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“Opposition’s Complaints nothing but Hollow Accusations”

July 5 (LP) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that this year’s Budget is one that will play a key role in the development of Sri Lanka’s economy from next year right until the year 2017, stating that the Budget will act as a solid foundation for the country’s development. He further noted that the Opposition’s insistence that the Budget is nothing more than a carbon copy of a document released by more..

'Ranil must necessarily resign'

July 5 (LeN) The former Assist. leader of the UNP, Rukman Senanayake said, Ranil Wickremesinghe must necessarily resign from his post of leader of the party. He can continue to be the leader of the Opposition, but he must resign his post as party leader, he vehemently insisted. Rukman Senanayake declared that the leadership should be handed over to Sajith Premadasa. All must accept that, today, Sajith is the most popular individual. more..

Third reading of Budget today

July 5 (LP) The third reading of the Budget for 2010 will be held in Parliament today. The budget debate will go on for three days till the 09th of June while voting for the budget 2010 will also take place on the same day. Several topics in the budget will be taken in to debate today including the allocation for President’s office, Prime Minister’s Office, other offices of Ministries along with the allocation made for Bribery and Corruption, National Police Commission etc. more..

Jaffna youth to contribute for NGP; more employment opportunities in Garment Industry

July 5 (MoD) Well-established garment manufacturers and exporters in Sri Lanka has agreed to offer more employment opportunities to job-seeking young men and women in Jaffna leaving room for them to contribute for the National Gross Product (NGP) while claiming a livelihood with handsome salary. Creations (Pvt) Ltd., a well-established garment manufacturer and exporter in the island, visited Jaffna and selected some youth for jobs in their factories in Colombo. more..

Expert panel on Sri Lanka : UNSG creating a precedent

July 5 (MoD) Q: What is your view about the reasons that prompted United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a Panel of Experts to advise him on alleged incidents said to have occurred during the final phase of the humanitarian operations against the terrorists last year? A: The reason for appointing of a panel of experts to advise the Secretary General are not exactly clear. more..

New Currency notes after 19 years

July 5 (N360) Central Bank of Sri Lanka is planning to launch a new series of currency notes. This is the first time since 19 years the Bank is coming out with a new series of currency notes. Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama revealed this morning that the new series will be issued under the theme of “Development and Prosperity”. more..

'Prices are going up and this is just the beginning'

July 5 (NF) The government has increased the prices of almost everything, but it has not increased the salaries. This is only the beginning as the government has to dance to the tune of the IMF, says parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake. He was expressing these views addressing a public meeting yesterday to establish Janabala Mandala in the Henamulla area in Colombo North under the UNP restructuring process. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 5 (ST) At a time when the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations should be gearing itself to battle Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his panel of experts who are threatening to probe war crimes, the office is in turmoil with sniping, backstabbing and charges of sexual harassment. Less than a month after he was appointed, Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative Bandula Jayasekera has been unceremoniously recalled to Colombo. more..

Govt. fearing that General will escape withdraws him from the Kenya tour

July 5 (LeN) The SL Branch Executive Council of the Commonwealth Parliamentary MPs comprising a majority of the Govt. MPs has decided that DNF leader Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who was elected as the opposition representative to tour Kenya to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary MPs conference to be held at Nairobi City, Kenya, shall be omitted from the tour. more..

Mangala’s 'Our National Front' to be handed over to Chandrika

July 5 (LNW) The party, Our National Front (Ape Jathika Peramuna), headed by parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera is to be handed over to former President Chandrika Kumaratunge, it is reliably learnt. It is learnt that once Mangala officially joins the UNP, one of Chandrika’s confidantes would be made the leader of the party. Chandrika is believed to appoint the party’s current deputy leader, Upulangani Malagamuwa as the new leader. more..

