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Four Lankans among 244 killed in Mecca stampede

Nov 18 (Island) Wire services say four Sri Lankans were among over 240 people killed in Mecca during Sunday’s stampede. Altogether 244 people were trampled to death in a stampede and nearly a similar number were believed to be injured at Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where nearly two million Muslims from all over the world made their annual Hajj pilgrimage this year. more..

Massive cost for pay hike

Nov 18 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the Cabinet meeting yesterday his government would be compelled to forego mega development projects if substantial salary increases were given to public servants through the budget. President Rajapaksa said it would cost Rs.1.4 billion a month if the government was to increase salaries of public servants even by Rs.100 a month. At this stage, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane is reported to have pointed out that more..

Bakery owners agree to mix wheat and rice flour

Nov 18 (DM) Bakery owners have agreed to mix rice flour with wheat flour when making flour-based items if rice flour was made available in the market without any shortages, the All Ceylon Bakery Operators’ Association (ACBOA) said yesterday. ACBOA President N.K. Jayawardene said association representatives held talks with the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNP), and rice millers in this respect. more..

Release denied, case delayed for Sun Sea migrant

Nov 18 (CTV) An immigration hearing for a Tamil migrant the federal government claims poses a risk to Canadian security was postponed Tuesday, to give his lawyer more time to look into the allegations against him. The man, who was among nearly 500 Tamils who arrived off the British Columbia on the MV Sun Sea in August, appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board in a makeshift hearing room at a provincial jail in Maple Ridge, B.C. more..

'Sri Lanka should channel capital flows to direct investment'

Nov 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka can expect higher post-war growth, with lower inflation, higher employment provided deficit spending can be checked and capital inflows channeled to direct investment, a senior rating official said. "The two key reasons underpinning growth is the return of peace and all that it implies for investor confidence," Roopa Kudva, South Asia head for Standard & Poors', a rating agency, told a forum in Colombo. more..

'Court Martial process part of Army Act'

Nov 18 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka’s Military Law has been formulated on the basis of the British Military Law and the ‘Court Martial process’ is a part thereof. Rajapaksa said those critical of the Army for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s conviction had conveniently forgotten that the Army Act had been passed by Parliament. He said that the Military Law couldn’t be rejected or done way with for political reasons. more..

Opposition won’t take Rupavahini Chief’s media coverage offer

Nov 18 (Island) Rupavahini Chairman Sarath Kongahage on Monday said that his station was willing to give adequate coverage to theOpposition but what prevented it from doing so was a ban the UNP and the JVP had imposed on the State media. He said should those parties lift the ban, they would get Rupavahini coverage. Briefing the media at Hotel Ramada on a proposed new programme line-up, which would come into operation on Friday to more..

'Magampura takes its place in maritime maps of the world'

Nov 18 (GDI) Today, we have left our mark, not only on the Sri Lankan map but also the world map. In the maritime maps of the world this will be marked as an important port, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He made this statement at the ceremonial berthing of the first vessel at ‘Magama Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port’, Hambantota today (18). The ceremony also marked the commencement of the construction of the second phase of the port. more..

Sri Lanka's powerful president in for the long-haul

Nov 18 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse kicks off a second term Friday, promising economic rebirth for the war-ravaged island with the help of nations who have snubbed Western calls for a war crimes probe. Rajapakse, who turned 65 Thursday, begins his fresh, six-year mandate from an unprecedented position of strength following a constitutional revamp two months ago that ramped up his executive powers. With his personal popularity running high, family members in key government positions, more..

JVP protest against rising CoL

Nov 19 (SL) The JVP today (18) held a protest at the Lipton Circus against the tax burden, rising cost of living and wastage of public funds and utilities. The JVP has launched an island wide protest campaign against the burdens faced by the people and the rising cost of living. JVP affiliated trade unions, students fronts and party leaders participated in the protest,which was held a few days prior to the 2011 budget presentation that is to take place on Monday (22). more..

