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A new address for the EC’s Directorate General for Trade?

July 2 (DN) The Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G. L. Peiris received a letter recently. It came from the office of the European Commission. It was not exactly a show-cause letter, but it was essentially a snub, a threat and more of a ‘chapter-closing’ kind of missive. It related to the GSP Plus trade concessions or their suspension, rather. The letter was posted from Brussels, Belgium. Yesterday I wrote about the Congo and its first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba. more..

ERD and JICE to the fore with JICA

July 2 (LP) With the vision to develop the human resources of the public sector in Sri Lanka, the Japanese Government has embarked the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) program under their Official Development Assistance. A grant aid of Japanese Yen 229 million (Rs 279 million) was provided to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the above program through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). more..

New fuel filling stations for North

July 2 (MoD) Arrangements have been made to provide new fuel filling stations for the Northern Province. Several filling stations have already been established in the North and more filling stations are to be opened soon. The filling station constructed in Kilinochchi will be opened on July 13 by Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha. It has been built at a cost of Rs 8.6 million for the benefit of newly resettled people. more..

Lion Safari Park off the ground

July 2 (LP) Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament yesterday that government would spend Rs.1,600 million for the 500-acre Safari Park at Ridiyagama in Hambantota. This park is the first wildlife safari park and botanical bio-diversity conservation garden and it is to be named “Lion Safari park”. The Minister said that the government was planning to complete the Park by end of December. more..

In North, East Provinces: One hundred GN vacancies to be temporarily filled

July 2 (MoD) One hundred Grama Niladari vacancies in Northern and Eastern Provinces will be temporarily filled by retired Grama Niladaris Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry Higher Officers told the Daily News yesterday. Accordingly, the appointments would last for one year until new appointments are made through a competitive examination to be conducted by the Examinations Department. more..

New military spokesman takes office

July 2 (MoD) Brigadier U.A.B. Medawala assumed office as new Military Spokesman and Director, Directorate of Media in the Army Headquarters yesterday morning during a brief ceremony, held at his office. Brigadier Medawala during his military career spanning over 29 years has to-date held a number of prestigious and senior appointments in the Army before he was appointed to this appointment. more..

A day in the life – Tracking down minefields

July 2 (MAG) MAG is carrying out an emergency survey of areas in northern Sri Lanka, to ensure the tens of thousands of people housed in temporary camps following the conflict can return home safely as quickly as possible. More than 76,000 were still being accommodated in IDP camps at the end of May1, and before they can go home their areas need to be surveyed for mines and other remnants of conflict, more..

Sri Lanka will record the highest inflow of FDI for the region

July 2 (LP) German government affirmed that Sri Lanka will record the highest FDI inflow in the South Asian region. German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr. Jens Ploetner made these remarks at an official meeting held with Prime Minister Mr. D. M. Jayaratne at the parliament complex yesterday. During the discussion Prime Minister stated that under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sri Lanka has now entered into a new phase of economic development, more..

Humour has it from President’s Ukraine visit

July 2 (LP) President welcomed with an unusual bouquet: It is a common practice to welcome visiting state guests and leaders with a bouquet of flowers or garlands but Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was on a three day official visit in Ukraine received an unusual welcome. They were welcomed at the Ukraine Air Port with the presentation of a basket full of bread and salt. After the welcome, President Rajapaksa explained to the host that more..

'Govt must stop setting up new Army camps in Wanni and building houses for Army families'

July 2 (LG) I am frankly of the opinion that the opening of an Army Camp at Mullaithevu as a fore-runner and the decision of the Government to build permanent houses for the Army are ill-timed, counterproductive and will very soon prove disastrous. I am not that foolish as to stir up a hornet’s nest by protesting against these moves. Whatever I do and say are always with patriotic feelings. more..

Drug shortage over; tender procedure back

July 2 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that there was now no scarcity of essential drugs in government hospitals and that the Health Ministry had suspended its purchasing of medicines and medical equipment under the urgent purchase scheme. He said that the ministry had now reverted to the standard procedure of calling for tenders prior to the purchase of drugs and medical equipment. more..

