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‘Wonder of Asia’, a reality soon

July 6 (SO) As they referred to the IMF, I should remind this House as to how the UNP received aid from the IMF, World Bank and ADB at different occasions. To begin with they agreed to a set of conditions in 1980 to obtain Rs. 60 million from the World Bank and IMF. They launched their novel privatisation scheme with Buhary Hotel, Maradana, which they claimed to have “privatised the hotel industry”. more..

Can JHU get Russia and China to veto Ban Ki Moon?

July 6 (LP) In the present international political context especially related to Sri Lanka, anything seems possible. Sri Lanka once managed to defeat a proposal supported by mighty nations to investigate war crimes during the last phase of war at the Human Rights Council of UN. It is somehow eluding any punitive action of the international community regarding the human rights violation and war crime charges leveled against it. more..

Killer targets Sri Lanka's homeless people

July 6 (BBC) Police in Sri Lanka are investigating a total of seven murders of homeless people, hawkers and beggars in the past few weeks. The murder methods have been particularly violent, as the victims were crushed with rocks or beaten with poles as they slept. Lawyer Lakshan Dias told the BBC it could not be the work of an 'ordinary citizen' or 'fellow beggar'. Charles Haviland reports from Sri Lanka. more..

Debrief News 05 07 2010

Reflections on the Budget Debate of 2010

July 6 (RW) I had initially been sorry that I would not be in Sri Lanka for the presentation of the budget and the debate that took place over the last few days. However, reading about the arguments advanced by the opposition, which still seems determined to oppose every action of government as though that was the sole justification for having an opposition, it seems that I missed very little. more..

Unravelling Solheim’s crazy conundrum

July 6 (Island) Since reading in a Sunday newspaper the remarks of Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim to a group of Sri Lankan journalists in Oslo, I have been trying to unravel the meaning and intent of his words. Before commenting on Solheim’s observations on the panel on Sri Lanka appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon let me deal with another controversial issue into which Solheim has jumped headlong in an imitation of bulls visiting a china shop. more..

'Socio-economic welfare measures in the offing'

July 6 (SO) The two main plantation crops, tea and rubber, are doing well fetching high prices in the world market and research-based plans have been launched for the long-term sustainability and productivity of the crops, Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe said. In tea and rubber exports, the country has hit the 1.2 billion US$ annual export level producing the world's cleanest and healthiest tea, he pointed out. more..

'We are all human' says gay rights actvist

July 6 (LB) Sri Lankan politics, though notoriously prone to character assassination has never had a history of villifying its stakeholders based on their sexual orientation. That is a positive side of the political culture, which, the country could be proud of, though the political culture in this country in general is largely illiberal, feudal and is based on a system of patronage, which is, of course the sad side of it. more..

Auditors more corrupt -- a fine how di do

July 6 (LB) Is it not axiomatic that by and large the first line of defence against corruption and abuse of power in business entities are the auditors? Should not auditors be the initial whistleblowers? Sadly, the chartered accountants in Sri Lanka have wretchedly failed in this task. For example, would not the timely warning by auditors have mitigated the trauma of particularly the smaller depositors in the alleged multi-billion rupee scams of failed finance companies? more..

'If Govt. had done what we told present situation will not arise'

July 6 (AD) The United Nations and all the imperialist powers are today demanding that Sri Lanka upholds several issues like human rights, good governance etc. These are similar issues that the JVP has been urging the Government to do right along, says JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe. The United nations General Secretary is pressing the government to implement certain agreements as discussed more..

The dividends of war and peace

July 6 (Island) The Peace Dividend is a much talked of topic today. There are many who expect this dividend to be in the form of reconciliation and restoration of mutual trust among the people of Sri Lanka. There are others abroad who expect the Peace Dividend to be the continued opportunity for those who were trying to throw a life-line to the LTTE in the last stages of the battle against terror, to continue their pressurising of Sri Lanka and interference in our internal affairs. more..

Reporting pressure easing in the east

July 6 (PA) The reporting climate in the Eastern Province has markedly improved compared to two years back. We have spent the last two weeks traveling on assignment in remote areas in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee Districts that were for years virtual no-go zones. Access wise this was the best since 2006 when restrictions began to be imposed. Traveling into remote areas in the province is no different to any where else in the country. more..

Devotees numbers down at Madhu Marian shrine

July 6 (UCAN) Only 70,000 people attended this year’s Madhu Marian shrine feast, far short of the anticipated 300,000 pilgrims. Bishops Vianney Fernando of Kandy and Ponniah Joseph of Trincomalee-Batticaloa were among those who attended Sri Lanka’s most celebrated feast on July 2. “The crowd was smaller because it was a working day and many villagers have not returned to their homes,” more..

