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Sri Lanka-China sign six pacts

June 12 (DN) Sri Lanka and China signed six agreements to enhance co-operation in the fields of technology, industry, information technology and construction at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday. The signing of agreements took place in the presence of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang. The two Governments signed an economic and technical co-operation agreement. more..

Wind damages 31 houses in Nuwara Eliya

June 12 (NF) Winds sweeping across the Nuwara Eliya district has damaged 31 houses. The measures were already underway to provide relief to those affected and added that after holding discussions with the District Secretariat, orders had been given to evacuate 29 families and temporarily accommodate them in a nearby school. Meanwhile the supply of electricity to the Nuwara Eliya district has being hampered owing to the inclement weather accompanied by strong winds. more..

Reflections on bouquet, melodies and tapestries

June 12 (DN) Referring to something I wrote recently (‘There are republics I would die for,’ Daily News of June 10, 2010), Indrani Peries recalls an incident that happened decades ago. She remembered being annoyed an Asian friend’s response to a remark made by an English female. It was a reference to skin colour. She had been upset not by the racial slur but the response, ‘we are not black, it is Africans who are black; we are Asians’. more..

'Presidential term should not be limited by written Constitution'

June 12 (DN) The term of the Presidency in Sri Lanka should not be limited by a written Constitution. It should be subjected to the decision of the people through an election as it is the sovereignty of the people that was supreme, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. Therefore no restriction should be imposed on the people's right on the election of the next President of the country as stipulated in the 1978 Constitution, he added. more..

Editorial: Lovers and criminals

June 12 (Island) Now that terrorists are no longer around and threats to national security have disappeared, the long arm of the law seems to be busy acting as a culture police. During the past few days, the police have swooped on many young couples kissing and cuddling or just holding hands in public places and apprehended about 200 of them, many of them schoolchildren. Some of them have even been produced before magistrates for alleged indecent behaviour and others reprimanded and released. more..

Ravi's motion to clip President's and PM's wings shelved

June 12 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday withheld a private member's motion, moved by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, seeking to prevent the President and Prime Minister from holding any Cabinet portfolios. His attempt ran into stiff resistance from the government parliamentarians. The motion was on the order paper and was to be taken for debate yesterday. It was the first private member's motion in the seventh Parliament. more..

Editorial: Gross news from Vavuniya…

June 12 (DM) The person who committed the crime certainly couldn’t have been in his proper senses. Chopping off a woman’s hand to rob her rings and bangles is not a kind of a story that one would hear from Sri Lanka even under worst circumstances like during a brutal war. As a reflection of a country’s law and order situation one may say the episode from Vavuniya stops little short of making Sri Lanka a land of cannibals. more..

'Mercedeze Benz costs Rs.10 mn less after tax reduction'

June 12 (Island) While tax on the common man’s 90 cc motor cycle has been reduced by a negligible 5 per cent, a Mercedeze Benz now costs Rs.10 million less, the UNP said yesterday. National List UNP MP, Harsha de Silva, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that the government, by introducing a new tax structure on vehicle imports, had done what he called a "Darasiel – the opposite of Saradiel." more..

Ranil asks govt. to reveal IIFA agreement

June 12 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday demanded that the government reveal in Parliament the total expenditure and the relevant agreement signed with regards the IIFA awards ceremony. He asked the government to table the agreement signed by the government with IIFA organisers. Once the government tables the agreement all parliamentarians would be able to understand details of the agreement, he said. more..

UNP requests mobile phone banking facilities for rural areas

June 12 (DM) The UNP in Parliament yesterday called for the expansion of mobile phone facilities in the rural areas where by the rural people can make use of their mobile phones for their banking requirements. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva who was speaking during the private member’s motion moved by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake to extend banking hours from 9 am to 4pm said expanded banking services should be made available to the rural people. more..