In Sinhala society today exists a mirror image of what LTTE and its Diaspora supporters could not see before May 2009

July 2 (TC) China is the key to Sri Lanka’s present woes. The pressures that the Sri Lankan state is under at present is its own creation in failing to strategically position Sri Lanka in a rapidly transformed post LTTE landscape. It is remarkably similar to the predicament of the LTTE, which was also its own creation. Long before May 2009, the demise of the LTTE was quite obvious as the international community began losing patience with LTTE more..

Sajith mixes up “Yala and Maha”

July 2 (LP) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa appeared confused on the harvesting seasons of Sri Lanka, Yala with Maha when raising a question in Parliament. Sajith said that the harvest collected during the Yala Season was not sold at proper prices and due to this farmers had to face many difficulties. MP Namal Rajapaksa who also hails from the Hambanthota District as MP Premadasa, was amazed at the question as it is the Yala season’s harvest that needs to be collected. more..

No major changes proposed by UNP Reforms Committee

July 2 (Island) Chairman of the UNP Reforms Committee Joseph Michael Perera said yesterday that that there would be no major changes in their final report, which would be handed over to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday. He told The Island that they were in the process of drafting their report in both English and Sinhala. Asked if there were any major changes to the original report of his committee that was approved in principle by the Working Committee and more..

Money printer to open a new factory in Lanka

July 2 (N360) The British currency printer “De La Rue Currency” will open a new factory in Biyagama, Sri Lanka on Monday the 5th July. “This is a multimillion dollar investment” said a media invitation sent by the British High Commission in Colombo. The figure runs up to US $ 30.5 million. De La Rue, the world’s largest commercial currency printer and papermaker already operates a currency printing factory in Sri Lanka. more..

Attempt to convince Chandrika to run for president again?

July 2 (CT) An attempt is being made to convince former president Chandrika Kumaratunga to run for president for a third time if the required constitutional amendment is introduced, reports say. Under the present constitution, a president could hold office only twice. There are moves to shortly amend the relevant constitutional provisions to increase that to three times. The office of the ex-president, when contacted, however, said that she had no such intentions. more..

Salary arrears issue of ex-Bribery Commissioners: President's Secretary looking into matter

July 2 (DN) The issue of alleged non-payment of full salary arrears to the former Chairman and two Commissioners of the Bribery Commission was under the consideration of the Secretary to the President, Senior State Counsel Harsha Fernando submitted to Supreme Court yesterday. Fernando also submitted that the Attorney General is seeking further instructions from the Secretary to the President. more..

Eelam War and the long arm of the Indian rearguard across the Palk Straits

July 2 (GV) Indo-Sri Lanka relations made a dramatic and unprecedented change with the beginning of the Eelam war. This change contributed to bringing about far reaching military and political consequences within Sri Lanka and its two destructive wars. The JVP led anti-devolutionary Sinhalese rebellion had been the direct result of the changed Indian policy. more..

Court blow for Lanka row author

July 2 (GDN) A Baharain-based author arrested under Sri Lanka's emergency laws will have to wait another five months in the battle to clear her name. Sarah Malanie Perera is facing charges over her book From Darkness to Light, which described her conversion to Islam but was deemed offensive to Buddha. The 38-year-old was detained on March 20 after being accused of "anti-state" activities and having links to Islamic militants. more..

Editorial: Precipitancy of a knight-errant

July 2 (LNP) Old habits die hard. Rathu Sahodarayas are given to direct action in dealing with anyone and their rashness is legendary. They usually think only after leaping. Even after severing his umbilical cord with the JVP both ideologically and politically, Minister Wimal Weerawansa has not yet been able to wean himself fully from the outfit`s strong-arm tactics in tackling intricate and sensitive issues, the resolution of which requires brain, not brawn. more..