Sri Lankan industries able to excel sans GSP+

July 5 (LNP) Sri Lankan industries have the ability to excel even without the GSP+ concession. The GSP+ concession was indeed a bonus for the industries to enter into the international market, yet we cannot depend on concessions everlastingly, Dial Textile Industries, Managing Director, Neil Umagiliya said. Sri Lanka's labour cost is relatively low compared to the East European labour, which is 1/10th of the European labour cost. more..

President remembers with gratitude the service rendered by Niyaz Moulavi

July 5 (LP) Presidential Advisor on Muslim Affairs Mohamed Niyaz Moulavi passed away yesterday (04). President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Mohamed Niyaz Moulavi in 2008 as the Coordinating Secretary to the President on Muslim Religious Affairs. His funeral rights were also performed yesterday Maligawatte burial grounds. He passed away at the age of 57. more..

Man who killed 13 in custody

July 5 (DM) A 51-year-old man suspected to have killed 13 people during 21 years and buried them in various places in Embilipitiya and Tangalle areas had been arrested, Embilipitiya Headquarters police said. The suspect arrested on Saturday by the Embilipitiya police had killed 13 persons since 1989 and the dead bodies had been buried in Embilipitiya and Tangalle the suspect had confessed, OIC of the crime detection branch Police Inspector Niroshan Abeykoon said. more..

Vigilant local foils alledged killers

July 5 (NS) A nation was shocked when a high ranking police officer was caught red handed dumping the body of an Indian youth into the sea. Though many loose ends remain to the mysterious circumstances that led to the young man’s death it is now evident that some foul play was involved. In fact, the death of the young cook from Chennai might have remained a mystery if it weren’t for some quick thinking, vigilant citizens. more..

Russia continues to dominate Ceylon Tea exports

July 5 (Island) Our pre- budget comments last week included dwindling crop prospects universally; that being the Small holder sector as well as Corporate Holdings. Additionally apart from Russia, or CIS countries who absorb about 24% Ceylon Tea new markets have not been pursued. 2009 being a bad year, we now tend to pat ourselves on the back that things are not too bad this year. more..

Late night prison visit questioned

July 5 (ST) A late-night visit to the Welikada Prisons by a government official has sparked a protest from prison officials. On Friday night, Deputy Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Vijith Wijeyamuni Zoysa called at the prison to meet two men who are under a death sentence and a former Member of Parliament in remand custody. The Sunday Times learns that prison officials have lodged a protest with the authorities over the visit. more..

Remittances top forex earnings

July 5 (DN) Remittances from Sri Lankan expatriate workers are expected to exceed US $ 4 billion this year making them the country’s number one foreign exchange earner. Authorities said if the current trends are to go by where the remittances received amounted to US $ 890 million during the first quarter of 2010 (growth of 14 per cent from last year) the target of US $ 04 billion at the year end, would be easily surpassed. more..

Hydrophobia deadlier than dengue in Kurunegala

July 5 (DN) Hydrophobia has killed 56 people in 2007, 51 in 2008 and 58 in 2009 in Sri Lanka, Anti-rabies officials said. The officials citing data said hydrophobia had claimed 38 lives in Kurunegala during the last decade, while it had claimed more lives than dengue. The officials aired their views at a meeting to discuss the sterilization program in Kurunegala and Puttalam districts more..

Death threat on MP for voting with Govt

July 5 (DN) Kandy district UNP MP A.R.M.Abdul Cader has received death threats following his decision to vote in favour of the Budget at the end of its Second reading in Parliament Saturday. The vote on the Second reading of the 2010 Budget was passed in Parliament with a majority of 63 votes Saturday with Cader voting in favour of the Budget, differing from his other opposition UNP members who decided to vote against. more..

'Lanka no longer a third world country'

July 5 (Island) Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda told Parliament on Saturday that Sri Lanka was no longer a poor third world country. Participating in the Budget debate, the minister said that Sri Lanka had graduated to a middle-income country and the per capita income increased from US$ 1062 in 2004 to US$ 2053 in 2009. The Minister said: "This is an achievement that we can be proud of more..

