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Sirasa attack All suspects released on police bail

Mar 24 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed IGP Mahinda Balasuriya to conduct a thorough investigation into the attack on the Colombo Office of the Sirasa TV, at Braybrook Place on Monday afternoon and to submit a report to him. A special police team, tasked with the investigation, yesterday commenced interrogating 16 suspects arrested in connection with the incident. more..

Akon disheartened over Sri Lanka in official statement

Mar 24 (Examiner) Akon is "disheartened" to learn of violent protests and a riot that took place in Sri Lanka earlier this week. In an official statement issued over his now canceled concert late Tuesday, the "Beautiful" entertainer said "violence is not the answer". "I was not aware that the statue was even on the set of the video until now. more..

High Commissioner lauds demining work

Mar 24 (Hindu) High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha visited Vavuniya and Mullaithivu districts in Sri Lanka on Monday for an assessment of the work of Indian NGOs engaged in the de-mining process. The Indian mission here said he was accompanied by Atula Jayawardena, Special Forces commander and visited the Field Camp of an Indian demining team at Oddusuddan and Kathaliyarsamalankulam more..

Pirates capture another ship with Sri Lankan crew

Mar 24 (Gulf) A cargo ship has been hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman, according to European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor) on Wednesday. "The Bermuda flagged British Virgin Islands owned cargo ship MV Talca has been hijacked," a spokesperson for the EU Navfor told Gulf News. It said that MV Talca was heading from Sokhna in Egypt to Busheir in Iran when it was hijacked on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil wins foreign journalist of year award

Mar 24 (BBC) Sri Lankan Tamil has been named foreign journalist of the year at the British Press Awards in London. JS Tissainayagam was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 20 years in jail for inciting religious disharmony in his magazine. He was bailed in January. US President Barack Obama mentioned Mr Tissainagayam last year as an example of reporters jailed for their work. more..

Sri Lanka mulls aviation complex in former Tiger jungle airstrip

Mar 24 (LBO) A makeshift airstrip built by Tamil Tiger separatists in the jungles of northern Sri Lanka is to be turned into an aviation complex under government post-war reconstruction plans. L H Indrasiri, director, geographical information systems of the Urban Development Authority, said the proposal was part of a regional development plan for the island's northern province. more..

US star Akon falls foul of Buddhists in Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (AFP) US singer Akon will not be granted a visa to visit Sri Lanka for a sell-out concert after Buddhist monks and almost 12,000 people on social media site Facebook took offence at one of his videos. A group of monks lobbied the government to stop the star's planned visit because of a music video which featured women in bikinis dancing around a pool in front of a Buddha statue. more..

Stocks at over 5-wk low; foreigners exit

Mar 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's shares fell on Wednesday for an eighth straight session to an over five-week low, led by local retail selling and a large sale of blue chips by foreign investors ahead of parliamentary polls. The All-Share Price Index .CSE of the Colombo Stock Exchange closed 0.21 percent or 7.95 points weaker at 3,722.72, its lowest since Feb. 16. It had hit a record high on March 15. more..

People smuggler escapes with fine

Mar 25 (SMH) An Indonesian court has fined a notorious people smuggler who tried to bring 254 Sri Lankan asylum seekers into Australia last year. Abraham Louhenapessy, better known as Captain Bram, was on Wednesday fined 25 million rupiah ($A3000) and placed on 18 months' probation for breaching sailing laws. The Serang District Court found Bram guilty of hiring crew members who did not have proper documents to man the Jaya Lestari 5, more..

Hunger-striker to sue over claims that he ate Big Macs

Mar 25 (Independent) A hunger striker who held a 23-day fast in Parliament Square last year in protest at the Sri Lanka's offensive against the Tamil Tigers is suing two newspapers over claims that he secretly ate burgers during his vigil. Parameswaran Subramanyam, a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee who now lives in south London, has issued proceedings against the Daily Mail and more..

Pro-government thugs attack plantation workers

Mar 25 (wsws) In another incident of election violence in Sri Lanka, an armed gang associated with the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) attacked the houses of five members of the rival National Union of Workers (NUW) at the RB Division of the Ramboda Estate on March 17. The thugs warned workers not to support NUW leader R. Thigambaram, who is standing in the Nuwara Eliya district in the April 8 general election. more..

Sri Lanka warned against excessive foreign reserves

Mar 25 (LBO) Holding large foreign exchange reserves could actually be a burden for Sri Lanka's government and deny funds from badly needed infrastructure and health care, a senior corporate executive has said. Sanjoy Ray, Finance Director of Finlays said that while foreign exchange reserves could act as a buffer against emergencies, they come at a cost. "What is not always appreciated is that, beyond a point, a large reserve means a huge ‘opportunity cost’ for the country," more..

