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'The Tamil diaspora will suitably reciprocate his gesture’

June 9 (HT) The 300,000-strong Canadian Tamil community has hailed Amitabh Bachchan for not attending the IIFA in Colombo. A community leader hit out at other Bollywood actors, including Salman Khan, who took part in the three-day event, calling them a “disgrace” to India. “Big B is really big. This name suits him, and he is our hero today. We Tamils salute him. By not going to Sri Lanka, Big B stands tall among Tamils around the world,” more..

300 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers on the way to Australia

June 9 (TA) A people-smuggling vessel carrying up to 300 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers, and organised by remnants of the Tamil Tigers, could be on its way to Australia. Prominent counter-terrorism expert and author Rohan Gunaratna said the venture was being organised by the same Tiger faction responsible for transporting 76 Tamils to Canada on the Ocean Lady last year. more..

Debrief News - 08.06.2010

Fonseka denies 'traitor' charges

June 9 (BBC) The former armed forces chief in Sri Lanka, General Sarath Fonseka, has denied being a liar or committing treason in speaking of the possibility of war crimes having been committed on the island. He was speaking to the BBC Sinhala service a day after the country’s defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa – once a close ally of the general – described him as a liar and threatened him with execution. more..

Sri Lanka stocks slip from record high

June 9 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares touched a new record high on Tuesday as retail investors bought banking shares, but profit takers pulled the index lower later in the day. All-Share Price Index hit a new peak of 4,459.26 points, but closed down 4.05 points, or 0.09 percent, at 4,427.27. The market is up 30.9 percent so far in 2010, making it Asia's best performer. The turnover was 2.7 billion rupees ($23 million), well above last year's daily average of 593.6 million rupees, and = more..

India to seek Rajapaksa's reassurance

June 9 (Hindu) India will look for a reassurance from Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on “genuine” devolution of power to the provinces as a step towards solving the ethnic problem. Mr. Rajapaksa, who arrived here on Tuesday on a four-day visit, will hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday. He has unveiled plans to set up an Upper House that will ensure all-round representation, but India feels this step would not amount to decentralisation. more..

'No decision yet on CEPA signing'

June 9 (BL) Despite rising speculations that Sri Lanka will sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during this week, Minister Rishard Bathiyudeen told Parliament yesterday that the government has not arrived at a final decision in relation to the signing of the CEPA with India as yet. The Minister said the government has not arrived at a final decision on signing CEPA in view of the concerns expressed by various factions at present. more..

Editorial: Need for foreign investment to bridge infrastructure deficit

june 9 (BL) The Government is keen to promote faster economic development. The projected growth rate for this year is 6%. But we need to get back to at least 7% growth. But growth of the GDP alone is not enough. The composition of the increase in GDP is equally if not more important. Any government spending even if it is to dig holes and fill them is automatically counted in the GDP. But that it is not an increase in output that produces greater welfare. more..

TUs demand promised Rs.2,500 hike

June 9 (BL) The Trade Union Confederation (TUC) will hold a special summit with the participation of over 21 trade unions demanding the promised Rs.2,500 salary increment for the public sector. Trade Unions in a recent statement demanded that the government must include the Rs.2,500 salary increment that was promised for the public in the next Appropriation Bill, as promised during the elections. more..

'Rajapaksa has gone back on assurances'

June 9 (Hindu) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M. Karunanidhi has criticised the visiting Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, for not fulfilling the assurances he had given to the Central and Tamil Nadu governments on resettlement and rehabilitation of war-affected Tamils in Sri Lanka. Mr. Karunanidhi charged that the Sri Lankan government was even delaying the distribution of materials sent by more..

Nawaloka says ‘great relief’ – What should EPF say?

June 9 (BL) The disposal of Galadari shares by one of Sri Lanka’s premier private hospitals, Nawaloka Hospital PLC (NHL) was termed as a ‘great relief’ in its 2009/10 annual report, ironically the buyer of these shares being the country’s biggest state owned pension fund, Employee Provident Fund (EPF). “This year has seen the disposal of approximately Rs.1.4 billion worth of shares in Galadari Hotels Lanka Limited. more..

