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CEPA going ahead this year

June 2 (DM) The controversial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will take centre stage during official talks between Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Premier Manmohan Singh next week and will be signed later this year, Co-operatives and Internal Trade Deputy Minister Neomal Perera said. “It is true that it would be disadvantageous to Sri Lanka if the CEPA was signed in the present form. more..

Ranil wins the day: PC members reject call for secret ballot to elect leader

June 2 (Island) UNP provincial councillors yesterday rejected the proposal for electing party leader through a secret ballot in the absence of consensus. During a meeting between over 100 councillors and a committee headed by Joseph Michael Perera, MP to spearhead changes to the UNP constitution, at Sirikotha, members emphasised that any move to elect the leader would be detrimental to the party. more..

NDTV report spreading ‘innovative lies’ says Lanka envoy

June 2 (Island) Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam has urged India’s NDTV television network to withdraw its documentary report called ‘Blood on Water’ immediately because it contains ‘inaccuracies’. "Sri Lankans in general and the government in particular have had great respect for the quality and the professionalism of reportage of NDTV, not only on Sri Lanka, but on India and other global issues as well. more..

'CEB to lose Rs 40bn in 2010'

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s state-run power utility Ceylon Electricity Board is expected to lose 40 billion rupees (350 million US dollars) in 2010 and short term debt is mounting but there are plans to turn the utility around, officials said. The CEB is expected to earn 120 billion rupees as revenue in 2010 but its operational expenses would be 159 billion rupees. "We initially expected revenue to be around 127 billion but more..

Import Duty on several items cut

June 2 (DM) In a surprise move the government yesterday slashed duties on vehicle imports and electronic items which will see a reduction of the prices of these goods in the near future. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning yesterday removed the 15% surcharge that had been imposed on commodity level imports and 50% custom duty on vehicle imports with immediate effect. more..

Dealing with corruption Sri Lankan way: Minister retains interim committee heads

June 2 (CI) Sports Minister CB Ratnayake, despite accusing Sri Lanka Cricket as the third most corrupt institution in the country and slamming the board's interim committee, retained Somachandra de Silva and Nishantha Ranatunga as chairman and secretary respectively while appointing three new members to the committee on Wednesday. Former cricketer and Sri Lanka rugby player Asanga Seneviratne, more..

Organisers reject Sri Lanka Bollywood awards boycott

June 2 (AFP) The organisers of a glitzy Bollywood awards ceremony on Wednesday dismissed calls for a boycott by southern Indians angry that it is taking place in Sri Lanka. The film industry in the state of Tamil Nadu, which shares close cultural and religious links with minority ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka, are staying away from the Colombo awards on Saturday. more..

Disease warnings for flood returnees

June 3 (IRIN) Medical officials in Sri Lanka have expressed concern over possible health risks as most of the 13,000 displaced by flooding return home. "A record number of health camps are being [set up] in affected districts to provide emergency healthcare to flood victims," Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told IRIN on 2 June. "The risk of epidemics is high but with the water subsiding, the situation has improved," more..

Bollywood stars, Sri Lankan cricketers to play cricket match to help former child soldiers

June 3 (AP) Stars of Indian cinema and Sri Lankan cricketers will play a celebrity cricket match on Friday to raise funds for reintegrating former child soldiers into their communities. Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Sunil Shetty are set for a celebrity cricket match involving Kumar Sangakkara's Sri Lankan lineup that will be one of the key features of the International Indian Film Awards scheduled to be held this weekend in Colombo. more..

Debrief News - 02. 06. 2010

New deadline for IDP resettlement

June 3 (IRIN) The Sri Lankan government has issued a new deadline to resettle tens of thousands of conflict-displaced still living in camps. More than 60,000 IDPs continue to live in three government camps, the UNHCR says. The new Minister of Resettlement, Milroy Fernando, told IRIN an August deadline was “realistic” and that the process would be expedited to ensure people could return home as soon as possible. more..

'Democratizing party constitution should be priority in reforms agenda'

June 3 (CT) UNP western provincial councilor, attorney Shiral Lakthilake says democratization of the party constitution should be the number one priority in the reforms agenda. Democratizing the UNP constitution through a complete overhaul needs to take precedence, without uselessly arguing over changing the leadership and the office bearers of the party, Mr. Lakthilake told party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at a discussion more..

'US, Britain behind war crimes charges'

June 3 (CT) The US and Britain are behind the war crimes allegations being leveled against Sri Lank at the UN Human Rights Council, after committing genocides in Iraq and Afghanistan, 'Divaina' claims in a report. The newspaper's defence correspondent Keerthi Warnakulasuriya has filed the report from Geneva, Switzerland, where the UNHRC is holding its 14th sessions. more..

Officials score big at SLC: Sports Minister refused SLC ‘bribe’

June 3 (Island) An attempt by Sri Lanka Cricket to offer an all expenses paid trip to Sports Minister C.B. Ratnayake to the Caribbean was refused by the Minister, The Island learns. It’s learnt that SLC offered three all expenses paid tickets to the Minister and his family, a trick that SLC officials had played successfully with Minister Ratnayake’s predecessor. more..

