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Fresh UNP-SLFP initiative: Some UPFA constituents surprised

July 15 (Island) Constituent parties of the SLFP-led UPFA coalition are surprised over President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s move to seek a consensus with the UNP to do away with the executive presidency. While the left party alliance welcomed the unexpected change in President Rajapaksa’s stand, the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the JHU were naturally shocked and reacted with dismay. more..

Family of four hacked to death in Eppawala

July 15 (DM) A family of two children and their parents were found hacked to death at their residence in Eppawala, police said yesterday. According to the police the bodies were recovered yesterday after neighbours complained of a strong stench emanating from the house. The murder was reported from Sandaresgama in the Eppawala-Thalawa main road. Police said that the magisterial inquiry was conducted at the scene. more..

Sri Lanka removed from cargo war insurance risk list

July 15 (LBO) International insurers have removed Sri Lanka from their cargo war insurance list paving the way for reduced import costs, removal of surcharges and increasing business confidence. The Foreign Affairs Ministry said Sri Lanka has been removed from all marine war, and marine strikes risk of the Joint Cargo Committee Joint Cargo Watch List by Lloyd’s Market Association with effect from July 5, 2010. more..

Over 80% war displaced Sri Lankans resettled

July 15 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said Thursday that more than 80 percent of the war displaced civilians in the north has been resettled to their original villages and the number of IDP is fast dwindling. Minister of Resettlement Milroy Fernando told reporters that over 250,000 IDPs have already been resettled to their original villages. "There are only 38,127 IDPs in welfare centers in Vavuniya now," Fernando said. more..

'Constitutional amendments that perpetutate family rule won’t be supported'

July 15 (Island) The UNP will never support Constitutional amendments aimed at the perpetuation of the family rule, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Addressing the second in the series of meetings, organised by the National Democratic Institute, with political parties, he said that the UNP had agreed to pursue a dialogue with the government that would ensure the establishment of a people friendly Constitution. more..

'Shed political differences, serve nation'

July 15 (MoD) There is massive development in the North today. The time has come for everyone to join in serving the people sans political differences. We must commit ourselves to rebuild the lives of the people who suffered for thirty years due to terrorism, stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the public officials in Kilinochchi today (14 July). The development work in this area is quite clear. more..

North HSZ to remain

July 16 (DM) The government says it will continue with High Security Zones (HSZ) in the North to maintain security and in the absence of State land the government will be compelled to use private land situated at strategic locations for this purpose. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that when the US has military bases overseas for security purposes Sri Lanka has a right to have security zones on its own soil to maintain security. more..

Tsunami drill in coastal areas

July 16 (IRIN) Sri Lanka completed its first ever mass tsunami evacuation drill this week. Over 14,000 people were evacuated in 14 coastal districts. “We selected one village in each district to carry out the drill and the evacuations were orderly,” Pradeep Kodippili, assistant director for early warning at the country’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) told IRIN. Employing local authorities and the police, residents were alerted to more..

Debrief News - 15. 07. 2010

Domestic worker 'enslaved' in Kuwait for 13 years

July 16 (KT) She only dreamt of buying a new home for her mother. However, it remained just that - a dream. Instead of earning a cozy job, good salary and savings she fell into the clutches of a cruel and merciless employer for over 13 years without pay. Fifty seven year old Kamalawathie Katawala has been working for her sponsor since 1997. (Kuwait Times had reported yesterday that she worked for 17 years. However, the Colombo government's records show a 13 year time period). more..

Former Sri Lanka rebels 'abused in detention'

July 16 (BBC) Former Tamil Tiger rebels detained in Sri Lanka say they have been ill-treated in government camps with no basic facilities. In letters and phone calls to BBC Tamil, ex-militants say they have been "tortured and beaten" in the centres. They accuse camp guards of being corrupt and demanding bribes before releasing detainees. The government says all those being held in custody following the end of the war are being well cared for. more..