Veteran lawyer Desmond Fernando dies

July 6 (AD) Prominent Sri Lankan lawyer and President’s Counsel Desmond Fernando passed away this evening at a private hospital in Colombo. He was a former President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). Funeral arrangements are to be notified later. Mr. Fernando who was an active member of the Civil Rights Movement became the first secretary of the BASL in 1974 and was twice President of the Association. more..

Visit of Malaysian Statesmen to Jaffna

July 6 (CIMIC) A Jaffna origin Malaysian statesmen’s delegation headed by Dato S Kulasegaran and Mr C Gnanarajah, along with 09 members visited Jaffna on 04 June 2010. The visit was arranged for the purpose of assisting the Government Machinery in the fields of economy and trade and to inspire the foreign investors on the ventures open for investment in the region. In addition, they intend in launching certain community based projects in liaison with more..

Serendib Dreaming- Episode 2

Sri Lanka’s first ever Bus & Coach Exhibition

July 6 (LP) The very first Bus & Coach Exhibition in Sri Lankan history will take place at Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita from 10 am to 8 pm on the 9th and 10th of this month. The Exhibition will have 50 stalls and will feature 25 of the newest Bus models as well as older models that were used for public transportation. Also, the exhibition will play host to a number of other things such as Bus Builders and Importers, more..

Jaffna High Security Zone to be relaxed

July 6 (MoD) In a move to restore complete civil administration in the Jaffna Peninsula, the Resettlement Ministry yesterday said certain parts of the Jaffna High Security Zone (HSZ) have been identified for resettlement. The Ministry has instructed Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh to discuss resettlement in the Jaffna HSZ with the security authorities and make preliminary arrangements to resettle the people. more..

UNIDO chief satisfied with development work

July 6 (MoD) Visiting United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Chief Dr. Kandeh Yumkella has expressed his satisfaction over the reconstruction process in the North and East. UNIDO Focal Point Director Nawaz Rajabdeen said Dr. Yumkella was happy to note the development in the North and East after successfully eradicating terrorism in the region. more..

Sri Lanka to challenge EU over GSP +

July 6 (N360) A top trade official of the Sri Lankan Government says, if the European Union removes the GSP plus trade concession from Sri Lanka, the Country will Challenge the EU decision at the WTO. He said, “There is a possibility that we may complain to the WTO”. The official, who is well versed in International Trade Affairs, also said if such a move is taken by the EU; it will be a “Violation of the WTO Law”. more..

'Now we have created yet another world record by having the world’s smallest cabinet of two ministers'

July 6 (LeN) The Rajapakse administration has shown an uncanny ability to create world records in the last few years; prior to the General Election, Sri Lanka had the dubious honour of having the world’s largest number of Ministers and now we have created yet another world record by having the world’s smallest cabinet of two ministers. As some say, the new cabinet consists of 2 Ministers and 39 door mats for the family, more..

Sri Lanka to popularize organic fertilizer

July 6 (GDI) The Government has allocated Rs. 225 million to popularize the production and use of organic fertilizer in the country, Sri Lanka's Organic Fertilizer Bureau of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services said. The aim of the Government is to minimize the use of imported chemical fertilizer through the popularization of organic fertilizer among farmers. more..

DaladaVeediya to re-open for public

July 6 (NF) A group of Kandy Municipal Councillors have visited the chief prelate of the Malwathu Chapter most venerable Thibbotuwawe Shri Sumangala Thera with regard to opening the road that runs parallel to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. The upper part of the Dalada Veediya and part of Dharmapala Veediya located close to the Temple, have been closed for some time now, due to security reasons. more..

UNP demands action against Sooriyapperuma for predicting Obama’s killing

July 6 (Island) The UNP has asked Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to advice the UPFA parliamentary group to behave after newcomer National List MP J.R.P. Sooriyapperuma predicted in Parliament that US President Barak Obama would be killed in a year. A UNP delegation met Speaker Rajapaksa in his chambers to discuss the issue last Saturday. Expressing concern over the National List MP’s attack on the US President, more..

Govt, Opposition must work together for country`s progress - PM

July 6 (LNP) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 9.30 a.m. yesterday. Following the presentation of Papers and Oral questions the House took up the Committee Stage debate of the Budget 2010. Lakshman Kiriella (UNP): Parliament has a right to appoint Supreme Court judges. Today there is no Constitutional Committee. The Prime Minister appoints the judiciary, and the President appoints the IGP. more..

