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'Lankan Tamils in India and abroad are welcome to return'

Sep 16 (TC) In an exclusive interview, with ‘The Asian Age’ Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka’s military victory over the LTTE offers lessons for the international community. Following are excerpts of the interview: Q. Recently you visited India for defence talks. There was defence cooperation for years before and during the conflict, more..

UNP crisis continues: Sajith rejects top post

Sep 16 (DM) The crisis in the United National Party (UNP) intensified yesterday after the party leadership proposed the creation of the post of ‘Senior Deputy Leader’ with Hambantota district parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa being appointed to the new post. However, MPs who agitate for party reforms have declined to accept the new post despite it becoming the second most important position in the party. more..

UNP MP accepts govt. invite

Sep 16 (SL) UNP parliamentarian John Amaratunga today said that he has accepted an invitation extended by the External Affairs Ministry to participate in the UN General Assembly in New York next week as a member of the Sri Lankan delegation. When contacted by The Sunday Leader Amaratunga said that although he had accepted the invitation, he was not planning on crossing over to the government. “They are two different issues,” he said. more..

Veteran diplomats tell LLRC: Equal treatment of the Tamil language

Sep 16 (Islnad) Two veteran diplomats, Nanda Godage and John Gooneratne, say the government should tackle the issue of LTTE suspects languishing in prisons and also ensure the proper implementation of the Official Languages Policy as fast as possible. Making their presentations before the LLRC, Messrs Godage and Gooneratne emphasized the importance of taking action to rectify shortcomings now. more..

China-Lanka agree to deepen military ties

Sep 17 (OI) China and Sri Lanka today agreed to deepen their burgeoning defence ties as the powerful visiting Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa held a crucial meeting with a top Chinese military commander here. The Chinese offer to enhance defence ties with Sri Lanka came during a key meeting between Defence Secretary Rajapaksa and Chen Bingde, the Chief of General Staff of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). more..

Thousands of Tamil youth 'failed by the legal system'

Sep 17 (BBC) A retired senior diplomat in Sri Lanka says that several thousand young people of the Tamil ethnic minority are being held in custody without any charges being brought against them. Nanda Godage, a former Sri Lankan ambassador to the European Union, told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that at least two thousand young Tamils had been in detention for years on suspicion of involvement with the Tamil Tigers or LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 16. 09. 2010

Parliamentary Council and Independent Commissions in January 2011

Sep 17 (DM) The Parliamentary Council (PC) that replaced the former Constitutional Council under the recently approved 18th amendment to the Constitution will be in place by 1st January and as a result all the independent commissions will be activated by the first week of January, the government said today. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said members to all seven independent commissions will be duly appointed by the PC in January and officials will be able lodge more..

RW: Will continue nominating persons to council

Sep 17 (SL) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that he will nominate another member to the Parliament Council in order to create a delay in its formation. Wickremesinghe has told the media that the President would remove himself and his nominee from the Council if they continuously boycotted it. The UNP Leader has made this statement after TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran refused the nomination to the Parliamentary Council as the Opposition Leader’s nominee. more..

Sri Lankan economy powers on

Sep 17 (AT) Whatever doubts Sri Lanka's local and overseas investors had about constitutional amendments reinforcing President Mahinda Rajapaksa's already appreciable powers, they did not show up in the stock market in the week since parliament approved the changes. Sri Lanka Stock Market Colombo All-Share Index has risen more than 4.5%, reaching 6,234 at the Wednesday close this week. It has doubled in the past nine months, more..

Sri Lanka's peace-torn democracy

Sep 17 (WSJ) One of Sri Lanka's unique achievements was preserving democratic rule through its 26-year bloody battle against Tamil Tiger insurgents. So it's troubling to see democracy—and the prosperity that ought to come with it—under threat now that there's peace in the land. Witness the passage earlier this month of an amendment to the constitution making some significant changes to the way the government functions. more..

Tamil refugee issue wrapped up in Canadian politics

Sep 17 (OC) For the Conservatives not to take heed of our diplomats in Sri Lanka warning months ago about a Tamil influx as refugee claimants didn't surprised me. If the pathetic press release from Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon's office after the Tamil Tiger terrorists were militarily defeated on May 18, 2009, without a congratulatory word when most foreign governments congratulated Sri Lanka for more..

Sri Lanka releases Economist magazine

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has allowed its citizens to read the latest issue of The Economist magazine, which carries a story on a controversial change in the country's constitution after being held back by customs authorities for nearly a week. "Any material that comes to Sri Lanka should fall into the standards that we have set out," information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said more..

