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MR, Ranil reach consensus

July 13 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe who met today have agreed to continue talks on constitutional reforms and also reached a consensus in principle to abolish the executive presidency and replace it with an executive premiership responsible to the Parliament. The two leaders, flanked by senior members of their parties held talks today at Temple Trees on electoral reforms and constitutional changes. more..

Sri Lanka: Shipping costs from Asia to increase

July 13 (JS) Shippers say apparel buyers from Asia are likely to see shipping costs increase this year, in line with rising demand. While shipping lines were laid off during the global downturn, trade – mainly out of the Far East towards Europe and the US - is now recovering. However, the re-supply of ships has not kept pace. “Based on the current trend, buyers are likely to see freight costs increase from Asia,” more..

Why the media silence on Sri Lanka's descent into dictatorship?

July 13 (Guaridan) It is now over a year since the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, claimed victory over the LTTE. But war is still being waged on the "paradise island" – by the government, against the country's journalists. Last week alone saw one media outlet receive a threatening letter and the head of another charged with fraud by the supreme court after publishing stories critical of the government. more..

Sri Lanka disappointed no review system for India

July 13 (AFP) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said Monday he was disappointed that the umpire review system would not be used for the upcoming three-Test series with India. "As a player and a team, we are very much for the umpire decision review system," skipper Kumar Sangakkara told reporters ahead of the Indian series starting Sunday at Galle in southern Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan-born sisters killed in 1985 Air India bombing

July 13 (LR) Air India Flight 182 was 45 minutes away from London’s Heathrow airport when it exploded over the North Atlantic near Ireland, killing all 329 passengers on board 25 years ago. The Boeing 747 jet named after Emperor Kanishka was carrying 82 children, among them Sri Lankan-born sisters traveling from Canada to India. The two sisters Shyamala, 18, and Krithika, 15, were young and energetic students of more..

Mendis faces the harsh reality of being exposed

July 13 (Island) It is almost two years since Sri Lanka unveiled their so-called ‘freak’ spinner, Ajantha Mendis to the world. At the time, most Asian media were as seduced and bewitched as were the Indian batsmen in that three-match series which Sri Lanka won 2-1. Also those in the West Indies, if you recall, as it was where he made his international debut in a limited-overs series in the Caribbean, creating the origins of a myth. more..

Fonseka reading Parliamentary book in confinement

July 13 (HT) A little bookish maybe for someone who’s fought the LTTE for years but new MPs could pick a page out of former army chief general Sarath Fonseka’s reading habits in custody. Fonseka is pouring over the 23th edition of the Erskine May Parliamentary Practice, an influential work on parliamentary traditions written in 1844 by British constitutional expert, Thomas Erskine. more..

Sri Lanka statement minimizing UN panel done with Buhne, as Kohona pitches officials

July 13 (ICP) When UN Secretary General issued a statement late on July 9 minimizing the mandate of the UN panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka, the purpose of the statement was opaque. Hours later, Sri Lanka government minister Wimal Weerawansa called off his “hunger strike to the death” a mere two days in. On July 12, ICP asked Ban's Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the statement was negotiated with Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government to more..

Officials bribed to 'look the other way', alleges striking workers in Baharain

July 13 (NF) Certain Sri Lankan workers, engaged in a strike in Bahrain, allege that Lankan authorities not only turn a blind eye to to their plight, but also accept bribes to be biased towards factory owners. A group of Sri Lankan migrant workers employed at a garment factory in Reeza, Bahrain have resorted to strike action. The strike had been launched last Thursday in protest over the various hardships they are faced with at their place of employment, more..

Making foreign policy on the street

July 13 (GV) The declared threat, the demonstration, siege, fast unto death outside the office of the UN in Colombo by the Wimal Weerawansa led NFF, raises interesting and alarming questions about policymaking in our country. Wimal Weerawansa announced that he would call upon his supporters to surround the UN office until the UN Secretary General disbanded the advisory panel he has set up on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. more..