Displaced priests cut off from home parishes

June 3 (UCAN) Recently ordained priests have had to celebrate their first Mass far from their villages as churches, parishes and homes had been damaged by the civil war. For Father Antony Jeyaranjan, his first Mass on June 1 was held at St James’ Church in Jaffna, 120 kilometers away from his home district of Mullaitivu on the eastern coast, the site of the final battle between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Buddha’s teaching used to help street kids

June 3 (UCAN) A Church center organized an outreach program based on Buddhist values for Colombo homeless children to mark last week’s Vesak feast of the Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment. “Do not take life, do not take what is not given, do not distort facts, refrain from misuse of the senses, refrain from self-intoxication through alcohol or drugs are the basis of Buddhist morality,” Buddhist monk Venerable Samana Thero told more..

Failure to act against assailants may compel Range Bandara to leave UNP

June 3 (CT) UNP Puttalam district MP Palitha Range Bandara says that he will be compelled to quit the party if the party fails to take proper disciplinary action against his assailants. Mr. Range Bandara told 'Colombo Today' that the party has failed to take any action against the UNP provincial councilor who attacked him in April soon after the general election. more..

Sri Lanka’s False Dawn

June 3 (PS) As the Sri Lankan government celebrates the first anniversary of its historic triumph over the LTTE, it is increasingly clear that the battlefield victory will prove pyrrhic unless the legitimate grievances of Sri Lanka’s minority communities are recognized and addressed. By failing to reach out meaningfully to the Tamil-speaking minority, and by cracking down on opposition voices and any kind of dissent in Sri Lanka, more..

Minimum bus fare to be increased

June 3 (BBC) Private bus fares will go up once again from the first of July. The minimum bus fare of Rs. 6 is to be increased to Rs. 7, the Private Bus Owners Association said. President of the PBOA, Gamunu Wijerathne said that the recent price increase in fuel, lubrication and tyres has compelled the bus owners to implement a price hike. He said that the government initiative to import more buses will add further strain on private bus owners. more..

'No truth on reports of Indian pressure on President Rajapaksa'

June 3 (AD) The TNA is prepared to talk with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on solutions to the ethnic problem, TNA MP R. Sampanthan has told BBC’s Thamilosai. External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris has already spoken to the TNA regarding certain issues, Mr. Sampanthan has reported to have said. He has added that during this discussion, initial dialogs on constitutional amendments too were discussed. more..

Little Aid sends Food Aid to flood victims in the Gampaha District

June 3 (IL) On 26 May 2010 Little Aid volunteers in Sri Lanka distributed dry food items to 175 families seriously affected by flooding in the Gampaha District. These unfortunate families live in a place called Sedawatta which borders Negombo lagoon. Rev Fr Ananda Withana Parish priest at St Joseph Church in Pamunugama is helping Little Aid to co-ordinate relief after recent flooding. more..

School reopenings an essential part of conflict recovery

June 3 (MAG) When the conflict in Sri Lanka restarted in 2007, the effects were felt at Mulliyavalai Kalaimahal Vithiyalayam school in Mulliativu District – the heartland of LTTE territory. Some of the 600-plus students were forcibly recruited as child soldiers and, while the 33 teachers managed to carry on with classes until the conflict finally reached Mulliyavalai, the school was abandoned in April 2009 and turned into a temporary hospital by the LTTE. more..

Prof. Peiris leads the Sri Lanka delegation to the 9th IISS Asia Security Summit

June 3 (MoD) Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the 9th IISS Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, which is scheduled to be held in Singapore from 4th to 6th June 2010. During the meeting, Prof Peiris is scheduled to make a statement on "Counter-insurgency and strengthening governance - Sri Lankan perspective on the challenges of reasserting control and more..

India opens visa office in Kandy

June 3 (DM) The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kanth inaugurated the Visa Application Centre (IVAC) of the Indian High Commission in Kandy recently. The Chief Guest on this occasion was Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Governor of Central Province while the Guest of Honour was Sarath Ekanayake, Chief Minister of Central Province. The Kandy IVAC will be operated by VFS Global, who more..

South Indian film industry reiterates decision to boycott IIFA function

June 3 (Hindu) The South Indian film industry reiterated its decision to boycott the India International film Academy (IIFA) awards function to be held in Sri Lanka. At a meeting convened by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFCC) here on Tuesday, the Chamber secretary L. Suresh said representatives from SIFCC and Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) urged the IIFA to suspend its plans to hold the event in Sri Lanka but more..

Establishing an energy hub in Trinco

June 3 (TC) Since winning the war, according to media reports, persons in both the public and private sectors have been talking about converting Sri Lanka into various hubs in such sectors as business, aviation, shipping, energy etc. Yes, Sri Lanka does have the potential to serve as an energy hub to serve the needs of both the South Asian region and the country’s. For this purpose, the availability of Trincomalee harbour, a gift of nature given to Sri Lanka, needs to be exploited. more..

