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Dy. Minister Mervyn Silva to resign from Media portfolio

May 7 (GDI) At a press conference held at the Ministry of Mass Media & Information a short while ago, the recently appointed Deputy Minister Dr. Mervyn Silva informed the media that he will be resigning from his media portfolio. Deputy Minister Silva was more recently given an additional portfolio as the Deputy Minister of Highways in addition to media. more..

Dispute but not insult - new minister

May 8 (BBC) The new media minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, has urged media to disagree with any point of view but not insult opposing points of view. Speaking to journalists after assuming the new office, the minister said everybody has the right to disagree and disbelieve. "We have the right to dispute; we have the right to disagree. We have the right to disbelieve but none of us have the right to insult each other," he said. more..

Winners and losers

May 8 (Economist) Trampling weeds underfoot, a group of people bound excitedly into an abandoned cemetery for Tamil Tiger rebels, hack bricks off the once pristine tombs and throw them into a waiting van. They are, sighs a local Tamil autorickshaw driver resignedly, “Sinhala tourists”—members of Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority, collecting souvenirs to take back home in the south. Since the main north-south highway reopened to civilian traffic in December 2009, more..

Return to Mirissa

May 8 (TA) On Boxing Day 2004 I looked with horror at images of an overturned train within metres of the beautiful Sri Lankan south coast. Water flooded through the open doors and the few passengers who had survived were huddled on the upturned carriage. It was the same train that I had taken the previous year, on my way to find Mirissa's unspoiled beach and lofty coconut trees. more..

Sri Lanka risks losing the peace

May 8 (TA) Soon after they killed him, the Sri Lankan government sent text messages to mobile phones across the country heralding the demise of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of militant group the LTTE. In case anyone missed the point -- or considered his death an elaborate hoax -- footage of Prabhakaran's lifeless body was aired extensively on television. A bright crimson wound on his forehead marked the spot where Prabhakaran's life, and the separatist movement he founded, ended. more..

Third Court Martial likely

May 8 (DM) A third Court Martial is likely to be convened against General Sarath Fonseka over alleged illegal arms deals committed by him during his tenure as the Army Commander and documents relating to the deal are in the process of being scrutinized, Defence sources told Daily Mirror online. According to sources the Court Martial is expected to include six colonels and one Brigadier. Some 18,000 files are being probed over the deal, Defence sources further added. more..

Debrief News 07 05 2010

Jaffna security forces deny rumours & exaggerated crime reports

May 8 (MoD) It has been observed that certain unscrupulous elements operating for undisclosed agendas and targets are flexing muscles to disrupt normalcy in the Jaffna peninsula by propagating falsehoods, regarding its prevailing security situation in the past three months vis-à-vis several incidence of criminal activities. As economic boom among the Jaffna populace are fast blossoming and the government's 'Northern Spring' development programme in full swing, more..

'Minnal Ranga' tipped to cross over to Rajapaksa alliance

May 8 (TN) Two parliamentarians of the main opposition UNP are likely to cross over to the ruling party shortly, according to political sources in Colombo. One is Mr. M.A. Abdul Cader and other is Mr.Ranga Jayaratnam, a well known personality in the electronic media as he was conducting Minnal programme in Sakthi TV of the MTV organization. Mr. Abdul Cader was elected from the Kandy district and Mr.Ranga from the Nuwara Eliya district on the UNP ticket. more..

Sri Lanka berates 'rusty' team for poor performance

May 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka Cricket on Friday berated the national team for their poor performance in the ongoing ICC World Twenty, saying most of the senior players looked "rusty and tired". "Sri Lanka, who emerged as runners-up in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 in England, has not been impressive in the Caribbean this time around," the cricket board said in a statement posted on its website. more..

Killing of Sergent: Houses of home guards set on fire

May 8 (NF) The houses of the two home guards, taken into custody in connection with the killing of a police sergeant at Etamba Oya checkpoint, have been set on fire. “Both houses have been razed to the ground,” said the Newsfirst correspondent. The arson attack, which took place on Wednesday night, had been carried out by an unidentified group. A hand tractor and a motor bike had also been damaged in the attack. more..

Precious legend :Bertie Wijesinghe

May 8 (SLC) A slight frame, garbed in his beloved Blue Black and Blue is poised to blow out 90 candles on the 24th of May 2010 . That’s Reginald Bertram Wijesinha for you. The oldest living Sri Lankan cricketer. I found the legend, blessed with so much charm to spare, chilling it out in his sitting room, walls peppered with his treasured family photographs. Seldom has such versatility found residence in one human being. more..