Rehabilitation slow, says Ranil

Nov 19 (DC) Former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremasingh has expressed dissatisfaction over the process of rehabilitating the internally displaced Tamils in the island nation. “The rehabilitation work is not progressing satisfactorily. Tamil MP Sambandan met me recently and we discussed the issue,” Mr Ranil who was in the city said. The opposition leader said the issue would be raised in Parliament. more..

UNP to boycott ‘expensive’ ceremony

Nov 19 (DM) The UNP said that they would boycott tomorrow’s swearing in ceremony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his second term as a mark of protest against the government’s extravagant spending in this respect. UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said that the successive leaders starting from late Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had conducted their swearing in ceremonies in a simple and modest manner. more..

Maldives seeking US$200 million credit line from Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (MN) The Maldivian government hopes to finalise an agreement with Sri Lanka to establish a credit line worth US$200 million, President Mohamed Nasheed told press today prior to departing for Sri Lanka to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As preliminary discussions for the credit line has been ongoing for some time, the President said that he hoped an agreement would be signed in the near future between more..

SF to get facilities to exercise

Nov 19 (SL) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is to be provided with the necessary facilities to exercise following a directive issued by the Colombo High Court today (18). Courts also ordered the Prison authorities to repair the roof in his cell. The High Court delivered this order when the controversial “white flag” case was taken up for hearing today. Fonseka’s Counsel informed the court that Fonseka was unable to attend proceedings since he was receiving treatment more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 18.11.2010

Tamil Diaspora: Is it true?

Nov 19 (LG) I refer to your response published in the Sri Lanka Guardian, regarding my response to Mr. Rajasingham Jayadevan’s article on the Government Agent of Jaffna - Ms. Imelda Sukumar. You have said in your response ‘Raj Jayadevan and Ms Paramasivam are bringing in outside factors to vilify Jaffna GA Imelda Sukumar and they are unable to stomach the truth as stated by the GA at LLRC. It is inconceivable that a fellow Tamil was able to gain the confidence of more..

Final reply to personal vilification

Nov 19 (LG) I have been far too polite to Mr Jayadevan who even sent my articles by email to my family (one of them is suffering from hypertension) and to my journalistic colleagues in the UK by group email. I never let my family know of my writings on politics or my earlier visits to the LTTE controlled areas because they fear and worry my life would be in danger. I keep my family well away from my professional life so as not to cause them concern. more..

Textbooks & School Items distributed among Manipay students

Nov 19 (Cimic) Sixty six schoolchildren at Manipay received a donation of printed materials useful to learn Sinhala and a bag full of school items on Sunday. A ceremony chaired by Commander 513 Brigade Colonel Pradeep Silva was held at Uduvil Sanguveli Government School at Manipay to distribute books, pens, boxes of mathematical sets, colour pencils, stationeries and other items Sunday morning. more..

Internally displaced: Realities of restitution and resettlement

Nov 19 (TC) In recent times there had been vast discussion on returning the displaced. The LLRC, media, Diaspora, diplomatic inquiries- especially from India- led these dialogues. When certain Tamil representatives gave evidence before the LLRC the IDP’s and refugees’ rights and plight became secondary to devolution, as if Kandiahs and Sundaris gave prominence to devolution than their lost children, spouses, houses etc. more..

Finding burial site of 65 troops a step in the right direction

Nov 19 (LG) The Sri Lanka media reported as police saying that ‘Four former LTTE cadres were arrested yesterday in connection with killing of 60 soldiers and five navy personnel who were in captivity’. This claim comes at the time when there is international demand for inquiry into appalling war crimes by the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE. Whilst all the avenues to open up criminal investigative and legal roots are being stubbornly resisted by the government of Sri Lanka, more..

'Teach people to stand up on their own feet'

Nov 19 (NF) “Please teach the people to stand up on their own feet,” Kunio Takahashi, ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka told Non Government Organisations yesterday. “Governments and NGOs cannot support these people forever. Some day, they have to leave and they have to stand up on their own feet,” said the ambassador. Ambassador Takahashi was expressing his views at the signing of contracts, two reconstruction projects and one de-mining project more..