Full-fldged death-unto-fast. Sorry, farce-unto-death. Sorry,fast –unto –death

July 13 (TC) It’s safe to assume that nobody expects Wimal Weerawansa to die. Maybe wither, shrivel and droop a little, but not to really, really, really die. It is also safe to assume that few, if any, think our Wimal embarked on this epic journey with the specific and precise intention of biting the biscuit at the end of it. For all the publicity it might get him after the fact, suicide is not Wimal’s style. more..

India knows Rajapaksa is Mary's little lamb with war crimes and the hostility of the West

July 13 (TC) India is Indira, has changed to Sonia is India. Ironically Italian, intelligently Indian, she held the key to India’s Gate at an opportune moment for the fate of Sri Lanka. Coming from the land of godfathers where avenging death is a sacred article in their code of honour, no pardon was forthcoming to Prabhakaran amidst a thousand apologies under the rule of the Indian Congress in the court of Sonia Gandhi. more..

Sri Lanka eyes return to executive prime minister

July 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's president and opposition leader agreed in principle on Monday to endorse a constitutional change that would weaken the presidency and create an executive prime minister's post. If implemented, the amendments would mean the sweeping and largely unchecked powers enjoyed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be vested in a premier accountable to the Indian Ocean nation's 225-member parliament. more..

Midwives in Jaffna demonstrate

July 13 (TN) More than a hundred Family Consultant Nurses employed in Jaffna peninsula participating in the funeral procession of fellow nurse alleged killed by a Sinhalese doctor in Veal’ani government hospital in the islets of Jaffna Saturday staged a protest demonstration at Kaithadi junction Monday for an hour demanding immediate inquiry into the killing of Saravanai Tharsika who was found hung with a rope inside the hospital, more..

The King with Two Faces

July 13 (LG) As an international observer I was fascinated by the Sri Lankan Presidential Elections which were held on the 26th January, 2010. While there were several contenders the main characters in the field were the incumbent president, Mahinda Rajapakse and the man who would be king, retired general, Sarath Fonseka. Much has already been written about the election and it is not my intention to go into great detail about it here. more..

Point of view: Dr. Naresh Gunaratnam

Kolonnawa fuel Tanks empty; water instead of fuel pumped out!!

July 13 (LeN) The Kolonnawa fuel tanks under the control of the Lanka Oil Companies have been pumping out water instead of fuel to the Bowsers from this morning (12). Fuel distribution begins at about 6.30 a.m. each day, but today, till noon, the oil Company had not been able to transport one bowser of fuel to the place of distribution. Though 11 Bowsers were filled from morning at the Kolonnawa oil installation, it was not fuel but water which was more..

Tamil who turned against Tigers urges more aid to repatriate refugees

July 13 (TA) He is an outspoken critic of the war in Sri Lanka who said the "glamour and the glory" of the separatist struggle had disappeared, leaving only "the grim suffering of our people". Dr Nadesan was the Tamil who turned; the founder of a Tamil medical unit supported by the Tamil Tigers in the 1980s who believed violence was necessary, but who came to believe that the separatist dream of Tamil Eelam was a dangerous delusion and more..

SB makes hurried exit as undergrads jeer in Peradeniya

July 13 (NF) A tense situation arose at the Peradeniya University while S.B. Dissanayake was visiting the university in connection with the opening of a computer unit and a new building. Students of the University Students’ Federation staged a protest against statements by Minister Dissanayake that he was considering the establishment of private universities. more..

Fight has to be won but wimal shouldn't lose his life either: NFF

July 13 (NF) The NFF says that even though the fast unto death campaign organized by the party failed to remove the committee appointed by the UN Secretary-General, it created the environment for this objective to be fulfilled. This was stated at a media briefing presided over by the national organizer of the NFF Jayantha Samaraweera today. “We were able to achieve three-and-a-half of the four objectives that led us to commence the fast unto death. more..