Debrief News - 24. 03. 2010

Young filmmakers get prize for short films on ‘Jesus Today’

Mar 25 (AN) The short film competition at the ‘Jesus Today’ festival saw a number of entries vie for top spot. The event was held in the auditorium of Negombo’s Electro Institute before an audience that included priests and students. Three movies received an award and all the others got a certificate from Andrew Jayamanne, a veteran of the Sri Lankan movie industry. The topic of the competition was the place of Jesus in today’s life through the work of Christians. more..

Reflections on the desert

Mar 25 (AN) The line of duty calls, it is 5:30 a.m., and here I am on the highway to Dammam for a meeting with Sri Lankan expatriates as the newly arrived ambassador. The occasion: celebrating Sri Lanka’s Independence Day at which I am chief guest. The sun, like a fiercely giant orange ball, is rising steadily to my right; its rays throwing up flashes of crimson on a grayish blue-sky overhead. more..

Cartoonist kidnapped two months ago still missing

Mar 25 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders appeals to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to order the release of the results of the police investigation into leading cartoonist and political reporter Prageeth Eknaligoda’s disappearance two months ago. The police have shown no interest in finding this opposition journalist alive, while government ministers have made contradictory statements that more..

Caritas comes to the aid of disabled war victims

Mar 25 (UCAN) Ten months after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Caritas-Mannar is continuing to provide artificial limbs, crutches, wheelchairs and other aids to Tamils disabled in the fighting. According to Manjulavathy Peter, data operator for the Valvuthayam program of Caritas-Mannar, the Church’s social service agency has provided 880 people with such aids as of February. more..

The Mental Health Issues of the Sri Lankan War Widows

Mar 25 (LG) One harsh reality of the war is that the every soldier killed in war leaves behind grieving relatives. It has been a reality since the Trojan War. The women who were left widows as a result of the Sri Lankan conflict are facing radically altered circumstances. There are estimated thousands of War widows and war-affected family members from the Tri Forces who still experience grief reactions. more..

TNA highlights Sinhalese influx into North Lanka

Mar 25 (EB) In the intense competition for the ethnic Tamil vote in the run up to the April 8 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections, parties touting Tamil nationalism are highlighting the “dangers” arising from the post-war influx of Sinhalese into the predominently Tamil Jaffna peninsula and the Wanni. TNA is drawing attention to the construction of permanent army camps in the Wanni. more..

Archbishop denounces bogus ‘priest’ candidate

Mar 25 (UCAN) Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has denounced the use of religion in election campaigns and warned that a candidate who appears in priestly garb in campaign leaflets is not a Catholic priest. Flyers distributed by the Jathika Sanwardana Peramuna political party have shown their candidate, Janaka Kumaratunga, dressed as a priest. The party has referred to him as a Catholic priest and more..

U.S. govt provides Sri Lanka with assistance to combat Influenza

Mar 25 (USE) The U.S. Government, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is partnering with the Ministry of Health Epidemiology Unit to enhance Sri Lanka’s ability to monitor and track seasonal influenza, and prepare for, detect and respond to an influenza pandemic if it should occur. Under the program, CDC will provide over Rs 34 million ($300,000) a year for up to four years to more..

CID questions Anura for the second time

Mar 25 (LT) The government, by aiming conspiracy charges against the activists of the opposition, is engaged in a witch hunt against them as they have become a challenge to the government says Parliamentarian of the JVP Anura Disssanayake. He said this after appearing before the CID today. Mr. Anura Dissanayake was questioned for nearly one and a half hours when he went before the CID today morning at 9.00 a.m. as more..

Attack over ‘offensive’ music video revives old fears

Mar 25 (IPS) Anger against the popular rap and hip-hop singer Akon, whose music video has footage of bikini-clad women dancing near a Buddha statue, may have been just a ruse used in this week’s attack on a private media house in Sri Lanka, media advocates fear. Some 200 people attacked and stoned the head office of MTV and Sirasa, two of the country’s popular privately owned television and radio networks, on Monday, in the wake of anger over the video of a song by the U.S.-based more..

Why is transparency better for Tamil diaspora organizations?

Mar 25 (LG) Tamils trust an organization because the organization is transparent and informs the people about what they are doing via public and member reports. Whether it is a success or failure, the members of the organization are informed in a timely manner. The members can elect their next board or committee based on information related to its performance in the previous years. more..

