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UNP reforms: Committee wants five top posts filled through ballot

May 21 (Island) A committee appointed to explore ways and means of overhauling the UNP will support the call to elect the party leader through an election. A well informed source told The Island yesterday that the committee would propose that the posts of the leader, deputy leader, assistant leader, national organizer and chairman should be contested. more..

Death notice for dog

May 21 (DM) A family in Kandy has posted a death notice for their pet dog which was killed as a result of a brawl between two groups. The death notice says the pet dog named ‘Teddy’ was beaten on the head using a pole and dumped into a well. While expressing sadness over the death, the family which brought up the dog cursed those involved in murdering the animal as well as their parents and children. more..

Video: Govt slams Fonseka

May 21 (DM) The government has accused General Sarath Fonseka of attempting to downplay the war victory by disputing the date on which the country was liberated from the clutches of terrorism after he said yesterday that Prabhakaran was killed on May 19 and not 18. Fonseka said yesterday that the Tiger leader was only killed after President Mahinda Rajapaksa had declared in Parliament on May 19 that Prabakaran was dead. more..

'Govt. must attach more sincerity and sanity to its programs in the North'

May 21 (UNP) The Health Ministry has decided to reenact the Visitors Board after a lapse of 10 years to report on mentally ill persons sent to the Angoda Hospitalon Court orders. The Ministry claims that due to the absence of the Board patients have met with many hardships. The Ministry claimed that there were many patients who were still at Angoda Hospital even after recovering from their mental ailment. more..

Residential complex for SL HC in London to cost Rs. 600 mn

May 21 (Island) A new official residence for Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London will cost the taxpayer approximately Rs. 600 million. The proposed three-storeyed residential complex at No 35 Avenue Road, London will comprise a special suite for visiting Sri Lankan VIPs. There will be two separate bungalows at the same premises for the heads of the political and visa sections. more..

'Sri Lanka may get IMF funds in 4-6 weeks'

May 21 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to release the next tranche of its program loan to Sri Lanka in 4-6 weeks if its management and board are satisfied with the island's budget deficit for 2010, an official said. Policy talks were encouraging, visiting IMF mission chief Brian Aitken told a news conference following meetings with government officials. There is scope for the government to cut recurrent expenditure and raise revenue, he said. more..

Rights group offers evidence of Sri Lanka war crimes

May 21 (AFP) A global human rights monitor said Friday it had fresh evidence of possible war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the government's war against Tamil Tiger rebels. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it had examined over 200 photos taken on the front lines in early 2009 by a soldier from the Sri Lankan Air Mobile Brigade and had new witness accounts of troops shelling civilians. more..

Channel 4 allegations: Govt will respond no further

May 21 (MoD) Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said the Government has no intention to further respond to the re-airing of a video and fresh allegations leveled by Channel 4, as the video in question had been scientifically proven to be a fake at the first instance. He said the Government had specifically and categorically stated, based on scientific evidence presented by both local and foreign experts that the video in question was a fake. more..

Floods affect half a million, displace thousands

May 22 (IRIN) More than 17,000 people remain displaced because of flooding this week in Sri Lanka and are staying in disaster relief centres, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reports. The floods were caused by days of torrential early monsoon rains that began on 14 May. More than 524,000 people were affected in the south, west and central parts of the country, the agency reported on 21 May. In the western district of Gampaha, the worst affected, more..

Sri Lanka appeal court allows resumption of Fonseka's court martial

May 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal today allowed authorities to resume the court martial against former army chief Sarath Fonseka on charges of indulging in politics while in uniform, nearly three weeks after suspending its proceedings. The court martial, which was suspended by the appeal court on May 3, was permitted to resume its sittings, lawyers said. The court of appeal had suspended the court martial hearing against Fonseka until today so that a decision could be made on more..

Debrief News - 21.05.2010

Health threat looms in the wake of floods

May 22 (NF) There is a possibility of disease spreading in the wake of the recent floods, says the Health Ministry. It has requested the public to seek immediate medical attention in the event such a situation arose. “With the increase of polluted water, there is a possibility of waterborne diseases spreading in the country,” said Dr. Paba Palihawadana, Director of Infectious Diseases Unit. more..

Blue sapphire found near Jethawana Stupa

May 22 (CT) Several artifacts, including a blue sapphire, have been unearthed during excavations done near the Jethawana Stupa in Anuradhapura. The sapphire, which weighs 10 g and 42 mg and was found 1.6m underground, is thought to be dated back to the 1 AD - 2AD. Several glass and clay beads, a few roman coins, animal bones, graphite, polished quartz, crude metal and crucibles were also found in the site. more..

