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'A leader should be able to acknowledge his mistakes'

June 18 (Island) Sajith Premadasa is seen by many as the next leader of the UNP. In the first part of this wide ranging, two part interview, he speaks to C.A.Chandraprema about the various accusations that have been levelled against him and his father with regard to the present sorry state of the party. Q. What do you think went wrong for the UNP? Why is the party in the present rut? more..

Post-conflict solutions in Sri Lanka must tackle underlying issues – UN official

June 18 (UN) Political solutions that address the grievances which fuelled the long-running civil war in Sri Lanka are necessary to heal the wounds left by the conflict, the top United Nations political official said today as he wrapped up a two-day visit. “Bitterness and division that took decades to accumulate will not dissolve overnight in Sri Lanka, but now is the time to make major efforts to begin healing those wounds,” more..

Costs and benefits of the import liberalization

June 18 (ST) The reasons for the recent reduction of import duties on some items are as intriguing as the uncertainty of its consequences. Various motives and objectives have been adduced for the surprising move to reduce import duties on a range of goods from motor vehicles to imports that are generally described as luxury goods. The intentions for the liberalization of different items vary. more..

Can a Buddhist be a Racist or a Nationalist

June 18 (IL) An observer of Sri Lankan politics would notice that many if not all nationalist and racist elements of the Sinhalese community are Buddhists. This was mainly due to the centuries old Buddhist tradition in the country. Some politicians used to claim that they were fighting for the Sinhalese community because the majority Sinhalese were sidelined by pro-western governments. more..

‘Makarakshaya’ hunting for dragons in humans

June 18 (ST) The maiden show of the new production of Dharmasiri Bandaranayake’s multi-awarded political satire ‘Makarakshaya’ (The Dragon) will go on the boards at 6.45 pm on June 19 and 20 at the Lionel Wendt, theatre, Colombo. Staging nearly 900 shows, ‘Makarakshaya’, the Sinhala translation of ‘The Dragon’ written by Soviet playwright Yevgeny Shvarts and translated by Cyril C. Perera won 12 State Awards at the State Drama Festival in 1985 more..

President Rajapaksa's New Delhi visit: 'Much ado about few things'

June 18 (TC) From Indian point of view the much hyped visit of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa to New Delhi from June 8 to 11 can be summed up in one sentence as much ado about few things, with apologies to Shakespeare. Shorn of usual diplomatic fillers, the tangibles in the joint statement issued at the end of the visit were on three tracks. One set formalised projects already in the pipeline for sometime and more..

Sanath Jayasuriya aims to stop Worcs T20 losing run

June 18 (BBC) Sanath Jayasuriya is confident he can help his new Worcestershire team-mates turn around their FP t20 campaign. Speaking on his arrival at New Road, the Sri Lanka star was looking forward to getting into the action in the home game against old rivals Warwickshire. "Unfortunately, the boys have not done well in the last few matches, so we need to do well in this one," he said. more..

Sri Lanka gets EU aid for war-torn areas

June 18 (LBO) The European Union has allocated 60 million euro (8.4 billion rupees) as aid to Sri Lanka mostly for the island's north and east which were ravaged by war. "The programme will mainly focus on medium-term assistance in the North and East of the country," the statement from the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said. It said the aid is the second part of the EU Country Strategy for Sri Lanka spanning the 2007-2013 period, more..

Tamil fishermen rebuild storm-wrecked church

June 18 (UCAN) Fishing families in northern Sri Lanka have rebuilt a church that was ravaged by the 2008 cyclone. When the displaced Tamil families returned to Mandathivu, the island which they had been forced to leave four years ago, they found St Peter’s church in ruins caused by cyclone Nisha. They erected a new portico so church services could resume immediately and are now collecting money for a complete restoration. more..

