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Welgama goes to Kandy in train powered by resurrected French engine

Sep 13 (NF) The loss incurred by the Department of Railways could be minimised by increasing the amount of goods transported by train, says Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport. He noted that although the annual expenses of the department amount to Rs. 8 billion, it generated only Rs. 5 billion as income. A media briefing was held after a special train, which left Fort station in Colombo around 11am, arrived in Kandy. more..

UNP PC members to attack Ranil too

Sep 13 (LB) Internal shocks have shaken the UNP at provincial level after the government passed the 18th Amendment, as provincial and local council members of the UNP are set to follow the example of MPs who have decided to act independently, in councils too, said a party source. He added that already a large number of local and provincial councillors have decided to act independently in the coming weeks, after rebel UNP MPs decided to act independently in the House. more..

Editorial: US and 18A

Sep 13 (DM) Two news reports concerning the US – one on its behaviour in Afghanistan another on its remarks on Sri Lanka - almost coincided with each other a few days ago. The first was the exposure that a group of US soldiers had kept body parts of Afghan civilians whom they have killed for no reason, as ‘souvenirs’. The American soldiers who were responsible for the grisly act had reportedly kept skulls and bones of the victims of the premeditated crime they committed. more..

JVP office in Vavuniya opened amidst obstruction by govt

Sep 13 (LT) Despite obstructions, threats and terrorizing carried out by the government using police, the Vavuniya office of the JVP was declared open today at about 10.30 a.m. by the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. The opening ceremony of the office situated near the Railway Station at Thandikulam in Vavuniya was attended by a large gathering including the former MP of the JVP Ramalingam Chandrasekar. more..

'India ready to hand over Murugan idol to Sri Lanka'

Sep 13 (Hindu) The State government authorities on Sunday indicated that they were ready to hand over to the Sri Lankan authorities the Murugan idol smuggled to Tamil Nadu in 2006. The panchaloka idol belongs to Verugalampathi Chitira Velayutha Swamy temple in Muthur in Eastern Sri Lanka. Inspector-General of Police (Economic Offences Wing) Rajendran told TheHindu that the idol was presently kept at a well-guarded icon centre in Tiruchi. more..

Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna says LTTE attempting to reorganize in Canada

Sep 13 (SLNN) Decrying Canada’s lax immigration system and accusing the country of being “soft on terrorism,” Singapore-based terrorism expert, Rohan Gunaratna, warned that Canada would emerge as the main center of activity for the LTTE, a separatist group whose leadership was annihilated by Sri Lanka’s security forces in 2009 after nearly 30-years of fighting. “LTTE leadership in Norway is seeking to reorganize in Canada,” Gunaratna said. more..

In search of a mini bungalow, shrouded in major controversy

Sep 13 (ST) The Sunday Times team trek three hours in the jungles of the Knuckles Range – recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – to get a first hand view of the controversial holiday home being built by Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke. Past the 27th kilometre post on the highway from Rattota to Pallegama, we take a right turn into a rugged road. more..

Editorial: O tempora! O laws!

Sep 13 (Island) The police are unfairly accused of inefficiency and inaction. Last week, they proved their capability. They swung into action on a complaint by a woman, arrested a girl aged 13 years in Thebuwana in Kalutara and hauled her up before Court. What had she done? She had stolen five rupees! We repeat: FIVE RUPEES. And she was enlarged on personal bail of Rs. 100,000. IGP Mahinda Balasuriya must be commended for his exemplary leadership that has turned more..

Repeal Katchatheevu pact: D. Raja

Sep 13 (Hindu) India must repeal the Katchatheevu accord with Sri Lanka to protect Indian fishermen, especially those from Tamil Nadu, and prevent atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan Navy, said CPI national secretary D. Raja here on Friday. There was no other way of ensuring the safety of Indian fishermen, he said at a press conference. The Centre's stand that Katchatheevu had been ceded to Sri Lanka was unacceptable. more..

