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Tamil forum to decide on upcountry parties

Nov 1 (NS) A final decision on the inclusion of upcountry parties to the Tamil Political Parties Forum (TPPF) will be taken this week, according to a senior member of the forum. Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA) leader and former MP M K Shivajilingam told The Nation that a proposal had already been put forward to the forum to include several other minority parties including those representing upcountry and the Muslim community. more..

Unemployment figures contested by Socialist Youth Movement

Nov 1 (SL) The Government of Sri Lanka has defined an individual as being employed if he works two of the seven days in the week. Official figures have shown unemployment to be 5.9%. While the youth of Sri Lanka, 15-29 years, experience an unemployment level of 15.8%. The government however, has failed to account for unemployment in the Northern Province. The Socialist Youth Movement in Sri Lanka have contradicted these figures stating that more..

Dominant Sri Lanka crush Australia

Nov 1 (CI) A brutal Sri Lankan performance delivered Australia their first Twenty20 defeat at home as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara thrust the tourists to a commanding seven-wicket victory. The hosts were first overwhelmed by a stunning bowling display, dropping to 5 for 43 in the 11th over and finishing at 8 for 133, before becoming the victims of an explosive batting effort. more..

IUSF, JVP discuss Uni situation: Govt. at fault, says JVP

Nov 1 (AD) JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe accused the government of joining with the international community in an attempt to destroy the free education system within universities. The government has separated only a small amount of money for university education, he affirmed. Many problems have arisen within universities due to this and the government is giving a different definition to the students’ movement which is operating seeking solutions to these dilemmas, more..

The sad plight of a housemaid

Nov 1 (AN) It’s a shame that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh did nothing to help this wretched soul. She has been sitting in one of the jail cells for three years and now she has been told that the Supreme Court in Riyadh has endorsed the death sentence given to her for murdering a Saudi infant in 2005. It is with many hopes that these poor women board the flight to the Middle East, leaving behind kith and kin, sometimes even little toddlers. more..

Sri Lanka President holds bilateral talks with Chinese and Nepalese leaders

Nov 1 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa concluded a bilateral discussion with Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of China short while ago at Xijiao Guest House in Shanghai on 31 October. President Rajapaksa is currently in China on a two day state visit to participate the closing ceremony of the Shanghai EXPO 2010 trade exhibition. He was invited as a special guest by the government of China along with more..

Nafeek, the Sri Lankan maid, I never met

Nov 1 (AN) When I first heard of the death of a Saudi infant at the hands of a Sri Lankan maid named Rizana Nafeek about four years ago, I looked at the word “child abuse” and what it meant. I found out that “child abuse” could come in any form and shape. A child could be abused by a maid, a stranger or a family member. I felt so sorry for the parents of the infant. And no matter how sorry I was and still am, there is no way that I could fathom their anger and grief. more..

Debenture issue to partly fund 'port city' project

Nov 1 (BL) Following the example set out by the Urban Development Authority (UDA), Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is likely to opt for a debenture issue to fund the much exaggerated ‘Port City’ project, which plans to change Sri Lanka’s map. SLPA, which is in charge of building a new ‘port city’ adjacent to Colombo’s Galle Face Green, is expected to raise part of the required funding for the project through a debenture issue, of which the number are yet to be disclosed, more..

President Rajapaksa visits Shanghai EXPO 2010 Exhibition site

Nov 1 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Sri Lanka pavilion and China pavilion at EXPO 2010 trade exhibition site last evening (30th October) in Shanghai, China. President Rajapaksa who is currently on a two day official visit to China to participate at the closing ceremony of the EXPO 2010, which is one of the largest world fairs and a highly significant global event. more..

Increase doctors wages in budget - GMOA

Nov 1 (AD) The salary of doctors has to be increased in the upcoming budget, Government Medical Officers’ Association says. They stated that many government officials including the Secretary to the Treasury had been informed regarding the wage increase on several occasions. The salary currently provided to doctors is in no way sufficient enough, GMOA Committee Member Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa told Ada Derana. more..

