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Editorial: Democracy vs heavy arm

July 7 (DM) The headlines of the week are all about that. A cabinet minister laying the UN under siege and police excesses in Mattakkuliya and Kiribathgoda spell out the negatives. A UNP move to hold a secret ballot to elect party leader and a delay in controversial constitutional amendments form the positive. All boil down to one question – what is better, to be a strong leader or a democratic leader. Unfortunately the history has got all the wrong parallels – just and democratic leaders ended up looking weak while more..

Editorial: Letting the genie out of the bottle

July 7 (LNP) There has been a proposal for telecasting parliamentary proceedings live. The government has proposed a live webcast thereof. But, if Sri Lanka`s image as a country with a civilisation dating back to times immemorial is to be preserved, those plans must be abandoned forthwith. Why? If the world were to be given an opportunity to see our lawmakers live in action, it would lose whatever respect it may have for this country. more..

'Even after 30 years of acting, I could not become an MP'

July 7 (NF) There was something wrong somewhere, and that was why I could not get elected after acting for over 30 years, said Geetha Kumarasinghe yesterday. Geetha was addressing a function organized in Elpitiya to welcome her, who was appointed as the SLFP organizer of the Elpitiya electorate in Bentara. “We are planning on bringing 2.4 million tourists to this country. more..

Govt provides material to rebuild North

July 7 (UCAN) The Sri Lankan government and Catholic farmers are working together to provide building material to displaced people returning home in the country’s north. Sri Lankan Resettlement Minister Milroy Fernando handed over 100,000 rupees (US$1,000) worth of materials at the Our Lady of Refuge Church in Salampan village, 25 kilometers east of Mannar. He also gave chicks to 25 families, promising more..

Govt mulls import substitution, Treasury official says Imports to be taxed, heavily

July 7 (Island) A senior Treasury official says the government is planning import substitution industrialisation in the country in a bid to promote and develop domestic industries and taxes would be introduced in this regard with 2011 budget to be announced this November. "The government is reducing taxes on raw material imports to promote domestic value added industries. Taxes would be less than they are on imported items that are not produced in Sri Lanka. more..

Work from home, UN tells officials in Sri Lanka

July 7 (DPA) UN officials in Sri Lanka Wednesday told employees to stay home to avoid a pro-government protest outside their offices. The demonstration began Tuesday to protest a UN decision to investigate alleged war crimes committed against the Tamil ethnic minority. 'We have been told that we can carry on our work from our homes as it would inconvenient to come to office,' a local UN staffer said. more..

Mangala's attack on judiciary: Minister Yapa responds

July 7 (DN) Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa Monday stated that Mangala Samaraweera MP now representing the coalition led by the UNP cannot be unaware of the considerable history of that party when it comes to the executive encroachment of the Judiciary. "Samaraweera seems to be suffering from selective memory loss. The judiciary far from being enslaved by the Executive arm of the Government more..

Sri Lanka finds out an enemy in (Ban Ki) Moon

July 7 (LP) The position of The Enemy of Sri Lanka government is vacant since Tamil rebel leader Velupillai Prabakaran was assassinated on May 18, 2009 in the battlefront in Vanni. Although the Tamil Ealam struggle tries to appear as it is not over, the government supported by former deputy leader and the international leader of the LTTE looks confident to tackle the threat of the half-hearted Tamil Diaspora. more..

CPC refuses unloading of contaminated petrol

July 7 (DN) The Petroleum Industries Ministry yesterday said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will not pay for the import of 20,000 MT of Petrol which was found contaminated before the stock was pumped to the storage terminal from the vessel which is docked at the Colombo harbour. This petroleum products stock were imported from a company in Korea. The ship MT Helas Endurance carrying 20,000 mts of diesel and petrol reached the Colombo harbour in May and more..