Sri Lanka to ink trade deal with India after addressing concerns: minister

June 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka wants to extend economic links with India by signing a new trade agreement once concerns are addressed, 10 years after the first free trade deal was inked with the neighbour, a government minister said. Sri Lanka and India has negotiated a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to take forward an existing India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement which was signed 10 years ago. more..

Trinco and Colombo ports were targets

June 18 (MoD) The LTTE terrorist group had a master plan to surround the entire Eastern coast, capture the Trincomalee port and take Jaffna after defeating the Armed Forces, but the national intelligence services and the Navy intelligence grasped the terrorist plan to preempt the plan, to make the victory of the Armed Forces over the terrorist group. For it was well-known that the terrorist Sea Tiger leader Soosai had predicted that more..

The fight to the end Air Force shattered LTTE targets

June 18 (MoD) The defeat of the LTTE terrorists in less than three years was made possible by the strong political leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa that paved the way for the three Armed Forces to coordinate action in the battle fronts. In this regard the officers, especially the pilots who worked with dedication helped destroy terrorist targets with precision so that the LTTE lost the coordination of men and material to face our Armed Forces, more..

Army's role in victory

June 18 (MoD) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya states that the Sri Lanka Army has joined directly in the development drive to make Sri Lanka the Miracle of Asia as envisioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Mahinda Chinthana Future Vision. He made this observation in an interview to mark the first year remembrance of the victory of the Military Forces over the LTTE terrorists that tormented the country for thirty years. more..

Higher education minister intervenes to resolve eastern university problems

June 18 (GDI) Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake has intervened to solve the problems of the students in the Eastern University. The Minister who made an inspection tour of the Eastern Campus inquired into the problems confronted by the students. The students presented their problems to the Minister. He pointed out that a large sum of money has been spent on the Trincomalee Campus under more..

Several Government offices to be opened in Kilinochchi

June 18 (GDI) number of programmes will be launched in the Kilinochchi District for the welfare of the people. The district of Kilinochchi was the strong bastion of the LTTE suring the 30 year tiger war and with the defeat of terrorism the government has introduced number of projects to normalize the situation in the area. Recently school facilities were augmented with the intervention of Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa. more..

Over 5,000 turtles destroyed annually in Sri Lanka due to human activities

June 18 (Bernama) More than 5,000 turtle are getting destroyed annually in Sri Lanka and are threatened with extinction due to callous human activities in the coastal belt, China's Xinhua news agency quoted Turtle Conservation Project Chairman Thushan Kapurusinghe as saying. He said turtles and turtle eggs are also collected for human consumption, and more..

Editorial: Preaching HR while fondling terrorists in Sri Lanka

June 18 (LNP) Terrorism is fast spreading across the globe like a pestilence. It continues to cut a wide swathe through many a country and has become the biggest threat to world peace. But the self-appointed anti-terror crusaders, hoist with their own petard, having used terror as part of their gun boat diplomacy aimed at empire-building, are busy harassing Sri Lanka, which has defeated the -`most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world` and more..

Govt. planning to handover Puttalam – Jaffna coastal belt to India

June 18 (LT) The costal belt from Puttalam to Jaffna is to be handed over to India by the government of Sri Lanka for a period of 50 years for wind electricity projects say engineers of the Ceylon Electricity Board. India has planned to generate 4500 megawatts through this project. According to engineers of the CEB India’s plan is to retain the relevant coastal belt for a long period of 50 years and install wind power generating stations by Indian companies more..

STF’s role in liberating N&E from LTTE

June 18 (Island) Mavilaru/ Sampur & Vaharai Operation: The Sri Lanka Army (SLA), launched the Humanitarian Operation to liberate the entire Eastern & Northern Provinces from the LTTE, when the terrorists blocked the Mavilaru Water gates in July 2006. The STF which was mainly dominating the Ampara and Batticaloa Districts at the time, received instructions to take over the areas dominated by the SLA and relieve them for the operational commitment at Mavilaru. more..