Sri Lanka cruise to victory over the West Indies

May 8 (CI) Sri Lanka profited from an amateurish fielding effort from a deflated West Indies to post 195 for 3 after winning the toss and opting to bat in the second match of the day at the Kensington Oval. The chief architect of the mammoth total was Mahela Jayawardene who, in a sublime display of risk-free strokeplay narrowly missed out on his second century of the tournament, eventually finishing unbeaten on 98. more..

Costly spills hurt West Indies

May 8 (CI) There has been a yawning gap between the highlight-reel fielding at this tournament and those moments destined for the blooper video. The good has sometimes been spectacular but the bad has often been embarrassing. Saeed Ajmal laid a high marker to top the list after his three drops against England, but it will take something special to match the mix-up between Wavell Hinds and Andre Fletcher, which left both players starring at each other as the ball landed between them. more..

Sri Lanka number portability plan threatens celco profitability

May 8 (LBO) Plans by Sri Lanka's telecommunications regulator to introduce mobile phone number portability, allowing subscribers to switch networks while using the same number, could threaten industry profitability, Fitch Ratings said. Implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) could increase subscriber acquisition and retention costs within the industry, it said in a statement. more..

Muralitharan suffers relapse of groin injury

May 8 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan is once again a major doubt for the rest of the World Twenty20 after he pulled up with a recurrence of his groin injury following a surprise return to the team against West Indies. Muralitharan initially hurt himself in the opening match of the tournament against New Zealand, in Guyana, and a Sri Lanka Cricket statement said it would require two to three weeks' rest. more..

'Govt proposal won’t address war crimes'

May 8 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government's suggestion that a newly announced commission will provide accountability for laws-of-war violations during the armed conflict with the separatist LTTE is yet another attempt to deflect an independent international investigation, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take steps to ensure accountability through an independent international investigation into the alleged laws-of-war violations. more..

Dawning of a new day

May 8 (ST) Years of hardship, suffering and perseverance were rewarded last month, when the University of Jaffna was finally able to organise their convocation ceremony after nearly five years. The long awaited ceremony was held at the Kailasapathy Auditorium, within the University premises. “It’s been nearly five years since we had our last convocation at the University. This year we were determined to have it somehow, as it’s been a traditional residual of our University culture. more..

Pack your trunk for a Sri Lankan paradise

May 8 (Mirror) Gliding down the Benthara river it’s hard to believe you are in a country ravaged by 25 years of civil war. As you sit back and watch monitor lizards snaking through the water and electric-blue kingfishers darting between the mangroves, Sri Lanka seems every bit the perfect tropical paradise. We touched down in Colombo hours after the government declared victory in its violent struggle against the Tamil Tigers and more..

Japan promises more investment here

May 8 (MoD) The Japanese Government and the Business Community will provide their unstinted support and co-operation towards the efforts of the Sri Lanka Government to build a strong economy after ending the war, said Nippon Foundation President Yohei Sasakawa when he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday. Sasakawa said he hoped to induce and divert large scale Japanese entrepreneurs towards more..

Sri Lanka hotels eyed by Thailand's Minor: report

May 8 (LBO) Bangkok-based Minor International is looking to buy or build beach resorts in Sri Lanka, after the island emerged from a 30-year war and prospects for tourism brightened, a media report said. Minor, which runs 'Anantara' branded hotels is Thailand's biggest hotel and fast food chain operator. "We are now more optimistic about the potential in Sri Lanka," Chief Executive Officer William Heinecke was quoted more..

Neela Marrikar on YaTV

'We were crowned as terrorists'

May 8 (LG) Maiden speech to the parliament of Sri Lanka by Mr Sivagnanam Sritharan M.P.: Honourable speaker, respectable members, on behalf of my people who have sent me as their representative and my self I wish to express my congratulations and greetings to you all. I stand here on the ashes of my destructed nation with the bones of my relatives kissing my feet, in the hope and faith that our peoples just rights will be granted more..

State-owned newspaper publishes death threat against SEP

May 8 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government-owned Daily News, on its editorial page on April 23, published a highly provocative article against the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) that contained an explicit death threat against the party. Entitled “Those who are worthy of salutation and those who are not,” the article identified the SEP in general and two prominent members in particular—general secretary Wije Dias and more..

Defence Ministry blocks international media persons visiting North

May 8 (TN) Sri Lanka Defence Ministry has blocked ‘Life Line’ resident advisor of ‘Internews’ Fiona Partol from coming to Jaffna to participate in a five-day training course for local media persons, media sources in Jaffna said. The Defence Ministry does not allow international media persons who are not supportive of the government to visit Jaffna and other areas in the North, the sources added. more..