Swimming pool project in Jaffna abandoned due to swindle

June 9 (TN) The construction of a big swimming pool in Jaffna Central College premises launched by the ‘Blue Brigade’ youths of Namal Rajapakse, son of President Rajapakse and parliamentarian, has been abandoned as Blue Brigade men from South had sold the iron rods and cement collected for the construction of the pool in the open market in Jaffna, sources in Jaffna said. The foundation laying ceremony for this swimming pool had been held with great government publicity and propaganda more..

Crown appeals 6-month sentence for fundraising for Sri Lankan terrorist group

June 9 (LH) The federal government is appealing the six-month jail sentence for the first person convicted under Canada's law against raising money for a terrorist group. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada announced Tuesday it had filed notice with the B.C. Court of Appeal objecting to the sentence given to Prapharan Thambithurai of Maple, Ont. Thambithurai pleaded guilty last month to raising $600 for more..

One year after war, Defence Ministry gets highest budgetary allocation

June 9 (CT) The Appropriation Bill presented to parliament by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne shows that the Defence Ministry has once again been allocated the highest budgetary allocation of Rs. 202,217 million. A year after the end of the war against the LTTE, the government has made the highest budgetary allocations to the Defence Ministry. The Appropriation Bill further says that the government has estimated Rs. 974,748 million as expenditure for its services for the financial year of 2010. more..

Editorial: What kind of a nation is this?

June 9 (LG) The Sri Lanka Guardian expresses shock and sadness about the remarks made by the Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksha in an interview with the BBC which is now widely quoted. The words were to the effect that Sarath Fonseka, who is in military custody now, will be hung if he were to give evidence on affairs relating to the War. We have no particular sympathies or antipathies against Sarath Fonseka. We deal with the issue purely as matter of the rights of citizens. more..

What is India up to?

June 9 (LG) India featured in the Sri Lankan newspapers last week but not in a friendly manner. First it was on CEPA with many Sri Lankans coming out against the agreement claiming that it is in favour of India. Then IIFA came into the picture with some demigods in Indian film industry not attending the carnival that was staged in Colombo. Later it was learnt that even some of those who had come to Colombo were not seen at Temple Trees, where the President had made arrangements to receive them. more..

Women's views on prevention of torture -- Interview 2

June 9 (LG) Sandamani Munasinghe, a Sri Lankan Attorney-at-Law, has worked as an advisor to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), several human rights organisations and also assisted in many human rights cases with senior lawyers. She has also worked in the Women in Need organisation, which particularly deals with the problems of women and children. She made following observations in answering questions posed to her. more..

From rail to power, sops ready for Sri Lanka

June 9 (IE) A bouquet of pacts, including one on deep-sea power cables and another on a rehabilitation centre for Tamil widows, between India and Sri Lanka is likely to be announced when President Mahinda Rajapaksa meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House on Wednesday. Among the other important announcements likely are rebuilding of rail network in northern Sri Lanka, an academic centre for Indian studies, and consulates in Jaffna and Hambantota. more..

The left ‘Lilliputs’ in the land of ‘Rajput’

June 9 (SL) Almost one and a half decades ago, he said playing a minister’s role in a teledrama is better than being an opposition politician, forever. Already an MP, why be an MP in a teledrama too, was the logic, though said in lighter vein, with a hearty laugh. He thus became a teledrama actor, playing the role of a minister. By the time the teledrama came on air, he was for the first time, a minister. more..

MR meeting Indian relatives; leaving Chinese friends

June 9 (SL) Civil rights activists led by a NGO – NAAM, have urged the Union Government to impress upon Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, due to visit India on June 8, the imperative of constituting an Indo-Sri Lankan joint mechanism for meaningful rebuilding of lives of Sri Lankan Tamils, reported The Hindu on Friday, May 28. The pot starts boiling there in India, as soon as Indian interests are tied to the Rajapaksa regime. more..