MV Sun Sea migrants' information stolen from Tamil group's office

Sep 13 (G&M) Canada’s most prominent Tamil organization is concerned about the safety of some families in Sri Lanka after sensitive information about their boat migrant relatives was stolen from the group's Toronto office. A computer containing the names, birth certificates and contact information of “hundreds” of the 492 Tamils who arrived in British Columbia aboard the MV Sun Sea in August was stolen during a break-in at more..

Marcos-type ‘despotic family regime on way’

Sep 13 (NS) The 18th Amendment would build a Marcos-type of a despotic family regime and would annul independent commissions that would be a hindrance to the despotic path. The progressive masses in the country need not be disappointed regarding the adoption of the 18th Amendment as it does not represent the true majority of the masses in the country and the two-third majority is made up of cowards who betrayed their conscious for their existence in the present government and more..

Environment protection: Industrialists defy law

Sep 13 (DN) Around 6,980 industrial ventures belonging to all categories have found to be operating illegally violating environment protection laws, a Central Environment Authority (CEA) survey revealed. CEA Chairman Charitha Herath said that these industries were found to be operating without an Environment Protection Certificate sanctioned as essential by the authorities. He said the CEA would initiate legal action against these industries using powers vested in them under the National Environment Act. more..

Banking on gold mystery

Sep 13 (NS) Parliamentary sittings this week were of historic and historical moments as it saw the controversial 18th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution becoming a law of this country which some sections of society described as hammering the final nail to the coffin of democracy while another section saw it as a step taken forward to strengthen democracy. On Tuesday, when the parliamentary sessions started Prime Minister D M Jayaratne presented the bill on behalf of the government more..

All Local Govt. polls on same day

Sep 13 (DM) Local Government elections to all Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas around the country will be held on the same day next January, government sources said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa would take oaths for his second term in November and after the budget debate all the local government institutions would be dissolved in mid December. The terms of most of the local government bodies have expired and more..

Thawheed mosques operating clandestinely

Sep 13 (SL) Unregistered mosques of an orthodox Islamic sect were mushrooming in the country and pose a threat of propagating extremism, a Muslim community activist warned as the Indian media reported that a detained Laskhar-e-Taiba terrorist had confessed he had been trained in Colombo. Riyaz Sally, Chairman of the Islamic Solidarity Fund said there are 200 to 300 mosques of the Thawheed sect which propagate the orthodox brand of Wahhabi Islam, and more..

New Opposition leader?

Sep 13 (LB) UNP rebels are in a valiant effort seeking the assistance of other opposition parties to bring in Sajith Premadasa as Opposition leader, ousting Ranil Wickremesinghe from the post. As a first move 25 UNP MPs will function in parliament as an independent group, and then begin discussions with other opposition parties to appoint Premadasa as opposition leader. The party which has the most number of MPs will select an MP as Opposition leader with more..

Guard your mouth, Dayasiri tells Sarath Fonseka

Sep 13 (SO) Kurunegala district UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that DNA leader Sarath Fonseka was currently paying the price for his unguarded sayings in the past. He told a media briefing last week that there would be serious consequences if Fonseka did not guard his mouth and stop castigating the UNP over the 18th Amendment. "The UNP is not ready to dance to the tune of the DNA. They must show some flexibility if they plan to join forces with the UNP. more..

‘I am not afraid to go to jail’

Sep 13 (SL) “I have always stated and continue to state that I am not a person subject to Military Law and in any event this tribunal has no jurisdiction to try me.” At the beginning of this Court Martial I took objection to Major General M.P. Peiris, functioning in this Court Martial as President, on the basis that I have dealt with him for an integrity issue and removed him from the main stream of the Army subject to an inquiry. more..

People ‘will benefit if TNA joins govt’

Sep 13 (NS) The majority of the people in the East would not support the North and East merger, former LTTE Eastern Commander, who is currently the Deputy Resettlement Minister and Sri Lanka Freedom Party vice-president Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan said. In an interview with The Nation, he called upon Tamil parties to unite for the betterment of the people who had suffered during the war. more..