Sri Lanka and the UN: Fast foes

July 16 (Economist) Neither Sri Lanka’s government, nor the United Nations seems ready to back down over an increasingly bitter dispute. This week a spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, confirmed that a panel of three experts will be convened as planned to advise him on “accountability” for war crimes that were allegedly committed as Sri Lanka brought its civil war to a bloody end early in 2009. more..

BTI made in Sri Lanka and dengue epidemic

July 16 (LP) Sri Lanka's Sinhala daily The Divaina newspaper reported today that 1073 dengue patients were diagnosed island wide during the week from July 02 to 09 and four of them died. The number of deaths caused by dengue so far this year is 140. The Ministry of Health seems totally incapable to arrest the outbreak. The only practical programme they appear to have is the door-to-door visits of the public health officials that more..

Sri Lanka central banker writes on good money and bad

July 16 (LBO) Ex-central bankers seldom write books on their experiences. Perhaps, the fear of re – living the traumatic experiences they would have undergone in handling economic crises in turbulent times may have dissuaded them from doing so. But, occasionally, we have seen some ex – central bankers breaking that rule and coming out of self – imposed hibernation. When they do so, they do not write books, but drop bombshells. more..

New child-friendly schools bring new hope to communities in Sri Lanka

July 16 (UNICEF) Thousands of schoolchildren in Ampara district, eastern Sri Lanka, recently cheered in a new era in education, with marching bands playing and UNICEF flags waving during official ceremonies in their villages. Along with local community leaders, they were celebrating the opening of six new schools – the result of a UNICEF Sri Lanka investment totalling $3.8 million. more..

Reducing the prosecutor's role to a joke

July 16 (LG) The endless chain of cases that are being filed against Sarath Fonseka, a Sri Lankan citizen and a Member of Parliament who is also known as the most vocal opponent of the ruling regime, is a mockery of the entire process of justice and the justice system itself. Very recently the word 'maranthika upawasaya' (a fast unto death) was made into a farce by a highly politicised misadventure when such a farce was undertaken more..

Playing local politics at the cost of global ridicule

July 16 (DM) Sri Lankan politics have evolved two ways of handling an issue of global magnitude. The first one is easy; just play to the gallery, ensure your local vote base is intact and come up a hero for the week. In other words, a death fast lasting all of three days! Certainly, the fiasco would do nothing to effectively handle the real issue or even open a responsible debate on it. But as far as the politicians are concerned their dying popularity ratings have more..

'Govt opposed to even limited engagement by UN panel'

July 16 (DM) External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris defends the work of his Ministry and the government in the wake of the drama of Minister Wimal Weerawansa outside the UN Office and the appointment of the Panel by Secretary General of the UN, to advise him on human Rights violations in Sri Lanka. Q: There was information to suggest that the opposition is intending to bring a ‘no confidence’ motion against you and more..

Pakistan ‘A’ squad named for the tour to Sri Lanka

July 16 (PT) The national selection committee meeting, featuring all except one of its members, Saleem Jaffer, has announced a 15-member Pakistan ‘A’ squad for the tour to Sri Lanka starting on Aug 20. Saleem, who has been associated with the present selection committee since 2007, is no more in good books of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt as the former raised objection over the way selectors were bypassed in announcement of the Test squad for the ongoing Australia series. more..

The M.I.A. Backlash, Continued

July 16 (NW) When M.I.A.’s debut mixtape, Piracy Funds Terrorism, Volume 1, first debuted back in 2004, I was working as a political reporter-editor in Beirut. I asked a stateside friend to send me a zipped file of the MP3s, which took me more than an hour to download in broadband-less Lebanon. While waiting for the paper’s front page to close—there was some late-breaking cabinet shuffle—I gave the record a first, dizzy spin. more..