China now exports its convicts

July 6 (JT) Relieving pressure on overcrowded national prisons by employing convicts as laborers at Chinese-run projects in the developing world is a novel strategy China has adopted — an approach that is certain to create new backlashes against Chinese businesses overseas, besides highlighting the country's egregious human-rights record. In addition to being the world's biggest executioner, more..

SB lifted suspension on 39 undergrads

July 6 (LP) The suspension imposed by the administration on 39 undergraduates in University of Sri Jayawardhanapura was lifted by the Minister of Higher education S.B Dissanayake. Minister who was on a field visit yesterday (05) without any notification lifted suspension on students. Minister paid the attention on current problems among students, lecturers and the administration. more..

70 Div. Secretariats at heavy Dengue risk

July 6 (LP) Health Ministry says it has identified 70 Divisional Secretariats with heavy Dengue risk. Ministry has taken measures to make aware the public on preventing Dengue epidemic. First awareness program started at Meethotamulla Wadugodawatta and St. Anne’s school in Wattala last Sunday (04) Minister of Health Maithreepala Sirisena stated. Provincial Health Ministry, Provincial Health Directors office and Divisional Health Secretary has more..

Govt. to reduce ADSL broadband charges

July 6 (NF) The government has focused its attention towards reducing ADSL and Broadband Internet charges in the island. Director General of the TRC Anusha Pelpita said that discussions were already underway with phone companies and other relevant institutions in that regard. The aim of reducing these charges is to increase the number of ADSL and Broadband Internet service users. more..

'I’m the scapegoat for their failures'

July 6 (LB) Former army chief and the defeated presidential candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka claims that the government is trying to make him a scapegoat for its own failures. The UN panel, he says, was set up under an earlier agreement between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who visited the island soon after the end of the war. And he maintains that every citizen has a responsibility to testify before such a panel. more..

Editorial: A tale of four cities

July 6 (LNP) Politics is always spelt wrong. How to spell it right? Easy! G-R-E-E-D. We have reported during the past few days how politicians both here and abroad are feathering their nests while people are struggling to make ends meet. Today, the cover story of our World View section says that Kenyan lawmakers have granted themselves a huge pay hike much to the consternation of the public. This is certainly bad news for Sri Lankans. more..

Catholics should not be spectators but instead serve humanity through media

July 6 (AN) “Many wonder whether freedom of expression exists in Sri Lanka or not. Often, when the media want to tell the truth, they find many obstacles on their path. As a Catholic priest I think we must tell the truth and not just be simple spectators of what happens,” Fr Benedict Joseph, representative for the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka, told AsiaNews on World Communication Day. In his statement, Fr Joseph was also responding to a more..

Presidents files objections in election petition

July 6 (DN) The relief sought in the election petition are misconceived in law and cannot be granted under the provisions of the Presidential Elections Act, stated UPFA Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa, filing his preliminary objections to the election petition filed by Opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka, seeking to dismiss it in limine. more..

New procedures for UN

July 6 (DM) The government is to introduce special procedures for UN agencies traveling to the north in order to differentiate them from local and international NGOs and discussions to this effect with the UN is expected to take place soon, a government official told Daily Mirror online. Secretary of the Presidential Task Force S.B. Divaratne told Daily Mirror online that the special procedures will be finalized in a few days afterwhich the government will hold discussions with the UN. more..

Forum of Tamil parties formed

July 6 (DN) Tamil political party and civil organization leaders met in Colombo on July 2 and formed the Forum of Tamil Parties. The formation of this organization is in furtherance of the consensus arrived at by representatives of Tamil political parties and Tamil political party circles that met in Colombo on June 24. It was decided at this discussion for all Tamil political parties to work together as to what course of action they need to resort to in the future for the betterment of the Tamil people, more..

Speaker decries conduct of Opposition

July 6 (DN) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, yesterday told Parliament that the conduct of the Opposition MPs when the vote was taken for the Second Reading of the budget last Saturday was not acceptable and unsatisfactory. If the Opposition MPs continue to obstruct a process of voting again, the vote would be taken orally as a collection, the Speaker said. The Speaker made this announcement after Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said that more..

Sri Lankans bewildered after kissing couples arrested

July 6 (Xinhua) Shenali is a student in a leading secondary school in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. She has a boyfriend but now she is scared to meet him after the rounding up of over 300 youth for "indecent" behavior in public. "Can holding hands of a loved one be an offense?" Shelani is bewildered. According to Police Spokesman Preshantha Jayakody, kissing, cuddling and holding hands in public places are indecent behavior. more..

