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'Sri Lanka transferring public security to police'

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is rapidly removing military checkpoints and transferring public security to the police to return the country to normalcy after the end of a 30-year war, defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. "In Colombo we are gradually removing check points and road blocks," Rajapaksa told an investment forum in Colombo organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. more..

India and China: ‘Tamil issue’ a casualty?

July 8 (LG) The comments and questions from colleagues at work about ‘my’ defence minister raging and ranting on the BBC Hard Talk, threatening to kill Gen. Fonseka, for a Tamil was a paradoxical experience. Yet, having been through LTTE’s assassinations campaigns it wasn’t a new experience. However, the real shame was the realisation that for all the scorn we poured on the leaders of the LTTE, to their credit none sounded so unrefined and more..

Conflicts and Peace Building

July 8 (Island) We need to be grateful to the family of the late Silva, Mrs. Manel de Silva, Lakmali Casinadar, and Hiranya de Silva for donating his extensive library of valuable legal and other books to the BCIS. I am touched and privileged to address a few comments on HL and to speak on Conflicts and Peace-building with particular reference to Sri Lanka. I well recall his arrival with Manel at New York airport in February 1995 to take up duties as more..

Interview III - Rosanna Flamer-Caldera

The way to making Sri Lanka Asia’s wonder

July 8 (DM) How correct was President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he said in his Victory Day speech at Galle Face that “it is not to idly waste our time that we liberated this land” and added, “It was not to hand over the country to thieves, crooks, the corrupt and those of the underworld and also not to waste our time in lethargy.” Citing the example of the armed forces that have brought the present victory through their arduous combat with the LTTE, more..

Kilinochchi SFHQ marks its first birth anniversary

July 8 (MoD) Security Forces Headquarters, Kilinochchi (SFHQ-K) recently marked its first birthday anniversary with a chain of religious, community-oriented, sport and entertainment programmes. Arrangements on 29th June at Iranamadu Army Camp, organized on the directions of the Commander, SFHQ-KLN on the very date of the first anniversary, included the opening of religious places of Buddhist and Hindu faiths, offer of alms to Buddhist clergy, more..

UN, Lanka in key talks

July 8 (DM) The government has had high level talks with the United Nations (UN) in New York to give an assurance over the security of the UN staff in Colombo after its office was forced to temporarily close down today, UN Associate Spokesperson Choi Soung-ah told Daily Mirror online. Choi Soung-ah said that External Affairs Minister Professor G.L Peiris and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr. Palitha Kohona more..

Government-backed protesters besiege UN office over war crimes investigation

July 8 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapakse blatantly assisted protesters who, led by a cabinet minister, took more than 120 UN office staff hostage in Colombo for up to seven hours on Tuesday. A protest blockade of the office was still continuing yesterday. Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the Sinhala extremist NFF, called the siege to demand the abolition of a panel appointed by more..

Global IT firms visit Jaffna

July 8 (N360) Sri Lanka’s IT sector is looking to transform the city of Jaffna into a knowledge hub to help the local IT industry see growth. A top level delegation comprising both Public and Private sector officials visited Jaffna recently, to develop necessary ties and build the network to achieve the task. The mission also was aimed at encouraging IT companies to start operations in Jaffna by tapping into the peninsula’s educated workforce. more..

SLA continues fishing ban in resettled areas in Vanni

July 8 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) continues its ban on fishing in the areas in Vanni where the uprooted civilians were resettled recently, allowing them access only to a space of 200 m from the shore, fishermen in Vanni said. Meanwhile, Sinhalese fishermen from South are permitted by SLA to freely fish with their trawlers in Mullaiththeevu seas, they complained. Despite Fisheries Minister’s assurance that the Southern fishermen will not fish in northern seas, more..

Asylum seekers set sail in a sea of silence

July 8 (ABC) With Labor and the Liberals announcing their respective asylum policies yesterday, the debate has again re-focussed on how to stop the boat people coming. However, if both parties are serious about cutting down on asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, they need to look at the root cause of the problem and review their foreign policy in regards to Sri Lanka. more..

ICRC donates equipment to Jaffna

July 8 (MoD) The International Committee of the Red Cross has donated temporary shelters and water supply equipment to the National Water Supply & Drainage Board in Jaffna to support their efforts to meet future emergencies in the peninsula. Nearly 250 families from Jaffna will benefit from shelter with this stock during an emergency. The ICRC also donated five water pumps to clean wells in the peninsula. more..

EDITORIAL: Fast Unto Death

July 8 (LG) The self elongating ultra Sinhala patriot/nationalist, and one time shot-gun carrying terrorist has become the crusader of Rajapaksha’s destiny to prop up his dynasty. The well known maverick in the Sri Lankan political circle, Minister Wimal Weerawansa, is progressively loosing his senses. He is the President’s most trusted trouble making politician who will undertake any tasks entrusted to him by the President. more..