Tamil Tigers at the front door

July 16 (TA) In October last year a Sri Lankan mother packed up her two small children and a few belongings, paid her savings to a people-smuggler and boarded an unseaworthy boat in Indonesia, bound for Australia. Shayana (not her real name) hoped it would be the final leg of her family's long journey to escape the bloodshed and tumult still wracking their homeland after 26 years of civil war. But it was not to be. more..

Wimal and the UN Experts Panel

July 16 (DM) The excellent political theatre that was dished out on Baudhaloka Mawatha, by the Hon.Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Housing, Construction and Common Amenities, brought into stark focus and public consciousness the very real issue of the UN Secretary General’s Expert Panel on Sri Lanka. The Cabinet level street drama itself ended rather predictably, the only missing aspect being the absence of calls by religious leaders, that the honourable minister and more..

Sri Lanka Day marks 35th year in Denville

July 16 (RN) The 35th Sri Lanka Day, a day of celebrating the culture and traditions of both Sri Lanka and America, will be held beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Gardner Field. Last year, the 34th Sri Lanka Day in Denville experienced record attendance, with more than 1,000 people attending the event from the Tri-State area, as well as Pennsylvania, Virginia and even Canada. Most of the attendees were drawn to a multitude of food vendors displaying foods from more..

NSB delegation in Kuwait to promote banking services

July 16 (IL) The Chairman of the National Savings Bank (NSB), Mr. Pradeep Kariyawasam accompanied by the bank's General Manager, Mr. H.M. Hennayake Bandara visited Kuwait from 8th - 11th July on a promotional mission aimed at introducing and promoting NSB banking sector products and services amongst the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait. The Embassy facilitated the visit and assisted the delegation in their official programme in Kuwait. more..

Muttiah Muralitharan targets record 800-wicket haul

July 16 (BBC) Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muraliatharan wants to take his world record haul of wickets to 800 before he retires from international Test cricket. As revealed by the BBC Sinhala Service last week, Muraliatharan will quit Test cricket after the first Test of the home series against India this month. And the 38-year-old, currently on 792 wickets, told BBC Sport: "I always thought I'd reach the 800 mark. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka’s ‘war crimes’

July 16 (Dawn) One doesn’t have to feel intrigued by the protest in Colombo. Led by a loyalist minister of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, the demonstrators want the United Nations to call off the probe into war crimes the Sri Lankan army is alleged to have committed against the Tamil in the closing days of the civil war last year. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s move to set up a three-member panel has come more than a year after the war had ended and more..

Tamil Tiger is extinct, and regime knows it

July 16 (TA) Sri Lankan government warnings that half the Tamils seeking asylum in Australia have links to terrorists are dangerous, mendacious and self-serving. The Tamil Tigers were the most ruthless, tactically efficient, destructive, and committed terrorist organisation in the world. Between 1990 and 2000, Tiger operatives using suicidal tactics killed thousands of innocent Sri Lankans. more..

On Sri Lanka, NAM will wait

July 16 (ICP) We'll “take our time” on the Sri Lanka letter, the current head of the Non Aligned Movement told ICP on Thursday night, to see if they can “make up to Secretary General” Ban Ki-moon. He added that “a lot of comments” against the letter were received from NAM members, on “the relation to the flotilla” and other issues. Meanwhile the Council representative of a Permanent Five member, also on Thursday evening, said that Sri Lanka is “out of control... they went too far.” more..

Commander of the Navy addresses Parents of Navy Cadets

July 16 (SLN) Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe addressed the parents of the Navy cadets of 50th Intake at NHQ Wardroom on 15th July 2010. He warmly welcomed the newly-enlisted 65 cadets and thanked the parents for giving consent to their sons to devote their precious youth for a noble cause. In his speech, the Navy Commander described the uniqueness of a Navy for a country in particular and the world at large, more..

Sri Lanka - New Moves

Tourism boost for Sri Lanka

July 16 (GDN) Tourism from Bahrain to Sri Lanka boomed in the first half of this year with the number of people from the kingdom visiting the republic surging by 142 per cent, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. The total number of travellers from the Middle East region reflected a similar upsurge with arrivals increasing by 102pc over the same period. "Regardless of apprehensions of an unsteady global economy, more..