Ranil tells House Mervyn threatened to kill him

July 6 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva has ganged up with business tycoon Maharaja to end his life. "Minister Mervyn Silva has joined forces with Maharaja to kill me," Wickremesinghe said. "When the vote on the second rading of the Budget was taken I was attacked with a bottle of water by government MPs. more..

'Health expenditure only 10% of Govt. sector waste'

July 6 (Island) Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said the Government annually spends Rs 14 billion on the purchase of drugs for hospitals. That amount was just 10 per cent of the annual waste in the Government sector. Addressing the inauguration of the Health Advisory Council, at the BMICH last week, he said the Government allocates Rs 76 billion annually for the health sector but the state sector waste was a staggering Rs 140 billion per year. more..

US piles pressure on Sri Lanka

July 6 (AT) When garment factory workers outside Colombo once organized a noisy protest over a bonus issue, police threatened to file charges - of hostage-taking - against them. The Sri Lankan authorities zeroed in on this because the workers' senior managers were inside the factory premises during the protest. Hostage-taking is worlds away from labor-related action, but rights advocates say this example, which occurred five years ago, shows the state's approach to workers' rights. more..

Northern Tamils join religious festivities in the south

July 6 (MoD) Bringing memories of the friendship that existed with the South, people of the North and the East have started arriving in the Kataragama sacred area on a “Pada Yatra” for the annual July festival It has been the tradition of the people in the North and East to participate in the annual religious functions being held at the Kataragama Devale. more..

Editorial: Central AC and bread promotion in parliament

July 6 (DM) Geoffrey Bawa’s structures are known for their unique way of attracting air and light. They are not meant for heavy central air-conditioning. Despite this rule a mistake was made at the very onset by those who were in charge of the air conditioning of the parliament by planting a heavy central air conditioning machine. The result; an Icelandic effect forcing MPs with weak lungs to keep away from most of the sessions. more..

Fonseka strongly defends military

July 6 (DM) DNA leader retired General Sarath Fonseka who led the military in eliminating the LTTE said yesterday the war was carried out in line with international conventions and covenants. General Fonseka in a hard hitting statement told parliament that as the then Army Commander he was prepared to uphold the reputation of the military. He said he was not afraid of any experts’ panel to advise him on allegations of human rights violations during the war. more..

Govt. needs partners: Basil

July 6 (DM) Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that the government needed development partners from the international community, and not monitors. He said Sri Lanka’s international relations were at its best under President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Minister said the government could muster the support of the international community fully for development work. more..

'It’s UNP who danced to IMF tune'

July 6 (DN) The conditions imposed by the IMF and World Bank (WB) over the Sri Lankan economy were obediently carried out by United National Party when they came to power in 2002. The present Government does not adhere to such conditions. We are totally different and do not hesitate to stand on non-privatization policy of the state institutions, Mass Media and Communication Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Sri Lanka, India in talks on power exchange

July 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka and India are having talks on exchanging power to help meet demand during peak times, with the island expecting an energy surplus and no more power cuts, an official said. Deputy finance minister Sarath Amunugama said the island's huge investments in infrastructure like power would help speed up growth and transform the economy and society. more..

'UNP ready to support Con reforms but won’t allow one family show'

July 6 (Island) The UNP yesterday said that it would support constitutional amendments if they were brought through the relevant committees headed by ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, Dew Gunasekera and Prof. Tissa Vitharana. Participating at the committee stage debate on budget Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that his party was about 90 per cent in favour of with the proposals made by the APRC more..

‘Import duty cuts for vehicles, electrical goods IMF conditions’

July 6 (Island) Wijedasa Rajapakshe, MP says the government gave in to two key IMF conditions in the run-up to presentation of the Budget 2010. Rajapakshe insists that the IMF’s approval for the Budget as well as the release of the third tranche of $ 2.6 billion stand-in facility was subject to Sri Lanka lowering duties on vehicles and electrical goods. more..

After decades of bloodshed, home calls

July 6 (IPS) For almost two decades, A.M. Punchibanda lived without hope of ever returning here to his native village. The 52-year-old grandfather was forced to leave Periyapillumallai, a village located deep in Sri Lanka’s eastern Batticaloa district, with his family in 1991 when ethnic tensions boiled over. Punchibanda is from the majority Sinhalese community, but lived in a village that bordered areas inhabited by the country’s minority Tamils. more..

UNP protests outside parliament

July 6 (SL) Today UNP members showed a united front in protest against Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposed constitutional changes regarding Presidential term limits. They held placards asking people not to destroy democracy for the sake of a family. This comes on the day that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe received proposals to reform the party itself and he protested next to Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunayake, more..