SC orders Mahaweli Authority to pay compensation

June 18 (CT) The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Mahaweli Authority to pay Rs. 25,000 each as compensation to three petitioners who had filed a case against the Authority. The petitioners had claimed that the Mahaweli Authority had illegally distributed land belonging to the Authority to private parties who have allegedly polluted the environment. The petitioners have stated that the Authority had alienated land designated as reservations in an arbitrary, more..

Visiting US envoys not linked to UN's alleged war crimes probe

June 18 (LNP) The government said yesterday that the on-going visit of senior United States officials to Sri Lanka, was not linked to the UN's alleged war crimes probe against the Sri Lankan security forces. Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle, when questioned at the weekly Cabinet press briefing, why a US team that included President Barack Obama s Special Assistant on Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Samantha Power and more..

From terror to a new life

June 18 (NS) After, more than a year has passed since the LTTE was defeated, most of the rehabilitated cadres are waiting to return home, longing for the life that they used to have or never had. One batch of 32 rehabilitated cadres received their certificates from the Secretary of Defence, Gothabaya Rajapaksa after completing their vocational training courses at the Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centre in Senapura. more..

Colombo victory parade no consolation for pastor

June 18 (UCAN) The pomp and pageantry of a victory celebration in Colombo marking the first anniversary of the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels held little comfort for one Methodist pastor. "It reminds me of how our people suffered over the past three decades,” said Reverend Sarath Hettiarachchi, who attended the June 18 Victory Parade in Colombo. In the aftermath of the war, “we should work to develop the country so that it can become the ‘Miracle of Asia,’” more..

A day to pay tribute, not to divide, says Sajith

June 18 (AD) This is a day where all should shed their differences and pay tribute to those who defended our country, said United National Party (UNP) Hambantota District Parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa at the Victory Day celebrations this morning. There should not be differences on the lines of SLFP, UNP, JVP or any other party. This is a day where we pay tribute as one nation by joining hands. more..

IUSF plans to visit the Jaffna University again

June 18 (CT) The Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) is to visit the Jaffna University again shortly. IUSF Convener, Udul Premaratne told 'Colombo Today' that the Federation planned to visit the Jaffna University in the next few weeks to interact with the students there and to donate educational assistance. He claimed that authorities have threatened students in the Jaffna University that more..

Lankan scientists discover new natural compound

June 18 (DN) A natural chemical compound which can increase the motion and strength of human semen has been discovered by a team of Sri Lankan scientists using an extraction derived from a red algae extensively growing in the Barbarin coral reef in Beruwala. Natural chemical compounds which can strengthen semen is very rare. The new compound discovered by the Sri Lankan team led by scientist Dr. G.A.S. Premakumara is the eighth such natural compound in the world. more..

Daring bank robbery thwarted

June 18 (DN) A security officer on duty at Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka at Kalutara prevented a daring daylight robbery and apprehended an underworld thief Wednesday at around 9 a.m. When the bank opened for business at about 8.30 a.m. this person had gained admission to the Bank in the guise of a customer and had queried the security guard, Sumith Upendra of Watchguard Security regarding a bank employee and suddenly aimed a pistol at his head and was trying to gain access to the cash counter. more..

Thug attack on Ruhuna University

June 18 (LT) A gang of thugs have attacked a group of students of the Ruhuna University who were decorating to celebrate the ‘National Student Heroes’ Day’ scheduled to be held on the 20th of this month. The General Secretary of the Students’ Council of the Ruhuna University Dumnda Karaka said three students injured in the attack have been admitted to Matara General Hospital. Matara Police say they have been able to arrest two suspects. more..

English a must for University admission

June 18 (Island) The Higher Education Ministry has made compulsory a six-month English language course for all university students with the next intake. Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake said that the Ministry has designed this English course as the knowledge of English of most undergraduates who pass out from Sri Lankan Universities was inadequate to meet the challenges of the present job market. more..