Lanka to set up solar plants with Japanese, Korean help

May 22 (Hindu) The first two solar power plants in Sri Lanka with a total capacity of 1100 KW will be set up with $13.5 million Japanese and South Korean assistance at Hambantota district in country’s south eastern coast. According to Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA), the capacity of proposed two plants are 600 kw and 500 kw respectively and will be assisted by Japan and South Korea. more..

South- West monsoon starts to develop

May 22 (RW) The Southwest monsoon has started to develop in the island. The Department of Meteorology says certain signs of the monsoon are now being witnessed. Eighteen were killed due to the incessant rain experienced in the last few days while many have faced different accidents. Assistant Director of the Disaster Management Centre Pradeep Kodippili said 122 houses have been devastated. The number of units partially destroyed is 1039. more..

Soldier: Hero, villain or both?

May 22 (GV) Each time I see a soldier, my mind shifts into ‘mode chaos’. When I was a kid, things were black and white. They were my heroes; the guys who were taking the bullet for me, so I could get about with my life as I know it. They were the brave guys who would safeguard our beloved motherland from all that was evil. I would always return their smiles if I ever caught their eye. I’d even quite willingly stop for a chat sometimes, if they initiated conversation. more..

Defence Ministry takes over Urban Development and Internal affairs

May 22 (GDI) "The subject area of the Ministry of Defence has been expanded after taking over the responsibilities of Urban Development and Internal affairs matters and in the future respective news about them also given to the Media through the Media Centre for National Security" Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated after assuming duties as the minister of Media and Communication more..

Disaster situation declared in Nuwara Eliya

May 22 (GDI) A disaster situation has been declared in the Nuwara Eliya District, District Disaster Management Coordinator Erandana Hemawardana said. He said there is a risk of landslides at several locations due to the torrential rains. He said he has advised the people in the area to remain vigilant. 180 persons belonging to 63 families have been displaced. An earth-slip has occurred at Tawalamthenna on the Pudaluoya-Nuwara Eliya road. more..

ADB head to visit Sri Lanka

May 22 (N360) President of the Asian Development Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda will visit Sri Lanka during the next week. “Kuroda is visiting the country on an invitation made by the Sri Lankan Government” said an ADB Spokeswomen. He will arrive on the 26th of this month, stay here for 2 days and a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled. Kuroda during his stay will visit the Northern Province where he will launch an “electricity project” in Killinochchi and more..

Sangakkara demands fair chance for Sri Lanka

May 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has demanded 'equal opportunities' in the playing of Test cricket, saying chances for his country to play the five-day game were being reduced. Sangakkara said he would welcome a World Test Championship, an idea being discussed within official bodies to give greater context to series, but said any new structure needed to give each team the same chances to play internationally. more..

TISL calls on President to appoint Bribery Commission and reconstitute Constitutional Council

May 22 (TISL) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has requested the President Mahinda Rajapakse to take immediate steps to appoint suitable persons and reestablish the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) in accordance with the provisions underlined in the Constitution. TISL also drew the attention of the President to appoint the Constitutional Council more..

Requirements for reconciliation to face future challenges

May 22 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed an eight member Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to report in six months on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period, Feb 2002 to May 2009, their attendant concerns and to recommend measures to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such a situation. In view of the short deadline given to the Commission, the National Peace Council believes that more..

Two new species of Rasbora described

May 22 (PFK) Sri Lankan scientists have reviewed the Rasbora of Sri Lanka and conclude that there are five species on the island, including two species that they describe as new. Anjana Silva, Kalana Maduwage and Rohan Pethiyagoda published the results of their study in a recent issue of the journal IEF, in which they name the two new rasbora species from the south of the island R. armitagei and R. naggsi. more..

We’ll gain nothing from floodlit Tests: Murali

May 22 (AA) It’s talked about as a way to bring in the crowd, but the closest day-night Tests have come to being introduced to the cricket world has been inside the boardroom. The International Cricket Council has spent millions on research to find the perfect coloured ball that can be used under floodlights and made to last 80 overs, but the pink and orange ones don’t seem to last as long as the traditional red ones. more..

Lessons to be learnt and unlearnt

May 22 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed the much awaited ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC). The Island newspaper in its editorial ‘Some V-day thoughts’ voiced the pertinent question, “Why should we expend our time and energy to reinvent the wheel?” The appointment of the commission had been in incubation for nearly a year. Actually Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in the UN had spoken about his government initiating a mechanism for more..

Fallen Heroes remembered in a major religious ceremony in London

May 22 (IL) Large number of patriotic Sri Lankans and few other nationalities gathered at the London Buddhist Vihara to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of the valiant Security Forces, those who engaged in the noble mission of liberating the country from the clutched of brutal terrorism ending 30 years of war. The religious programme was conducted by the Maha Sangha headed by more..