Jaffna HRC summons Jaffna Prison officers alleged of attacking political prisoners

May 8 (TN) Jaffna Human Rights Commission (HRC) Coordinating Officer, T. Kanagarajah has summoned the Assistant Superintendent of Jaffna Prison and the prison guards alleged of assaulting eight political prisoners on 30 April, on the basis of statements from the victims presently receiving treatment in Jaffna Teaching Hospital on the orders of Jaffna magistrate, sources in Jaffna said. more..

An environmentally friendly Galle Face Green

May 8 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapalsa moves in to restore natural splendor that was the Galle Face Green. Galle Face Green was the envy of many environmental lovers and appreciators of scenic beauty of the capital’s hotspot in the heart of Colombo. The old Parliament rose above the sea level bordered by the fresh and more..

Four accused in Lakshman Kadirgamar case no more, 2 charged with murder

May 8 (LP) When the Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar assassination case was taken up before Colombo High Court Judge Kumudini Wickramasinghe yesterday (07), it came to light that four hardcore LTTE cadres, wanted in connection with the assassination of Kadirgamar, had been killed during Eelam war IV. The Former Foreign Minister was shot dead by an LTTE sniper on the night of 12th August 2005, from the bathroom of the adjoining house, more..

Sri Lanka could increase growth rate to 10 percent in 5 years

May 8 (LP) The head of economic think tank Dr Saman Kelegama said that Sri Lanka’s actual potential growth rate is above eight percent and can reach even nine to 10 percent by 2015 like India and China. Speaking at the launching of Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific report, Dr Kelegama said that economic growth in 2010 will be closer to six percent and to make this growth sustainable and more..

'Have a backbone and open private Universities'

May 8 (LeN) Jayawardena University Chancellor Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratne Thero told Higher education Minister S B Dissanayake to have a backbone and go ahead making arrangements to open private Universities soon. Be firm and have a strong backbone to meet the opposition and obstructions which may be presented against the efforts to accomplish this, the Thero added. more..

Environmentalists oppose return of forcibly evicted Northern refugees

May 8 (PSM) Enviromentalists have opposed forcibly evicted Northern refugees from returning to their abandoned homes in Mannar after 20 years through A32+B379 highway. They have complained to Supreme Court that their fundemental rights are violated if the general public is allowed to use this highway. They have stated in their Petition further that opening of this highway to public will more..

A Tamil group arrested in Italy say they were sent to Europe on a SL Defense Chief’s mission

May 8 (LeN) A group of 9 Tamils who were arrested in Italy by the police of that country on suspicions of refugee status seekers have disclosed that they were there to fulfill a mission of a SL defense chief, reports say. Because of this disclosure a Diplomatic crisis had been sparked. Italian police sources say that this is reminiscent of how Karuna Amman was sent to Britain illicitly with the backing of Govt. high officials. more..

How the LTTE was 'military' defeated: A Soldier’s view - Part 7

May 8 (LG) o. Sniper or Marksman Training: When Sri Lanka military officers ushering in the New Year 2006 while dancing in New Year ‘eve parties with their ‘date’, girl friend, own wife or disgracefully somebody else’s, like an ex-SLAF commander did in star hotels in the city with an air force widow, the then LTTE Northern Region Commander, Theepan, was distributing trophies to top marksmen and more..

Red signal for Minister Weerawansa

May 8 (LeN) It is reported that the statements made in Parliament by NFF leader and Minister of engineering services and public utilities Wimal Weerawansa day before yesterday(5) in support of General Fonseka, Colombo District M P. on safeguarding latter’s parliamentary privilege to allow him to be brought to Parliament when the Opposition was protesting against Fonseka being precluded from attending Parliament and more..

TRC issues warning on misleading SMS

May 8 (NF) An SMS containing several Telephone numbers misleading the general public, which is said to have been received by several persons over the past few hours is completely false, says the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC). “A certain group of saboteurs are operating to circulate the text message in question to mobile phone users. All mobile services providers on the country have been advised to more..

'Propagate country’s new development goals'

May 8 (DN) New Mass Media and Communication Minister Keheliya Rambukwella soon after assuming duties yesterday sought the support of the Media to propagate the country’s new development goals and its ambition to achieve economic prosperity. The Minister expressed confidence that the new situation that has succeeded the war had the potential to clear obstacles in Sri Lanka’s quest to be a prominent nation and more..

Vote of Condolence on Minister Dr Richard Pathirana

May 8 (LNP) Late Education Minister Dr Richard Pathirana had rendered a yeoman service to national education and was a leading figure in the progressive political camp in the South, said Leader of the House and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. Moving the vote of condolence on late Dr Richard Pathirana the Minister made this observations and more..

Whose coat are you wearing, by the way?

May 8 (DN) About a week ago I wrote about A E Goonesinha, the ‘Father of the Labour Movement’ in our country to a weekly newspaper. The piece prompted a lot of comment, including the following about his statue in Goonesinhapura: ‘What a ghastly sanitization is the statue of the old man breaking rocks, as punishment for refusing to pay the Road Tax, but dressed to the Ts in full suit, minus only his fedora!’ more..