UNP meets AG to discuss ‘harassment’

July 7 (DM) A delegation of the main Opposition UNP had met Attorney General Mohan Peiris to discuss about alleged ‘harassment’ inflicted on UNP politicians prior to and after the last General election. The delegation led by Party’s Deputy Leader, Karu Jayasuirya included a number of UNP MPs. They included Lakshman Kiriella, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, Kandy District leader Lakshman Kiriella, MP Lakshman Seneviratne, more..

IMF responds to Wijedasa R

July 7 (Island) Apropos our yesterday’s lead news item, "Import duty cuts for vehicles, electrical goods IMF conditions’ Koshy Mathai, IMF Resident Representative told The Island that the Sri Lankan government had "its own very clear ideas about its policies, and its decisions have been entirely its own." He said: "As for the particular case of recent excise reductions for motor vehicles and other items, more..

President visits Maldives amid political crisis

July 7 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse travelled on Wednesday to the Maldives, where a power struggle has left the country without a government, an official said. Rajapakse was invited to visit the atoll nation by President Mohamed Nasheed, who is in a stand-off with the opposition-led parliament. "The president is due to meet his counterpart as well as key opposition figures during the one-day visit," more..

Sri Lanka on way to 100 registered political parties

July 7 (Island) There is a likelihood of the number of registered political parties in Sri Lanka passing the 100 mark ahead of the forthcoming elections to local bodies. The Elections Secretariat says 83 new groups are seeking recognition in addition to 66 registered political parties. Official sources told The Island that even if Elections Chief Dayananda Dissanayake had accepted just half of the new applications, over 100 political parties would be eligible to contest elections. more..

Dancing Minister: Ministry official suspended

July 7 (DM) An official at the Resttlement Ministry has been suspended by Minister Milroy Fernando over a programme telecast showing the Minister and his Deputy dancing at the wedding of the official's son. The Media Co-ordinating Officer of the Resettlement Ministry, Stanley Pathiraja has been suspended with immediate effect by Minister Fernando over the telecast of more..

UNP demands former Speaker’s junket data

July 7 (Island) The UNP is seeking a detailed account of former MP W.J.M. Lokubandara’s expenses during his tenure as the Speaker of the last Parliament. UNP sources told The Island that MP Dayasiri Jayasekera had raised several questions regarding Lokubandara’s overseas visits over a period of six years. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mrs Sumedha D. Jayasena had not replied Jayasekera’s query, sources said. more..

'Degree courses in English in future'

July 7 (DM) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake told Parliament yesterday that his Ministry would endeavour to conduct every possible university degree programme in the English medium in the future. During the committee stage of the budget, Mr. Dissanayake said graduates with a sound knowledge of English could easily find employment in the job market. more..

Mervyn reserves his grave

July 7 (DM) Deputy Minister of Highways Mervyn Silva reserved his grave site today when he visited the Borella Cemetery to commemorate the 23rd death anniversary of famous singer H.R. Jothipala. The Minister who was standing near the grave site of the late singer amidst a small gathering of people suddenly took everyone by surprise when he said he wanted to reserve his own block as the future was unpredictable. more..

Ranatunga alleges corruption in Lanka cricket TV deals

July 7 (MO) Described as the third most corrupt institution in the country, Sri Lanka Cricket came in for some criticism from former captain and Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga, who claimed the money from TV rights deal has "gone into pockets of some individuals." "As I stated earlier, the main form of corruption takes place through TV rights deals. This has happened to such an extent that more..

Sri Lanka acquires Emirates' stake in SriLankan Airlines for $53 million

July 7 (BN) Sri Lanka bought Emirates Airline’s stake in SriLankan Airlines for $53 million, about a third of the price that Dubai-based Emirates valued the stake at two years ago. The government acquired the 44 percent stake through Bank of Ceylon, the island’s biggest state-owned lender, Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said in the capital Colombo today, without elaboration. more..