SF’s claim of missing gold, cash countered: Gold valued at over Rs. 600 m handed over to banks

Sep 13 (Island) Responding to former army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s allegation that gold and cash recovered by the army is missing, military spokesman Major General Ubhaya Medawela says there is no basis for that claim. DNA leader Gen. Fonseka told Parliament during the Emergency debate on September 7 that the whereabouts of gold and cash recovered by more..

Pivotal importance of continuous SLN watch on Indo-Lanka

Sep 13 (Island) Sri Lanka needs to closely watch the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary to thwart any future attempt to re-establish a clandestine sea line of communications between northern Sri Lanka and India. Maintaining surveillance on the Indian fishing fleet, as well as the local fishing population is essentially one of the most important factors in the overall naval strategy in a post-war era. more..

Polish Nobel Laureate to visit Sri Lanka

Sep 13 (Island) Lech Walesa, historic Polish figure will be in Colombo soon for a lecture tour, the Asian Tribune which is one of the sponsoring parties reported on its website yesterday. It said that arrangements are made in Sri Lanka by Senaka Rajapakse, a resident of Poland and President, Sri Lankan Diaspora Group, along with the AT to organise Nobel Laureate’s visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Exam sicknesses run high: experts

Sep 13 (DM) A team of medical experts has pointed out to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Education Ministry last week that students developed mental and physical health problems during times of the national examinations since they were too advanced for their individual capacities. The team had reportedly cited that the Grade Five Scholarship Examination and the G.C.E. more..

Resurrect UNP: Dayasiri

Sep 13 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, who has decided to sit independently in Parliament, stressed yesterday that the party should be geared up to defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next Presidential Election, mostly likely to be held in 2014 according to the 18th Amendment. He issued an emotional statement highlighting the reasons for his decisions to sit independently in the House along with 25 others. more..

Hicorp made no transactions with Army, Defence Ministry:DNA

Sep 13 (DM) The Democratic National Alliance yesterday said DNA MP Sarath Fonseka’s son-in-law’s company Hicorp Ltd. has not been involved in any transaction with the army or the Defence Ministry. The hearing of the second court martial of Former Army Commander with regard to the alleged Hicorp deal will be held today. DNA MP Vijitha Herath told a news conference yesterday that no purchases have been made from Hicorp Ltd. more..

'Long term - socio economic development Govt’s aim'

Sep 13 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Government was looking ahead at achieving long-term socio-economic development in line with people’s expectations. “Fulfilling people’s expectations and enabling them to lead happy and contended lives is our prime objective. We are committed to achieve this,” he said. “In achieving our objectives we should not only think about today but should focus on where we are going to be in 20 years and plan accordingly.” more..

EC and UN team to visit the East

Sep 13 (SL) A team consisting of European Commission and UN officials is to visit the Eastern Province tomorrow. The team is to visit the Province to review the progress of the EU funded projects in the area. UNDP Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne and the European Commission Head of Operations and Chief Consultant Willy Viandanberghe is scheduled to head the team on its three day visit to the Eastern Province. more..

Daya Master making millions while on bail

Sep 13 (SL) Daya Master, the LTTE’s Media Spokesman and Principal Liaison Officer, is in the money – so to speak. Ever since he surrendered to the Sri Lanka Army – he walked out along with scores of bona fide civilians fleeing the war zone – Daya Master’s fortunes have been on the up and up. The Sunday Leader can reveal that the former English tuition master turned LTTE media-supremo, has made millions after his ‘arrest.’ more..

Sri Lanka 83rd in Forbes best countries for business list

Sep 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka has been ranked 83rd in the latest Forbes Best Countries for Business list, behind India which was placed 77th but ahead of Pakistan at 92 and Bangladesh at 109. Denmark tops the list, followed by Hong Kong in second place, New Zealand in third, Canada in fourth and Singapore in fifth place. In its fifth annual rankings, Forbes magazine categorized the 128 nations of the world on the basis of property rights, technology, corruption, personal freedom, more..