Released ex-Liberation Tiger combatants intimidated by SLA in Jaffna

Nov 19 (TN) The parents of a former Liberation Tiger combatant who had been rehabilitated after arrest and later released to join his family complained Thursday to Jaffna Human Rights Commission (HRC) office that their son is continually threatened by Army Intelligence Unit officers and men when he appears to sign at the SLA Intelligence Unit camp as instructed. Amidst many accusations that the former LTTE combatants released after rehabilitation are intimidated and more..

Rural dispensaries in Batticaloa district closed

Nov 19 (TN) Rural dispensaries in Thiraaymadu, Paalameenmadu, Naavatkudaa, Vavu'natheevu, Koaddaimunai, Maiyilaveddavaanan and Unnichchai in the Batticaloa district have been closed due to acute shortage of physical resources. Some of them are located in the resettled villages, Unnichchai, Mailavedduwan and Vavu'natheevu, Vaakarai, Karadiyanaa'ru and Maavadichchenai rural hospitals in the district are also likely to be closed due to lack of physical resources, more..

After the lapse of a century, Construction Sri Lanka’s first dry zone Botanical Gardens

Nov 19 (LP) Nearly 75% of the work of Sri Lanka’s first Botanical Gardens in the dry zone is complete said the National Botanical Gardens Department Director General Dr. Cyril Wijesundara. The remaining work deals with the construction of buildings and accordingly ticketing counter, cafeterias, restrooms, summer huts etc are to be constructed. The Department hopes to open the Botanical Gardens somewhere more..

The challenges for Mahinda Rajapaksa in his second term

Nov 19 (DM) As the Sri Lankan nation awaits the swearing in of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a second term, the country is being prepared, in spirit and appearance for a coronation. The term “ruling family”, so respectfully used in the context of absolute monarchies still prevalent in the world, could be aptly used in our own context. However it is indisputable that Mahinda Rajapaksa is immensely popular and was duly elected by the people of this country in a democratic election, more..

Enjoying the powers with maturity and governing with compassion

Nov 19 (DM) As Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa begins his second term as President, one hopes that the mistakes of every Executive president of this country before him, will not be repeated. Our post independent history is full of the depths of misery that every successive President since J R Jayewardene has pushed this country to. The Presidencies of Ranasinghe Premadasa and Chandrika Kumaratunga are classic examples of the utter chaos and corruption that more..

A coronation in Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (Economist) What to give a president who wants for nothing? Sri Lanka’s mustachioed ruler, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who turned 65 on November 18th, has a thriving personality cult, helped by propaganda that gives him sole credit for the crushing of Tamil rebels last year, after nearly three decades of civil war. He won a second presidential term in January. His party romped home in parliamentary polls. And he has since had the constitution rejigged to scrap term limits and more..

'Chiran Jayathu' – 'Aayubowewa'

Nov 19 (GV) Let all as citizens comprising the civil society of Sri Lanka, join together in unison and with one voice, in response to the earnest appeal made by Renton de Alwis in “Back to Basics” stating “Our President is taking on the next phase of his governance. There is so much more he has to do to guide this nation on. For that we must wish him well and more importantly, resolve that there is so much each of us as individuals and as one big family of 20 million people more..

Mervyn gets a brand new Jaguar

Nov 19 (SL) Deputy Highways Minister Mervyn Silva has returned to the limelight and this time by getting himself a brand new Jaguar XJ luxury petrol car. The burdens of a rising cost of living, persons affected by floods and a war seem to be of no concern to certain members of the government. The real value of the Jaguar is Rs. 18.4 million inclusive of taxes amounting to Rs. 10.6 million. However, the Deputy Minister’s vehicle in this instance has cost only Rs. Rs. 11.2 million. more..

Jaffna hospitals need more medics

Nov 19 (Island) Hospitals in Jaffna need more medical officers to ensure the smooth functioning of health services, Jaffna Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Arumugam Ketheeswaren said. "Thirty eight hospitals, excluding Jaffna teaching hospital, function in the Jaffna Peninsula, where there are 188 medical officers. Other hospitals urgently need at least 110 more medical officers to provide an efficient health service to the public," more..