French couple at Mirihana detention camp

Sep 17 (SL) A French couple arrested for overstaying their visas will remain at the Mirihana Detention camp until they are repatriated. The couple were arrested on Monday in Galle. Their visas were only valid until September 4. When they failed to satisfy police queries, they were remanded until September 23. The French embassy has been contacted, Jayakody said, and the couple would remain in detention until they returned to their country. more..

Sri Lanka economy grows 8.5-pct: statistics office

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy is estimated to have grown by 8.5 percent during the second quarter of 2010 from a year earlier, which is the highest quarterly growth rate recorded since 2002, the government's statistics office said. In the first quarter GDP was estimated to have grown 7.1 percent. Agriculture had grown 5.1 percent, industry 9.2 percent and services 8.8 percent during the quarter from a year earlier. more..

Rajapaksa makes a move

Sep 17 (WSJ) Less than a year and a half ago, Sri Lanka's government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a ruthless victory in that country's three-decade-long civil war against a bloody insurgency by the rebel Tamil Tigers. The stage was set for the wartime president to assume a new persona: that of the father of the peacetime nation. Yet now he risks upsetting the country's democratic balance following passage of a constitutional amendment clearing more..

All those not in favour of 18A; shaddap your face

Sep 17 (LG) Of the 19 amendments to the Sri Lankan Constiution since 1978 the last two were challenged before the Supreme Court and the speaker decided in 2002 these could not be enacted with validity. The 19th amendment is rather a challenging one since it would restrict the President’s power to dissolve parliament after it completes one year and to enable parliament members to vote according to their conscience without being expelled by their political parties. more..

Freedoms and their demise: Rejoinder to a critic

Sep 17 (LG) I have no disagreement with the thesis that freedoms die, but I contend that the spirit of freedom does not. In any case, the critic sets up a straw man, since my intention was a critique of the many voices that claimed and still do, that the 18th amendment marked the death of democracy (and some even opined, the nation). As I have stated elsewhere, I agree with Kalana Senaratne’s critique of 18A in the last issue of the Sunday Leader while more..

Efficient implementation of state decisions

The mindset of denial is the 'It is not that bad' attitude

Sep 17 (LG) For all Sri Lankan's but particularly for those of the educated classes the problems that have come by way of political and constitutional change has created many emotional and psychological problems. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka's remark, "Nations are too strong a reality to be killed off by constitutional amendments" reflects this same mentality. The changes which are so enormously negative have naturally created a state of denial, more..

The passing of the 18th Amendment and consequence for Sri Lankans

Sep 17 (LG) Recently the UPFA led alliance won by a majority voted in Parliament for the implementation of the 18th Amendment. This gives President Mahinda Rajapakse more sweeping powers to the Executive Presidency and hence there have been numerous articles published in the media condemning his actions. It is clear from what we hear and see in the media that the opposition party UNP and a majority of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora more..

Sri Lanka to rebuild fishery harbours in war-torn north

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka will rebuild two fishery harbours in the north of the island as part of a strategy to develop maritime resources in the region which is recovering from a war, a government minister said. "This is a clear indication of the governments vision in moving forward in the development phase," minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. "Both agriculture and fisheries were marred by terrorist activity. more..

Ranil: Please listen to the people of Sri Lanka and not the West

Sep 17 (LG) The right-thinking people of this country strongly believe that you are the Agent for the West, the man who is ready to give effect what the West demands with no question asked. Ranil, we don’t know the right answer but surely you know. If you are a person concerned with the plight of the Party today you should have left the party honorably by now. More than anybody else you know that you are an utter impotent and inefficient leader, more..

The 18th Amendment in retrospect and the US response

Sep 17 (DM) The United States is the world’s sole super power in our uni-polar world, though admittedly with that power slowly ebbing as we move towards a more multi polar world led by a resurgent Asia comprising of our new best friends the Chinese and of course India. However as of the here and now, the US matters and its opinion counts and this is what the US had to say in response to Sri Lankas latest amendment to its constitution. more..

Enviroment ministry to settle issues of Knuckles settlers

Sep 17 (NF) The Deputy Minister of Environment, Faizer Mustapha engaged in an inspection tour of the Knuckles Forest Reserve, a World Heritage Site, yesterday. Mustapha said that the Ministry of Environment would take steps in the near future to look into the settlers residing within the reserve. Following a proposal made to the World Heritage Committee in Brazilia in Brazil, more..

Wimalasurendra, Stone Age Energy Pundits and the Future of Solar Power

Sep 17 (DM) The Government of Sri Lanka is in a position to satisfy electricity needs at present at an affordable price mainly due to the 40 years of untiring efforts of a person who lived during the first half of 20th century. This person is none other than D. J. Wimalasurendra, who is the father of hydro power in Sri Lanka. At present 50 percent of power generation capacity and 40 percent of annual electricity generation in Sri Lanka comes from hydro power. more..

Really! People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones ... MYOB, USA!