SLA demolishes Valvai Monument for victims massacred by IPKF in VVT

May 22 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has demolished the memorial monument erected by Valveddiththu’rai (Valavai/VVT) people near Theeruvil crematorium grounds for their kith and kin massacred by occupying IPKF in August 1989, followed by the recent demolishing of Thileepan memorial monument, erected in Nalloor also by the public, sources said. SLA which has systematically removed all traces of Liberation Tigers in the peninsula by more..

Once off-limits areas are reopening to tourists

May 22 (Independent) You can rarely drive more than a couple of blocks in Colombo before a soldier extends an arm to your taxi or tuk-tuk, and subjects car and driver to a security check. So far, so familiar: moving around the Sri Lankan capital has been like this for years. The difference now is that the soldiers generally have smiles on their faces as you pull up. And when they see that the passenger is a tourist, as often as not they send you on your way with a laconic wave. more..

Interview with Kumar Sangakkara

Tourist arrivals spike as visitors return

May 22 (PB) The Southern coastline has always been a series of hotspots for travelers – local and foreign alike – for the beaches and the waves that they provide. From the beaches of Panadura, the drive along the coastline to the South of the island has attracted many a tourist who come looking for waves, sand and good times. According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority who do the number crunching, tourism has roared following the defeat of the LTTE last year. more..

Lawyers meet SC Judge and protest against attempts to transfer Chief Magistrate, Colombo

May 22 (LeN) About 300 Lawyers of the Magistrate Court, Colombo while protesting against the attempts to transfer Colombo Chief Magistrate Champa Janaki Rajaratne, had also met the Chief Justice this noon, as conveyed to Lanka e news by a Lawyer who participated in this protest. This Magistrate who commands the respect of all Colombo Magistrate Court Lawyers and who safeguards the dignity of the Court too, recently, more..

ESPN to broadcast historic Cricket series

May 22 (DC) ESPN and USA Cricket Association announced today a platform to showcase exclusive, live coverage of the May 22 and 23 Twenty20 international matches between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Lauderhill, Florida. The matches will be shown exclusively in the US on, ESPN's live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually to over 50 million homes. more..

China's education exhibition held in Sri Lanka

May 22 (Xinhua) The two-day Chinese Education Exhibition opened on Friday here, which is the first such exhibition ever held in the country. Addressing the opening ceremony, Secretary-General of China Scholarship Council Liu Jinghui said the exhibition will provide a direct and effective channel for the exchange of students between the two nations. She said that over 230,000 international students studied in China in the year 2009, and 901 are from Sri Lanka with more..

Sri Lankan immigrant damages church statue in Italy

May 22 (IANS) A 51-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant allegedly vandalised a stautue of the Madonna and child, causing damages worth over 20,000 euro ($25,140), at a church here. The immigrant, who was not named, was drunk and allegedly seized a candlestick and repeatedly smashed the statue, a priest at the Santisssima Trinita' church in Milan, said. Police was called, who detained the man in the city's San Vittore jail. more..

Through the Eastern eyes: Saainthamaruthu

May 22 (HA) The youth of Saainthamaruthu have taken a new turn in their lives today. They have had their maiden photo exhibition in their village. The 12 member Photo Voice team has undergone a professional training in Photo Journalism for one year, which was provided by Terre des hommes. The youth were trained professionally to handle still cameras, light, angles, composition, more..

Sri Lanka private provident fund contributors fall

May 22 (LBO) Active contributors to Sri Lanka's Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) of private sector workers dropped by 300,000 in 2009, a year in which the country went through an economic downturn, official data showed. EPF's active accounts dropped 12 percent to 2.0 million from 2.3 million a year earlier. Contributing companies and employers fell by 2,625 to 60,000, down 4.2 percent from a year earlier, according to data published in the central bank's annual report. more..

Shall we say ‘Thank You’ to the public sector?

May 22 (DN) Ask any economist in Sri Lanka about restructuring and how to go about it, and you are bound to be told about the public sector being inefficient, about being corrupt, about being bloated and that ‘restructuring’ would correct these flaws, these obstacles to ‘economic take-off’ (take-off where to, they will not tell us, like they won’t tell us that those that have taken off have nose-dived and all but taken the earth down with it). more..

Kiriella, Elapatha worst affected

May 22 (DN) The highest number of people affected by the floods have been reported from Kiriella (1,114 families) and Elapatha (692 families) divisions, Ratnapura District Secretary H.W. Gunadasa said yesterday. Gunadasa said the flood victims housed in temporary camps need bottled water, soap, toothbrush and tooth paste. He said the magnitude of the floods in Ratnapura district is determined by the water level of Kaluganga. more..