20% vehicles 20 years old

June 12 (DM) The government revealed in Parliament yesterday that 714,058 vehicles out of 3,595,068 vehicles registered in the country as of December 31, last year, were more than 20 years old. The government made this revelation in response to a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake during the oral question session. Of these vehicles, 900,087 are 10 to 20 years old. The number of vehicles which are five to ten years is 683,566. more..

SB says he is fond of protest campaigns

June 12 (DM) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday said he liked protests and that he felt odd when there were no protests taking place. Responding to an allegation by the AHSF student union that the Minister had threatened them to discontinue their protests, he said, “I have not made any threats as such. I like protests and actually speaking, I feel odd if there are no protests.” more..

No changes in fuel prices

June 12 (LP) There has been no decision to increase the prices of fuel said Minister Susil Premajayanatha. While on an inspection tour at the Muthurajawela oil storage yesterday he also said that there had been no meeting in this regard either. The Minister mentioned that about two weeks ago, the price of a barrel of crude oil went down to US $69 in the world market but it has increased up to US $73 now and there is no need to increase the price of oil he said. more..

Indian Coast Guard rescues Sri Lankan fishing boat crew

June 12 (PTI) Five crew members of a Sri Lankan fishing boat were rescued by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) off Andhra Pradesh coast three weeks after they lost communication with their vessel owner. The coast guard which launched a search and rescue operation in response to a request from Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai to locate the fishermen sighted the boat 41 nautical miles off Kalingapatnam on Friday, an ICG release said on Saturday. more..

Mahela Jayawardene rules out Sri Lankan political career

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's former cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene has ruled out a political career, opting instead to help people through his various charity projects. "Politics is out," he told a group of Colombo-based businessmen at a fund raiser for cancer, Colours of Courage. "My wife has threatened to divorce me if I take up politics. She has it all written up and will serve me notice if I become a politician. more..

Sri Lanka warns private power producers

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka has warned private power producers that it could go against deals signed to sell power to a state-run power distributor with the government getting into a new drive to cut the utilities losses. One of the big cash drains on the Ceylon Electricity Board, which is projected to run a loss 40 billion rupees loss this year, are payments made to private power producers. more..

'India hopeful of permanent end to Lankan ethnic strife'

June 12 (PTI) Union home minister P Chidambaram today expressed hope that the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka will be resolved permanently with "positive signals" coming from the Rajapaksa government on resettlement of displaced Tamils with equal rights. He said the Centre had asked the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recent visit to India to send back the remaining 57,000 Tamils, who were now in camps, to their homes. more..

'Eelam dreams only hurting Tamils'

June 12 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Tamil minister who accompanied President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India says the Tamil diaspora's refusal to give up the Tamil Eelam dream is only hurting his community. Expatriate Tamils in Western countries who continued to be loyal to the goal of forming an independent state were no way serving the mass of Tamils in Sri Lanka, said cabinet minister Douglas Devananda. "The fact is there is going to be no Tamil Eelam, now or ever," more..

'Pro-LTTE' elements blast rail track in India

June 12 (IE) Passengers of the Tiruchirapalli-Chennai Rockfort Express had a narrow escape when suspected pro-LTTE elements blasted railway tracks at Perani railway station in Villupuram district in the wee hours on Saturday. About three feet of tracks were blown off in the explosion when the train was coming towards the station at around 2:10 am. The station master cautioned the driver of the train, more..

China signs trade deals with Sri Lanka

June 12 (AFP) Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang held talks with Sri Lanka's president Saturday after signing six trade and economic deals, the president's office said in a statement. Zhang had a breakfast meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse and the two reviewed ongoing Chinese-assisted infrastructure projects. "Today's meeting followed the signing of agreements between China and Sri Lanka for more..

Sri Lanka gaining from both India and China

June 13 (HT) India and China have a handful of outstanding issues to resolve but the two countries seem united on one common cause – Sri Lanka. While President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in New Delhi talking cooperation and signing seven agreements with the Indian government, a top leader from China was in Colombo – heading a 30-member delegation – to sign six pacts. The Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang signed six agreements with more..