Woman arrested for fraudulently collecting millions

Nov 1 (AD) Anuradhapura Police have arrested a female who had fraudulently collected over Rs.10 million from several people by deceiving them and promising them employment in foreign countries. The suspect and her driver were arrested at a tourist hotel in the Anuradhapura area over information received by the police last night. The female, a resident of Thangalla, had allegedly been committing these frauds for a long period of time at more..

Sri Lanka today one of the safest destinations a tourist can expect to fly to

Nov 1 (IL) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, “Sri Lanka is today one of the safest destinations in the world a tourist can expect to fly to”. The Ambassador made this observation when he addressed passengers traveling to Sri Lanka on the maiden Brussels-Colombo direct flight, at a departure ceremony held on Saturday at the Brussels International Airport. more..

Prison: The other hell (True Prisons – Part 4)

Nov 1 (LG) Mohamed Nowsan is a 28 year old father of one. On the 4th of September 2010, the Kataragama police arrested Mohamed on fabricated charges for a crime he did not commit. The police subsequently beat him and he was sent in Tengalle prison for 28 days. Mohamed was incarcerated in Ward 3 of Tengalle prison, where he said overcrowding was a very serious issue. His cell had 37 pre-trial detainees in a space that is only meant to hold 20. more..

Private/Foreign universities debate in Sri Lanka: Some observations

Nov 1 (LG) Since the late 70s we witnessed the dawn of neoliberal economic and associated social policies along with the demise of ‘welfare state’ in many developing countries, including Sri Lanka. Privatisation of state owned institutions such as utilities; reductions in the state contributions to fields such as health, education and social welfare, and the introduction of market competition to areas where there was near government monopoly more..

Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict: How Eelam war IV was won

Nov 1 (Island) Historian, art historian and writer, Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda is one of the few non combatants to have been allowed into the war zone during the final stages of the Eelam War. Some of his pieces were published by The Sunday Island, The News on Sunday & The Independent. His case study, "Sri Lanka. The Last Phase in Eelam War IV. From Chundikulam to Pudumattalan" has been published by more..

Lessons to be Learned from the LLRC

Nov 1 (LG) Although we place no confidence in the State to address the major issues nor provide justice to the cause of learning lessons and reconciliation, we shall present our views in order to bring out the sheer futility –and duplicity- of the LLRC. We present our views as an open letter, as opposed to making direct submissions, since we do not recognize the LLRC as a legitimate and credible mechanism for achieving its stated objectives- to learn and reconcile! more..

Nincompoop Tamil political parties and the leaders

Nov 1 (LG) The state of affairs of the Tamils in Sri Lanka has been reduced to pathetic slavery by the state and the visionless, incompetent and disastrously failing Tamil political leadership too is contributing to this painful tragedy. Tamil parliamentarians or politicians politicking from the fringes are adequately contributing to the never ending marginalisation programme of the government against the Tamils. more..

A group of investors visits Vavuniya

Nov 1 (NPC) Officials of Brandex Limited, Hidramani Limited, Timex Garments Limited, MAS Holdings, and Omega Line Limited that are intending to invest in new projects to set up garment factories in the Northern Province visited Vavuniya on 28 October 2010. These new projects have been approved by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI). Officials of BOI and USAID also took part in this visit. more..

Thou Shall not criticise the Rajapaksa Brothers and the Armed Forces

Nov 1 (TC) Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked Saudi Arabia to pardon Ms. Rizana, the Lankan maid convicted to death for ‘killing’ a child in her care, while she herself was still a minor. For the sake of the hapless Ms. Rizana and her sorrowing family, one hopes that the Saudi authorities do not respond to this international plea the Rajapaksa way. Because, if the Saudis emulate the Rajapaksas, they will castigate the HRW for interfering in the internal affairs of more..

Telling the truth about economic growth prospects: The art of the impossible

Nov 1 (LB) Some of it is plain asinine! Do you really believe that the top brass of the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka don’t know the compound interest tables? No, you don’t; OK I’m not sure but you may be right. Then how explain this? The government aims at a sustained GDP growth rate of 8% per annum in the medium term; the same government says it will double per capita real GDP in five years (by 2015). more..

