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Prof. Peiris takes on INGOs pushing partisan politics

June 6 (SO) After giving a free hand for the INGOs to play the role of subversive interlopers in the domestic affairs for decades the Sri Lankan government has at last decided to confront the foreign-funded agents in INGOs head-on. In Washington External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, last week took them on and challenged their moral/political authority to dictate terms to Sri Lanka. more..

Reduction in vehicle import duties, a boost to industry

June 6 (SO) The local vehicle market received a major boost with the Government reducing the import duty on vehicles by 50 percent. The 15 percent surcharge on all imports was also lifted. This would help reduce prices of new and reconditioned vehicles in the market and it would also have a direct impact on the second hand market. Associated Motorways said that a customer could now buy a brand new car for less than Rs. 800,000. more..

TNA to meet President with open mind

June 6 (SO) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa with an open mind and priority will be given to the post-conflict humanitarian issues according to TNA parliamentarian and spokesman Suresh Premachandran. Commenting on the much anticipated talks between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the TNA tomorrow Suresh Premachandran told the Sunday Observer that the TNA has nothing to hide. more..

Leading the construction sector: Sri Lankan flag flies high

June 6 (SO) Be it a dam, hospital, highway, tower or building, the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) has done it all! It has lent its expertise and manpower to construct such projects in Sri Lanka and abroad during the past few decades. The library donated by the Sri Lankan Government to the Maldivian Government is one of the many buildings constructed by the CECB. more..

'UN did not institute war crime charges against Lanka'

June 6 (SO) Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Palitha Kohona said that the UN had not instituted war crimes charges against Sri Lanka although certain NGOs have been applying pressure on the UNSG to conduct an inquiry. "No UN body has authorised the SG to take such a course of action. The largest bloc in the UN, the non-aligned movement, formally objected to any such action by the SG. more..

CEPA whips up jobs scare

June 6 (LB) Trade Unions and Chambers urge the government to be cautious over provisions in the CEPA agreement which allow Indians to enter the Sri Lankan labour market. “If it is a highly skilled job or requirement of specialists in some area for a certain job category, they should be allowed for the benefit of the development of those sectors. But the CEPA agreement has proposals even to allow middle managers and executives as well. more..

If House meets late, will Committees meet at all? -Official

June 6 (LB) With the proposal to change parliamentary session hours from morning to evening, different ideas are emerging from the government and the opposition parties. Chief opposition whip John Amaratunga says that their party had proposed to hold parliamentary sessions “from morning to evening”. He is of the view that as a standardamount is paid for the whole day, it is all-right for all MPs to be in parliament from morning till late night. more..

‘Nosey parker’ Ranil barges in at meeting not meant for him

June 6 (LB) It looks as if the UNP is down in the dumps and might not be able to raise its head, with its members disagreeing on every count. Consecutive defeats in elections and the stubbornness of some of its MPs have made the UNP realize that reforms are a must. Even on this count there seems to be disagreement between the members with some of them wholeheartedly agreeing while others are in total disagreement. more..

Customs in the dark over amount to be slashed

June 6 (LB) The recent decision by the government to reduce excise duties on imported vehicles has caused much anxiety and consternation among companies involved in the business, several people who spoke to LAKBIMAnEWS, said. Several who spoke to this newspaper were of the view that the government and the customs department have so far failed to explain as to how the tax revisions would be applied in this regard. more..

India not pushing us, TNA claims

June 6 (LB) A delegation from the Tamil National Allliance will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow ahead of the president’s Indian visit scheduled for June 8. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran told LAKBIMAnEWS that a delegation from his party would meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss issues related to resettlement of IDPs and devolution of power. “These are the two key issues we would discuss with the president,” he said. more..

CEPA: hush-hush not helping

June 6 (LB) It is more than two years since Indian and Sri Lankan officials that negotiated the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) last met. In 2008, Indian Premier Manmohan Singh came to Colombo for the SAARC summit hoping to witness a signing of the CEPA but went away empty-handed. For a while, it had seemed as if the deal was properly in cold storage. more..