Students arrested for taking painkillers as narcotics

July 13 (NF) Police have arrested eight students who had used painkillers as an alternative to narcotic substances. Gampaha police who visited the location where the students were, following a tip off received over the telephone, had found a stock of medicine in their possession. The students were produced before the Gampaha Assistant Medical Officer. The stock of medicine found in their possession had been sent to the Government Analyst's Department. more..

Seeman arrested amidst high drama at press club

July 13 (DC) Film director and NTI chief Seeman was arrested Monday amidst high drama near the Chennai press club when he came for a media interaction. The police were on the lookout for Seeman who made inflammatory speeches during a protest on Friday against countries opposing the UN panel formed to probe Sri Lankan war crimes. On Friday morning, Seeman led a protest near the city collectorate on the Lankan Tamil issue and more..

Hindus and Catholics remember air raid

July 13 (UCAN) Tamil villagers near Jaffna gathered at churches and temples Friday to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of a 1995 air raid that killed nearly 150 people. Some 200 Catholics attended a Requiem Mass and lit candles in memory of the victims of a Sri Lankan air force raid on July 9, 1995 that killed 147 people and wounded another 356 at a church and temple in Navali, 6 kilometers north of Jaffna city. more..

Wimal slipped; should we kick him though?

July 13 (LB) The pro-LTTE sections of the Sri Lankan diaspora, unable to stomach the defeat of the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit at the hands of the security forces, wanted revenge. Not in a position to carry out assassinations, they opted for the next best thing. They wanted Sri Lanka punished. Somehow. By anyone. It was not difficult of course for a disinformation mechanism that had been functioning for well over three decades to paint a bloody war-crimes picture. more..

No porn please we’re Lankans

July 13 (NS) One month ago, the Women and Child Bureau of the police (WCB) made the headlines, with its proposal to crackdown on access to pornography on mobile phones. Speaking to The Nation, a top ranking source in the Bureau explained the motives of its mission: “This is a cultural purification programme that aims at eradicating the vice of porn from Sri Lankan society. more..

Flying objects in parliament

July 13 (DM) The phenomenon of flying objects in our country’s august assembly seems to be a new developing trend. Not that our legislature was completely bereft of ugly scenes in the past where fisticuffs, burning of papers, placing of wreathes in front of members, display of placards and other misdemeanors were observed, but the recent water bottle throwing marks a deviation fraught with dangerous prospects. more..

UN and EU riding together

July 13 (Island) Hurling personal insults at Ban Ki Moon, Louise Arbour, Lyn Pascoe and Bernard Savage, with the use of puns on their names, is not a solution to the problem that Sri Lanka faces. Yet, the conduct of these foreign functionaries and many others including Mr. Robert Blake, former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and David Miliband leaves room for us to query their motivations in condemning Sri Lanka’s military defeat of the LTTE. more..

'Weerawansa drama - a tragicomedy'

July 13 (DM) Q: As a former MP of your party what is your opinion of Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s actions outside the United Nations office recently? A: This is a drama- a comic tragedy. The screen play was written by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Direction was given by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the role of the asinine protagonist was played by Wimal Weerawansa. He was simply a puppet in his whole scenario. more..

UN Panel: contradictions all over

July 13 (DM) The three member panel of experts that has been appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon on June 23 to advise himself on “accountability issues relating to alleged violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian law, during the final stages of the war against the LTTE” has created somewhat a crisis situation in Sri Lanka, with NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa starting a protest and a fast in front of the UN compound in Colombo last week. more..

Ki-moon chopping the UN to spite Colombo?

July 13 (NS) A few days ago, I got an email, a note that had been blogged on a website. It was titled ‘Quo Warranto Mr. Ban Ki-moon’. The author calls himself ‘Vichara’. Inquiries indicate that it has not been published anywhere. The spur of course is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s appointment of a panel of experts to advise him on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Now, as many, including myself, have pointed out, while Ki-moon calls it an advisory panel, more..