'Single responsible agency needed to protect mangroves'

July 5 (Island) The responsibility for conserving the mangrove ecosystem rests with agencies such as the Forest Department and the Coast Conservation Department. But at present, there is no proper coordinating mechanism to handle the task. Although proper management of mangrove ecosystems was vital and urgent it was difficult to implement this task due to lack of specific legislation and for want of a single responsible agency, more..

Arrest brain drain - PM

July 5 (DN) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne Saturday said Sri Lanka is facing a huge brain drain of highly skilled professionals to well paid jobs in other country’s and emphasised the need to arrest the problem. He said such highly skilled/educated professionals migration was an impediment to the country’s development drive. While noting that the migration of such professionals for better salaries/perks as unfortunate, more..

Editorial: Love for democracy or hatred towards MR?

July 5 (LNP) An attempt by the government to do away with Article 31 (2) of the Constitution to enable the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest another term has triggered a howl of protest from some quarters. Among the opponents of the abolition of the so-called no-third-term provision are some critics who genuinely feel for the country`s democracy and fear that if a president is allowed to go on contesting indefinitely, more..

'Servants of the public'

July 5 (Island) When the average citizen is being burdened with economic hardships it is immoral, unjustifiable and utterly reprehensible to even think of buying or renting out luxury apartments for MPs. The JVP should be commended for criticising this move and also for suggesting that an independent apolitical body be appointed to decide on these matters and not be left for the legislators to 'legislate to serve themselves'. more..

SC allows to take up Fonseka's petition against Prez poll results

July 5 (CT) The Supreme Court today (July 05) decided to take up the petition filed by General Sarath Fonseka, which called to annul the results of the Presidential Election held last January. A five judge bench comprising Chief Justice Asoka De Silva, and justices Shirani Bandaranayake, Gamini Amarathunga, K. Sripavan and S.I. Imam decided that the case will be heard on September 13, 14 and 15 this year. more..

House spends Rs. 100,000 a day on dinner alone

July 5 (DM) The Parliament spends a whopping Rs. 100,000 a day for dinner alone when sessions were conducted till night, officials said. During this budget period, parliamentary sessions are conducted from 9.30 am till 9.30 pm. There are around 650 parliamentary employees assigned for night duty every day along with about 250 police officers. "All are required to be provided with dinner. more..

'Sri Lanka not to please international community'

July 5 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government won't please international community despite coming under UN pressure. "We are a small nation, a small economy but we will not bow down to external pressures," Keheliya Rambukwella, also the minister of Media told reporters. "We are a sovereign country and we will do what is best for the country, not what is best for the international community," more..

Homeless killings strike fear in Colombo

July 5 (BBC) In a horrific development in Sri Lanka's biggest city, at least seven homeless people or beggars have been murdered in the space of a few weeks. The murder methods have been particularly violent, the victims crushed with rocks or beaten with poles as they slept. The money they had on them is stolen. The police have not yet solved the killings. more..

NICs, legal docs given to resettled

July 5 (DM) Within two days some 12,000 National Identity Cards and other legal documents had been issued to the resettled people in the North under a crash program, officials said. NICs, legal. Under the Good Governance Project of the Ministry of Justice with the cooperation of the Ministry of Public Administration, birth certificates, marriage, death certificates and National Identity Cards and more..

Sri Lankan govt ropes in former Tiger leader to gain support of Tamil diaspora

July 5 (PTI) Sri Lankan government has roped in former Tiger leader Kumaran Pathmanathan, once a close aide of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, to mobilise the Tamil diaspora for its support and is using his 'data base' on the LTTE to crush its international network. The detained LTTE leader Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), is now reportedly leading efforts to more..