Editorial : The road is clear!

Nov 19 (Island) Today, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is inducted for six more years. He becomes the first executive president to be sworn in for a second term without being reduced to a lame duck Head of State. Both previous two-term executive presidents, J. R. Jayewardene and Chandrika Kumaratunga, upon being re-inducted found themselves isolated owing to the emergence of different power centres within their parties. JRJ was toying with the idea of running for a third term but more..

Editorial : D-day today; The rhetoris and realities

Nov 19 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be sworn in today at the auspicious time of 10.07 a.m. for his second term in office. Today’s grand ceremony on the steps of the historic old parliament building will be the highlight of the week-long, countrywide ceremonies and celebrations to mark the president’s birthday yesterday and the inauguration today. On the eve of the swearing in, the president’s home base of Hambantota was the centre of attraction yesterday with more..

Port is a White Elephant says UNP

Nov 19 (BBC) New Mahinda Rajapaksa sea port in Hambantota is a white elephant says the opposition UNP. A port without a proper infrastructure is not an international port say the former ports minister of Rajapaksa government, Mangala Samaraweera. The UNP had decided to boycott the swearing in ceremony of president Rajapaksa to be held on Friday. Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya said the ceremony is an extravagant event which he said is a waste of public funds. more..

Prasanna Jayawardene rues not avoiding follow-on

Nov 19 (CI) Prasanna Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper, has rued not being able to avoid the follow-on against West Indies in Galle but said his team could finish on a positive note after the encouraging start provided by openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana in the second innings. Prasanna, who was the last batsman to fall in the first innings, battled his way to 58 but holed out, top-edging a sweep, to Kemar Roach off the bowling of more..

Govt. has cut education expenditure by half: Schools Movement

Nov 19 (DM) A school is being closed every six days in this country and there had been around 355 schools closed during the past four years, said the National Movement for the Protection of Schools, at a press conference held yesterday. “The government’s expenditure on education in this country has come down by 50% in the past four years,” said Dammika Alahaperuma, Organizing Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Association. more..

Japan grants Rs. 140 mn for North development

Nov 19 (Island) The Government of Japan extended a sum of US$ 876,121 (Rs. 98 million) grant aid for reconstruction and demining projects in the North. The funds were granted through Sarvodaya, Sewalanka Foundation, and The HALO Trust to meet the emergency needs of the area and to promote peace and development in Sri Lanka. The first project is "for Ensuring the Long Term Food security of Resettled communities in the Northern Province", more..

Sri Lanka entrepreneur warns against state push into business

Nov 19 (LBO) A recent state push into business is taking away opportunities available for the private sector to expand their wings at the end of a 30-year war, a Sri Lankan entrepreneur has warned. "Government is trying to compete (against private citizens), it could be hotels, insurance and any other area," W G Wegapitiya, head of Laugfs, said. "Government is trying to get in to areas where opportunity should be given to the private sector. more..

US medics perform first weight loss surgeries in Lanka

Nov 19 (Island) A two-member American medical team, on November 2 and 3 performed the first ever weight loss surgery on four patients. Consultant, Dr. Anthony Don Michael, a Sri Lankan domiciled in Los Angeles, is a Cardiologist and Bariatrician. Consultant Dr. Scott Cuneen is a Bariatric Surgeon from Los Angles, USA. They along with a local multi-disciplinary medical group comprising doctors Maiya Gunasekera, Theja Wijeratne and S. Siribaddana performed more..

Interview with JS Tissainayagam

Magampura Port, new symbol of friendship - Chinese special envoy

Nov 19 (DN) Magampura Port is a new symbol of friendship between Sri Lanka and China. This was possible because of the personal commitment and attention by leaders from both countries, said Chinese President Hu Jintao’s special envoy Sang Guowei who is also the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China. Sri Lanka is a shinning pearl in the Indian Ocean. With diligence and wisdom of its people, more..