Unauthorized constructions in housing schemes to be demolished

June 18 (DN) Unauthorized constructions in Colombo housing schemes which block water drainage and sewerage systems will be demolished overpowering all challenges and barriers , Construction, Engineering Services, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. Stern action will be taken to stop construction of unauthorized structures in the future, he said at a Ministerial mobile service conducted under Jana Setha mobile ministry program at Maligawatte recently. more..

Britain applauds appointment of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

June 18 (DN) Parliamentary Under-secretary for the UK Foreign Office, Alistair Burt applauded the Sri Lankan government for acting on their promise to the UN and setting up the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. He said British Prime Minister David Cameron has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to express British support for this Commission. more..

Commission seeks public input

June 18 (DM) The Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation appointed by President Mahinda Rajapakse has sought written representations from the public or individual organizations as the eight member panel prepares to commence sittings. A public notice by the Commission said that individuals or organizations can submit in the first instance, written representations to the Commission and more..

Oluvil Port project fast tracked

June 18 (Island) Oluvil Port Project that was commenced 01st of July 2008 in order to give impetus to economic development in the Eastern region, by the Government of Sri Lanka, in its plans towards future socio-economic development of the country, has recorded rapid progress of constructions during the recent past paving avenues to open the port for its vessel and fisheries operations in the near future. more..

War triumph celebrated with show of force

June 18 (Island) Whatever the arms, ammunition and equipment available, victory would never have been possible without the heavy sacrifices made by the fighting forces and those who carried out clandestine operations at the risk of their lives. State-of-the-art equipment would have been useless without men capable of waging war and political leadership capable of rejecting foreign intervention. more..

Editorial: Shuttle diplomacy and realpolitik

June 18 (DM) A flurry of shuttle diplomacy always heralds something big – for good or for the bad.With almost coincidental visits by envoys of global allies UN, US and Japan made one wonder whether there was any connection among the three visits. If not for Akashis statement that international powers should avoid meddling in Sri Lanka’s affairs one would have thought they were all party of one big move. more..

Killing of beggars: Police rule out serial killing

June 18 (DM) The police have virtually ruled out any connection between the killing of three beggars in Colombo last month and the discovery of the body of another beggar at Slave Island on Tuesday, as the previous murders had been solved with the arrest of a suspect. Police Spokesman SP Preshantha Jayakody said that, despite no arrests having been made so far in connection with the latest killing, more..

DNA to boycott event

June 18 (DM) The DNA will boycott today’s Victory Day Celebrations as a mark of protest against its leader’s not being invited for the event. DNA MP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Daily Mirror yesterday that the DNA’s leader Gen. Sarath Fonseka had made the biggest contribution to achieve this military victory over the LTTE. “Gen. Fonseka was the key person. Now he is being held behind bars. more..

Rameswaram-Talaimannar ferry service: Centre seeks feasibility study

June 18 (Hindu) The Central Government has asked the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board to study the feasibility of resuming ferry service between the Rameswaram and Talaimannar and Tuticorin and Colombo sectors. The proposal was agreed upon by India and Sri Lanka a few days ago following the bilateral discussion between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaka in New Delhi. more..

No demilitarisation: Rajapaksa

June 18 (ENS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the 21 Tamil Nadu MPs who met him in New Delhi on June 9 that there was no possibility of "demilitarising" the Northern Province which had been the scene of the Tamil insurgency for three decades. When the MPs from the DMK and the Congress asked him if it was possible to scale down the army presence in Jaffna and Wanni region, now that it was more than a year since the war ended, Rajapaksa said he could not compromise on security. more..

Sri Lanka cautions against 'sympathy for terrorism'

June 18 (DPA) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday marked the first anniversary of the end of a thee-decade civil war by warning countries not to show sympathy for terrorism and separatism, while international pressure grows over alleged war crimes. Rajapaksa said in an address to the nation that it was a 'grave error of judgment' not to oppose terrorism that targets you but to believe it is good if it does not target you. more..