Sep 17 (DM) Oh dear! Here we go again. It is getting really boring. Being preached to, I mean! Surely, the USA has enough problems on its own to worry about some tiny little island in the Indian Ocean whose name is unfamiliar to about 99.99% of its citizenry! I have yet to find an ordinary American, as in a man on the street, who knows what or where Sri Lanka is! So what am I harping about? A Reuters report on Saturday, more..

Troops serving Haiti help nab wanted criminals

Sep 17 (MoD) Sri Lankan Army troops (SRIBAT) serving the stabilization mission in Haiti have thrown their full weight behind apprehension of anti-social elements and most wanted criminals at the request of local law enforcement authorities, in addition to their performance of routine assignments on daily basis. A masquerading criminal, wanted in connection with a series of murders and crimes in Killik area, more..

Mullaitivu development accelerated

Sep 17 (MoD) The government has already been taken steps to accelerate the infrastructure development works underway in the Mullaitivu district. The entire Mullaitivu area was ravaged due to LTTE terrorist activities as terrorists destroyed all infrastructure including roads, schools, government buildings, hospitals. However, with the elimination of terrorism, the government adopted measures to accelerate development while concerning on removing landmines and booby-traps. more..

SL govt responsible for abductions – TMVP

Sep 17 (TN) Sri Lanka government should take responsibility for the abductions that have taken place after the war in Eastern Province, the propaganda secretary of TMVP, a political-cum-paramilitary party led by Eastern Province Chief Minister, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, said. Meanwhile, Batticaloa district residents said that armed men alleged to be Pillayan group and Karuna group abduct persons and rob houses in the outskirt villages of the district. more..

Resettled families in Jaffna peninsula abandoned by SL government

Sep 17 (TN) NGOs in Jaffna peninsula accuse Sri Lanka government to have abandoned most of the uprooted families resettled in Jaffna peninsula without providing them adequate assistance for rehabilitation. 82,000 uprooted persons had been resettled in Jaffna peninsula so far, according to Jaffna Secretariat. Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 persons uprooted from Valikaamam North High Security Zone of Sri Lanka Army more..

The Economist and National Security in Sri Lanka

Sep 17 (GV) In what may be explained as an utterly fatuous action in a country that apparently has no official policy on censorship – but is plagued by the arbitrary regulation and control of online content as well as print media – Customs officials have detained two issues of the Economist this year. In addition, reports indicate that several other issues of the Economist have been withheld by Customs, more..

Editorial: Jumbos and 18-A

Sep 17 (Island) The UNP is organising a countrywide protest campaign against the 18th Amendment, which, it says, will pave the way for a dictatorship. It has a democratic right to oppose 18A, but it is caught in a huge contradiction. It has never condemned the present draconian Constitution which was created in its heyday to perpetuate its rule. Everything is rotten about the present Constitution, including 18A, more..

Chicks from abroad

Sep 17 (DM) The Animal Production and Health Department has granted approval to import day old chicks to the country as there might be a shortage in eggs in November this year, Director General of the Department, Dr. Nimal Chandrasiri told Daily Mirror online. The poultry farming owners, egg producers, hatchery owners and the animal production and health department arrived at this decision following a discussion. more..

Editorial: TNA

Sep 17 (DM) The TNA surely knows the repercussions of not being part of the post-war development drive in the North. As people reap benefits of peace after the annihilation of the LTTE, non-participation in the process of reconstruction is very likely to detach the main Tamil alliance from the masses. As such the stand by the TNA, as expressed by Suresh Premachandran, to support the development projects while opposing the political decisions by more..

International securities regulator chief to visit Sri Lanka

Sep 17 (LBO) The chairperson of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and New Zealand's securities regulator Jane Diplock will visit Sri Lanka on September 28. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka said she will meet brokers and also make a presentation on corporate governance and ethics. On September 29, the SEC and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) will host a breakfast meeting for Diplock. more..

John reconsiders

Sep 17 (DM) UNP MP and Chief Opposition whip John Amaratunga says has decided to reconsider his decision to be part of a delegation to the UN led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Amaratunga had been invited by the External Affairs Ministry to accompany President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the UN and he had earlier accepted the invitation. However a short while ago the UNP MP said he has now reconsidered his move owing to pressure from within the UNP. more..

RW: Will continue nominating persons to Council

Sep 17 (SL) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that he will nominate another member to the Parliament Council in order to create a delay in its formation. Wickremesinghe has told the media that the President would remove himself and his nominee from the Council if they continuously boycotted it. The UNP Leader has made this statement after TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran refused the nomination to the Parliamentary Council as the Opposition Leader’s nominee. more..

