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Divided opposition unite against Govt.

July 4 (ST) United Nations Resident Representative Neil Buhne was in for a rude shock. He shot off an urgent SMS message to Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa to ascertain whether the news was true. Only minutes earlier on Wednesday, Minister Wimal Weerawansa had told a news conference he was calling for a siege on the United Nations Office in Colombo until UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon disbanded the three-member panel he has appointed more..

'Lanka’s role in Israel committe has no bearing on UN panel'

July 4 (SO) Sri Lanka’s role in the UN committee on Israel has a history of over 30 years and has no bearing on the UN advisory panel on the country, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona siad. Asked of his role in the panel and related adverse news reports Dr. Kohona said, “Sri Lanka is the ex-officio Chairman of the UN committee on Israeli practices in the occupied territories.” more..

'UPFA’s failing on economic front overshadow war victory'

July 4 (Island) The Opposition says the electorate will not treat the UPFA kindly for failing to provide relief through the so-called budget presented by acting Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama in the absence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who holds the finance portfolio. Opposition MPs say people struggling to make ends meet will switch their allegiance to Opposition parties thereby paving the way for resurrection of the Opposition. more..

Struggling GK depositors protest opposite Kotelawala’s house

July 4 (Island) Distraught Golden Key depositors, who have been denied their capital plus interest for the past 19 months, staged a noisy protest opposite the Elibank Road residence of Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala on Friday. Carrying coffins, they first demonstrated near the former office of this troubled Ceylinco subsidiary at Duplication Road before gathering outside Kotelawala’s house, where they continued to shout slogans and protest for hours. more..

Fuel hike imminent

July 4 (NS) As sure as the sun rises, a new fuel price hike is now imminent with both the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) running up huge losses in the first six months of the year, according to market analysts. LIOC losses had been mounting in the last three months as they had been forced to sell both diesel and petrol at below the cost of the fuel purchased in the world market. more..

'Panel on Sri Lanka is not a move by Ban Ki moon and not the UN itself'

July 4 (TC) An Interview with Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka. Q: Despite vehement protests by the Sri Lankan Government the UN Chief went ahead with his decision to appoint the proposed advisory panel on accountability issues. Can the UN disregard our protests backed by two veto wielding powers Russia and China as well as the NAM? A: At the very outset I must emphasize that we have no problem with the UN. more..

IGP fails to carry out SC order

July 4 (ST) A Superintendent of Police who was sent on compulsory leave after being allegedly found to have been "biased" during the Presidential elections campaign while serving in Ampara and ordered to be reinstated by the Supreme Court has yet not been brought back to service, the Supreme Court was told this week. The Court was told that an interim order to stay a decision to send Superintendent Rohana Jayewardena on compulsory leave until more..

State-of-the-art full-flight Simulator in Sri Lanka

July 4 (Island) Airline pilot training in South Asia entered a new dimension with SriLankan Airlines and SIM Industries of the Netherlands teaming up to set up a state-of-the-art Full-Flight Simulator in Sri Lanka to serve the region. The 10-year agreement, which will see the commissioning of an Airbus A320 Flight Simulator on SriLankan Airlines’ premises early next year, was signed at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) recently more..

'Only a fool will refuse to take help from ex-Tigers'

July 4 (Island) There is absolutely no basis for Opposition accusations that one-time LTTE heavyweight Kumaran Padmanathan alias "KP’ will contest forthcoming elections for the Northern Province as the UPFA’s chief ministerial candidate, a senior government official says. Responding to recent criticism of the UPFA government receiving the support of an influential section of the Tamil Diaspora through ‘KP", more..

UNP committee proposes sweeping party reforms

July 4 (ST) The six-member UNP Reforms Committee is to recommend that the party leadership be elected by the Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group and the creation of an Advisory Council of the party leadership to make all other appointments in the party including electoral organisers. The posts up for election would include those of the party leader, the deputy leader, assistant leader, national organiser and chairman. more..

Sri Lanka opposition lawmaker pokes fun at 'IMF budget'

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main opposition poked fun at a budget for 2010 which had less 'grasping government' elements in it and was more affordable to the poor, by throwing the ruling coalition's own slogans of yesteryear, back at it. In 2006, Sri Lanka's Mahinda Chinthana platform justified a spending spree saying that 'cutting the budget deficits per se' was not good economic management, more..

GSP Plus suspension will cost Lanka Rs. 570 billion a year

July 4 (ST) The European Union’s suspension of the GSP Plus preferential tariffs from August 15 this year will lead to a loss of US $ 500 million or Rs 570 billion a year, a top official in the apparel sector said yesterday. “This will mean a loss of 12 percent of the country’s apparel exports,” Joint Apparels Association Federation (JAAF) President A. Sukumaran told the Sunday Times yesterday. more..