Pooneryn-Jaffna ferry service starts on June 13

June 6 (MoD) The ferry service from Pooneryn to Jaffna will start on June 13, Northern Province Governor Major General G. A. Chandrasiri said. The ferry service will function from Pooneryn to the Gurunagar jetty in Jaffna. The pier is constructed in Mananthai in Pooneryn and construction work is carried out by the provincial departments. The pier is located 10 kilometres away from the Pooneryn junction. more..

Moragahakanda project to benefit Northern farmers

June 6 (MoD) Once the Moragahakanda project is completed a large number of farmers in the Northern part of this country will benefit immensely, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Deputy Minister S. M. Chandrasena said. He said that under the second phase of Moragahakanda project a channel named `NCP channel' will be constructed upto Iranamadu. He said that moves are in place to expedite the construction work of Moragahakanda project and to complete it soon. more..

Prof. Peiris briefs Liam Fox – Defence Secretary of British government

June 6 (LP) Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, had discussions with Dr. Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence in the new British Government of Prime Minister David Cameron. The meeting took place in Singapore on the sidelines of the Shangr-La Dialogue on critical strategic and policy issues in the region. Prof. Peiris and Dr. Fox were both participants in the Dialogue. more..

Costly power purchase pacts to be revised

June 6 (NS) The government will soon begin renegotiating power purchase agreements hastily signed with private thermal power producers between 1995 and 2003, to the detriment of the country, due to the failure of governments from the early 1990s to go ahead with the cheap alternative of launching coal-fired power plants. Minister Champika Ranawaka yesterday said that, as those contracts are nearing expiry, they will begin renegotiating in the coming few weeks, more..

Editorial: For whose benefit and for what?

June 6 (NS) The news that Custom Duties on vehicle imports have been reduced, sent the automobile market into a spin this week, with wild speculation about the motives for the reduction, as well as forecasts for plummeting car prices. That the sudden decision came only a few days after the announcement that MPs in the new Parliament were to be given Duty free permits to import vehicles to the tune of US$ 50,000 in value, only added to the confusion. more..

Killer Jellyfish arrives in Sri Lanka

June 6 (NS) A poisonous species of jellyfish has been seen on the Mount Lavinia beach recently and the public is warned to be on alert when walking on the beach as the species known as blue jellyfish could be deadly. The poison contained in this jellyfish, which is known as the ‘man of war’ jellyfish might cause the people to develop allergy conditions such as itching and more..

‘Contesting for Presidency should be limitless’

June 6 (NS) The NFF, presenting a set of proposals to be included in the impending Constitutional reforms said that such reforms should pave the way for any individual to contest for the executive Presidency any number of times. “The Constitutional reform proposals were handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa, during the party leaders’ assembly for Constitutional reforms, which was held at Temple Trees recently,” more..

Tint allowed only on MoD permission

June 6 (NS) Referring to recent media reports indicating that the ban on tinted glasses will apply to VIPs as well, Media Centre for National Security Director General Lakshman Hulugalle said any person with valid reasons could obtain special permission from the Defence Ministry to have tinted glasses for their vehicles. “What I said was that the law would treat everyone equally. I did not make any comment on ministerial vehicles having tinted glasses,” more..

Tissa puzzled over Range’s attacks

June 6 (NS) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake yesterday expressed his surprise and puzzlement at the continued accusations thrown at him by UNP Puttalam District MP Palitha Range Bandara. “From the day this incident happened I have gone beyond my official duties to take action on this matter, and still Range Bandara keeps accusing me of many things,” Attanayake said. more..