Sri Lankan nurses’ unions call off pay protest campaign

July 8 (wsws) Sri Lankan public sector nurses unions this week quickly abandoned a protest campaign over low pay and poor conditions. The biggest nurses’ union, the Public Services United Nurses Union (PSUNU) led by Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera—a Buddhist monk, had called a week-long black band-wearing campaign from July 2. By rapidly calling off the protest, the union revealed its bogus nature, more..

SVAB Extends Support to Rana Viru Sevana

July 8 (MoD) A senior team of Seva Vanitha Army Branch (SVAB) members, headed by Mrs Manjulika Jayasuriya, President SVAB on Monday paid a visit to the Rana Viru Sevana at Ragama with the intention of inquiring into their welfare, needs and shortcomings, if any. Mrs. Jayasuriya and the team spent a couple of hours with those War Heroes under rehabilitation following injuries they sustained, offered SVAB assistance to resolve any pending issues. more..

Strange request from Private Bus Associations

July 8 (LP) A Special Request has made by 06 private bus associations in Sri Lanka for the very first time in Private Transport history. They have made this special written request against increase on bus fare. Here is the letter they forwarded to the Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama indicating reasons for the request. “Honorable minister, We are number of bus companies registered in the government, requesting you that there is no need for increasing bus fares more..

Impeachment motion to be filed against SC judge

July 8 (LeN) It is reported that the main Opposition party is making preparations to bring an impeachment motion in Parliament against Supreme Court (SC) judge Shiranee Bandaranayake. A frontline UNP MP stated that the UNP these days is holding discussions regarding the conduct of some of the Judges of the Courts, and the first impeachment motion is to be against Shiranee Bandaranayake, more..

Over Rs. 2,180m spent to clear landmines last year

July 8 (MoD) During 2009 the Government had spent Rs 2,180 million to clear landmines in the North and East, Economic Development Ministry Media Director Kapila Ariyarathna told the Daily News on Tuesday (06th July). He further said up to May this year the Government had conducted 17,654 educational programs on landmines and explosive devices to the people in the North and East. more..

A tainted university system leads to a tainted education

July 8 (LG) Last week the Rivira newspaper had a discussion with the Minister of Higher Education minister S. B. Dissanayake. He revealed an important factor during this discussion. When he was a university student it was a very difficult thing to obtain a class. He further mentioned any student in his batch or previous batch didn’t pass with a first class. The minister said today there are more and more classes in universities. more..

A national programme needed to renovate Hindu religious centres

July 8 (GDI) Prime Minister Mr. D.M. Jayaratne stated that a national programme is necessary to renovate Hindu religious centres in the island and a special programme will be launched through the Department of Hindu Religious Affairs in this regard. He made these remarks at Hindu Religious Affairs Committee meeting held at the parliament complex yesterday. Prime Minister chaired the meeting as the Religious Affairs Minister. more..

'Spices, a unique attraction to Sri Lanka'

July 8 (NF) Spices continue to have a very unique attraction for visitors to the Emerald Isle, said S. Kalaiselvam, Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority on Friday. Addressing the media briefing to announce the World Spice Festival 2010 to be held with the official launch on July 14, Kalaiselvam said that Sri Lanka, down the ages, was well known to the world for its spices. more..

SF faces trial at bar

July 8 (DM) Former Army Commander and Democratic National Alliance leader retired General Sarath Fonseka is to be brought before a trial-at-bar in the case of the ‘white flag’ incident. Attorney General Mohan Peiris had in writing requested the Chief Justice to appoint a three-judge bench to try General Fonseka because the allegations against the parliamentarian had tarnished Sri Lanka’s image internationally. more..

BoC opens London branch

July 8 (LNP) The Bank of Ceylon London branch will be turned in to a fully fledged bank with its official re-launch on August 12. The Bank of Ceylon (UK Ltd) will enable full banking operations and concentrate more on deposits and lending. The core business of the bank will be remittances. It intends to increase the level of remittances to Sterling Pounds 5 million a month from its current 3 million within a year. more..

Editorial: Head-butts and own goals

July 8 (LNP) Minister Wimal Weerawansa is one of the few politicians who had the courage to campaign against terrorism. One may have reservations about Wimal`s politics and his bull-in-a-china-shop approach to sensitive issues but there is no reason to question his patriotic credentials. Sadly, he blundered on Tuesday by carrying out his much advertised threat to lay siege to the UN office in Colombo. more..

'For the first time in Sri Lanka, a DIG's hat was knocked off'

July 8 (LNP) For the first time in Sri Lanka, we witnessed someone knock off a DIG's hat. This is an event orchestrated and executed by the government,” said UNP parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday. The MP was commenting on the protest organised opposite the UN compound in Colombo. He said that it was none other than Wimal Weerawansa alias Thunmulle Some who organised it. more..