Protest handled in compliance with domestic and intl. obligations-Govt

July 7 (DM) The Government yesterday said that it dealt with the protest outside the UN complex in Colombo today, in compliance with both domestic as well as international obligations. In astatement it said that at the domestic level, Sri Lanka being a democratic society, the Government had to respect the entitlement to voice opinion, including through peaceful demonstrations. more..

'Sri Lanka Isolated from the world'

July 7 (LT) The leader of JVP Mr.Somawansa Amarasighe stated that Sri Lanka is getting isolated from the world. This was stated by him delivering a public address on "The Double standard policy of Sri Lankan Government in the presence of foreign interference" at New Town Hall Colombo,last evening. He further said that " at this moment two problems arose relating to foreign policy of Sri Lanka. more..

'International forces at it again'

July 7 (MoD) Various international forces are obstructing the country when it is fully geared for development after the eradication of terrorism which had ravaged the country's progress for more than 30 years, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He said the country faced similar obstacles when it was fighting with the one of the most ruthless terrorist outfits in the world - the LTTE which deprived the rights of all communities. more..

Sri Lankans protest at UN for second day

July 7 (AFP) Sri Lankan protesters led by a cabinet minister rallied outside the UN office in Colombo on Wednesday, a day after laying siege to the building and trapping staff inside for several hours. The United Nations expressed its anger at the protesters, who said they were campaigning against a UN panel set up to probe allegations of rights abuses during the Sri Lankan civil war that ended last year. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil MPs meet CPI MP

July 8 (PTI) A delegation of Tamil MPs from Sri Lanka today met CPI MP D Raja and impressed on him the need for active Indian involvement in hammering out a political solution for ethnic problem in their country. The delegation of Tamil National Federation (TNF) MPs including Sambandam, Suresh Premachandran and Senadhiraja met Raja in the CPI headquarters here and sought Indian help. Raja told the delegation that his party would take up the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils more..

JHU slams UN protest

July 8 (DM) Creating obstacles for United Nation’s activities and its employees at this moment was a foolish act, former leader of the JHU and Member of Parliament, Venerable Ellawala Medhananda Thera said today. “The UN has many members and the panel to investigate into Sri Lanka was set up by the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki Moon and therefore he should be held responsible and not the UN organization, said the former leader more..

'Maldives-Sri Lanka friendship everlasting' -Sri Lankan President

July 8 (HNS) The friendship and goodwill of Sri Lankan people towards the Maldivians will always remain, visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Wednesday. President Rajapaksa’s comments come in a special luncheon hosted at Presidential Residence Muleeage in honour of the Sri Lankan President by President Mohamed Nasheed. more..

Wimal claims cops bribed

July 8 (DM) Government Minister and National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa, speaking to reporters a short while ago, claimed that a UN representative had bribed the police yesterday during the protest opposite the UN office in Colombo. The Minister claimed that as a result of the bribe the police had assaulted the protestors yesterday injuring some of them. However when contacted by Daily Mirror online police spokesman SP Priyashantha Jayakody said more..

Lankan fishermen oppose trawling by TN anglers

July 8 (EB) Fishermen of Sri Lanka's Tamil-speaking Northern Province are meeting in Vavuniya on Tuesday to highlight their problems, including the extensive trawling of the north Sri Lankan waters by hordes of fishermen from Tamil Nadu. "The trawling, done on a daily basis by 5,000 to 6,000 trawlers, is leading to the rapid depletion of the area's marine resources," said S Thavaratnam of the Jaffna District Fishermen's Societies Federation (JDFSF). more..

'Protest outside UN office brought shame'

July 8 (CT) The protest outside the UN office in Colombo had brought shame and disrepute to the country, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says. Speaking in parliament today (July 07), he said that opposing the appointment of a UN panel on Sri Lanka was a different issue altogether. He added that civil society does not approve of such actions. more..

Debrief News - 07. 07. 2010

Tie keeps Australia A in one-day series

July 8 (SA) Under dark skies and a floodlit Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, the second one-day match between Australia A and Sri Lanka A has finished in a tie, keeping the series alive ahead of the final game in Brisbane on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Australia A skipper George Bailey won the toss but sent the visitors in to bat and they got off to a quick start before the Australian bowlers reeled them in to 257 from their 50 overs. more..