Government denies paying British MP's trips

Mar 25 (BBC) A senior Sri Lankan Minister has denied allegations of paying British Parliamentarians travel and hospitality expenses to visit Sri Lanka. Speaking to journalists in Colombo on Wednesday Minister Maithripala Sirisena said “we totally deny these allegations of spending government funds to sponsor these visits”. He dismissed allegations of government spending as mere rumours. more..

3 year old Amila’s tragedy and irrelevance of politics

Mar 25 (LG) Among the stories that were reported from Sri Lanka in recent days the case of three-year-old Amila, is perhaps one of the most significant. Except for immediate press coverage of the story in a more sensational manner there were hardly any other reflections. Amila's mother had made several attempts to draw the attention of the local government and some charitable organisations to the plight of her five children, more..

Mr. Rajapakse, appoint a Tamil and a Muslim as our Prime Minister

Mar 25 (LG) When S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1959, our nation did something unprecedented: We elected Sirimavo Bandaranaike, world's first female head of government. Later, Sri Lankans not only re-elected her but also elected and re-elected her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, our fourth executive president. During the last 62 years since we gained independence in 1948, our country was ruled by two women for 23 years. more..

Susil Premajayantha on YaTV

Former CJ Sarath N Silva and DGC Sarath Jayathilake paves way for revenue loss in billions

Mar 25 (LG) In the ‘landmark’ judgement [SC Appeal 49/2008] pronounced by the former CJ Sarath N Silva it was held that the seizure of goods under the Customs Ordinance after goods have been delivered upon payment of duties, is manifestly illegal and the correct procedure would be to recover the element of revenue defrauded by the importer if any as ‘additional duties’ and release the goods. more..

Tiran Alles questioned over 'The Sunday Leader' editor killing

Mar 25 (CT) The CID this afternoon (Mar. 24) questioned political activist Tiran Alles over the killing of 'The Sunday Leader' editor Lasantha Wickrematunga more than two years ago. Mr. Alles has been interrogated for more than an hour, as he is said to have received a phone call from the senior journalist around half an hour before his murder. One-time close associate of SLFP Mahajana Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera, more..

'If the Tsunami fraud decision is wrong, President Rajapaksha should be in jail today'

Mar 25 (LeN) Former Chief justice Sarath N Silva when delivering a special discourse on ‘ law, Democracy and country’s future’ at the Jayawardena center said ‘ if the Govt.’s media is now alleging that all my judicial decisions I delivered were wrong during the time when I was the Chief Justice, then my judgment on the Tsunami fraud freeing Rajapakse is also wrong. more..

Col. Kapila Ratnayake released

Mar 25 (LT) Col. Kapila Ratnayake, who was a very close associate of Gen. Sarath Fonseka in the presidential election campaign and who had been arrested was released by the Fort Magistrates Court yesterday (23rd). Col. Kapila Ratnayake was arrested by the Military Police the day after the election at Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel in Colombo. State media had stated that he had been arrested on charges of conspiracy against the state. more..

Blatant violations of election laws: CaFFE

Mar 25 (CaFFE) The removal of illegal propaganda cutouts, posters and banners has not been done satisfactorily with the situation in some districts being even worse, an election monitoring group said yesterday. “Election cutouts, posters and banners are still to be seen prominently displayed in Kegalle, Matale, Ratnapura, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and in nearly the whole of the Southern province,” more..

Author held in book row

Mar 25 (GDN) A Bahrain resident has been arrested in Sri Lanka after converting to Islam and writing two books in Sinhalese allegedly offensive to the spiritual leader of Buddhism. Sarah Malanie Perera, 38, was detained in Colombo on Saturday as she was due to leave her homeland after a three-month holiday. Discover Islam has now issued an international appeal to human rights groups to more..

Opposition banks on coalition in Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (National) While most people believe the ruling party of the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, will win next month’s parliamentary election, the main opposition party is banking on a repeat of the December 2001 poll when the two biggest parties began sharing power. That relationship was fraught with tensions from the beginning and ended after just two years, and analysts say any power sharing agreement, more..

Sri Lanka retirement fund gives 10-pct return for 2009

Mar 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Employees’ Provident Fund gave members a real rate of interest of 10.01 percent in 2009 with annual average inflation falling to 3.4 per cent, the Central Bank said. It said in a statement the fund, which it manages, has declared the highest-ever rate of interest of 13.75 per cent to its member balances in 2009, an increase of 55 basis points compared to that of 13.20 percent in the preceding year. more..

Hugs help heal wounds in divided Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (BBC) Four hundred Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and mixed-race students are milling around. On a cue, each person is urged to go onto the stage and hug someone from a different ethnicity. They leap at the chance to go onto the stage. "If my people did anything wrong, I am sorry, I am your brother for the rest of my life," is one of the whispers heard as the young people embrace. more..

