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U.N. wants economic recovery for former conflict zone

June 14 (IPS) With thousands of war affected civilians still without livelihood and an economy still reeling from the aftermath of a decades-long conflict in Sri Lanka’s northern region, plans should be in place to revive local economies and jobs, says a top United Nations official. "There needs to be a strategic plan to bring in industries, infrastructure development, investments and jobs into these areas devastated by war," more..

IIFA Awards 2010 highlights

CPC loses Rs. 600 m in excessive payments for north transports

June 14 (CT) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has incurred a loss of nearly Rs. 600 million in the past six months due to its having to make a higher transport payment for a selected group that transports fuel to the north, CPC sources claim. These payments have been paid through the involvement of a top official of the Corporation, according to the sources. Selected bowser owners are still being paid the war risk allowance, although the war ended more than a year ago. more..

Editorial: Presidents and retirement

June 14 (LNP) What is the biggest problem this country is faced with? Is it the high cost of living or the deteriorating law and order situation or rebuilding the war-torn areas or the mess in key sectors like health and education? It is none of these. Ask Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Wimal Weerawansa and he will tell you that it is the constitutional provision that an executive president cannot serve more than two terms! more..

'SLTB's about 2,000 technicians who cannot handle a pair of pliers'

June 14 (LNP) Youth Affairs Minister Dallas Alahapperuma last Friday said that the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) had employed about 1,800 technicians who even did not know how to hold a pair of pliers. Addressing a gathering of German Technical Institute staff, Minister Alahapperuma said that he had had to bring the institute under the purview of the Transport Ministry to overcome the dearth of qualified technicians. more..

CP Governor sees sinister plot in family planning

June 14 (NS) The Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, said that catchwords like “Small Families Are Golden” are being promoted to bring down Buddhist families. Such propaganda has prevented Buddhist parents from giving one of their sons to Buddhism, in spite of an age old custom. The Governor was speaking at a ceremony to felicitate parents who had given their sons to the Sasana in the Kandy District. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

June 14 (ST) Dr. IGP: The weather gods have not been kind to the UPFA Government in the recent weeks. So much so, the Victory Parade to mark the first anniversary of the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas had to be put off last month. It is now scheduled for Friday. There were no such bad weather problems for those at Police Headquarters last Friday. All ranks were present to watch a parade to honour Police Chief, Mahinda Balasuriya. more..

Major exams to be re-examined

June 14 (ST) Changes to the O/L, A/L and Year Five scholarship examinations will be presented to Parliament within two weeks following widespread complaints that the current examination process is flawed or not suitable, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He said the Year Five examination was a burden on the children, the O/L covered too many subjects in the syllabus and the A/L was too advanced. more..

China to fish in Nanthikadal

June 14 (DM) A Chinese company has come forward to invest in a fisheries project in the Nanthikadal lagoon, where the last phase of battle between the military and the LTTE took place in May last year, Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday. Dr. Senaratne told Daily Mirror that this company was planning to breed ‘Seabass’ which is a delicacy in China. “They had talks with us. They will now come up with their proposals. more..

Canned fish imports cost Rs 15,000 b

June 14 (DN) Foreign countries rake in Rs 15,000 billion from Sri Lanka by selling canned fish to the island. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry is planing to set up a canned fish factory in the next few months aiming to put an end to this. Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said the country is in the practice of exporting most of its fish catch to Japan and other countries and in the habit of eating tinned sardine, pilchard and salmon imported from these countries. more..

War risk surcharge removal: Major boost for maritime related FDIs

June 14 (DN) Sri Lanka has been delisting from war risk countries category by the maritime insurer Lloyd’s of London’s Joint War Committee (JWC). This will offer a major boost to the country’s shipping sector which is targeting strong growth over the next few years, industry sources said. Sri Lanka being delisted from the war risk is a significant achievement to the maritime industry as well as for the nation. more..

NPC to monitor Northern development

June 14 (DN) The Northern Provincial Council has expedited monitoring and inspecting of the Northern development projects carried out by the NPC District Secretaries and INGOs. Northern Province Governor Major General G.A. Chandrasiri said the first NPC committee meeting will be held Tuesday in Killinochchi with Industrial and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen co-chairing. Many Politicians, INGO members, academics, Security Forces and police personnel will be present at this meeting. more..

2600 th Buddha Jayanthiya at Grand scale- says PM

June 14 (GDI) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna emphasized the Government is ready to make an effective change in the spiritual ideals of all communities while safeguarding the Buddha Sasana. Participating in a ceremony in Kandy, he said that urgent plans are being made to overcome the destruction of culture and ideals. He said that the arrangements are underway to celebrate the 2600th Buddha Jayanthiya on a grand scale in Sri Lanka and other countries. more..

'Recent Sri Lanka-EU talks a useful confidence building measure'

June 14 (IL) Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, the two rounds of talks between the European Union (EU) and the Sri Lanka delegation led by the Attorney General held in Brussels in March and May 2010 had served as a useful confidence building measure, in a relationship which had been affected largely on account of the differing perceptions over the years regards more..