Govt job opportunities for rehabilitated ex-female combatants

June 3 (LP) Ex female cadres now undergoing rehabilitation will receive garment industry related "On the Job" training. The ex female cadres will receive this training on successful completion of the rehabilitation and would join the Garment sector work force at Tri-Star Apparels chain of Garment factories reported Sri Lanka Army. Accordingly 150 ex female combatants will receive the training under the first step of the project. more..

Passing out ceremony at SLNS Thakshila

June 3 (MoD) The passing out of 18 Direct Entry Artificer/Medical Assistants, 187 recruits of 189th intake in the regular Naval Force and 109 women recruits of 10th VNF intake took place at SLNS Thakshila on 2nd June 2010. Director General Logistics Rear Admiral RR Wijeyasundara graced the occasion as the chief guest. Many Naval Officers and parents of the sailors passing out were also present at the occasion. more..

Sleep my children and peace attend thee...

June 3 (DN) I seldom go to sleep before midnight. Most days I sleep around 1 am. I know some people subscribe to the early to bed and early to rise style of sleeping. Some like a ‘power nap’. Some are veritable Kumbakarnas; they sleep for decades, it seems. Some sleep like logs. Some are restless; they toss and turn. Some sleep-walk, some walk-sleep. Some have sweet dreams and some nightmares. We are all made differently and more..

Zoo to create awareness in Animal behavior

June 3 (LP) Dehiwala National Zoological Gardens will conduct a special educational programme for school children tomorrow (03). The programme is being conducted in view of the Environment day which falls on the 05th of June. Over 1100 students from 11schols have confirmed their participation at the event said Nihal Senerath the Educational officer at the Dehiwala Zoo. Students of O/L, A/L and some students from grade 8 classes are due to take part in the programme. more..

AG responds to Pillay

June 3 (MoD) Attorney General Mohan Peiris responding to the statement made by High Commissioner of Human Rights Navanetham Pillay at the 14th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on May 31 said that Sri Lankan Government was of the view that the High Commissioner regretfully seeks to prejudge the outcome of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission even before the mechanism has begun its work. more..

National Youth Survey

Only one defeated minister vacates official residence

June 3 (LT) Only one defeated minister has vacated the official residence after a second notice was issued states Ministry of Public Administration & Home Affairs. Ten ministers, defeated at the general election, continued to occupy their official residences despite Ministry of Public Administration & Home Affairs threatening legal action would be taken to evict them. The defeated ministers had been asked to vacate the residences within two weeks. more..

Propagation of Religious Harmony in Jaffna

June 3 (MoD) Tamil Catholic community in Atchuveli area hereafter will be able to attend the Sunday Mass and other rituals at the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception since it was vested to Jaffna Catholic Church by the Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna on Monday after about twenty years. Jaffna SF Headquarters, honouring equality of all religions in Jaffna, under the guidance of Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe made necessary arrangements to more..

'Govt. reducing tax on imports of vehicle imports and increasing taxes on essential goods is to satisfy the IMF'

June 3 (UNP) UNP Gen. Secretary Tissa Attanayake stated, the Govt. suddenly reducing the taxes on vehicle imports ostensibly to boost the tourist Industry is actually dancing to the tune of the IMF in its desperation to get the third tranche of the IMF loan which has been held back owing to the Govt.‘s failure so far to fulfill the loan conditions. more..

IUSF lodges complaint with Human Rights Commission

June 3 (LNW) The Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) together with the parents of Rasaiah Dvarakah, who was taken into custody by the TID on November 12, 2009 from the Peradeniya University, lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission yesterday (1) calling for her release. Dvarakah’s parents and IUSF Convener Udul Premaratne were present to hand over the complaint to the Commission. more..

JVP condemns Zionist attack on ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’

June 3 (LT) The JVP has vehemently condemned Israel for "killing of innocent people" on board the ferries carrying food and other essential goods for the people living in the Gaza strip in Palestine under the unlawful and inhuman blockade since 2007. The Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe issuing a statement on behalf of the JVP states “The Zionist leaders who are responsible for 'collectively punishing' more..

President reprimands Dulles

June 3 (LT) Minister of Youth Affairs Dulles Alahapperuma, discontented due to slashing of subjects from his ministry and gone abroad without attending to any matters of the ministry, has been asked by the President to resign from his ministerial portfolio if he was not prepared to attend to his ministerial functions say sources at Temple Trees. According to these sources the President has reprimanded more..

'Public service must shift to modern technology'

June 3 (LNP) Public Management Reforms Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka instructed the National Administrative Reforms Council (NARC) to take measures to provide a speedy public service making the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma a reality. Minister Wickramanayaka addressing NARC members at its first meeting in his Ministry at Pelawatte, Battaramulla said technology should be used appropriately in this endeavor changing the public service from mere filling up numerous papers. more..

Editorial: SUVs and bread

June 3 (LNP) The government has halved excise duty on vehicles, abolished a 15 per cent surcharge on all imports and reduced duty on electrical appliances. As for excise duty reductions on vehicles, a section of society with purchasing power will certainly benefit but their gain will be the State coffers` loss. Local automobile dealers who have been grumbling all these years about a drop in sales must be beaming from ear to ear! more..