FTZ and GSEU to pressure BOI for 30 percent salary hike

Nov 19 (Island) The Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees’ Union symbolically launched a campaign themed ‘3B’ (Better Pay, bigger and better profit with Board of Investment (BOI) Sharing) on Wednesday (Nov 17) to pressure the BOI to discuss with the unions the salary revision proposed for next year Joint Secretary of the FTZ and GSEU Anton Markus told The Island that the BOI has had discussions only with employers’ associations and not with the union. more..

Sri Lanka may cut company taxes to spur economy

Nov 19 (BN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa may cut taxes to spur investment next year as he seeks to boost economic growth and shrink the budget deficit in a nation recovering from civil war. A state-backed commission on taxes has recommended that the government lower rates and reduce the number of levies on companies to about 15 from 25, according to Saman Kelegama, executive director of the Institute of Policy Studies in Colombo more..

DS, Sirimavo, Devi, Royal closed today

Nov 19 (DM) D.S. Senanayake College, Sirimawo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Devi Balika and Royal College would also be closed today, the Education Ministry said. This is in addition to the schools in Colombo 1, 2, 3 and 4 which are closed in view of the swearing in of the President held today at 10.07 in Colombo. A top official of the Education Ministry said that this decision was taken following requests by the principals of these schools. more..

Constructions must be eco-friendly - Minister

Nov 19 (DN) All constructions should be eco-friendly and should not interfere with the environment balance, Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. He was speaking at the National Awards for Construction Performance 2010 at the Galadari hotel recently. The Minister said each and every sphere is rapidly developing at present and the construction field has taken a giant step after the war. more..

Chinese-built port in Sri Lanka fuels Indian fears Beijing is encircling them

Nov 19 (Guardian) A vast new Chinese-built and funded port was inauguratedtoday in the far south of Sri Lanka, fuelling the growing concern of neighbours India that they are being encircled by Beijing. The deep-water facility at Hambantota on the south coast of the island was officially opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to kick off spectacular festivities celebrating the official start of his second term in office. more..

'Government facilitates self employment'

Nov 19 (LP) Increasing salaries is not enough to reduce the cost of living but needs to improve the production capacity of the country said the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Addressing the audience at the opening of new trade complex for pavement vendors at Pettah yesterday (17) Minister said that it is very important to move to open this new trade complex on a special day as today which is on Hajj festival and the completion of Presidents’ 1st term in his office. more..

Tourist arrivals up 43.5%

Nov 19 (Island) Tourist arrivals for the first ten months this year increased by 43.5 percent to 497, 598 from 346,717 a year ago while arrivals in October increased 39.4 percent to 52,370 from 37, 575 in October 2009. The highest number of arrivals was from Western Europe. For the first ten months this year, tourist arrivals from North America increased by 66.5 percent to 31, 573 from 18, 967 while Latin American visitors declined by 16.3 percent to 456 from 545 a year ago. more..

'We’ll organize masses to send good- for- nothing govt home if no salary increase is included in the budget'

Nov 19 (LT) The masses will be organized to send the good for nothing government that is a burden for the country home if no relief is provided in the budget that is to be presented on the 22nd says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at an agitation held at Lipton Circus he said, “Prices of essential goods have gone up at an unbearable scale. All essential goods have been taxed. more..

Ex-mayor vacates residence

Nov 19 (DM) Former Mayor of Colombo Uvais Mohamed Imthiaz left the official residence ‘Siri Nivasa’ at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, last evening.A spokesman from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) told Daily Mirror that he had left the official residence at around 2.30 p.m. yesterday. Officials of the CMC were seen at the residence earlier during the day taking an inventory of the household items that were in the house. more..

Duminda acquitted

Nov 19 (DM) United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarian Duminda Silva was discharged yesterday in the case where he was accused of abducting film actress and the Southern Provincial councillor Anarkali Akarsha. He was discharged when Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte was informed by the Attorney General that there was insufficient evidence against Mr. Silva to prosecute him. more..