Now, 20,000 squatter families to receive railway land

June 14 (Island) For want of a consistent policy regarding squatters, the government has been struggling to deal with the issue with Colombo being one of the worst affected districts. Close on the heels of a recent controversy over the removal of a fraction of squatters in some parts of Colombo, the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council is planning to grant deeds to those occupying railway land in the Ratnapura and Kegalle Districts. more..

Southern students selected for Jaffna University

June 14 (Island) Now that the war is over, southern students have got an opportunity to enter the Jaffna University after a lapse of 30 years, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said. "We were able to admit southern students to the Jaffna University for 2009/10 academic year and we could accommodate more students in universities this year," Prof. Samaranayake said. more..

'Increase pay or we strike'

June 14 (Island) State sector employees warn that they will resort to trade union action unless the government honours its promise to increase the public sector salaries by Rs. 2,500 with effect from January 2010 with arrears for November and December in 2009. President of the National Trade Union Centre, which is the umbrella organization for 364 state sector trade unions, former JVP MP K. D. Lalkantha said more..

Sri Lanka equipped to face a tsunami: Successful alert Sunday

June 14 (DN) The Disaster Management Centre can cope with a tsunami situation with minimal damage, Emergency Operation Centre Assistant Director Pradeep Kodippily said. He said a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 took place in the Indian ocean near Nicobar Islands at about 1.05 a.m. Sunday and Sri Lanka issued a separate tsunami warning via the 55 early warning towers across the country. more..

Nobody can fiddle with our constitution behind closed doors without asking us first

June 14 (TC) Sri Lanka’s old left parties (and, yes, the adjective “decrepit” was passed up with much difficulty) recently came out blazing against a proposal to remove the two-term limit on the executive presidency. Displaying an uncharacteristic burst of energy, several members of the left publicly opposed the move on the basis that it would be of great detriment to this country. more..

1Q budget deficit down 21 percent

June 14 (Island) The Central Bank says total government revenue has improved by 26.3 percent during the first three months of the year to Rs. 182.7 billion from Rs. 144.6 billion during the corresponding period of 2009. During this period, tax revenue, which amounted to Rs. 150 billion, grew by 12.35 percent from Rs. 133.5 percent. Non tax revenues grew by 194.6 percent to Rs. 32.7 billion from Rs. 11.1 billion. more..

UGC justifies Jaffna University Vice Chancellor’s refusal decision

June 14 (DM) The University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday justified the decision by the Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University not to allow the representatives of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) to enter the university premises. UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said the university authorities had been instructed not to entertain outsiders in any case. more..

Japan to send Akashi to Sri Lanka to push for swift reconciliation

June 14 (Kyodo) Japan is sending a special envoy to Sri Lanka this week to push for swift reconciliation and lasting peace as the island emerges from decades of ethnic bloodshed, the Japanese Embassy said Monday. Yasushi Akashi, special representative for peace building in Sri Lanka, will pay a five-day visit to the island starting Tuesday for talks with Sri Lankan leaders, more..

2/3 majority sought to amend constitution is for President to continue until the baton is passed to Namal 'prince'

June 14 (LeN) JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, the Govt. seeking a 2/3 majority to pass an amendment in Parliament is to enable the President Rajapakse to continue as President as long as he wishes, until Naamal Rajapakse who is being groomed for the Presidency is ready to take up the position. This is reminiscent of the days of the Kings when they groomed princes until they were ready to wear the crown. more..

Must give Sri Lanka another chance: US

June 14 (Rediff) The US and India are in sync with their foreign policy toward Sri Lanka, particularly over the repatriation of the remaining 40,000 plus internally displaced persons after the government's victory over the LTTE in the Tamil-populated northern province, said Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Robert O Blake. He said, "The US and India have a very similar view of the situation in Sri Lanka and the steps that need to be taken. more..

Sri Lanka stocks at record on growth, earnings hopes

June 15 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares hit a record high on Monday as low interest rates and good company earnings fuelled buying across the board, traders said. All-Share Price Index .CSE hit an all-time high of 4,612.76 points, surpassing its previous peak of 4,581.80 hit on Friday. It closed 51.43 points or 1.1 percent firmer at 4,612.76. The index is up 36.3 percent so far in 2010, making it Asia's best performer. more..

PM Manmohan Singh writes to Karunanidhi on Sri Lankan issue

June 15 (PTI) Prime minister Manmohan Singh has said that India has urged Sri Lanka to make "practical arrangements", including devolution of powers, to enable the minority Tamils lead a life of dignity. In his letter to Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, Singh said Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his recent visit to India, had promised to resettle the 47,000 Tamils still living in camps by the end of this year. more..

Indian aid to be 'directly disbursed'

June 15 (BBC) Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said India was considering directly disbursing the financial aid it has proposed to give to the war-displaced people in Wanni for their housing project. India has already announced an aid package of Indian Rs 1,000 crores (About US $215 million) to build about 50,000 homes for the people who have lost their homes in the final stages of the war in Northern province. more..