Five men went out to sea, only one returned…

Nov 1 (ST) It is a story of survival. A man adrift on the high seas for 15 weeks. He suffered great anguish in deep waters facing one calamity after another. He saw one of his mates snatched away by the merciless wind, the others on board dying a slow and painful death due to dehydration. Yet after many trials, he survived and returned to tell the tale. K. D. Mahesh Padmakumara was the sole survivor of a more..

National Reconciliation – The Need of the Hour

Nov 1 (Island) "Reconciliation: A Noble Goal, But Where Do We Start?" was the heading given to thought-provoking article by Dr. M.A. Mohamed Saleem featured on page 13 of the Sunday Island of the 24th October. I turned the page, and it was as if Mr. Somapala Gunadheera had anticipated the question and provided a very well-considered answer – "A Standing Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation." more..

Educating children for responsible citizenship

Nov 1 (Island) The Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) is increasingly perturbed by the rapid deterioration of civic consciousness in our citizens. Rather than complain only against politicians and government servants regarding their commissions (of every type!) and their omissions, there is a need for all citizens to engage in a little introspection and take steps to improve the outlook at least for the next generation. more..

Why did ex-CJ Sarath Silva ask the President and not the Judiciary to Protect the rights of Sarath Fonseka?

Nov 1 (TC) There are speeches which remind us of the past: the distant, as well as the recent past; the forgotten, as well as the unforgettable past. Such a speech was delivered by Mr. Sarath N. Silva recently, in defence of Mr. Sarath Fonseka. There was a topical issue raised by Mr. Silva, unintentionally, when he began to recount the numerous allegations which had been levelled against Mr. Rajapaksa years and decades ago more..

Church seeks royal pardon for housemaid

Nov 1 (UCAN) Sri Lankan Church workers, along with human rights activists and the state president, appeal to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to commute the death sentence imposed upon housemaid Rizana Nafeek. “Only His Royal Highness the King has the power to pardon her,” said Father George Sigamoney, Caritas Sri Lanka national director, who has campaigned justice for Nafeek’s case since 2007. The appeals come after the Saudi Supreme Court has rejected an more..

Living beyond your means not economically healthy

Nov 1 (Island) It is obvious that an individual cannot live beyond his means for even a limited length of time even in an age where borrowing is easy. If you live beyond your means, you will be forced eventually to live beneath your means. Living and consuming on borrowed money cannot last. When living extravagantly, it seems the good times will continue forever. But when the bills come and the debt piled-up with interest needs to be repaid, the good times end. more..

Shortage in rice, prices will rise, farmers warn

Nov 1 (LB) Karandagahamula farmers have warned that there will be a shortage of rice in the coming months because some farmers have hidden paddy stocks in the hope that there will be a hike in prices. They warned that due to the shortage of paddy a shortage of rice is expected in the coming months in addition to prices climbing to approx’ Rs 100 per kilo. The price of a kilo of Samba rice also could see more..

'Electoral reforms will benefit voters, parties'

Nov 1 (SO) The new electoral reforms under which elections are to be held early next year will immensely benefit the voters since they will be empowered in all development-related works, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, who is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms (PSCER), said. The Bill which has already been tabled in Parliament is more advantageous to all political parties and political groups contesting the polls, more..

Are foreign and local plotters setting the stage for a coup in Sri Lanka?

Nov 1 (NS) All eyes continue to be on Sri Lanka, even though the 33-yeard-old Vadukoddai War was concluded one-and-half years ago. The intensity of the anti-Sri Lankan campaign seems to be increasing and there are no signs of letting up. Amnesty International (AI) International Crisis Group,(ICG) UN, Human Rights Watch, (HRW) Churches, NGOs, both local and abroad, Sri Lankan expatriates with an axe to grind, more..

'Feeble leadership - main cause for UNP’s downfall'

Nov 1 (SO) The UNP which played a leading role in obtaining independence for Sri Lanka, had rendered an invaluable service to the nation from its inception under a number of leaders beginning with its founder leader D.S. Senanayake. There had been many ups and downs in the history of the party. There have been occasions when the party had been swept out of power. However, it always managed to return to power at subsequent elections. more..