SL State media blames exiled scribes for 'mudslinging' against Colombo

July 2 (TN) A 'clandestine media group' consisting of several Sri Lankan journalists now in exile has embarked on a mudslinging campaign against Sri Lanka, state-owned media reported Friday. According to the Dinamina Sinhala daily, this group of journalists have sent a petition condemning Sri Lanka to more than 70 foreign non-governmental organizations urging these organizations to pressure the international community to withdraw any trade benefits given to Sri Lanka. more..

SLMC wants powers devolved to PCs

July 2 (Island) The SLMC wants the government to devolve most of State powers to Provincial Councils except monetary, defence and foreign affairs. Participating in the budget debate, SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem said that the government should strengthen provincial councils under a united country. For example, the central government could impose a cap on the provincial budget deficits. more..

No immediate impact on Sri Lanka with U.S. trade review

July 2 (Xinhua) There will be no immediate trade impact on Sri Lanka as a result of a review to be carried out by the United States government on a trade facility extended to the island, officials from the U.S. Embassy to Sri Lanka said in Colombo Thursday. They said Sri Lanka would continue to enjoy the facility throughout the review process beginning in August. more..

Plea to take steps to bring body of person 'murdered' in Colombo

July 2 (Hindu) So. Ba. Ravi, district Congress leader, has urged the State and Central governments to take steps to bring the body of T. Selvaraj of Keela Manangarai near Mudukulathur, who was allegedly murdered in Colombo a few days ago. Mr. Ravi said that the family members of Selvaraj were waiting to perform the last rites. They were told by the owner of a hotel group, where he was employed in Sri Lanka, to contact the Indian High Commission and more..

Editorial: Foot in the mouth

July 2 (DM) A peaceful protest in front of the UN by a government ally that made it to page one of most of the national dailies saw another alliance partner putting the foot in the mouth in a puerile attempt to outdo the former. The result; A major embarrassment to government which made swift moves to clear the deck. The Sri Lankan envoys made it a point to inform the UN that it should not take the individual comments by a minister so seriously, indicating in the process, more..

Budget 2010 nothing but an IMF ‘baby’

July 2 (Island) The JVP yesterday acknowledged that Tuesday’s budget may not help the Opposition improve its performance at the forthcoming elections to local government bodies. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said people tended to exercise their franchise again in support of the government, though they were furious about the rising cost of living, mismanagement of the economy and rampant corruption. more..

Millennium development goals can be acheived

July 2 (DN) The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be achieved by 2015 as the economy is poised with confidence. In achieving the aims short-term management of the economy is crucial in creating an environment for long-term investment, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka Executive Director, Dr. Saman Kelegama said. “To create the atmosphere to achieve these targets will be a challenge. There are four key challenges, to stabilize the macroeconomic environment, more..

Wife of 'Big Banana' restaurant owner remanded

July 2 (CT) Mt. Lavinia additional magistrate Ruchira Welikala today ordered that the wife of the owner of the 'Big Banana' restaurant in Kirulapone be remanded until July 16 in connection with the mysterious death of the restaurant's cook. He ordered the police to seek the advice of the attorney general as to which court the case should be referred to. On June 30, the Puttalam Magistrate Sesiri Herath ordered two other suspects of the case more..

Ukraine extends space technology know-how to Lanka

July 2 (DN) Ukraine will take steps to extend its space technology know-how to Sri Lanka Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Yanovych Azarov told President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. He said Ukraine already has a similar exchange program with Brazil and it hopes to involve Sri Lanka too in such a program in the future. President Rajapaksa said Information Technology had advanced considerably in Sri Lanka and more..

MPs be careful! Speeches in Sri Lanka parliament to go online immediately

July 2 (LP) Once in a blue moon, the ruling party of Sri Lanka also moots some commendable proposals. For example, a proposal has been mooted by the ruling party suggesting that the speeches delivered by the parliamentarians should be released online immediately. The proposal has been submitted to the Speaker by the Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardhana on behalf of the ruling party. more..