Left will vote against extending President’s term

July 5 (LB) The left parties of the UPFA alliance have come out strongly against the proposal to remove the term limit on the executive presidency, calling for a complete abolition of the system instead. Vasudeva Nanayakkara says the left will be obliged to vote against the amendment in parliament. Excerpts: Q: Why are the left parties of the UPFA concerned about a proposal to remove the term limit on the executive presidency? more..

Term extension put off

July 5 (DM) The government was likely to delay the introduction of Constitutional reforms which seek to extend the term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a senior Cabinet Minister said yesterday on condition of anonymity.Besides, the government would also concentrate more on the setting up of a bicameral parliamentary system with a senate on the national level and Jana Sabha to oversee rural development work. more..

EU to cut Sri Lanka's trade benefits over human rights

July 5 (AFP) The European Union decided Monday to withdraw trade concessions in August granted to Sri Lanka after the government failed to make a written commitment to improve its human rights record. Sri Lanka will "temporarily" lose its preferential access to the EU market from August 15 after it missed a July 1 deadline to deliver the pledge, the EU said in a statement. more..

Open for tourism business

July 6 (IRIN) Decades of fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government battered the tourism industry, but a year after the war ended, tourists are returning in record numbers and efforts are being made to lure visitors to the worst-hit north to rebuild the economy. "Attractions in the north have to be identified and given publicity by travel agencies and operators," said Udana Wickramasinghe, an official with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). more..

Mattakkuliya suspects released on bail

July 6 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has rejected an application by the police to detain 176 people arrested on suspicion of attacking a police station. The police have arrested the group accusing them of attacking Mattakkuliya police station on Saturday evening. Villagers have surrounded the police station after a suspect was reportedly sustained injuries in police custody. Police who transported the suspects in three buses requested the court to remand them and more..

UN report sets scene for Sri Lankan asylum freeze

July 6 (ABC) A United Nations report has paved the way for the Government to take a stronger stance against asylum seekers. The report, from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, describes "greatly improved" security in Sri Lanka, and says it should not be presumed that Tamils need asylum. It says some women and children, as well as people with links to the Tamil Tigers, still face the risk of persecution more..

Missiles over Sri Lanka

July 6 (LG) Seven years ago, the local heads of the world’s biggest multilateral agencies made an interesting observation at the annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association. World Bank’s Peter Harrold, ADB’s John Cooney and IMF’s Jeremy Carter in separate presentations arrived at a common consensus, saying: ‘Sri Lankan officials lack good negotiating skills and tact in dealing with multilateral agencies when negotiating soft loans or grants.” more..

Gen. Fonseka says prepared to clear name of Lankan military

July 6 (CT) DNA MP retired General Sarath Fonseka today said that as the Army Commander who led the military in defeating the LTTE, he was prepared to clear the name of Sri Lanka's military. General Fonseka told parliament that the war against the LTTE was carried out according to the relevant international conventions. "As the then army commander I can candidly say the war was waged according to international covenants and conventions. more..

EU regrets seeing no reply from Sri Lanka on preferential import regime

July 6 (BNO) The European Union (EU) on Monday said it regretted the absence of reply form Sri Lankan authorities regarding its preferential access to the EU market, thus losing its tariff system GSP+ starting from August 15. Sri Lanka will temporarily lose its preferential import regime after its shortcomings in the implementation of three United Nations (UN) human rights conventions. more..

Mangala urges govt. to cooperate with UN

July 6 (CT) MP Mangala Samaraweera has asked the government to cooperate with the United Nations to clear the name of the country, "instead of howling and barking at the moon like a pack of demented wolves." He said the government must act in a responsible manner to save its reputation. "Let experienced diplomats handle this situation, instead of the jokers and amateurs who have been posing as diplomats over the last four years," more..

Sri Lanka trade gap widens in April amid economic recovery

July 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign trade volumes and a trade gap widened in April 2010 amid as an economic recovery with exports growing 24.2 percent and imports growing 55.8 percent, official data showed. Exports grew to 543.5 million US dollars with tea growing 61 percent to 93.7 million US dollars. Though industrial exports also grew 16.9 percent to 406.1 million US apparels were flat at 227.5 million US dollars. more..