Sri Lankan priest raises resettlement concerns

June 9 (UCAN) A Church official in northern Sri Lanka has met with the region’s military governor to raise resettlement concerns. “Resettled people find it difficult to restart their normal life,” Father Arulanandam Johnaly Yavis said while speaking with Major General G.A Chandrasiri at military headquarters in Kilinochchi. The priest is dean of Catholic priests in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, president of the Jaffna Diocesan Priests Union and more..

'Modern technology for post offices countrywide'

June 9 (SO) Post and Telecommunication Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga said the Government has decided to infuse modern technology into the country's postal service and bring that technology to the village level via post offices. This endeavour would provide a more efficient service to the people through post offices and the Postal Department would function without becoming a burden to the Government. more..

Seminarians discover their Tamil brothers

June 9 (UCAN) Sinhalese seminarians visiting Sri Lanka’s Jaffna region say that the visit has transformed them. “None of these young seminarians have ever been to Jaffna before,” said Father Anthony Jayakody, Rector of the National Seminary at Ampitiya in Kandy, who led the June 6-8 tour of 45 seminarians and 15 priests. In the first such trip since the war’s end, the seminarians met people who had lost their loved ones. more..

Sri Lanka biodiversity seen under threat

June 9 (LBO) Increasing population pressure and human activity are threatening the rich biodiversity in Sri Lanka and a greater focus on habitat protection and conservation is needed, scientists said. Sri Lanka has been recognized as a global biodiversity 'hotspot' because of the high number of fauna and flora which are endemic or native to the island and serious amount of habitat loss. more..

'India trying to control economy through CEPA'

June 9 (NF) The Patriotic National Movement (PNM) said today that India was not only applying pressure for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to be implemented but was also trying to take full control of the country’s economy through the CEPA agreement. Chairman of PNM, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera, made these comments at a media briefing today. more..

Trade Unions clash with Lokuge

June 9 (NS) The Trade Union Confederacy (TUC) demands that the Labour Minister should give up his responsibility of selecting representatives for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Summit in Geneva. TUC General Secretary Saman Rathnapriya said that Minister Gamini Lokuge’s decision to not send trade unions representing public sector employees to the Summit indicated that the minister was neglecting his duty. more..

Real humanity surpasses all political theories

June 9 (DM) It is no doubt that people who had read the story on Monday on the Daily Mirror front page about former Opposition Leader Appapillai Amirthalingam’s wife Mangayarkkarasi Amirthalingam visiting her husband’s Sinhalese bodyguard, T.A. Nissanka at Ambanpitiya in Kegalle after 21 years would have been highly moved by it. It would have been so not only because of the special affection that Amirthalingam family had for this Sinhalese or more..

Kaleidoscope of female ingenuity

June 9 (NS) Obviously, it is one of the most progressing business places along the Koggala Lake. Situated in a tourist paradise, close to the Galle-Matara highway, it produces a uniquely Sri Lankan aura of handmade Batik. In an era of sophisticated modern machinery and technology, this place successfully dominates the arena of business Down South. The Nation’s attention was captivated for two reasons; more..

Pipeborne drinking water facilities to Jaffna

June 9 (GDI) Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage is to initiate a pipeborne drinking water supply project to provide pure water to many parts of the Jaffna peninsula where there is an acute drinking water shortage. Currently people of the area get their water needs from wells and bore wells. But salinity is setting fast in the wells around the coastal villages and towns of the peninsula therefore need for pure drinking water has become a critical issue. more..

No more porn sites via mobile

June 9 (LP) Arrangements will be made to prevent young people from accessing obscene websites via mobile phones. The initiative steps on this will be taken by the Child Protection Authority of the Child Development and Women's Empowerment Ministry said Minister Tissa Karaliyadde. The Juvenile Court in Bambalapitiya ordered mobile phone service providers to restrict such obscene websites in more..