Sri Lanka urban planners moot high-rises, seafront development

Mar 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's urban planner seek to transform the capital Colombo into a modern city with high-rises to accommodate a growing population and also make better use of its seafront, officials said. Prasanna Silva, director-general of the Urban Development Authority (UDA), said they aim to have a proper urban land use policy and encourage investment that would make Colombo more attractive to live and work in. more..

Economy to stride giant leap

Mar 25 (GDI) The next six years will see a giant revolution in the country's economic sphere where every family will be ensured a house to call its own, job opportunities and infrastructure facilities for a decent living, UPFA Gampaha district group leader contesting the general elections Basil Rajapaksa. He was addressing a convention of the Mirigama SLFP Madya Bala Mandalaya held at the Mirigama Youth Resort Monday. more..

Rs. 750 Million to pay as livelihood grant for resettled families

Mar 25 (MoD) The government has planned to provide a livelihood grant of Rs 25,000/= for each resettled family as a measure to uplift livelihood condition of those families. A ceremony was held at Chavakachcheri on 22nd March to handover the grant for 900 resettled families under the patronage of Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda and Northern Province Governor Maj General G.A. Chandrasiri. more..

Sacred Mailady Virgin Mother’s church feast commences after 12 Years

Mar 25 (GDI) The holy Mailady Virgin Mother’s Church in Jaffna, a sacred shrine that boasts a history of more than 300 years, but has remained abandoned and dilapidated for over 12 years due to terrorist threats commenced its daily holy masses last Saturday (20) after Army troops with the support of devotees renovated the place fully. Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander Security Forces, more..

De-mining process nearing completion

Mar 25 (GDI) Major General Prasad Samarasinghe, the Military Spokesman said,demining process is being speedily expedited to facilitate the resettlement of IDPs. Already 183,219 IDPs have been resettled in their own villages after they were totally cleared of landmines. 84,700 are to be resettled,29,000 have gone out with permission and 54,000 remain in the Camps. more..

Moratuwa University earns IChemE accreditation

Mar 25 (GDI) The University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka has become the country’s first academic institution to earn IChemE accreditation, following the successful accreditation of its bachelor of science of engineering (hons) in chemical engineering course. The Moratuwa course has been accredited at bachelor level, effective from the current academic year up to and including entry year 2011. more..

Ranminithenna Tele Village, a hand waver

Mar 25 (LP) The Ranminithenna Tele Village is scheduled to be opened on the 30th of this month by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Built on an area of 230 acres in Hambanthota, it was a brain-child of President Rajapaksa who in his many visits abroad had planned and lent action to the concept said Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media W B Ganegala addressing a media briefing in Colombo today (25). more..

Casting of postal votes has begun today

Mar 25 (GDI) The casting of postal votes for the general elections has begun today and it will continue until tomorrow. The Elections Secretariat sources said that all arrangements had been finalized for the casting of the postal ballots at offices of the Certifying Officers. The number eligible for postal voting is 400 thousand. Candidates of political parties and more..

What is the ugliest election ad you’ve seen?

Mar 25 (DN) There are so many clever, clean, mature, experienced, honest, brave, innovative, with-of-and-for-the-people people contesting this election that I have stopped looking for message in campaign posters. After seeing thousands of posters and hundreds of versions of the same “I am it” (or, to put it in Sinhala parlance Mamai Pora) syndrome, they all appear like a blur, bluish-greenish hue that flanks the roads I take. more..

More Malaysian business in Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (LP) Malaysia is looking to diversify its investment portfolio in Sri Lanka to enhance investment opportunities. Malaysia is focusing on investment opportunities in tourism, infrastructure development including roads and telecommunication, construction and housing. Sri Lanka Malaysia Business Council Patron and Malaysian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Rosli Ismail said that investors are keen to come to Sri Lanka. more..

Kumar Rupesinghe on the election

Army helps school to hold sports meet

Mar 25 (Mod) Students and teachers at Eluthumadduval PTMS Vidyalaya conducted their annual sports meet recently with the assistance given by the officers and other ranks of 522 Brigade under the supervision of its Brigade Commander on the directions of Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander Security Forces, Jaffna. The Chief Guest for the final day of the sports meet was Colonel D.M.M.S Bandara, the Brigade Commander of 522 Brigade. more..

SEP manifesto for the 2010 Sri Lankan general election

Mar 25 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calls on workers and youth to support our candidates and actively participate in the party’s campaign for the April 8 general election. The SEP is standing election slates in the districts of Colombo, Jaffna, Nuwara Eliya and Galle. The SEP is the only party advancing a socialist program to defend the living conditions and democratic rights of working people. more..