'Rajapakses’ greedy eyes on Colombo Municipality'

Sep 17 (LT) The government has planned to take over local government councils they cannot win at elections says DNA Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake. He made this charge regarding the government’s plan to make Colombo Municipal Council an authority under the Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapkae. Mr. Dissanayake says the government’s intention is to administer all the local government councils in the island, and as Rajapakse regime is aware that CMC cannot be won under a fair and free election more..

'Eastern farmers in need of irrigation'

Sep 17 (BBC) The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sri Lanka told the BBC Tamil service that providing water for the cultivation of land, where the war displaced are resettled, is important to generate an 'income of their own'. Neil Buhne was speaking to Sivaramakrishnan Parameswaran at the conclusion of a three day visit in the Eastern Province with representatives from donor agencies. more..

Tamil migrant lawyers face money crunch

Sep 17 (CBC) The organization that provides legal aid in B.C. says it's running out of money in its efforts to represent the Tamil migrants who arrived in August. "The society's immigration funding is limited," Legal Services Society manager Rod Holloway said in a letter Thursday to lawyers who have been representing the migrants. "The arrival of … Tamils who are currently detained has placed us in a position where funding their detention reviews more..

Pabha won’t waste six years with UNP

Sep 17 (Island) Rebel UNP MP Upeksha Swarnamali says she switched her allegiance to the ruling UPFA as there is absolutely no point in wasting time with the UNP, which is becoming weaker by the day. The Gampaha District MP says nothing can be achieved by remaining in the party plagued by internal rifts and a damaging leadership struggle. Responding to a query by The Island, MP Swarnamali said that she didn’t want to waste six years in the Opposition. more..

Tamil party criticizes presidential panel

Sep 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's main Tamil party on Thursday ruled out participating in a new advisory panel set up to review government appointments by the president, dismissing it as a powerless body. The opposition and Washington have criticized the amendment to the constitution that created the committee, which President Mahinda Rajapaksa pushed through parliament this month, for diluting the few remaining checks on the powerful presidency. more..

British Minister tells House of Commons: No doubt conditions in Sri Lanka have improved

Sep 17 (DN) There is no doubt that conditions have changed in Sri Lanka and have improved to a degree after the conflict UK Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt said in the House of Commons Tuesday, September 14 responding to questions put to him by several Labour and Conservative Party MPs. Burt also said that he is in contact with his counterpart, Sri Lanka’s Internal Affairs Minister and hopes to continue the dialogue. more..

'Public should be vigilant of pro-LTTE elements'

Sep 17 (DN) The Sri Lankan public should continue to be vigilant because the same elements which tried their best to save the LTTE and destroy Sri Lanka are still active and working towards achieving their evil targets, NFF Leader Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. He said that the very same local and foreign elements which tried their best to save the LTTE, promote separatism in Sri Lanka and prevent the country from peace and economic development are still active, more..

Sri Lanka Aitken Spence-China Merchant consortium gets terminal deal

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has awarded a contract to build and operate a new deep-water container terminal in Colombo port to a consortium consisting of China Merchant Holdings International and Aitken Spence, a statement said. The South Container Terminal, the first terminal of the Colombo Port Expansion Project, will be built in two phases, Aitken Spence said in a stock exchange filing. more..

Sri Lanka A complete low-scoring win

Sep 17 (CI) Sri Lanka A's bowlers ensured there would be no fightback from the Pakistan A tail in Hambantota and that the match would end with bat having been utterly dominated by ball. The hosts had 86 runs to defend on the third day of the second unofficial Test and five wickets to take, which they did while conceding only 46. Twenty two wickets had fallen on the first day, with both teams being dismissed for less than 100 in their first innings, but more..

Crafting CFA: Norway rejected Lanka’s four proposals

Sep 17 (Island) A top official of the now defunct Peace Secretariat, on Wednesday, revealed that the then UNF government’s four proposals, which could have made a difference in the Norwegian-led peace process, had not been included in the hurriedly finalised CFA. Dr. John Gooneratne told the LLRC that the then government had wanted the CFA to pave the way for talks to find a negotiated solution, prohibit smuggling of arms, ammunition and equipment, more..

Now GMOA throws its weight behind Maithripala

Sep 17 (Island) In a rare show of co-operation, the GMOA yesterday (Sept 16) extended its fullest support to Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to rectify irregularities, managerial deficiencies and inefficiency in the Health Ministry. GMOA Secretary Dr. Bimantha Gunasekera urged Minister Sirisena to take tangible action to introduce a system to collect data. more..

'Constitutional amendment required as TNA refuses to serve on PC'

Sep 17 (Island) With the TNA refusing to accept Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to nominate one of its MPs to the newly established Parliamentary Council, the stage is now set for a constitutional crisis of sorts, the UNP says. Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he had nominated TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran to the Parliamentary Council, since he, more..