Buddhika holds sway in maiden speech

July 2 (DM) UNP MP for the Matara District Buddhika Pathirana in his inaugural address to parliament yesterday said that he had been politically harassed even on the caste issue when he was campaigning for the April 8 General Election. Delivering an emotional speech, Mr. Pathirana said that these elements had printed and distributed cards that carried his picture along with a different preferential number. more..

‘Rajapaksas get the lion’s share in 2010 too’

July 2 (DM) More than 60 % of state expenses for 2010 have been allocated for ministries that are handled by the Rajapaksa family, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said yesterday. “The Government has borrowed 108 times the annual income of the country to maintain the daily functions. This was done within the past year. How can the country develop when it’s burdened with debts to this extent?” more..

EU urges Sri Lanka to cooperate with UN war probe

July 2 (AFP) The European Union urged Sri Lanka's government on Thursday to cooperate with a UN panel probing alleged war crimes during the country's civil war. "The European Union encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate fully, including through the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by President Rajapakse, with the members of the Panel, in the interest of all concerned," more..

Weerawansa's Outburst: Will Govt allow people to take up arms against the UN staff working in Colombo?

July 2 (TC) We are astounded by the irresponsible and deplorable call by MP Wimal Weerawansa, a Minister in the present government urging the Sri Lankan public to take up violence and commit acts of aggression against the United Nations offices and their staff in Colombo. Mr. Weerawansa is now a senior cabinet minister of the current government and his seemingly cavalier statements would have serious repercussions more..

It's intimidation, says Dr. Kohona

July 2 (MoD) The panel of experts on Sri Lanka to advice UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was an attempt to intimidate the weak and meek nations but was not called for by the member states of the UN body, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona has said. Dr. Kohona currently in Colombo said the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) too had protested to the UN Secretary General about this unacceptable decision as he seemed to be influenced by more..

Amid hard times, another bonanza for MPs

July 2 (Island) The JVP says there is a move to provide luxury housing apartments to MPs while the vast majority of people are struggling to make ends meet. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake says the UPFA is having discussions in this regard. He alleged that the government was exploring the possibility of acquiring luxury apartments for MPs, and sharing the recently renovated housing units at the MPs’ Madiwela housing scheme among the senior parliamentary staff. more..

Warrant issued on Myown Mustapha

July 3 (CT) The Mount Lavinia additional Magistrate today (July 02) issued an arrest warrant on former Deputy Minister Myown Mustapha for failing to appear in Court in a bribery case. Mustafa was indicted on the charge of offering ex-NFF parliamentarian Mohamed Musammil Rs. 4.2 million to obtain his support for Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the January presidential polls. Mustapha is reportedly out of the country.

Detention 'ruined' army officer's life

July 3 (BBC) A Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officer has accused the SLA of ruining his life by detaining him for years making false allegations. Captain Sarath Pushpakumara of SLA has been detained and questioned by the police for years on suspicion that he supported the Tamil Tigers. He was acquitted of charges and released by the Colombo Additional Magistrate M Ilanchelian after the police informed the court of Attorney General's decision that there was not enough evidence to charge him. more..

Wade in charge of Australia A win

July 3 (CI) Matthew Wade, the Victoria wicketkeeper, blasted 80 off 50 balls to set up Australia A's 27-run victory over Sri Lanka A in the one-off Twenty20 in Townsville. Wade opened for the hosts and crunched nine fours and two sixes in his half-century, which raced them to a challenging 4 for 176. The captain George Bailey provided a late surge as he finished unbeaten on 35 off 24 balls, while Aaron Finch (29) and Adam Voges (17) also chipped in. more..