Committee to recommend proposals on death row convicts

Nov 1 (SL) The Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister has appointed a three-member committee to recommend the commutation to life sentences of 400 convicts who are on death row. The committee has also been asked to examine which of the 400 convicts on death row should be pardoned and released. The Committee is headed by retired High Court Judge Hector Yapa and it has been asked to submit it report at the earliest, after examining the possibilities of more..

NCPA appoints committee to probe child abuse

Nov 1 (SL) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has appointed a special sub committee to inquire into child abuse cases. The appointment of the sub committee comes at a time when the number of child abuse cases reported in the country have seen an increase. According to the NCPA, the sub committee is due to find out the causes of child abuse and propose steps to be taken to prevent such incidents. more..

V. Anandasangaree: What I said at the LLRC?

Nov 1 (LG) Before we commence I must thank you for having come here notwithstanding your busy schedule with a view of assisting this Commission and I must at this stage outline the procedures that are operative in respect of the persons making representations before this Commission. You are entitled to make representations in public or in camera. That is a matter at your choice. more..

Editorial : Of those political jilmaats

Nov 1 (Island) The rejection by the Supreme Court of Gen. Sarath Fonseka's election petition in limine has left many an Opposition politician with egg on his face. No sooner had the results of the presidential polls in January this year been announced than the JVP-UNP combine let out a howl of protest against what it called a hi-tech manipulation of the election outcome in favour of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Editorial : Scouting for talent

Nov 1 (DM) Shirley Waijayantha is undoubtedly one of the best musicians in Sri Lanka and there was very little doubt about his decisions as a panelist of the popular reality show. Despite not being a professional singer Rosy Senanayake went on to complement Waijayantha as she often toed the line of the professional musician. Plus though Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva looked like the odd one out surprisingly most of the contestants found his comments quite valid. more..

'TNA ready for a structured dialogue for acceptable Political Solution'

Nov 1 (TC) The TNA is willing to hold talks with other Tamil parties in its bid to work together for the betterment of the people, says its parliamentary group leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan. In an interview with The Nation, Sampanthan said he was not aware of any moves to change the party leadership, asserting that any change would be brought about in a democratic manner. more..

Budget deficit contracts

Nov 1 (Island) According to data released by the Central Bank last Friday, the budget deficit for the first eight months of this year as contracted by 9.25 percent to Rs. 314.6 billion from a deficit of Rs. 346.7 recorded during the corresponding period of 2009. Total revenue, including grants, increased 17.94 percent to Rs. 502.9 billion from Rs. 426.4 billion a year ago. Tax revenue increased 18.04 percent to Rs. 441 billion from Rs. 373.6 billion a year ago more..

Party membership of 3 UNPers suspended

Nov 1 (DM) Party membership of three UNP members of the Yatinuwara Pradeshiya Sabha has been suspended and accordingly the Pradeshiya Sabha membership would be invalidated, the UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayke informed the Kandy District Returning Officer recently. After reading the report of the Disciplinary Committee that clauses 3.3 (A), 3.3 (B), 3.3 (C) and 3.3 had been violated along with rules 16 and 17 of clause 14.1 of the constitution of the UNP more..

Prince Charles pleads for Rizana

Nov 1 (ST) Britain’s Prince of Wales, heir to the throne is to appeal to the Saudi King, seeking clemency for the Sri Lankan housemaid, Rizana Nafeek who was sentenced to death for the alleged murder of her employer’s child, a senior official of the External Affairs Ministry said yesterday. The official said Prince Charles was in contact with Saudi Arabia’s ruling Royal family. more..

Both Govt. and JVP invited to world youth festival

Nov 1 (ST) The World Festival of Youth and Students, to be held in South Africa in December, is likely to be attended by a government delegation, although the usual Sri Lanka participant is the JVP. Ministry of Higher Education media secretary Mangala Janaka said that Minister S.B. Dissanayaka has been invited to the event by the Sri Lanka embassy in South Africa. According to Mr. Janaka, the Minister has not taken a final decision about attending the sessions. more..

Poll reforms: SLMC adopts ‘wait-and-see’ approach

Nov 1 (NS) The SLMC says that it had now adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ approach as the UPFA government had agreed to make alterations to the original Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill. SLMC national organiser Shafeek Rajabdeen told The Nation that though the SLMC had earlier decided to extend unconditional support to the bill, the UPFA was yet to inform government‘s position over the two amendments proposed by his party. more..