'Interrogation on LTTE network continues'

July 4 (SO) Whilst refuting claims that the government is grooming the detained LTTE leader Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias Kumaran (KP) to be the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, the Government said it was exploring his ‘data base’ on the LTTE to crush its international network. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa denying reports that the government has formed an ‘alliance’ with the LTTE remnants said that more..

NAM considers move to challenge Ban

July 4 (ST) Non Aligned Movement (NAM) nations are preparing to challenge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over his appointment of a three-member panel to advise him on accountability issues during the final stages of the separatist war that led to the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas last year. The UN move is widely regarded as a precursor to an imminent war crimes inquiry against troops and guerrillas. more..

SL 'A' send Australia 'A' crashing

July 5 (CI) Jeevan Mendis and Thissara Perera combined to hand Sri Lanka A their first win on the tour of Australia. Perera bagged five wickets to help limit Australia to 197, and Mendis' unbeaten 81 overcame an early Sri Lankan wobble to steer them home with 14 balls to spare. Australia opted to bat, and began soundly before they were pegged back. Perera and offspinner Sachithra Senanayake did the early damage to leave Australia tottering at 66 for 5. more..

Poor mortuary worker but rich at heart

July 5 (HT) A junior employee at a mortuary in western Sri Lanka won accolades after he handed Rs 28,000 recovered from a body of a person to the authorities. Without waiting for any reward for his honesty the mortuary worker, WA Botheju, left home after his duty even as the relatives of the deceased looked for him to express their gratitude. The employee of the mortuary of Ragama Hospital came in for much praise when he handed over to his superiors Rs 28,000 he had found on a body brought there. more..

A teardrop of paradise

July 5 (Gulf) I am woken in the middle of the night by the silence. A world away from the all-night bustle that is the bus stop outside our London flat, I have been disturbed by the absence of noise. When I step on to the veranda, the night sky is crowded with stars, the Moon is a sliver and the hills that surround our cottage are lost in darkness. They are back in the morning, edges blurred by early mist but stretching out as far as the eye can see. more..

Offer bowlers captaincy - Vaas

July 5 (BBC) Sri Lanka’s former opening bowler and all-rounder Chaminda Vaas says that cricket authorities in the island should give “fair opportunities” for bowlers to lead the national cricket team. He expressed his disappointment he did not get the opportunity to lead the country “at the height of” his game. Vaas, who currently plays for the Northamptonshire Cricket Club, has been starring with both batting and bowling since arriving in the UK. more..

President returns after successful visit to Ukraine

July 5 (Isria) President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the island today (03 July) after completing a successful three-day state visit to Ukraine. He held bilateral discussions with the President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich and the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. The two Presidents signed four agreements enhancing cooperation in tourism, maritime shipping, and security sectors. more..

Wimal stands by comment

July 5 (DM) Government Minister Wimal Weerawansa says he stands by the comment he made last week regarding the United Nation's office in Colombo saying he made the comment as the National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and not in his capacity as a Government member and reiterated his call for the public to surround the building and protest against the UN panel. more..

Unions oppose indians maintaining railways

July 5 (BBC) Trade union leaders allied to the opposition JVP have protested government awarding maintenance contracts to an Indian company. The convenor of the OPRWP, Sumathipala Manawadu, told BBC Sandeshaya that allowing Rail India Technical Economic Services (RITES) to maintain railway tracks is a step towards privatisation RITES, a Government of India Enterprise has been awarded the maintenance of the Galle-Matara from August. more..

Jet Airways awaits govt nod to launch more flights to Colombo

July 5 (ET) Jet Airways has so far not got official permission to launch additional flights to Colombo, four months after it applied, an airline official said. "We submitted a proposal to the Government seeking permission to fly to Colombo from more Indian destinations. But even after four months, we are still awaiting Government's response," the official said here. The airline presently operates one daily flight between Chennai and Colombo but more..

Mattakuliya police saved by Army

July 5 (Island) The STF and the Army yesterday thwarted an attempt by a section of Mattakuliya residents from overrunning the local police station following the arrest of a heroin addict. Swift deployment of additional personnel and the anti-riot squads forced several hundred protesters to beat a hasty retreat. People had reacted violently after some interested party had declared that the Mattakuliya police killed the suspect. more..

Sinhalese must not overestimate themselves and underestimate the Tamils

July 5 (TC) The LTTE was a separatist army, which was out-thought, out-fought, defeated and almost destroyed by a better armed force, the Sri Lankan military. Separatism is a political project, an ideology and an idea. Political projects, ideologies and ideas cannot be defeated by armed force. They have to be defeated by better political projects, ideologies and ideas. We have won the war for the elimination of a hostile armed force and more..