'Ekneligoda investigation progressing'

May 8 (DN) Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Police have found seven SIM cards used by journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda and are conducting investigations analyzing the calls received and taken by them. He made this observation in response to an adjournment motion moved by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti querying as to what had happened to journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda who has allegedly gone missing. more..

School with one student, teacher and principal

May 8 (DN) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene Thursday witnessed how trained human resources and State properties were being underutilized after an inspection tour on Dambuwa Primary School in Kelaniya where there is only one student with a teacher and the Principal. It was his first inspection tour after being appointed as the Education Minister. This school is among the three schools in the Gampaha district where there are less than 10 students. more..

Police directed to report on pictures

May 8 (DN) The Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Lanka Jayaratne yesterday directed Colombo Central Senior SP to produce the report in connection with the investigations into the complaint made by an attorney at law, where two policemen had taken several pictures of the lawyer who represented General Sarath Fonseka's wife Anoma Fonseka at the Colombo Fort Police station. more..

'I will wash linen ; scrape coconut for them'

May 8 (LeN) Deputy Minister of information and media, Mervyn Silva said, if our country’s politicians have from the outset paid heed to the media this country would have progressed much more. The Minister who said , it is only after he got the appointment as the deputy Minister of media that he realized the value of media. Therefore he does not like to leave them. Minister Silva stated, more..

Sri Lankans quizzed ahead of Rahul Gandhi visit

May 8 (IANS) Ahead of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit here Monday, 36 Tamils from Sri Lanka have been detained and questioned to know how they reached Kerala, an official said Saturday. They were staying in a lodge here since Wednesday. On Friday, they were spotted in areas where fishing boats are berthed. Kollam SP told IANS that they have not found anything of concern so far. more..

'Journalists won’t be forced to reveal assets'

May 8 (Island) Newly appointed Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says the government will not force journalists to reveal their assets and liabilities. He said that it was not mandatory, though the government had earlier insisted that journalists complied with a government directive Minister Rambukwella said that journalists had been requested to fill the assets and liabilities declarations forms which were sent to them by the Information Department recently. more..

UNP reforms committee receives 15 proposals

May 8 (Island) The Joseph Michael Perera Committee that was examining proposed changes to the UNP constitution and reorganization of the party, had received 15 proposals as at yesterday. Sources in the UNP said that the six-member committee, which also comprises John Ameratunga, Lakshman Kiriella, Kabir Hashim, Wijedasa Rajapaksa and Ronald Perera, was meeting daily since May 5 and more..

Editorial: SOS!

May 8 (Island) It never rains but it pours. State run hospitals are reportedly facing a double whammy. Besides being in the throes of a severe scarcity of vital drugs, a shortage of saline is said to be staring them in the face. It is feared, as we reported yesterday, that unless the fast dwindling stocks of saline etc are replenished posthaste, the health sector will be plunged into a crisis. The situation has assumed so alarming a proportion that more..

Sri Lanka hotels eyed by Thailand's Minor: report

May 8 (LBO) Bangkok-based Minor International is looking to buy or build beach resorts in Sri Lanka, after the island emerged from a 30-year war and prospects for tourism brightened, a media report said. Minor, which runs 'Anantara' branded hotels is Thailand's biggest hotel and fast food chain operator. "We are now more optimistic about the potential in Sri Lanka," Chief Executive Officer William Heinecke was quoted more..

More tear gas for people: JVP

May 8 (DM) The JVP urged the government to stop heaping burdens on the people by increasing prices of essential items such as food and gas but instead reduce wastage and corruption in the government. The JVP said the price of gas was to be increased in March but it had been put on hold due to the elections. It charged that the government More tear gas for people: JVP adopted every possible ploy to fool the people before the elections and more..

Canadian Chief Trade Commissioner due in Lanka

May 8 (AD) Ken Sunquist, Assistant Deputy Minister (Asia & Africa) and Chief Trade Commissioner will visit Sri Lanka on May 10 to hold discussions with senior government officials, personalities in the corporate sector and civil society, the Canadian High Commission in Colomboconfirmed today. Among the expected topics of discussion will be matters of bilateral interest including political issues and more..

Opposition expresses concern

May 8 (DM) The opposition yesterday expressed concern over the assault on Daily Mirror senior journalist Sandun Jayasekara, and urged the government to bring perpetrators to book as soon as possible. Speaking in Parliament during the adjournment motion debate on journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda who had been missing, DNA MP Sunil Handunnetti said Mr. Jayasekara was the latest victim of violence against media men in Sri Lanka. more..