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha office, President Mahinda Rajapakse had stripped Silva of his post as the Deputy Minister of Highways and also had his SLFP membership cancelled. more..

Constitutional Amendments: Unlimited presidential terms; police comm. scrapped

Aug 31 (Island) The Cabinet yesterday unanimously approved constitutional amendments proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Among them is an amendment aimed at doing away with the 10-member Constitutional Council and replacing it with a five-member Constitutional Advisory Committee (CAC). The government intends to retain all independent commissions established under the 17th Amendment except more..