Mini Budget aimed mainly at development

July 6 (NS) The Budget 2010 was presented to Parliament this week few hours after the IMF announced its will to pay out the delayed third tranche of a $2.6 billion loan to Sri Lanka saying the government was planning to tackle its weak finances in the 2010 Budget. This subsequently led the Opposition to call the Budget presented on Tuesday (29) an IMF drafted Budget. more..

Sri Lanka lures data centre investment

July 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's PC House has got approval from the investment promotion agency to set up a subsidiary with an investment of three million dollars to do internet data centre operations, a statement said. The BoI said IDC and information technology outsourcing were seen as businesses with growth potential. "The BoI has granted investment approval to Proficinity Limited to develop software and provide data hosting and IT-enabled services," more..

In A Nutshell

July 6 (SL) Are You Ready? So Salmon Can was ‘Ready’ to come Lanka’s way to film his latest Bollywoodian offering. And there was an unholy hue and cry as people flocked adoringly. A group of us rag-writers made our way to a press briefing all of a flutter. As usual, we chose seats right in front (must be able to admire Salmon’s abs no?) Except then the organisers came and told us to move quick sharp because a Ministerial type was a coming (we suspect Lucky Yap a Lot) and more..

Ishanka crowned Miss Sri Lanka for Universe 2010

July 6 (DM) TNL Radio Network presented the Revlon Miss Sri Lanka for Miss Universe 2010 finale at the Hilton Colombo Ballroom last night (July 4) dedicated to 12 of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful women. Tickets for the pageant were sold out with many of Colombo’s finest gracing the event, dressed to the nines, to support and cheer on their favorite participants. more..

Dimensions of safeguarding sovereignty: Real and imagined

July 6 (DM) Sri Lanka defeated terrorism and simultaneously recovered a territorial integrity that had been compromised in many ways. Some claim that one year after the defeat of terrorism the nation remains fissured (Dayan Jayatilleke, ‘Domestic dimension of safeguarding sovereignty’ in the Daily Mirror of June 30, 2010). Yes, we haven’t exactly turned Sri Lanka into Utopia since May 19, 2010; there are, as Dayan says, ‘fissures.’ more..

Aren't armed escorts history?

July 6 (DM) The traffic slewed to a side of the road as a line of vehicles sped from the opposite direction like charging Bison in an American prairie. Land Rovers carrying armed soldiers were escorting limousines and luxury four wheel drive jeeps. But nobody could see the big-wigs sitting behind dark windows. To the ordinary citizens who had to give way to the VIP caravan it did not matter who needed such royal protection from assassination or more..

DNA to protest to C'wealth

July 6 (DM) The DNA is to lodge a protest with the Commonwealth if detained Member of Parliament and leader of the DNA General Sarath Fonseka is not permitted by the Sri Lankan government to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference in Nairobi, Kenya. DNA General Secretary Tiran Alles, said that General Fonseka had every right to attend the conference scheduled for September as a more..

Moon cannot rob Sri Lanka of its sovereignty or shine

July 6 (LP) Colombo cannot be forced to submit to a war crimes investigation while the UN ignores Israel's transgressions. In the quest for power or the expansion of distorted ideologies, wars invariably target the poor and oppressed. Often killed or displaced in the hundreds of thousands, these helpless victims are quickly forgotten in the heat of the battle. Such was the case in Sri Lanka for over three decades. more..

Over 54,000 admitted to emergency ward within 6 months

July 6 (LP) The number of patients admitted to the Colombo National Hospital from the month of January records as 54,213. Out of this number most of the cases which is 27% were reported due to road accidents, a 20% of patients were admitted due to household accidents while another 16% were reported due to falling. The hospital records also say that a percentage of 11% is recorded through accidents which occur at work places and more..