'Stop interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka'

Sep 14 (DM) The government today called on the United States to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and added that they should refrain from making ‘unwarranted’ and ‘irresponsible’ comments about the island’s recent constitutional changes. Reacting to the statement released by the US State Department, condemning Sri Lanka’s passage of a constitutional amendment which would grant the President vast new powers, more..

'No idea about MPs going independent'

Sep 14 (SL) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today (13) said that despite media reports that 25 UNP MPs were planning on sitting independently in parliament, no one had conveyed such a decision to either him, the Speaker or the Chief Opposition Whip.Wickremesinghe issuing a statement said that the respective MPs, whose names have been mention in the media as those planning to sit independently, have denied such a move. more..

UNP agrees to LG electoral reforms

Sep 14 (SL) The UNP today (13) said the party was agreeable in principle to the proposed local government election amendments. UNP Spokesperson and parliamentarian Gayantha Karunathileka told a press conference that the party has agreed to the reforms in principle despite some reservations. “Even though further clarification is needed, the party in general agrees with government on the changes,” Karunathileka said. more..

No bus fare hike

Sep 14 (DM) The Government will not permit private bus operators to increase their bus fares under any conditions despite requests to increase the fares, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said. He further said that he was not informed of a request to increase bus fares and will not change it under any circumstances. “The private bus operators earlier this year promised they would not request a hike in bus fares. I am not bothered about any changes that they want to make. more..

Sri Lanka News Debreif - 13. 09. 2010

President hails charity survey result

Sep 14 (BBC) The president has hailed the results of a survey called the World Giving Index, which showed the country's people to be the eighth most generous charitable donors in the world. Mahinda Rajapaksa said that last week's analysis by the British-based Charities Aid Foundation showed that Sri Lanka – whose long-running war only ended last year - was a very caring society. Sri Lanka's people emerged as remarkably generous in this survey, conducted by the polling organisation Gallup. more..

Censorship 'a mistake', says Island editor

Sep 14 (BBC) A Sri Lankan commission investigating the final years of the war has been told that the government and military made a mistake in largely excluding journalists from the war zone. It was hearing testimony from one of the country's most senior newspaper editors, who also said he did not believe there should be any 'witch-hunts' looking into alleged misdeeds during the war which ended 16 months ago. The government often accused foreign and local reporters of being biased towards more..

Life in detention 'longer than with LTTE'

Sep 14 (BBC) Some former members of the LTTE say they are being detained by the Sri Lankan government for a time longer than they were with Tamil Tigers. Nearly 10,000 suspected Tamil Tigers are held in detention camps in the north. Government official figures say that only 2936 suspected Tamil Tigers were released so far by the Sri Lankan authorities out of 12,334 arrested during the last phase of the military conflict. more..

The Rajapaksa juggernaut rolls on

Sep 14 (TC) Sri Lanka parliament voted to end the two-term limit imposed on the president by more than the required two thirds majority in the 225-member house on September 8. With the passing the 18th amendment of the constitution, the parliament has removed the constitutional bar and paved the way for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to get elected president a third term. The ruling UPFA with 144 seats was short of two thirds majority required to push through the constitutional amendment. more..

Diplomats warned Ottawa of 'perfect storm' for Tamil smuggling

Sep 14 (G&M) Diplomats posted to Sri Lanka quietly warned in January of “a perfect storm” of factors that would result in smugglers “targeting” Canada for a mass influx of Sri Lankan Tamils. The warnings from Canadians posted to the Colombo office came months before a suspected human-smuggling operation shipped more than 400 Tamils to British Columbia aboard a vessel known as the Sun Sea. more..

Internet facility for every household within 3 years says President

Sep 14 (LP) The National Communication network will be upgraded within the coming three years said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Measures in this regard has already been taken and the cost for Data and Internet facility will see a considerable reduction while enabling every household with the Internet Facility he said addressing the opening ceremony of the 50th Council Meeting and more..