'Only Harbhajan can emulate me' - Murali

July 8 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has singled out Harbhajan Singh as the only bowler capable of emulating his record feat in Tests. Murali, the leading wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, who will retire from the longest format later this month, also said the decline of Tests and 50-over cricket meant slow bowlers would struggle for survival. "I think only Harbhajan can do this," Murali, who currently has 792 wickets, told PTI. more..

UN receives assurances of staff safety following Sri Lanka protests

July 8 (UN) The United Nations said it is closely monitoring developments in Colombo following yesterday’s protests outside the world body’s offices, noting that it has received assurances of the safety and security of its staff from the Sri Lankan Government. Hundreds of people took part in the protests, which were reportedly led by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa in response to the setting up of a UN advisory panel on more..

MHADA to build 10,000 low-cost homes in Lanka

July 8 (HT) After building 8,182 low-cost houses in the last three years in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has been shortlisted by the Central government to undertake housing projects in the strife-torn Sri Lanka. The Central government has chosen five parties to build 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka of which MHADA will have to construct 10,000. more..

Devananda, Varatharaja Perumal join hands in new forum

July 8 (TN) A group named 'Tamil Political Parties Forum' (TPPF) of nine Tamil Political parties, paramilitary cum political parties and activists allegedly backed by New Delhi and Colombo, has been formed with the aim to explore ways of finding solution for the problems of the Tamil people in the North and East, political sources in Colombo said. Varatharaja Perumal, Chandrahasan and PLOTE Siddharthan, already known to have close links with New Delhi, more..

Muralitharan polarised opinion

July 8 (National) It’s hard to imagine what went through Muttiah Muralitharan’s mind last week when John Howard’s attempt to navigate his way into the ICC’s corridors of power was torpedoed. Murali is not a vindictive or bitter man but the one time I’ve seen him lose his cool was when Howard was mentioned during a conversation in 2004, weeks after the Australian prime minister had flippantly referred to him as a “chucker”. more..

Sri Lanka's feud with the UN turns acrimonious

July 8 (BBC) On a leafy Colombo corner, surrounded by hundreds of his nationalist supporters and Buddhist monks, Sri Lankan cabinet minister Wimal Weerawansa burns an effigy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Mr Ban is a figure of hate among the protesters The crowd shouts anti-UN slogans in Sinhala and jeers when cars leave the UN compound. UN staff say they feel scared and besieged; the world body delivers a strong protest. more..

UNP distributes leaflets against govt.

July 8 (CT) The main opposition UNP today (July 07) distributed leaflets opposite the Colombo Fort Railway Station against the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration and the proposed constitutional amendments. MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said the party launched the campaign with a protest held yesterday in front of the Parliamentary Complex by main opposition legislators. He said the campaign would be carried out island wide. more..

Sri Lanka developing concept plan for Colombo

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is drawing up a concept plan to develop Colombo city, clear under-utilized area, reclaim land from the sea and open them for development by the private sector, officials said. Land would be opened for development to investors by the government, urban development secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. "Concept plans are being done," Rajapaksa, who is also the defence secretary, told an economic forum more..

Sri Lanka port terminal volumes slow down

July 8 (LBO) Container volume growth at a Colombo port private terminal run by an associate firm of John Keells Holdings slowed down sharply in June after surging in previous months, latest data shows. South Asia Gateway Terminals, handled 158,652 TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in June 2010, up just 1.6 percent from a year ago. Analysts said it was the terminal's lowest monthly container volume handled so far this year and more..

Scheme afoot to Sinhalicise part of Mullaiththeevu district

July 8 (TN) The leader of Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLF) and former MP Sivajilingam said in a press meet Tuesday in Jaffna that Sri Lanka government has built 5,000 houses for families of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers on the east of A9 road between Maangku’lam and Mu’ruka’ndi with the aim to Sinhalicise Mullaththeevu district reducing the numerical strength of Tamil population. more..