Sri Lanka to hold World Spice Food Festival 2010

July 3 (WSF) Spurred on by the past success, Colombo’s much awaited biggest food festival is scheduled to be held for the fifth time from 14th -25th July 2010 promising all excitement and culinary delights that have always endeared it to visitors. This year it is assured of being bigger, better and spicier than ever. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority will declare the event open on July 14th at Cinnamon Grand to mark 11 days of thrilling culinary extravaganza. more..

MPs mind your language

July 3 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa today urged MPs to strictly follow Standing Orders and refrain from character assassination especially because of the presence of school children in the public gallery. “We have allowed school children to follow proceedings from the public gallery. Therefore, I ask MPs to conduct themselves in keeping with the decorum of the House,” he said. more..

East feels left behind as agencies move north

July 3 (IRIN) Communities in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province - a region of 1.5 million people still recovering from civil-war violence - fear they have been forgotten as humanitarian agencies shift recovery efforts to the north. "There are no jobs here. I have to support my family with what I earn here," said Ravidranathan Valarmadhu, 18, from Pillumallai Village of Batticaloa District. Her father is unable to work, her mother does odd jobs around the village and more..

'Everyone knows how shot Maheswaran'

July 3 (NF) Everyone knows who shot Maheswaran, declared Mrs. Wijekala Maheswaran in parliament. She made this statement during a heated debate which took place at the second reading of the Budget yesterday. “Do not be afraid if you are not at fault. Please be silent. Wait for a while. You are the person who shot Maheswaran. You should prove it. Do not speak. If you are not at fault, do not be afraid. “Be silent and listen. Do not disturb us. We have another 15 minutes. more..

Sri Lanka to host T20 World Cup

July 3 (BBC) The International Cricket Council (ICC) has approved an application by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to host the Twenty20 World Cup in 2012. The decision was taken at the recently concluded ICC meeting in Singapore, the SLC said in a statement. It is the first time that Sri Lanka has been selected as the host nation for the T20 world Cup which is scheduled to be held in September 2012. more..

Sri Lanka Drills for Oil

July 3 (AS) Sri Lanka, battered by four decades of Tamil separatist violence that ended a year ago, appears finally able to begin to exploit its sizable domestic oil and gas sources and reduce its crippling dependence on imports. In one of the latest moves, Cairn Lanka, will begin a three-well drilling campaign off the Mannar Basin, located between southwestern Sri Lanka and the Indian coastline in the first quarter of next year, more..

Report on Buddha Bars

July 3 (DM) The Sri Lankan government has obtained reports from its embassies over the operations of ‘Buddha Bars’ in the respective countries including its headquarters in Paris and is now contemplating appropriate action. The External Affairs Ministry had received several reports this past week from Sri Lankan Missions overseas where ‘Buddha Bars’ are located and the government is now discussing with the respective Missions on the suitable action to be taken. more..

EU 'clumsy on GSP

July 3 (DM) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the European Union (EU) Ravinatha Aryasingha says the European Commission had been “rather clumsy” in dealing with the GSP plus issue on Sri Lanka. In comments to the ‘European Voice’ newspaper the Ambassador said that it was “disappointing and unfortunate” as there was a vibrant process of engagement between the EU and Sri Lanka which has now been cut short by the Commission’s ultimatum. more..

Debrief News - 02.07.2010

Book Review: Inquest of a defeat

July 3 (AT) The unexpected destruction in May 2009 of one of the world's most fearsome guerrilla movements, the LTTE, has altered Sri Lanka's fate completely. Explanations for this separatist rebel group's momentous demise have thus far remained limited to bits-and-pieces opinion articles and half-baked books. The field was wide open for the world's most renowned authority on Sri Lankan Tamil militancy, more..

Rights groups eye Sri Lanka

July 3 (National) Thursday was not a good day for Sri Lanka: the United States said it had accepted a labour organisation’s request to probe workers’ rights issues in the country, and the European Union lent its backing to a UN panel examining the country’s human-rights record. Adding to Colombo’s woes, an EU deadline for the government to provide written guidelines to implement conditions for the extension of zero-duty imports into Europe ended on Thursday. more..