Whole of North to be electrified in two years

June 9 (MoD) Ceylon Electricity Board engineers yesterday said they were confident that the power line connecting Vavuniya and Chunnakam on the A-9 road, destroyed by the LTTE, could be reconstructed during the next two years. The 74-kilometre power line carrying 132 kilowatts of power will be constructed with a Japanese assistance of Rs.1,969 million and the Asian Development Bank will assist in connecting the Vavuniya Sub station to the Kilinochchi substation, more..

‘Tharu Dilena Reyak’ to shine at Sugathadasa stadium

June 9 (LP) The most memorable fund-raising musical extravaganza, ‘Tharu Dilena Reyak’ is to be held on the 17th of June at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. The programme is organized by the Seva Vanitha Army Branch for its ‘Abimansala’ (Wellness Resort) at Anuradhapura. Proceeds from the ‘Tharu Dilena Reyak’, the mammoth galaxy of popular artists unprecedented in the history of Sri Lankan music and cinema industry are to be exclusively used for the ‘Abimansala’ construction project. more..

EP launches programme on dengue prevention and control

June 9 (MoD) The Eastern Province launches a Programme to control and prevent Dengue from Eastern Province as a part of the Island wide exercise for eradication of Dengue from Sri Lanka under directives of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A meeting on this programme was held under the Chairmanship of Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama recently. more..

Victory Day celebration on June18

June 9 (GDI) The official celebrations of Victory Day, postponed due to inclement weather will be held on Friday (June 18) at Galle Face to mark the victory over the LTTE one year ago, the Director General of the Media Center for National Security Lakshman Hullugalle said. The National celebrations will commence at 8 am at Galle Face while at 4pm a commemoration ceremony will be held at the war memorial at Parlaiment ground in Kotte. more..

Utopia or dystopia? Dhammashoka or Mugabe?

June 9 (LNW) The speech made by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera MP. At the Emergency Debate in Parliament on 8th June 2010. Mr. Speaker, One year ago, with the defeat of the LTTE, a new window of opportunity opened for our long suffering country to move forward along with the rest of the world, as a modern democratic and prosperous nation, united in its ethnic and cultural diversity. more..

Only Rs.13.2 billion allocated for govt hospitals that need Rs.20 billion

June 9 (LT) In spite of the estimated cost of medicine and medical equipment needed for government hospitals is Rs.20 billion, only Rs.13.2 billion has been allocated by the Treasury states the Ministry of Health. As such, the standard and warranty for these medicines and equipment have to be ignored when ordering them said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, Director of the Medical Supplies Division, Dr. Chandana Gajanayake says more..

‘Environment tax’ is a racket – only 1100 batteries collected in 2009

June 9 (LT) Stating that users of cellular phones discard more than 14 million cell phone batteries annually former Minister of Environment Champika Ranawaka introduced an ‘environment tax’ of 2% for mobile phones in 2009. The government had stated that all discarded batteries would be collected and would be destroyed in a way that would not be harmful to the environment making use of the money collected as the ‘environment tax.’ more..

Interview III - Frederica Jansz

'Masses prepared to sacrifice their lives to get General released'

June 9 (LT) “The masses in this country are prepared to defeat arbitrary moves of the government and if necessary even to sacrifice their lives to get Gen. Sarath Fonseka released,” said General Secretary of DNA Vijithe Herath. Speaking at the commencement of the ‘Adhistana Pooja’ held at Viharamahadevi Park yesterday to demand the government to release Gen. Sarath Fonseka, Mr. Herath said, more..

Editorial: A new beginning?

June 9 (LNP) It is a matter for happiness that the elimination of the LTTEterror has created some democratic space for President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Tamil political leaders to come together for a powwow. For nearly three decades, Tamil leaders save a few who had the courage to stand up to terrorism remained bound and gagged under the jackboot of the LTTE, which claimed to be the sole representative of Tamils. more..