Maithripala Senanayake - an illustrious leader of Sri Lanka

July 13 (Island) July 12th, every year, is set apart for the commemoration of an illustrious leader of this island who recorded a service of 47 years in the House of Representatives - Mr. Maithripala Senanayake. This day in this year (2010) falls his 12th death anniversary. This gentleman politician was born on 17.7.1916 in Kivulakada, a village in the Anuradhapura district, and more..

Conservationists set to crush banana project

July 13 (ST) The Forest Department has strongly protested against a Cabinet-approved proposal to allow an agricultural firm to convert 15,000 acres of forest land in the Trincomalee district into a banana plantation. The department has said in no uncertain terms that the project would mean the destruction of a forest reserve and a proposed forest reserve. In July last year, the Cabinet gave its approval for a leading company to cultivate bananas on part of the Chundankadu forest reserve, more..

Regional Industry Services Centre for Northern Province

July 13 (MoD) A Regional Industry Services Centre was established in the Northern Province to coordinate the process of industrial development in the region. The centre is located in Vavuniya and was opened by Prime Minister DM Jayaratne on Sunday morning. The centre will assist small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the Northern Province by closely studying their issues and providing them with solutions. more..

First Lady visits Jaffna Hospital

July 13 (MoD) First Lady Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa made a visit to the eye word of the Teaching hospital Jaffna to to inquire into health of patients now under treatment after cataract surgery conducted by Indian doctors under a special programme sponsored by Veteran Bollywood actor Mr. Salman Khan. Mr. Salman Khan during his stay in the island for IIFA Award ceremony sought consent of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to sponsor 500 cataract surgeries more..

3 Unidentified corpses found

July 13 (LP) The police have come across 03 unidentified bodies in the island from Talai Mannar, Negombo and Payagala areas yesterday (12). The Talai Mannar police have discovered a body of a male in the coastal area of Talai Mannar, Nadukkuda. Only the lower part, below the waist of the corpse was found as the upper part has been decomposed. He had been wearing a yellow short. The corpse is now kept in the mortuary of the Mannar Hospital. more..

Lankans arrested in Qatar ATM scam

July 13 (LP) Three Sri Lankans have been sentenced to a year in prison following an ATM break-in in Doha in November last year. Two other accomplices who helped in hiding the money have also been given the same sentence by the Doha Courts for aiding and abetting in the crime. Over 437,000 Qatar Riyal had been stolen from the ATM Booth. One of the suspects worked in the security company that supervised the security in the ATM Booth, more..

Mass roundup in Sri Lankan capital: a sharp warning to the working class

July 13 (wsws) The July 3 military-police attack on thousands of slum dwellers in the Colombo suburbs is a sharp warning to the working class in Sri Lanka and internationally. The brutal assault, followed by the roundup of the entire adult population in the Mattakkuliya area, has demonstrated the police-state methods being brought forward against ordinary working people in the “economic war” declared by President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government. more..

Safety measures in importing chemicals

July 13 (LP) The Ports and Aviation Ministry has decided to practice safely methods when importing chemicals to Sri Lanka. An awareness programme for the Heads of the relevant institutions was launched by the Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka. Nearly 219, 820 metric tons of chemicals have been imported to the island while 491, 768 metric tons of chemicals were shipped from the island in the year 2009 itself. more..

Two special committees to probe into prison breakouts

July 13 (LP) Two special committees have been established to investigate recent prison escapes, as the escapes have shown some consistency, says the Rehabilitation and Prisons Ministry. The two committees have been created in a departmental level and a ministerial level, and future decisions regarding prisons will be taken according to the recommendations made by the committees. more..

New Housing Schemes for Jaffna

July 13 (LP) National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has taken measures to construct a new urban housing scheme in Jaffna under the island wide housing scheme project. The project is launched under the guidance of Engineering Services Housing Development Ministry. Engineering Services Housing Development Ministry seeks to construct a new comfortable Housing project to those who are abroad and wish to settle in Jaffna. more..