Living On Loans

June 13 (SL) Since when did taking loans become fashionable? Especially when it is done mortgaging the very people whose burden you are supposed to ease? Call this scribe old-fashioned or whatever else, but in my book taking loans to build mansions just to impress the Joneses or to boost personal egos is simply out of the question. Even if due to sheer necessity, taking a loan was indeed required and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, who in his right mind more..

'The Rajapaksas have found their own hangman'

June 13 (SL) Responding to statements made against him by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the BBC’s HardTalk programme on Sri Lanka last week, former Army Commander and DNA Parliamentarian Retired General Sarath Fonseka said, “the Rajapaksa regime has found its own hangman from within the family.” Speaking by telephone to The Sunday Leader, Fonseka referring to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement to the BBC’s more..

Power and Influence: The orthodox, contrarians and their progeny

June 13 (SL) Running parallel to dynastic family rule in Sri Lanka is the emergence of (with apologies to Milovan Djilas) a new class of movers and shakers: the progeny of people of influence in Sri Lankan society of years not-so-long-past, who appear to have used the ‘leg-up’, that their parents provided a political climate of entitlement to move to positions of authority, if not eminence. In the so-called Western democracies, more..

The voice from the cell

June 13 (SL) There are many strangers we meet each day. And it is but natural that we trust them. Most often we are taken in by a ‘Good Morning Ma’am,’ or a ‘How can I help you, Madam?’ But this voice from the cell is a blaring example of the dangers that surround us. It amplifies our need to analyse all possibilities… He stepped into his 30s when he was in prison. He hails from Ulpathgama and could be described as smart and handsome. more..

Sales of love drugs rise

June 13 (SL) With the U.S. made Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) not being found in the local market anymore due to a merger of the multinationals, the sales of over 30 Indian brands of Sildenafil-Citrate based drugs also used for erectile dysfunction have been found to be rising at a hitherto unknown rate, according to pharmacists. “These Indian drugs, which are also Sildenafil Citrate-based, are effective and cost less,” more..

Crooked Deals

June 13 (SL) CEB Chairman Vidya Amarapala is quoted to have had said in the main story on this page in our last week’s edition that the C.E.B. is heading for a Rs. 34 billion loss unless radical steps are taken. He identified one of those as re-negotiating the power purchase agreements (p.p.a.) with private power producers (p.p.p.). Renegotiating such p.p.a obviously infer that the CEB feels that the present p.p.a. are unfair and hence need to be renegotiated, more..

Dead end for Police Commission

June 13 (LB) The police commission is set to be abolished and brought under the purview of the Public Service Commission under the proposed constitutional changes. The police commission fell defunct due to the non appointment of the constitutional council by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. All police administration activities hitherto before the setting up of the now defunct police commission had been carried out by the PSC. Government sources further noted that the constitutional council, defunct due to more..

Rs billion on iifa, and now SLTPB to cough out for Salman Khan and Asin

June 13 (LB) The Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has borne the total expenditure for the iifa 2010 in Colombo, sources from the SLTPB say. Indian owners of iifa Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd did not spend a single rupee on the event, and the total income from ticket sales has been less than 15 million rupees. “Salman Khan and Asin are expected to visit Sri Lanka and more..

Crashing health, education gets same allocation, defence budget bloats

June 13 (LB) Government submitted an appropriation bill for 2010 last week outlining spending estimates ahead of the annual budget which is to be presented on June 29. The government expenditure increased to 1.78 trillion rupees from 1.75 trillion rupees last year. Nearly 50% of the budget is directly channeled to the institutions controlled by the Rajapsksa family which includes Ministry of Defence (202 billion,) Ministry of Finance and Planning (63 billion,) more..

Fonseka Shinawatra?