Chance to experiment in dead rubber

June 6 (CI) India's inept showing in the tri-series is the main reason why the final league match tomorrow, between the hosts and Sri Lanka, is a dead rubber. What was billed to be an evenly-matched tournament, with India and Sri Lanka sending under-strength teams, has turned into a contest between just two teams. Zimbabwe's twin victories against India upset all predictions and hence put enormous pressure on India in their final match on more..

Editorial: Exporting English teachers

June 6 (Island) In a move that could be described as an attempt by an educational or political bigwig to gain cheap popularity or any other such short term plus, the educational authorities of this country are believed to have hit on an eye brow- raising plan to send some of our teachers of English to serve in South Korea. We are all for sending our human resources to South Korea or any other country which is in need of them but the poser the plan in question more..

400 buyers of BOI company’s assembled vehicles left in the lurch

June 6 (Island) In an unprecedented development, 400 persons who had purchased motor vehicles assembled by a BOI-approved company in Sri Lanka are contemplating filing individual Fundamental Rights (FR) pleas before the Supreme Court following the Motor Traffic Department’s sudden refusal to register their automobiles. A considerable number of vehicles assembled and sold by this company, Vehicles Lanka Ltd., were initially registered by the Department and more..

'3 Idiots' sweeps protest-hit awards in Sri Lanka

June 6 (AFP) Indian megastar Aamir Khan's hit movie "3 Idiots" swept the "Bollywood Oscars" at the weekend but the glitzy ceremony in Sri Lanka was marred by boycott calls and the absence of many top names. Khan's film -- a coming-of-age comedy about three engineering students -- secured 16 out of 27 Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) awards, including best film. But actor-producer-director Khan was not present at the ceremony, more..

Sri Lanka on BBC’s Hardtalk, Gotabhaya fields questions

June 6 (Island) The BBC World Service will air four HARDtalk programs on Sri Lanka beginning Monday (June 7) on BBC World News, BBC announced from London. The first of the four-part series will begin with "Tamils and the broken north" with Stephen Sackur talking to military officials, the Defence Secretary and former LTTE fighters (who BBC said live in hiding) and civilians trying to rebuild their lives. more..

Vehicles recovered from North handed over to owners

June 6 (Island) Colombo Additional Magistrate Kumari Abeyratne ordered several vehicles valued at Rs. 159 million which disappeared while transporting essential goods to the North and were later recovered by the army, to be handed over to their respective owners. The CID said there had been an agreement between plaintiff Sanjeewa Gunatileke, who operated a transport entity in Kochchikade, to provide vehicles to Aravinda Pillai Kadireshan who was supplying essential goods to the North, more..

Editorial: "Beware, Mahinda"

June 6 (ST) Now that the glitz and glamour of the Bollywood parade is over, notwithstanding the fact that there was no show by most of the mega-stars, we need to analyse the more serious issues relating to Indo-Lanka bilateral relations. Whether the net result of rushing in to host the IIFA event had a positive or negative impact can be gone into later, but it clearly revealed the intricate connections the LTTE had with the Tamil Nadu film industry which more..

'We came to Sri Lanka to build bridges'

June 6 (PTI) The IIFA awards in Sri Lanka may have been overshadowed by a boycott call but actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha lauded the united front put up by brave stars who attended the weekend ceremony in the Sri Lankan capital. "I have come to Sri Lanka to express solidarity and unity with our neighbouring country. We believe in building bridges. I congratulate the Indian film fraternity for being brave and not giving in to threats and protests," more..

President in high stakes visit to India

June 6 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to go to India on Tuesday on a three-day state visit amidst warnings from both Government and Opposition leaders yesterday that he should not sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The agreement goes beyond trade in goods between the two countries to include services. It is said to be weighted heavily in favour of India. more..

Karunanidhi writes to prime minister on rehabilitation of Tamils in Sri Lanka

June 6 (PTI) Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi today requested prime minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of Tamils still living in transit camps in Sri Lanka during his meeting with the president of the island nation. In a letter to Manmohan Singh, Karunanidhi said nearly 80,000 Tamils are still living in transit camps and they are awaiting rehabilitation measures by the Sri Lankan government. more..