Statistics of dengue fever victims in Jaffna peninsula undisclosed

July 16 (TN) Health service related Non-government organizations in Jaffna peninsula accuse Sri Lanka government for not disclosing the true statistics of dengue victims, particularly children in the rural areas in recent times. Though monthly meetings are held to prevent the spread of dengue and to create awareness of prevention are held nothing mentionable has resulted from these meetings which have become mere formalities where government politicians take photographs for the media, more..

Summary of Cabinet Decisions

July 16 (GDI) Cabinet of Ministers held its meeting on 14.July 2010 at Kilinochchi with H.E. the President in the Chair. 1. On the recommendation of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance and Planning the Cabinet has already approved the obtaining of Emergency Financial Assistance of USD 150 million from the ADB to implement emergency projects in the Conflict affected North east region. more..

Editorial: Symbolic meeting

July 16 (DN) Kilinochchi which was in the limelight as the heart of LTTE operations and the capital of the self proclaimed Eelam of Velupillai Prabhakaran not long ago is today in the news for quite a different reason. Where there was death, devastation and mindless bloodletting, it is today a changed landscape with civilian rule entrenched. Reinforcing this view the Government decided to hold a Cabinet meeting in this once blood drenched backwater of Tiger supremacy. more..

Northern province schools sports competition held Jaffna

July 16 (MoD) The closing ceremony of the Northern Province schools' sports competition was held at the Duraiappa Stadium, Jaffna, on 7th July under the patronage of Northern Governor G.A. Chandrasiri. The competition was commenced on 10th June and the events were held selected schools in Jaffna peninsula for 19 days. Over 3000 students representing 12 educational zones in the Northern Province participated for the competition and over 1500 students competed in the Athletic events. more..

Commander SF-J pledges support to new Jaffna GA

July 16 (MoD) Ms. Imelda Sukumar, upon her assuming the office as the new Government Agent and District Secretary Jaffna, paid a courtesy call on Commander Security Forces-Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe in his office at Palaly on Thursday (15 July). Having accorded a warm welcome at the Headquarters SF-J, Ms. Sukumar, a senior administrative officer with 26 year experience in the field of civil administration, had a formal discussion with the SF-J Commander more..

Defence Secretary recalls cherished memories in his previous fortress

July 16 (MoD) Former Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Gajaba Regiment (1989 - 1990) turned Sri Lanka's highly respected incumbent Defence Secretary had the rare chance of dignifying his old Regimental Headquarters at Saliyapura, Anuradhapura once again when he, in the company of Commander of the Army ceremonially, opened two new Holiday Resorts plus a drinking water scheme for 'keterians' (Gajaba soldiers) at more..

Editorial: Perpetuating 'family rule'

July 16 (Island) Even the shadow of a doomed marriage is crooked as a popular local saying goes. The same may be said of the much publicised efforts by the government and the UNF to reach a consensus on changing the Constitution. Adversity, they say, makes strange bedfellows. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as we argued the other day, is trying his best to defeat a move by a collective of western governments to press war crimes charges against his government and the Sri Lankan military. more..

Editorial: Darusman - Is he Asia's authority on HR?

July 16 (DM) Sri Lanka's state-run Regional Development Banks (RDBs) are to merge, getting access to foreign funds, and diversify from agriculture into other areas like tourism and lend in the former north-east war zone, officials said. The single entity created from the merger will help reduce costs and improve operating efficiency. "Operating as single development bank, donor agencies are now looking at RDB positively," more..

New child-friendly schools in Sri Lanka

National Mine Center to handle Mine clearing in the North

July 16 (GDI) The Government of Sri Lanka is now implementing a humanitarian de-mining programme with a target of achieving mine threat free Sri Lanka by end of 2020. The government yesterday decided to set up a National Mine Action Centre to coordinate and fast tract the de-mining process. The Government coordinates and manages the de-mining programme, through the Ministry of Economic Development with the mine action operators, Donor Agencies and UN organizations. more..