More archaeological monuments still to be recorded

July 8 (DN) The country has about 250,000 archaeological monuments. However only 13,000 archaeological monuments have been recorded by the Archaeological Department, Archaeological Commissioner General Dr Senerath Dissanayake said. Addressing the inaugural Ceremony of the National Archaeological Week, he said the Archaeological Department has only 450 officers. more..

Wimal's protest in vain - Karu

July 8 (CT) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya says that Minister Weerawansa's fast was in vain as Sri Lanka could not be brought before the International War Crimes Tribunal as the country had not ratified the Rome statute. He said that since the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe who was the then Prime Minister refrained from signing the Roman statute in 2002, Sri Lanka has not ratified to abide by its regulations. more..

S'gamuwa undergrads boycott lectures in protest

July 8 (CT) Students of the Sabaragamuwa University are boycotting lectures today (July 08) as a mark of protest. They also held a protest demonstration in front of the university gates this morning. They call for the removal of the suspension of four students, solutions for welfare problems in the university and to hold an inquiry into alleged corruption in the university. more..

Census in 2011 after 30 years

July 8 (DN) A countrywide census will be held in Sri Lanka next year after 30 years. The last census was held in 1981. A census was held in 1981 after 20 years covering only 18 districts out of 25, Census and Statistics Department Director H.R Gunasekara said. Addressing a seminar at the Health Education Bureau yesterday, Gunasekara said the very first census in Sri Lanka was held in 1871. A census should be conducted once in every 10 years. more..

Anti-dengue campaign: Bacteria ready in three weeks

July 8 (DN) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament yesterday that an anti-dengue bacteria produced by local experts will be released to the market within next three weeks. The bacteria produced by the local experts is believed to be successful in Government's fight against dengue epidemic, he said. The Minister said the Government has spent a massive sum of money to eradicate and treat dengue patients. more..

Govt. should make a statement: Ranil

July 8 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the government to make a statement with regard to the attack on the UN office in Colombo, in Parliament yesterday. Mr. Wickremesinghe said that Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne should make a special statement when Parliament meets today. “Today, we can carry out the functions of Ministries such as Child and Women’s Affairs and Health because of aid from the UNICEF and the WHO. more..

High demand for cosmetic surgery

July 8 (DN) The demand for cosmetic surgery has increased by 25 to 30 percent when compared with last year, National Hospital Consultant Plastic Surgeon Dr.Thushan Beneragama said. "A large number of foreign clients from UK, New Zealand and Canada together with Sri Lankan expatriates are coming to Sri Lanka for these medical surgeries", he said. Over 100 clients have undergone these medical surgeries last year. more..

Tamil delegation from Sri Lanka meets S M Krishna in New Delhi

July 8 (ANI) S M Krishna, India's Foreign Minister met the parliamentary delegation from Sri Lanka's TNA in New Delhi. Seeking India's help in the post-war ethnic conflict that has emerged in Sri Lanka, the delegates raised a spectrum of issues in the half-hour long interaction with Krishna. The head of the delegation, veteran Sri Lankan lawmaker, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, discussed the critical issue of more..

Editorial: UPFA Govt - Your slip is showing at siege drama

July 8 (DM) If Minister Wimal Weerawansa and his team lay siege on Temple Trees tomorrow and block the inhabitants from entering or leaving the premises, would anybody call it a peaceful demonstration? It is a criminal act. The employees in the UN office in Colombo are predominantly Sri Lankan. And for Minister Weerawansa’s information, they are no relations of Ban ki-Moon. more..

Appointment of School Principals: EP Governor at logger heads with Provincial Education Minister

July 8 (Island) Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral (retd) Mohan Wijewickrema and Provincial Education Minister Wimalanath Dissanayake are on a collision course over the appointment of Principals to schools in the Ampara District. The former Navy Chief of Staff Wijewickrema was pushing for the appointment of qualified School Principals (Grade 1), whereas the Education Minister insisted fresh appointments should not be at the expense of those who served during the war. more..

Sri Lanka draws cruise ships after end of war

July 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is once again becoming an attractive destination for cruise ship operators with the end of a 30-year ethnic war, the head of one of the island's biggest conglomerates said. "Now that the war is over we'll get many cruise vessels which had not been calling Colombo port earlier," said Mohan Pandithage, chairman of Hayleys, a group with significant shipping business. more..

Govt. under fire for alleged move to remove COPE, PAC consultants

July 8 (Island) The UNP yesterday criticized what it called a move by the government to suspend the services of the consultants who assisted the two Parliamentary watchdog committees, COPE and the PAC. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said that the sudden decision to suspend the services of consultants, working with the COPE and the PAC on a World Bank grant funded project, would result in stifling those two most important more..