'Release' Vanni doctor - court

June 15 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has ordered the police to release one of the five doctors accused of collaborating with the Tamil Tigers if no evidence is found against him. Colombo Chief Magistrate Champa Janaki Rajaratne made the order as the case against Dr. T Satyamurthy, government Medical Superintendent for Mullaitivu district, was taken in for the hearing on Monday. Submitting a report, police CID said investigations against more..

Sri Lanka plans to sell $275 million of bonds in June

June 15 (BN) Sri Lanka plans to sell $275 million of dollar-denominated bonds locally this month to pay for maturing debt, three months after failing to raise a targeted $100 million through a debt auction. The South Asian nation will issue $175 million of two-year debt and $100 million of three-year paper, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said on its website today. Subscriptions for the so- called development bonds close on June 18. more..

JVP goes North

June 15 (AD) group of JVP members are on a tour of the North to gain first hand information of the problems faced by the people in the area. The group will tour the area and return to Colombo on Wednesday. It is to gather information on the present status of the IDP welfare centres, resettled villages and its residents, and the problems faced by the IDP as well as the people of the North, the media unit says. more..

Drowned Tamils 'desperate for safety'

June 15 (SMH) Two Sri Lankan asylum seekers believed drowned last week on a perilous sea trip from Indonesia to Australia were "desperate to find safety", says a friend. Thileepkumar Luxman and Bahirathan were among 12 Tamil and Afghani asylum seekers believed to have drowned when their small fishing boat capsized in rough Indonesian waters as they tried to rendezvous with a larger Australia-bound boat. more..

Preview: Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Asia Cup

June 15 (CI) Pakistan cricket is in the spotlight, once again. Having endured a period of internal upheaval, they have zeroed in on a squad full of surprises. One former captain retired, while two others appealed successfully against their bans. One of those two - Shoaib Malik - returned to the side and will be playing under a new leader, Shahid Afridi, who not very long ago accused Malik of back-biting. more..

Debrief News - 14.06.2010

1970 Japanese donated Hitachi train sold, alleges railway union

June 15 (CT) Authorities had secretly sold a 1970 Japanese donated Hitachi train to the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd, alleges the All Ceylon Railway Employees Union. Secretary of the Union Sumathipala Manawadu told 'Colombo Today' that this air-conditioned train had been used exclusively for the convenience of tourists and for educational tours and excursions. This train had earned an additional income for the Railways Department, he said. more..

Swiss ambassador to Sri Lanka visits Jaffna

June 15 (TN) Ms. Ruth Flint, Switzerland ambassador to Sri Lanka arrived in Jaffna Monday where she met Jaffna Government Agent (GA) K. Ganesh in Jaffna Secretariat and discussed development projects carried out by Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) in Jaffna peninsula. Incidentally, TamilNet had reported Friday the construction of a school by CDC in Maravanpulavu in Jaffna district at a cost of 18 million rupees where people have not resettled due to insecurity. more..

Asia Cup: A tournament that can give context to ODIs

June 15 (CI) Thanks to the unsettlingly quick rise of Twenty20s, the one-day format has increasingly looked like the ugly sister of the cricket family, seemingly possessing neither the glamour and fast-paced action provided by the shortest form, nor the traditional appeal and scope-for-narrative that underpins Test cricket. Critics also point to the amount of fluff associated with one-day cricket: more..

'Don’t trade Tamils’ political aspirations for mere concessions'

June 15 (TN) The Tamil parliamentarians, during this period after war, should not give up the political aspirations of Tamils merely for concessions but should act independently to win the lost rights of Tamils, said a resolution passed in a meeting held Sunday in Colpetty in Colombo, arranged by Tamil academics, sources in Colombo said. Many who participated in the discussion expressed their discontent over the current political activities of the Tamil MPs and more..

Gota’s murderous mindset

June 15 (LG) Did the BBC Hard Talk reveal the mindset of the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse when he blew over his top saying ‘He (Gen Sarath Fonseka) can’t do that. He was the commander. That’s treason. We will hang him if he does that. I’m telling you. How can he betray the country? He is a liar.’ Gotabaya reflected extreme anger, provocation, murderous intent and uncontrolled authority when he made these comments. more..

UN political chief heads to Sri Lanka

June 15 (UN) The top United Nations political official is heading tonight to Sri Lanka as part of the world body’s continuing efforts to assist authorities in the South Asian island nation tackle key challenges in the wake of last year’s end to the long-running civil war. B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is scheduled to hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, other senior Government officials, opposition and more..

Mahinda may seem for now an 'Indianised' Chinese Rajapaksa

June 15 (TC) They call it “summer” in Delhi now. It’s no fun to land in Delhi during summer with the temperature blowing over 40 plus 3, 4 or 5 Celsius. When President Mahinda Rajapaksa touched ground in Delhi with First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and retinue on Tuesday last, Delhi was surprisingly cool at around 35 degrees Celsius. Yet, Rajapaksa would not have felt so “cool” when State Minister of External Affairs, Preneet Kaur greeted him on the tarmac more..