Sri Lanka: From war to reconciliation

July 8 (TH) Just one year ago, Sri Lanka prevailed in its decades-long war on terrorism, a victory that promises an era of reconciliation and prosperity in my country. Over the past month, senior U.S. officials have praised Sri Lanka’s journey from war to peace. White House advisers visiting Colombo expressed President Obama’s admiration for the Sri Lanka’s defeat of terrorism. more..

India as the gateway to the world?

July 8 (DM) Nowhere else is the confusion and contradiction in Sri Lanka’s foreign relations more palpable than in Sri Lanka’s ‘India policy’. The Government of the day has no problem acknowledging the silent but significant Indian support for ‘Eelam War IV’ despite domestic developments and international pressures on New Delhi. Yet, a section of the Sri Lankan intellectual class and strategic community still chooses to live in the past. more..

8 suspects identified in Mattakkuliya incident

July 8 (CT) Eight suspects have been identified in connection with the attempted attack on Mattakkuliya Police Station a few nights ago. They were among a group of people produced before an identification parade and identified by officers of Mattakkuliya Police today (July 07). Colombo additional magistrate M.M.M. Mohamed remanded the identified suspects for a one-week period. Nineteen other suspects are due to be produced for identification tomorrow. more..

'Govt stance on foreign impositions valid'

July 8 (DM) Q: After and during your removal from the national list, do you feel that you have the support of the party? A: It was solely the decision of the party leader to remove me and maybe a few of his very close advisors. But many in the party support me, a number of them visited me and expressed their dismay at what happened. They were all flabbergasted and none of them even knew that this was going to happen. more..

As Sri Lanka minister blocks 150 UN staff, UN Nambiar assured by Kohona

July 8 (ICP) With 300 UN staff kept out of work in Sri Lanka due to Tuesday's hostage situation, the UN on Wednesday told Inner City Press it had gotten assurances “at a high level” that this would not continue. Before ICP could ask if the UN had yet spoke with any of the three Rajapaksa brothers who run the country, UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq specified the “high level” meeting: it was between the “chef de cabinet” of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Vijay Nambiar, and more..

'Sri Lanka to push up investment levels with stability, low deficits'

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka will maintain public investment at around 6 percent of gross domestic product and will attempt to kindle private investment five times that by creating an environment for people to invest. "Government will invest in areas not very attractive to the private sector," Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said. "Government will focus on the quality of its investments. For each 1.0 percent of (of GDP) the government invests, the private sector could invest five times." more..

Inimitable Jothipala

July 8 (Island) Melodious voice of Hettiarachchige Reginald Jothipala took most of our youth into a dream world for he held a record of singing the most number of love songs and love duets. At the time of his untimely death on July 7, 1987 at the age of 51 years, he was the uncrowned playback maestro of the Sinhala screen. He was born to the family of H.R. James and Ahaliyagoda H. K. Podinona Perera on Feb. 121936 at Katawalamulla. more..

Politicians have many more promises to keep

July 8 (DM) The presentation of the recent budget was not only an exercise in verbal dexterity but it also emphasized the Deputy Finance minister’s tenacity to continue to read in measured tones ,with no rushing or swallowing of words, the entire speech and finally concluded with the statement that the Budget bill had been presented. He certainly was not frazzled by the catcalls, criticisms and the confusing opinions expressed by parliamentarians more..

UN and Sri Lanka

July 8 (AN) There is no mention in the article of the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the so-called Tamil areas and the imposition of the discriminatory “Thesa Valamai” traditional laws in some Tamil areas which deny anyone other than Tamils the right to buy or sell land, have business dealings, while Tamils can live and have social intercourse anywhere in Sri Lanka. Even Muslims in mosques were not spared by the Tigers when they were on a killing spree. more..