Sinhala daily says India opposes UN panel

July 5 (TN) Colombo-based Sinhala daily, Lankadeepa, without quoting any officials from the Indian government or the Indian embassy in Colombo, said in a report that the Indian government has expressed its disapproval over the appointment of the expert panel by United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon. The report comes amidst concerted effort by Colombo to discredit the UN panel and reports indicate on-going attempts to more..

Bandula recalled from UN

July 5 (DM) Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Bandula Jayasekara has been recalled to Colombo just a few months after he was appointed to the post, External Affairs Ministry sources said. External Affairs Ministry sources added that Jayasekera, a former Sri Lankan Consul General to Toronto, Canada, had been given time to return to Colombo but remained tight lipped over the reasons behind his recall. more..

Displaced civilians from Northern HSZs to be resettled: Jaffna GA

July 5 (AD) The civilian authorities in the North have been given the go ahead to resettle displaced civilians within the High Security Zones (HSZs). They will be resettled soon and measures to assist them in continuing with their livelihoods are also being looked into, said Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh. The resettlement programme within the HSZs will be carried out in stages. These civilians have been displaced for a long period of time. more..

Editorial: Rajpal’s Problem

July 5 (LG) Rajpal Abeynayake’s column this time like most of the times, misses the whole point of the argument of Mr. J.C. Weliamuna’s article, which he tried to undermine. The point of Mr. Weliamuna’s article is to call for the freedom of association to operate without being subjected to repression. There are bad NGOs as much as there are very bad journalists. There are journalists who change their political views like the winds. more..

Scholar’s death shocks Lankan expats

July 5 (AN) The sudden death of Sri Lankan Muslim scholar Al Haj Moulavi Niyas sent shock waves among Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom on Sunday. Moulavi Niyas, 59, died of a sudden heart attack on Sunday morning in Badulla, 200 km away from Colombo. N.M. Ameen, chief editor of Navamani, told Arab News from Colombo that Moulavi was en route to Moneragala to attend a religious function on Sunday evening and more..

An open letter to me and to my fellow citizens

July 5 (TC) It just struck me, what if we were not ‘slaves’ and ‘did not wish’ to annul the law of development and did not want the weak and the inefficient to gobble down what others produce, all day through? If that was the case, despite what this half year 2010 budget speaks, this would not be the ‘paradise isle’ it is today. If we were not ‘slaves’ and did not wish to annul the law of development and more..

Sri Lankans to feature in Champions League

July 5 (Gulf) Sri Lanka Cricket will not ban all its players from playing in foreign league. Last week, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board had announced that it will stop its players from participating in overseas domestic league including Australia's Big Bash until the World Cup next year. Aravinda De Silva, the chairman of the Sri Lankan team selection committee, clarified on the decision regarding the ban. more..

The politics of the UN and ‘Post-War’ Sri Lanka: A brief critique

July 5 (SL) The recent appointment of a Panel of Experts by the UN Secretary General (UNSG) is a disturbing development, even though it was bound to happen. The statement attributable to the UNSG’s spokesperson, issued on June 22, refers to the fact that the UNSG had appointed a panel of experts which will “advise him (the UNSG) on the issue of accountability” concerning alleged violations of more..

Blaming in Sinhala and apologizing in formal English in Sri Lankan politics

July 5 (LP) Sri Lanka government may tender an apology to the United Nations (UN) over comments made by government Minister Wimal Weerawansa urging the public to surround the UN office in Colombo and prevent the staff from leaving the premises in protest over the UN panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said responding to a question posed by a journalist from Innercitypress at more..

The stenching local government politics of Sri Lanka

July 5 (LP) Politics in local governmental bodies of Sri Lanka was for respected elites of the towns and villages one time. The payments made by the local councils, if there was any, was not the living of these leaders. Instead, many considered politics in local governments a social service. Now, that phenomenon is history. Today, the local government is also gone to the same dog or a bitter one the other aspects of local politics have gone. more..

Time to shut down BOI

July 5 (NS) The title reads harshly, but that is the reality we face for it has outlived its purpose and no longer resonates with our economic needs in business as usual. Sri Lanka no longer has any regional bragging rights for its export oriented foreign investment destination. It is said that the dynamics of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) should be reasonably proactive to fill the resource gap, more..

II – Representative government and universal franchise

July 5 (RW) The main complaint of Ceylonese politicians with regard to the Manning-Devonshire Constitution was that, while the Legislative Council in theory had authority over the government, since it could introduce and amend laws, and controlled the budget and public spending, it had no executive powers. Two representatives on the executive council, without responsibility for any specific area, could not really influence governmental action. more..

Enemy at the gate: 2011 Cricket World Cup PR debacle looms

July 5 (IC) According to the countdown clock on the International Cricket Council ticket-purchasing website, there are, by the time you read this, 228 days, or less to the start of the 2011 World Cup. In helping family and friends in New Zealand to find the page they needed to check out pricing and other details, it is interesting to note that the launch of ticketing of the games in the three South Asian nations had been handled by the ICC and more..