Met Dept proposes colour icon system

May 22 (DN) The Meteorology Department has proposed a colour icon system to inform and warn of hazards to the general public in a more effective manner, said Director General G.B. Samarasinghe. He noted that colour codes for different alert levels staring with the normal to severe threats have been proposed with signs and shapes representing hazards such as tsunami, cyclone, heavy rain and lightning. more..

Tourism Authority launches Rooms in Homes project

May 22 (DN) Fifteen guest houses have been set up without any help in Jaffna soon after the end of terrorism up to now. This is a healthy sign for the development of tourism in Jaffna, a senior tourism official said. Small and medium hoteliers have far more greater potential to increase tourist arrivals as the country is opened for tourism. Households are encouraged to provide accommodation to tourists in Jaffna and other tourist destinations. more..

Muslims praying in mosque attacked and mosque premises damaged

May 22 (LeN) A group of Muslims who were praying in the Ambanpola Muslim mosque in Malsiripura was attacked yesterday night (20), and the mosque premises too was damaged. A Muslim clergy of the area said, about 200 individuals stormed into the mosque and attacked the people who were at prayers. In order to save their lives, the victims had fled. Several of them had been injured, while the mosque too was extensively damaged. more..

The untold story of a child

May 22 (GV) This war has taken the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children. Hundreds of thousands more are displaced, and the abnormality of the war and post war situation is fast and painfully becoming normalcy to most people, some don’t and didn’t even live to see that. Hundreds of children are being born into such conditions, by virtue of the fact that the Muslim IDP’s displaced in the early part of the conflict are still languishing in Puttalam, more..

Articulating the concerns of ethnic minorities in relation to constitutional proposals

May 22 (GV) It may be useful to begin by going back over 80 years to the time when , in the mid – nineteen twenties, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, newly returned from Oxford University, vigorously promoted Federalism in Public lectures as well as in a series of newspaper articles. Curiously, the reported responses to his lecture in July 1926 in Jaffna on Federalism were not very positive. more..

Elected LG, PC members to study UNPreforms

May 22 (Island) Chairman of the Committee, Joseph Michael Perera said that UNPers, especially elected representatives in the local and provincial councils, would be given four days to study and submit their views, if any, on his committee’s recommendations. "Once all suggestions are received we will, along with our proposals accepted in principle, by the leadership, submit them to the Working Committee for more..

Laid off BOI company workers still not paid compensation

May 22 (Island) The Board of Investment (BOI) says many workers who had lost their jobs as a result of closures and layoffs during the recession are yet to be compensated but when asked by The Island Financial Review as to the extent of job losses in BOI controlled export processing zones, a top official said it was almost negligible. "There are vacancies in the export processing zones and when workers lose their jobs we are responsible to more..

'The lowest levels of Journalism'

May 22 (Island) Q. You seem to be always ending up with something to do with the media. Are you satisfied with what you have got? A. I make the best of what is given to me. As a minister, you cannot pick and choose when you govern. The government is one unit, and I have been entrusted with a huge responsibility. When former president Chandrika Kumaratunga wanted to reassert her control over the country in late 2003, she took away three ministries from the then UNF government more..

Editorial: Jumbos at a crossroads

May 22 (Island) The UNP reforms package has been unveiled at long last. The most salient feature thereof is the election of key office bearers. It has been recommended by the Reforms Committee that the party's leader, deputy leader, assistant leader, national organiser and the chairman be elected by consensus by the Working Committee and in the event of a contest, an election be held by secret ballot. The need for a new party constitution, too, has been recommended to reinvigorate the UNP. more..

Welgama refutes LPBOA charges

May 22 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama yesterday refuted Lanka Private Bus Owners Association charges that he cancelled tender procedure in the purchase of buses. Minister Welgama said that he had not cancelled the tender procedure, but had only suspended it temporarily until the appointment of officials. He said that he wanted to increase the fleet of CTB buses to 6,000 from the present 4,500. more..

Editorial: Wanted; A warrior to chronicle war victory

May 22 (DM) In any other country after a war victory of the nature and magnitude of that of Sri Lanka’s recent one, there would have been dozens and dozens of books written by those who took part in the battle. The commanders, senior officers even soldiers would have ventured to tell the story, as to how the forces defeated the world’s most sophisticated terrorist group. The fact that Sri Lanka has got so many invitations from other countries to help train their soldiers, more..

Vasu wants Executive Presidency abolished

May 22 (DM) The government's socialist allies are to submit proposals for constitutional amendments which include the abolishing of the executive presidency and to replace it with the post of executive prime minister. The socialist parties are opposed to the rescinding of the constitutional restriction for an incumbent president to contest for more than two terms. more..