Garment exports aims at $5 bn by expanding markets

Sep 14 (F2F) Garment sector, which is the biggest export industry of Sri Lanka, has set a target to generate US $5 billion business by the year 2015, even though it witnessed losses due to the withdrawal of GSP Plus duty free facility to the EU, which is the country’s biggest export market. As per the former Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association (JAAF), Mr. M.P. Tuly Cooray, who was addressing a seminar titled “GSP+, Clothing Industry in Perspective”, more..

Folly of the left in propping up the Rajapakistan regime in Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (LG) Thank you for publishing the LSSP statement on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution by Prof. Tissa Vitarana, a cabinet minister of President Rajapakse’s Rajapakistan government. Let me salute Prof Vitharane by saying ‘Rajapakistan zindabath’ and wish him every success in his endeavors to sing the Rajapakistan theme to uphold his confusing values. I was so interested in reading the stand of the LSSP on the APRC report and more..

Married, with children

Sep 14 (SL) She had dreams, just like every single girl does. She had fears just like every unmarried girl does. And like all single people, she dreamed of the day she would get married – and look for a cosy home to live in – and how together they would choose and buy the furniture and cooking utensils. Women dream and single women dream more often. Sometimes, as the twenties turn to thirties, these dreams are edged with fear and anxiety. more..

Alarming rate of divorces among the Tamil diaspora

Sep 14 (LG) The judge shook his head and said, “It is indeed sad that this lady had to put up with an arranged marriage due to pressure from the family. But then that is the way it is in Asian sub-continental culture”. I wanted to scream at him that arranged marriages are usually with the consent of both parties and are no longer forced except for a very few but I was not the defense counsel and only the interpreter. more..

Hybrid seed and the Sri Lankan farmer

Sep 14 (LG) The President, in his address at the event launching the Farmer’s Week and the opening of the Chamal Rajapaksa Agro Technology Park in Bata-atha, Hambanthota last week made a call for the younger generation of the farming community to engage in agricultural activity. It is understandable that he should make the distinction between the older and the younger generation, which reaches out for seed and other materials that provide high productivity. more..

Widows struggling to break social hurdles

Sep 14 (NS) Humans have been waging war ever since records of history have come into being and just like the Trojan war, Sri Lanka was once ignited with war’s cruel flames. The Trojan War left thousands of women weeping for their dead husbands and same tragedy is unfolded in Sri Lanka because of the thirty-year-old war which came to a halt in 2009. Even though peace has been established in our country, peace has not been established in more..

Dreaming dreams of human rights

Sep 14 (LG) I had a dream, a bad dream — a mad dream. Not one like that of Martin Luther King’s. I had come ashore to a land, vaguely familiar but a strange land. People were crowding the streets and they were lining the streets in a joyous mood. They were singing: “We are free; we are free, like birds, like bees… Hip, hip, hip hooray, archige koday, nandage kotta…” etc. Was I in the land of the Lotus Eaters where the guys and dolls were said to be stoned eating more..

‘Dockyardgate’: More shocking evidence on 619 m cover-up emerges

Sep 14 (LG) After making the Customs committing hara-kiri and causing a 619 million rupees loss of public funds, the AG Mohan Peiris, who had been one of the key masterminds of the ‘Dockyardgate cover-up’ has made another low-level attempt to save face by sending a back-dated letter to the Customs. The AG seems to be determined to protect his interests and the interests of the ‘Customs Junta’ involved in this massive cover-up. more..

Weaving industry needs major facelift

Sep 14 (NS) Fabric weaving in Sri Lanka has been in existence for more 2,500 years while archaeological indications prove it might even have a longer history in our country. Queen Kuveni was said to have first been found weaving by Kind Vijaya when he landed on our country which makes it obvious that this tradition of hand weaving has been brought down from generation to generation and still runs through many factories and stores, more..

Rights group hold meeting on prison system

Sep 14 (LG) On September 8, 2010, Janasansadaya a local human rights group in Sri Lanka, organized a press conference to discuss prison reform in Sri Lanka. The main invited speaker was Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reform, D.E.W. Gunasekara. Also invited to join the panel were Deputy Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reform, Gamini Vijathamuni De Silva, the Commissioner General of the Prison Department, Major General V.R. Silva, and more..