June 13 (LB) This just a detail: the UNP leader, resisting tooth and nail any bids to change the party constitution, is now however, planning a massive agitation campaign against the president’s bid to change the country’s constitution. It’s funny in a way —- what’s sauce for the goose, they say, is not sauce for the gander? However, there is more fun. The JVP with the UNP’s active connivance this time, wants to nominate General Sarath Fonseka for a MPs’ conference in Kenya. more..

'India knows well MR cannot be taken for a ride'

June 13 (LB) Chairman of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM) Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara says that India’s long-term objective is to have economic hegemony over Sri Lanka, albeit with the CEPA agreement -- along with her insistence on the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, as a means of a solution to the country’s Tamil issue. The well-known political ideologue Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS, more..

Danuna - Ekneligoda probes in full throttle

June 13 (LB) The Sri Lanka Police is currently going full throttle in their efforts to find the whereabouts of Danuna Tillakaratne - son-in-law of detained retired General Sarath Fonseka. The police are also on the lookout for disappeared newspaperman Pradeep Ekneligoda whose whereabouts are still unknown. Police are not leaving any stone unturned in an effort to apprehend Danuna or locating the whereabouts of Ekneligoda. more..

Musings on Sri Lanka Cricket

June 13 (IC) A lot has happened in Sri Lanka Cricket in the last month. Let's have a look at them. The "legend", Hon. C.B. Ratnayaka (Sports Minister), having possibly lived in a dream-world where justice is served to those who break it, declares Sri Lanka Cricket as the 3rd most corrupt institute, the first 2 being the education sector (Ordinary Level Exam papers have been printed with plenty of errors) and the police (I don't think any explanation is required). more..

MIA: 'I'm here for the people'

June 13 (Guardian) MIA might not be properly famous – not yet, anyway – but she is notorious. Her songs are both played on the radio and banned by MTV. Her political statements have led to her being described as a terrorist. Her pop videos are analysed for propaganda; the last one she put out, in April, was immediately removed from YouTube for its violence. And in an age where "immigrant" is an insult rather than a description, more..

'Tamil Nadu safe haven for terrorists'

June 13 (IANS) AIADMK General Secretary J. Jayalalithaa Saturday said Tamil Nadu has turned into a safe haven for terrorists, pointing to the blast on the railway track in Villupuram district. 'The early morning blast early Saturday is an example that the state has turned into a safe haven for terrorists and separatists and the worsening of the law and order in the state,' she said. 'Thousands of passengers have been put to difficulty for more than six hours due to this act of sabotage. more..

Ravi Karunanayake is sabotaging the peace hopes of the Tamil speaking people

June 13 (TC) By opposing the mere thought of India talking to Tamil-Muslim parties, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake is unethically sabotaging the peace hopes of the Tamil speaking people in this country. As an inevitable partner in the Sri Lankan process India is not only talking to the minority parties but also talking to the government and UNP. UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe travels to India to meet Indian leaders more frequently than the government leaders. more..

Awaiting legal advice for constitutional amendments

June 13 (BBC) The government is waiting for legal advice on proposed constitutional amendments. Prime Minister D. M Jayaratna said that a cabinet paper to bring about constructional amendments was presented by him and it has received cabinet approval. He said that no final decisions have been made and awaiting for legal advice. “Once the legal experts have made their recommendations available the proposed amendments will be forwarded to Parliament,” more..

Does international outcry about war crimes in Sri Lanka help North-Eastern IDP's of Tamils ethnicity?

June 13 (TC) So here we are, caught once again in the debilitating cross fire of international calls for a war crimes investigation on the one hand and on the other, (internally) by the misdeeds of a remarkably conscienceless administration. Is this a vicious circle that we can never free ourselves from? This question attracts discussion at several different levels. First, it appears to make only mischievous sense to engage in calls for international war crimes investigations on more..

CEPA-like agreement with Pakistan too?

June 13 (CT) The Sri Lankan government is discussing with Pakistani authorities the possibility of signing a trade agreement similar to the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India. Industries and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said the government was holding discussions with the government of Pakistan to sign an agreement similar to the proposed CEPA with India. more..