'I am a great democrat'

Nov 1 (NS) The power struggle in the UNP is far from over even though there is now less public exchanges possibly in view of the forthcoming local elections and reformists not wanting to be blamed for any debacle. But reformists are steadfast as ever in their demand for greater democracy in the party. Reformist camp leader Sajith Premadasa who is aspiring for the party leadership of the party speaks his mind in a wide ranging interview with The Nation. more..

Accused faints on hearing sentence

Nov 1 (ST) There was a stir in the Kandy High Court when an accused fainted on sentence being passed on him by Kandy High Court Judge Preethi Padman Surasena. The accused, W. M.Chamal Karunaratne, was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs. 25,000, to be paid to the mother of the victim Abdul Munaz (32), a vendor. Six others were also accused of being involved in the murder of the vendor in Colombo Street (now W.A.B.Soyza Mawatha) in Kandy. more..

Mavai Senathirajah refutes Jaffna GA’s statement on Valikaamam HSZ issue

Nov 1 (TN) “I am one of the victims uprooted from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) High Security Zone 20 years ago and the petition filed by me in court seeking resettlement is pending inquiry. It is ridiculous for Jaffna Government Agent Ms. Imelda Sukumar to claim that there are no HSZs in Jaffna peninsula,” Mavai Senathirajah, TNA MP said. Ms. Imelda Sukumar had claimed that there were no HSZs in Jaffna peninsula but only areas which need to be cleared of landmines. more..

Excessive closeness between Beijing and Colombo is breaching comfort levels in New Delhi

Nov 1 (TC) New Delhi is deeply worried about Beijing’s rapidly developing relationship with Colombo and is likely to raise this with Sri Lankan leaders when Indian Minister S.M. Krishna visits at the end of November. With Indo-Sino relationships under fresh strain during recent months — predominantly over China’s close alliance with Pakistan and apparent ‘meddling’ in Nepal — New Delhi is even more concerned about more..

Levy on potato, onion down

Nov 1 (DM) The government has decided to reduce the Special Commodity Levy on the imports of big onion by Rs. 15 a kilo and potatoes by Rs. 20 a kilo on a request by the importers of essential commodities, last week. However, importers say that the latest duty reduction would not lower the prices in the local market due to spikes in the world market. The government, earlier, had increased the levy on big onion to Rs. 25 a kilo and on potatoes by Rs. 30 a kilo more..

'No attack on Jaffna Public Library'

Nov 1 (DN) The Presidential Secretariat denied reports of an alleged attack on the Jaffna Public Library reported yesterday in the Sunday Leader newspaper. The report was based on unverified and unauthenticated information, a media release issued by it said. It also said that Police and other authorities in Jaffna has confirmed that there was no such attack. The media release: “Our Attention has been drawn to the lead news item in The Sunday Leader of today, more..

Man fed bananas and laxatives to ‘recover’ smuggled diamonds

Nov 1 (TS) A man was forced to eat bananas and laxatives by the police so they could recover packs of smuggled jewellery inside his stomach. It said New Delhi police stopped the 43-year-old man, who had managed to pass through the Chennai airport immigration checkpoint after coming in from Colombo, Sri Lanka. The officers saw the man carrying two large bags at the airport, but his pained facial expression caught their attention. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 1 (ST) The Interpress Service (IPS), United Nations Bureau Chief Thalif Deen was among a select group of UN correspondents invited for a luncheon meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The invitation to IPS came despite a critical story on how the embattled Secretary-General had launched a charm offensive to win over a mostly negative UN press corps. The five journalists invited for lunch (Western, not Korean cuisine) were told in advance that no questions, more..

Who doctored document at SJGH?

Nov 1 (Island) All employees of the Sri Jayewardepura General Hospital (SJGH), including Consultants, Hospital Director, Deputy Director, Board Secretary and accountant will now have to retire at 60 years in keeping with Public Enterprises circular No. 52 of Nov 25, 2008. At an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors at SJGH last Thursday (Oct 28), it was decided unanimously to implement a decision to that effect after more..