After the show, a showdown with India

June 6 (ST) Behind the veneer of diplomatic niceties, Tuesday's official visit to India by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, will be tough and significant to both sides. The tempo built up by an extravagant Indian International Film Academy awards (IIFA) in Colombo this week, no doubt lent an air of goodwill. Yet, it had little or no impact in India with most of the frontline film artistes keeping away from Colombo. more..

Karuna Amman warns arm groups in the East

June 6 (HT) Making it clear that Sri Lankan government will not tolerate any groups in the east carrying arms, former Prabhakaran aide and now a Union minister Karuna Amman asked them to disarm themselves. "If any people carry legal or illegal weapons in that area, we cannot accept that situation. Because now only people are enjoying freedom after thirty years. They suffered a lot. Now they are starting to enjoy their lives," more..

Bonanza from bash down by billions

June 6 (ST) Public funds to the tune of about Rs. 450 million has been spent on the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) weekend, connected events and the run-up to the Bollywood extravaganza, officials said yesterday. They said that in addition to this about Rs. 250 million had been spent by Indian industrial conglomerate Videocon, Indian mobile phone company Micromax and local sponsors. more..

Chinese Vice PM here with big loans

June 6 (ST) A top level 30-member Chinese delegation headed by Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang is scheduled to arrive here on Thursday for a three-day official visit. Officials said the Chinese Vice Premier and the delegation would inspect the progress of Chinese-aided projects and meet government leaders. They said China would give Sri Lanka a loan of US$ 200 million to build a second international airport in the south and more..

‘Politics – the most lucrative of Lankan businesses’

June 6 (Island) ‘Engaging in politics in Sri Lanka today is the easiest and fastest way to making a quick buck. At present politics is the most lucrative of businesses in this country and around 80 percent of those carrying out political functions are corrupt’, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said. ‘Corruption and bad governance is the order of the day in Sri Lanka’, and more..

India and Lanka to sign 5 agreements during president’s visit

June 6 (Island) India and Sri Lanka will sign at least five agreements during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official visit to this country this week, informed sources told The Sunday Island here today. In all, 11 agreements were being negotiated to further enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries. They were to be signed during the presidential visit. But only five could be finalized so far. more..

No show by President at IIFA

June 6 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday kept away from the IIFA Awards’ gala night at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium along with almost all of Sri Lanka’s cinema personalities. President Rajapaksa was scheduled to attend the premier Indian film awards ceremony already rocked by controversy, as the chief guest. No formal reason was given for the President’s non-appearance despite his security detail (PSD) being present at the venue last night. more..

Sri Lanka considers raising GDP estimate

June 7 (WSJ) Fresh investments and consumer optimism spurred by the end of the war in Sri Lanka are helping the economy here more than expected, said the country's central bank governor. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka likely will raise its projection for gross-domestic-product expansion this year to 7% from an earlier estimate of 6%, said its governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal. The revision could happen as early this week, he told The Wall Street Journal. more..

Govt. shows ‘IIFA’ to bring ‘CEPA’ – Vijithe Herath

June 7 (LP) The government is preparing to sign ‘CEPA’ hiding behind ‘IIFA” and it is like the proverb so famous in our country which states showing the younger sister to the prospective groom and giving in marriage the elder sister says General Secretary of the DNA Vijithe Herath. Mr. Herath said Sri Lankan artistes have been disregarded at the IIFA festival and Ms. Malini Fonseka, ranked as one of Asia's 25 best artistes was not given a seat in the front row. more..

Response to R.Sampantan

June 7 (LG) A response to Mr. R. Sampanthan’s appeal that the Government and the International Community should accept the verdict of the People of the North and the East. It is now about two months since the General Election to the Sri Lankan Parliament was held. I am not to comment on the verdict of the people but as far as the election in the North and the East is concerned I have a few observations to make. more..