Arrest Maheswaran s killers and clear my name, Douglas tells Sri Lanka govt.

July 8 (LNP) EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda yesterday urged the government to expedite the legal process with regard to the assassination of former UNP MP T. Maheswaran and the recent abduction and killing of a school boy in Chavakachcheri. He said that some Opposition members had repeatedly used Parliament as a platform to accuse him and his party of being involved in Maheswaran's assassination and more..

Suppression of media freedom cost SL GSP Plus, says DNA

July 8 (Island) DNA MP Vijitha Herath yesterday alleged that the government’s failure to ensure media freedom had contributed to the EU’s decision to withdraw GSP plus preferential trade facility. Participating in the committee stage debate on Budget votes on Mass Media and Information, MP Herath said that media freedom was not only one of the perquisites for ensuring democracy but also the yardstick of democracy. more..

Civilian protection politicized

July 8 (DM) Sri Lanka has called on the UN Security Council to hold non-state actors accountable and not politicize the protection of civilians when it comes to the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Speaking at the UN Security Council during a day-long debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Dr. Palitha Kohona said that although a substantial normative framework had been developed for the protection of civilians, more..

'I'll be the first to be in trouble if false evidence is given'

July 8 (CT) MP Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the former Army chief, says he, and not "those jokers making a false front against Ban ki-Moon", will be the first to fall into trouble if false evidence is given in support of allegations that war crimes had been committed in Sri Lanka. He made references to the fast-unto-death launched by NFF leader and cabinet minister Wimal Weerawansa against the UN-appointed panel on the island. more..

Mahinda in Male to defuse Maldivian political crisis

July 8 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Male yesterday morning on a state visit aimed at, among other things, mediation in the Maldivian political crisis threatening the political survival of President Mohammed Nasheed. The Maldivian government sources said that the two leaders had met in the afternoon and discussed the strengthening of friendly relations between the two countries. more..

Sri Lanka minister begins 'fast' outside UN office

July 8 (BBC) A Sri Lankan minister says he has begun a hunger strike outside the UN's Colombo offices demanding that it stop its probe into alleged war crimes. Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa's announcement follows two days of demonstrations outside the office by protesters angry over the inquiry. The government denies its troops committed war crimes. But some foreign governments and international organisations say there is evidence to the contrary. more..

Debrief News - 08.07.2010

Returning IDPs face jumbo squatters

July 9 (IRIN) Internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province face a big problem - elephants which have taken a liking to abandoned homesteads. Since the decades-long civil war ended in May 2009, thousands of residents who fled the area in the 1980s and 1990s have been returning to their homes only to find that the jumbos, which had lived in the area previously, were now wreaking havoc in farmers’ fields. more..

Indian fisherman killed in alleged attack by Lankan Navy

July 9 (NDTV) A 55-year-old fisherman from Tamil Nadu was killed and three others injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel off Kodiakarai coast here. Fisheries department officials said the attack took place around 10 PM last night when eight fishermen in two boats were fishing in Indian waters. About 20 Lankan Navy personnel in a fast boat approached their vessels, more..

The Colombo consensus

July 9 (Economist) Hitching up his clean white sarong, Basil Rajapaksa mounts a gleaming new motorcycle and has a breezy spin outside the office of his brother Mahinda, Sri Lanka’s president. As he brakes to a standstill by Yang Xiuping, China’s ambassador, both are wreathed in smiles. Mrs Yang has just presented more than 30 Chinese motorcycles to the younger Mr Rajapaksa, a minister in his brother’s cabinet, for use by officials in his constituency. more..

'Murali doesn't deserve the record' - Emerson

July 9 (CI) Ross Emerson, the Australian umpire who no-balled Muttiah Muralitharan during an ODI against England in Adelaide in 1999, insists the offspinner doesn't deserve his record of most wickets in Tests and the 50-over format. "I haven't changed my view in 15 years - he doesn't deserve the record," Emerson told Sydney's Daily Telegraph. "You couldn't compare his record to Shane Warne's - no one ever doubted the legality of Warne's action. more..

End of GSP+ deal to affect apparel firm’s profit margins

July 9 (F2F) End of duty-free access to Europe, owing to end of the trade deal, will not create an upheaval for the apparel industry, although, it might pinch the already thin profit margins, informed an industry official. A Sukumaran, Chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum said that, the industry was finding ways to tone down the loss of GSP+ deal, when it comes to an end in August. more..

UN chief shuts Sri Lanka office, recalls official

July 9 (AFP) The United Nations closed its office in Sri Lanka and recalled its representative Thursday, following angry public protests over a UN probe into alleged war crimes committed by government forces. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ordered his main representative in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne, to return to New York after rowdy scenes which began outside the UN compound in Colombo on Tuesday. more..