His thigh in docs’ safe hands

July 16 (Island) A six-foot-long crowbar pierced the right leg a labourer working at brick kiln on Wednesday evening. He was rushed to the Ampara General hospital where he was operated on successfully by surgeons at the hospital. Somaratne, a resident of Mihindupura in Amapara, was working in a kiln when he suddenly fell into a nearby pit. An iron crowbar which was in the pit had pierced his right leg. Fellow workers rushed him to the Anuradhapura General Hospital more..

'Holding Cabinet meeting in Kilinochchi a success in all aspects'

July 16 (GDI) Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella has pointed out that the Cabinet meeting in Kilinochchi enabled to intimate a new message to the world on the sovereignty of the motherland. The Minister made this reference at the weekly cabinet briefing held at Government Information Department. The Minister said the highest office in the country is the Cabinet. more..

SC overrules High Court in Ratwatte case

July 16 (DN) The Court of Appeal on Wednesday allowing an appeal by the Bribery Commission, set aside the order of the Colombo High Court that discharged former Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte. The Court allowing the appeal ordered further trial to be continued in the High Court. Justice D.S.C. Lecamwasam delivering the judgment with Justice W.L.R. Silva agreeing held that the Bribery Commission is not bound to issue a certificate or a letter of dissatisfaction and more..

A ‘Business Finance Act’ to protect investors soon

July 16 (Island) A piece of legislation termed the ‘Business Finance Act’ will be introduced soon to protect people who deposit money in private finance companies. The new Act has already been drafted and forwarded to the Legal Drafstman, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Dharma Weerasinghe said yesterday. Addressing a media briefing at the Central Bank, he said that the Bank expects this legislation to be passed before the end of the year. more..

'Over 4,000 stray dogs have been sterilised and vaccinated against rabies'

July 16 (NF) Over 4,000 stray dogs have been sterilised and vaccinated against rabies over the last two years, says the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). “This programme was carried out with the aim of controlling the spread of rabies,” said Dr. S. D. Illeperuma, chief veterinarian of the CMC. Meanwhile, a practical training session to capture stray dogs without causing them harm was held yesterday. more..

Destruction of Papaw plantation: SC takes up FR Petition

July 16 (NF) The Supreme Court accepted the fundamental rights petition filed with regard to an incident where 2,550 papaw trees on a 5-acre land in the Nagollagama, Thammatagama area were destroyed. The petition was taken up for consideration yesterday before a panel consisting justices Shirani Thilakawardene, K. Sripawan and Chandra Ekanayake. The case will be taken up for consideration on the December 6. more..

Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia area has been declared a dengue prone zone

July 16 (NF) The Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council area has been declared a dengue prone zone. According to its Urban Commissioner W. A. Gunawardena, this measure has been taken due to the steady increase in the number of persons infected with the virus in the area. "Legal steps will be taken against those who contribute towards the creation of dengue mosquito breeding grounds," he added. more..

Schools required to help in dengue prevention

July 16 (DM) In a bid to curb the spread of dengue epidemic, the Education Ministry yesterday issued a circular making it compulsory for schools to allocate half an hour off two days a week to clean the school premises, grounds and classrooms. Education Ministry Secretary Sunil S. Sirisena said it was important for schools to contribute towards the national dengue prevention programmes that are being carried out throughout the country. more..

Lankan killed in Kurdish fire

July 16 (SL) A hotel fire in the Kurdish autonomous region has killed a Sri Lankan engineer. Out of 29 people who suffered gruesome deaths, four were Americans. Several other foreign nationals, mostly skilled workers, also passed away. AFP reports that the massive blaze in Sulaimaniyah city, 270km north of Baghdad, broke out around 10.30pm on Thursday and raged for seven hours before finally being brought under control. more..