'It’s a market fundamentalist IMF budget'

July 5 (LB) UNP MP and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva says that he has been a constant critique of the UPFA government’s ‘shady’ economic policies despite now having to comment from the platform of the main opposition UNP. He described the budget presented to the parliament last Tuesday as a ‘Market Fundamentalist IMF Budget’. Dr. de Silva charged that the UPFA government in presenting the budget, had deceived the public servants after more..

Milroy’s baila bad, but wife got away with murder

July 5 (LB) Last week local television viewers saw Deputy Minister of Resettlement Vinayagamoorthi Muralidaran AKA Karuna and Minister of Resettlement Milroy Fernando having a bit of fun, -- well a great deal of fun --- singing popular songs, completely out of tune (!) and doing some dance moves that could only be only called ‘free style’! All this happened at the wedding of Fernando’s media coordinator’s son. more..

Instability in spite of Power, Insanity in the wake of Victory

July 5 (Island) No previous Sri Lankan government has been as powerful as the present one. It has an elected Executive assured of tenure for another seven years. It just won a majority in the legislature that is incredible under proportionate representation. The judiciary is institutionally independent but individually subservient at the highest levels, save for a handful of gutsy female and male judges in the lower courts. more..

Ideal Man, Enormous Task

July 5 (NS) Omar Kamil, former Colombo Mayor and one time ambassador to Teheran, picked by President Rajapaksa to put matters right at the country’s premier municipality, though he is no stranger to the job, is having an enormous task at hand, due to years of mismanagement of the Municipality. Due to a quirk of fate, Colombo’s citizens last time elected an independent group backed by the Opposition UNP, more..

Morality and the Police

July 5 (Island) A series of developments over the past few weeks has brought into focus the role of the state and the Police in safe guarding certain notions of "public morality" in Sri Lanka. Recent news reports show that a number of couples who were holding hands, kissing and cuddling in public areas including parks and beaches have been arrested in the cities of Kurunegala, Matara and Colombo. more..

War crimes: Why is everybody squirming in different corners?

July 5 (Island) Realists blessed with healthy cynicism have long ruminated that the sometimes unfolding and sometimes slumping war crimes drama is a charade. The UN and Western governments, they conclude, are only faking a gig to the pestilential tune of global human-rights activists and the drum beat of the Tamil diaspora. These powers, they say, will drop the farce when the spotlight dims and the pests tire out. more..

Serendib Dreaming- Episode I

One man’s green paradise

July 5 (ST) Almost every morning before he goes to work, Damitha Rajapakse stops by the property near his home in Gampaha. Standing there amidst the trees and tangled vines, amidst the birdsong and the cool morning air, he is refreshed and renewed in his determination to see this garden flourish, as a resource of the country’s wild fruit heritage. His is one man’s effort to create an arboretum. There are over a hundred different species in the sloping one-acre plot of land and more..

Sri Lanka ITES; the problem is people

July 5 (LBO) Although Sri Lanka was not known for exports of IT and business processing services, since 2005 this activity has graduated to earn around US$ 250 million of foreign exchange, in addition to giving a place of pride to our IT professionals enabling to establish their names in international markets. This sector has a comparative advantage to become a billion dollar export activity considering the skilled labour force and their exposure to more..

Jaffna fisheries promised a boost

July 5 (MoD) Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Ministry would buy 90 fish trawlers and that fishermen could go to deep sea fishing increasing productivity. He had identified several problems, pertaining to the Fish Industry. Lack of facilities for refrigeration of fish with correct temperature, lack of good transportation facilities and absence of proper storage had become stumbling-blocks, more..

Three unidentified bodies found

July 5 (LP) Police was able to recover three dead bodies from the areas of Kalutara, Wattala and Mt Lavina. According to Police sources, the body of a male of about 5 feet tall was to be found hanging on a tree opposite the Sanasa Bank in Kalutara south yesterday (04). Police also found a pair of rubber slippers and a blue checked sarong in the nearby area. The body was in the process of decomposition. more..

Buddhika lashes out at Mangala

July 5 (LP) New UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana lashed out at fellow MP Mangala Samaraweera in his inaugural Parliamentary speech, saying that MP Samaraweera's behaviour has been nothing short of despicable during his campaign to win votes. MP Pathirana commenced his speech by outlining his own rise through political ranks before addressing the Speaker of the Parliament to make these stinging comments. more..

France and Sri Lanka sign two contracts

July 5 (LP) The signing of two new contracts will be another milestone in the contribution of France to the reconstruction of the Eastern Province as in the development of the friendly and cooperative partnership between the two countries. The French Government contributed its support to develop the water supply system of the Greater Trincomalee which was severely affected by the Tsunami Disaster in 2004. more..