Editorial: Paul the Oracle

July 13 (Island) The Spanish beat the Dutch in what turned out to be a nail biting soccer thriller to the accompaniment of the drone of vuvuzela or lepatata and became the world champs in the wee hours of yesterday. The world has not slept for weeks thanks to FIFA. Finally, it was ecstasy for Spain and desolation for the Netherlands as the witty commentators at the fascinating Soccer City said. (It was also consolation, one may add, for the poor parents the world over, more..

Uni. lecturers to go on strike

July 13 (CT) University lecturers have decided to hold a strike on 27th July demanding the increase of their academic allowance as promised ahead of the Presidential Elections. Before the Presidential polls, the academic allowance of all university lecturers were promised be increased by 25 per cent. The Federation of the University Lecturers yesterday informed the Higher Education Ministry of their decision in writing and more..

'Players not in contracted list can still make it to the team'

July 13 (LP) It was Muralithiran’s wish to retire from Test Cricket from the first Test match against India on the 18th of July said Selection Committee head Aravinda de Silva. De Silva stated Muralitharn feared that he would breakdown mid way in the series due to the amount of bowling and insisted that he would call it a day after the first test match. Now the selectors are in the process of setting up a new strategy that will enable more..

Police enforcing no parking like the military

July 13 (SL) Under the present leadership of the Defence Ministry the policing of the streets is looking increasingly like a military exercise. A good example is the current operation undertaken by the police to deny parking on all Colombo streets. This is not only on no parking zones but on any and every Colombo Street. Last week a friend of mine who had parked on the drive way to his own house was given a ticket for “obstructing”. more..

Employees to have full control over their shares

July 13 (N360) Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to bring in new regulations to enable employees have the full control of the shares issued to them by companies under the “Employee share option scheme”. SEC says as of now in some companies these shares are handled by a “Trust” appointed by the Director Board. The market regulator points out that this is not a healthy situation. more..

'Tamil diaspora started to crack up after the LTTE defeat'

July 13 (LB) Q: The government often invokes the ‘Tamil diaspora bogey’, saying these Tamil groups are either lobbying Western governments to intervene in Sri Lanka or that they could end up reviving the LTTE. Do you think that’s possible? A: I think the LTTE’s defeat was definite and conclusive. We knew this is how the LTTE was going to be decimated because it was very much militarised and centralised around Prabhakaran. more..

From firing line to assembly line

July 13 (ST) In the large air-conditioned production hall of the Tri Star garment factory, 100 girls from the Poonthotam and Pompemadu rehabilitation camps are getting on-the-job training on the assembly line, manufacturing baby wear. Most of them speak only Tamil, so translators are available to facilitate communication. Chitradevi from Kilinochchi, is just 20 years old. She has studied up to the Ordinary Level but not sat the exam. more..

Opinion: And they continue to believe

July 13 (Island) "The only person who has gained from this is Wimal" says a three-wheel driver to me. We all know from what but I am aghast! How could Wimal have possibly gained from what can only be described as a cheap, disgusting, amateurish attempt to make an issue out of a non issue ? Everybody agrees that the UN is getting carried away. The death farce or whatever one wishes to call it attempted by the Rajapaksa administration to get the United Nations to more..

Kandy air most polluted

July 13 (DN) Kandy district tops the list in air pollution in Sri Lanka. Its air is polluted three times more than the air in Colombo, Peradeniya University Chemistry Department Head Prof. O. A. Illeperuma said. Prof Illeperuma who has conducted research said people in the Kandy town continue to suffer as a result of polluted air within the city. "The gravity of the situation was pointed out over and over again, but still the authorities have not paid attention. I believe this is a critical issue that more..

ACHSU calls off strike, transfer anulled

July 13 (DM) The strike that was launched by the All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) at the National Hospital yesterday morning was called off after two hours after the Health Ministry cancelled the transfer of Colombo General Hospital's ACHSU leader T.M Somaratne. The decision to cancel the transfer was taken after discussions between Health Ministry additional secretary Dr Palitha Mahipala and union representatives. more..